Friday, 28 September 2012

Title Screencaps - Season Four

Here are the 'Route 66' and Episode Name shots from Season Four. (All of these screencaps are taken from the Shout Factory edition of Route 66 Season 4.)

Episode 1 - Two Strangers and an Old Enemy

Episode 1 - Two Strangers and an Old Enemy

Episode 2 - Same Picture, Different Frame

Episode 2 - Same Picture, Different Frame

Episode 3 - Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

Episode 3 - Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

Episode 4 - Where Are The Sounds Of Celli Brahms?

Episode 4 - Where Are The Sounds Of Celli Brahms?

Episode 5 - Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea

Episode 5 - Build Your Houses With Their Backs to the Sea

Episode 6 - And Make Thunder His Tribune

Episode 6 - And Make Thunder His Tribune

Episode 7 - The Stone Guest

Episode 7 - The Stone Guest
Episode 8 - I Wouldn't Start From Here

Episode 8 - I Wouldn't Start From Here

Episode 9 - I'm Here To Kill A King

Episode 9 - I'm Here To Kill A King

Episode 10 - A Cage In Search Of A Bird

Episode 10 - A Cage In Search Of A Bird

Episode 11 - A Long Way From St. Louie

Episode 11 - A Long Way From St. Louie

Episode 12 - Come Home Greta Inger Gruenschaffen

Episode 12 - Come Home Greta Inger Gruenschaffen

Episode 13 - 93 Per Cent In Smiling

Episode 13 - 93 Per Cent In Smiling

Episode 14 - Child Of A Night

Episode 14 - Child Of A Night
Episode 15 - Is It True There Are Poxies At The Bottom Of Landfair Lake

Episode 15 - Is It True There Are Poxies At The Bottom Of Landfair Lake

Episode 16 - Like This It Means Father... Like This - Bitter... Like This - Tiger...

Episode 16 - Like This It Means Father... Like This - Bitter... Like This - Tiger...

Episode 17 - Kiss the Monster - Make Him Sleep

Episode 17 - Kiss the Monster - Make Him Sleep

Episode 18 - Cries of Persons Close to One

Episode 18 - Cries of Persons Close to One

Episode 18 - Who in His Right Mind Needs a Nice Girl

Episode 18 - Who in His Right Mind Needs a Nice Girl
Episode 20 - This Is Going To Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You

Episode 20 - This Is Going To Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You

Episode 21 - Follow The Dove With The Broken Wing

Episode 21 - Follow The Dove With The Broken Wing

Episode 22 - Where There's A Will There's A Way Part 1

Episode 22 - Where There's A Will There's A Way Part 1

Episode 23 - Where There's A Will There's A Way Part 2

Episode 23 - Where There's A Will There's A Way Part 2

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Episode Analysis - S2 E04 Birdcage On My Foot

Writers: Stirling Silliphant and Elliot Silverstein
Director: Elliot Silverstein
Director of Photography: Jack A. Marta
(Details from - click on the episode title above for more cast and crew)

Screencaps are from the Infinity version of the series, which I think is a little bit clearer than the Shout Factory version.

First - a brief note in response to all the this is where Buz admits he was a drug addict assertions on various websites. No, he does not. He admits that someone he cared about was a drug addict.

This is one of Route 66’s great episodes, with a powerful storyline and a wonderful performance from Robert Duvall in one of his early acting roles. (He was also in the Route 66 episodes The Newborn and Suppose I Said I Was The Queen Of Spain, and is listed as appearing in four episodes of The Naked City.)

The story follows the progress of Arnie (Duvall), as Tod and his friend Charlotte (Diana Millay) attempt to get him through withdrawal from heroin. Initially Buz is violently opposed to the plan, but later it is Buz who is responsible for getting Arnie through to the other side.

This episode is fascinating not just to see Duvall’s portrayal of a man going through heroin withdrawal, but also for what it tells us about Tod’s expectations and attitudes and the social schism between him and Buz. This schism is already hinted at at the start of the episode as we hear of the difference between the motorbike riding ‘Vicky’, with whom Buz hopes to join up later, and the ‘Radcliffe girls,’ with whom Tod associates. Charlotte is one of these Radcliffe girls, an overt representation of Tod’s strata of society. The setting of her apartment gives us a concrete view of this that Tod’s drifter life cannot, and her wide-eyed, insulated attitudes and naïve hopefulness reflect Tod’s own reaction in a way that protects Tod’s character from too much censure.

The schism becomes much wider once the drug addict Arnie enters the scene, when Buz is repelled by a problem that he has witnessed first hand in the past while Tod is pushed to help largely because of his ignorance of the severity of the problem. It almost drives them apart, but Buz’s social conscience is ultimately just as strong as Tod’s, perhaps for different reasons.

This is another of those episodes that tells us a great deal about Buz’s past (curiously we seem to find out far more about Buz’s upbringing in the series than Tod’s) and the reasons for his hatred of Arnie’s problem and also his compulsion, eventually, to help. In the final few scenes it is difficult to tell whether the episode is about Arnie’s present or Buz’s remembered past. Perhaps it is equally about both.

A pretty start to the episode as the camera zooms in across a wide river with rowing teams on it to the Corvette with Tod driving and Buz raising his face to the wind.

‘Some one ought to tell them,’ Tod says.

‘Tell them what?’ Buz asks, possibly admiring the lean muscular form of those sporting men.

‘About outboard motors,’ Tod replies.

Where would this show be without the easy, swift travel allowed by the invention of the petrol engine? Speed and movement are addictive.

The symbolism of carefree ease and speed continues as the Corvette cuts easily through a road filled with slower, larger, more everyday cars and takes a less busy turn-off.

They draw up outside a house in Baltimore and Buz snuggles down in his seat, ready for a sleep, I think.

Tod is none too impressed… Buz is trying to ‘conserve a little strength’ because it’s going to be a long weekend, ‘and, well, you know Vickie.’ (aka, Buz thinks he’s going to get some.)

