Saturday, August 30, 2014

Have I Seen You Before?

Speaking of Route 66, TV used to be different.  People saw an episode once, maybe twice, and that was probably it. No one imagined box sets and Netflix.  So a show like Route 66, where leads Tod and Buz would drive into town and have a new adventure each week, liked to use actors more than once--who'd care, or even notice, if they appeared in different roles?

But I've been watching the show regularly on MeTV and it's hard to ignore.  In one episode, "A Fury Slinging Flame" (the show went for fancy literary titles), Leslie Nielsen is a scientist who figures there'll be a nuclear war soon.  Then two years later, in "Poor Little Kangaroo Rat," he's playing a different scientist who's studying the effects of cholesterol on sharks.  Did he change his name and specialty in the interim?

Tony-winning actress Tammy Grimes also makes two separate appearances.  The first time as a workaholic sonic expert, the second time--in the same season--as a physical fitness expert.  Susan Oliver, best known today as the woman in Star Trek's pilot "The Cage," stars in three separate episodes, as a death-obsessed woman, a woman with a split personality, and the girlfriend of a Viet Nam vet.  Ed Asner, who played smaller parts back then, shows up no less than five times--the producers must have really liked him.

Maybe this was a leftover from movies, when you could enjoy the same supporting actors in one film after another.  The practice seems to have ended.  I don't think those binge-watching fans would accept it any more.

web page hit counter