TV Stunt Men Battle in Flats as 'Route 66' Leaves Beaten TracK
Asphalt Plant Setting for Drama
Two stunt men battle briskly on a gravel conveyor in the Flats yesterday as "Route 66," CBS-TV network program, tried valiantly to produce a chapter using local scenery. I say tried valiantly because there were a number of hitches. One was that the production crew had received only 25 pages of a 62- page script from the New York branch. Busy messengers were supposed to be hustling between there and here fetching the rest of the story.
Another was that the Allied Corp. asphalt works, upon whose property the first of two or three films was being shot, occasionally had to fill a dump truck with asphalt. While this noisy operation was going on, "Route 66" was temporarily closed down.
"We'll make it," said Sam Manners, a former Cleveland boy who was in charge. He is also in charge of "Naked City," which is filmed on the streets of New York. Thus he is used to delays of wide and varied scope.
First story being filmed is "Place of the Wing." How does it come out? "I don't know," confessed Martin Milner, one of the series stars. "I know about the first 25 pages. I think the guy gets the girl."
The guy in this case is Nehemiah Persoff. He plays a man who is described as "ugly on the outside but beautiful inside." He is in love with a deaf mute girl, played by Lois Smith.
Persoff is an employee at the asphalt works. So is Allan Melvin. Melvin is enamored of Miss Smith, too. So he grabs Persoff near the gravel conveyor and knocks him out by squeezing his chest. Melvin squeezed Persoff several times yesterday before he got it just right. After Persoff passed out, he was supposed to be tossed onto the gravel conveyor for a quick trip to the top.
Stunt men were on hand for the further battling in and about the conveyor. A crowd of the curious gathered. The stars did a little autographing. Another asphalt truck was filled.
"Let's do it again," the director hollered.
Persoff and Melvin scuffled. The camera whirred. The scene was finished.
The crew will be here about three weeks. "Place of the Wing" should show up on Channel 8 Friday night, June 9 at 8 p.m. That is, if the rest of the script arrives.
Taken With Flats
Manners is so taken with the Flats as a TV background that he would like to bring the "Naked City" crew here to film an hour-long program, too.
"We'd have a long, wild chase through the Flats," he said. "It's a very interesting place."
Manners said he is bothered not at all by the fact that Route 66 actually begins about 325 miles west of here, at Chicago. "It's just a symbol," he said. "In the show, it'll be Cleveland, Ohio."
[editor's note: "Place Of The Wing" was apparently a working title. It was later changed to "Incident On A Bridge"]
Cleveland Plain Dealer - May 25, 1961