(Television History and Trivia)




Victor Edward Swanson,


    The material provided on this page is a service of Victor Swanson and The Hologlobe Press.  The material may be used freely by a person, if the person does not use the material for commercial purposes.  The material may be used by persons employed in the media, such as staffers of radio stations, but persons employed in the media must announce that the material has been taken from the Web site of The Hologlobe Press, the main Internet address to which is www.hologlobepress.com.  Of course, the material is provided for fun.

- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 15 - - -

    When you are in big cities, it is not easy to see the stars above at night.  To see the foundation of the universe--the starlight of billions of stars that can delight children's minds--you have to travel to places that are away from the lights of the big cities.  Today, to get away from the big cities, you can travel on foot or by bicycle, motorcycle, car, van, or whatever, or you can travel by bus or train or boat.  And while you are traveling, you might think about this edition of T.H.A.T., the theme of which is "travel."

    Let me begin by answering a question posed in the previous edition of T.H.A.T.  The new Doctor Who series, which is being shown at least on BBC1 (of England) and CBC-TV (of Canada), was talked about in the previous edition.  Certainly, The Doctor is a traveler--specifically a "time traveler."  I asked you to come up with the answer to who played The Doctor in the episode of the original Doctor Who series entitled "The Five Doctors" (originally shown in 1983).  The answer is Richard Hurndall, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, and Peter Davison.  These actors did indeed play The Doctor, the same character.  However, they were playing the character as the character was at different times or in different "time streams."  Four of the actors played The Doctor in past productions.  In "The Five Doctors," Richard Hurndall was the actor who played The Doctor in the Doctor's original form, having to play the part that had been orginated by actor William Hartnell in 1963 (William Hartnell had died in 1975).  Incidentially, William Hartnell was seen in an introduction segment for "The Five Doctors"; the producers attached black-and-white clips of William Hartnell as The Doctor to the front of the episode.

    Since the 1940s, a number of television series have had "travel" as a main part of what drives stories.  Star Trek, which was originally shown on NBC-TV from the fall of 1966 to the fall of 1970, is one good example in which "travel" was important, and you might remember people think of the series as a "space western."  TV series in which "travel" was important to the stories ranged from those set in the Old West to those set in the future.

    In the last half of 1800s, many people traveled in to the heart of the North America continent by train or wagon train, and a person's going by either train or wagon train was not a pleasure trip.  In the 1800s, a person who traveled by train was very likely to get covered in soot--at least a little--during the journey, because trains burned wood or coal.  Dale Robertson played Ben Calhoun in a series that had a "train" as something that was important to the plot of episodes.  What was the name of the series?  The series was not called Wagon TrainWagon Train was an entirely different series, or, in a way, Wagon Train was two different series, and I say that because the series appeared in first-run form on NBC-TV from the fall of 1957 to the fall of 1962 and then in first-run form on ABC-TV from the fall of 1962 to the fall of 1965; and, by the way, when the series was shown on ABC-TV, it existed as a 60-minute series, then as a 90-minute series, and then as a 60-minute series.  During the time that the series was on the air, two actors played the wagonmaster; at first, Ward Bond played the wagonmaster, who was called Major Seth Adams, and after Ward Bond died, actor John McIntire took over the role of the wagonmaster, a character who was called Chris Hale.  It is fun to remember some of the unique characters in Wagon Train, and one of the most unique characters had to be the cook, who was called Charlie Wooster.  Who played Charlie Wooster in Wagon Train?  He was certainly scruffy looking.

    At the beginning of the 1977-1978 season, NBC-TV began to air a series that was set along the Oregon Trail in 1842; by the way, generally speaking, the Oregon Trail was a trail used by settlers in what would become states of the northwestern United States (the trail existed on land that would become a part of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas).  In this series, Evan Thorpe, who was played by Rod Taylor, and others were heading somewhere by Wagon Train.  Before the series was premiered, NBC-TV had shown The Oregon Trail, a TV-movie that was the "pilot" for the series; the movie had been aired on NBC-TV on January 10, 1976.  The weekly series entitled The Oregon Trail was only shown on NBC-TV for about three months.  Changes took place with the cast between the time the pilot was made and the series was made.  In the pilot Evan Thorpe had a new wife, and her name was Jessica.  Jessica was not a character in the series.  Who played Jessica in the pilot for The Oregon Trail series?  The movie was shown as a presentation of NBC Saturday Night at the Movies, which was during a time when NBC-TV was yet regularly using umbrella titles for blocks of movies.  (Maybe, you have noticed NBC-TV rarely puts movies under umbrella titles these days.)

    Now, let us make a rest stop--sort of between two centuries.

    During this stop at a rest stop, I can answer more questions that were posed in the previous edition of T.H.A.T. One answer is Don Johnson played Elvis Presley in the TV-movie entitled Elvis and the Beauty Queen.  Another answer is Rob Youngblood played Elvis Presley in the made-for-TV movie entitled Elvis and the Colonel: The Untold Story.

