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 am another who watched this show as a youngster and I was entranced with it. Another reviewer compared it to "Route 66," and I agree. Being a half-hour show, it did not, of course, have the time to develop stories with much depth, but they were very human stories, and that is the kind of television I have always enjoyed.
The protagonists being truckers gave the series the latitude to visit a variety of places in the stories, and meet a variety of people. That broad range of encounters via the open road -- its clear resemblance to "Route 66" -- enabled the show to tell stories of all sorts and conditions of people. That was its strength, that and the two main actors, Paul Birch and William Campbell. It was wonderful entertainment for all ages, but particularly appropriate for young people. I also would love for this series to be released on DVD.
Years later, I was on a "Star Trek" cruise on which William Campbell was a guest. I encountered him just outside a shop in Cozumel, and told him that I had enjoyed watching "Cannonball" when I was young. I said the show looked like it must have been fun for him to work on, and he beamed broadly and exclaimed, "Yes, it was! Bless 'Cannonball!'" Bless "Cannonball," indeed!
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