|Created by||Roy Huggins|
(based on William Inge's play, Bus Stop)
|Directed by||Robert Altman (selected episodes)|
|Theme music composer||Arthur Morton|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Robert Blees |
John Newland (final episode)
|Running time||60 mins.|
|Production||Belmont Television Company, Inc.|
Palomino Productions, Inc. (final episode), in association with 20th Century-Fox Television
|Distributor||20th Century-Fox Television|
|Original release||October 1, 1961 -|
March 25, 1962
Bus Stop is a 26-episode American drama which aired on ABC from October 1, 1961, until March 25, 1962, starring Marilyn Maxwell as Grace Sherwood, the owner of a bus station and diner in the fictitious town of Sunrise in the Colorado Rockies. The program was adapted from William Inge's play, Bus Stop, and Inge was a script consultant for the series, which followed the lives of travelers passing through the bus station and the diner. Maxwell's co-stars were Richard Anderson as District Attorney Glenn Wagner, Rhodes Reason as Sheriff Will Mayberry, Joan Freeman as waitress Elma Gahrigner, Bernard Kates as Ralph the coroner, and Buddy Ebsen as Virge Blessing.. Increasingly, as it became difficult to have guest stars be characters arriving by bus every week, the stories became more about people in the town which left little for Maxwell's character to do and led to her leaving the series after 13 episodes. She said, "There was nothing for me to do but pour a second cup of coffee and point the way to the men's room."
Roy Huggins, the head of production at 20th Century Fox, created Bus Stop. Eight episodes were directed by Robert Altman. There were two Emmy Award nominations: (1) Richard L. Van Enger for "Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing for Television" and (2) Geraldine Brooks for "Outstanding Single Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role" for the episode "Call Back Yesterday", which aired on December 10, with David Hedison as her fellow guest star.
The series was preceded by Inge's play and the 1956 film, Bus Stop, in which Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray had the lead roles. The sixth episode (telecast November 12) was the series pilot, "Cherie," the only episode directly based on Inge's play and movie. Tuesday Weld was cast in the title role of Cherie, an 18-year-old singer who hopes to be discovered in Hollywood, and 24-year-old Gary Lockwood portrayed Bo, a Montana rodeo cowboy who wants to marry her. Joseph Cotten also starred in the episode as Dr. Lyman. Lockwood appeared the same season as investigator Eric Jason in ABC's Follow the Sun and would star two years later as NBC's The Lieutenant. Weld had previously appeared as the materialistic teenager Thalia Menninger on CBS's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis with Dwayne Hickman and Bob Denver.
On November 19, Jack Warden and Nancy Gates guest starred in the episode "Accessory by Consent". On November 26, Edgar Buchanan, Jack Carson, and Burt Mustin, also Gus the Firefighter in Leave It to Beaver, appeared in the episode "The Man from Bootstrap".
"A Lion Walks Among Us" (December 3) led to a Congressional hearing on violence. The episode, initially titled "Told By an Idiot", was directed by Altman. It starred Fabian as Luke Freeman, a seductive knife-wielding serial killer with Dianne Foster as Sally Wagner and Philip Abbott as Oliver West. The drama was adapted from Tom Wicker's 1961 novel, The Judgment.
"And the Pursuit of Evil" aired on December 17, with guest stars James MacArthur and Keenan Wynn. On Christmas eve, the episode "The Runaways", written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., guest starred character actor Parley Baer and Joan Tompkins. On January 7, Steve Forrest and Beverly Garland starred in "Summer Lightning". Ellen Burstyn, Richard Conte, Jason Evers, and Nina Foch appeared in "Cry to Heaven" on January 14, 1962.
On January 21 in "The Stubborn Stumbos", Claude Akins and Earl Holliman played feuding brothers. On January 28 in "Turn Home Again", the guests were Ruth Roman, Jack Albertson, and Wendell Corey. On February 4 in "How Does Charlie Feel", the guests included character actor J. Pat O'Malley, Cliff Robertson, and Ray Teal, appearing on Bonanza in the same time slot. On February 11 in "Put Your Dreams Away", Gary Merrill and Felicia Farr guest starred.
The February 18 segment "The Opposite Virtues" stars Jeanette Nolan, Lew Ayres, George Hamilton, Robert F. Simon, and Michael Parks. The February 25 episode, "The Ordeal of Kevin Brooke", stars Mark Stevens in the title role, with William Windom as Ed Henderson.
Howard Duff and Pippa Scott guest starred on the March 4 episode "Door Without a Key". Jay C. Flippen guest starred in the March 11 segment "Verdict of Twelve". In "County General" on March 18, guest stars were Frank Lovejoy and Donald May.
The series finale, "I Kiss Your Shadow", is a story of a man crushed by the memory of his wife's death in an automobile accident. The guest stars were George Grizzard, Alfred Ryder, and Joanne Linville.
In his book Danse Macabre, Stephen King nominated this episode as "...the single most frightening story ever done on TV." King wrote that Bus Stop was "...a straight drama show... The final episode, however, deviated wildly into the supernatural, and for me, Robert Bloch's adaptation of his own short story 'I Kiss Your Shadow' has never been beaten on TV - and rarely anywhere else - for eerie, mounting horror."
King's attribution of the script to Robert Bloch is contradicted by the episode's opening titles, which read "Teleplay by Barry Trivers From the Short Story by Robert Bloch."
Despite the quality of its story lines, cast, and guests, Bus Stop failed in the ratings against NBC's Bonanza, which moved for its third season from Saturday to Sunday evenings in the 9 p.m. Eastern slot. Ronald Reagan and Jack Benny appeared at the same hour on CBS in General Electric Theater (its last season) and The Jack Benny Program. Bus Stop followed ABC's western series Lawman costarring John Russell and Peter Brown and preceded Gardner McKay's Adventures in Paradise.