1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 4 (USA)
116 x 60 minute episodes
Route 66 told the story of Tod Stiles and Buz Murdock, two young men who travelled around the USA together in Tod’s Corvette in search of adventure and romance.
The show was initially a vehicle for actor George Maharis 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 vet also seeking meaning on the road.
The series was filmed on location as the duo crossed the United States in their seemingly destination-free travels, meeting all sorts of people and getting into all kinds of situations.
By the end of its four-season run, the Route 66 production caravan had travelled 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.
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 theme tune by Nelson Riddle was on the hit parade in 1962.
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.