Getting My TV Kicks on ‘Route 66’
For those willing to sit and watch, the road goes on forever
- By Mike Cox
- Issue: May 2012
- Paul Linse/Corbis
I’ve been getting my kicks lately on “Route 66”—not the old song made famous by Nat King Cole, but the early 1960s television series starring a baby-faced Martin Milner as Tod Stiles and dark-haired George Maharis as Buz Murdock.
To pop-hit theme music composed by Nelson Riddle, the two young, handsome guys traveled the country in a Corvette convertible, looking for work, girls and themselves. They found all that, plus adventure. Aired weekly on CBS from 1960 through 1964, the show captured in artfully shot black-and-white footage a pre-homogenized America. From a modern perspective, the series is a time capsule of the nation’s culture and philosophy on the eve of the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and the social upheaval of the latter half of the decade. And 12 of the shows were shot in Texas, though none were along Route 66—U.S. Highway 66, which opened in 1926, connecting Chicago to Los Angeles with hundreds of miles of road winding through eight states.