Corvette News - VOL. 5 NO. 5 - 1962

Coming soon on Ohio66:
“Starring George Maharis” - by Rick Dailey

Ohio66 presents an in-depth look at the circumstances surrounding the departure of George Maharis from route 66 in the middle of the third season.

preview Starring George Maharis


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Some tricks of the trade are used to get this scene on film. For the "establishing" shot, and adult stand-in for Doc's son falls overboard (a). Milner dives in after him (b), and pulls him back to the boat (c). For the close-up, the camera boat is held alongside (d) and the boy (and the action) are caught as he falls.

Just one shark is needed for the day's sequences, but, to be covered, three sharks were caught the previous day and are in a tank on the back of the boat. Once past the breakwater, the ocean is unusually choppy. The engines are slowed purposely to protect the highly sensitive sharks. But by the time we reach the location, the three sharks have died in the agitated water of the tank. The director who had three sharks, where he only needed one, now has none. Little wonder they turn gray overnight on 66.

As uncertain as things may be with Route 66, one thing soon becomes evident. You can't show this crew much that they haven't seen or can't handle. While the camera boat maneuvers into position for the first sequence, bait is cut, hooks are baited and within five minutes a whopping 40-pound blue shark is landed. With this problem solved, the day still remains a director's nightmare. Maintaining position is a constant problem. Close-ups are hazardous. The boats rock continuously in the choppy water. By the time they break for lunch, the boats have drifted five miles from their original position. Communication is difficult and helps to slow progress. And as if to provide the clincher, the Route 66 brand of fate decreed that the director, Walter Grauman, would be shooting his first script at sea.

A scene shot that day provides another interesting insight into how things are done on Route 66. The script calls for Doc's 6-year-old son to fall overboard while watching a shark being landed. Martin Milner is to dive in and save him. The fact that a shark has just been hooked in this water, and that a finned companion (later caught) is circling the boats, doesn't even slow the proceedings. An adult double does the fall for the boy, but Marty, although his double is dressed and standing by, does his own stunt. This is typical. Both Milner and Maharis like to do their own stunts. As a result, the two highly competent stunt men who double for them don't see much action.

The following day, at Marineland, a sequence is shot with Milner, Maharis and Les Nielsen all walking sharks to revive them. The scene was filmed in a tankful of live sharks. And so it goes, day in and day out, on Route 66.

In addition to being filmed entirely on location, the stories are suggested, in most every case, by the location. Silliphant travels extensively looking for spots that suggest a story or which lend themselves to a story idea. The scripts are then written around the location, using things exactly as they exist.

Rather than tiring of the show, Silliphant says that the effect of writing or reworking close to 60 scripts has been quite the opposite. "I am more enthusiastic now than I was when we started. I feel that I know the characters better, the show better and, most important, I am more aware of its potential." Traveling as he does, Silliphant has seen far more of the United States than most people do in a lifetime. As he puts it "Hollywood images of the U.S. are out-of-date clichés."

Talking over the new script at middle left are (l. to r.) Maggie Pierce, Leslie Nielsen and George Maharis. Lower right, the day is saved as a writhing 4-1/2 foot blue shark is pulled from the water. Lower left, the camera boat maneuvers into position. Big sun reflectors prevent shadows caused by backlighting.

See the original page 25 here...

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