Billy Connolly's Route 66 (2011– )

TV Series  -   -  Documentary
7.8
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The Big Yin turns Easy Rider and follows a lifelong dream as he makes the iconic 2488 mile journey from Chicago to Santa Monica. With his unrivalled ability to tell a great story, he brings... See full summary »

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Title: Billy Connolly's Route 66 (2011– )

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Season:

1

Year:

2011

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 Himself - Presenter (4 episodes, 2011)
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The Big Yin turns Easy Rider and follows a lifelong dream as he makes the iconic 2488 mile journey from Chicago to Santa Monica. With his unrivalled ability to tell a great story, he brings to life both the big and small moments of American history: the world changing events and the comic asides. Written by Anonymous

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The Big Yin takes the ultimate road trip

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Documentary

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15 September 2011 (UK)  »

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16:9 HD
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On the road, Route 66 style
11 June 2013 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

Not many routes in the world has achieved cult status like Route 66 has done. But beyond the mystic of the name, there is actually much to explore to those who are hitting the road. It is crossing states from Illinois to California, with stops along the way in Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona with British comedian Billy Connolly exploring the people and places in the search of the real America along the famous highway on his motorized tricycle.

As much as it is fulfilling what Connolly has always wanted to do since growing up in Glasgow and occasionally letting his indulgences into the series like how he felt when he was at the Grand Canyon in Arizona where he was remembered of the John Wayne movies, there are also plenty of history to be told along the way and contemporary events which are also part of the landscape at the heart of America. At the start of the journey itself in Chicago, Illinois, taking in the legacy and what the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 had left behind with the visit of the Chicago Water Tower being one of the very few buildings which survived the fire. There is also in Illinois itself at the state capital Springfield, a visit of the residence of where Abraham Lincoln once lived with his family before he became president, a man Connolly admired greatly. A Civil War re-enactment along the way and the people involved also had Connolly reflecting on its historical significance.

Contemporary reminders are also abound on Route 66 for Connolly, like how he encountered two women at tornado-prone Missouri in St. Louis who are rebuilding after a tornado had swept away their homes. There is also at the state capital Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, a permanent memorial for the 168 victims of the 1995 bombing at the state federal building which gave the Briton the goosebumps over a place which he had initially hesitated on visiting.

But what really gave Connolly the goosebumps was when he was at Los Alamos, New Mexico meeting two elderly men who had witnessed the creation of the atomic bomb in what would be called the Manhattan Project, before it was used in Japan in order to end the Second World War in the Asia Pacific. The personal anecdotes from the two men would change how Connolly once looked at those involved in the Manhattan Project and what those people might had felt about being part of something which would come to have a significant impact in the world.

But Route 66 is also for Connolly, filled with places of note and personalities, of the people who live along the famous highway. From a Navajo medicine man in the Monument Valley in Arizona to try cure the lingering pain he had as a result of a crash on his motorized tricycle on route to a campaigner who wants to keep the famous highway alive, with the visit of a Texan ghost town in Glenrio in between. He is also reminded along the way when he was in the American West, of the people who are trying to move on from the after-effects of the 2007 economic crisis by selling whatever they have of value. Conversations with such people gave Connolly a real sense of how the economic crisis is affecting ordinary Americans living in the heart of the country, a sense of the America that is beyond the superficial.

It was also the case when he was in California, but not heading for the usual tourist sights. But it was also in the same state where Connolly reflected on what he encountered on Route 66. It is road trips like this where the real essence is being revealed, and not the stuff of Hollywood movies, with a dash of quintessentially style of humour from Connolly himself.


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