According to the May 20, 1959 edition of Variety, "Cannonball is a bomb. When the wheels roll, it's explosive, but when the character dramatics come into play, it's a dud. Harry Keller directs as if producer Rudy Abel were standing over him with a budget, yelling "Damn the critics...full speed ahead." See more »
I remember these shows best from when my local CBC-TV affiliate rebroadcast them on Saturday mornings in the early to mid 1970s. Growing up on a farm, I preferred spending rainy Saturday mornings in the summer watching "Cannonball" over throwing around bales of hay. The concept was easily summed up as being the continuing adventures of two long distance truckers.
The product of busy Normandie Productions (Canadian-based creators of "Hawkeye & Last Of The Mohicans" and "Tugboat Annie"), "Cannonball" starred American actors Paul Birch (Mike Malone) and William Campbell (Jerry Austin). The supporting cast was largely made up of Canadian thespians. Besides its Canadian run, the show was also syndicated to Britain, United States and Australia.
The show was hard for me to classify, because of how highly formulaic TV had become by the 1970s."Cannonball" wasn't a crime show, a comedy, a drama, wasn't news, current affairs, or soap opera, but it was watchable. As I recall the truck driven was marked as follows "C & A TRANSPORT - TORONTO - MONTREAL - WINNIPEG - NORTH BAY - NEW YORK". U.S. networks created the following shows that ripped off the concept: "Movin' On" (1974-76), "B.J. And The Bear" (1979-81) and "Lobo" (1979-81).
William Campbell gained notoriety later in life when he was implicated in the "Paul Is Dead" Beatles rumor of the late 1960s. Also Judith Exner, notorious ex-lover of both mob boss Sam Giancana and President John F. Kennedy, was wed to Campbell until 1958.
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