Take a Trip on ‘Route 66’

Itching for a road trip this weekend? Why not take a trip on Route 66?

Decades will present 43 episodes of the classic ‘60s adventure drama, starting at noon ET Saturday, March 6, with the series’ first episode, “Black November,” set in Mississippi. The marathon ride will end at 6 am, Monday, March 8, with the 13th episode of season two, “Burning for Burning,” set in rural Pennsylvania.

Martin Milner and George Maharis star as Tod and Buz, two drifters in a cool Corvette who explore towns across the U.S à la Jack Kerouac’s novel, On the Road. On their journey, Tod and Buz encounter the social problems and changing mores of early 1960s America.

Route 66 aired originally on CBS for 116 episodes over four seasons (1960-1964), with Glenn Corbett showing up as Buz’s replacement, Linc, for the final one.

Decades will show a particularly good episode Sunday at 8 pm ET.

Ethel Waters received the first Emmy nomination ever by an African-American woman for playing a dying blues singer outside of Pittsburgh in “Good Night, Sweet Blues.” She asks Tod and Buz to locate her old jazz band for one last show, so they go coast-to-coast to fulfill her wish. Scriptwriter Will Lorin also received an Emmy nomination.

Here are a couple of scenes featuring saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. The episode also spotlights Roy Eldridge, Jo Jones and other jazz greats. (Route 66‘s theme music, incidentally was by the great composer/arranger Nelson Riddle.)

Several future Hollywood directors helped hone their chops on Route 66. Episodes that aired for three consecutive weeks in the fall of 1961 were directed by, respectively, Richard Donner (Superman), Sam Peckinpah (The Wild Bunch) and Robert Altman (M*A*S*H). 

Macha Méril, Lee Marvin, Route 66
(Macha Méril as a lounge singer and Lee Marvin as her ruthless manager guest on the Sam Peckinpah-directed episode, ‘Mon Petit Chou.’ Source: IMDb)

Those three episodes start on Decades at 1 am Monday, and then you can keep watching with “The Thin White Line” at 4 am. You’ll think it’s the late ‘60s, not the early ‘60s, when the two drifters go to a party given by college students and Tod accidentally takes acid. On a different type of trip than usual, he disappears into the streets of Philadelphia, with Buz and the cops in pursuit. With Grandpa Munster, Al Lewis.

You can find this weekend’s complete Route 66 schedule at decades.com/binge, and your local Decades channel number – either over-the-air via antenna, or on cable — on the network’s Where to Watch page.

Prefer to stream Route 66? You can see all four seasons for free on Tubi, IMDb TV or Hoopla (if your local library participates). You can also get all episodes with a subscription to Amazon Prime’s Shout Factory TV add-on channel.

Season one alone, consisting of 30 episodes, is available free at Vudu and shoutfactorytv.com.      

(Top photo: Buz and Tod. Source: Decades.com)

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