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On the Tube: 'TV Road Trip' visits Brady house, Mayberry and other hot spots

Friday, April 05, 2002

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

It's inspired stunt programming, the kind that's so obvious it makes you think, why didn't someone come up with this sooner?



WHEN: 9 p.m. Sunday on Travel Channel.


Travel Channel takes fans on a "TV Road Trip" to locations associated with some of America's favorite television series.

It's a special you'd expect to see on TV Land, a network whose love of television history is never in doubt (except when they trim TV shows to make room for more commercials).

Travel Channel beat TV Land on this one, assembling a roster of B-, C- and D-grade stars to join the trek. John Ritter hosts "TV Road Trip," which begins on the same strip of beachfront sidewalk that was in the opening credits of "Three's Company."

Along the way, Christopher Knight (Peter Brady) visits "The Brady Bunch" house in Studio City, Calif.; George Lindsey (Goober Pyle) gives a tour of Mt. Airy, N.C., inspiration for Mayberry on "The Andy Griffith Show"; and Noel Neill (Lois Lane) travels to Metropolis, Ill., for a salute to "The Adventures of Superman."

It's a sentimental journey. "TV Road Trip" shows off some of the locales TV made famous and catches up with supporting actors from various shows.

Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes) reminisces about filming "Dallas" at South Fork ranch, pointing to the swimming pool as if it were his nemesis.

"I was never really welcome in South Fork," he says, speaking in character. "Whenever I came out here, I ended up getting thrown in that pool. I hate that pool."

During a segment on "Dukes of Hazzard," which filmed its first five episodes in Covington, Ga., before moving to the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif., James Best (Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane) reveals he gets letters from people saying they joined a police force because of Roscoe. That's a scary thought.

"TV Road Trip" covers the television landscape, including "Seinfeld" and "Friends" sites in New York, the exterior of the apartment complex from "Melrose Place" in Los Angeles and the "Bonanza" ranch in Incline Village, Nev.

The biggest disappointment is the show's music. Evidently Travel Channel didn't pony up the bucks to get the rights to theme songs from many of these shows, opting instead for music that sounds like the real theme, but isn't exact. It's a cop-out that detracts from an otherwise pleasant pop-culture expedition.

You can reach Rob Owen at rowen@post-gazette.com. Post questions or comments to www.post-gazette.com/tv under TV Forum.

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