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"Route 66" Two Strangers and an Old Enemy (1963)

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9/27/63 "Two Strangers and an Old Enemy"

Author: schappe1 from N Syracuse NY
6 January 2016

This one is surely a left over from the previous season, which ended with the boys in Florida. Jack Warden is a war hero whose post war career hasn't been sterling. He has a job with a civilian flying company. One day, his plane disappears in the Everglades. Tod flies for the same group, (he can not only pilot corvettes and speed boats but also airplanes, as we saw in the first season's "Fly Away Home"), saw Warden's plane just before the crash and believes he may have crashed intentionally. He's now part of the search party. As so often happens in his period of the show, Linc has a different job than Tod, (Buz usually worked with him at the same job), but in this case that doesn't lead to a separate story as it does with so many episodes of the Linc Era. He knows and has befriended Warden, too and, being a Viet Nam vet, he's ideally equipped to help search the Everglades for the missing man. The plane has been spotted from the air so Tod and Buz parachute into the area, only to find they are not the only ones to have done so.

Sessue Hayakawa, whose career dated back to the early silents and who got a late boost playing the prison camp commander in "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957), plays a former Japanese air ace who engaged Warden's plane during the war and could have killed him but let him live, for reasons I found vague and unconvincing. He, too has had a difficult time after the war, senses that Warden may have lost his will to live and feels he would get some positive momentum back in his life if he could convince his old opponent to want to live. Hayakawa was probably 73 when he filmed this and Warden would have been 42, so they aren't exactly contemporaries but it seems to work.

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