Ohio66 presents an in-depth look at the circumstances surrounding the departure of George Maharis from route 66 in the middle
of the third season.
preview Starring George Maharis
Jones & Laughlin Steel
Although the opening scenes of First Class Mouliak show Tod and Buz pulling into the parking lot at Jones & Laughlin, which is located down the hill from W. 14th St. where most of the residential scenes in the episode are set, the interiors are shot at Steel Improvement Forge Company (SIFCO) over on E. 78th St.
Jones & Laughlin was demolished to make way for the Steelyard Commons shopping center which includes a Home Depot selling Chinese-made steel products.
Jack's house on W14th Street
This Victorian-style home on W. 14th St. is the only one featured in First Class Mouliak that is still standing in 2009. This is where Jack (Nehemiah Persoff) and his son, Janosh (Robert Redford) lived. His friend and co-worker, Mike (Martin Balsam), lived just around the corner and behind this house on Holmden. Ave.
Google Maps - W14th St.
View Larger Map
While the house has been completely renovated since Route 66 was filmed there, part of the original gate is still standing and hasn't changed a bit.
In 2009, when I was seeking out the First Class Mouliak locations, there were several reports from credible witnesses that a scene was filmed at the corner of W. 14th St. and Fairfied Ave. in some type of hall, or possibly a church basement, that no longer existed. I had assumed that it was this party scene.
Then in 2012, while revisiting some of the mountains of documentation I have acquired in relation to Ohio66, I found notes on contract between Lancer Productions and the owners of Sachsenheim Hall at 7001 Denison Ave which I had overlooked earlier. Sachesnheim was still standing and it was an easy task to locate and contact the current owner. He looked at the screen caps and verified that it was indeed Sachsenheim Hall and agreed to allow me to take these new photographs.
The wall with the Rolling Rock sign has been constructed sometime since 1961 when this area was much more open. There are two dark draperies hanging on the wall behind Nehemiah Persoff and George Maharis. For orientation purposes, the window between Persoff and Maharis is not visible in the current photo and the one behind George is the one that is just barely visible over the Rolling Rock wall.
The band was playing on a stage located in front of the other two windows (one now covered with paneling and housing an air conditioner) where the ping pong table stands today.
This bar is in the lower level of Sachsenheim Hall and the stairs in the background lead up to the entrance on Denison Ave. The inside brick wall has since been plastered and paneled but the dark wood doors and frame are original.
The door on the right was stuck shut or I would have opened it for a better view.
Mike's (Martin Balsam) home at 1430 Holmden Ave. was directly behind Jack's home on W. 14th St. This section of Holmden Ave. no longer exists but was located where the empty field is in the current photo. The area just west of here (behind the trees in the current photo) was demolished to make way for I-71.
Route 66 was such a popular show at the time of the Mouliak filming (end of the first season) that large crowds always gathered and police control was required. This scene is an interesting example of enlisting those onlookers and police as part of the show.
A Christmas Story
The 1983 film A Christmas Story was filmed in part in this very same near-west-side neighborhood of Cleveland known as Tremont. I took a small detour off Route 66 to visit the Christmas Story Home.
Grace Clinic - W. 14th St.
The following two scenes are shot in the rear parking lot of the Grace Clinic on W. 14th St. Jack (Nehemiah Persoff) has come to the clinic to tell his son Janosh (Robert Redford) about the plans fore Theresa's funeral which Janosh does not want to attend for personal reasons.
In this screen capture from the show, Jack and Janosh exit the clinic through the doors in the lower-right of the following photograph from 2009.
Jack and Janosh
...stop in front of the receiving door (just right of center in 2009 photo) to discuss the funeral.
Immediately after taking these photos of Grace Clinic I was busted by the head of security. He wanted to know what company I was with (maybe he thought I was an insurance investigator or something). But he was genuinely surprised and let me off the hook when I explained the situation and told him about Robert Redford filming a television show here in 1961. Maybe he will become a Route 66 fan as a result of this encounter.