The irresistible call of Route 66
, the classic TV anthology series and the venerable Mother Road herself, is best summed up in a bit of dialogue in the episode, "Welcome to Amity," one of the 15 episodes that concluded Season One
contained on this four-disc set. Yet another stranger in distress urges self-proclaimed "searchers and look-arounders" Tod Stiles (Martin Milner) and Buz Murdoch (George Maharis) to help her. "Where are we going?" Tod asks, as she bids them to follow her. "Lets find out," Buzz replies. Viewers happily followed Tod and Buz for four seasons on their cross-country odyssey in search of roots. Each week brought a new location, a new job, and new personal dramas in which they found themselves involved. In the gripping "An Absence of Tears," they unwittingly help a vengeful blind woman buy the exact brand of gun and bullets that thugs used to kill her husband during a botched gas station robbery. In "Most Vanquished, Most Victorious," they have 24 hours to find the daughter of Tods dying aunt. In "The Newborn," they help an expectant Pueblo woman escape the clutches of the wealthy and powerful rancher whose late son impregnated her. No wonder that in the more lighthearted "Eleven the Hard Way," Tod suggests to Buz that they take "a 48 hour furlough from other peoples problems" (no such luck; they no sooner find themselves in Reno helping two men win enough at the crap tables to save their dying town). Compelling stories, a vivid sense of place, and literate scripts were signposts of Route 66
. While Tod and Buz "give lumps to some well-deserving people" (a climactic encounter with a street gang in "Most Vanquished, Most Victorious" is a great rumble), the show (and the cast) truly shine in the more emotional and dramatic moments. In "Like a Motherless Child," orphaned Buz bonds with a lonely woman who fronts as a shill. While Tod is the studied one, it is Buz who gets the bulk of the scripts great, glorious riffs, as in "The Opponent," when he and Tod visit a once-legendary figure from Buzs Hell Kitchen neighborhood ("Would you take a detour to see Caesar or Napoleon? Those are the big boys you met in books. I met my own kings, face to face, in the back alleys"). Along for the ride are some great character actors, many in their earliest screen appearances, including Robert Duvall as "a trigger-happy kook" in "The Newborn," Darrin McGavin as a boxer on his last legs in "The Opponent," featuring Ed Asner (with hair!) as his trainer and Al Lewis (Grandpa from The Munsters
) as a gym owner, and Walter Matthau at his schlubby best as a disreputable gambler in "Eleven the Hard Way." As in Volume 1
there are no commentaries or interviews, but vintage TV and classic car buffs will cruise through nearly 20 minutes of commercials for Chevrolet and Bayer Asprin. --Donald Liebenson
Now the second half of Route 66's first season is available for the first time and has been digitally transferred from the original masters. The television series, which aired 1960-64, is one of the most brilliant dramas to emerge from the '60s, famous for its catchy Nelson Riddle theme song, intriguing characters, top-drawer writing and stellar guest appearances. The original "road trip" drama, this classic television series was one of the most highly rated of the era, establishing the Corvette as an American icon.
Infinity Entertainment Group has been very excited to bring the iconic television program Route 66 to DVD for the first time. We have taken great care in restoring and packaging this beloved classic for collectors. However, it recently came to our attention that there is some confusion in the marketplace about some of the technical aspects of this restoration process.
A key decision in the digital restoration of the series was whether to retain the original full screen 4 x 3 aspect ratio (old tube televisions) or to update to a widescreen format with a 16 x 9 aspect ratio (new digital TVs). Since the restoration process utilized the original 35mm film assets, the goal was to do a high definition transfer, updating the aspect ratio for broadcast on new HD TVs. High Definition transfer which requires an update to the 16x9 aspect ratio for new HD TV Broadcast and future Digital Media delivery, i.e. Blu Ray DVD and HD Internet.
In this new widescreen format, without vertical cropping the program would appear distorted. During the film transfer, the post production house used a process called tilt and scan which allows a Telecine technician to examine each scene individually and center the frame on the action. Unfortunately, in extreme close-ups, the cropping may occasionally intrude on the original framing, sometimes cutting off a portion of the top of the head.
While we tried to remain as true as possible to the original programming, our overall goal is to not only make the program available once again on television, but to optimize it for the next generation of broadcast and television standards.
Infinity Entertainment Group is committed to bringing quality programming and relies on the support of our valued customers to do so.