"Route 66" Journey to Nineveh (TV Episode 1962) Poster

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Homage To Slapstick ("You Get The Feeling This Whole Thing Isn't For Real"?)
AudioFileZ26 February 2012
Route 66 routinely dealt with much heavier fare such as drug addiction, mental illness, post-war changes, political/fanatical activism, and, well you name it. Usually, the show handled diversity exceptionally well as the writing was top-shelf. Viewers were usually treated to stories using both rising stars and established ones. Route 66, besides the excellent Milner and Maharris, had no trouble attracting Hollywood's best. Route 66, shot on location, was, and is to this day, a joy to watch.

Seeking diversity on occasion led to some "odd-ball" episodes, none were more so than "Journey To Ninevah" which was the producers homage to the long past slapstick comedy of the 20's and 30's. Two of the finest actors of that era were Joe E. Brown and Buster Keaton who show up here for something so different it can only be called "jarring". At a time where the producers were trying desperately to keep Maharris from leaving I guess it seemed like a good thing to give everyone some comic relief. The problem here is the extremely lightweight story and writing which didn't really showcase the two guest stars in their finest light. Still, I can imagine as a family show the episode was especially aimed at kids in addition to being a kind of love letter to slapstick. In the end it was still entertaining. Using period music and the supporting stars including John Aston, Edgar Buchanan, and Jenny Maxwell (eye candy)the episode largely overcomes the lameness of the story. The ending with the surreal birthday cake is truly the icing on this "cake".
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Great Episode
rmj14221 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This episode was very entertaining and a joy to watch. Keaton is outstanding and the boat scene had me loudly guffawing.

Many of the gags were only made funnier by the fact that you know they are coming. The music is a perfect compliment especially the "poor soul" melody that plays when Keaton has just had another disaster.

Route 66 was a fine series in part because they didn't get stuck in any particular rut. You never knew what direction a given episode might take. Some episodes were dark, some were sad, some were heartwarming, some were thought provoking, and some were amusing.

This episode is not "deep" or filled with trenchant dialogue. Instead it is merely rib-tickling fun and thoroughly enjoyable.
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This is the Most Lightweight Episode of the Entire Series
rwint16119 June 2008
Basically this episode is just an excuse to showcase Buster Keaton, wearing his trademark hat, and having him go through pratfalls reminiscent of his silent film era that are not very elaborate and barely even amusing. The worst part about this is that they add in some cartoon like sound effects that are unnecessary and annoying. The one part where these routines could have been used more and have been worth it is in the climactic street fight sequence, but here they strangely decided to pull back making it culminate rather quickly. The story itself is paper thin and carries no momentum whatsoever.

Seeing Keaton in one of his last performances is this episodes only real selling point. It's fun to see such an old pro mixed in with the younger stars as well as their differing acting styles. However this episode is still one of the most threadbare and lightweight of the entire series.

Grade: B-
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You Are Not Obsolete!
scorchedear22 September 2015
A reviewer incorrectly states this episode's slapstick comedy was "obsolete" in 1962. Nothing could be further from fact! Not only were The Three Stooges riding high on their comeback, Jerry Lewis was a major movie box-office draw; Red Skelton was enjoying continued TV success; this episode boasts a brief appearance by John Astin, then-soon to co-star on TV's I'm Dickens-He's Fenster, another throw-back to classic comedy. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) is an orgy of broad, physical comedy. The still-living Stan Laurel was awarded an honorary Oscar thanks partly to the revival movie archivist Robert Youngson presented in his popular compilations containing Laurel & Hardy among others. Bob Denver & Alan Hale imitated L&H on TV's hit, Gilligan's Island. Definitely this type of humor is a departure for Route 66, yet many a recent dramatic TV series has made one or more light-hearted episodes in contrast to more serious episodes. This one happens to boast two "old-school" greats. I'd have rated it a "9" if Joe E. Brown had been allowed his trademark wide-open mouthed "HEY!!!" Buster Keaton gets the lion's share of the hijinks in a nice continuation of his long-established cinema persona as the nearly luck-less sap who just can't seem to ever get a break. I liked his appearance here better than the Twilight Zone episode he starred in (speaking of serious TV shows to sometimes make a humorous departure or two).
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For Fans of Old Time Comics
dougdoepke3 August 2016
For fans of the series, I expect an entry like this-- played mainly for laughs-- remains a matter of taste. It does feature classic comic Buster Keaton doing his slapstick skits. At the same time, comedy amounts to a rather jarring departure from the series' usual high drama. There's also old time funnyman Joe E. Brown doing mainly a nice guy rather than schtick. I expect producers didn't want the two of them seemingly competing for laughs.

