Starring Martin Milner as Tod Stiles, George Maharis as Buz Murdock (1960-1963), Glenn Corbett as Linc Case (1963-1964).
Produced by Herbert B. Leonard, Jerry Thomas, Leonard Freeman, Sam Manners
"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." www.museum.tv
Yale graduate Todd Stiles is an intellectual who has led a priviledged and sheltered life. Buz Murdock is a tough young man, reared in "Hell's Kitchen," struggling his entire life just to survive.
When his father dies, Todd finds himself unexpectedly penniless with just one possession, a 1960 powder-blue Corvette. In search of excitement, and perhaps themselves, Todd and Buzz hit the open road of Route 66 in the ultimate U.S. journey. In their travels, the two young men encounter people from all walks of life, and therein lies their story.
Route 66 created television history by being the first television show shot entirely on location, in twenty-five states and Toronto. The early episodes were politically charged and dealt with deep issues that mirrored the problems of the times. 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.
Route 66 produced many excellent hours of television, utilizing acclaimed directors like Sam Peckinpah and Arthur Hiller, and featuring a galaxy of guest stars like Rod Steiger, Martin Sheen, Buster Keaton, Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Joan Crawford, Suzanne Pleshette, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., Peter Lorre, James Caan, David Janssen, Lee Marvin, Tina Louise, Julie Newmar, William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, Alan Alda, George Kennedy, Lew Ayres, Bruce Dern, Edgar Buchanan, Inger Stevens, James Brown, Harvey Korman, Anne Francis, Walter Matthau, and many, many more. Ethel Waters guest starred in one episode with some of the finest jazz players around in 1961, Jo Jones, Roy Eldridge, and became the first black actor ever nominated for an emmy with that episode.
There are many interesting stories about Route 66 - the cast, crew, locations, production. Several web sites are devoted entirely to Route 66. A few to check out for interesting stories and anecdotes -
S01E01 Black November
First aired: 10/7/1960
Tod's wealthy father dies, leaving the Yale grad penniless but for his 1960 blue Chevrolet Corvette. He meets Buz, who worked for Tod's father, and the two decide to start driving across the country. The Corvette breaks down in a small Mississippi town with some very nasty residents. The boys discover that the town hosted a POW camp during WW II and that the town boss had an escaped prisoner lynched when his son was killed in action. The boss plans to lynch Tod and Buz to keep the town's secret. George Kennedy, Everett Sloane guest star.
Cast: Martin Milner as Tod Stiles, George Maharis as Buz Murdock.
Guest cast: George Kennedy (Thad Skinner), Everett Sloane (Caleb Garth), Patricia McCormack (Jenny Slade), Whit Bissell (Jim Slade), Robert Sorrells (Dickson), House Jameson (Clergyman), Keir Dullea (Paul), Malcolm Atterbury (Bolton), Guy Raymond (Skipper)