Route 66: 'Goodnight Sweet Blues'
Yesterday, jazz musician, educator and writer Bill Kirchner sent along a YouTube link to a 1961 episode of TV's Route 66 called Goodnight Sweet Blues." The drama featured Ethel Waters as a dying singer along with Jo Jones (on trumpet), Roy Eldridge (on drums) and Coleman Hawkins in acting roles. The director was Jack Smight, who directed The Sound of Jazz. It was filmed in Pittsburgh.
Confused about the instrument swap between Eldridge and Jones? Jazz editor and critic Dan Morgenstern sent along the following...
Jo's rolethe trumpeteris the biggest of all the musicians. Jo got it by showing up early and telling the casting director that he could play trumpet, which was somewhat true, since he had rudimentary knowledge from his early vaudeville days and knew how to hold it.
Roywho told me all thiswas peeved, but of course he was an accomplished drummer. Hawk managed to have most of his speaking lines dropped or minimized to ahems." As Route 66's two stars set out to round up the musicians to performed with Ethel, Jo is found in jail and Hawk on the bandstand of a club (some great playing, alas, too short).
Roy clearly was the best actor. Too bad Jo copped that part!"
Heat up that cup of cofee. Here's Goodnight Sweet Blues"...