Anyway, there's no real plot except for something about a missing ring. That provides an excuse for a few last-minute moments of action as Buzz and Tod have mock fisticuffs with three local tough kids. Otherwise the two perform good-naturedly on the comedic fringes. Too bad that the little youth gang includes John Davis Chandler whose specialty as a psychotic, Mad Dog Coll (1961), is unfortunately wasted here. The supporting cast also includes an early John Astin doing amusing tongue-in-cheek as a station attendant. All in all, I would recommend the entry mainly to fans of Keaton and Brown, but not necessarily for fans of the series.
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an excuse to use Buster Keaton
dewatersx19 February 2012
I enjoyed seeing footage of Calabasas, CA in 1962 when it was a country village--now it is surrounded by suburbs. Residents of this part of L.A. County will be interested in this episode. John Astin's appearance as a gas station attendant was interesting. Otherwise, the two main characters' performances were as bland as usual, in my opinion. I liked Martin Milner in Adam-12 where his "just-the-facts" style made more sense. Clearly the idea here was to include Buster Keaton's slapstick talents but that kind of comedy was obsolete in 1962. Another criticism i have regarding this episode is that it was not filmed on location in Missouri. The hills are clearly covered with Southern California-type chaparral vegetation instead of oak forests typical of the eastern U.S. Of course you might say that this is nitpicking but Route 66 was touted as being a series shot on locations throughout the country (Boston, Phila., Texas, etc.).
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Only worth seeing because...
shemp5621 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Buster Keaton and Joe E Brown are back together. The plot is threadbare and lightweight as the previous poster said. But then so is everything else in less lame series. The slapstick fight at the end is particularly embarrassing. They should have just let Keaton and Brown ad lib the whole episode. Route 66 is only worth watching for the old stars who guest star now and then. If you think this plot is thin try out the "Halloween" one with Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney. The plots are irrelevant which is probably just as well as the writing on this show is horrible! Terrible dialog. Stupid attempts at comedy. But tune in to see the Great Keaton and Brown.
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9/28/62 "Journey to Nineveh"
schappe19 July 2015
Some episodes are an entrée. Some are dessert. This one is cotton candy.

This one features two grand old comedians, Buster Keaton and Joe E. Brown, and not much else. Keaton plays Jonah, (thus the biblical reference of the title), who everyone, including himself, considers to be a jinx. Poor George Maharis winds up in the water again, (twice), saving Jonah from drowning. He's been trying to fish but has never caught one. They try to help him out, which is an excuse for Buster to go through some of his old comedy routines from the silent days: he helps them change a flat tire but lets the spare get away. He runs after it, only to have it roll up a hill and back down at him, causing him to run away from it. He also desires to anchor his rowboat but the rope is too short and the boat slowly sinks with him and poor George in it. None of these routines have the impact they did in the old days, largely because Buster is a baggy-eyed old man with death around the corner. Slapstick comedy works much better with young, healthy- looking comedians. With old men it just seems sad.

Joe E. Brown does better in the mildly amusing role of Jonah's brother Sam, whose daughter, (Jenny Maxwell, who was previously in "Fly Away Home") has hidden an engagement ring in Jonah's tackle box. The estranged suitor wants it back and has taken Sam to court. Jonah, after finally catching a fish after using the ring to replace a broken on his pole, shows up in the nick of time to produce the ring after hooking almost everyone in the room with the other end of his line. The boyfriend and his thug pals are sore losers and get into a comic fight with Todd, Buz and the brothers which they again wind up on the short end of.

As another old time comedian, Porky Pig, used to say, that's all folks. They had more fun doing it than you'll have watching it.
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