Meet The Man Who Saved Movin’ On

I may be exaggerating slightly with the title of this post yet to some degree it’s true. If not for Mark Rathaus, Movin’ On would never have returned to television or be available via streaming. For those not familiar with the TV series, it ran for two seasons and 44 episodes on NBC from 1974 to 1976. Claude Akins and Frank Converse starred as truck drivers Sonny Pruitt and Will Chandler. Sonny was a grizzled big rig veteran who owned the truck the pair drove and Will his younger, more educated co-driver.

A pilot telefilm titled In Tandem, created by Barry J. Weitz and Philip D’Antoni, aired in May 1974. Their company–D’Antoni/Weitz Television Productions–produced both the pilot and Movin’ On. Through the company, the two also retained ownership of the series. Decades later, that ownership would play a pivotal role in Movin’ On being resurrected.

How Movin’ On was rescued from relative obscurity makes for a fascinating story and Mark was kind enough to share some details with me.

A Family Connection

Mark Rathaus just so happens to be Philip D’Antoni’s son-in-law. “I knew that Phil produced Movin’ On,” Mark told me in an e-mail, “but it didn’t mean anything to me until 2006 when he mentioned that he and Barry Weitz had financed the series themselves and owned the rights. I asked had he ever tried to market the shows. One of his sons had once tried to find the original elements but had failed. I asked would it be alright if I tried.”

Mark was given the green light to go ahead and try to track down the film elements. He started making phone calls. It helped that he’s a film editor and knows how to handle and work with film. “I finally found out that Fox had the elements scattered in several of their vaults. Some elements came from Hollywood and some from Kansas City. The last materials I found were the In Tandem elements, which were inventoried under a different name than Movin’ On, so were stored in a different location.”

Movin' On Film Can (Courtesy of Mark Rathaus)
Movin’ On Film Can (Courtesy of Mark Rathaus)

However, collecting the original film elements was only the first step. Before he could start digitizing and remastering the episodes, Mark needed to find a distributor. That’s where Steve Rodgers of the Peter Rodgers Organization (PRO) got involved. “It was essential that Steve make a sale,” Mark explained. No sale meant no money to remaster the series. “The transfer from original negative to digital, dust-busting, color correction, subtitling, and renewing copyrights is very expensive.” Fortunately, PRO was able to make a sale and the remastering process got underway.

Movin’ On Returns To TV & Starts Streaming

It took a long time to finish a set of new masters but in June 2011 Movin’ On began airing on the Retro Television Network and My Family TV (now known as The Family Channel). It was the first time the series had aired on TV in decades. The series also aired on RFD-TV at some point in 2012 or 2013. Movin’ On is no longer airing on Retro TV or RFD-TV but can still be seen every Monday at 8PM and 11PM ET on The Family Channel.

Mark and PRO didn’t stop with television. They wanted to make Movin’ On as widely available as possible. The first season was added to Hulu in May 2012 followed by the second season in September 2014. Episodes were also available via the PRO Classic TV Roku channel around the same time.

In March of this year, PRO launched its own streaming service where Movin’ On and more than a dozen other TV series can be watched commercial free for a small fee.

A Possible DVD Release

The episodes on Hulu look incredible but Mark isn’t entirely satisfied. “I’m extremely happy with both image and sound quality. I still see an occasional imperfection, which I hope to fix when we go to DVD.” At this point, there is no definite plan to release the series on DVD. Mark remains hopeful. “Unfortunately, DVD sales are way down from where they had been, so finding a partner to manufacture, market, and distribute DVDs has been a challenge. I do expect that eventually we will find a way to offer DVDs.”

Likewise, Mark would like to make the pilot telefilm available as well once a significant financial hurdle has been overcome. “We have the original film elements so it’s just a matter of remastering. Again, we are seeking a partner who can offer enough of an advance to allow us to begin the very expensive remastering process.”

Meanwhile, Movin’ On has an official website and Facebook page. The first piece of officially-licensed Movin’ On memorabilia in over 40 years was issued earlier this year and additional merchandise is in the works.

Expensive But Worth It

Mark is clearly passionate about Movin’ On. That’s good, because so far the project isn’t making anyone a lot of money. “To date we still have taken very little profit. Nearly every penny of our licensing fees have gone toward repaying the remastering expenses.” That doesn’t mean Movin’ On won’t eventually turn a profit. Hopefully it will, because the more successful it becomes, the more likely it is that others will be inspired to attempt similiar revivals of short-lived and relatively forgotten TV series owned by their original producer(s) or their estate(s).

Although not common, there are a handful of earlier examples like Steve Canyon, My Living Doll, and I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster. All of these have either been entirely or partially released on DVD. In the case of I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster, the sitcom’s creator–Leonard Stern–was instrumental in getting the first half of the series released on DVD.

Fans of Movin’ On can now enjoy the series on television and via streaming–and potentially on DVD at some point–all because Mark Rathaus had a conversation with his father-in-law. So the next time you’re talking to your in-laws, be sure to ask if they own the rights to any TV shows.

