Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Get Your Kicks On Route 66

Route 66 TV Show
Home
Driving Directions and Maps
Route 66 University
History Of Route 66
Legends Of America
Route 66 TV Show
Keiy Kait
The SnoCap and Seligman Arizona
.
-

Tv Episode 15

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

ROUTE 66 / TV Program
1960-1964

Route 66 Martin MilnerGeorge Maharis
Martin Milner George Maharis

 
Route 66 title cardRoute 66 opening

 Route 66 TV cast

 

route 66 TV show
by Billy Ingram

Route 66 TV show photoFilmed on location all over the United States, along the course of the famous highway (and beyond), Route 66 debuted on October 7, 1960.

The premise was simple: ernest, privileged and sheltered Tod Stiles' (Martin Milner) father dies and leaves him a shiny new Corvette but little money; he and his buddy Buzz Murdock (George Maharis), who grew up in Hell's Kitchen, take off in the car to discover America, in search of adventure and enlightenment. There were no other co-stars, just guest stars and guest cities.

Route 66 corvetteIf Star Trek was meant to be "Wagon Train in space," then Route 66 was Wagon Train in a rag top.

Along the way the guys encounter outcasts and ordinary people entangled in conflicts - eventually traveling to almost every city along the run of the highway.

Route 66 cast photoIt took a traveling crew of 50 people, two brand-new baby-blue (later brown) Corvettes, two tractor trailers and other assorted vehicles to film this series, one of the largest mobile film operations in TV history.

"Most of the guys don't like it because they're away from home too long," George Maharis noted in 1960, "but I love it because I'm a bachelor."

Martin Milner photoThe series itself was standard low-key anthology drama with the occasional exceptional script. It was the changing locales and exotic personalities that helped to keep things interesting, that and conversations in the 'vette like this one from an early episode:

Buzz: "How many guys do you know who have knocked around like we have and still make it pay?"

Route 66 : Tod & BuzzTod: "Oh, we sure make it pay. Almost lynched in Concord, drowned in Grand Isle, beat up in New Orleans, blown away by a dust storm in Kanab, arrested in Spare Falls. Our trouble is we have no status."

Buzz: "Who wants status? You've got status, you've got strings. You've got strings, you're a puppet. Who wants to be a puppet? Besides, it's the times that's bugging you, Tod, that's what it is, just the times."

george maharis in Route 66George Maharis played the stronger and more interesting character, with a street-wise stance that served as a counter-weight to Milner's mostly strident portrayal. The scripts that centered around Maharis were usually more entertaining, and would occasionally tackle controversial topics - racism down South and union busting up north for instance.

Route 66 TV show"George and I have romances, but neither of us ties up with a girl," Milner revealed to the Chicago Daily Tribune in 1960. "After all, the car in which we are riding is a two-seater so we have no room to tote a steady girl friend from one town to another."

According to the 1963 issue of Movie Screen Yearbook, "Marty had been the master of 'underplaying' - his style of acting was low key, subdued. So was George's, but Marty felt, for the sake of the script, that there should be a contrast between them and that if anybody came on strong it should be Maharis and not himself. Maharis didn't see it that way." This led to conflicts between the two early on.

Route 66Route 66 produced many excellent hours of television, utilizing acclaimed directors like Sam Peckinpah and Arthur Hiller; featuring a galaxy of guest stars like Rod Steiger, Martin Sheen, Buster Keaton, Robert Redford, and a young Robert Duvall in a fairly realistic (for the time) portrayal of a heroin addict. In that episode ('Birdcage on my Foot'), it was revealed that Buzz had his own experiences with drugs in the past, surely the first regular TV character to make such an admission.

Route 66 TVThere was a particularly strong episode, filmed in Pittsburgh, which aired on October 6, 1961. It guest-starred the legendary vocalist / actress Ethel Waters as a dying blues singer who asks Tod and Buzz to pull together her old band for one last gig together.

The story revolved around Buzz and Tod's search around the country for the old timers through the jazz and be-bop clubs. Some of the finest jazz players around in 1961 - Jo Jones, Roy Eldridge, Bill Gunn and Coleman Hawkins - made up the band in this episode. Ethel Water's performance was a powerful one, earning her an Emmy nomination that year, the first such nomination ever for a black actor.

Route 66 corvetteOn that second season episode, the guys let it be known why they were still on the road. "You see, were sorta looking for a place where we really fit," Buzz explained. "A kind of niche for ourselves. You know? But, until then, we'll just sorta keep looking and moving."

Despite the soul-searching, what was left unexplained was how the guys bagged a brand new model Corvette every season.

Route 66 1962 automobileGeorge Maharis was forced to leave the series temporarily due to a nasty case of hepatitis in the spring of 1962, well into filming the show's third season. With Buzz unexpectedly sidelined, Tod continued the journey alone for a handful of episodes.

When Maharis returned, he reportedly lashed out at everyone on the set, blasting producers for being insensitive to his recovery and accusing co-star Martin Milner of allowing stardom go to his head. "Maharis and I got along fine," Milner told TV Guide in 1963, "until I found out he didn't like me."

With the program earning solid but hardly spectacular ratings, producers suspected Maharis was threatening to quit as a ploy to renegotiate his contract; they wouldn't budge so Buzz just disappeared. The show's co-creator and head writer Stirling Silliphant stated at the time, "I think Maharis is impatient to get on with his own career. He has had no regard for this company, his co-star, Marty Milner, and the 50 or 60 other people on the show."

Route 66 TV show Glenn Corbett stepped into the role of Tod's new best buddy Lincoln Case beginning with episodes airing in March of 1963. The focus of the show remained primarily on Martin Milner as the new guy became more of a supporting player.

Maybe it seemed strange to everyone that Tod was traveling around the country with Buzz for two and a half years and now he's coming 'round again to some of the same cities with another guy who looks just like him; the series went on for only another year after the switch.

"We knew when George left the show it was over," executive producer Herb Leonard was quoted as saying, "but we had our audience and the sponsor renewed us for the next season. Eventually, though, the audience got bored. It's really sad, when you think about the show's potential."

Route 66 1963 corvetteRoute 66 was canceled in September of 1964 - as good as it was, the show may have lasted a couple of extra years just on the strength of the brilliant theme music by Nelson Riddle.

