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Route 66 (TV series)

Route 66 is an American TV series in which two young men traveled across America. The show ran weekly on CBS from 1960 to 1964. It starred Martin Milner as Tod Stiles and, for two and a half seasons, George Maharis as Buz Murdock. Maharis was ill for much of the third season, during which time Tod was shown traveling on his own. Tod met Lincoln Case, played by Glenn Corbett, late in the third season, and traveled with him until the end of the fourth and final season.

The series is best remembered for its iconic Corvette convertible and its instrumental theme song (composed and performed by Nelson Riddle), which became a major pop hit.

Format and characters

Route 66 was a hybrid between episodic television drama, which has continuing characters and situations, and the anthology format (e.g. The Twilight Zone), in which each week's show has a completely different cast and story. Route 66 had just three continuing characters, no more than two of whom appeared in the same episode. Like Richard Kimble from The Fugitive, the wanderers would move from place to place and get caught up in the struggles of the people there. Unlike Kimble, nothing was forcing them to stay on the move except their own sense of adventure, thus making it thematically closer to Run for Your Life and Then Came Bronson. A later example of this traveling protagonist format is Quantum Leap.

This semi-anthology concept, where the drama is centered on the guest stars rather than the regular cast, was carried over from series creator Stirling Silliphant's previous drama, Naked City (1958-63). Both shows were recognized for their literate scripts and rich characterizations. The open-ended format, featuring two roaming observers/facilitators, gave Silliphant and the other writers an almost unlimited landscape for presenting a wide variety of dramatic (or comedic) storylines. Virtually any tale could be adapted to the series. The two regulars merely had to be worked in and the setting tailored to fit the location. So, from toiling in a California vineyard to manning a Maine lobster boat, the two men took odd jobs along their journey which brought them into contact with dysfunctional families or troubled individuals in need of their help.

Tod and Buz (and later, Linc) symbolized restless youth searching for meaning in the early Sixties, but they were essentially non-characters. We learn almost nothing about them over the course of the series. All we are told is after the death of his father, Tod Stiles inherits a new Corvette and decides to drive across America with his friend Buz. Tod, portrayed by clean-cut Martin Milner, is the epitome of the decent, honest, all-American type. He is the moral anchor of the series. By contrast, the working-class Buz (George Maharis) is looser, hipper, more Beat Generation in attitude. His third-season replacement, Lincoln Case (Glenn Corbett), is a darker character, an army veteran haunted by his past. He's more introspective with a sometimes explosive temper, but is nonetheless a reliable companion on this soul-searching journey.

The series concluded with the two-part episode "Where There's a Will, There's a Way" in which Tod Stiles got married, and he and Linc finally settled down. This made the series one of the earliest prime-time television dramas to have a planned series finale resolving the fate of its main characters.

The show was filmed and presented in black and white throughout its run. This was not unusual for early 1960s episodic TV.

Locations

Route 66 is well-remembered for its cinematography and location filming. Writer-producer Stirling Silliphant traveled the country with a location manager (Sam Manners), scouting a wide range of locales and writing scripts to match the settings. The actors and film crew would arrive a few months later. Memorable locations include a logging camp, shrimp boats, an offshore oil rig, and Glen Canyon Dam, the latter while still under construction. It is one of very few series in the history of television to be filmed entirely on the road. This was done at a time when the United States was much less homogeneous than it is now. People, their accents, livelihoods, ethnic backgrounds and attitudes varied widely from one location to the next. Scripted characters reflected a far less mobile society, in which people were more apt to spend their entire lives in one small part of the country. Similarly, the places themselves were very different from one another visually, environmentally, architecturally, in goods and services available, etc. Stars Martin Milner and George Maharis both mentioned this in 1980s interviews. "Now you can go wherever you want," Maharis added by way of contrast, "and it's a Denny's."

Guest stars

The roster of guest stars on Route 66 includes quite a few actors who later went on to fame and fortune, as well as major stars on the downward side of their careers. One of the most historically significant episodes of the series in this respect was "Lizard's Leg and Owlet's Wing." It featured Lon Chaney, Jr., Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff as themselves, with Karloff donning his famous Frankenstein monster make-up for the first time in 25 years. The show was filmed at the O'Hare Inn, near O'Hare Airport, Chicago, Illinois. Dutch singer Ronnie Tober had a small guest role with Sharon Russo, Junior Miss America. Other notable guest stars from the series included James Caan, Robert Duvall, Walter Matthau, David Janssen, Buster Keaton, Lee Marvin, Tina Louise, Suzanne Pleshette, Robert Redford, Martin Sheen, and Rod Steiger. Julie Newmar is especially memorable as a motorcycle-riding free-spirit—a role she reprised in a later episode. William Shatner and DeForest Kelley also guest starred, in separate episodes. Lee Marvin and DeForest Kelley were among the many actors and actresses to appear in more than one role over the course of the series.