‘No, I don’t know Vickie,’ Tod says, ‘but I’m just as glad she’s meeting us at the Cape and not riding up with us. She sounds like the number one kook in Massachusetts.’

‘Because she rides a motorcycle, wears black boots, and has a big wide belt with ‘Vickie’ spelt on it in rhinestones?’ Buz asks. I’m wondering if this seeded the idea for Vicki in How Much A Pound Is Albatross?

Buz thinks that Vickie is a better prospect than Charlotte’s friends (Charlotte is the girl they are about to pick up) which leads him to a comical impression of the ‘Radcliffe girl with those black stockings to here’ (the chin). So here is the first hint of the social schism between Buz and Tod. (Does Buz perhaps disapprove of educated women, or just of the posh type of women who would go to Radcliffe?)

Tod tries to haul Buz out of the car.

‘The shirt, the shirt!’ Buz protests, always fashion conscious. He seems to be trying to protect his nipples. I’m not sure what’s so special about what appears to be a simple polo shirt.

Meanwhile, Arnie (Robert Duvall) is watching all this horseplay from a little down the street…

I accidentally paused here while I was trying to look at the front door. Honest. But I couldn't help taking a screencap of Buz running toward the door after Tod has got him out of the car.

Tod and Buz run up to the door (this has to be one of the most impressive apartments they visit) and Buz playfully barges Tod as they go through.

The house at 414, Beacon Street, backing onto Back Street and Storrow Drive in Boston, in 2009, thanks to Google Maps. According to this site it was designed by John Sturgis and built in 1887 for M.C. Blake.

To Arnie, the open-topped sports car is too much of a temptation. He starts drifting towards it, singing tunelessly and wordlessly.

He’s obviously on something by the way he wanders across to the car, unable to keep to a straight line, and we follow his gaze as it moves over the glove box and the gear lever and seats. He throws his jacket into the car.

‘Isn’t that my jacket there?’ he asks to nobody, to justify his proposed actions. Then he climbs in after it. This car isn’t exactly Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but you still feel for it when it’s in danger.

He sits and pretends to drive, and then breaks into the glove box.

This is it. The contents of the glove box. Presumably he was expecting more, thinking the guys who own a car like this must be rich.

So then he starts trying to jimmy the ignition with a screwdriver.

This is when Tod and Buz and Charlotte come out, Charlotte confirming her character type as she opines, ‘I don’t care what you say. I still think riding a motorcycle is obscene.’

Obscene for a woman, or for everyone? I’m guessing for a woman. I think the high-waisted trousers she wears later are pretty obscene, but each to their own.

They see Arnie, and their faces change from smiles to surprise.

It’s the picnic gang. Don’t mess with the picnic gang. They have Yogi Bear on their side.

Arnie tells them he was waiting for them because someone had tried to steal the car.

Buz is wary, gauging the state that Arnie is in by the way he’s talking and acting. He’s seen this kind of thing before. Tod and his posh girlfriend haven’t.

Tod looks like a hurt little boy at finding someone trying to steal the last remaining legacy of his father. From this point on his innocence begins to be unravelled. I’m not sure why he’s quite so innocent, having spent a good while with Buz on the road at this point, but perhaps he didn’t expect to encounter anything like this in a nice area of Boston.

So Arnie starts to wander off and Tod goes to follow him, but Buz catches hold of his arm.

‘Let him go, leave him alone,’ he says as if he’s half in a dream world.

‘He was trying to steal the car,’ Tod replies, still with the sense of a child who doesn’t understand why his toy has been taken away.

Buz is obviously deeply bothered.

‘You don’t know what’s bugging him,’ Buz says as Arnie ambles away. ‘He’s got a birdcage on his foot.’ (Is this a known phrase, or something made up by the scriptwriter?)

‘What?’ Tod asks, bewildered.

‘He’s all strung out behind H. Dope,’ Buz tells him. I wonder why he doesn’t name the drug directly? Is it because he’s hip, or is it because by naming something it becomes a reality?

Tod will have none of it, though. He tells Charlotte to call the police. He intends to follow the man.

He tries to get Buz with him, but Buz says that he’ll ‘sit this one out.’

‘You know, I don’t dig you,’ Tod says. (Somehow I don’t imagine Tod using the word ‘dig.’ Perhaps all young people did then.)

‘You follow him, you will,’ Buz warns him.

So Buz is left sitting alone with his picnic basket, looking troubled…

…while Tod follows Arnie off down the street.

This isn’t going to be a fast-paced chase.

Suddenly we/the camera are noticing the seedier aspects of the city – the man sitting asleep against a gravestone who is probably an alcoholic, by the way he suddenly tries to hide the bottle when the voices wake him.

Tod has never noticed these things before, and now his eyes are being opened.

I like the image of the man against the grave – it makes me think of one of those paintings (I can’t remember the era) which would have hidden skulls and other signs of mortality.

The beautiful sunny day and the graves and the drugged out man – a lovely mixture of the beauty of life and the inevitability of death.

Tod calls that he wants to talk to him.

‘You’re wasting your time, cause I’m going,’ Arnie replies. ‘No sense you going too, because I can amble like daddy-long-legs, you know.’

Suddenly it seems about to turn nasty as Arnie turns and threatens, ‘I’ve got a weapon here, man.’

He has something small and metallic in his hand.

‘It’s a good day and a good place to reflect on the question, er, What are you doing here on this scene?’ Arnie says. ‘A good quiet day to go back to your friends and let people be.’

But Tod carries on towards him, and suddenly Arnie puts on a turn of speed that you wouldn’t expect would be possible from him.

Tod pelts after him. He looks more together than Arnie as he runs, but still he’s not gaining on him.

A beautiful shot as their approach scatters a flock of pigeons and startles a young girl.