Martin Milner went on to great success in 1968 portraying police officer Pete Malloy for 7 years on Adam-12 and later as a DJ in San Diego.

Route 66 TVGeorge Maharis released several albums between 1962 and 1966 (scoring a Top-40 hit with "Teach Me Tonight") but never landed another successful series after Route 66. He starred in The Most Deadly Game for a half-season in 1970 on NBC, appeared in several motion pictures, TV movies and was a frequent guest on game shows in the early-1970s. He was one of the first stars to pose nude for Playgirl (in the second issue, July, 1973).

Route 66 TV programMaharis made headlines when he was busted in 1974 for engaging in a sex act with a male hairdresser in a public bathroom in LA; he had been arrested previously on a charge of lewd conduct after propositioning a vice-squad officer in a Hollywood restaurant restroom in 1967 but, hey, that could happen to anybody.

The Following is from
Link to Route 66 Memories

Route 66 TV Show

 

Tod and Buzz - Route 66 TV Show
The debut of the television series Route 66 on October 7, 1960 the weekly travelogue starring Martin Milner as youthful, Yale-educated Tod Stiles, and George Maharis, as brooding New York born orphan Buz Murdock
The story begins when Todd's father dies.  The two young drifters, with only a Corvette and no money in their pockets, set out on the road looking for a place to put down roots.  During their travels they encounter and tell the stories of various loners, outcasts, and dreamers.  By the end of its four-season run, the Route 66 production caravan had traveled to twenty-five states as well as Toronto, Canada.  Guest roles were filled by a wide range of characters ranging  from fading stars, like Joan Crawford and Buster Keaton, to newcomers such as Suzanne Pleshette, Robert Duvall, and Robert Redford.
 

Studio executives argued with the show's creators that no one would sponsor a show about two "bums." Of course, Chevrolet proved them wrong.

Scene from Route 66 TV ShowRoute 66 created television history by being the first television show shot entirely on location. The early episodes were politically charged and dealt with deep issues that mirrored the problems of the times.  The first episode told the story of  a wealthy businessman who, learning that his son had been killed in action,  murdered two German POWs as his neighbors watched.  Subsequent shows featured  a variety of characters including  a heroin addict, a washed-up prizefighter, migrant farm workers, an aging RAF pilot (turned crop-duster), a runaway heiress,  an eccentric scientist, a small-time beauty contest promoter, drought-stricken ranchers,  a recent ex-con (female and framed), a grim Nazi-hunter, a blind dance instructor, a dying blues singer--each facing some personal crisis or secret pain.

CBS executives, concerned about the seriousness of the series and its political undertones, ordered the show's producer to add more "broads, bosoms, and fun" to the show.  The producers eventually conceded to network demands and introduced young female guest stars such as Tuesday Weld and Suzanne Pleshette to provide more romance for Tod and Buzz.  

Maharis left the show in 1963 and was replaced by Glen Corbett as Linc, a recently-retuned Vietnam veteran.  Viewers never really bonded with the new character and the shows ratings foundered.  It was eventually cancelled. 

Even though the series is associated with Route 66 the highway, only a few of the episodes were actually firmed in towns along the old highway itself.  Nevertheless, it managed to capture the feelings of adventure and wanderlust that the road invokes in people's minds.

In 1993, a summer series on NBC put Buz's illegitimate son at the wheel of the Corvette.  He took to the highway with a forgettable partner in the passenger seat.   The new Route 66 only lasted a few weeks but it led to other TV series based on the wandering Samaritan doing good on his travels

We've had visitors to our site ask what happened to Martin Milner and George Maharis?
For a biography of  Martin Miler

To learn more about George Maharis

Thanks Route66Memories.com!

_________________________________________
__________________________________________



Listing of All Route 66 episodes:

