1960 Television gets its kicks on route 66
Since its conception in 1926, Route 66 has permeated every aspect of American culture, from literature to music to gas-station architecture. One of its most beloved manifestations, the television program Route 66, aired its first episode on this day, relating the roadside adventures of Buz and Tod as they cruised Route 66 in Tod's Corvette. Americans tuned into the popular program for four years, continuing their love affair with their nation's most celebrated Federal highway. Immortalized in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath as the "Mother Road," Route 66 was a symbol of opportunity, serving as an escape route from the misery of the Depression-era Dust Bowl. Its two lanes wove in and out of Middle America, connecting hundreds of rural communities to the cities of Chicago and Los Angeles. And above all, it symbolized the open road and Americana, complete with auto camps, motels, and roadside attractions. By 1970, nearly all segments of the original Route 66 were replaced by modern four-lane interstates, and in 1985 it was officially decommissioned.