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|Created by||Donald E. Westlake
Earl W. Wallace
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||9|
|Executive producer(s)||Dan Curtis|
|Running time||45–48 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Dan Curtis Productions|
|Original release||February 7 – May 5, 1979|
The series took place on the Supertrain, a nuclear-powered bullet train that was equipped with amenities more appropriate to a cruise ship. It had luxuries such as swimming pools and shopping centers. It was so big it had to run on very broad gauge single track (not a pair of tracks as depicted in some advertising). Though it had a rated top speed of 190 miles per hour (306 km/h), the train took 36 hours to go from New York City to Los Angeles, which would put the train's average speed at around 78 miles per hour (126 km/h), slower than the moderately paced Amtrak Acela Express and well below the speeds of bullet trains in Europe and Asia. (Some episodes state, however, that the train also stops in Chicago, Denver, a (mythical) town in Texas and presumably other cities, which would extend the length of the run and thus would require faster speeds.) Much like its contemporary The Love Boat, the plots concerned the passengers' social lives, usually with multiple intertwining storylines. Most of the cast of a given episode were guest stars. The production was elaborate, with huge sets and a high-tech model train for outside shots.
Supertrain was the most expensive series ever aired in the United States at the time. The production was beset by problems including a model train that crashed. While the series was heavily advertised during the 1978-1979 season, it received poor reviews and low ratings. Despite attempts to salvage the show by reworking the cast, it went off air after only three months. NBC, which had produced the show itself, with help from Dark Shadows producer Dan Curtis, was unable to recoup its losses. Combined with the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics the following season, which cost NBC millions in ad revenue, the series nearly bankrupted the network. For these reasons, Supertrain has been called one of the greatest television flops.
|Nº||Title||Directed by:||Written by:||Original air date|
|1||"Express to Terror"||Dan Curtis||Earl W. Wallace,
Donald E. Westlake
|February 7, 1979|
|Mike Post (Steve Lawrence), a passenger with a large gambling debt, finds himself the target of an unknown assassin on the train. A woman travels with her abusive boyfriend, who is hiding a dangerous past. Social director David Noonan tries to stay clear of the amorous granddaughter of Supertrain's chairman and creator.|
|2||"And a Cup of Kindness Too"||Rod Amateau||Shimon Wincelberg||February 14, 1979|
|A man (Larry Linville) frantically tries to catch Supertrain, where a professed hitman (Dick Van Dyke) is targeting his soon-to-be late wife (Barbara Rhoades). Meanwhile, the spoiled great-grandchildren of Supertrain's chairman of the board make life miserable for the crew by playing practical jokes.|
|3||"The Queen and the Improbable Knight"||Charles S. Dubin||Brad Radnitz||February 21, 1979|
|A young travel reporter falls for a mysterious young woman riding on Supertrain, but both are unaware that she is the heir to a throne and the target of a kidnapping plot.|
|4||"Hail to the Chief"||Barry Crane||Robert I. Holt||February 28, 1979|
|A man knocks out and takes the place of his twin brother, a leading presidential candidate, on the eve of the election. But his deception becomes even more difficult when his campaign manager invites his estranged wife to help during the final campaign swing on Supertrain.|
|5||"Superstar"||David Moessinger||Larry Alexander||March 14, 1979|
|A has-been Hollywood producer sneaks onto Supertrain to convince his ex-wife, a famous actress, to star in his comeback film. At the same time, he has to avoid two hit-men searching for him on the train, sent by the underworld figure who bankrolled the movie. Only an elderly woman is willing to believe and help him.|
|6||"Pirouette"||Barry Crane||Jeff Wilhelm||April 7, 1979|
|A bashful doctor finds himself rooming with an heiress who is hiding from kidnappers. Guest stars: Joyce DeWitt, Isabel Sanford, Mako Iwamatsu and Tony Danza.|
|7||"A Very Formal Heist"||Barry Crane||Jeff Wilhelm,
|April 14, 1979|
|Supertrain's newest crew members, Wayne Randall (Joey Aresco) and Penny Whitaker (Ilene Graff), attempt to track down a jewel thief who has stolen a socialite's necklace.|
|8||"The Green Girl"||Cliff Bole||Stephen Kandel||April 28, 1979|
|Supertrain's latest promotion, the International Poker Championship, is dealt a bad hand when one of the participants buys in with counterfeit money.|
|9||"Where Have You Been Billy Boy"||Barry Crane||Brad Radnitz,
|May 5, 1979|
|Barry Gordon and Rue McClanahan guest star in a bizarre comedy of errors about a weak-willed young man who holds some Supertrain passengers hostage while trying to plan his escape from the police.|
- Breitspurbahn - German broad-gauge railway
- "7 Of The Most Expensive Flops In Television History: 1. Supertrain." www.businespundit.com, January 31, 2010. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
- TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 181. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9.
- Supertrain Unofficial Site Supertrain series information including episode guide and airdates.
- Boxcutters ep 270 The Boxcutters podcast takes a look back at Supertrain (includes archive interview material).
- A Highly Critical Review of the first 1:30 of NBC’s Supertrain
- Supertrain at the Internet Movie Database
- Supertrain at TV.com