1 Black November 10/7/1960
2 A Lance of Straw 10/14/1960
3 The Swan Bed 10/21/1960
4 The Man on the Monkey Board 10/28/1960
5 The Strengthening Angels 11/4/1960
6 Ten Drops of Water 11/11/1960
7 Three Sides 11/18/1960
8 Legacy for Lucia 11/25/1960
9 Layout at Glen Canyon 12/2/1960
10 The Beryllium Eater 12/9/1960
11 A Fury Slinging Flame 12/30/1960
12 Sheba 1/6/1961
13 The Quick and the Dead 1/13/1961
14 Play It Glissando 1/20/1961
15 The Clover Throne 1/27/1961
16 Fly Away Home (1) 2/10/1961
17 Fly Away Home (2) 2/17/1961
18 Sleep on Four Pillows 2/24/1961
19 An Absence of Tears 3/3/1961
20 Like a Motherless Child 3/17/1961
21 Effigy in Snow 3/24/1961
22 Eleven, the Hard Way 4/7/1961
23 Most Vanquished, Most Victorious 4/14/1961
24 Don’t Count Stars 4/28/1961
25 The Newborn 5/5/1961
26 A Skill for Hunting 5/12/1961
27 Trap at Cordova 5/26/1961
28 The Opponent 6/2/1961
29 Welcome to Amity 6/9/1961
30 Incident on a Bridge 6/16/1961
31 A Month of Sundays 9/22/1961
32 Blue Murder 9/29/1961
33 Good Night, Sweet Blues 10/6/1961
34 Birdcage on My Foot 10/13/1961
35 First Class Mouliak 10/20/1961
36 Once to Every Man 10/27/1961
37 The Mud Nest 11/10/1961
38 A Bridge Across Five Days 11/17/1961
39 Mon Petit Chou 11/24/1961
40 Some of the People, Some of the Time 12/1/1961
41 The Thin White Line 12/8/1961
42 And the Cat Jumped Over the Moon 12/15/1961
43 Burning for Burning 12/29/1961
44 To Walk with the Serpent 1/5/1962
45 A Long Piece of Mischief 1/19/1962
46 1800 Days to Justice 1/26/1962
47 A City of Wheels 2/2/1962
48 How Much a Pound is Albatross 2/9/1962
49 Aren’t You Surprised to See Me? 2/16/1962
50 You Never Had It So Good 2/23/1962
51 Shoulder the Sky My Lad 3/2/1962
52 Blues for a Left Foot 3/9/1962
53 Go Read the River 3/16/1962
54 Even Stones Have Eyes 3/30/1962
55 Love is a Skinny Kid 4/6/1962
56 Kiss the Maiden All Forlorn 4/13/1962
57 Two on the House 4/20/1962
58 There I am, There I Always Am 5/4/1962
59 Between Hello and Goodbye 5/11/1962
60 A Feat of Strength 5/18/1962
61 Hell is Empty, All the Devils are Here 5/25/1962
62 From an Enchantress Fleeing 6/1/1962
63 One Tiger to a Hill 9/21/1962
64 Journey to Nineveh 9/28/1962
65 Man Out of Time 10/5/1962
66 Ever Ride the Waves in Oklahoma 10/12/1962
67 Voice at the End of the Line 10/19/1962
68 Lizard’s Leg and Owlet’s Wing 10/26/1962
69 Across Walnuts and Wine 11/2/1962
70 Welcome to the Wedding 11/9/1962
71 Every Father’s Daughter Must Weave Her Own 11/16/1962
72 Poor Little Kangaroo Rat 11/23/1962
73 Hey Moth, Come Eat The Flame 11/30/1962
74 Only by Cunning Glimpses 12/7/1962
75 Where is Chick Lorrimer? Where Has He Gone? 12/14/1962
76 Give an Old Cat a Tender Mouse 12/21/1962
77 A Bunch of Lonely Pagliaccis 1/4/1963
78 You Can’t Pick Cotton in Tahiti 1/11/1963
79 A Gift for a Warrior 1/18/1963
80 Suppose I Said I Was the Queen of Spain 2/8/1963
81 Somehow It Gets to Be Tomorrow 2/15/1963
82 Shall Forfeit His Dog and Ten Shillings to the King 2/22/1963
83 In the Closing of a Trunk 3/8/1963
84 The Cage Around Maria 3/15/1963
85 Fifty Miles From Home 3/22/1963
86 Narcissus on an Old Red Fire Engine 3/29/1963
87 The Cruelest Sea of All 4/5/1963
88 Peace, Pity, Pardon 4/12/1963
89 What a Shining Young Man Was Our Gallant Lieutenant 4/26/1963
90 But What Do You Do in March 5/3/1963
91 Who Will Cheer My Bonnie Bride 5/10/1963
92 Shadows of an Afternoon 5/17/1963
93 Soda Pop and Paper Flags 5/24/1963
94 Two Strangers and an Old Enemy 9/27/1963
95 Same Picture, Different Frame 10/4/1963
96 Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are 10/11/1963
97 Where Are the Sounds of Celli Brahms 10/18/1963
98 Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea 10/25/1963
99 And Make Thunder His Tribute 11/1/1963
100 The Stone Guest 11/8/1963
101 I Wouldn’t Start From Here 11/15/1963
102 A Cage in Search of a Bird 11/29/1963
103 A Long Way From St. Louie 12/6/1963
104 Come Home Greta Inger Gruenchaffen 12/13/1963
105 93 Percent in Smiling 12/20/1963
106 Child of a Night 1/3/1964
107 Is it True There Are Poxies at the Bottom of Landfair Lake? 1/10/1964
108 Like This It Means Father, Like This Bitter, Like This Tiger 1/17/1964
109 Kiss the Monster, Make Him Sleep 1/24/1964
110 Cries of Persons Close to One 1/31/1964
111 Who in His Right Mind Needs a Nice Girl 2/7/1964
112 This is Going to Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You 2/14/1964
113 Follow the White Dove With the Broken Wing 2/21/1964
114 I’m Here to Kill a King 3/20/1964
115 Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way (1) 3/6/1964
116 Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way (2) 3/13/1964

ROUTE 66

U.S. Drama

Route 66 was one of the most unique American television dramas of the 1960s, an ostensible adventure series that functioned, in practice, as an anthology of downbeat character studies and psychological dramas. Its 1960 premiere launched two young drifters in a Corvette on an existential odyssey in which they encountered a myriad of loners, dreamers and outcasts in the small towns and big cities along U.S. Highway 66 and beyond. And the settings were real; the gritty social realism of the stories was enhanced by location shooting that moved beyond Hollywood hills and studio backlots to encompass the vast face of the country itself. Route 66 took the anthology on the road, blending the dramaturgy and dramatic variety of the Studio One school of TV drama with the independent filmmaking practices of the New Hollywood.

Route 66 was the brainchild of producer Herbert B. Leonard and writer Stirling Silliphant, the same creative team responsible for Naked City. The two conceived the show as a vehicle for actor George Maharis, casting him as stormy Lower East Side orphan Buz Murdock, opposite Martin Milner as boyish, Yale-educated Tod Stiles. When Tod's father dies, broke but for a Corvette, the two young men set out on the road looking for "a place to put down roots." Maharis left the show in 1963 in a dispute with the show's producers, and was replaced by Glenn Corbett as Linc Case, a troubled Vietnam Nam vet also seeking meaning on the road.

Like Naked City, which producer Leonard had conceived as an anthology with a cop-show pretext, the picaresque premise of Route 66 provided the basis for a variety of weekly encounters from which the stories arose. Episodes emphasized the personal and psychological dramas of the various troubled souls encountered by the guys in their stops along the highway. Guest roles were filled by an array of Hollywood faces, from fading stars like Joan Crawford and Buster Keaton, to newcomers such as Suzanne Pleshette, Robert Duvall, and Robert Redford. The show's distinct anthology-style dimension was symptomatic of a trend Variety dubbed "the semi-anthology," a form pioneered by Wagon Train and refined by shows like Bus Stop and Route 66. The series' nomadic premise, and its virtual freedom from genre connections and constraints, opened it up to a potentially limitless variety of stories. While the wandering theme was hardly new in a television terrain overrun with westerns, for a contemporary drama the premise was quite innovative. Route 66 was consistent in tone to the rest of TV's serious, social-realist dramas of the period, but unencumbered by any predetermined dramatic arena or generic template--as against the likes of The Defenders (courtroom drama), Dr. Kildare (medical drama), Saints and Sinners (newspaper drama) or Mr. Novak (blackboard drama). Indeed, the show's creators met initial resistance from their partner/distributor Screen Gems for this lack of a familiar "franchise," with studio executives arguing that no one would sponsor a show about two "bums." Of course, Chevrolet proved them wrong.