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36 Replies to “Meet The Man Who Saved Movin’ On”

  1. That’s a neat story. When I was in high school Moving’ On was one of my favorite shows.

    It’s good to know there are people passionate about the shows they helped create, and that there are “good guys” who are interested in something beyond making a fast profit.

    I wasn’t aware how much was involved in bringing back on older show — I figured modern technology made everything fairly quick and easy. I didn’t know the great cost and effort that was required.

  2. We knew someone so into this show when it was originally broadcast that he went to some kind of truck driving school while he was still in college. He did drive for several years. Do not know if he was unique.

  3. Thanks for this article! Always have been interested in this show. I was a kid in the 70’s and I recall the C.B. /trucker culture. I appreciate the trouble that went into this show getting restored.

    I also need to check out I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster. and of course, My Living Doll

    Keep up the good work as always!

    1. I live 1hr 29mins from Bedford indiana where claude grew up ide give anything in thus world to have a modern spin off of movin on have frank in it moose and binge I don’t know who u could get in contact with to do this show America how life was back in the day and the good times aren’t really over I been by the exact place where claude grew up and please no modern equipment or someone trying to put elogs in sundance 502-428-9511

  4. I do love this show. The thought that it might come out on DVD someday is encouraging. Maybe a Kickstarter campaign might help?

    I have actually watched this show all the way through (including In Tandem) twice on Hulu. I’m not a big fan of Route 66. But, when someone said “Route 66 with Truckers,” I knew I had to get on board. Akins and Converse are the perfect team. When they go head to head with Rosie Grier and Art Metrano, those episodes are killer.

    If you’re reading this and you’ve never tried the show, dive in. It’s worth it.

  5. Loved this show when I was a kid me and my brothers and some friends always waited for Thursday night to roll around for movin on. Still have an eye for big rigs today all because of Movin on . Also loved the theme song by Merle Haggatd.

  6. Great article!

    I would TOTALLY buy this show on DVD – at least twice, especially after learning of the efforts made to save it.

  7. In 1974 I was 11 and got a phone call. The lady on the line said it was a survey & if I watched the pilot to Movin On she would call back and ask questions. Well I did watch and she called. I gave it good marks over the 20 min interview and lo and behold it returned to TV the next fall. I loved that show and always felt responsible for its airing. Used to watch it with my Dad. Sure miss him too.

  8. I love the movin. On TV series and I would love buy the DVDS. Are there any future plan of bringing it back a TV show again? I would watch it!!!


  9. I am waiting for the real DVD release to come out. Sign me up for a DVD collection of shows. Really like watching those shows and remembering what it was like when I was much younger.

  10. I loved this show so much when it originally aired 74-76. I built the truck model and collected anything I could at that time. Recently discovered the Hulu episodes and watched all of them. This was such a wonderful show reflecting a simpler time. Thank you so much for having passion for this show and all you have done to preserve it.

  11. Will definitely buy this classic series on DVD, watched it way back when on TV. Would be great if one day, David Janssen’s pre-Harry O drama series O’Hara, U.S. Treasury (1971-72) came to DVD as well, its studio/estate history seems somewhat similarly obscure.

    1. I’m sorry for the very late reply, but I’m curious what might be obscure about O’Hara, US Treasury? I recall it was one of Jack Webb’s Mark VII productions for Universal, and shouldn’t be too tied up in legal shenanigans, should it? I recall it aired on A&E for several years in the early ’90s with some other ’70s cop and PI shows like City of Angels, Ellery Queen, and Delvecchio.

      City of Angels, though. Man, I’d love to have that on DVD.

      1. Great memories Grant! You don’t know how many times a month I check for ‘O’Hara, U.S. Treasury’ with David Janssen on various sources including eBay! As a 45+ year New York City television network engineer, these shows run into the same problems avoiding syndication with only a one or two-year run under their belts, so in weekly rotation, 1971-1972 single season shows like ‘O’Hara’ would repeat the cycle every 6-weeks, with only 22-episodes and a CBS movie/pilot and production companies will never recoup the costs at remastering original elements. We will all ‘keep the faith!’ Both Delvecchio and Dan August are already out but quality reviews on Dan August are abysmal.

        Shadoe Steele
        FOX Television Network
        Satellite, Spacecraft TT&C Engineering
        New York Operations

  12. I am Will and Sonny’s biggest fan. I watched them back in the 70’s and was so disappointed when the show went off. The show has everything, scenery, funny episodes, serious plots, the chemistry between the two stars (who are very handsome & sexy). “From Baltimore To Eternity” is my favorite—so funny. The shows with Moose & Benji were added laughs too. This show should never have been terminated. The shows on TV today are not worth watching.

  13. Home from the VA Hospital after 18 months when this show aired.
    It so inspired me that after I was back in good enough health I got into trucking!
    Drove over the road and local on and off over 20 years as an owner operator and as a company driver. It’s a rough life with a family.
    Had over 1.5 million OTR miles and who knows how many running short haul and local! until I slipped off a truck step and broke my back in 1997.
    Going to have to find the DVD’s and relive some happier days!

