Blue Thunder (TV series)

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Blue Thunder
Blue thunder dvd.jpg
DVD cover
Genre Action
Directed by Guy Magar
Starring James Farentino
Dana Carvey
Sandy McPeak
Dick Butkus
Bubba Smith
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 11
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Rastar Productions
Public Arts
Columbia Pictures Television
Original network ABC
Original release January 6 – April 16, 1984
A mock-up of the Blue Thunder helicopter, as seen on the back lot tour of Disney Hollywood Studios, Florida

Blue Thunder is a 1984 ABC television series based on the movie of the same title featuring the Blue Thunder helicopter.[1]

The series uses the converted Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopter and large portions of stock footage from the 1983 film. A ground unit named "Rolling Thunder" backed up the helicopter in the television series. This was a large support van with a desert camouflage off-road vehicle stored inside.

The television series cast includes James Farentino, Dana Carvey, and former professional American football players Bubba Smith and Dick Butkus. The series was canceled by ABC after they felt the similar Airwolf on CBS would win the ratings battle.[citation needed] Also, the series aired at the same time as the CBS soap opera Dallas on Friday nights, and lost.

Eleven episodes were made before the series was cancelled.[2]


  • James Farentino as Frank Chaney, protagonist, policeman and pilot of the "Blue Thunder". A bit of a maverick whose antics invariably get him into trouble, but always manages to come out on top.
  • Dana Carvey as Clinton Wonderlove, aka "JAFO", Frank's flight engineer on "Blue Thunder", as well as his sidekick. Clinton handles technical aspect of the chopper and serves as Frank's "voice of reason", which is oft ignored unless in critical moments.
  • Sandy McPeak as Captain Braddock, Frank's superior who is often exasperated by him, but invariably keeps him on because he always brings results and credit to the team.
  • Bubba Smith as "Bubba" Kelsey, a tough cop who is one of the two members of "Rolling Thunder", Frank's ground crew.
  • Dick Butkus as "Ski" Butowski, another tough cop who is the other member of "Rolling Thunder".
  • Ann Cooper as J.J. Douglas, radio operator who is Frank's contact at headquarters, and the only female regular in the series.

DVD release[edit]

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 on August 22, 2006.[3] A Region 2 release followed on 27 September 2010.[4]


  1. ^ O'Connor, John J. (6 January 1984). "TV WEEKEND; 'JERK TOO,' 'BLUE THUNDER'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  2. ^ "Blue Thunder: The Complete Series". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  3. ^ "Blue Thunder DVD news: A Thundering Change In The Box Art!". Retrieved 2012-06-28. 
  4. ^ "Blue Thunder: The Complete Series [DVD]: James Farentino, Dana Carvey, Dick Butkus, Bubba Smith: Film & TV". Retrieved 2012-06-28. 

External links[edit]