Perhaps even more startling for the Hollywood-bound telefilm industry was the program's radical location agenda. Buz and Tod's cross-country search actually was shot across the country, in what Newsweek termed "the largest weekly mobile operation in TV history." Remarkably, by the end of its four-season run, the Route 66 production caravan had traveled to twenty-five states--as far from L.A. as Maine and Florida--as well as Toronto. The show's stark black and white photography and spectacular locations provided a powerful backdrop to its downbeat stories, and yielded a photographic and geographical realism that has never been duplicated on American television.

The literate textures and disturbing tones of Route 66's dramas were as significant as its visual qualities. The wandering pretext provided both a thematic foundation and a narrative trajectory upon which a variety of psychological dramas, social-problem stories, and character studies could be played out. The nominal series "heroes" generally served as observers to the dramas of others: a tormented jazz musician, a heroin addict, a washed-up prizefighter, migrant farm workers, an aging RAF pilot (turned crop-duster), a runaway heiress, Cajun shrimpers, a weary hobo, an eccentric scientist, a small-time beauty contest promoter, drought-stricken ranchers, Cuban-Basque jai-alai players, a recent ex-con (female and framed), a grim Nazi-hunter, a blind dance instructor, a dying blues singer--each facing some personal crisis or secret pain.

The show's continuing thread of wandering probed the restlessness at the root of all picaresque sagas of contemporary American popular culture. The search that drove Route 66 was both a narrative process and a symbolic one. Like every search, it entailed optimism as well as discontent. The unrest at the core of the series echoed that of the Beats--especially Kerouac's On the Road, of course--and anticipated the even more disaffected searchers of Easy Rider. The show's rejection of domesticity in favor of rootlessness formed a rather startling counterpoint to the dominant prime-time landscape of home and family in the sixties, as did the majority of the characters encountered on the road. The more hopeful dimension of Route 66 coincided with the optimism of the New Frontier circa 1960, with these wandering samaritans symbolic of the era's new spirit of activism. Premiering at the dawn of a new decade, Route 66 captured in a singular way the nation's passage from the disquiet of the fifties to the turbulence of the sixties, expressing a simultaneously troubled and hopeful vision of America.

Despite its uniqueness as a contemporary social drama, and its radical break from typical Hollywood telefilm factory practice, Route 66 has been largely forgotten amid the rhetoric of sixties-TV-as-wasteland. When the series is cited at all by television historians, it is as the target of CBS-TV president James Aubrey's attempts to inject more "broads, bosoms, and fun" into the series ("the Aubrey dictum"). Aubrey's admitted attempts to "lighten" the show, however, only serve to underscore its dominant tone of seriousness. What other American television series of the 1960s could have been described by its writer-creator as "a show about a statement of existence, closer to Sartre and Kafka than to anything else"? (Time, 1963). Silliphant's hyperbole is tempered by critic Philip Booth, who suggested in a Television Quarterly essay that the show's literacy was "sometime spurious," and that it could "trip on its own pretensions" in five of every ten stories. Still, Booth wrote, of the remaining episodes, four "will produce a kind of adventure like nothing else on television, and one can be as movingly universal as Hemingway's 'A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.'"

How often Route 66 matched the power of Hemingway (or the existential insight of Sartre) is debatable. That it was attempting something completely original in television drama is certain. Its footloose production was the antithesis of the claustrophobic stages of the New York anthologies of old, yet many of its dramatic and thematic concerns--even certain of its stories--echoed those of the intimate character dramas of the Philco Playhouse era. Indeed, one of Aubrey's CBS lieutenants, concerned with the show's "downbeat" approach to television entertainment, protested to its producers that Route 66 should not be considered "a peripatetic Playhouse 90"--capturing, willingly or not, much of the show's tenor and effect. Route 66 was trying to achieve the right mix of familiarity and difference, action and angst, pathos and psychology, working innovative elements into a commercial package keyed to the demands of the industry context. Even with its gleaming roadster, jazzy theme song, obligatory fistfights and occasional romantic entanglements, Route 66 was far removed indeed (both figuratively and geographically) from the likes of 77 Sunset Strip.

In 1993 the Corvette took to the highway once more in a nominal sequel, a summer series (on NBC) that put Buz's illegitimate son at the wheel with a glib Generation-X partner in the passenger seat. Although the new Route 66 lasted only a few weeks, by reviving the roaming-anthology premise of the original, it evidenced television's continuing quest for narrative flexibility (and Hollywood's inherent penchant for recycling). From The Fugitive to Run For Your Life to Highway to Heaven to Quantum Leap to Touched by an Angel, television has continued to exploit the tradition of the wandering samaritan, to achieve the story variety of an anthology within a series format. Route 66 established the template in 1960, launching a singular effort at contemporary drama in a non-formulaic series format. That the series mounted its dramatic agenda in a Corvette, on the road, is to its creators' everlasting credit.

-Mark Alvey

 


Route 66

CAST

Tod Stiles .................................................Martin Milner
Buz Murdock
(1960-1963)...................... George Maharis
Linc Case
(1963-1964).............................. Glenn Corbett

PRODUCERS  Herbert B. Leonard, Jerry Thomas, Leonard Freeman, Sam Manners

PROGRAMMING HISTORY  116 Episodes

CBS
October 1960-September 1964                Friday 8:30-9:30

FURTHER READING

"A Knock Develops on Route 66." TV Guide (Radnor, Pennsylvania), 26 January 1963.

Barnouw, Erik. Tube of Plenty. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Bergreen, Laurence. Look Now, Pay Later. New York: Mentor, 1980.

Booth, Philip. "Route 66--On the Road Toward People." Television Quarterly (New York), Winter 1963.

Castelman, Harry, and Walter Podrazik. Watching TV: Four Deacades of American Television. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1982.

Chandler, Bob Chandler. "Review of Route 66." Variety (Los Angeles), 12 October 1960.

Dunne, John Gregory. "Take Back Your Kafka." The New Republic (Washington, D.C.), 4 September 1965.

"Have Camera, Will Travel." Variety (Los Angeles), 12 October 1960.

Jarvis, Jeff. "The Couch Critic." TV Guide (Radnor, Pennsylvania), 12 June 1993.

Jenkins, Dan. "Talk About Putting a Show on the Road!" TV Guide (Radnor, Pennsylvania), 22 July 1961.

"Rough Road." Newsweek (New York), 2 January 1961.