In a 1986 interview, Martin Milner reported that Lee Marvin credited him with helping his career by breaking Marvin's nose "just enough" to improve his look. This happened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during a scripted fistfight for "Mon Petit Chou", the second of two episodes in which Marvin appeared.

Two late third-season episodes, which aired one week apart, each featured a guest star in a bit part playing a character with a profession with which they would later become associated as stars of their own respective mega-hit television series. In "Shadows of an Afternoon", Michael Conrad can be seen as a uniformed policeman, many years before he became famous in his regular role as Police Sgt. Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues. And in "Soda Pop and Paper Flags", Alan Alda guested as a surgeon, a precursor to his career-defining role as Dr. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce on M*A*S*H. Also in the first season episode The Strengthening Angels that aired November 4, 1960 Hal Smith, who played town drunk Otis Campbell in The Andy Griffith Show, also plays a drunk named Howard and is listed in the credits as "Drunk".

The episode "Is It True There Are Poxies at the Bottom of Landfair Lake?" featured guest stars Geoffrey Horne and Collin Wilcox. In the episode's storyline, Wilcox's character pretended to get married to Horne's, although it turned out to be a practical joke. A few years after appearing in this episode, Horne and Wilcox would in real life be briefly married to each other.

A noteworthy in-joke occurs during the episode "Where Are the Sounds of Celli Brahams?" In this segment, Horace McMahon guests as a Minneapolis, Minnesota festival promoter. At one point, his character confesses to Linc his failed ambition to be a policeman. Linc remarks that he looks like a policeman Linc once knew in New York City. McMahon had starred as Lt. Mike Parker on the New York-based police drama Naked City from 1958-63, another television series overseen by the creative team of Stirling Silliphant and Herbert B. Leonard.

Production notes

  • The original working title of the series was The Searchers, according to George Maharis. That title was also the title of the 1956 film The Searchers directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne, so the series was renamed.
  • The show actually had very little real connection with the US Highway providing its name. Most of the locations visited throughout the series were far afield from the territory covered by "The Mother Road." U.S. Route 66 the highway was briefly referred to in just three early episodes of the series ("Black November", "Play It Glissando", and "An Absence of Tears") and is shown only rarely, as in the early first season episode "The Strengthening Angels".
  • The episode "I'm Here to Kill a King" was preempted because of President John F. Kennedy's assassination that month, and was not seen on television until the series entered syndication. This episode, and "A Long Way from St. Louie", are the only ones filmed outside the U.S., (in Canada).

Scripts

Route 66 was devised by Stirling Silliphant, who wrote the majority of the episodes. It was notable for its dark storylines and exceptional realism. Tod and Buz would frequently become involved with individuals whose almost nihilistic worldview made for occasionally frightening television. Some forty-six years after its premiere, Route 66 is still one of the few television series to offer such a range of socially-conscious stories, including mercy killing, the threat of nuclear annihilation, terrorism, runaways and orphans. Other episodes dealt with the mentally ill, drug addiction or gang violence. However, some stories were congenially lighthearted, such as a memorable episode featuring Richard Basehart as a folklorist trying to record the local music of an isolated Appalachian community, and a Halloween episode called "Lizard's Leg and Owlet's Wing".

Even more unusual is the way it served up a kind of soaring dialog that has been referred to as "Shakespearean" and free-verse poetry. For instance, the boys encounter a Nazi hunter named Bartlett on the offshore oil drilling rig where they work. Bartlett describes the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust thusly: "Tod, I hope you live a long life and never know the blistering forces which sear and destroy, turn men into enemies and sweep past the last frontiers of compassion" and "once you've seen that dark, unceasing tide of faces... of the victims...the last spark of dignity so obliterated that not one face is lifted to heaven, not one voice is raised in protest even as they died..." (from episode #4, "The Man on the Monkey Board").

The quirky, textured writing extended even to episode titles, which included such oddities as "How Much a Pound is Albatross?" and "Ever Ride the Waves in Oklahoma?". Other episode titles were drawn from a wide range of literary sources, such as Shakespeare ("A Lance of Straw") or Alfred Tennyson ("A Fury-Slinging Flame").

