Favorite TV episodes: Route 66 " Go Read the River"


Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011
ROUTE 66 3/16/62 “Go Read the River”

Arthur Hiller directed this visually poetic story about, of all things, racing speed boats. John Larch makes his third appearance in the series as a humorless, driven creator of speed boat engines who is preparing for a race that will demonstrate the superiority of his latest creation and set him up with lucrative contract offers from manufacturing companies. Todd has become his assistant.

Larch’s estranged daughter shows up. But he refuses to see her both because he’s focused on his amazing creation, (which he seems to value more than his human creation) and because he’s still mad at her mother for leaving him with her. His wife has just died so she wants to reconnect with her father but won’t tell him about the death of his wife because she wants him to connect with her of his own free will, not because he feels obligated. So she stays in her room and plays loud music, refusing to turn it down until her father comes to her.

She finally gives up and leaves just as the big race is about to begin. Todd tells Larch what she’s doing and he hands the boat over to Todd as he goes to his daughter. The race has already started but thanks to Larch’s superior engines, Todd quickly catches up and we see a shot from the air as the field parts and he motors on through them to take the lead, moving rapidly into the distance. Todd, in a voice-over, recites this poem as we see the boat charging forward:

Whoever fights the future has a mortal enemy
A faceless enemy
Because the future has no being of its own
It steals its being from each man.
And once it’s tricked him of his secrets
It appears outside him, waiting
A predator he must meet.

But it can be met and it can be vanquished
If you reach out with open arms and a hungry heart.

Russell Johnson plays the company’s head mechanic. Of course he does- he’ll be playing “The Professor” on Gilligan’s Island in a couple years. Elizabeth McRae has a cameo as rival scientist who pretends to be drowning so the boat will stop and she can get a good look at it. Lois Smith, who played the beauty to Nehemiah Persoff’s beast in the season 1 finale, “Incident on a Bridge”, is the daughter. George Maharis appears briefly at the beginning and at the end, probably because he was busy filming the next episode while they were filming this one. It might have been fun to link the two and say that this was what Todd was off doing while Buz faced his crisis in that next episode.

IMDB: "Route 66" Go Read the River (TV Episode 1962) - IMDb (99 cents on Amazon Prime)

You-Tube: (for $1.99)

The opening sequence: ROUTE 66 TV S2 E23 "Go Read the River" [opening scene]

This clip has more, beginning at the 5:55 point, including the final sequence at the 9 minute mark: "Route 66" filmed on Lake Havasu 1962
Top Bottom