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Hit the road with Nickelodeon’s American Odyssey summer film series

Peter Fonda portrays a counterculture biker in the 1969 film “Easy Rider.”
Peter Fonda portrays a counterculture biker in the 1969 film “Easy Rider.” File photo

Take a road trip this summer, venturing from New Orleans to South Dakota to Oregon.

And never leave the air conditioned comfort of the Nickelodeon movie theater.

In July, the Nickelodeon presents American Odyssey, a series of seven classic road films that traverse the United States throughout the 20th century.

From Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “North by Northwest” to the coming-of-age “Stand By Me,” the series explores the adventures – and often harsh realities – of the American open road.

“These are gorgeously shot epics and adventures that are going to be beloved favorites for some and new discoveries for others,” said Pauline Arroyo, marketing coordinator at Nickelodeon. “The summer series is always a celebration of the history of cinema and offers films that are unquestionably delightful to see on the big screen.”

The series is sponsored of the Braddock Group of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. Series passes, which provide one admission to each movie, cost $50 (or $40 for members).

“Collectively, the films represent a selection of some of the best modern odysseys,” Arroyo said. “They are stories of the search for freedom, love, power and as the tagline for ‘Easy Rider’ states ‘America.’ 

Here’s a quick look at the seven films in the series – and, for fun, we’ve included some mileage in case you’re intrigued by the trips.

‘Sullivan’s Travels’

DATES: Sunday, July 2-Monday, July 3

THE FILM: Sullivan is a successful, spoiled, naive Hollywood fluff-film director who decides he wants to make a film about the troubles of the downtrodden poor. Much to the chagrin of his producers, he sets off in tramp’s clothing with a single dime in his pocket to experience poverty firsthand and gets some reality shock.

THE ROAD TRIP: The drive from Columbia to Sullivan’s Los Angeles is in the neighborhood of 2,400 miles.

‘North By Northwest’

DATES: Sunday, July 9-Monday, July 10

THE FILM: This Alfred Hitchcock film is the story of hapless New York advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill, who is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies. He is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive. “North by Northwest” stars Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.

THE ROAD TRIP: If you drove from the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Columbia to The Plaza in New York City – where Thornhill’s nightmare begins – it would be about 710 miles.

‘Easy Rider’

DATES: Sunday, July 16-Monday, July 17

THE FILM:Dennis Hopper directed this film featuring Peter Fonda. It’s about two counterculture bikers traveling from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of America.

THE ROAD TRIP: There is a lot of road time in this movie, but let’s stick with the Los Angeles to New Orleans route, which adds up to about 1,892 miles.

‘Duel’

DATES: Thursday, July 20

THE FILM:From director Steven Spielberg’s early days, ‘’Duel’’ begins when a California businessman named David Mann (Dennis Weaver) is driving on a two-lane road in southern California and happens to pass the wrong tractor-trailer. Thus begins, as the New York Times notes in a review of the film, a series of “nerve-wracking car chases” as the businessman is terrorized.

THE ROAD TRIP: There is a lot of driving in this film. The production notes alone note that Dennis Weaver put in more than 2,000 miles during the 16-day shooting schedule, according to the Times review.

‘Badlands’

DATES: Sunday, July 23-Monday, July 24

THE FILM: An impressionable teenage girl from a dead-end town and her older greaser boyfriend embark on a killing spree.

THE ROAD TRIP: The drive from Columbia’s Main Street to Badlands National Park in South Dakota is roughly 1,635 miles.

‘The Hitcher’

DATE: Thursday, July 27

THE FILM: A young man delivering a car from Chicago to San Diego escapes the clutches of a murderous hitchhiker, who then stalks the driver and frames him for crimes.

THE ROAD TRIP: The driving distance from Chicago to San Diego is roughly 2,083 miles (and that’s without a crazy hitchhiker on your back).

‘Stand By Me’

DATES: Sunday, July 30-Monday, July 31

THE FILM: It’s the summer of 1959 in Castle Rock, Oregon, and four 12-year-old boys – Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern – are fast friends. After learning of the general location of the body of a local boy who has been missing for several days, they set off into woods to see it. Along the way, they learn about themselves, the meaning of friendship and the need to stand up for what is right.

THE ROAD TRIP: The drive time between Columbia and Castle Rock is roughly 2,869 miles.

And that’s a wrap.

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