Many of the stories were character studies, like the above-mentioned one featuring Richard Basehart as a man who uses people then tosses them away, as if they are plastic spoons. The episode titled "You Can't Pick Cotton in Tahiti" refers to small-town America as both a far-away, exotic Tahiti and the "real America" compared to "phony-baloney" Hollywood, and still offers food for thought. Many episodes offer moving soliloquies, into which future Academy-Award-winning writer Stirling Silliphant (In the Heat of the Night) poured his deepest thoughts.

Despite all the adventure, travelogue, drama and poetry, the real subject of the series was the human condition, with Tod and Buz often cast as a kind of roving Greek chorus, observers and mentors to broken-down prizefighters and rodeo clowns, sadists and iron-willed matrons, surfers and heiresses, runaway kids and people from all walks of life, forced by circumstances to confront their demons.

One hallmark of the show was the way it introduced viewers, however briefly, to new ways of life and new cultures. For instance, we get a glimpse of a shrimper's life in episode 3, "A Lance of Straw", and a look at Cleveland, Ohio's Polish community in episode 35, "First Class Mouliak". Here the young are pushed by their parents into careers and even marriages they may not want, in an effort to hold community and family together, albeit at the expense of the happiness and well-being of the kids. This story featured Robert Redford, Martin Balsam, Nehemiah Persoff and Nancy Malone as guest stars.

One of the legacies Route 66 left behind is a dramatic and photographic portrait of early-1960s America as a far less crowded and less complicated era, in which altruism and optimism still had a place. That place was filled by two young men who seemed to represent the best in us, the willingness to stand up for the weak and who espoused old-fashioned values like honesty and physical courage. Peaceful rebels who rejected material possessions and the American dream of owning a home, the boys were orphans who may have embodied Jack Kerouac's Beat Generation, a little bit of Marlon Brando's wild side from The Wild One, James Dean's inability to settle down and fit in from Rebel Without a Cause and the wanderlust of the above-mentioned Jim Bronson, the traveling writer and loner who toured the USA via motorcycle in the 1969-1970 series Then Came Bronson. The use of the Corvette on Route 66, not only as the boys' transportation but as their marquee and symbol of their wandering spirit, created the link between America's Sports Car and America's Highway that endures to this day.

Given the unusual tenor of the show and the ordeal of keeping some 50 people on the road filming for most of the year, it seems highly unlikely that anything like Route 66 will ever be attempted again.

Theme song

Nelson Riddle was commissioned to write the instrumental theme when CBS decided to have a new song, rather than pay royalties for the Bobby Troup song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66". Riddle's theme, however, offers an unmistakable homage to the latter's piano solo (as originally recorded by Nat King Cole) throughout the number. Riddle's Route 66 instrumental was the first television theme to make Billboard Magazine's Top 30 , and earned two Grammy nominations in 1962.

Car

George Maharis reported in a 1986 Nick at Nite interview that people often ask him about "the red Corvette." According to Maharis, the Corvette was never red. It was light blue the first season, and fawn beige for the second and third seasons. Both colors were chosen to photograph well in black and white, but the show's cinematographer complained that the powder blue car reflected too much light. The Corvette was replaced with a newer model annually by the series' sponsor, General Motors, but the show itself never mentioned or explained this technicality.

Awards and nominations

  • In 1962, guest star Ethel Waters was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category "Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Series" for her performance in the episode "Good Night, Sweet Blues". It was the first-ever Emmy nomination for an African-American actress
  • Also in 1962, George Maharis was nominated for "Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Series" (Best Actor) for his role as Buz.
  • In 1963, the Writers Guild of America presented writer Larry Marcus with the "Best Episodic Drama" award for his screenplay for the episode "Man Out of Time".

