The Cops, The ‘Copter…

BT_TV_Guide1BT_TV_Guide3BT_TV_Guide2BT_TV_Guide4Director John Badham said it best in the Blue Thunder Special Edition DVD Documentary ‘Ride With The Angels’ when he mentioned “The best sign that you’re doing well is when people start to rip you off..”

To that end, when Columbia Pictures ripped themselves off by allowing ABC to commission Blue Thunder as a TV Series, they had some real obstacles to overcome, not least competition from Universal who were initiating a little rip-off of their own for CBS…

Firstly, according to Starlog magazine during an interview for 2010, star Roy Scheider had already been approached to reprise his role as Frank Murphy for the spin-off to which he had replied “No…Absolutely no” and then there was the small matter of the titular helicopter being obliterated at the movie’s end.

The studio’s simple fix for this was to dismiss the continuity set by the movie and rewrite it like it never happened – this would include watered-down versions of the same characters and the re-branding of the helicopter from its former sinister purpose to a force for ‘good’.

And so with the generous assistance of endless stock footage from the movie obtrusively inserted for most of the aerial scenes, Blue Thunder the series premiered on Jan 6th, 1984.  The rest is history, however its 12 episodes will be chronicled here exhaustively with subsequent posts.  For now, enjoy the nostalgia of the various TV Guide ads shown above, where having two forward-mounted electric cannons as illustrated (top) were the least of the series unfulfilled promises…

Leave a Reply