Route 66

Season 2 Episode 18

How Much a Pound is Albatross

Aired Friday 8:30 PM Feb 09, 1962 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
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  • Lots of un-resolved philosophy, Julie Newmar is something else but so exagerrated in her character that a comedy element gets emphasized.

    The boys meet a free-spirit that puts them to shame, but she is coping with tragedy in her life.

    Buz collapses like a house of cards when he crosses paths with Vicki (a blonde Julie Newmar) - a non-sequiter-spouting wild child on a motorcycle. The script runs up and down the beat generation fantastical and is quite crisp and clever, sometimes silly but never really faked. Vicki's backstory is decently drawn as well, as is the fact that she is smart (impressing her prison psychologist). Another plus is some of the better Buz and Tod back-and-forth banter of the series, if there is one thing Milner can always manage, it's an annoyed look at Maharis. The scene at the bar the night before the hearing is particularly well-played.

    My favorite part of this installment is that Vicki is greater than the team of Buz and Tod, she's more clever than Buz and has both book learning and real world experience that far outstrips Tod's academic knowledge. I'm not as big a fan of "Tod's Big Adventure" in the desert with Vicki, it really serves the location better than the plot of the episode.

    There are a number of elements of relationships and loneliness that are lost to the comedic elements of the final half hour. While the idea that to live life is more valuable than to question it is interesting, it comes in an almost cartoonish package at the conclusion.
  • Even the title intrigues. Our burdens we carry don't weigh anything. Cat Women purrs as the first hippy on TV.

    "How Much a Pound is Albatross?"

    Stirling Sillipant wrote this episode and you can tell. He puts himself in this show throw the dialogue of Vicki (Julie Newmar) and Todd.

    The first image is a lone cross on desert hilltop. That's the first clue to explain the girl we see on the motorcycle.

    In Tucson, Arizona, Vicki smiles at the police officer who has a bored look on his face, and then she runs the stop light. The police follows and soon a gaggle of policemen swarm around her. Our heroes (Buzz and Todd) swerve to avoid run running her over and crash into a window.

    "You knew we would catch you" the police officer says. "I feel sorry for you, nothing to listen to but code numbers and peoples troubles. You looked so bored" the lady on the motorcycle responds. Her first meaning is that she felt sorry for the cops because they caught her and she's an Albatross and next she means she feels sorry for his hum drum life that probably will remain unexamined for years to come. Buzz is totally taken with her upon first sight. He knew exactly what she meant when she told the cops "I feel sorry for you".

    They take her to the sheriff's office and he has interesting pictures behind him. The wall has a photo of what looks like a hanging from the not too old west of Tucson. The picture is juxtaposed with a photo of President Kennedy and what looks like a model rocket. The old with the new. The sheriff does not understand Vicki at all. He offers her a cigarette and she takes the cigarette and smokes it as if it's the first time she ever smoked. She replies that her name is Vicki and the sheriff says "Vicki what" and Vicki replies "aint that the truth". Telling you that she doesn't know who she is any more. Giving us the second clue to who she really is.

    She's probably the first hippie character ever on TV. She has the beat nick style but she definitely is not beat nick. She's more interested in learning, discovering and sharing. She is not only looking inward she also looks outward and is just as grateful to share with others as to take from others.

    She carries no papers. She says, "they are snapshots of who we were not who we are. They are by default invalid".

    All men in the show who see her become smitten with her. The man who's window is smashed up seems to want nothing more than for her to smile at him as he smiles at her.

    A shrink, Dr. Jane Bell, visits her in jail. No mess, no fuss, Vicki is just grateful to be alive. Her father and family had died from a boating accident, "let grief ride outside on a motorcycle on its own, let it try and catch me, let it catch shadows of its own, I left a trail of buried Albatrosses from coast to coast". Dr. Bell asks "how much a pound is Albratross" and Vicki responds "nobody can afford it, so every day I grow lighter and greedier for life".

    Vicki in her leather motorcycle pants and nice top makes for lovely images alone. I fully understand why all men swarm around her.

    Buzz wants to bail her out. He's still completely smitten with her as all the men around her seem to be. He places the 500 bucks bail for her. Vicki states "I have no money. I've never been in jail before. The pattern has been that people in authority just banish me to the next place". She has no worries about what will happen.

    Todd puts up his Corvette as collateral for Vicki's bond for Buzz. Todd now has a vested interest in watching her.

    Buzz buys her a dress for her court appearance and she takes 45 minutes to try it on. Todd asks Buzz "do you know what Parataxic distortion (check Wickipedia's article, it is very good) is? He goes on to explain that it's all the people that we bring with us to every situation that we're in and how it can change how we perceive what's happening to us in the now. Also, the scene looks like it had brilliant product placement since Todd holds up his pack of Marlboro repeatedly. "Vicki is in the bedroom and in our minds, so we already have four people with us. The calculating Buzz, the voodoo Todd and so on". It must be noted Vicki comes out of the bedroom and looks even more like a girl as she herself says. She tells Buzz a Zen saying and later you see how Buzz doesn't understand it at all.

    They decide to go dancing. Vicki regales the boys at the bar and a harmless drunk comes up to them. He realizes that she's a princess in spirit. Buzz is ticked off. The drunk's wife hates the drunk and he has nothing to show for his whole life with his wife. All he has to show for life is expensive cuff links and a wife that hates him. Buzz shoves the drunk on to the floor. Vicki sees the drunks pain and at that moment she really wants nothing to do with Buzz anymore.

    Todd and Vicki go bike riding in the desert. They run out of gas and are completely lost. She is not bothered in the least. They will most likely be late for her court appointment. The sheriff comes looking for them and asks Buzz where are Todd and Vicki. Vicki has completely mastered the situation and environment as always. She knows exactly how much water they need, how to proceed and the pitfalls of the desert. She thoroughly enjoys the new situation and harsh environment for the newness of it all.

    She tells Todd, "suppose I were to be honest with you as I possibly could be, fooling you no more than I fool myself. Still, you wouldn't know me and I wouldn't know you, because no matter how much we cry for light, we are all sleepwalkers fumbling in the dark. Sometimes we manage to touch for a moment, than we pass".

    The judge admonishes her when they reach the courtroom. He blames her for all of societies wrongs. He represents the old established order. She represents the new changes that are coming. The first time we hear her whole name, Vicki Russel, is when the judge mentions it. He mentions that she is a sole heir to a large estate. He finds her incomprehensible and bizarre and inexcusable and he goes on and on and states dedication to non-conformity is anti-social. I saw her crimes (reckless driving, getting lost in the desert and missing her court appearance) as fairly trivial. The judge goes way beyond her actual crimes and because she is rich she has even more responsibility the judge states. She tells the judge that she is rich because of the love her parents gave her. He tells her "if everyone did what they wanted society couldn't function". (Using his logic, I guess we all can't be judges, because who would be the defendant)? As predicted by her earlier, the person in authority suspends her sentence and banishes her to the next county. Our heroes drive with her and bid her farewell together. She appears in another episode. I can hardly wait to watch it!