Seldes, Gilbert. "Review of Route 66." TV Guide (Radnor, Pennsylvania), 10 February 1962.

"The Fingers of God." Time (New York), 9 August 1963.

"The Hearings that Changed Television." Telefilm (New York), July-August, 1962.

 

See also Silliphant, Sterling

 

On the Road with Route 66
 


by Guy Belleranti


In the early 1960’s television traveled the U.S. and Route 66 through the dramatic series Route 66. The hour long program began in the fall of 1960 on CBS. 116 episodes were produced over the series’ run.

For the first two and one half years Route 66 followed the travels of Tod Stiles and Buz Murdock, played respectively by Martin Milner and George Maharis. Stiles had led a fairly sheltered life and had a college degree. Murdock, meanwhile, had no college education and had grown up in Hell’s Kitchen.

But as the program begins Stile’s father has died virtually pennyless. His only asset, a Corvette convertible, passes to Tod. It is in this car that Tod and Buz hit the road searching for a new place to put down roots. Along the way they meet up with adventure, trouble, romance and more.

This wasn’t the typical TV program. Indeed, much of the series was filmed along Route 66 in gritty black and white. And parts that weren’t filmed on Route 66 were still done on location in other places of the U.S. and, in a few instances, in Canada or Mexico.

People came and went episode by episode as Tod and Buz traveled Route 66, continually encountering new accents, livelihoods, ethnic groups, etc. – the flavor of America. The episodes themselves featured great character studies and moody, dark subjects.

Socially conscious stories included those revolving around a heroin addict, a runaway, a Nazi hunter, a dying jazz singer, migrant farm workers and so on.

In the latter part of the third season Milner’s Tod Stiles had a new traveling partner, Lincoln (Linc) Case, played by Glenn Corbett. Linc was a Vietnam War vet searching for new direction in his life. Linc remained through the fourth and final year, with Maharis’ Buz Murdock never returning.

Besides the on location shooting and socially conscious stories several other things also stood out on Route 66.

One of course was the Corvette. Another was the instrumental theme song by Nelson Riddle. In fact the song became a pop hit.

The majority of the episodes were written by Stirling Silliphant, the same man who wrote the screenplays for such motion pictures as In the Heat of the Night and The Poseidon Adventure.

Finally, a number of both fading stars and rising newcomers were featured as guest stars on Route 66.
 
A few of them were: Peter Lorre, Rod Steiger, James Caan, Robert Redford, Inger Stevens, Diane Baker, Buster Keaton, Boris Karloff, Walter Matthau, Ethel Waters, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall and Lee Marvin.

An excellent series, unjustly neglected, 29 April 2003
Author:
mike robson from cramlington u.k.

Simply one of the finest shows from American t.v.This is an undeservedly "lost" show ,amazingly neglected when so many inferior 60's series are wildly overpraised.If you have never seen "Route 66" try to,it's a rare gem.The scripts are not just highly literate,but often close to poetic(no wonder Jim Aubrey,downmarketeer boss at CBS TV disliked it!).There's a great deal of acting talent in the guest roles-Boris Karloff,Lee Marvin,Robert Duvall,Warren Stevens,Lew Ayers,Michael Rennie,Martin Sheen,Dorothy Malone,Ed Asner,Walter Matthau,Edward Andrews,Leslie Nielson,Anne Francis,Jack Lord,William Shatner and Dan Duryea are just a few to look out for.The two part story "Fly away home" has a haunting tortured performance by Michael Rennie as a doomed pilot;"Welcome to Amity"featuring Susan Oliver is both uplifting and truly moving; in "A month of Sundays" the "Route 66" camera captures Anne Francis at the peak of her stunning beauty and series regular Martin Milner gives the performance of his life as a drug crazed Tod Stiles in "A thin white line".These are just some of the highlights in "Route 66".The location filming (unusual then and now),provides a marvellous time capsule of a now vanished America.

Was the above comment useful to you?

18 out of 20 people found the following comment useful :-
A series that was way ahead of its time, 6 March 2002
Author:
jeffhill1 (jeffhill1@hotmail.com) from Sapporo, Japan

I have been living in Asia for the past 32 years so I don't know if

reruns of "Route 66" have ever been running on television in the States

over the past 3 decades. But 20 years ago when I read Alvin Toffler's

prediction in The Third Wave that the future would see professionals

not loyal to any one company but working with an honest fervor at a

given task and then moving on to the next worthy challenge, my

impression was, "this guy is describing the world of Buz and Tod on

'Route 66'." In an era when America was composed of white collar

office workers and blue collar union members, all working towards a

pension, 'Route 66' was a breath of fresh air, an escape, and a

challenge to try something different as well as a reminder that one

should move on not with a sense of despair but with a feeling of

jubilation and wonder at what is over the next hill. Against the

current economic climate in both Japan and the U.S.A., such a reminder

is especially needed today. Let's move on with a sense of jubilation

and wonder. And to help us do it, bring back the "Route 66" series.

Was the above comment useful to you?

14 out of 14 people found the following comment useful :-
Just look to your left and click on "Guest Appearances", 9 May 1999
Author:
Vern Moore (skyemoor@rapidnet.com) from Dell Rapids, SD

Just look to your left and click on guest appearances. If you do you're in for one heck of a surprise! This show had some great writing in the early years. Reruns were on the Nick-At-Night TV network in the eighties, I was so disappointed I haven't watched the network since. Every episode was a full and complete story, the writing had to be excellent to be able to pull in the caliber of talent that you see on this list. Many current and back then, future stars ought to make this show more visible than it is but sadly that's not the case. It had a great music score from Nelson Riddle and great stories written by Sterling Silliphant. Last but not least, a great car! PLEASE, SOMEBODY BRING THIS SHOW INTO OUR HOMES AGAIN.

Was the above comment useful to you?

12 out of 12 people found the following comment useful :-
Where, oh where, did this kind of drama go?, 5 October 2001
Author:
stargazer24 from midwest

I got hooked on this through my obsession with Adam-12 and some tapes I bought off ebay. I've only seen 14 episodes, but they are 14 of the greatest TV episodes of any drama ever to make it into our homes. So few shows now make you think, but this does and that's good. Makes you think about human nature, the world, and your role in it. It's more than just a show about two cute guys in the world's coolest car (though there's nothing wrong with that), it's about people. I cry when I remember that no one has jumped at the opportunity to put this show on their network. What are they thinking??? This is the drama that all the dramas since have wanted to be but never succeeded at becoming.

