Did you know that there is a direct connection between Route 66 and Lake Havasu City? To be a bit more specific, did you know that there is a direct connection between Route 66 and Crazy Horse Campground in Lake Havasu City, Arizona?
Okay, I admit it, this is a trick question. After all, Lake havasu City is a bout 20 miles from the post 1952 alignment of Route 66. But “the island” and a resort complex known as Site Six was a filming location for the popular Route 66 television program.
Route 66 was a ground breaking television series that aired on CBS from 1960 to 1964. The program followed he adventures of two young men who traveled across America in a Chevrolet Corvette. As a bit of trivia, only a few episodes were actually filmed along the namesake highway.
The show was created by Herbert B. Leonard and Stirling Silliphant. It was one of the first television series to be filmed entirely on location. By using various settings and local actors, a realistic and diverse portrayal of American life was presented.
The show also tackled social issues and themes that were uncommon for TV at the time, such as racism, mental illness, drug addiction, and environmentalism. This made the program controversial as well as popular. It was also revolutionary.
It was critically acclaimed for its innovative storytelling, cinematography, and acting. And the series captured the spirit of adventure and discovery that defined the iconic highway it was named after. And now in he era of Route 66 renaissance, the program has become a cult classic.
One of the most highest rated episodes ofseason two was “Go Read the River“, which was filmed in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The episode aired on March 16, 1962, and featured Tod Stiles (Martin Milner) and Buz Murdock (George Maharis) helping a boat engineer (John Larch) working for McCulloch Outboard Motors reconnect with his estranged daughter (Lois Smith).
The episode showcased the scenic beauty of Lake Havasu and its surroundings. The program is also a virtual time capsule that highlights the infancy of Lake Havsu City.
Crazy Horse Campgrounds is located on the grounds of what was once Site Six. Initially, during WWII, this was a remote auxilliary Kingman Army Airfield landing strip on the shores of Lake Havasu. During this period it also served as a recreational center military personnel could hike, swim, fish and go boating.
After the war the facility was transferred to owners from Needles, California that developed it as a rustic camp for fisherman. In 1961, Robert McCulloch, owner of McCulloch Motors, chose the site for a planned community and a factory where his outboard engines could be tested. This facility figures prominently in Go Read The River.
In 1962, there was only one unimproved road that connected the site to Route 66. But McCulloch developed an air charter service to fly in prospective land buyers that wanted a fresh start or an escape from harsh winter climates. This service is used in the program, and that provides viewers with an aerial view of what would become Lake Havasu City.
Written by Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America