Martin Milner was an ace driver in real life — which led to the strangest job offer

He could have been a bodyguard for a dictator!

The Everett Collection

Read to Me

When Adam-12 premiered in 1968, the press fixated on one particular element of the cop show. Sure, the newspapers touted the drama's realism. And one columnist for King Features Syndicate marveled at Martin Milner's boyish looks, despite the fact that the star "at 36 has four children, hasn't had his face lifted, [and] doesn't use royal jelly from queen bees to stay young."

No, the common thread in all the publicity was Milner's driving.

"Milner has probably spent more time steering an automobile on screen than any other actor," pondered The Pocono Record the day before Adam-12 made its debut with "Log 1: The Impossible Mission." That was likely true. The actor was coming off four seasons of Route 66, in which he played Tod Stiles, owner of a gorgeous Corvette. Milner cruised around the country in the convertible for 116 episodes. In total, it was reported that Milner logged more than 125,000 miles driving on Route 66. Then, his next big gig, Adam-12, cast him as a beat cop behind the wheel of a black-and-white cruiser.

It was no act — Milner could handle an automobile with professional precision. No wonder his son was a stunt driver on Adam-12, too.

The fourth episode of the series, "Log 131," required "Milner to navigate his patrol car through a curved and narrow alley at 40 miles per hour in pursuit of a burglary suspect… Milner [then] must back the car up the entire alley at 30 miles an hour," explained The Pocono Record.

In his off time, Milner even turned parking at the grocery store into an action scene. He loved to whip his wife's station wagon through the supermarket lot, backing into a tight, available spot in one quick motion. "It never fails to create a stir," he said with a laugh. And, yes, Milner was from — where else? — the Motor City.

"That Marty can make a car do anything except fly and someday he may even accomplish that," raved his costar Kent McCord.

Likewise, a reporter for the North American Newspaper Alliance gushed about the "superlative auto driver." 

"But the odd thing about Milner's case is that it's true," the writer confirmed. "He's for real." Milner could have capably worked as a pro driver. In fact, he was even offered a job thanks to his behind-the-wheel work onscreen.

In November 1968, a couple of months after Adam-12 had been on the air, a "South American dictator" offered Milner a job as his personal chauffeur-bodyguard. You know, like Kato on The Green Hornet. Seriously.

"I have had some strange offers all through my career," Milner said. "but this one has to go down as the most amazing. There were many extra fringe benefits in the offer." The TV star explained that the salary was even on par with his Hollywood paychecks. 

The article, alas, does not name this South American dictator. Brazil and Ecuador are likely candidates, given the timeline. All we know for certain is that we are glad Milner turned down the offer for working on Adam-12. Talk about opposite sides.

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Andybandit 19 days ago
I enjoy watching Adam 12. Even though they went back to the beginning on MeTv. Kent McCord is a good looking guy.
JayC 20 days ago
Recently watched Mister Roberts again...enjoyed Martin’s brief appearance as a shore patrol officer: “...this is the worst ship he’s ever seen in his entire naval career!”
CLGammon 20 days ago
There are plenty of places on the internet to discuss politics. This shouldn't be one of them.
Wiseguy CLGammon 19 days ago
Then religion should be off limits as well. At least politics is real. Religion is superstition.
GoUTVols1961 Wiseguy 18 days ago
It is only superstition to non-believers. If you have been beyond death then enlighten us. If you have not, then your are like the rest and really do not know.
Jon 20 days ago
It's a funny coincidence, but I'm watching Martin Milner play against Karen Morrow on PASSWORD PLUS right now. This is from a tape that I made off GSN about 20 years ago. He's gotten 2 different contestants to the bonus round in this show.
Suzies1952 20 days ago
I agree with Martin but let’s keep politics out of this! This is about a great oldie tv show that a lot of us love to watch
Tlor 20 days ago
I read the most amazing fact about Martin Milner was he got polio 2 weeks after he completed his role in Life with Father in 1946 He was able to recover within a year get a few bit roles over the years in TV and movies until he got the role of Tod Stiles on Route 66 in 1960.
Jamski 20 days ago
Milner was certainly an expert driver, but McCord was an actual racer and ran SCCA and IMSA events. He was a celebrity regular at Indy for year and years, but wasn't just a "face at the race", he seemed to really enjoy being there and who knows...but for various turns of fate, might've competed there himself.
GloryGrace 20 days ago
I would have loved to see him park at a supermarket!!
Deleted 21 days ago
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harlow1313 21 days ago
Yeah. And the earth is flat, the moon landing was fake, and 9-11 was an inside job.

You, columbo-scat, and I, will fight the lizard people!
Moody 21 days ago
Don't feed the troll. This is what they want. I think this is the same person who was posting as baseballgirl yesterday. Same bad writing & ignorant rants. It's best that we just flag it & move on. The MeTv staff will delete them I'm sure.
harlow1313 21 days ago
I agree with you, but I was entertaining my idle mind. Columbo-scat and I are doing satire. I suppose we are both a bit cracked.

For instance, it is fun to call the person columbo-scat, scat being wild animal feces. This gives me pleasure.
Martin 21 days ago
Trump lost. Suck it up, buttercup.
20 days ago
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20 days ago
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cassandrawht 20 days ago
America and the world, won.
harlow1313 22 days ago
Well, I doubt he could beat Grandpa and his Drag-U-La Coffin Car on the drag strip.
I doubt he could beat Daisy May Moses {"Granny,} in the Clampett truck like she did her grandson Jethro. {In the episode Hot Rod Truck.} She really had Jethro eating her dust!
Moverfan harlow1313 8 days ago
I don't know who'd win, but I'd pay to see that race!
Moody 22 days ago
One of my uncle loved Route 66 & raved about the Corvette in the series. My cousin & I would tease him about it because the fastest car he ever drove was his Studebaker!
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AnnieM Moody 20 days ago
I loved old cars my whole life and didn't learn to drive until I was in my 20's! If nothing else, there's always Hot Wheels, one of the few toys that has remained consistently affordable over the years. My son has long since outgrown his interest, but I haven't yet - I still buy them from time to time when I see one I find particularly snazzy.
stephaniestavr5 AnnieM 20 days ago
I have a bunch of Hot Wheels that I purchased over the past few years through EBAY. They are all Corvettes "through the years." {To quote Kenny Rogers.} Including a couple of my fave, the '63 Split
Moody AnnieM 20 days ago
I have 3 boys, all grown now but when they were kids they all loved Matchbox & Hot Wheels cars. As they each grew out them they passed them down to a younger brother. Now they are sitting in a chest in our basement. I'm tempted sometimes to take them out & play with them myself!
Moody Suzies1952 20 days ago
A free app called Tubi Tv has Route 66 but I don't remember how many seasons. I watch it from time to time. They have a lot of old tv series like that. You should check it out sometime.
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