The Highwayman (TV series)

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The Highwayman
Created by Glen A. Larson and
Douglas Heyes
Starring Sam J. Jones
“Jacko”
Jane Badler
Tim Russ
Narrated by William Conrad (uncredited)
Composer(s) Rocky Davis
Dave Fisher
Stu Phillips (pilot only)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes Pilot + 9 episodes
Production
Executive producer(s) Glen A. Larson
Producer(s) Mark McClafferty
Mark Jones
Scott Levitta
Running time 60 min.
Production company(s) Twentieth Century Fox Television (pilot)
New West Entertainment (series)
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run September 20, 1987 – May 6, 1988

The Highwayman is an American action-adventure themed television series starring Sam J. Jones, set in "the near future." It was created by Glen A. Larson and Douglas Heyes. The pilot aired in September 1987, and was followed by a short-lived series of nine episodes, with significant changes to the cast and format, that ran from March until May 1988. It was summed up by many reviewers as a cross between Mad Max and Knight Rider.

Opening narration by William Conrad (all episodes after the pilot):

There is a world, just beyond now, where reality runs a razor thin seam between fact and possibility; where the laws of the present collide with the crimes of tomorrow. Patrolling these vast outlands is a new breed of lawman, guarding the fringes of society’s frontiers, they are known simply as ‘Highwaymen’... and this is their story...

Synopsis[edit]

The movie and subsequent series follow the adventures of "The Highwayman", one of a mysterious group, presumably[original research?] of U.S. Marshals, conducting crime-fighting missions and solving bizarre mysteries. Each Highwayman in this group is equipped with a high-tech, multi-function truck.

The pilot movie used a different opening narration, also voiced by William Conrad:

They say he came into this world from someplace off the clock.
And his mother was an ice-cold wind; his pa a fiery rock.
It's told that on some starless nights his rig could up and glow,
And folks who say they saw it coming swear they didn't see it go.
Now you hear a lot of legends told when you ride the long hard slab,
From some who say the man is good and some who say he's bad.
But all agreed who've ever tried to play a cheatin' hand;
You only get one chance to draw against "The Highwayman."

Most crimes in our society begin or end on some stretch of road, where laws often terminate at county lines. Combatting these legal blackouts is a new breed of lawman; working the fringes of society's frontiers, and known simply as Highwaymen.
This is the story—and the legend—of one such man: The Highwayman.

The 1987 pilot movie starred Sam J. Jones. The lead character is more mysterious than any of the other Highwaymen in that his real name is never revealed (he is only known as "The Highwayman" or "Highway"). He drives a large, black, computerized truck with a bullet-shaped cabin, which is the nose of a concealed helicopter (an Aérospatiale Gazelle) which can detach from the rest of the truck. The truck can also operate in "stealth mode" to become invisible. A concealed futuristic sports car can emerge from the truck's rear. Some elements of the futuristic dashboard design were re-used from Knight Rider.

Claudia Christian co-starred as the Highwayman's liaison, Dawn, and Stanford Egi as technical wizard Mr. Toto. The pilot was retitled Terror on the Blacktop when shown as a stand-alone TV movie.

After the 1987 pilot film, only Jones returned for the weekly series. The retooling of the premise eliminated the truck's stealth mode, which was never mentioned again. The Highwayman was joined by a new sidekick, Australian outback survival expert Jetto, played by Mark "Jacko" Jackson; Jane Badler as the Highwayman's boss, Ms. Tania Winthrop, and Tim Russ as D.C. Montana, who was responsible for the maintenance and modifications to the vehicles. The show was also filmed entirely on location in the American Southwest. Unusually, the show even switched production companies (the pilot was the last co-production between Glen Larson Productions and Twentieth Century Fox Television, the series was independently produced by Larson's New West Entertainment). (The name "D.C. Montana" is a pun on the name of D.C. Fontana, famed TV script writer who worked on many shows including Star Trek.)

After Jetto's truck, which was identical to the Highwayman's, was destroyed in the first episode, "Road Ranger", he is given his own, unique truck, the front half of which can separate into a futuristic car. The truck was later used in the first episode of Power Rangers Time Force.

Although the organization shares elements with that of F.L.A.G. (the Foundation for Law and Government) from Knight Rider, it shares more with the mysterious "Firm" from the original three seasons of Airwolf.[original research?] The exact organization that the Highwayman and Jetto work for is never revealed in any great depth. Highwaymen seem to have extra-legal powers that occasionally cause conflict with the local police.

