Friday 18th September 1964
The final episode of the TV show Route 66 was broadcast, bringing to an end to the roadside adventures of Buz and Tod in Tod’s Corvette. But it also brought an end to an era. Immortalized in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath as the “Mother Road,” Route 66 was a symbol of opportunity, serving as an escape route from the misery of the Depression-era Dust Bowl. Its two lanes wove in and out of Middle America, connecting hundreds of rural communities to the great cities of Chicago and Los Angeles. And above all, it symbolized the open road and Americana, complete with autocamps, motels, and roadside attractions. By 1970, nearly all segments of the original Route 66 were replaced by a modern four-lane highway, and the revived Route 66 TV show of 1993 lasted less than a season. America’s love affair with the “Mother Road” had come to an end.