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Route 66: Season One, Volume One

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1960-61/2007

Although it ran for four fondly remembered seasons, "Route 66" doesn't enjoy the same top-of-mind awareness today as other popular TV programs of the era. Perhaps that's due to its anthology format "¦ but that's also the greatest reason for rediscovering it on DVD.

Its first 15 episodes appear on this disc, all starring tough guy George Maharis and smart guy Martin Milner cruising the titular highway in their blue Chevy Corvette. Each week's hour-long episode found them stopping at one town on the road, where they seem to have a nose for sniffing out trouble, of course.

This format actually makes the stars their own show's supporting players, with the real weight given to that week's guests. For instance, in "The Swan Bed," their stop in New Orleans has them meet and befriend a poor, sheltered girl who finds herself pursued after coming into contact with "cursed" money. Worked into this story line is Murray Hamilton (Mr. Robinson from "The Graduate") on the trail of people getting sick from a parrot flu.

In glorious black-and-white, "Route 66" is very much a product of its time, when it apparently was perfectly acceptable to take a girl you've just met to a strip show. To that end, Infinity Entertainment has included classic TV commercials "? a cool extra that takes you right back to 1960 (assuming you were alive then), something that Nelson Riddle's iconic theme song does for you, too.

 "?Rod Lott

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