Route 66 – The Marathon Tour
(14 x 30 series)
The series covers the complete story of Route 66 from folklore and history, through its de-commission, to its present status as a national historic site. The production starts in Chicago and covers the entire road to Los Angeles, containing 78 interviews conducted over 8 states.
As the automobile began to replace railroad travel in the mid-1920s, Route 66 became a two-lane avenue that connected farm roads to industrial America. More and more people ventured along the route through the Great Depression, World War II, the era that was folk music and the emergence of rock n’ roll. Single pump gas stations, drive-in movies, honky-tonks, truck stops and motels were the icons travelers saw along this route.
The road, which allowed many to follow the American dream, begins in Chicago, the industrial capitol of the mid-west. After visiting Chicago, the series heads south towards St. Louis, touches Kansas on the way to Tulsa, then goes through the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico and Arizona to California’s Santa Monica Pier.
Route 66 has been immortalized in song, book, and film. Bobby Troupe, Will Rogers, Charles Kuralt, and John Steinbeck all recognized the impact of the great American road on society. The program “Route 66” provides information about that influence from experts such as Michael Wallis, author of “The Mother Road;” Tom Snyder, author of “Route 66 Travelers Guide;” Tom Teague, author of “Searching for 66;” and Jim Ross, editor of “American Road Magazine.”
The series contains and visits enduring haunts in it’s pursuit of what was and still is, along the 2,400-mile road to the Pacific Ocean. There’s the White Fence Farm Restaurant, home to the “greatest chicken in the world,” which is still run by the 90-year old owner. The Rialto Square Theatre, designed after the famous Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles near Paris, France, hosted headlining acts such as Red Skelton and Jerry Seinfeld since it opened in 1926.
In St. Louis, the restoration of the Union Railway Station into a shopping mall illustrates how distressed the former popular mode of travel has become since the invention of the automobile and highway infrastructure.
The Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri still thrives, while the town of Baxter Springs, Kansas echoes stories of past visitors such as outlaws Jesse James and Bonnie and Clyde.
In Tulsa, the oil capitol of the world, Art Deco buildings abound in addition to some of the greatest food along the route. Further down the road, the world famous Big Texan Restaurant offers a free 72-oz. steak to anyone who can finish eating it in one hour. Conveniently located 45 miles from the Mid-point Café which boasts the “best pie on the route.” In Gallup, New Mexico the El Rancho Hotel once housed stars such as John Wayne, Ronald Regan, and Barbara Stanwick.
La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona is a former Harvey House, owned by the Fred Harvey chain of restaurants who built an empire around the railroad. His prestigious corps of waitresses, known as Harvey Girls, served troops as they disembarked en route to their headquarters. Another Rout 66 icon is the Red Garter Inn, a former burlesque house turned bed and breakfast. In California, the Bagdad Café is a contemporary restaurant based on a classic movie featuring Jack Palance and a current television series starring Whoopie Goldberg. After visits to these and many other interesting sites, the tour ends in Hollywood, California.
Route 66 – The Marathon Tour
TV Guide Episode Descriptions
Experts and authors discuss the history of Route 66 and some of its contemporary issues as our adventures begin.
Down Route 66 through the windy city, Chicago, IL: Lou Mitchell’s Café, Wagon Wheel Motel, and White Fence Farms.
The coach travels further south through Illinois on the old road: Funk’s Grove Maple Syrup.
Stopping by the Cozy Dog restaurant in Springfield, IL and chatting with Ernie Edwards at the Pig-Hip Café.
We enter St. Louis, MO, the gateway to the west, over the chain of Rocks Bridge: The Ariston Café, Ted Drewes’ Frozen Custard, Meramac Caverns.
The coach follows a motor tour through Cuba, Mo and talks with the fine folks of the Munger Moss Motel.
We push on through Missouri into Kansas: Rt. 66 Drive In, Café on the Route.
Plowing through the dust bowl of Oklahoma and discovering the famous Blue Whale on our way to Tulsa.
Through the tail end of Oklahoma speaking with Route 66 expert Michael Wallis and road curiosities Harley and Anabel.
The road stretches through Llano Estacado of Texas into the neon lights of New Mexico: Big Texan, Midpoint Café.
Starting in Tucumcari, through beautiful Santa Fe, we join the International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM. and end up at the historic El Rancho Hotel, home to movie stars from the golden era of Hollywood.
We travel through the beautiful Painted Desert and Petrified Forest of Arizona, cutting through the desert on old Route 66.
The old road brings us to the Grand Canyon and into California, the land of milk and honey.
The road tugs through California towns transforming into Santa Monica Blvd. and bring us to the end of our journey: The Aztec Hotel, The Hampton Inn Tour, Tom Snyder.
14 - 30 minute episodes created for broadcast use, includes holes for commercial breaks.
Originated on 1080i.
364 min. / Available on HD-D5, HD-Cam, D-VHS, and W-VHS formats.
Series now available.