But as Arnie reaches the exit from the park, fortuitously the police arrive and Tod calls out to warn them that he has a knife.

Thanks to Google Maps again for this modern day shot of those steps and Massachusetts State House beyond.

So the cop, Lieutenant Calder (Mike Kellin) asks Arnie for the knife and it turns out it wasn’t a knife – it’s a skate key, which has a kind of poignancy all of its own, as does the ‘to our soldiers’ carved into the steps behind him. There’s a sense of lost innocence.

Tod seems quite shaken by the whole thing. You get the sense that from the moment he saw the guy in the Corvette, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. He’s getting himself in deeper, and he still has no idea, but it scares him.

Lieutenant Calder pushes up Arnie’s sleeve to find needle marks in his arm. Tod seems like he’s fallen into a new world. The lieutenant tells Tod to come down to the station to make his complaint.

Tod just seems stunned by it all. It’s as if a layer has been peeled away from the city he thought he was in, and he’s seeing something he’s never seen before.

So, they turn up at the police station. Buz has the same kind of look on his face as when he approaches an orphanage. He doesn’t want to be here. Tod still seems shocked. Charlotte looks reluctant and perhaps faintly disgusted.

‘You should have seen the way he pleaded with me. He actually got down on his knees and cried,’ Tod muses.

‘Forget it,’ Buz says darkly.

‘What’s the matter with you today?’ Tod challenges him.

‘Just forget it, will you,’ Buz says again.

‘Wow,’ Charlotte says in response to Buz’s defensiveness, in an intensely annoying way. She really is irritating. She’s like the perfect upper class princess who’s never seen anything sad or bad.

Really I just like this shot. But it also shows how although the other two get out of the car, Buz is reluctant to join them – a more serious echo of his playful attempt to lounge in the car at the start of the episode.

‘Knock off the mood music and stop sulking. Come on in. You’re a witness too,’ Tod tells him unsympathetically.

So Buz makes a point of taking the keys out of the ignition and follows him.

‘Just remember,’ he says, ‘it was your idea.’

Some nice anti-drug boards in the police station.

Arnie is being searched for drugs. His laces have been taken to check that they haven’t been soaked in a drug solution.

When Tod and Charlotte come in Arnie is still being interviewed. Buz hangs back, still reluctant to be there.

The cop draws a photograph out of Arnie’s wallet.

‘You’ll never be alone, now or ever, always, your Laura,’ he reads from the back.

An interesting sentiment considering what we find out later about this picture. Is it a deliberate attempt to manipulate, or a desperate fabrication of some sort of social mesh to hold him?

Arnie starts to reel off the various different sentences for possession in different states. This implies that he travels around a lot, and has been an addict for a while.

‘You’d think we were lepers,’ he says bitterly, raising the question, why do we treat drug addicts as if they had a contagious illness? Alcoholics are not treated in this way. Is it the unpredictability of the drugged that scares us?

This episode skirts an interesting line between sympathy for addicts and a realistic appraisal of their chances for recovery.

Tod is still very bothered by this whole thing. His social conscience is in overdrive. He’s not looking at a criminal, but at a sick man with a wife and child, who needs help. Perhaps this is why Buz is so very wary of it all – he knows Tod and knows he will want to help.

‘What if we just drop the charges?’ Tod asks.

‘What do you want to do that for?’ Lieutenant Calder asks. ‘Look at him! He’s already starting to sneeze.’

He starts to needle Arnie about where his next fix will come from with the kind of careless cruelty that comes from seeing this kind of thing all the time.

There’s a kind of sympathy on Buz’s face that isn’t the same as Tod’s. There’s less pity in it.

He looks disgusted at Calder’s tactics, and turns away.

Cruelty aside, I rather like Lieutenant Calder, if just for his jaunty hat and his accent, which reminds of someone I can’t place.

Arnie is starting to look wild and desperate.

‘Guys like this are hopeless,’ Calder tells Tod. ‘The public seems to think that addicts are beatniks, poets, musicians, way-out types who shoot for kicks. Oh sure, we get a few of those too, but most of our trade is stuff like this baby here. Just a bag of bones more of a menace to himself than anybody else. Just a no-good, gone-for-broke bum who’s better off in jail where maybe, just maybe, cause he can’t put his hands on any narco, he might shake the habit. Here, ask this one why he’s a user. To make rainbows in the sky? Huh, not on your life. Just so he can get out of bed and start the day, so he can get normal, so a fix could bring him even with the rest of us.’

‘But he’s sick,’ Charlotte protests.

‘Around here, miss, we don’t get any well people,’ Calder tells her realistically.

The lieutenant points out that if Arnie wanted to he could ‘go to the government hospital on Lexington and let the best narco docs in the country take care of you.’

So, naively, Charlotte says that they could take him, and turns baby eyes on Tod. It’s as if she’s offering to take a mangy dog home from the pound. She’s about to let a guy who could be anyone into her apartment because she thinks she can make it all better, epitomising the rich do-gooder who tries to help but fundamentally misunderstands the problem.

Charlotte is stepping in for Tod’s naivety here. She’s the one who initially offers the luxurious venue and the ill-advised help because Tod has no place to take Arnie and it would damage his character to make him look quite that naïve. At least, this is the only conclusion that can be drawn in light of her apparent disdain for and fear of Arnie the rest of the time.

So Tod offers a life ring to Arnie. He’ll drop the charges if Arnie will agree to try to kick his drug habit.

Arnie seems to be cogitating all this. He has the same look on his face as when he was working out if he could steal the Corvette.

‘The best way to fight back, man. Surrender,’ he says.

‘Have a happy weekend,’ the lieutenant wishes Charlotte, dripping with sarcasm.

But suddenly Buz comes into the conversation, after staying in the background through the whole thing.

‘We’re not going to take him. This is wrong, and it’s crazy, and I think the whole deal stinks.’

