Highway to Heaven


Highway to Heaven Information

Highway to Heaven is an American television drama series which ran on NBC from 1984 to 1989. The series aired for five seasons, running a total of 111 episodes. It was shot entirely in California.

Synopsis

The series stars Michael Landon as Jonathan Smith, an angel sent down to earth "on probation", and his human companion Mark Gordon, played by Victor French, Landon's co-star from Little House on the Prairie. Jonathan and Mark are given "assignments" by "The Boss" (God) where they are required to use their humanity (and sometimes a little bit of "The Stuff") in order to help various troubled souls to overcome their problems. Examples of these problems include families dealing with sick loved ones; wealthy and greedy businessmen being encouraged to use their wealth for good; and discouraging prejudice in regards to people of different ethnicities, appearances, or socioeconomic backgrounds or who have disabilities. While dealing with these situations with sensitivity, Highway to Heaven also used humor " particularly between Jonathan and Mark. Their personalities often clash (Jonathan being more sensible and compassionate but naive, and Mark being more pragmatic and cynical), but they always support each other. Jonathan's mission on Earth is to do enough good so that he could earn his wings and, presumably, ascend to heaven. Due to the close relationship that builds between Jonathan and Mark, this becomes a contentious issue as Mark does not want to lose his friend, and sometimes tries to prevent it from happening.

Guest stars

Guest stars Devon Odessa, Alyson Croft, and Joshua John Miller all won Young Artist Awards for their appearances. Landon's Bonanza co-star Lorne Greene appeared in a 1985 episode. Landon's Little House on the Prairie co-star Matthew Laborteaux appeared in the Season 1 episode "The Right Thing". Moses Gunn, who also co-starred on Little House on the Prairie and starred on Father Murphy, appeared in the Season 2 episode "Popcorn, Peanuts and Cracker Jacks". Barbara Stuart appeared as Carla in the 1986 two-part episode "Love and Marriage". In his last roles, Tyler McVey appeared in separate episodes in 1985 and 1986 as a minister. Don Keefer portrayed Dr. Washburn in the 1986 episode "For the Love of Larry". Anthony Zerbe played a servant of the devil in the episode "The Devil and Jonathan Smith". In the May 1985 2 part episode, "The Thoroughbred", Helen Hunt starred as a young and expectant mother with cancer. In Season 3, episode 9 "Code Named Freak", a young Jeff B. Davis guest starred as a twelve year old boy genius in college. Davis is known for his guest appearances in Whose Line is it Anyway? and regular appearance on Drew Carey's Improv-A-Ganza, both shows of improvisation.

Other notable guest stars include:

  • Eddie Albert (season 3, episode 11)
  • Chad Allen (season 4, episode 24)
  • Ed Asner (season 2, episode 17)
  • Lew Ayres (episodes 1.23, 2.22 & 5.8)
  • Priscilla Barnes (season 5, episode 10)
  • Ned Beatty (episodes 1.20, 3.5)
  • Ramon Bieri (season 1, episode 14)
  • Peter Billingsley (season 2, episode 10,11)
  • Ronee Blakley (season 1, episode 5)
  • Ernest Borgnine (season 3, episode 4)
  • David Bowe (season 2, episode 22)
  • Josh Brolin (season 3, episode 1,2)
  • Richard Bull (episodes 1.24,25 & 4.13)
  • K Callan (season 3, episode 19)
  • John Calvin (season 4, episode 12)
  • Didi Conn (episodes 3.14 & 3.24)
  • Bart Conner (season 1, episode 6,7)
  • Michael Constantine (season 2, episode 12)
  • Robert Culp (season 3, episode 21)
  • Burr DeBenning (season 2, episode 11)
  • Shannen Doherty (season 2, episode 8)
  • David Faustino (season 1, episode 14)
  • Jonathan Frakes (season 1, episode 8)
  • Alan Fudge (episodes 4.15 & 5.6)
  • Jack Ging (season 3, episode 9)
  • Mark-Paul Gosselaar (season 2, episode 21)
  • Brian Austin Green (season 3, episode 19)
  • Helen Hayes (season 1, episode 1)
  • Bob Hope (season 4, episode 23)
  • Rick Hurst (season 2, episode 6)
  • Clifton James (season 1, episode 5)
  • James Earl Jones (season 3, episode 16)
  • Brian Kerwin (season 1, episode 12)
  • Geoffrey Lewis (season 1, episode 13)
  • Bill Macy (season 2, episode 4)
  • Anne-Marie Martin (episodes 2.15 & 3.7,8)
  • Barney Martin (season 3, episode 13)
  • Kellie Martin (season 1, episode 13)
  • Darren McGavin (season 4, episode 19)
  • Eve McVeagh (season 1, episode 16)
  • Ron Moody (season 1, episode 8)
  • Richard Mulligan (season 3, episode 13)
  • Leslie Nielsen (season 3, episode 25)
  • Ken Olandt (season 1, episode 6,7)
  • Georg Olden (season 4, episode 5)
  • Gerald S. O'Loughlin (season 1, episode 21)
  • Danny Pintauro (season 4, episode 1,2)
  • Robin Riker (episodes 2.1,2 & 5.4)
  • Eugene Roche (season 3, episode 4)
  • Michele Scarabelli (season 5, episode 6)
  • Stella Stevens (season 1, episode 10)
  • Harold J. Stone (season 2, episode 14)
  • Tom Sullivan (episodes 4.8 & 5.10)
  • Ronne Troup (episodes 2.13 & 5.8)
  • Trish Van Devere (season 1, episode 21)
  • Dick Van Dyke (season 3, episode 15)
  • Eli Wallach (episodes 2.18 & 3.22)
  • Frank Welker (season 2, episode 20)
  • Wil Wheaton (season 1, episode 15)
  • James Whitmore, Jr. (season 1, episode 11)
  • Barry Williams (season 2, episode 1,2)
  • Noble Willingham (season 1, episode 24,25)
  • William Windom (season 1, episode 18)
  • Keenan Wynn (season 2, episode 7)


