Route 66

Season 4 Episode 17

Cries of Persons Close to One

Aired Friday 8:30 PM Jan 31, 1964 on CBS

Episode Recap

Tod and Linc have made their way down to the beaches of central Florida, where Linc tells Tod he owes him breakfast because Linc bought him two breakfasts the last time he paid for their meal checks. Since it's lunchtime, Tod decides to simply roll over the breakfast debt since it's his turn to buy the meals and they head off.

They stop at a local drive-in restaurant where a brawl breaks out after a group of kids tossing a football around accidentally throw the ball through a window of one of the cars. This car happens to be driven by a young woman named Gaybee and the passenger is a man named John Frank, an illiterate drunk who makes whatever meager living he can as a prizefighter. Frank, whose nickname is Tank, has just been through a night where he ended up in the drunk tank of a local jail after a match and is beat up severely enough in the brawl that he is knocked out.

Linc decides to delve a little further and decides to drive the injured fighter and his traveling companion to their motel, leaving a none-too-pleased Tod to find out the rest of the story when he pulls up later. Tank is supposed to fight for a purse of $165. However, he is obviously in no condition to fight and Linc tells Tod that they should stick around for two days to see how things go.

Over the course of the next few sequences we see the damage that his lifestyle has done to Tank. He cannot read or sign his name, and his alcoholism is starting to drive Gaybee away. Tank is also apparently unwilling to learn and only seems to function when he is drunk, which is the only time he can speak coherently.

The night of the fight comes and the promoter of the contest allows Linc to replace Tank in his bout while Tank sleeps off his injuries in the motel. Tank is unable to stay asleep,.however, and bolts out heading for the fight. Once he gets there, all hell breaks loose as he jumps over a fence and charges the ring, beating up anybody he can get near.

After the bout, Gaybee decides she has had enough and cannot watch Tank continue to self-destruct. After she leaves in tears, Linc lambastes him for his selfish actions reminding him that while he may have issues, he does not work hard enough to get them resolved. He then hands him the $165 purse, as he promised he would give him, imploring Tank to go after Gaybee and set things right, which he does by telling her he loves her.