‘Leave him alone,’ Buz rants, his anger growing. ‘Do him a favour. Leave him here where he belongs. Who wants him? Who wants to help him? Let him drop dead.’

There’s something about this speech – about how his anger rises and he ends with the childish ‘let him drop dead’ which makes you feel that you’re looking back to an irrational, vulnerable part of Buz. This has very little to do with the drug addict in front of him and everything to do with something in his past. He’s afraid, more than anything else.

So Buz storms out, and Tod follows.

‘I don’t want to talk about it. I said what I had to say,’ Buz tells him.

‘So we’re just going to pretend that you didn’t say it and I didn’t hear it?’ Tod asks.

‘Is he worth it?’ Buz asks.

‘I don’t know, but even if he isn’t, that doesn’t take me off the hook,’ Tod says.

They sound for all the world like a couple in love having their first fight. Tod has been having an affair with another man…

Seriously though, an interesting line from Tod. That doesn’t take me off the hook. Tod is on no hook. He only became involved because Arnie broke into his car. He’s certainly not bound to help him. There’s a greater message here, I think, that we are all on the hook in situations like these. We all have a responsibility for the bad things that happen in our communities as well as the good. This is what makes a society. Tod and Arnie’s paths have crossed, and now Tod feels duty bound to help. In a way this is the overall theme of Route 66.

‘Tell me something, Tod,’ Buz asks. ‘Are you really with him, or are you above it?’

‘I don’t have to wallow in his filth to try and help him,’ Tod replies.

This reminds me of the Victorians and all their great plans to help the poor masses, and again shows the schism between Tod and Buz. Buz is capable of looking at the problem from the level it’s on (once he overcomes his fear due to his past associations) whereas Tod is looking from the outside.

At first I thought the police headquarters at 154 Berkeley were just posher than they used to be. No more bars on the windows. But I think it's been turned into a restaurant. Thanks Google Maps.

‘That’s what you think, now,’ Buz says. ‘Let me tell you something, buddy. In a contest like this - you¬ against that junkie – watch out. He’s from another world. He can tune you in and out like a Sputnik. To you, there’s twelve inches in a foot. To him, a foot can be anything. Something under a microscope, something that stretches from, from coast to coast. He can cut you down easier than you can lift him up. You big enough for that job?’

‘If you try, you’re big enough,’ Tod replies.

This is what Tod believes, but it’s soon proved to not be true. Good intentions are wonderful, but this job is beyond him. Buz could be describing the explosion in drugs that’s about to take place in the 60s, where all boundaries become erased or redefined.

Buz tells Tod that he’ll drop all of them off (four of them, in that Corvette?) and then drive up for his weekend with Vickie. He’s not having any part of this.

‘Just like that?’ Tod asks.

‘Just like that.’

(I like the fact that even in the throes of an argument like this there isn’t any question that Buz can take Tod’s car. It shows the depth of their friendship beyond disagreements like this.)

‘We’ll take a cab – you can cut out right now,’ Tod tells him. ‘I wouldn’t want you to keep Vickie waiting.’

What a wonderful argument this is.

‘What about all the sandwiches?’ Buz asks, as if he’s clinging to a reason to keep talking. I think he wants Tod to turn around and agree with him and just come away for the weekend as planned.

‘They’re all yours. The tuna fish and the peanut butter and the salami,’ Tod says bitterly.

‘You’re really going, huh?’ Tod calls as Buz walks away. I love the lengths they go to to keep it together despite the fact that they’re furious with each other.

‘Like the song says, If you don’t believe I’m going, count the days I’m gone,’ Buz retorts as he gets into Tod’s car.

‘I hope you choke on the salami,’ Tod shouts after him.

Oh Buz. Rather than tell Tod what’s bothering him he will let it get to this. Will he ever learn?

(To be fair to Buz, there hasn’t really been an opportunity for him to talk to Tod privately, away from lovely Charlotte, and I imagine if he asked Tod to Tod would be so caught up in the valour of the situation that he wouldn’t listen.)

I love the way they do this. You see Buz driving off with squealing tyres, and then the camera is on the back of the car, and Tod recedes into the distance. And all the while Buz is driving Tod’s car. No matter what the argument, there’s an unspoken bond. Tod allows Buz to drive away his car in anger. After the issue of Arnie getting into the car and breaking into the glovebox this really highlights their friendship despite the argument. Arnie was trying to steal it, but Tod lets Buz take it.
Laboured point. Sorry. It’s late.

The Boston Police Headquarters in 2009, at 154 Berkeley, thanks to Google Maps, in a similar view to the one seen from the Corvette as Buz drives away. There seem to be a lot more trees around nowadays.

So, we cut to Tod paying the taxi because Buz has his car, Arnie looking like a lost child, clutching his jacket, I think, and Charlotte looking frankly uncomfortable, as if she thought this would be a good idea but hadn’t expected to be seen getting out of the taxi and standing on the street with a junkie.

And I’ve just noticed Charlotte’s knee-high socks and trainers. It’s a odd look with that skirt…

Bongo drums in Charlotte’s apartment! I know who’d dig them like crazy! She has a lot of stuff – books, records, musical instruments, pictures. She’s cultured and well off.

You get the sense that Charlotte really does feel awkward about this as they enter her apartment and she starts babbling about how she used to live on the top floor, which has ‘one distinct advantage. It eliminated my capricious suitors. A man has to be really dedicated to climb those stairs.

But how dedicated is Arnie? The cage in the foreground tells us exactly how he’s feeling.

‘Well, didn’t Leander swim the Hellespont to be with Hero?’ Tod asks, and Arnie says in a preoccupied way, ‘I hear he drowned,’ staring at the caged animal before him.

‘You read!’ Charlotte says in a delightedly surprised way.

‘Yeah, and everything,’ Arnie replies. Charlotte’s snobbery really shines through.

