Baltimoreans and Marylanders have become blase about actors being in their midst, along with bellowing directors, film crews, blocked-off streets filled with Hollywood's iconic caravans of trucks, trailers and spotlights, and sidewalks choked with zig-zagging electrical cables.
We've finally caught up with Los Angeles, where locals consider it exceedingly bad form to stop and gawk at a film shoot or pester celebrities.
In Baltimore, first it was
Then it was
It wasn't uncommon on Sunday mornings during those years to see
And then Simon brought filming back to Baltimore with his
But more than 50 years ago, it was the TV show "Route 66" that caused a stir when it rolled into Maryland in a 1961 Corvette convertible that at various times was driven by two youthful heartthrobs, actors
If you weren't born yet or want to relive the TV show, now is your chance. A box set of "Route 66" episodes that aired from 1960 to 1964 was recently released by Shout! Factory.
(The famed highway stretches from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif.; the closest it comes to Maryland is 1,000 miles away.)
The show's punchy and distinctive theme song with its jaunty piano opening was composed and performed by
The rather unconventional show and its themes — given the subject matter of most TV shows at the time — centered on the cross-country exploits of Murdock and Stiles, and in the fall of 1961, they arrived in Baltimore to film two on-location episodes of the show.
"In the series they play two rootless young men wandering around the United States trying to find themselves," Bill Hyder, Sunday Sun TV critic and reporter, wrote in 1961.
In late September 1961, the "Route 66" film crew invaded Sunnybrook in
The episode they were filming was Stirling Silliphant's "The Mud Nest."
What brings Buz and Tod to Hester was an empty gas tank. They had been on their way to Baltimore to search for Buz's mother — Dorothy Colby — whom he had not seen since childhood.
The plot of "The Mud Nest" quickly thickens when the not-particularly-welcoming rustics of Hester recognize Buz as the illegitimate son of a woman who was forced to leave town and make a living working on The Block.
Grandpa Colby, played by
In addition to Hopkins, on-location filming took place at the old Pine Street police station; Enoch Pratt Free Library; a vacant lot in the 1100 block of Ensor St.; The Baltimore Sun, which featured an appearance by Evening Sun reporter Phil Evans; and the Circus Bar on The Block, where the boys paused to gather information on Dorothy.
"The natives spoke with a New England twang, a rural homestead looked as if it belonged on 'Tobacco Road,' and the plot was straight from Iowa — all corn," opined an Evening Sun critic.
The following week's episode — "A Bridge Across Five Days" — tells the tale of Lillian Aldrich, played by
She becomes friendly with Buz and Tod, who are temporarily working at the shipyard as welders. After a minor altercation with Buz, Lillian becomes hysterical and moves into a boarding house for the mentally ill on Frederick Road and Paradise Avenue in