With much of the series featuring the Highwayman (and/or Jetto) driving their trucks along vast stretches of desert road, there are heavy modern-Western[clarification needed] overtones to many episodes. With the hybrid vehicles and weaponry, and the ordinary police unable to deal with many fragments of society, and the overall tone of the series,[clarification needed] many of the episodes have a vaguely post-apocalyptic feel to them.

Despite its short run, the series was broadcast in various other countries including Germany, France, Italy, Mexico, The Philippines, South Africa, Pakistan(NTM), Peru and the United Kingdom.

The original Highwayman truck (the one with the Gazelle helicopter cab) was designed and built by Jon Ward. It was restored and currently owned by a mobile tattoo service called 'Highwayman Ink' in Sulphur Springs, Texas.

Cast[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Note, one episode was shown out of its intended order. It is listed here in the intended order with explanatory notes.

Production number order, reflecting the order that the episodes began filming, does not match either the actual nor the intended airing order.

Ep.# Episode Director(s) Writer(s) Original airdate Prod. #
Pilot "The Highwayman"
a.k.a. Terror on the Blacktop"
Douglas Heyes Glen A. Larson and Douglas Heyes September 20, 1987 (1987-09-20) 5L79

The mysterious Highwayman becomes involved when a biker gang called ‘The Bullets’ rob a small-town bank, with their leader, Bo Ziker, ending up in jail. But it emerges that The Bullets were set up to take the fall for a huge fraud instigated by a local bigwig and the town sheriff...

This Pilot film was later re-titled "Terror on the Blacktop" and shown as a stand-alone movie. A two-part syndicated version also exists.

Special Guest Star: Jimmy Smits (Bo Ziker). Guest Stars: Wings Hauser (Sheriff Wyatt), Jennifer Runyon (Amanda Merrick), Lyle Alzado (Iron Butt), Rowdy Roddy Piper (Preacher), Ken Morrison (Travis Ziker), Theresa Saldana (Angela Brown), Bill McKinney, Jon Menick and G. Gordon Liddy (Ed Merrick). Co-starring: John Quade (Bartender), Paul Drake (Deputy Bricker), Tommy Lamey (Deputy Dogget), Branscombe Richmond (Geronimo), Michael Berryman (Chromedome), Mickey Jones (Pepper Hansen), Michael Carr (Deputy Turley), Keith Barbour (Entertainer #1), Micael McGinnis (Entertainer #2), Mindi Iden (Hot Tub Girl #1), Joanne Wolf (Hot Tub Girl #2), Carmen Kotta (Woman Controller), Ed Hooks (Guard), James Griffith (Old Duffer #1), Patrick Cranshaw (Old Duffer #2), Marion Wright (Woman), Maura Soden (Reporter), Jack Ging (head of Stealth, uncredited).
1 "Road Lord" Dan Haller Glen A. Larson & Mark Jones March 4, 1988 (1988-03-04) 8803

When Steve, a fellow Highwayman, is murdered, his friend Highway investigates, and uncovers some sinister goings on at a local, secretive production complex. But Highway is shocked to find Steve there seemingly alive; and now, something is very different about him...

The title of this episode is not shown on screen, the only episode of the series not to do so. Some sources give "Road Ranger" as the title, as it is Steve's nickname, but "Road Lord" is the title given in the copyright filing.[1]

Guest Starring: Clarence Williams III (Jessie), Anne Lockhart (Battlestar: Galactica) (Shelly North), Clyde Kusatsu, George McDaniel, George Mudock (Doc North), Darby Hinton, Jesse Dizon. Special Guest Star: Kent McCord (Battlestar: Galactica 1980) (Steve North, aka "Road Ranger"). Featuring: Len Carli (Auctioneer), Andy Schwiebert (Davey North), Mark DeMichele (Driver Deputy), Steve Easterling (Shotgun Deputy), Mark Jones (Nebbish).
2 "The Hitchhiker" Larry Shaw Glen A. Larson March 11, 1988 (1988-03-11) 8802

The Highwayman is assigned to transport a supposedly dead alien body from a U.F.O. crash site to a research lab. But a reporter is determined to find out what is going on - and the alien is far from dead...

Special Guest Star: Christina Raines-Crowe (Pepper McKenzie). Guest Starring: Joe Regalbuto (Street Hawk) (Major Fury), James Staley, Robert DoQui, Wendy Malick, and Arlen Dean Snyder (General Nordhoff). Featuring: Stuart Grant (Dr. Long), Will Hannah (M.P.), Toby Noakes (Brig M.P.), Robin Wayne (Gate M.P.), Ron Brott (General's Pilot).
3 "'Til Death Duel Us Part" Larry Shaw Jonathan Day and Steven L. Sears & Burt Pearl March 18, 1988 (1988-03-18) 8805

Highway breaks Cody Teague, his friend and mentor from Vietnam, out of prison for stealing an armored car, of which Highway is certain he is innocent. Now both of them are fugitives, and a number of parties - including Jetto - are after them as they search for the evidence to prove Cody's innocence...