Was the above comment useful to you?

11 out of 12 people found the following comment useful :-
My favorite 60's show!, 31 October 1999
Author:
camille-7 (silverstar@usol.com)

I was about ten when this show premiered and watched it with my parents every friday night between Rawhide and Twilight Zone. As you can see Friday was a good night for TV. I was fascinated with the show and its two stars, both of whom I had crushes on. They were both so natural in their acting and always delivered some words of wisdom by the shows end. The fact that the show was always on location made it much more interesting to watch. I was sorry too when Nick at Night quit airing it in the 80's. I watched as many of the reruns as I possibly could and even now have a few on tape. It's a show I think that still holds up today because of its uniqueness and naturalness.

Was the above comment useful to you?

9 out of 9 people found the following comment useful :-
As good as most theatrical movies, 24 December 1998
Author:
Tom Chenevert (markviilin@aol.com) from Dunstable, Ma

Rt 66 was such a breath of fresh air. I have been a movie buff all my life and after seeing all the backlot tv shows from the mid fifties to 1960, this show had my eyes wide open. Everything was on location and the production values were as good as any theatrical movie. Some of the story lines toward the end of the run were stupid but the values were always there. Most of the time I would watch the show to see how good location filming done quickly could be done so good. I think the producer owned or had owned Republic Studios who were the best at making movie serials and that would explain a lot. In watching reruns it is surprising how little the Corvette was actually seen in some episodes. After this, I found backlot shows to be very cheap, boring entertainment.

Was the above comment useful to you?

8 out of 8 people found the following comment useful :-
Julie Newmar is the woman Marilyn Monroe wanted to be., 10 December 2003
Author:
ocangaceiro from Wallingford, Vermont

This was one of those special "shocker" moments in 60's TV series: writing that showed actual thought, lines that snapped your head back, diction at once poetic and didactic.... it is possible that no one else in TV at that time could have done what Julie Newmar did here; she was luscious and sensual, at perfect ease within the screen space, and at the same time possessed of a powerful intelligence and wit. PLUS, is "How Much a Pound is Albatross?" one of the greatest titles you ever heard?

Was the above comment useful to you?

7 out of 7 people found the following comment useful :-
one word - terrific, 19 August 2005
Author:
iceturkee1950 from United States

it's funny, i was in 8th grade the last year route 66 aired and got to see a few episodes. this was because one had been filmed in daytona beach so i watched it. then i caught the rest of the last season before it went off the air.

i don't think i could fully appreciate just what a remarkable show this was. shot on location, featuring a literal who's who in Hollywood, i think maybe, this show was way ahead of its time. but it worked so well in the early 60's when quality television was quite common.

anyhow, i always said this was the ONE SHOW i wanted to see in reruns. when it aired on nick at nite in 1985, i watched more than half of the episodes and was never disappointed. mix a way cool theme song, some beautiful country, two hip guys and the corvette, how could you go wrong!!

Was the above comment useful to you?

7 out of 7 people found the following comment useful :-
I too hit the road, 26 December 2000
Author:
(dnegri1@earthlink.net) from pacfica, ca

I saw many of the 1960 and 1961 episodes while in the service. I was so taken by the show that in my mind (confusing reality and television), I decided to hit the road when I got discharged in 1962. I purchased a 1961 Vette and a buddy and I set off from Sacramento, California sometime in May 1963 a la Tod and Buzz to find adventure and romance at every stop. Unfortunately we only got as far as southern Utah when we totally ran out of money. I guess we forgot that Buzz and Tod took time out to work here and there. Anyway, it was fun while it lasted and my only lasting regret was having sold the Corvette. Back to the show: one fascinating aspect is in the scripts. Silliphant in particular was a great writer both serious and comedic - but what is amusing today is the amount of beat-era language, as well as existentialist philosophy. Sterling must have read his Sartre and Camus - or at least Tod did while at Yale. The show had at times a strangely schizophrenic nature: trite, even stupid story lines, but some very profound dialogue (at least for television). And the need for at least one fist fight in every episode gives the lie to any myth of a "kinder and gentler nation" before the counter culture invasion in the mid 60's.

Was the above comment useful to you?

6 out of 6 people found the following comment useful :-
Marty, George & Driving the Marvel Way, 21 May 2006
8/10
Author:
animal_8_5 from Dundalk, Canada

Marty Milner and his sidekick George Maharis get into intrigue and adventure on the highways and byways. Mostly across the good old USA, but one stop each in Canada and Mexico.

Ahhh, what a great concept for a TV series in this post-war period. Two virile young dudes getting into a gorgeous Corvette and driving aimlessly until the gas money ran out. This was one of the more well written and plotted series of the day, too! Some have called the dialogue intellectual and poetic. It is one of those shows that was impossible to stop watching once you were in the first five minutes. Gorgeous scenery and the perpetual sense that adventure was always just around the turnpike.

Stan Lee and Marvel Comics wouldn't admit this, but it would appear they may have unintentionally ripped off the Buzz Murdock character in creating one of their stable characters, Daredevil. According to all the trivial facts about Route 66, Buzz Murdock hails from Hell's Kitchen! Daredevil's secret identity, MATT Murdock, hails from Hell's Kitchen! It seems to me in one episode, Buzz was even blinded! Matt Murdock is blind!

Nah, I don't really care either, but thought somebody out there might find it interesting.

 

A one-of-a-kind TV show, 2 February 2006
Author: ruffrider from United States

It was 1960, when the country was far less crowded and open roads beckoned just outside the cities. This was before the country lost its innocence via Vietnam and Watergate, a time when the rest of the world bought our manufactured goods and America had saved the world from Hitler and fascism within recent memory.

Cynicism and paranoia hadn't yet taken hold, many people would actually stop to help if your car broke down on the highway and altruism was a viable concept on TV and in real life. Into this world rode 2 young guys in a Corvette convertible (Corvettes were still somewhat exotic at the time), who met unusual people everywhere they went, which was all over the USA and even Canada. The two young men were total opposites, who made a fascinating personality clash and a winning pair of adventurers and Good Samaritans. Dark-haired Buz Murdock (played by George Maharis) was the brooder and battler with street smarts, who spoke like the hep-cat and jazz buff he was, while sophisticated, red-haired Yale grad Tod Stiles (Martin Milner) quoted literature and poetry, charmed the ladies and handled his share of the bullies. Sometimes the two boys were the center of the stories, other times just onlookers.

