Route 66: Season 2, Episode 11

The Thin White Line (8 Dec. 1961)

TV Episode  |   |  Adventure
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Tod and Buz,in Philadelphia working as "high floor" construction workers,are at a party and Tod mistakenly drinks a beer meant for a troublemaker.The beer was laced with "an experimental ... See full summary »



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Episode complete credited cast:
Dr. Bernard Anderson
Fred J. Scollay ...
Officer Romero
Doris Rich ...
Tambourine Maggie
Joe Warren ...
Lieutenant Walker
Gary Dubin ...
Officer Warren (as Gary Michaels)
Ed Griffith ...
William Hinnant ...
Ray (as Bill Hinnant)
Bill Tierney ...
Drunk (as William Tierney)


Tod and Buz,in Philadelphia working as "high floor" construction workers,are at a party and Tod mistakenly drinks a beer meant for a troublemaker.The beer was laced with "an experimental chemotherapy compound" by the party givers who are college students.Tod runs out of the party as the effects of the drug begin to wreak havoc on him.He experiences heightened senses,hallucinations and paranoia.Buz and the police turn Philly upside down to find Tod before he hurts himself or others. Written by David Stevens/dubchi

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Release Date:

8 December 1961 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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First credited appearance for Anita Gillette in TV or film. See more »

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User Reviews

12/8/61: "The Thin White Line"
10 May 2015 | by (N Syracuse NY) – See all my reviews

This is one of those episodes people remember years later. The boys are at a party in Philadelphia. One of the other guests is a brutish football player that some psychology majors from a local school want revenge on for the way he's treated them by spiking his beer with a powerful drug that produces hallucinations, confusion, euphoria, paranoia and then suicidal depression. The guy pushes them away and Tod grabs the beer and drinks it instead. He goes off the deep end and charges out into the night. Buz charges after him but loses him.

The result is a tour-de-force for Martin Milner, a much under-rated actor, as he goes through the various stages. A long scene in a bar where he threatens and then converts everybody to some kind of religion based on his visions and the need for charity plays like something from Eugene O'Neill. It's been suggested the drug involved is LSD. It may be and it may also be that the symptoms demonstrated here are not authentic and that someone with real knowledge of this drug would see this episode as a sort of "Refer Madness". I don't know and I don't particularly care. It's a strong performance and a strong episode nonetheless.

It's also the perfect vehicle for Stirling Silliphant's penchant for poetic prose. What's amazing is that he didn't write this. Instead Leonard Freeman, later the creator of the rather unpoetic Hawaii Five-O, was the writer. The episode is also cleverly directed, with things like a scene where Tod looks in a store window full of mirrors and his laughing face in all of them. But it's not directed by Sam Peckinpaugh or Robert Altman. This one's directed by one David Lowell Rich, who did a lot of work on TV in those days but never really broke through as a film director. He went on to direct "Cat Ballou" and "A Man Called Horse" but whose career then petered out for reasons that are unclear.

I would have added one line for Buz to say at the end. Tod threatens to jump from a bridge. Tod announces that the two great adventures of life are birth and death and that he's ready to experience the second- and greater- of those. I'd like to have heard Buz ask him about all the adventures in between.

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