Today is Thursday, August 17, 2017

Get your kicks from Route 66 DVD

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Dear Ken: Who had the hit of the song “Route 66”?

If I remember right, the TV series originally starred Martin Milner and George Maharis, but Maharis left the show and was replaced by another guy. Why did Maharis leave and who took his place? 

“Well, if you ever plan to motor west, just take my way, that's the highway that's the best,get your kicks on Route 66.”

Bobby Troup wrote (“Get Your Kicks On) Route 66” in 1946, and Nat King Cole took it into the Top 10 that same year. It has since been recorded by dozens of singers and bands, from Perry Como to the Rolling Stones.

The TV series ran from 1960-64 and starred Milner as Tod Stiles and Maharis as Buzz Murdock. They were just two guys driving their way across the U.S.A. in a powder-blue Corvette. The series was ultra cool at its time as every episode was filmed at a different location.

Maharis left the show with hepatitis problems in 1962 and went in the hospitalized for a month. He returned only to relapse several weeks later.

“The doctor said, ‘If you don’t get out now, you’re either going to be dead, or you’re going to have permanent liver damage,’” Maharis recalled. “I wasn’t interested in leaving the show. I enjoyed it; I was having a good time.”

Glenn Corbett then came aboard as Lincoln Case, but the chemistry between he and Milner was nowhere the same and the show left the road.

Maharis is now 80, Milner 77, and Corbett died in 1993. “Route 66” is available on DVD, as Infinity Entertainment Group just released “Route 66: Producer’s Picks.” The show offers an edgy anthology of downbeat character studies and psychological dramas, plus one of the hippest theme songs ever.

Dear Ken: I heard that a country singer named Molly Bee died last month? Where do I remember her from?

Bee, who was born Molly Beachboard, died Feb. 7 at the age of 69. She had a novelty hit with the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” at age 13 in 1952. I suspect you may remember her as a frequent guest on “The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show” in the late 1950s.She spent her early years on a farm in Bell Buckle, Tenn.

Dear Ken: Is martial-art expert Steven Seagal still making movies?

Yep. Seagal, who hits 58 in April, has three flicks out this year: “Against the Dark,” “Ruslan” and “The Keeper.”

“Against the Dark,” just released on DVD, has Seagal using his sword against vampire-zombies and has been described as “a poor man’s ‘Blade.’”  If you have a trivia question about actors, singers, movies, TV shows or pop culture, e-mail your query to Ken Beck via where you can also find classic films and TV shows on DVD or visit Sherlock’s Book Emporium in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Ask Ken Beck

Journalist Ken Beck, a longtime resident of Wilson  County, has recently become a contributing writer for Main Street Media and its local newspaper, "The Wilson Post."

Earlier this year Beck concluded a 31-year career with "The Tennessean" where he edited the Nashville paper’s “Sunday Showcase” entertainment magazine for 25 years. Besides interviewing stars of film and television, Beck wrote Tennessee travel and feature stories and a popular Q&A entertainment column.

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