Episode list

First season (1960-1961)

Ep. # Title Airdate Writer Overview
1 "Black November" October 7, 1960 Stirling Silliphant Car trouble strands Tod and Buz in a small town with a terrible secret.
2 "A Lance of Straw" October 14, 1960 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz sign on to crew a shrimp boat, despite the objections of the female captain's boyfriend.
3 "The Swan Bed" October 21, 1960 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz meet a girl in New Orleans during a parrot fever epidemic.
4 "The Man on the Monkey Board" October 28, 1960 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz meet a Nazi-hunter and his quarry on an offshore oil rig.
5 "The Strengthening Angels" November 4, 1960 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz try to help a migrant worker who is in trouble with the local sheriff.
6 "Ten Drops of Water" November 11, 1960 Howard Rodman Devastated by drought, three orphaned ranchers need Tod, Buz and the Corvette.
7 "Three Sides" (aka Three Sides of a Coin) November 18, 1960 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz get involved in family strife while working for an Oregon hop farmer.
8 "Legacy for Lucia" November 25, 1960 Stirling Silliphant, Melvin Levy While working at a logging camp, Tod and Buz meet a girl from Italy, who insists she has inherited the state of Oregon from a local man.
9 "Layout at Glen Canyon" December 2, 1960 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz act as bodyguards to fashion models at the Glen Canyon Dam construction site.
10 "The Beryllium Eater" December 9, 1960 Richard Collins Tod and Buz help an old prospector stake his claim after he finds beryllium ore.
11 "A Fury Slinging Flame" December 30, 1960 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz meet a scientist (Leslie Nielsen) who intends to hide in Carlsbad Caverns with friends until an expected nuclear holocaust is over.
12 "Sheba" January 6, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz work as cowboys for Woody Biggs (Lee Marvin), who isn’t done with the woman he sent to prison.
13 "The Quick and the Dead" January 13, 1961 Stirling Silliphant, Charles Beaumont and Jerry Sohl Tod becomes a race car driver as he and Buz get involved in a family controversy over whether an aging driver should retire.
14 "Play It Glissando" January 20, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz try to protect a woman from her jazz musician husband.
15 "The Clover Throne" January 27, 1961 Herman Meadow Tod and Buz work for a date farmer (Jack Warden) who fights the highway department while he "waits out" his sexy ward, hoping she will marry him.
16 "Fly Away Home (Part 1)" February 10, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Tod becomes a crop duster for a struggling company.
17 "Fly Away Home (Part 2)" February 17, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz get involved in a quandary over an extra-dangerous crop dusting contract.
18 "Sleep on Four Pillows" February 24, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz meet a teenage girl who claims to be on the run from gangsters – but her family thinks she has been kidnapped.
19 "An Absence of Tears" March 3, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz try to protect a blind widow from her husband’s murderers.
20 "Like a Motherless Child" March 17, 1961 Howard Rodman, Betty Andrews Buz and Tod split up over whether to return a runaway boy to an orphanage.
21 "Effigy in Snow" March 24, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz try to stop a murderer who has left his latest victim in the snow at Squaw Valley.
22 "Eleven, the Hard Way" April 7, 1961 George Clayton Johnson Tod and Buz meet a gambler (Walter Matthau), whom the people of Broken Knee have asked to save their town.
23 "Most Vanquished, Most Victorious" April 14, 1961 Stirling Silliphant At the request of his aunt, Tod traces the life of his saintly cousin through the Los Angeles slums.
24 "Don't Count Stars" April 28, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz get involved in a custody case over a 9-year-old heiress and her drunken, gambling "uncle."
25 "The Newborn" May 5, 1961 Stirling Silliphant, Herb Purdum Tod and Buz protect a Native American girl and her newborn from their employer, who rules the land like a feudal baron.
26 "A Skill for Hunting" May 12, 1961 Jack Turley, Martin Gelman Tod and Buz are framed as poachers after Tod interferes with a real poacher’s hunting.
27 "Trap at Cordova" May 26, 1961 Stirling Silliphant, Joseph Vogel Tod and Buz are coerced into teaching school children in rural New Mexico.
28 "The Opponent" June 2, 1961 Stirling Silliphant, Leonard Freeman Buz visits and inspires his boyhood hero, a former boxing great (Darren McGavin) who is now on the skids.
29 "Welcome to Amity" June 9, 1961 Will Lorin Tod and Buz meet a woman (Susan Oliver), who wants to bury her mother in a nearby cemetery. The people of Amity want to stop her.
30 "Incident on a Bridge" June 16, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz board in a home with an abused, mute girl and her two jealous - and violent - suitors.

