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.
Two Strangers and an Old Enemy
With Martin Milner, Glenn Corbett, Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Warden, Nancy Wickwire, others
Producer: Les Davis
Director: Walter Grauman
Writer: Stirling Silliphant
60 Mins., Fri., 8:30 p.m.
CHEVROLET, PILIP MORRIS, PROCTER & GAMBLE
(Campbell; Leo Burnett; Benton & Bowles)
CBS-TV's "Route 66" made its fourth season premiere loaded woth talent - Nancy Wickwire Jack Warden, Sessue Hayakawa guesting with series regulars Martin Milner and Glenn Corbett. They provided some flashy performing in a drama set in the Florida everglades that was as murky as a swamp mist.
In the narrative, which floundered between psycho-drama and jungle adventure, the Bobsey Twins of the highway were called upon to parachute into the everglades in search of a national wartime fighter pilot hero (Jack Warden) who had crashed his private plane in the swamp. Sessue Hayakawa had also leaped into the rescue mission. The Japanese actor was the gimmick guy of the plot, and it was not disclosed until Warden was coughing his last during the rescue operation that the two had clashed in air battle, and the meeting in the swamp was the moment of truth for both. Miss Wickwire was Warden's estranged wife appearing in early scenes, which she played with great skill. The death-wishful war hero role was old stuff to Warden, and he gave the show whatever magnetism it had. Hayakawa gave a viewer a little trouble with his English, but the muffled projection may have had the overall effect of sustaining interest.
Various U.S. locations is still a good idea - and one that no doubt calls for an extra production effort. This one, however, offered little in the way of real interest via authenticity not available in the back lots. There was some derring-do also in the rescue sequences as the flashback to Warden's and Hayakawa's conflict was played out overhead without dissolve. Not entirely successful (mainly because of the narrative rather than the production technique), but the viewer thanks are due for an imaginative try.
VARIETY - October 2, 1963