Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Route 66, very, very meta

The final episode of the television series Naked City ran on May 29, 1963. On October 18, 1963, Harry Bellaver (who played Detective Frank Arcaro) and Horace McMahon (Lieutenant Michael “Mike” Parker) appeared in an episode of Route 66, “Where Are the Sounds of Celli Brahms?” It was the first post-City television appearance for each actor. Bellaver plays Shagbag, the publicity man for the Minneapolis Aquatennial. McMahon plays Fenton, the head of an acoustical engineering firm. What makes it all meta: Stirling Silliphant, creator of Naked City, was a co-creator (with Herbert B. Leonard) of Route 66.

[Harry Bellaver as Shagbag.]

[Horace McMahon as Fenton. Tod Stiles (Martin Milner) accidentally stepped on Fenton’s sunglasses. You may wonder if the word accidentally is needed in that sentence. Yes, it is, as Route 66 abounds in acts of male aggression.]

What makes it all very, very meta is this exchange between Shagbag and Tod’s traveling partner Lincoln Case (Glenn Corbett):

“Twenty-two years I’ve been doing this festival every summer. So I’m kind of greeted out, smiled out, and backslapped out, you know? There’s another thing: I never wanted to be a publicity man. I always wanted to be a cop.”

“You look like a cop. I keep thinking I’ve seen you somewhere before — as a cop, I mean. New York maybe?”

“Nope. Never left Minnesota.”
“Where Are the Sounds of Celli Brahms?” is one of the zanier Route 66 episodes. It’s no stretch for Bellaver and McMahon, as Naked City abounds in moments of arch comedy.

Related reading, via Pinboard
All Naked City posts
All Route 66 posts

[Attention, Daughter Number Three: you can get many good glimpses of Minneapolis in this episode. Notice the library behind Horace McMahon.]

comments: 3

Elaine Fine said...

Where are the sounds of Nelson Riddle? Oh how I cherish the novelty of seeing (and hearing) Route 66 for the first time during our summer of 2013!

Michael Leddy said...

Sigh — are you already nostalgic for this summer?

Elaine Fine said...

Life moves very quickly in these Internet times!