‘Now, there’s a cat who digs,’ Arnie says, staring at the chipmunk in the cage. (Is it a chipmunk?) ‘It’s not the getting there that counts. It’s the going.’

Much like Charlotte, Tod tries to fill the awkward situation with pleasantries. He asks Arnie his surname, but Arnie just carries on talking to the chipmunk, so Tod introduces himself and Charlotte instead. Social constraints and conventions to paper over this odd situation. They probably don’t mean much to Arnie right now.

‘Good solid names. Wear ’em in health,’ Arnie says, but he doesn’t look round. ‘Hey, what did we ever do, huh?’ he asks the chipmunk. ‘Not our fault we were born. Who asked for a ticket?’

Arnie continues waxing philosophical.

‘These things don’t bug you, huh?’ he asks Tod.

‘What things?’

‘The gauze that covers everything. This is a mothball world, man. So bundle up so the chill of society doesn’t freeze your marrow.’

Tod’s having none of that. He doesn’t want to peel back the gauze and look at the wound underneath. It’s funny, since he was the one who wanted to help in the first place, to show that society wasn’t a cold place.

‘I still don’t know your last name, Arnie,’ he prompts like a teacher trying to bring a child out of his shell. But Arnie still isn’t giving. I suppose that to give his last name would be to let himself into the control that Tod is trying to lay on him.

Arnie’s starting to feel the need, and Tod tells him, ‘Try not to think about it.’

‘Man, isn’t that the way,’ Arnie replies. ‘They always say that to you. Just as you’re splitting down the middle they always say, Boy, try to hold onto yourself. And when you break into a million pieces they try to say, Keep yourself together! Just like you can flip it on or off.’ His voice is rising. He’s becoming more desperate.

So presumably he’s been through this before, and it hasn’t worked. It makes you wonder whether the end of the episode is as positive as it seems.

He starts to pull out threats, telling Tod he’ll make the apartment look like ‘an elephant walk.’ He’s getting desperate. Then he starts to beg for money, just to get him through until morning.

You get the first inkling of the chaos Arnie could unleash as he snatches a score from the piano and rips it to write an IOU on it for Tod.

‘Inside the next tick of the clock a time bomb’s going to bust right out in your face,’ Arnie says, swinging back to threats again. Tod is trying to ignore him as he gets more desperate. He starts screaming and rolling on the floor, threatening to ‘bust inside out.’

Charlotte comes running out at the noise, wearing the most hideous high-waisted trousers I have ever seen. Some people suit high-waisters. (*cough Peter Graves cough*) But seriously, they do her no favours. Tod tells her she should stay in the other room (now his eyes have been opened to how hard this could be) but to her credit she says they’re in it together.

‘Sure, you do the watching and I’ll do the shaking,’ Arnie yells. ‘Man, that must be imperial, wheeling about in the sun, great big beautiful sea gulls, circling around without a feather out of place, looking down, watching the sharks tear the tuna.’

And there he has summed up Charlotte’s world.

And then he collapses and starts shrieking and moaning again, still trying to get money out of them so he can leave and get a fix.

Charlotte asks to see the picture again of the woman and little boy while Tod goes to eat, so they can both study it so he can think about how his struggle is for them. Again, this just seems school-teacher-ish.

But he distracts her by dropping the photo, and makes a run for it.

Tod manages to grab him on the stairs. I like this shot through the banisters, making him look caged like the chipmunk.

That’s when Tod realises that the writing on the photo and on the IOU are the same. Arnie had written on the photo himself to garner sympathy. Another one of Tod’s illusions is dispelled.
(Is it to garner sympathy, or is it so that Arnie can construct a fantasy of a family who might help him?)

‘Somebody had to write it,’ Arnie says. If I were going to go all lit crit here I would say that this is a profound statement about the disconnected society of the 1960s, when family was breaking down and endearments have to be written to oneself on the back of a stolen photograph.

‘Well, why isn’t there a Laura?’ Arnie asks. ‘There has to be. You know, ten million Lauras all over the world with ten million kids in their arms, all looking at the cameras. Why not me?’

More profundity. Too late at night to make more of it.

It didn’t take long. They decide that this is too much for them to handle. They’re think now that Arnie is just manipulative and a hopeless case, and they should phone the Lieutenant for him to take Arnie back. Arnie threatens to destroy the place if they pick up the phone.

‘Don’t try it,’ Tod says – so Arnie throws a book through the window.

Look at that place. The framed picture of Charlotte on a lovely horse, the little ornamental dogs on the shelves, the books and records and those crazy bongos. They really are setting Charlotte up as the privileged princess, attractive to Tod, bewildering to Buz and to Arnie who has nothing.

So next Arnie threatens to cut off his arm if they make the call. You can see why Robert Duvall became a well-known actor. Route 66 was excellent at picking out these stars.

Suddenly he starts to scream and races off to the bathroom. This is when Buz arrives back.

‘Run out of sandwiches?’ Tod asks acerbically. Even though he’s in too deep (or perhaps because he’s in too deep) he’s not ready to admit that Buz was right.

‘It was raining books,’ Buz replies. ‘Where is he?’

When he finds out that Arnie is alone in the bathroom he is aghast.

And there Arnie is in the bathroom, trying to inject himself with a medicine dropper.

‘Who are you? God?’ Arnie yells as Buz wrestles him out of the bathroom.

‘I’m the fishhook in your gut,’ Buz says viciously. ‘You just try and rip me out. Just try.’

Buz is like an avenging angel returned to wreak havoc in Arnie’s life.

Buz tells them to clear everything out of the bathroom but the towels.

‘You mean he was going to use an ordinary medicine dropper right into the vein?’ Tod asks, sounding half incredulous, half disgusted.

‘He’d use a shovel if that’s all he had,’ Buz responds.