Second season (1961-1962)

Ep. # Title Airdate Writer Overview
31 "A Month of Sundays" September 22, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Buz falls for starlet Arlene Sims (Anne Francis), unaware that she has a terminal illness.
32 "Blue Murder" September 29, 1961 Stirling Silliphant, Wilbur Daniel Steele Tod and Buz attempt to recapture a wild horse which has apparently killed its new owner.
33 "Good Night, Sweet Blues" October 6, 1961 Will Lorin, Leonard Freeman A dying jazz singer (Ethel Waters) enlists Tod and Buz to search out and reunite her old combo.
34 "Birdcage on My Foot" October 13, 1961 Stirling Silliphant, Elliot Silverstein Tod and Buz try to help a heroin junkie (Robert Duvall) kick the habit.
35 "First Class Mouliak" October 20, 1961 John Vlahos When a young woman is found dead, the chief suspect (Robert Redford) is the son of Tod and Buz's employer.
36 "Once to Every Man" October 27, 1961 Frank L. Moss Tod seems ready to finally settle down and tie the knot with the daughter of a shipyard owner (Janice Rule).
37 "The Mud Nest" November 10, 1961 Stirling Silliphant, Leonard Freeman After discovering a family that resembles him in a small Maryland town, Buz goes to Baltimore to search for the woman who may be his mother.
38 "A Bridge Across Five Days" November 17, 1961 Howard Rodman The boys try to help a woman recently released from a mental hospital adjust to life in the outside world.
39 "Mon Petit Chou" November 24, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Tod becomes enamored of a lounge singer, but finds an obstacle in her intensely jealous manager (Lee Marvin).
40 "Some of the People, Some of the Time" December 1, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz work for a fraudulent beauty contest promoter and become hucksters in the process.
41 "The Thin White Line" December 8, 1961 Leonard Freeman, Jordan Brotman, Bill Stine Tod goes on a one-man rampage through Philadelphia after inadvertently drinking a beer spiked with a powerful hallucinogenic drug.
42 "And the Cat Jumped Over the Moon" December 15, 1961 Stirling Silliphant, Frank L. Moss A social worker (Milt Kamen) who is a former mentor of Buz is killed playing a dare game with a gang leader (Martin Sheen).
43 "Burning for Burning" December 29, 1961 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz work for a wealthy family with a dead son. When their daughter-in-law pays a visit with their grandchild, the family treats her with open hostility.
44 "To Walk with the Serpent" January 5, 1962 Will Lorin The F.B.I. wants Tod and Buz to infiltrate a Neo-Nazi group which is planning terrorism.
45 "A Long Piece of Mischief" January 19, 1962 Stirling Silliphant, Richard Shapiro and Esther Mayesh A rodeo clown nurses a love for a trick rider while fending off sadistic cowboys.
46 "1800 Days to Justice" January 26, 1962 Jo Pagano An ex-con (John Ericson) who was framed takes over a small Texas town and holds a kangaroo court to pass judgment on the real culprit (DeForest Kelly).
47 "A City of Wheels" February 2, 1962 Frank Chase Working in a veterans hospital brings Tod and Buz into the life of an embittered invalid.
48 "How Much a Pound Is Albatross?" February 9, 1962 Stirling Silliphant Free-spirited motorcycle rider Vicki Russell (Julie Newmar) arrives in Tucson and turns it - and the lives of Tod and Buz - upside down.
49 "Aren't You Surprised to See Me?" February 16, 1962 Stirling Silliphant A religious fanatic with a biological weapon kidnaps Buz and threatens to kill him - unless the entire city of Dallas abstains from sin for 24 hours.
50 "You Never Had It So Good" February 23, 1962 Stirling Silliphant, Frank L. Moss As part of a power play, a female executive promotes day-laborer Buz to a high administrative position.
51 "Shoulder the Sky, My Lad" March 2, 1962 Mort Thaw Tod and Buz come to the aid of a young Jewish boy, who has a crisis of faith after his father is killed in a mugging.
52 "Blues for the Left Foot" March 9, 1962 Leonard Freeman Tod helps a dancer - his first love - get a tryout with a major television network.
53 "Go Read the River" March 16, 1962 Stirling Silliphant Tod finds that his new employer, a designer of speedboat engines, is an exceptionally driven and desolate man.
54 "Even Stones Have Eyes" March 30, 1962 Barry Trivers Buz contemplates taking his own life after a construction accident leaves him without his sight.
55 "Love is a Skinny Kid" April 6, 1962 Stirling Silliphant A young woman (Tuesday Weld) stirs up a small Texas community by arriving in town wearing a frightful mask, which she refuses to remove.
56 "Kiss the Maiden, All Forlorn" April 13, 1962 Stirling Silliphant An international fugitive (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) risks recapture by returning to the U.S. to visit his daughter.
57 "Two on the House" April 20, 1962 Gilbert Ralston A young boy pretends to be the target of kidnappers in order to get attention from his business-obsessed father.
58 "There I Am - There I Always Am" May 4, 1962 Stirling Silliphant Buz attempts to rescue a young woman who gets her foot stuck in the rocks of a Southern California beach, with the high tide coming in.
59 "Between Hello and Goodbye" May 11, 1962 Stirling Silliphant Tod becomes involved with a reckless blonde and her reserved brunette sister.
60 "A Feat of Strength" May 18, 1962 Howard Rodman, Joseph Petracca and Everett De Baun Tod helps introduce a legitimate Hungarian wrestler (Jack Warden) to the American version of the sport.
61 "Hell is Empty, All the Devils Are Here" May 25, 1962 Stirling Silliphant Tod's employer (Peter Graves) is an animal trainer plotting revenge against the man he believes responsible for his wife's death.
62 "From an Enchantress Fleeing" June 1, 1962 Stirling Silliphant, Abram S. Ginnes Tod goes in search of a henpecked runaway husband.