The dramatic, socially-conscious scripts met the tough issues head-on, from runaway kids and juvenile delinquency (this was long before young kids routinely carried guns to school) to substance abuse, terrorism and mercy killing. The quality of the scripts demanded high-powered acting, which it got from its stars Maharis and Milner and the impressive list of guest stars, including Rob't Duvall, Rob't Redford, Lee Marvin, Ed Asner, Martin Balsam, Alan Alda, Janice Rule and Jack Warden, to name only a few.

"Route 66" was so progressive socially because its producer (Herbert Leonard) allowed his chief writer (Stirling Silliphant) to tackle just about any subject he wanted, with no interference from the network or sponsors - a very unusual situation, even in 1960. There are so many out-of-the-ordinary elements in this show it's hard to list them all and in retrospect it seems like a kind of avant-garde television, with 100% location filming, travelogue, adventure and even a sort of Playhouse-90-like dramatic quality, all rolled into one. Perhaps the show's most striking element was the remarkable dialog, usually relegated to the guest actors, which often took the form of meditations on life or the ruminations of demoralized characters forced to confront their demons. This dialog can be seen today as nothing less than brilliant free-verse poetry, into which (future Oscar-winning Hollywood screenwriter) Silliphant poured his deepest thoughts. Looking back it seems remarkable such a show was ever made at all. Having written a book on this program, I've come to know "Route 66" quite well and feel privileged to have watched it.

Was the above comment useful to you?

3 out of 3 people found the following comment useful :-
Keep On Truckin', 16 August 2001
Author: Jim Rowe from Sunny SoCal, USA

Still the best of the TV "Road Shows", ... even in re-runs (Nick at Night).

A true inspiration for every generation who never felt the "Mother Road" under their tires.

Was the above comment useful to you?

2 out of 2 people found the following comment useful :-
An amazing snapshot of a bygone America, 22 June 2006
10/10
Author: JAtheDJ from Alexandria, Virginia

I've just seen several episodes of Route 66, which I remember from reruns in the late 60's. The location shots are absolutely wonderful - how Martin Milner and George Maharis survived all the travel to shoot on location is amazing in itself.

The story lines deal with people and their personal lives in a very intimate way. Wonderful "guest stars" too - from Robert Redford and Robert Duvall to Walter Matthau and Jack Lord.

I grew to appreciate Milner and Maharis from earlier parts they played -Milner as the stoic, sincere jazz guitarist in "Sweet Smell of Success," in 1957 and Maharis in the first hour-long episode of Naked City in 1960. My kind of actors.

All in all, Route 66 is a great show.

Was the above comment useful to you?

3 out of 4 people found the following comment useful :-
Dig that crazy theme song,man!!!, 8 August 2000
Author: raysond from Chapel Hill,North Carolina

Long before he became Officer Malloy on the old "Adam-12" TV series,Martin Milner was the coolest cat around during his days as Tod on "Route 66". He was always the hippest cat in that crazy and cool,and good-looking Corvette as he and he buddy Buz travelled the country in search of fun and sometimes adventure.

The show itself was a symbol of expression and interest basically keeping viewers keen in their escapades. They say that it was filmed on the backlot of the old Republic Studios,but instead some of it was filmed on location and the rest on a lot at Columbia Pictures(Screen Gems TV). The storylines kept the action going,but at the end of the series it was kinda stupid and lame,but in turn the first three seasons of the show were really great(from 1960-1963).

The re-runs of this show surfaced quite often,but during part of the mid-1980's,the show ended up on TV's Nick-at-Nite during the early years of the network as part of its weekly line-up of programming. Its theme song,by the way,will live on forever as the best jazz score ever made(by composer Nelson Riddle),and to this day it still holds up great!!! Catch the re-runs if you can.

Was the above comment useful to you?

3 out of 4 people found the following comment useful :-
Martin Millner and his hair!!!!!!!!!, 16 March 2000
Author: LONE SOLO from Floyd Montana

ROUTE 66 was the story of two buddies who cruised the highways and byways of america getting into adventures, all the while looking like two poster boys for a BRILLCREAME ad. I caught these in reruns in the mid 1980's and overall this was a fun show. This program was an anthology show of sorts...each week our two heroes get into a different adventure with different supporting characters. It can truly be said that they don't make shows like this anymore...because, well, er,.....THEY DON'T!

Was the above comment useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following comment useful :-
Route 66 and the novel On the Road, 31 August 2007
7/10
Author: karlanglin651 from United States

Having watched Route 66 on Nick At Nite in 1985, I feel that the series was loosely based on Jack Kerouac's novel, On The Road which was written in 1957. The concept of the Beat Generation was certainly applied to this thought-provoking TV drama. While the two characters in the series were some what upgraded for television audiences, the basic concepts of the freedom to travel about, experiencing the lives of other people, and not settling into predictability produced a strong resonance that reverberates inside of many individuals. In some ways Route 66 could be considered a 20th century version of Mark Twain's classic novel Huckleberry Finn. In many ways. the series is very much a reflection of the human condition and of society looked at from the inside out. Striling Stilliphant was a true master at the craft of writing. May his work stand forever as an example of what solid truthful writing should be.

Was the above comment useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following comment useful :-
What a terrific show, 15 August 2007
Author: L.J. McFarland-Groves from Connecticut, United States

It's said "they don't make 'em like they used to" and Route 66 certainly brings credibility to that statement. I was only about eleven years old when the show went off the air, but what an impact it had. I can't see one of those old two seater Chevys without the sweet theme song going lightly through my head. Here's a masculine buddy show, two good looking guys, side by side, all the way across the country. Pure and simple, clean and fascinating, both the relationship and the adventures they achieved. I have no doubt that my own cross country odyssey in a little open air two seater from New England to Southern California in the mid 1970s was subconsciously a way to live briefly as Buz or Tod. Can't wait for the DVD which I understand is coming out in a couple of months because the world is a place more lacking for want of reruns of this All American classic.

Was the above comment useful to you?

