[[caption-width-right:300:Tod Stiles (left) and Buz Murdock (right).]]

A 196064 drama series on Creator/{{CBS}}, created by Herbert B. Leonard and Sterling Silliphant and starring Martin Milner (later of ''Series/AdamTwelve'') and George Maharis.

''Route 66'' chronicles two heroic [[TheDrifter drifters]] WalkingTheEarth (or at least the continental United States) in a [[CoolCar Corvette convertible]]. Each week Tod Stiles (Milner) and Buz Murdock (Maharis) -- the latter replaced late in Season 3 with a SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute named Linc Case (Glenn Corbett) -- stumble upon different AdventureTowns and take odd jobs to support themselves while committing random acts of kindness, chasing skirts, putting right what once went wrong, wearing skinny late-50s ties, etc.

The writing, much of it by series co-creator Silliphant (who later wrote the classic Oscar-winning film ''Film/InTheHeatOfTheNight''), can be clever, nuanced, and heartfelt. In fact, the series was essentially an {{Anthology}} with two recurring characters that allowed Silliphant to explore a vast number of topics as he felt like it. However, whether due to a changed social landscape, the dawn of the cynical age, or the fact that invariably any drama will have scenes that miss their mark, the series is also the victim of extensive {{Narm}}; it was made in a period that still falls thematically into the era exemplified by TheFifties (as opposed to TheSixties).

''Route 66'' is also notable for heavily subverting HollywoodAtlas stereotypes, as the series had a roving production set-up and episodes were filmed on location throughout FlyoverCountry.

!!''Route 66'' provides examples of:

* AdventureTowns: Real cities across the US serve this function as the two leads take odd jobs.
* BackToBackBadasses: Tod and Buz pull this pose when outnumbered by a gang of hoodlums, complete with the camera panning around them.
* {{Bifauxnen}}: Jan in "Sleep on Four Pillows".
* BookDumb: Buz. He claims he received a diploma without being able to ''spell'' "diploma", and in the first episode confuses the homophones "poor" and "pour": "We're P-O-U-R."
** Yet later episodes show that with nothing better to do, he'll settle in with Creator/WilliamShakespeare and [[Creator/ErnestHemingway Hemingway]].
* CaliforniaDoubling: Averted.
* CharacterFilibuster
* CoolCar: Tod's Corvette, the last gift his wealthy father gave him before bankruptcy and death. [[FridgeLogic Somehow he gets a new model every season.]]
* CorruptHick: The antagonist of the very first episode, in fact.
* CriminalDoppelganger: "I'm Here to Kill a King" features an assassin who looks exactly like Tod and is played by Martin Milner.
* DepartmentOfChildDisservices: Buz's experiences, and in one episode he almost cries because Tod returns a runaway orphan to a state-run orphanage. In another episode, he himself tries to bring a child to the attention of the authorities because of the boy's alcoholic father. That episode suggests that it would be better if [[SocialServicesDoesNotExist Social Services Did Not Exist]] and that everyone's alcoholism could be cured with a simple moral lesson.
* FamilyVersusCareer: This is ''kind of'' the situation in "Poor Little Kangaroo Rat", where a MarriedToTheJob scientist's wife threatens to take their son and leave him. Tod believes that family should be his first priority and finds his neglect of them disgusting. Buz solves the problem by reminding the man's wife that a woman's place is supporting her husband, no matter what financially precarious work he may choose.
* GrandFinale: The Season 4 two-parter "Where There's a Will, There's a Way".
* HalloweenEpisode: "Lizard's Leg and Owlet's Wing" (Season 3) has Tod and Buz encountering Creator/BorisKarloff, Creator/PeterLorre, and Creator/LonChaneyJr, who are concerned that their brand of old-school horror is lost on a younger and more jaded generation.
** Also notable as being much LighterAndSofter than the typical episode of the show. There's a whole comedic B-plot around Buz acting as liason to a convention of beautiful secretaries at the hotel they're working at.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Tod and Buz. They have a joint bank account.
* HiddenDepths: Buz is presented as a barely literate street-fighter type, but his narrations are just as poetic as Ivy League-educated Tod's.
* InLoveWithYourCarnage: Mild case: when Buz comes to blows with someone, Tod likes to stop whatever he's doing and watch, often with a contented grin on his face.
* InstrumentalThemeTune: Composed by Nelson Riddle (see PopStarComposer below) after the show's producers decided not to pony up for the rights to the Bobby Troup standard "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66", it was released as a single and actually became a fair-sized hit.
** And, in fact, the producers had originally wanted Andre Previn's "Like Young" to serve as the theme tune but couldn't get it, so Riddle (who had already been signed to compose the weekly scores -- executive producer Herbert B. Leonard did not like the idea of a RecycledSoundtrack, so both this and his ''Naked City'' had original scores) was asked to write a piece in the same vein.
* JamesBondage: Buz and Tod take their turns getting captured and [[BoundAndGagged tied up]], and for those who are into that sort of thing, Buz spends some time struggling in his bonds while tied down in "The Beryllium Eater".
* [[PoliticallyIncorrectHero Licensed Sexist]]: Buz Murdock. See the FamilyVersusCareer example on this page.
* MayDecemberRomance: Buz gets involved in these.
* MrFanservice: Between swim trunks, lots of [[ShirtlessScene shirtless scenes]] and wet shirt scenes, almost every inch of the men gets its turn on display. Buz's tiny black Speedo gets special mention.
* MushroomSamba: "The Thin White Line"
* [[NonIdleRich Non-Idle Rich]]: Tod, before the family business collapsed around his ears. His father had him working on barges every summer, under Buz's management.
* NotEvenBotheringWithTheAccent: George Maharis has a natural New York accent which carries over to Buz, but it's exaggerated in the first episode. His accent softens considerably when Maharis stops bothering.
* OddCouple: Tod came from a wealthy family, was classically educated in the best private schools, attended Yale, and when drunk he has the tendency to reveal what a toffee-nosed snob he really could be if he weren't so nice. That is, he tells 'hilarious' stories about free tickets to the opera and being on the fencing team, while Buz sits stone-faced because he is an orphan from Hell's Kitchen.
* OrphansOrdeal: Buz, though revenge/seeking his true origins aren't (usually) on the schedule.
* OutOfCharacterMoment: The third season episode "Only By Cunning Glimpses" is one long OOC moment for Tod. The episode culminates in him physically restraining Buz from saving an elderly woman and a child from a burning barn because the resident UnhappyMedium / PhonyPsychic has convinced him that is how Buz will be killed. [[AlwaysSaveTheGirl Apparently he'd rather Buz live, forget the old woman and the kid.]]
** In the final episode of the series, he and Linc rather casually get someone killed by an alligator. Yes.
* PopStarComposer: Nelson Riddle, responsible for the show's jazzy theme tune, moved into television and film scores but rose to fame as a popular bandleader and musical arranger for the likes of Music/FrankSinatra, Creator/JudyGarland, and Nat King Cole.
* ThePowerOfFriendship: What keeps the two together, even though sometimes ideological differences push them toward VitriolicBestBuds.
* ProductPlacement: Tod's CoolCar. The Corvette logo on the hood is sometimes conspicuously center-frame. [[EverybodyOwnsAFord A number of guest stars drive Corvettes as well.]]
* PutOnABus: Buz. When Maharis became too ill to film his character is absent, but Tod has one-sided phonecalls with him. The character returned for a few episodes only to depart the show for good, so at one of those lonely bus stations Tod must have upgraded Buz's ticket to a LongBusTrip.
* PuttingOnTheReich: The [[ANaziByAnyOtherName cult of racial purists]] in "To Walk with the Serpent" wear black, belted uniforms.
* RedOniBlueOni: Tod is deep blue, Buz is fiery red. Later on this dynamic is lost, because Linc is more of a blue as well.
* RedStringOfFate: At the end, Tod marries a VictoriousChildhoodFriend and settles down. Fate, in this case, is facilitated by a very exacting will.
** Depending on your sensibilities, the suddenness and the ArrangedMarriage aspect could make this a case of StrangledByTheRedString, though it is largely keeping with Tod's tendency to fall in love very quickly and hard.
* {{Revival}}: A very brief 1993 series starring James Wilder and Dan Cortese as Nick Lewis and Arthur Clark (with a TitleThemeTune by Music/WarrenZevon). Making them....that's right.... [[MeaningfulName Lewis and Clark]]. It starts when Nick learns about the father he's never met - Buz Murdock - and inherits the Corvette. He has an adventure with the wild stranger, Arthur, and they begin WalkingTheEarth themselves.
** Creator/SethGreen had a significant featured role in the first episode.
** The theme song was not a variation on "Route 66", but an original tune by Music/WarrenZevon.
* SlidingScaleOfSillinessVersusSeriousness: The series slides back and forth. There is a barely-whitewashed episode about a drug addict, and a {{slapstick}}-filled episode with Creator/BusterKeaton.
* SpecialGuest:
** "Journey to Nineveh" (Season 3) features old-time slapstick movie comedians Creator/BusterKeaton and Joe E. Brown.
** "Lizard's Leg and Owlet's Wing" (Season 3) is a HalloweenEpisode that features Creator/PeterLorre, [[Film/TheWolfMan1941 Lon Chaney Jr.]], and Creator/BorisKarloff as themselves.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Lincoln "Linc" Case, who does the dark and brooding to Tod's golden-haired also brooding. He pretty much picks up right where Buz left off.
* TaxmanTakesTheWinnings: The 1993 remake starts the plot like this. Nick's estranged father dies and leaves him everything; after inheritance taxes and lawyer fees he actually owes a little money, leaving him with nothing except his dad's classic Corvette.
* TelevisionGeography: The show went a lot of places that Route 66 didn't... like anything east of Chicago.
* TheyFightCrime: Well, sometimes they do.
* WhatBeautifulEyes: Buz's eyes are often the source of comments.
* WrittenInAbsence: Tod's phonecalls and letters to Buz during Maharis's hiatus.

''...and no, we don't mean 8.1240384.''