Third season (1962-1963)

Ep. # Title Airdate Writer Overview
63 "One Tiger to a Hill" September 21, 1962 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz cross paths with an Oregon fisherman (David Janssen) whose war experiences have turned him into a bitter, vicious misanthrope.
64 "Journey to Ninevah" September 28, 1962 William R. Cox Tod and Buz suffer a series of odd misfortunes after they give a ride to a local jinx (Buster Keaton).
65 "Man Out of Time" October 5, 1962 Larry Marcus Tod's cab fare is a former prohibition-era gangster who believes someone from his past wants to kill him.
66 "Ever Ride the Waves in Oklahoma?" October 12, 1962 Stirling Silliphant, Borden Chase and Frank Chase At California's famous Huntington Beach, Buz challenges the local surfing champ to avenge the death of a former challenger.
67 "Voice at the End of the Line" October 19, 1962 Larry Marcus A co-worker of Buz carries on a telephone romance with a woman he has never seen.
68 "Lizard's Leg and Owlet's Wing" October 26, 1962 Stirling Silliphant Old-time horror-movie icons Lon Chaney, Jr., Boris Karloff, and Peter Lorre reunite at a Chicago hotel to plan a horror TV show for a new generation.
69 "Across Walnuts and Wine" November 2, 1962 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz board at an Oregon house with a strangely dysfunctional family.
70 "Welcome to the Wedding" November 9, 1962 Howard Rodman A cold-blooded killer (Rod Steiger) escapes from police custody and takes Tod captive.
71 "Every Father's Daughter" (a.k.a. "Every Father's Daughter Must Weave Her Own") November 16, 1962 Anthony Lawrence Buz's employer tries to set him up with his troubled daughter.
72 "Poor Little Kangaroo Rat" November 23, 1962 Les Pine Tod and Buz work for a shark-hunting scientist (Leslie Nielsen) who is so obsessed with his cholesterol research he ignores his own family.
73 "Hey Moth, Come Eat the Flame" November 30, 1962 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Buz try to help a young boy cope with his father's alcoholism.
74 "Only by Cunning Glimpses" December 7, 1962 Stirling Silliphant, Preston Wood A traveling medium displays an uncanny ability to predict the future, and her next prediction is for Buz's death!
75 "Where is Chick Lorimer? Where Has She Gone?" December 14, 1962 Larry Marcus, Bert Lambert Tod unwittingly helps a young woman (Vera Miles) escape from her bail bondsman.
76 "Give the Old Cat a Tender Mouse" December 21, 1962 Stirling Silliphant Tod once again encounters Vicki Russell (Julie Newmar) in Tennessee, where she is being courted by a cotton baron.
77 "A Bunch of Lonely Pagliaccis" January 4, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Tod's idyllic new existence working for a prize-winning, William Faulkner-ish novelist in rural Mississippi is shattered by murder.
78 "You Can't Pick Cotton in Tahiti" January 11, 1963 Shimon Wincelberg A runaway groom (Richard Basehart) in a tiny Tennessee community pretends to study local folk songs as he uses the town, its people and Tod for his own ends.
79 "A Gift for a Warrior" January 18, 1963 Larry Marcus and Harlan Ellison Tod and Buz try to help a German youth find his American father, unaware that the youth plans to kill the man.
80 "Suppose I Said I Was the Queen of Spain" February 8, 1963 Stirling Silliphant, Jerome B. Thomas Tod becomes romantically involved with a woman (Lois Nettleton) who gives the term "role playing" a whole new meaning.
81 "Somehow It Gets to Be Tomorrow" February 15, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Tod tries to help a pair of runaway orphans.
82 "Shall Forfeit His Dog and Ten Shillings to the King" February 22, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Tod joins a posse hunting a pair of killers near Arizona's Superstition Mountain.
83 "In the Closing of a Trunk" March 8, 1963 Stirling Silliphant A woman returning from a long prison stay believes Tod to be her son.
84 "The Cage Around Maria" March 15, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Tod comes to the rescue of a young woman who jumps into the bear pit of the Houston zoo.
85 "Fifty Miles from Home" March 22, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Tod meets his new traveling partner, one Lincoln Case (Glenn Corbett) - Army Ranger and war hero, just returned from Vietnam.
86 "Narcissus on an Old Red Fire Engine March 29, 1963 Joel Carpenter Linc becomes involved with a troubled, self-obsessed young Galveston debutante.
87 "The Cruelest Sea of All" April 5, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Tod works at Florida's famous Weekee Watchee aquatic park when he meets a young woman who may be a real mermaid.
88 "Peace, Pity, Pardon" April 12, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Linc aid Jai-Lai players in a dangerous attempt to smuggle a little girl out of Cuba.
89 "What a Shining Young Man Was Our Gallant Lieutenant" April 26, 1963 Howard Rodman Linc pays a visit to his former commanding officer (Dick York) only to find that head wounds suffered in combat have regressed him back into an 8-year-old boy.
90 "But What Do You Do In March?" May 3, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Linc race speedboats as they get caught up in the rivalry between two spoiled heiresses.
91 "Who Will Cheer My Bonnie Bride?" May 10, 1963 Shimon Wincelberg Linc is shanghaied by holdup men who are on their way to a wedding.
92 "Shadows of an Afternoon" May 17, 1963 Leonard Freeman, Alvin Sargent and Eric Scott Linc is jailed after an old woman accuses him of cruelly injuring a dog.
93 "Soda Pop and Paper Flags" May 31, 1963 John McGreevey A hobo befriended by Tod and Linc is suspected of bringing a rare and deadly virus into a Missouri town.

