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.
'Route 66' Takes L.A. Detour In Police Dept. Tiff
Hollywood, Jan 15.
Running controversy between executives of the "Route 66" telefilm series and L.A. Police Department Chief William Parker over alleged "restrictions" applied to that series by the police continued over the weekend, despite a defense of the chief by Mayor Yorty.
Latest developments saw (1) Mayor Yorty upholding Chief Parker's ban against telefilm lensing of interiors of the Police Department; (2) unions requested a meeting with Chief Parker to confront him with charges he is responsible for production leaving L.A. with subsequent loss of employment; (3) a new charge by a "66" exec that the Police Department is discriminating between production companies; (4) a denial by the chief that there has been any change in police anent pix companies shooting scenes at the department.
Dispute began when the Police Commission, on Chief Parker's recommendation, nixed a "66" request to shoot interiors at the Police Department, on grounds it would interfere with operations of the department. This action, plus alleged police restrictions on street shooting, prompted "66" to take three of four segments to have been shot here out of town, thus depriving Hollywood actors and technicians of an estimated 500 jobs, according to Sam Manners, production exec on the series.
Exodus of production brought an immediate outcry from a number of union officials who accused Chief Parker of chasing production out of Hollywood at a time when the industry is fighting "runaway" production.
Mayor Yorty, upon receiving a strong complaint from Manners, conferred on the situation with Chief Parker Friday. Parker, according to Arthur White, Yorty's exec assistant, brought with him a book of rules and regulations showing shooting pix within the police department is forbidden. ["]These are rules, and they can't be changed for one person or company. Why doesn't Manners build sets?" he asked, adding he was speaking for the mayor.
Another Yorty aide, John Hunt, his news secretary, said he had discussed the "66" situation with the mayor, and Yorty felt that "they were not giving this man (Manners) any different treatment than is given any other company. ["]These are ground rules applied to all companies." Mayor Yorty is sympathetic to the pix biz, he added.
Manners on Friday leveled a charge of discrimination against the Police Dept. when informed the mayor felt he was given the same treatment as any other company. "What about 'Dragnet' shooting inside the Police Department for several years, and even using policemen in the series?" he asked. As for Mayor Yorty's aide suggesting he build sets instead of wanting to use the police department interiors, he replied bluntly "we're not that kind of series." "Route 66," a Screen Gems show, is unique in that it travels all over the country shooting at actual locales, instead of using studio sets.
VARIETY - January 16, 1963