Discussion of what Arnie might have been trying to inject himself with (it was ‘paregoric’ – Paregoric, or camphorated tincture of opium, also known as tinctura opii camphorata, is a medication known for its antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic properties. Thanks Wikipedia). But really this is here because Buz looks very pretty. And look at that background! Charlotte’s apartment looks like some kind of stage. I wonder what this building used to be - or is it just a fabulous Victorian interior?

Buz may be back to help, but Charlotte still thinks they should call the Lieutenant. Arnie is wailing and being dramatic again – but Buz has no patience with it.

‘He was faking, and he’s faking now. Whatever he pulled on you before was a circus. All that jazz you’ll see in the movies about cold turkey, guys climbing the walls and screaming and hollering. It doesn’t happen that way! So you can cut the act.’ (Buz is really angry now.)

‘I’ll tell you what’s going to happen,’ Buz rants. ‘Around seven o’clock tonight it’s going to land on you, and when it does, you’re gonna be too sick to climb the walls. You’re gonna lay out there on the floor and you’re gonna sweat for five and you’re gonna freeze for five, and you’re going to pull yourself into a ball, and you’re gonna kick a couple of times, maybe to ease the pain. And then you’re gonna run in there and you’re gonna cough up your stomach. But that’s it. For the next forty-eight hours that’s the whole enchilada. Nothing glamorous, Tod, like what you see from Hollywood. No big dramatic deal, no crises, no serum being rushed to Rome, no fever that breaks and the kid opens his eyes and smiles into the camera while they sneak in the violins. Just a dirty filthy sickness, but when it’s over, you’re not gonna have any more horse in your veins.’

Arnie listens through all of this as if he’d really rather he wasn’t there. He hadn’t been bargaining on this – on someone who actually knew what he was doing.

‘How do you know?’ he asks Buz.

‘I’ve heard it all, so don’t try and con me,’ Buz tells him. ‘Don’t tell me it’s like – like hands of a clock turning inside of you, razor blades, every second a cut, every minute an amputation, a sky full of pigeons caged in your brains, drums in your lungs. Words! Two bit thunder. Something that – that witch doctors rattle to hide the truth. I know the truth, kid. You’ve got a cone of ether over your nose. Well, nobody’s holding it there except yourself. I’m gonna tear that cone off. You’re gonna start breathing fresh air again. You’re gonna start looking around at other people’s problems, not just hiding in the mirror and knocking your knees together because the sun comes up in the morning. And I don’t wanna know your name. I don’t care. To me, you’re X1. I don’t wanna know your case history, so don’t tell me about how your mother belted your father and you lost respect for him, or how your uncle drank, or how some cat set a bad example for you in some broken down tenement. So what? The world stinks, huh? People times(?? I don’t know what he says. If anyone does, please enlighten me!) Well look around you. It doesn’t have to. You don’t have to stay home to see bad examples. Now, you and me, we’re going to work. You and me, X1. We’re gonna see if you’ve got the guts to be born again, and if I’ve got the stamina to deliver you.’

Whew. Well, kudos to George Maharis for learning that speech, which takes a lot of screen time – two minutes for the bulk of it, not counting that he’s been doing the majority of the talking since he came in through the door.

Also, it’s an excellent performance. He really means it. You can see that there’s something going on in Buz that has pushed him to the edge, and he is unleashing all of his fury on Arnie. He’s also unleashing that part of himself that kept him from becoming yet another kid on the wrong side of the law. The part of himself that will reach out and overcome personal circumstance to make something better of the situation.

So, Tod is up on the roof, looking out over the peaceful city, he and Charlotte having been ousted by Buz. Outside everything is serene, and from up there it looks clean and free of the seedier sides of life.

We see a series of images of innocence. A young couple talking, girls sitting barefoot on the pavement playing clapping games, another couple walking across the park. This is the ideal world that you think Tod hopes is all that exists. I love the way this episode juxtaposes images of the lives of the city alongside the tight focus on Arnie’s struggle.

Up on the roof Tod is looking pretty and very young, with a cigarette between his fingers and his hair being blown by the wind.

‘Almost seven o’clock,’ Tod says. ‘He’s been right about everything else. Guess he’s right about this, too.’

‘He could have been a little more diplomatic, don’t you think?’ Charlotte asks, because to her Buz is a savage and everything he does smacks of the mean streets of New York.

‘Well, there’s something about the word out gets the message across,’ Tod tells her with half a smile.

I've been trying to work out where Tod and Charlotte are sitting. I believe the white structure in the screencap above is the white structure at the top right of this Google Maps view, but I still can't work out where they are.

‘I’ve never seen Buz like this before,’ Tod muses. ‘Times today I wondered if I ever really knew him. As a matter of fact I’m beginning to wonder if I ever really knew anybody, myself included.’

Why has Arnie shaken Tod up so much? Because he drew forth this angry, defensive person in Buz? Because he hadn’t realised what an addict really was? I find it hard to believe that he’s been so sheltered in life, but perhaps he has.

Charlotte here is little more than a mirror for Tod’s reaction. She is a cleaner, primmer version of him, more protected in her ivory castle. She gives Tod something to look towards while Buz is downstairs trying to wring the drugs out of Arnie. It does seem ironic, though, that they’re there sharing cigarettes while Arnie is trying to quit drugs.

Tod is looking rather pretty up on the roof, ruffled by the wind.

‘I feel like I’ve been walking on fire,’ he says. ‘I can’t find any blisters, but something got burned away. I don’t know yet if it’s for good or bad, but I’m different. I’m not sure about a lot of things I was sure about before. I guess the fact that we failed as human beings with that kid downstairs. A bag o’ bones. That’s what the lieutenant said, wasn’t it? That there was nothing we could do for him.’

‘He made me feel alone,’ Charlotte says, but, even more than Tod, she sounds as if she’s using Arnie as fodder for a private therapy group. I find it hard to take her troubles as real and deep things. ‘Almost scared-alone, you know. Take all those cars down there. Take the whole city, alive with a million people. Here we all are, pressed in together, passing each other on the highway, talking to each other, even loving each other. All the time we’re – we’re really alone, aren’t we? How many of those people down there on Storrow Drive have any idea what’s been happening under our feet, in my apartment. And what do we know about the people in those cars?’

