The Highwayman


The Highwayman Information

The Highwayman is an action-adventure themed television series starring Sam J. Jones, set in "the near future." It was created by Glen A. Larson and Douglas Heyes. The pilot aired in September 1987, and was followed by a short-lived series of nine episodes, with significant changes to the cast and format, that ran from March until May 1988. It was summed up by many reviewers as a cross between Mad Max and Knight Rider.

Opening narration by William Conrad (all episodes after the pilot):

"There is a world, just beyond now, where reality runs a razor thin seam between fact and possibility; where the laws of the present collide with the crimes of tomorrow. Patrolling these vast outlands is a new breed of lawman, guarding the fringes of society's frontiers, they are known simply as ?Highwaymen'... and this is their story..."

Synopsis

The movie and subsequent series follow the adventures of "The Highwayman", one of a mysterious group, presumably of U.S. Marshals, conducting crime-fighting missions and solving bizarre mysteries. Each Highwayman in this group is equipped with a high-tech, multi-function truck.

The pilot movie used a different opening narration, also voiced by William Conrad:

They say he came into this world from someplace off the clock.
And his mother was an ice-cold wind; his pa a fiery rock.
It's told that on some starless nights his rig could up and glow,
And folks who say they saw it coming swear they didn't see it go.
Now you hear a lot of legends told when you ride the long hard slab,
From some who say the man is good and some who say he's bad.
But all agreed who've ever tried to play a cheatin' hand;
You only get one chance to draw against "The Highwayman."

Most crimes in our society begin or end on some stretch of road, where laws often terminate at county lines. Combatting these legal blackouts is a new breed of lawman; working the fringes of society's frontiers, and known simply as 'Highwaymen.'
This is the story"?and the legend"?of one such man: The Highwayman.

The 1987 pilot movie starred Sam J. Jones. The lead character is more mysterious than any of the other Highwaymen in that his real name is never revealed (he is only known as "The Highwayman" or "Highway"). He drives a large, black, computerized truck with a bullet-shaped cabin, which is the nose of a concealed helicopter (an Aérospatiale Gazelle) which can detach from the rest of the truck. The truck can also operate in "stealth mode" to become invisible. A concealed futuristic sports car can emerge from the truck's rear. Some elements of the futuristic dashboard design were re-used from Knight Rider.

Claudia Christian co-starred as the Highwayman's liaison, Dawn, and Stanford Egi as technical wizard Mr. Toto. The pilot was retitled Terror on the Blacktop when shown as a stand-alone TV movie.

After the 1987 pilot film, only Jones returned for the weekly series. The retooling of the premise eliminated the truck's "stealth mode", which was never mentioned again. The Highwayman was joined by a new sidekick, Australian outback survival expert "Jetto," played by Mark "Jacko" Jackson; Jane Badler as the Highwayman's "boss", Ms. Tania Winthrop, and Tim Russ as D.C. Montana, who was responsible for the maintenance and modifications to the vehicles. The show was also filmed entirely on location in the American Southwest. Unusually, the show even switched production companies (the pilot was the last co-production between Glen Larson Productions and Twentieth Century Fox Television, the series was independently produced by Larson's New West Entertainment). (The name "D.C. Montana" is a pun on the name of D.C. Fontana, famed TV script writer who worked on many shows including Star Trek.)

After Jetto's truck, which was identical to the Highwayman's, was destroyed in the first episode, "Road Ranger", he is given his own, unique truck, the front half of which can separate into a futuristic car. The truck was later used in the first episode of Power Rangers Time Force.

Although the organization shares elements with that of "F.L.A.G." (the Foundation for Law and Government) from Knight Rider, it shares more with the mysterious "Firm" from the original three seasons of Airwolf. The exact organization that the Highwayman and Jetto work for is never revealed in any great depth. Highwaymen seem to have extra-legal powers that occasionally cause conflict with the local police.

With much of the series featuring the Highwayman (and/or Jetto) driving their trucks along vast stretches of desert road, there are heavy modern-Western overtones to many episodes. With the hybrid vehicles and weaponry, and the ordinary police unable to deal with many fragments of society, and the overall tone of the series, many of the episodes have a vaguely post-apocalyptic feel to them.

Despite its short run, the series was broadcast in various other countries including Germany, France, Italy, Mexico, The Philippines, South Africa, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

The original Highwayman truck (the one with the Gazelle helicopter cab) was designed and built by Jon Ward. It was restored and currently owned by a mobile tattoo service called 'Highwayman Ink' in Sulphur Springs, Texas.

Cast

  • Sam J. Jones as The Highwayman (a.k.a. "Highway")
  • Claudia Christian as Dawn (pilot only)
  • Stanford Egi as Mister Toto (pilot only)
  • Mark "Jacko" Jackson as "Jetto" (credited on-screen as simply "Jacko")
  • Jane Badler as Ms. Tania Winthrop
  • Tim Russ as D.C. Montana
  • William Conrad as the Narrator (uncredited)

Episodes

Note, one episode was shown out of their intended order. It is listed here in the intended order with explanatory notes.

