Rex Smith as the Street Hawk, but without the helmet that kept his face masked.
|Created by||Paul M. Belous
|Developed by||Bruce Lansbury|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|Original run||January 4 – May 16, 1985|
Street Hawk is an American television series that aired for 13 episodes on ABC in 1985. The series is a Limekiln and Templar Production in association with Universal Television. Its central characters were created by Paul M. Belous and Robert "Bob" Wolterstorff, and its core format was developed by Bruce Lansbury, who had initially commissioned the program's creation. This series was originally planned for the fall of 1984, Mondays at 8:00PM Eastern/7:00PM Central. However, ABC executives changed their minds when the summer series Call to Glory did well, and Street Hawk was pushed to mid-season. Street Hawk made its debut on January 4, 1985 on ABC at 9:00PM Eastern/8:00PM Central and ran until May 16, 1985.
Reruns aired on the USA Network on Saturdays at 10:00AM from 1990-91.
The premise of the show is narrated before every episode during the opening titles, voiced by Ernie Anderson:
This is Jesse Mach, an ex-motorcycle cop, injured in the line of duty. Now a police troubleshooter, he's been recruited for a top secret government mission to ride Street Hawk -- an all-terrain attack motorcycle designed to fight urban crime, capable of incredible speeds up to three hundred miles an hour, and immense firepower. Only one man, federal agent Norman Tuttle, knows Jesse Mach's true identity. The man...the machine...Street Hawk.
The pilot episode shows the backstory: Jesse Mach's (Rex Smith) earlier work as a police officer and amateur dirt-bike racer; his recruitment by Norman Tuttle for the Street Hawk project; and the capabilities of the motorcycle and its computer backend, from providing the motorcycle rider with real-time mission information, to assisting the motorcycle during its high-speed "hyperthrust" runs.
All subsequent episodes show Mach leading a double life, a police public relations officer by day, and crimefighter by night. Street Hawk is regarded as a lawless vigilante and a public relations embarrassment by the police, especially by Mach's commanding officer Captain Leo Altobelli (Richard Venture). Each episode deals with a specific crime or mission, and there are no multi-episode story arcs.
The musical theme was composed by Tangerine Dream and produced by Christopher Franke, and a modified version (which was featured in the pilot episode during the sequence where Mach took the bike out for the first time) appeared on their album Le Parc, titled "Le Parc (L.A. - Streethawk)."
The motorcycle in the pilot episode was based on a 1983 Honda XL500 trailbike. The motorcycles used in the series were based on 1984 Honda XR500s. The motorcycles used for the stunt shots were based on Honda CR250s. Overall, fifteen motorcycles were used in the show. The whereabouts of fourteen of these are unknown, but the fifteenth used to reside in the now closed Cars of the Stars Motor Museum in Keswick, Cumbria, England, restored by stuntman Chris Bromham. The pilot motorcycle was designed by Andrew Probert and the series motorcycles were redesigned by Ron Cobb. During filming, the fiberglass bike parts constantly flew off the bike during the course of stunt work. The film stunt second unit crew always had six bikes standing by to replace the hero bike's jump or maneuver. When first unit was on stage at Universal Studios, the second stunt crew were on location filming with a stunt biker performing with the bike. The stunt bikes were always in Universal Studios' effects shop being repaired or replaced with parts. A motorcycle shop, not far from the studio, three miles on Lankershim Boulevard, always supplied new frames and wheels for the stunt bikes. Winfield Special Projects in Canoga Park made all body panels and special effects. Eric Thaler from Austria was in charge of the project at Winfield's.
List of episodes
- Street Hawk (1.5-hour pilot) (January 4, 1985, guest-starring Lawrence Pressman, Robert Beltran, and Christopher Lloyd)
- A Second Self (January 11, 1985, guest-starring George Clooney)
- The Adjuster (January 18, 1985)
- Vegas Run (January 25, 1985, guest-starring Sybil Danning)
- Dog Eat Dog (February 1, 1985, guest-starring Daphne Ashbrook)
- Fire on the Wing (February 8, 1985, guest-starring Earl Boen and Jere Burns)
- Chinatown Memories (February 15, 1985, guest-starring Shelagh McLeod)
- The Unsinkable 453 (February 22, 1985, guest-starring Bianca Jagger)
- Hot Target (March 1, 1985, guest-starring Charles Napier)
- Murder is a Novel Idea (March 8, 1985, guest-starring Belinda Montgomery)
- The Arabian (May 2, 1985, guest-starring Bibi Besch and Jeff Pomerantz)
- Female of the Species (a.k.a. The Assassin) (May 9, 1985, guest-starring Ann Turkel, Dennis Franz and Marc Alaimo)
- Follow the Yellow Gold Road (May 16, 1985, guest-starring Robert Costanzo and Catherine Parks).
VHS, CD & DVD releases
There have been at least two official releases of the Street Hawk pilot movie on VHS. One was from MCA Canada and contained the full 90-minute pilot (actually 76 minutes or so without commercials), and the other was the U.S. MCA release that ran about 60 minutes. There are short bits of footage that are unique to each release (i.e., even though the U.S. version is shorter, it does include a line or two of dialogue not present in the Canadian version). Other differences include a "blue lightning"-style primary weapon in the Canadian version (whereas the red "laser beam" from the rest of the series appears on the U.S. release) and actual stunt jumps on the U.S. tape instead of "matted-in" fake jumps in the Canadian version.
On July 13, 2010, Shout! Factory released Street Hawk: The Complete Series, a 4 DVD Box-Set featuring all 13 episodes of the series. Special features include an all new 41 minute documentary entitled 'The Making Of A Legend' and an unaired pilot featuring different Street Hawk firepower.
Despite the small number of episodes produced, in Britain four novels based on the series were published by Target Books:
- Street Hawk by Jack Roberts, adapted from the pilot
- Cons At Large by Jack Roberts, adapted from the episodes "The Adjuster" and "The Unsinkable 453"
- Golden Eyes by Charles Gale, adapted from the episodes "Follow The Yellow Gold Road" and "Dog Eat Dog"
- Danger On Target by David Deutsch, adapted from the episodes "Murder is a Novel Idea" and "Hot Target"
An unlicensed Street Hawk toy was produced by Funskool Toys in India, under the G.I. Joe brand name. Neither the motorcycle nor its driver are show-accurate. Instead, the cycle uses a repainted 1982 American G.I. Joe R.A.M. motorcycle, and the driver is a repainted, "kit-bashed" G.I. Joe figure.
In Brazil the Street Hawk toys were produced by Glasslite. One item was the "Moto Laser MRX-1", a slot track with two slot bikes: the Street Hawk and a yellow model. A Jesse Mach action figure was also released.
In the United Kingdom and some countries, a Street Hawk "stunt bike" was released by ERTL. Roughly the same size as standard miniature ERTL vehicles, the toy had a plastic rider, on the motorcycle powered by a friction wheel. The packaging suggested various stunts that the owner could attempt to perform with the toy.
- Blue Thunder
- Knight Rider
- The Highwayman
- Street Hawk (video game)
- Thunder in Paradise
- Lambert, David (8 March 2010). "Street Hawk - The Complete Series: Details, Extras and Packaging from this Summer's Fabulous/Shout! DVDs". tvshowsondvd.com. Retrieved 8 March 2010.