Route 66 - the road, the race track & the TV series
Posted 24 November 1999 - 03:55
Couldn't find a picture of a blue C1 or C2, but here is a red 1963 C2 I found:
And, courtesy of TVparty.com, the answer is:
Filmed 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: privileged and sheltered Tod Stiles' dad dies and leaves him a few bucks, so he and his buddy Buzz Murdock (who grew up in Hell's Kitchen) take off in a shiny new 'vette to discover America. There were no other co-stars, just guest stars. If Star Trekwas Wagon Trainin space, then Route 66was Wagon Trainin a rag top.
The hour-long show starred Martin Milner as Tod Stiles and George Maharis as Buzz Murdoch, two young guys who travel around in a 1960 Corvette convertible in search of adventure and enlightenment. Along the way they encounter a host of outcasts and ordinary people entangled in conflicts - eventually travelling to almost every city along the the run of the highway.
It took a travelling crew of 50 people, two brand-new baby-blue 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."
The series itself was standard low-key television drama with occasionally exceptional scripts. It was the changing locales and personalities helped to keep things interesting.
George Maharis played the stronger and more interesting character, with a street-wise sense that served as a counter-point to Milner's stiff portrayal. The scripts that centered around Maharis were usually more entertiaining, and would occasionally tackle controversial topics - racism down South and union busting up north for instance. Maharis was forced to leave the series due to a nasty case of hepatitis in November of 1962, well into filming the show's third season. He was replaced in March of '63 by Glenn Corbett in the role of Tod's new best buddy Lincoln Case.
Maybe it seemed strange to everyone that Tod was traveling around the country with one guy for two and a half years and now he's coming 'round again with another, because the series went on for only another year after the switch. The focus of the show was shifted primarily to Martin Milner, the new guy was more of a supporting player.
'Route 66' produced many excellent hours of television featuring guest stars like Rod Steiger, Martin Sheen, Robert Redford, and young Robert Duvall in a fairly realistic portrayal of a heroin addict. In that episode it's revealed that Buzz had his own experiences with drugs in the past, probably the first regular TV character to make such an admission.
There was a particularly good episode which aired on October 6, 1961, guest-starring Ethel Waters as a dying blues singer who asks Tod and Buzz to put together her old band for one last gig together. Some of the best jazz players around in 1960 make up the band in this episode, and the story centers around Buzz and Tod's search for the old timers through the jazz and be-bop clubs. Ethel Water's performance is a powerful one, and it earned her an Emmy nomination that year, the first such nomination ever for a black actress.
Route 66 was canceled in September of 1964 - as good as it was, the show may have lasted a few 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, a Jack Webb show where his stilted delivery became an asset, and now he's a DJ in San Diego. George Maharis never had another successful series after he left this show, he starred in 'The Most Deadly Game' for a half-season in 1970 on NBC, that's about it.
Yr fthfl & hmbl srvnt,
[This message has been edited by Don Capps (edited 11-23-1999).]
Posted 24 November 1999 - 11:49
Posted 24 November 1999 - 08:57
We do our best....
Yr fthfl & hmbl srvnt,
Posted 21 September 2001 - 19:27
Posted 21 September 2001 - 19:54
Outside Flagstaff, AZ in 1998 after spending the evening at an Irish Pub on Rt66 right across from the train station.;)
Posted 23 September 2001 - 04:52
Route 66 Raceway that is. That is the name of the race track in Joliet, Illinois just outside of Chicago - it now includes a speedway oval that hosts a NASCAR Winston Cup race and an IRL race. But when it first opened in 1998 it was a multi-purpose facility incorporating a state-of-the-art dragstrip and a half mile (I think) clay oval. Plus a road course that used the drag strip and some access roads between the two facilities. The drag strip straight was accessed through a tunnel under the grandstand that created what my friend Bob Roemer dubbed the "poor man's Loewes Tunnel."
The first race ever run on the road circuit was an SCCA Regional and the race sponsor came up with the idea of creating a permanent recognition of every lap record holder in every class from that inaugural race. The names and lap times are enscribed on a plaque that hangs in the media center. Plus each driver got a small version with his name and lap time. A nice idea.
But this was unknown to me when my friend Bryan Cohn from St. Louis phoned to say that since he was coming to Chicago for our friend (another racer) John Mahr's wedding why didn't he bring his Reynard Formula Ford along and I could have a go at the new Route 66 track. Sounded great to me.
We did a practice session Saturday morning but qualifying was the same time as the wedding so we skipped it. Sunday race day was one of those great days that just don't happen often enough. Despite starting last I worked my way up to 2nd on the last lap (and actually led briefly) and finished 2nd. And set the lap record!
So that was my biggest kick on Route 66!
Posted 27 September 2001 - 07:42
I have another Route 66 question. I have seen many books on Route 66 but most I have looked at have been "picture books" without much information.
Is there a quality book on Route 66 that provides history, maps etc, that would provide a genuinely accurate guide to the highway and its history?
Back in the 1980s, before it became fashionable, I had hoped to do a drive along Route 66 for a holiday/story. I enquired of various people, including those on motoring magazines in the US and was told it was impossible to follow the highway, that it had been obliterated for most of its length. I couldn't get anyone interested in the idea.
Ten or 15 years later, it suddenly became fashionable, people wrote magazine articles about it and then a flood of books.
Which leads to another question. Why has there not been the same interest in the older and even more historic Loncoln Highway? The obvious answer is that there never was a TV series about getting your kicks on the Lincoln Highway. Doesn't have the same ring to it somehow.
Does anyone know of any books ar quality articles on the Lincoln Highway? How about maps of where it went? Does it still exist - or parts of it?
And, to keep it on topic - are there any motor racing circuits adjacent to the Lincoln Highway?
Posted 27 September 2001 - 20:08
Posted 27 September 2001 - 22:11
At least in Pennsylvania, the Lincoln Highway is U. S. Route 30 (or at least Old Route 30!). I got a LOT of kicks there in "the Old Days." I ran my Renault R8 Gordini at US 30 Drag -o- Way and got into the mid - 14's, IIRC. This was @ 1969 or so. Also did the Midnight Submarine Races just under the Lincoln Highway bridge over the Susquehanna River in the early 1960's
Those were the days . . .
Posted 27 September 2001 - 22:30
Originally posted by bobbo
Also did the Midnight Submarine Races just under the Lincoln Highway bridge over the Susquehanna River in the early 1960's
The Lincoln Highway is Route 30 through Indiana and Illinois as well. But those submarine races work better in a full sized American sedan. The Gordini would be a challenge - but there's always a way!!
Posted 27 September 2001 - 23:08
The MSRs (Midnight Submarine Races) usually took place in my other car, a 1959 Rambler American . . .