Normally, about half of the ciliary ganglion neurons in 8-day-old chick embryos die before day 14 in ovo. However, when dissociated ciliary ganglion neurons were prepared from either 8- or 14-day-old embryos and grown in cell culture with skeletal myotubes, essentially all of the neurons survived for at least 3 weeks. Many of the neurons formed functional synapses on myotubes under these conditions; some neuromuscular synapses could be detected as early as 20 hr after addition of the ganglion cells to muscle cultures. In contrast, most neurons from 8-day embryos survived for only a few days when grown alone on either polyornithine- or collagen-coated dishes. These results suggest that neurons destined to die in ovo can be rescued when grown in cell culture with myotubes and that under these conditions the neurons develop and express differentiated properties.