Fourth season (1963-1964)

Ep. # Title Airdate Writer Overview
94 "Two Strangers and an Old Enemy" September 27, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Linc search for a missing war hero (Jack Warden) in the Everglades.
95 "Same Picture, Different Frame" October 4, 1963 Stirling Silliphant A matron (Joan Crawford) fears her ex-husband means to kill her.
96 "Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are" October 11, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Linc falls for the capricious daughter of a sawmill owner.
97 "Where Are the Sounds of Celli Brahams?" October 18, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Tod gets a job working with a female acoustical engineer and finds her difficult to keep up with.
98 "Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea" October 25, 1963 Frank L. Pierson Tod and Linc observe the grim conflict between a Maine lobster fisherman and his prodigal son (William Shatner).
99 "And Make Thunder His Tribute" November 1, 1963 Lewis John Carlino Tod and Linc go to work for a raspberry farmer and find themselves in yet another father-son conflict.
100 "The Stone Guest" November 8, 1963 Stirling Silliphant A cave-in at a Colorado mine traps the town ne'er-do-well underground with a spinster, while Mozart's Don Giovanni plays in the town and parallels the mine tragedy.
101 "I Wouldn't Start From Here" November 15, 1963 Ernest Kinoy Tod and Linc help an old Vermont farmer try to stave off bankruptcy.
102 "I'm Here to Kill a King" Originally intended for November, 1963, not broadcast during series' original run Stirling Silliphant Coincidence brings Tod together with a political assassin (also played by Martin Milner) who is his identical double. Filmed in Canada.
103 "A Cage in Search of a Bird" November 29, 1963 Stirling Silliphant A moll (Stefanie Powers) steals six hundred dollars from her boyfriend's poker game and then hides the money in the hubcap of Tod and Linc's car.
104 "A Long Way From St. Louie" December 6, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Linc takes it upon himself to help out a troupe of girl musicians stranded in Toronto, Canada.
105 "Come Home, Greta Inger Gruenshaffen" December 13, 1963 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Linc vie for the affections of a German physical culturalist who is on a sabbatical.
106 "93 Percent in Smiling" December 20, 1963 Alvin Sargent Tired of their parents' bickering, two young children kidnap their baby brother and set up their own "family."
107 "Child of a Night" January 3, 1964 Stirling Silliphant Tod and Linc try to fulfill a dying man's wish to find the child he never knew and give her his life's savings.
108 "Is it True There Are Poxies at the Bottom of Landfair Lake?" January 10, 1964 Alvin Sargent A young man in rural Georgia seeks to publicly humiliate a woman who was the instrument of a cruel practical joke perpetrated on him in the Army.
109 "Like This It Means Father --- Like This - Bitter --- Like This - Tiger" January 17, 1964 Stirling Silliphant Linc runs into a former member of his Vietnam outfit - the man who got his men killed in combat.
110 "Kiss the Monster, Make Him Sleep" January 24, 1964 Stanley R. Greenberg Linc has a full plate as he carries on a relationship with a troubled young woman while reconciling with his mother and estranged father.
111 "Cries of Persons Close to One" January 31, 1964 William Kelley and Howard Rodman Linc must take the place of an alcoholic boxer who is unable to participate in a fight.
112 "Who in His Right Mind Needs a Nice Girl?" February 7, 1964 Joel Carpenter A shy and naive young librarian becomes infatuated with a dashing stranger, unaware he is a murderer being sought by the police.
113 "This is Going to Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You" February 14, 1964 Stirling Silliphant A former classmate of Tod's (Soupy Sales), who is now a millionaire, wants Tod and his "manservant" Linc to take his place.
114 "Follow the White Dove With the Broken Wing" February 21, 1964 Alvin Sargent After accidentally killing a policeman, a troubled teenager takes Tod and Linc hostage.
115 "Where There's a Will, There's a Way" (Part One) March 6, 1964 Stirling Silliphant The bizarre terms of a tycoon's will mandate that Tod marry his daughter (Barbara Eden).
116 "Where There's a Will, There's a Way" (Part Two) March 13, 1964 Stirling Silliphant After surviving an attempt on his life by inheritance-seekers, Tod plans a Monte Cristo-esque revenge.

