Rex Smith as Street Hawk
|Created by||Paul M. Belous|
|Developed by||Bruce Lansbury|
|Opening theme||"Le Parc" by Tangerine Dream|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Limekiln-Templar Productions|
|Original release||January 4 – May 16, 1985|
Street Hawk is an American superhero 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.
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. Motorcyclist Magazine staffers Jeff Karr and Dexter Ford built the motorcycles for the pilot in their Hancock Park, Los Angeles garage, combining parts from an electric start Honda 500 Ascot with the chassis of a dual-sport XL500 on/off road bike. The motorcycles used in the series were based on 1984 Honda XR500s, using the electric-start motor of the street-based Ascot, creating the first-known electric-start Honda dual-sport motorcycles. The stunt coordinator insisted on using the turbocharged Honda CX500 street bike for performance-related sequences, but the motorcycles actually used for the stunt shots were based on Honda CR250 racing dirt bikes. The bodywork of 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
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"Street Hawk (Pilot)"||Virgil W. Vogel||Paul M. Belous & Robert Wolterstorff||January 4, 1985|
Injured motorcycle cop, Jesse Mach, is chosen to test ride a top-secret government, ultra-fast attack motorcycle called 'Street Hawk', and is partnered with its creator, Norman Tuttle, to combat urban crime in Los Angeles. Their first assignment is to take down sadistic drug smuggler Anthony Corrido, who is the reason for Jesse's injury and who killed his partner.
|2||"A Second Self"||Virgil W. Vogel||Bruce Cervi & Nicholas Corea||January 11, 1985|
An old friend of Jesse's comes to town and they have fun. But what Jesse doesn't know is that his friend is working for some people who want Street Hawk.
|3||"The Adjuster"||Virgil W. Vogel||Nicholas Corea||January 18, 1985|
A tough New York City cop is assigned to extradite a small-time embezzler that was captured by Street Hawk, but his brutal behaviour is too much for Jesse to tolerate, which makes him suspect that the New York cop isn't what he seems to be.
|4||"Vegas Run"||Virgil W. Vogel||Deborah Dean Davis||January 25, 1985|
Jesse and Norman protect a beautiful Las Vegas showgirl who must get to a court house to testify against her mobster boyfriend, but she'll need every weapon at Street Hawk's disposal to make it there alive and in time.
|5||"Dog Eat Dog"||Daniel Haller||Bruce Cervi & Nicholas Corea||February 1, 1985|
Jesse attempts to convince a rock star to appear in a public service announcement, and becomes involved in her ex-boyfriend's murder.
|6||"Fire on the Wing"||Virgil W. Vogel||John Huff & L. Ford Neale||February 8, 1985|
The police and Street Hawk are occupied with a series of arson attacks at six different warehouses in three cities. The victims, a group of businessmen, are clearly being blackmailed but none of them is willing to talk.
|7||"Chinatown Memories"||Paul Stanley||Story by : Deborah Dean Davis & Hannah Louise Shearer |
Teleplay by : Deborah Dean Davis
|February 15, 1985|
An old girlfriend of Jesse's asks for his help when her present boyfriend steals a sacred statue called The Ivory Emperor from a Chinese gang called The Tong, which places his secret identity as Street Hawk in jeopardy.
|8||"The Unsinkable 453"||Kim Manners||Paul M. Belous||February 22, 1985|
The wife of a deposed foreign leader has a soldier of fortune broken out of jail, so that he can help her remove 20 million dollars from a ship.
|9||"Hot Target"||Harvey S. Laidman||Story by : Shel Willens & Deborah Dean Davis |
Teleplay by : Shel Willens
|March 1, 1985|
Norman reluctantly makes contact with an old flame when he and Jesse discover that her research lab is involved in the development and Black Market sale of powerful attack laser weaponry.
|10||"Murder is a Novel Idea"||Harvey S. Laidman||Karen Harris||March 8, 1985|
A 20-year old cold case is re-opened by an author that knows Jesse, but her investigations bring her face to face with a group of murderers intent on keeping the truth behind the murder case a secret.
|11||"The Arabian"||Richard Compton||Joseph A. Gunn||May 2, 1985|
Jesse competes with a beautiful and intelligent Insurance Agent when they investigate a horse switching scheme and a murder of a stable hand.
|12||"Female of the Species"||Harvey Laidman||Karen Harris||May 9, 1985|
A Federal Agent blames Jesse for his failure to stop an assassination. However, the assassin is really seeking revenge against the fed who put her away years earlier.
|13||"Follow the Yellow Gold Road"||Daniel Haller||Burton Arumus||May 16, 1985|
Jesse battles a gang of neighborhood vigilantes who injured a security guard in the theft of large quantity of gold.
Home media 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"
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.
In India, Funskool—the company manufacturing G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, gave R.A.M. a black paint job, replaced the sidecar with Snake Eyes wearing a silver visor, and sold it under the Street Hawk name.
- Lambert, David (8 March 2010). "Street Hawk - The Complete Series: Details, Extras and Packaging from this Summer's Fabulous/Shout! DVDs". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on 12 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010.