But somehow she still reduces it to how she feels – her aloneness, her apartment, things under her feet.

‘Yeah. Yeah, we failed with Arnie,’ Tod muses. ‘But maybe Buz won’t. And as long as somebody, somewhere, anybody, anywhere, can hook onto another person, share a truth even for a tenth of a second, that’s something, isn’t it? Yeah. It’s a start.’

Having shown himself to be sensitive and philosophical, but still raised up above the drug addict both physically and morally, Charlotte reaches out to him. I wonder if Tod has ever had sex on a roof before? I think he might be just about to.

Well, I just love shots like these…

Seven o’clock, and Arnie is lying on his stripped mattress.

And there’s Buz at the window, just waiting.

Arnie starts to watch the chipmunk in the cage as it runs uselessly on its wheel, freaked-out music over the top. The chirrups of the chipmunk and the relentless turn of the wheel seem claustrophobic.

Buz is watching with something like pain on his face as Arnie kicks and groans on the mattress. He isn’t just reacting to what’s before him. He’s reacting to something in his own mind.

Arnie kicks out…

And outdoors his action is mirrored by a boy kicking an American football. I love the way they chose to do this, intensifying the claustrophobic feeling of Arnie’s suffering by mirroring it in the innocent and everyday actions of the outside world. A moment later his private writhing on the mattress is mirrored by the very public spectacle of men wrestling in an arena, before shouting crowds.

Buz looks nauseated by what he’s seeing. If this is a trial for Arnie, it is for Buz, too.

As Arnie struggles to get out of his shirt, Buz throws him blanket.

‘So I’m on fire and you throw me a blanket,’ Arnie rages.

‘Any minute now you’ll be in deep freeze. Keep it handy,’ Buz tells him with a kind of detached compassion. And Arnie runs off to be sick, as we watch children splashing in the pool and playing on a roundabout.

When he returns, inevitably he is freezing, so Buz helps to cover him up with the blanket.

I just really like this shot, and it’s not like this isn’t going to be the longest screencapping I’ve ever done anyway.

And, oh my god, Buz can play the piano! *squeals*. I mean, he doesn’t bash out a concerto, but you can see from the way he sits at it and puts his feet on the pedals and touches the keys that he can, and he starts to play a simple melody. What would Charlotte say to that?

‘Ten years of my life I’d give to get you on the rack,’ Arnie shouts at him.

‘We’re all on the rack,’ Buz tells him. ‘We’re all hooked by something, one thing or another, sometime.’ And he starts to play softly. ‘The idea – to get unhooked. To find a new fix.’ (for a moment you feel like he might break into song) ‘a better one. Something you don’t have to look for in the dark. I can’t push you into Lexington. I’m not trying to. I’m doing this for myself, not for you.’

‘Oh, help me,’ Arnie asks him hoarsely.

‘Look, you want any help from me, you’re going to have to crawl for it, X1 – on your knees, begging. Clear?’ Buz shouts. I don’t think he’s meaning to play good cop/bad cop here, but he is. He watches with sympathy for so long, and then he breaks and all of the hatred and fear of this situation breaks out.

‘Just to get well to come and get you would be worth it,’ Arnie retorts, shaking in his blanket, and Buz turns away and starts playing again.

Time has passed.

‘Man, what’s with you? You got a stone chest and a cannonball for a heart?’ Arnie asks Buz as he sits staring into the distance. ‘You don’t even care. You don’t even want to hear my story.’

‘I hate it,’ Buz replies. A story would make him emotionally involved, and that's what he's terrified of. It’s the exact opposite of Tod and Charlotte’s tactics.

‘X1, huh?’

‘Yeah, that’s it.

We see images again from the outside world. It’s dark now, and couples are laughing. Young lads are fooling around, helping each other up onto the wall.

And Arnie reaches out too, asking, ‘Please, help me. Help me get through it. Look, I’m crawling, just like you wanted.’

Buz seems to be going through some kind of dilemma.

This time, though, he actually does accept Arnie.

‘You’re not crawling towards me, Arnie, you’re crawling towards yourself,’ he tells him. ‘For the first time.’

‘You know why I never tried to kick this before. I haven’t got the guts, and I haven’t got the guts now because I’m dying. You hear me. I’m dying,’ Arnie mutters. ‘I can’t make it. I can’t make it by myself.’

‘Yes you can,’ Buz assures him soothingly. ‘You’re not alone, Arnie. You’re not alone.’

Buz starts rocking with him, stroking his shoulders. They’ve both turned a corner.

‘You were on it, weren’t you?’ Arnie asks. ‘You wouldn’t act like this unless you were on it. You were hooked once, weren’t you?’

‘No, not like you think,’ Buz says, ‘Maybe worse. I don’t know. I never spoke about it to anybody – not even my buddy. It’s like opening a – a closet full of last – last century’s clothes.’

He carries on to tell a story which is too long to be transcribed really, about how when he was fifteen he met a guy whose own son was killed when he was hit by a truck, and Buz was essentially taken in in the son’s place.

This, I think, is what makes this an episode about Buz, not Arnie. The only story we hear is Buz’s story. Arnie is a kind of allegorical representation of all drug addicts, set against the innocent lives of other city dwellers seen in flashes throughout the episode. All of the emotional thrust of this episode is focussed on Buz’s past trauma, and how the presence of Arnie pulls it out of him.

This is such a tender scene. Arnie could be elsewhere – he’s a receptacle for Buz’s  confession. Buz is saying something that I think he would only say to a stranger, not because he’s admitting a failing in his own life, but because it’s also a failing in someone else’s, someone he cared about – and this in turn reveals why he was so reluctant to care about Arnie, to invest any personal interest in his case.

