Many older readers can recall the original mid-1970s airing of the “Movin’ On” TV serial. For two years, team drivers Sonny Pruitt (actor Claude Akins) and Will Chandler (actor Frank Converse) traversed the country in their green Kenworth, stumbling into other people’s problems and helping solve them.
If you’re used to streaming video in your downtime, you’ve now got the opportunity to watch all 44 episodes of “Movin’ On.” They’re available on Hulu, Yahoo View, or PROClassicTV, says Mark Rathaus, who’s been working with the show’s creators, Barry Weitz and Philip D’Antoni.
“We have remastered the old shows and they are once again available for viewing in the highest quality possible,” Rathaus says. Also, “We manage a Facebook page with nearly 3,000 followers and we have a website, movinontvshow.com, chock-full of photos and anecdotes written by Barry Weitz about the stars, trucks, and stories when ‘Movin’ On’ was in production. We even have an associate in North Carolina who has opened a Movin’ On Museum to display his enormous memorabilia collection.”
The museum is in the Wake Forest, N.C., area near Falls Lake State Park. It is open Monday-Saturday, by appointment only. To arrange a visit, call 919-282-2372 or write firstname.lastname@example.org.
There’s also a blog about the show, which was part of the 1970s trucker craze of trucker movies, CB lingo and trucker caps. The series aired from 1974-1976.
Many fans of the series credit their love of trucking to watching Sonny and Will have adventures around the country while team-driving their Kenworth.
“’Movin’ On’ ran two seasons on NBC after a successful airing of ‘In Tandem,’ a Movie Of The Week and the pilot for the series,” Rathaus says. After learning the series had never made it to syndication, he says, “I tracked down the original film materials to a vault in Kansas and had them delivered to me in Los Angeles.” After being remastered, the renewed episodes began appearing on cable TV in 2011.
Rathaus says his work on the project has introduced him to many fans of the series.
“They have special memories of watching the programs with family, and, as many of them are truckers and children of truckers, they take pride in and identify with the characters of Sonny and Will,” he says. “Many have said ‘Movin’ On’ is the reason they became truckers. These fans continue to share memories of the show online and clamor for reruns and a new version of the series.
“Some say ‘Movin’ On’ fueled, or even started, the CB radio craze of the 70s. During the series, truck drivers on the CB would say that they were going to ‘Do it like Pruitt.’ After the series ended, the phrase became ‘Do it like Pruitt used to do it.’ This phrase can still be heard 40 years later, often spoken by drivers too young to understand the reference.”
Weitz created Sonny and Will “as modern equivalents of cowboys. They roam America minding their own business,” Rathaus says. “They don’t seek trouble, but when they see a wrong, they can’t help but try to right it. Being heroes, they side with the little guy: the friend who has gotten himself in a scrape, a fetching woman in need, or a down-and-out soul they never laid eyes on before doing battle with forces bigger than himself.”
‘Movin’ On’ was filmed all over the United States. Akins and Converse actually drove the green Kenworth. In 2007, Overdrive Senior Editor Todd Dills wrote about the truck, which is still owned by Paul Sagehorn: “Sagehorn hauls in a 1974 Kenworth W925A, the only truck used in the television series ‘Movin’ On’ known to still exist. He bought it in March 2006.”
Other online sources identify the truck as a 1974 W900 or a 1974 W900A VIT. “It’s the one area where there’s a lot of uncertainty,” says Rathaus, citing both the model reference and how many different trucks were used in the show. He says he’s talked with fans and truckers, some of whom have researched the question, but there is no consensus.