Special Guest Star: Chad Everett (Ron Bonham). Guest Starring: Joseph Bottoms (Cody Teague). Featuring: Jim Maniaci (Tattoo), Melissa Grier (Turbo), George Salazar (Prison Doctor), Corelio Hernandez (Guard #1), Albert Ruiz (Guard #2), Marcus Wright (Derek Sutton), Rusty Lee (Old Timer), Thom Khaler (FBI Agent), Steve R. Burns (Agent #2),
4 "Haunted Highway" Don Weis Teleplay: William Rabkin & Lee Goldberg and Burt Pearl & Steven L. Sears.
Story: William Rabkin & Lee Goldberg
May 6, 1988 (1988-05-06) 8804

When an American Indian is accused of murder, Highway and Jetto investigate and stumble onto a long-forgotten gold mine, and an ancient curse "of fire and ice", which will kill anybody who tries to mine there...

This episode was originally scheduled for March 25, 1988 but was postponed, and was eventually aired after all the other episodes (although it is referred to in "Frightmare", confirming that it takes place earlier.)

Guest Starring: Marla Heasley (The A-Team) (Liz Redstone), Paul Koslo, Rodger Gibson (Jake Redstone), Michael Horse (Sheriff Jerry New Eagle), Dehl Berti, Gary Grubbs (Harrison), Tim Rossovich, Andy Romano, Jean-Pierre Dorleac, And as Snyder, Steven Keats. Featuring Larry Soller (Prosecutor), Don Champlin (Judge), Steven Carry (Burcher), Frank Sprague (Bernie), Donna Brown (Reporter #1), Joe Corocoran (Reporter #2), Steven R. Burns (Henchman), Ana Auther (Model), Jacky Christian (Model), Carol Gossler (Model), Chon Linesch (Model), Tess Swain (Model).
5 "Summer of 45"
a.k.a. "1945""
Rob Bowman Teleplay: Mark Jones and Steven L. Sears & Burt Pearl.
Story: Glen A. Larson & Mark Jones
April 1, 1988 (1988-04-01) 8806

Highway and Jetto travel back in time to 1945, to rescue Ms. Winthrop, who has not returned after pursuing a twisted genius who is intent on ending the atomic age before it has even begun...

Tim Russ (D.C. Montana) does not appear in this episode. This is the only episode not to feature Highway's truck; Jetto's truck is used throughout.

Special Guest Star: Lloyd Bochner. Guest Starring: Bill Hudson[disambiguation needed] (Donald Travers), Greg Mullavey (Edward Travers), Liz Keifer (Leslie), Patrick St. Esprit, Les Brown Jr.. Featuring: Richard Kelley (Guard at Gate), Peppi Sanders (Helen), Gary Clarke (Sheriff), Donald Hall (Deputy), Paul Mancuso (Larry), Nick Young (M.P.), Dan Mara (M.P. #1), Richard Ryan (Private), Thom Khaler (FBI Agent), Steven R. Burns (FBI Agent).
6 "Send in the Clones" Allan Holzman Glen A. Larson and David Garber & Bruce E. Kalish April 8, 1988 (1988-04-08) 8811

Highway befriends a strange but friendly man called Mac, who is promptly snatched away by the Army. Investigating just what is going on, Highway and Jetto discover that Mac is a clone, programmed with a deadly assignment...

This episode doubled as a pilot for a proposed spin-off series, "McClone", which was never produced.

Guest Starring: J.D. Cannon (Chief Clifton), Terry Carter (Lt. Broadside), Pamela Susan Shoop (Dr. Chadway), Gary Lockwood (Colonel Westcourt), Greta Blackburn (prostitute), Michael Pataki (Detective), and Howie Long (Mac). Featuring: Tony Acierto (Hood), Perry D'Marco (Hood), Mel Young (Reporter #1), Margie Girgo (Girl's Mom), Nicole Frierson (Little Girl), John L. Wade (Clone #1), Michael Morris[disambiguation needed] (Clone #2), Shawn Patterson (Clone #3), Warner McKay (Bum), William Forsythe (Mounted Cop), Phil Allen (TV Announcer), Jan Sandwich (Wendy), Henry M. Kendrick (Mayor), Thom Khaler (FBI Agent), Steven R. Burns (FBI Agent).
7 "Billionaire Body Club" Ivan Nagy Glen A. Larson April 15, 1988 (1988-04-15) 8801

When a dead body drained of blood and missing organs is uncovered, Highway and Jetto are sent in to investigate, and are soon on the trail of a blood-thirsty doctor trading in spare body parts for the rich and the powerful...