Production notes

Filming locations

Filming locations included Los Angeles, Simi Valley, Stanislaus National Forest, and Tuolumne County, all in California. In addition, the pilot episode from 1984 was partially filmed along Dawn Road, south of Tucson, Arizona. The footage of Jonathan walking before being picked up by Mark was filmed in Tucson and along Soledad Canyon Road near Acton, California.

Theme song

The theme tune for Highway to Heaven was performed by David Rose.

Cancellation

In June 1988, NBC decided that season five would be the last, since the show was falling in the ratings. The show was removed from the 1988 fall schedule and used as a mid-season replacement in 1989. Michael Landon made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in early 1989 and explained this as the reason why episodes that were originally filmed in the fall of 1988 did not air until the late spring and summer of 1989. The episode aired on August 1, 1989. Series co-star Victor French died in June 1989 from lung cancer, but this was not the reason for the cancellation.

Syndication

The series currently airs in syndication on cable networks the GMC, NBC Nonstop, INSP - Inspiration, and the digital network RTV.

DVD releases

In Region 1, A&E Home Video (under license from the estate and production company of Michael Landon) released the first 3 seasons on DVD in 2005-2006. The episodes contained on these releases are the edited, syndicated versions and not the original broadcast versions. Due to poor sales, the final two seasons were never released.

In Region 2, Paramount Home Entertainment & CBS DVD have released all five seasons on DVD in France under the title "Les Routes Du Paradis". The Box Art depicts the eye of Horus. Seasons 1 to 4 have been released in Germany under the title "Ein Engel auf Erden", while in the Netherlands, the first two seasons have been released on DVD.

Revelation Films acquired the rights to the series in the UK and has released the first two seasons on DVD. Season three will be released on February 11, 2013.

In Region 4, Paramount Home Entertainment & CBS DVD have released the first three seasons on DVD in Australia. The episodes contained on these releases are edited, syndicated versions and not the original broadcast versions. Seasons 4 and 5 were to be released on DVD on December 24, 2009 but the releases never materialized. It is unknown when the final two seasons will be released. The Australian Region 4 DVD releases do not contain the Region 1 DVD Extras, but do have English and French soundtracks and subtitles.

DVD Name Ep # Release Dates
Region 1 Region 2 (France) Region 2 (Germany) Region 2 (UK) Region 4
Season 1 24 April 26, 2005 April 17, 2008 December 11, 2008 May 7, 2012 April 10, 2008
Season 2 24 August 30, 2005 October 9, 2008 March 5, 2009 August 6, 2012 September 4, 2008
Season 3 25 March 28, 2006 June 18, 2009 December 12, 2009 February 11, 2013 April 2, 2009
Season 4 24 N/A June 18, 2009 March 4, 2010 May 6, 2013 N/A
Season 5 13 N/A December 1, 2009 N/A August 5, 2013 N/A



This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Highway_to_Heaven" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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