Friday, 7 May 2010


One of the things I love talking about is television and movies. I remember the first television I had in my bedroom when I was very young was a black and white box that you had to tune in to watch anything. How things have changed!

My first viewing memories are of my father coming into the my room early one morning and putting the TV on so I could watch James Hunt win the formula one world championship way back in 1976. Then of course watching westerns in black and white before my parents could afford a colour television.

As I grew up in the eighties I have a great fondness of that era and the television series that were made. The A-Team, Airwolf, Knight Rider, Automan, Street Hawk, etc. I am going to add my thoughts about those shows we all enjoyed watching.
Also as I prepare my third television and movie themes album, I'll chat a little about my favourite films. and television shows in future blog postings. One of my more irritating habits is quoting from various films, some of which I have seen dozens of times over, most notably the James Bond films starring the suave and great actor Roger Moore. I have been known to annoy my parents when watching Moonraker and being able to join in with the lines.

We'll start with Airwolf. Naturally I saw the movie on a video and I fell in love with the series from then on, it was a must watch. The theme music was good and the way the cast seemed to gel together shone through onto the screen.

Airwolf the movie was excellent from start to finish. The film begins in the desert with the super helicopter being given a test flight by it's creator Dr Moffett in front of a senator, Moffett then promptly destroys the CIA mission control and steals the helicopter from under the Americans noses heading for Lybia and Gaddafi. Moffett and his two co pilots then run missions for Gaddafi, destroying the odd aircraft or two. In between times we are introduced to Michael Coldsmith Briggs III "Archangel" (Alex Cord) the head of so called dangerous missions for the CIA as he tries to persuade the only man aside of Moffett who has flown Airwolf - it's test pilot Stringfellow Hawke (Jan Michael Vincent) and Dominic Santini (Ernest Borgnine) We get a behind the scenes look at stunt filming as Hawke and Santini film a scene for a film. Only Hawke loses the job after "backing" a stroppy actor. There is a reference to the shows creator (Donald P Bellisario) -"The Bellisario job" on the flight back to Hawke's cabin set in beautiful surroundings. Archangle and Gabrielle arrive to try and persuade Hawke to rescue Airwolf in exchange for a million dollars. Hawke won't accept saying he'll do the job in exchange for the Firm finding his brother St John an MIA in Vietnam. Gabrielle is left to seduce Hawke. Things hot up when Moffett attacks an American destoryer and Hawke's art collection is taken.

Hawke then accepts the mission, on his way learning that Angela his contact has been murdered. He also learns that Gabrielle has been sent ahead. In the meantime the Firm has no idea that Santini is backing Hawke. The two find Airwolf located at Gaddafi's summer palace. There they learn that Moffett is torturing Gabrielle in the Dunes. They rescue Airwolf and destroy the palace, then set out in pursuit of Moffett on the way finding a spent and dehydrated Gabrielle. Hawke is hell bent on revenge and after some fancy flying and destruction of enemy aircraft and ground personel find Moffett in a cheap in the sand dunes.

Moffett levels up attempting to fire a six shooter pistol into the aircrafts mid flight refuelling intake - something Moffett had told one of Gaddafi's senior officers after he had asked "In the desert the Jackal has many ways of killing it's prey, how does one kill a wolf?".

Hawke kills Moffett with a missile and empties one of the fourteen firepower options chambers on the rogue Doctor. That's basically the end of the movie leaving some unanswered questions.

What happened to the two co-pilots Moffett took with him? I don't think they were ever mentioned again, could have been written in to the television series, but I don't remember their names being mentioned. What happend to Gabrielle's body? Was it just left there in the desert?

The television series had some great episodes and some equally bad ones, especially in the last series. One of my favourites was Moffet's Ghost. Moffett's cunningly left a logic bomb in Airwolf's computer systems which rendered the helicopter useless until an expert was recruited to get rid of the virus. In the end they had to purge the machines systems to get control back, there was a slight flicker of a switch just after the purge that led the viewer to believe Airwolf would never be rid of Moffett completely, could have been made more use of in another story in my view. Dambreakers was a story about a crazy cult, sort of Dambusters with a twist. Severence Pay was another good episode were one of Hawke's friends is denied retirement benefits and in revenge threatens to divulge sensitive information. Sweet Britches in another of my favourites and introduces a new cast member Caitlin O' Shannessy (Jean Bruce Scott).

There are many great guest star appearances, notably Deborah Pratt as Morella, Archangles number two, she later directed episodes if memory serves me correct.

Sadly they killed off Santini and wrote out the original cast for season four (1987). Hawke is replaced by his brother St. John Hawke played by Barry Van Dyke. These episodes are not a patch on the earlier ones and I really lost interest.

The good side to the earlier shows was they often ended with a laugh or all round smile, the morals were good, good versus evil and the good will always win through in the end, also good "Old School acting".

I'm left thinking what would have happened if Airwolf could actually have flown itself.

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