Special Appearance: Christopher McDonald (Joshua Towler). Guest Starring: Cindy Morgan (Mary "Mink" Mincowitz), Kim Ulrich (Melissa Mincowitz), Ken Swofford (Mayor), Mark Lonow, Ed Hooks and Nicholas Guest (Mason). Co-Starring: Blackie Dammett (Jazz), Kim Milford (Cotton). Featuring: Blueberry (Lead Girl), JoAnne Wolf (Model), Thom Khaler (FBI Agent), Steven R. Burns (Agent #2).
8 "Warzone" Rob Bowman Tom Blomquist April 29, 1988 (1988-04-29) 8807

After an accident, Jetto's mind reverts back to five years previously, when he was double-crossed by comrades in battle, who turned out to be dealing in illegal drugs and weapons, and tried to murder him. In a dazed and confused state, he hunts down the two men, who are now in high positions, as Highway and Montana try to stop him before the Army takes him out, but uncovers a vein of corruption...

Special Guest Star: Roger Davis (Chief Jim Townsend). Guest Starring: Ted Lange (Mayor John Fletcher), Terry Kiser (Colonel Halsted), Lara Parker (Dr. Terwishe), Mark Thomas Miller. Special Appearance: Wayne Newton (Bartlett). Featuring: Joe Faust (Police Captain), Heather McNair (Virginia), J. B. Warren (Private; uncredited).
9 "Frightmare" Rob Bowman Teleplay: Glen A. Larson and David Garber & Bruce E. Kalish.
Story: Burt Pearl
April 22, 1988 (1988-04-22) 8812

Mafia crime-lord Manetti's men use a high-tech machine that can read agents' minds, to try and find the one man that is set to testify against him. When their first victim dies, Manetti's men capture Ms. Winthrop, and Highway and Jetto are in a race against time to save her before Manetti discovers the witness' true location...

This episode, the last to be filmed, was originally designed to be the last broadcast episode, and in some ways bookends the series, making references to and via the memory machine, re-working scenes from "Road Ranger", "Billionaire Body Club", "'Till Death Duel Us Part" and "Haunted Highway" (which had not yet aired). However, "Haunted Highway" had been postponed on March 25, 1988, and ended up being broadcast as the final episode.

Special Guest Star: Vince Edwards (Manetti). Guest Starring: Stanley Kamel (Cisco), Jack Ging (Riptide, The A-Team) (Admiral Conti), Alex Courtney (Dr. Sebring), Otto Felix, Janet Curtis, Judd Omen (Bronson), Zitto Kaxann. Featuring: Michael Waltman ((Dan) Wheeler), Doug Cotner (Doctor #3), Ed Gabel (Agent #1), Stephen Hastings (Lieutenant), Thom Khaler (FBI Agent), Steven R. Burns (Agent #2), Fred Neslon (Plain Clothes Agent), Harold Dixon (Morgue Doctor #1).

Date[edit]

The series is at first vague on the exact year that it takes place. Other than Highway and Jetto's trucks, Highway's occasionally seen sports car (a silver Lotus Esprit) and Ms. Badler's car (a red Mark II Toyota MR2), the other vehicles are generally that of the era in which the series was filmed. Many of these vehicles, such as the Ford Motor Co.'s Aerostar minivan, were marketed at the time as having sleek, futuristic designs. It is generally indicated that the series takes place a couple of years after that in which it was made. A coin in the episode "Summer of 45" is said to be dated 1992. It is not until "Warzone" that the date is given on-screen as 1992 (October for that episode).

Weaponry[edit]

The firearms carried by the Highwayman and Jetto are larger and more imposing than traditional police sidearms. That carried by the Highwayman appears to be similar to a stockless 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun with a sawn-off barrel, as used by SWAT teams and some military agencies. In the pilot movie, two sheriff's deputies debate the properties of the Highwayman's sidearm, its power finally demonstrated when a shot accidentally destroys part of the county police station in which the Highwayman is being held. In the episode 'Til Death Duel Us Part', it is revealed that this weapon has selectable 'modes' and is capable of firing both 9mm Parabellum and 20mm high-explosive ammunition. The sidearm carried by Jetto is a stockless, full-length Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]