Route 66: The TV Series

Map of Route 66, The Mother Road of America
Map of Route 66, The Mother Road, seen in this vintage postcard

Route 66 was one of the United State's first continuous stretches of paved highway, and served as a major path for those who migrated west.

"The Mother Road" became one of the most famous roads in the United States, outdistancing others such as the Lincoln Highway.

The legendary highway was known far and wide for its variety of "mom and pop" motels, neon lights, drive-ins, quirky roadside attractions, flat tires, cars with no air conditioning, dangerous curves, steep hills, and narrow lanes.

The movie "Easy Rider" was filmed at several locations along Route 66. The move "Thelma and Louise" also featured Route 66 references and scenes.

It is popular lore in movies, songs, books like "The Grapes of Wrath", and TV shows.

Buz and Tod of the TV show Route 66
Tod and Buz
(By CBS, or Screen Gems)

The popularity stuck, and continues to grow today!

Route 66: The TV Show

A popular television show during the early 1960s bore the road's name: "Route 66". Starring George Maharis as Buz, and Martin Milner as Tod, the two young adventurers drove the road in their Chevrolet Corvette for 116 episodes. It ran on Friday nights on CBS Television.

In 1963, Glenn Corbett joined the series, playing the part of Lincoln "Linc" Case.

Despite the name of the series, most episodes did NOT take place on the historic road, but in 25 different U.S. states, mostly on location. TV viewers were treated to episodes filmed in Carson City, Los Angeles, Toronto, Santa Fe, Reno, Tucson, Dallas and many more locales.

A long list of well-known actors and actresses appeared on the series, including Ed Asner, Peter Lorre, Barbara Eden, Jack Lord, Cloris Leachman, Martin Sheen, James Caan, Lee Marvin and dozens more.

Buz, Tod and a girl friend on the Corvette ... on the TV Series Route 66

The Route 66 Characters

Martin Milner starred as Tod Stiles, a recent college graduate with no future prospects due to circumstances beyond his control. He was originally joined on his travels by Buz Murdock (played by George Maharis), a friend and former employee of his father, with the character leaving midway through the third season after contracting "echovirus".

Buz made his final appearance in a January 1963 episode and was then written out of the show, and was never referenced again.

Near the end of the third season, Tod met a recently discharged Vietnam veteran named Lincoln Case, played by Glenn Corbett, who followed Tod on his travels and stayed with him until the final episode.

The Chevrolet Corvette on the TV show "Route 66" Martin Milner on the TV show "Route 66" George Maharis on the TV show "Route 66"

The show ran from October, 1960, through March, 1964, and created a huge following.

The interest in the show continues today by "Baby Boomers" who remember the original showings, and new generations of viewers fascinated by the show who watch it on DVD.

Buz and Tod in the Corvette on the TV series Route 66 Buz and Tod in the Corvette on the TV series Route 66

 

 

The Route 66 Corvettes

The Chevrolet Corvette seen in the first episode ("Black November", October 7, 1960) was a 1960 model; a 1961 model was used the rest of that season. Chevrolet supplied Corvettes for the duration of the series, upgrading every season to the latest models.

Since the show was filmed in black-and-white, Corvettes in light colors like Horizon Blue, Cascade Green and Fawn Beige were used.

Buz and Tod next to their Horizon Blue Corvette on the TV series "Route 66"
Buz and Tod next to their blue Corvette on the TV series "Route 66"

 

More Corvette Convertibles on Route 66

While many viewers assumed the Corvette in the Route 66 TV series was red, it was not.

However, the popularity of Corvette convertibles, especially red ones, lives on! Many actual cars and murals exist today along the old Route 66 depicting those happy days along the Mother Road.

Read more about Corvettes along Route 66

Corvette Drive at Hackberry, Arizona, between Seligman and Kingman on U.S. Route 66
Corvette Drive at Hackberry, Arizona, between Seligman and Kingman on U.S. Route 66


Road Trip Travel Guides for Various States Along Route 66

Planning a road trip on Route 66? Here are the travel guides and reviews by state...

Route 66 in Missouri Route 66 in Texas Route 66 Across Arizona Route 66 Across New Mexico
Route 66 Road Trips Across Oklahoma Route 66 Road Trips in Illinois Route 66 Across California Route 66 in Kansas

 

Route 66: The Song

The Rusty Bolt in Seligman, Arizona, on Route 66
The Rusty Bolt in Seligman, Arizona, on Route 66

The song "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" was composed by songwriter Bobby Troup in 1946.

It was first recorded by Nat King Cole, and sung by other singers over the years including Chuck Berry, Perry Como, and the Rolling Stones.

If you ever plan to motor west,
travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.
It winds from Chicago to LA,
more than two thousand miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.

Now you go through Saint Looey
Joplin, Missouri,
and Oklahoma City is mighty pretty.
You see Amarillo,
Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona.
Don't forget Winona,
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernandino.
Won't you get hip to this timely tip:
when you make that California trip
Get your kicks on Route sixty-six.

The most popular Route 66 "must have" resources for your next Route 66 road trip!
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