    Now, let us return to the road.

    During the 1974-1975 season and the 1975-1976 season, people got to watch the exploits of two truckers through a television series entitled Movin' On, the theme for which was a song by Merle Haggard (the country-music artist) and not a song by John Kay (who had become well known as the lead singer for the rock group called Steppenwolf).  The heroes of the series traveled along the highways of the country in a "big rig," a 13-geared big rig.  The heroes were Sonny and Will.  What actors played Sonny and Will in this traveling series?  Some of the actors who had guests parts in this series were Mackenzie Phillips, Frank Gorshin (who died a few weeks ago), Glenn Corbett, Patricia Neal, Moses Gunn, Jackie Coogan, Rosey Grier, and Art Metrano.

    When I think about shows with people who move things, I sometimes think of a pilot show that I once saw in the 1970s.  The show was kind of "cute."  It was about two guys who worked for "Ace Moving and Hauling."  The pilot was a Sheldon Leonard-Danny Arnold Production in association with Metromedia Producers Corporation.  This show entitled Aces Up was shown on CBS-TV on March 29, 1974, and the two main characters were played by Jose Perez and Raul Julia.  I do have to say it was likable.  The "card" for the show that I have in my files notes that Carol Bagdasarian played a character in the show; Carol Bagdasarian was married to Ross Bagdasarian Jr.   For fun, you should read Michigan Travel Tips #13 (which is associated with the Web site of The Hologlobe Press, as is this Web page that you are reading).

    Certainly, one of the most famous series that had "travel" as a theme was the Route 66 series that was shown on CBS-TV every week from the fall of 1960 to the fall of 1964.  The series was used to show off cars of General Motors Corporation, particulary the Chevorlet Corvette.  The idea of this show had two guys traveling in a Corvette and ending up in various situations each week.  Generally speaking, during the first three seasons, the two guys were Tod Stiles (played by Martin Milner) and Buz Murdock (played by George Maharis), and during the final season, the two guys were Rod Stiles and Linc Case (played by Glenn Corbett).  What was interesting about the title of the series is that it was the name of a famous federal route, US-66, which was a main road that existed between about Chicago (Illinois) and Los Angeles (California), but the series did not always take place along or near US-66.  For example, the episode entitled "First-Class Mouliak" took place in Cleveland (Ohio), which is far to the east of Chicago and far from Route 66, and this episode featured such actors as Nehemiah Persoff, Martin Balsam, and Robert Redford.   An episode entitled "Play it Gissando" did take place, in essence, at the far western end of the route, and this episode was told in flashback and focused on a trumpeter named Gabe Johnson and how Tod was shot.  Some of the performers in this episode were Anne Francis (who played Jana Johnson), Harold J. Stone (who played Lt. Mangano), and Barbara Bostock (who played a singer named Kitty Parker).  Here is a hard question to answer: Who played Gabe Johnson in the episode?  By the way, the setting for the story was Malibu, California.

    You may not be able to answer the question about Gabe Johnson, so I will give you another question.  Who played Nick Lewis and Arthur Clark in the series entitled Route 66.  Maybe, you are more familiar with these two characters than with Gabe Johnson.

    I have never been on Route 66.  It does seem to me Route 66 is made of concrete or blacktop or made of concrete at some places and blacktop at other places.  And it seems to me it is not a "yellow brick road."

    You might have seen The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, which was a made-for-TV movie that was shown as a presentation of The Wonderful World of Disney on ABC-TV on May 20, 2005.  I watched it, and it had a "yellow brick road."  This TV-movie was the second made-for-TV movie in prime-time movie history that had puppets as main characters.  The first made-for-TV movie that I know about that had puppets as main characters was entitled "It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, which was shown on NBC-TV on November 29, 2002, and some of the actors in it were David Arquette, Joan Cusack, Whoopi Goldberg, William H. Macy, Carson Daly, Kelly Ripa, and Molly Shannon.  Incidentally, NBC-TV did not show an umbrella title on the screen before starting the movie, such as NBC Movie of the Week or NBC Movie Event.

    To learn more about "Route 66," you could see the fifteenth edition of Michigan Travel Tips, which is another Internet-only publication associated with the Web site of The Hologlobe Press, and to see it now, click on: Travel #15.  To get to Michigan Travel Tips #13, click on: Travel #13.  Remember: There are more links for Web pages at the end of this Web page.

Stay well!


copyright c. 2005
Date published: June 10, 2005

The Hologlobe Press
Postal Box 5455
Dearborn, Michigan  48128
The United States of America

To see the next edition of T.H.A.T.,
    click on: T.H.A.T. #16
To see the previous edition of T.H.A.T.,
    click on: T.H.A.T. #14
To see the catalog page for T.H.A.T. editions,
    click on: T.H.A.T.
To go to the main page of The Hologlobe Press,
    click on: www.hologlobepress.com