He relates how he discovered that his father figure was on drugs, and the man agreed to give up for Buz’s sake, and they went to a hotel room to go through it together away from his wife – but all the time he was faking the withdrawal for Buz’s sake. When Buz found out he ran away – and the next day the man was found face down in the East River. So in that way he lost the only family he ever really had, and it was partly because Buz couldn’t stick it through. Buz is close to tears through this beautifully acted scene. It needs watching, not reading about.

‘The guys on the block told me later that he’d come looking for me the night before,’ Buz says. His speech starts to become more incoherent. ‘And – and – he’d – he’d say, well he said that he said that he was begging f-for me to come back and help him, but – but I was out of touch. You see, when – when he needed me, I was out of touch…’

And holding Arnie, he begins to cry.

(Oh wow, I suppose this makes this another Route 66 episode that, in a small way, deals with the failings of parents (or surrogate parents). If we take this episode as being about Buz’s past as much as Arnie’s present, then we see that all of Buz’s current mental angst is centred on the father-figure who failed him, and that he failed.)

Morning, and a paper boy is delivering newspapers, and a cat sits on the pavement. (Did they bring a cat in for this, or was it there by chance?)

It’s Sunday, and a church bell is tolling. (I think the date on the paper says September 10, 1961 (could be 16 or 18), which shows you how quickly these things were got out. The date on IMDB for the episode is October 13.) Everything seems beautifully calm, like the calm after a storm has passed – but of course the outside world has been calm all this time, unconscious of the struggle going on in Arnie’s world. I wonder if Tod and Charlotte have been up on the roof all this time?

All the frenzy of the week has drifted away. The playground is empty.

Looking down in the same direction as the screencap above, from Google Maps.

The street is quiet too, the Corvette still parked outside the building, and the small party come out of the front door. (I’m including these images mainly for comparison to the Google Maps images.)

Beacon Street now. I'm assuming that the camera was up on the roof more or less opposite the house, where you can see the white wall tops as in the screencap above.

Tod and Buz are holding onto Arnie rather as if they’re afraid he might run away, but Arnie gives no signs of wanting to do that.

Those trousers do that woman’s bottom no favours.

Smiles all round.

I’m not sure which gives the most relief to Charlotte – the fact that Arnie got through it, or the fact that she got the psycho drug addict, and Buz, out of her apartment.

Even Arnie is smiling. Buz’s smile is a little more introspective.

It’s all happy and jaunty, and almost impossible to screencap as they drive away down the streets of Boston. The music is triumphant. I’d love to slip into that car, just to feel the joy of driving down those streets in a soft top on a morning like that. To say nothing of the occupants…

We’re mirroring the episode opening as they join the bigger roads. There’s an optimistic sense of the status quo being restored. You have to wonder if there’s any irony in this after the speeches Buz made about it not being like the movies. Will Arnie really recover, or will he relapse once Tod and Buz have moved on?

I love the way they shoot this, being followed by a camera car. The camera pans round as the Corvette swings off on to another street, then turns back to the road the camera car is on and continues, left behind by the Corvette momentarily. I suppose this is echoing the theme that’s run all through the episode of life going on in little pockets all through the city. Tod, Buz and Arnie are just one story, on one road.

Then we rejoined them, seeing them from in front. They look a little more preoccupied than the jaunty music might suggest.

Buz looks exhausted but happy, as if he’s just given birth. Well, he did liken his role in Arnie’s withdrawal to a person delivering a baby.

Arnie looks rather tired too.

And Tod looks quietly pleased, maybe as much because he has got Buz back as because Arnie seems to have come through this.

So, they arrive at the hospital. Frankly I’m amazed they offer free drug treatment programmes in America. A little close to communism, you’d think – especially in 1961.

Well, this place caused me a few days of minor obsession, trying to track it down. Thanks to the clever people at the Yahoo Route 66 group, it was tracked down. It’s not ‘on Lexington.’ It’s the New England Baptist Hospital, at 119 Parker Hill Avenue, and is a feeder for a hospital in Lexington, Kentucky which specialised in drug treatment.

There will be a small interlude while I spam the reader with pictures from both Bing (shudder) and Google Maps showing this entrance to the hospital now. They seem to have removed some of the lower steps and wall. I suppose this makes it less imposing!

And they did it. They got Arnie to the hospital on Lexington. Mission accomplished. Lieutenant Calder would be proud – or amazed, at least.

Hi, Tod. Oh, sorry. He’s not waving at me. It seems somewhat fitting that Tod stays in the car while Buz gets out with Arnie. In the end this was all Buz’s fight.

Arnie looks a little nervous, but he did it. He’s here. Buz just looks rather proud and – well – hot in his tight shirt.

It’s a long way up those steps. In fact, Arnie says just that as he stands there with Buz.

‘Go, man. Go,’ Buz tells him, as if he’s releasing a creature back into the wild. Perhaps he feels a sense of achievement – that this time he managed to help someone all the way through. ‘Bust out.’

Arnie looks hesitant, but you feel that he’s proud too that he managed to get through this, and he’s not going to throw the opportunity away.

Pride on Buz’s face as Arnie starts to walk up the steps on his own. (Am I fooling anyone? Pretty screencap is pretty.)

Tod looks pretty proud too. Is he proud of Buz or Arnie? And is the skirted figure in the background someone who’s standing there watching the filming? These look like some kind of gardens across the road, that have since given way to featureless lawn.

 A little wave from Buz as Arnie ascends into heaven.

Suddenly it doesn’t look so high, from the top.

There’s a sense of hope, the way the whole city is spread out below him. This is the city that we saw all those snippets of life from, that’s still going on and on down there, each individual life progressing in its own way. From this far up everyone has blended into one.

And in he goes. Bye, Arnie. Good luck.

I wonder if Tod and Buz will be able to reschedule their weekend of sex and sandwiches?