DVD Release

On August 5, 2008, Infinity Resources Group released the complete first season of Route 66 on DVD in Region 1 for the very first time. According to Amazon.com, the second season is scheduled to be released on October 21, 2008.

Title Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 30 August 5 2008

Cultural impact

  • The series was lampooned in the April 1962 issue of Mad magazine. The parody, entitled "Route 67", followed the publication's established practice of irreverently satirizing current popular programs and motion pictures in comic strip format. The send-up features an appearance by the character Mary Worth, who chides the boys for trying to usurp her role as the nation's chief do-gooder.
  • According to biographer Dennis McNally (Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation, and America), Jack Kerouac tried to sue the show's producer Stirling Silliphant, claiming that it plagiarized his novel On the Road, which also featured two buddies traveling America's byways in search of adventure. McNally said Kerouac was "appalled by the show's violence," but the lawyers he contacted convinced him that he could never win a lawsuit. (page 272, Desolate Angel, McNally)
  • Route 66 was featured on the cover of TV Guide four times.
  • In a 1963 episode of the popular situation comedy Leave It to Beaver, the character Eddie Haskell obtains a summer job on an Alaskan fishing boat and likens himself to "the guys on Route 66." Beaver was at the time airing on the rival ABC network.
  • In the Alien Nation episode "Gimmee, Gimmee", Albert gives Matt a vintage Corvette, whereupon the series theme by Nelson Riddle is heard.
  • Actor Martin Milner toured the real Route 66 for the 2002 video production Route 66: Return to the Road with Martin Milner.
  • James Rosin, author of the book, "Route 66: The Television Series, 1960-1964" (2007), hosted a presentation about the television series at the September 2007 Mid atlantic nostalgia convention in Aberdeen, Maryland.

Sequel

In 1993, Route 66 was resurrected, albeit briefly. The "sequel" series followed the adventures of two friends, Nick Lewis (played by James Wilder) and Arthur Clark (Dan Cortese), one of whom (Lewis) had inherited a classic Corvette from his father, Buz Murdock. The new series lasted a total of four episodes on NBC before being cancelled.

External links

Further reading

  • Rosin, James. Route 66: The Television Series 1960-1964. The Autumn Road Company, Philadelphia. ISBN 0-9728684-2-9, ISBN 13: 978-0-9728684-2-6

Notes

References

  • Actor interviews, aired on Nick at Nite, 1986
  • Steinberg, Cobbit S. TV Facts. New York: Facts on File, 1980. ISBN 0-87196-312-4

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