Route 66 (1960–1964)

Like a Motherless Child (17 Mar. 1961)

TV Episode   |    |  Adventure

Like a Motherless Child (1961) Poster

Tod and Buz, driving through Nevada, pick up an orphan hitchhiking. Tod insists he be returned to the orphanage. Buz, both unhappy and angry, separates from Tod. On his own now, Buz looks ... See full summary »

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

9 July 2014 | dougdoepke
One of the Best
Strong entry, from the exceptional acting to the rural poverty to the scenic mountain backdrops. Buzz and Todd split up because of Todd's insistence on returning an escaping orphan boy back to the orphanage. Instead Buzz has flashbacks to his own time as an orphan and strongly disapproves. So an angry Buzz takes his bulky suitcase and splits, with the rest of the hour getting them back together. And get a load of that god-forsaken highway where the guys pick up the orphan. No studio sets here. In fact, the producers do an excellent job of integrating the Nevada countryside into the story as a whole, from the aged orphanage to the seedy town to the tacky roadhouse. The cowboy atmosphere is about as authentic as any TV show of the time.

The entry is also distinguished by that fine actress from the 1930's, Sylvia Sidney. Here she essays poignantly a middle-age "experienced" woman stuck in the thankless job of keeping traveling showgirls in line. Her scenes with the equally poignant Buzz are little gems of unusual TV quality. Then too, the ending couldn't be more sensitively appropriate. If the episode has a flaw, it's not giving that colorful cowboy Ben Johnson more screen time. All in all, the 60-minutes is really a Sidney-Maharis showcase, along with the 1960's Nevada countryside, adding up to one of the series' strongest entries.

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