Production number order, reflecting the order that the episodes began filming, do not match either the actual nor the intended airing order.

Ep.# Episode Director(s) Writer(s) Original airdate Prod. #
ProdCode=5L79 ShortSummary=The mysterious Highwayman becomes involved when a biker gang called ?The Bullets' rob a small-town bank, with their leader, Bo Ziker, ending up in jail. But it emerges that The Bullets were set up to take the fall for a huge fraud instigated by a local bigwig and the town sheriff... }}

ProdCode=8803 ShortSummary=When Steve, a fellow Highwayman, is murdered, his friend Highway investigates, and uncovers some sinister goings on at a local, secretive production complex. But Highway is shocked to find Steve there seemingly alive; and now, something is very different about him... }}

ProdCode=8802 ShortSummary=The Highwayman is assigned to transport a supposedly dead alien body from a U.F.O. crash site to a research lab. But a reporter is determined to find out what is going on - and the alien is far from dead... }}

ProdCode=8805 ShortSummary=Highway breaks Cody Teague, his friend and mentor from Vietnam, out of prison for stealing an armored car, of which Highway is certain he is innocent. Now both of them are fugitives, and a number of parties - including Jetto - are after them as they search for the evidence to prove Cody's innocence... }}

ProdCode=8804 ShortSummary=When an American Indian is accused of murder, Highway and Jetto investigate and stumble onto a long-forgotten gold mine, and an ancient curse "of fire and ice", which will kill anybody who tries to mine there... }}

ProdCode=8806 ShortSummary=Highway and Jetto travel back in time to 1945, to rescue Ms. Winthrop, who has not returned after pursuing a twisted genius who is intent on ending the atomic age before it has even begun...
(Donald Travers), Greg Mullavey (Edward Travers), Liz Keifer (Leslie), Patrick St. Esprit, Les Brown Jr..  Featuring: Richard Kelley (Guard at Gate), Peppi Sanders (Helen), Gary Clarke (Sheriff), Donald Hall (Deputy), Paul Mancuso (Larry), Nick Young (M.P.), Dan Mara (M.P. #1), Richard Ryan (Private), Thom Khaler (FBI Agent),  Steven R. Burns (FBI Agent).}}}}


ProdCode=8811 ShortSummary=Highway befriends a strange but friendly man called Mac, who is promptly snatched away by the Army. Investigating just what is going on, Highway and Jetto discover that Mac is a clone, programmed with a deadly assignment...
(Clone #2), Shawn Patterson (Clone #3), Warner McKay (Bum), William Forsythe (Mounted Cop), Phil Allen (TV Announcer), Jan Sandwich (Wendy), Henry M. Kendrick (Mayor), Thom Khaler (FBI Agent),  Steven R. Burns (FBI Agent).}}}}


ProdCode=8801 ShortSummary=When a dead body drained of blood and missing organs is uncovered, Highway and Jetto are sent in to investigate, and are soon on the trail of a blood-thirsty doctor trading in spare body parts for the rich and the powerful... }}

ProdCode=8807 ShortSummary=After an accident, Jetto's mind reverts back to five years previously, when he was double-crossed by comrades in battle, who turned out to be dealing in illegal drugs and weapons, and tried to murder him. In a dazed and confused state, he hunts down the two men, who are now in high positions, as Highway and Montana try to stop him before the Army takes him out, but uncovers a vein of corruption... }}

ProdCode=8812 ShortSummary=Mafia crime-lord Manetti's men use a high-tech machine that can read agents' minds, to try and find the one man that is set to testify against him. When their first victim dies, Manetti's men capture Ms. Winthrop, and Highway and Jetto are in a race against time to save her before Manetti discovers the witness' true location... }}

Date

The series is at first vague on the exact year that it takes place. Other than Highway and Jetto's trucks, Highway's occasionally seen sports car (a silver Lotus Esprit) and Ms. Badler's car (a red Mark II Toyota MR2), the other vehicles are generally that of the era in which the series was filmed. Many of these vehicles, such as the Ford Motor Co.'s Aerostar minivan, were marketed at the time as having sleek, futuristic designs. It is generally indicated that the series takes place a couple of years after that in which it was made. A coin in the episode "Summer of 45" is said to be dated 1992. It is not until "Warzone" that the date is given on-screen as 1992 (October for that episode).

Weaponry

The firearms carried by the Highwayman and Jetto are larger and more imposing than traditional police sidearms. That carried by the Highwayman appears to be similar to a stockless 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun with a sawn-off barrel, as used by SWAT teams and some military agencies. In the pilot movie, two sheriff's deputies debate the properties of the Highwayman's sidearm, its power finally demonstrated when a shot accidentally destroys part of the county police station in which the Highwayman is being held. In the episode 'Til Death Duel Us Part', it is revealed that this weapon has selectable 'modes' and is capable of firing both 9mm Parabellum and 20mm high-explosive ammunition. The sidearm carried by Jetto is a stockless, full-length Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun.

See also




This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Highwayman_%28TV_series%29" 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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