1 out of 1 people found the following comment useful :-
What a wonderful show to grow up watching for a 7 year old!, 25 March 2007
10/10
Author: HERBERT ("BO") NEWSOME from Salisbury, North Carolina

In 1960, as a seven year old lad growing up in historic Salisbury, North Carolina, the weekly TV show, Route 66, whisked me away to the open road and adventure in an open-topped red Corvette convertible. How much better could life be for a seven year old boy in Small Town USA?! This was high-living for me for the next four years of my life. "Buzz" and "Todd" (the main characters) had quickly become my best friends as I rode with them every Friday night (8PM) to high adventure. I wish "TV Land" would bring this show back into our lives and remind kids of today that you don't need to have sex and violence in order to enjoy some great TV! Bo Newsome, Salisbury, NC

In summary, This was a wonderful show!

 


This was a prime time drama about two young men, complete opposites, seeking adventure and purpose., 10 July 2006
8/10
Author: zachsandman from United States

"Route 66" was my favorite TV drama series of the 1960s. It was very appealing for a young male of any race. There were these two cool guys, Todd Stiles (Martin Milner), Buzz Murdock (George Maharis) and Lincoln Case (Glenn Corbett) (replaced Maharis during the final season) driving from town to town in a brand new Corvette. Their lives were filled with adventure and lots of girls. Like "The Twilight Zone", it was a series from which many actors got their start. Each week, viewers could see actors like Robert Redford, Lee Marvin, William Shatner, Martin Balsam, Robert Duvall, Ed Asner, Rod Steiger, David Janssen, DeForest Kelley, Burt Reynolds, etc. Plus, the theme song, written by Nelson Riddle, was perhaps the greatest TV theme song of all times. "Route 66" wasn't a "rebel" type of show. This was probably why the series ran from 1960-1964. Although Stiles and Murdock were opposites: Stiles, cultured and educated, while Murdock, street like and not so educated, they were both decent young men. They complimented each other and rarely did they clash with one another. Furthermore, many episodes had "spiritual" overtones. For examples: Two of the best episodes were: "The Strengthening Angels" (1960) and "One Tiger to a Hill" (1962) In "Strengthening Angel", a young and beautiful Suzanne Pleshette plays Lotti Montana, a migrant worker who's going to help pick the peach crop a town called Sparrow Falls. In the opening scene, it's night and raining. Lotti is at the local church about to give her testimony when she instead runs hysterically from the building. She runs out in the street and nearly gets hit by Todd and Buzz in the Corvette. Lotti gets a lift with them. Tired and hungry, they stop at the nearest diner although she insists that they eat outside of the city limits. While at the local diner, Tod and Buzz become acquainted with the town Sheriff (John Larch). Meanwhile, Lotti is waiting in the Corvette and gets harassed by a drunken man who recognizes her. While returning to the car, Todd and Buzz see the drunk harassing Lotti. Buzz pushes him away but the drunk brings so much attention to them that the Sheriff comes after them as they drive away from the scene. The Sheriff stops them further up the road and arrests them for harboring a fugitive, Lotti Montana. Apparently, Lotti is wanted for the murder of the brother of the Sheriff. At the station, the Sheriff releases Todd and Buzz but he detains Lotti. As a result of this, Buzz gets into a fists fight with Sheriff but the Deputy catches Buzz from behind with "cheap" shot. The Sheriff has no intention of keeping buzz locked up in prison but he does just long enough to patch up his busted head and to give him the low down regarding Lotti's past. After Buzz is released he and Todd seek an attorney to take Lotti's case. At first, it appears as though the attorney isn't willing to take the case. However, he does because it turns out that he knows the reason why Lotti killed the Sheriff's brother. The Sheriff's brother had a romantic interest in Lotti and often pursued her to his brother's disliking. One night after getting drunk with his friend, the future attorney, they went by Lotti's place. The Sheriff's brother tried to rape her, so she stabbed him with a pair of scissors. This story is corroborated by Lotti's young daughter who has been sheltered by her mom from ever giving her side of the story. The most magnificent scene takes place when Lotti's Pastor (Harry Townes) visits her in prison and prays with her to receive Christ's forgiveness. Townes gave a stellar performance as Pastor Daniel Wylie. Stirling Silliphant wrote this episode and most of the episodes. The episode concludes with Lotti (Pleshette) being released from prison and giving Buzz a kiss on the lips for helping her. Buzz and Todd drive off while the Sheriff watches from his window.

"One Tiger to a Hill" featured David Janssen as Karno, an ex-Vietnam soldier who hates Todd over a girl (Laura Devon as Toika) and because he escaped the draft as a student in college. Working as salmon fishermen in Astoria, Oregon. Tod and Buzz encounter Karno, who wants to kill or be killed. Todd and Karno have several brawls but the finale comes when they brawl on board a ship where Karno is knocked overboard. Meanwhile, Todd, Buzz, and Toika wait at the dock to receive word from the coast guard regarding Karno. "Lo and behold"! Karno approaches the dock on board a coast guard cutter. The stage is set for the most magnificent scene of the episode. Karno (Janssen) explains his experience underwater. His experience is similar to that of Jonah and the Whale. While underwater, he looks up and sees the sky above. For the first time in his life he fills small, which is good. Then he is miraculously saved from the tempest of the sea. As he said, "All of a sudden I became gigantic. I was born again." Karno and "teary"eyed Toika walk off into the sunset. Around 1985, the series "Route 66" was aired in its entirety on "Nick-at-Nite". I have all 116 episodes on DVD. A. Zachary Sanders



Great series with excellent writing and guest stars., 27 November 2005
Author: (ross66@frontiernet.net) from United States

This TV series is one of the best ever produced. Why Columbia-Sony hasn't released more of the episodes is beyond me. Surely someone out there has an "in" with some" higher ups" at Columbia to let them know how rural America feels about some good T.V. Tod and Buz in the Corvette's traveling the roads in the U.S.A. The cars colors and years are as follows: 1960 Jewel Blue : 1961 Fawn Beige: 1962 fawn Beige:1963 Saddle tan; 1964 saddle tan. Some other cars were shown as extra's like a Mako Shark and some Fuelly cars borrowed from dealers. Most were 250 & 300 hp automatics. Some were stick shift cars like in" Birdcage on My Foot" and "Ten Drops of Water"

 

 

route66_signsmall.jpg