During the filming of The Seven-Ups we spent a lot of time at the Bronx Terminal Market. I watched the comings and goings of an endless stream of independent truckers…. dropping their loads…. and movin’ on to other jobs – anywhere in the country – anywhere that someone was willing to pay them to move their goods. It occurred to me that this world would be a great idea for a T.V. series. So, I sat down and created the characters of Sonny and Will and the beginnings of Movin’ On. Once the concept was sold to NBC and the script approved, we were on the way to production of the pilot. Of course, first things first. We needed to have a Sonny and Will. Who would that be?
Working on the concept for the series I had the actor, Ward Bond, in mind for Sonny. As I got deeper into writing the characters, I knew I wanted Frank Converse for Will. I was a big fan of the T.V. series N.Y.P.D. which Converse had starred in. So casting began and my casting director recommended that I meet with Claude Akins. The moment Claude walked into my office I knew he was Sonny and I made the offer to him immediately. He thought the role was wonderful and the possibility of shooting a series which traveled around the country would be challenging and very exciting. I flew to NYC where Frank lived, met with him and made the deal.
Once we had these two very fine actors the fun began. You see, they had to drive very big 18 wheelers and neither of them had ever done so. In fact, Frank didn’t drive a car…. much less a semi. Truck driving lessons were on the schedule ASAP. Claude took to truckin’ like a fish to water. Frank…. not so much. So our “Movin’ On” adventure began in the cab of a truck…. with Claude and Frank getting to know each other and their way around a 10 speed manual transmission. But most of all, they started learning the characters – “rough and tumble” indy truckers named Sonny Pruitt and Will Chandler.