  14. Movin On was always one of my favorite television shows. I was teaching auto mechanics at the time and I also taught my students’ about truck mechanics. Some of my students even stayed after school and created a full episode for the show. I sent it to NBC but they did not accept it because it had to be submitted by Hollywood writers. The episode my students created I feel was very unique and I sincerely still feel Frank and Claude would of really enjoyed the episode. In a nut shell, Sonny and Will drop a produce load i Spokane and they take their check to a bank where a robbery takes place ad the robbery shoots a customer in the Bank who is towing the My Gypsy Unlimited Hydroplane to the Seattle race. The two step in tow the hydro across the State and cross the Seattle Floating Bridge (the camera pans in) They pull into the Pits with the thousands of fans watching. (remember the driver was shot at the bank) (Will has driven some race boats before) Will becomes qualified to drive and has to start from the back) The episode ends with Will winning the Seattle Race.

  15. I thought the Hulu episodes looked fuzzy! A 16mm CRI is not the original negative. It’s a reduction duplicate from which to make 16mm syndication prints. The OCNs would be 35mm. Where are the 35mm elements? That’s what you want to scan.

  16. I have just started watching “Moving On” on the Decades Channel. For the first time. I missed it forty odd years ago in the initial run on prime time. Great show and story line, got to love the Kenworth tractor. Keep on rolling Sundance.

  17. Great show I watched in prime time, loved Claude akins in the show, thought so much of the show I named my 66 CHEVELLE drag car after it, still own it today, MOVIN ON was a GREAT SHOW,,,, would love to buy any memorabilia offered……..

  18. Mark, great job with all your hard work. My dad played the thug in the burgundy suit in Will The Last Trucker Leaving Charlotte Please Turn Out The Lights in Season 2. I think I was aroun 5 when it was taped. I still have his script that Claude Aikens autographed for me. I still pull out my very poor copy and watch it now and again, I will need to reorder the set now that it is available!!

  19. My late fiancé, Mike Fryer, who recently passed away, told me he was involved with Moving On, but I don’t know in what capacity. If anybody can answer that question, I would appreciate it. Mike was in several movies and went to USC on a basketball scholarship. Anything you can tell me about him would be most appreciated. I am so lonely since Mike’s death and miss him more than you know. Thank you. Dorris Beck 702.308.7878

  20. I used to watch this show when I was just getting out of high school.
    My dear departed wife said it encouraged her to actually become a west coast trucker.

    I still think of her while I’m watching this as part of a weekend binge on Decades.
    I’ll look for it on Hulu as well.

    Thank you so much to all those who went to such efforts to bring this back to us.

  21. Great memories!

    Thinking back to when I was nine, sitting together with my family on the livingroom couch watching the adventures of Will and Sonny.

    Why were good shows back in the day cancelled so quickly and the drivel that the networks serve up today, seemingly stay on forever?

  22. Loved. this show. I am a big fan of Frank Converse, a very underrated actor. I wish this series had not ended after just two seasons.

  23. I’m watching it on Amazon Prime and love it. I was born in 1971 but love old 70’s tv shows that had good quality writing and especially great location shooting. Thanks!

  24. Is the original movie, In Tandem, available to watch anywhere? If not, does it answer why Will decided to be a trucker instead of practice law?

  25. Just found it on Amazon Prime. I was in elementary school when it was on, but I remember it mostly because they filmed for a day on my street (Ustick Rd. close to Locust Grove) in Meridian, Idaho. I remember Claude Akins sitting on top of a truck and I was really impressed by his huge rings. Both actors looked like they were having a great time. The truck convoy and CB radio fads back then seem so funny now.

    Now it’s fun seeing their other locations and how they’ve change, like Seaside in Episode 1. The Bridge Tender is still there.

  26. I think this is a great thing mark has done here .
    Grew up watching with my dad an independent like sonny along with my brothers, all in the business.
    And now at age 63 have been one as well for 20 years .
    Would be very interested in talking with mark and meeting him some day . I’m part owner in a central New York tank truck fleet ,and
    Have a small truck collection of the 60’s and 70 ‘s trucks . With the 50 th anniversary coming up in less than 3 years , all of us with interest and or in the business would love see,
    Help, or even possibly be involved in a tribute , quality remake / documentary type project ,of one of the best representations of the truck driving man that was ever portrayed !
    Thx again to you Mark , Barry , and God speed to your father in law
    Sincerely Tom Henderson

  27. I just watched the show on Tubi, I have not seen it since the 70’s. I was 12 when it aired and a trucker in our neighborhood had the same truck, That’s when I decided I was going to be a truck driver. I drove semi for 35 years, retired at 55 from UPS . Thanks to the show I had a great and profitable career,

  28. I came across this great TV show by accident. I was looking for a movie similar to Smokey and the Bandit and Convoy on YouTube. Movin’ On came on as a suggestion. I watched a episode and was hooked. I found the show streaming on Tubi app and the episodes are crystal clear and the audio is perfect. I’m in the middle of season two. I have since ordered a Movin’ On hat, t shirt and sweatshirt. I love this show!

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