Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Highway Patrol

-Broderick Crawford

Jack LaLanne's death got me thinking about other TV programs I watched as a child. A lot of them were programs not produced by the three major broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) but one's that were syndicated. Syndicated shows were sold by their makers directly to individual television stations. Each episode of Highway Patrol, like most of these syndicated programs, was a half hour long. The show starred actor Broderick (All The King's Men, Born Yesterday) Crawford as Chief Dan Matthews. What the head of the Highway Patrol was doing running around chasing criminals was never explained.

Highway Patrol opened with an overhead shot of a 1954 Lincoln Capri convertible heading down a highway toward a Highway Patrol roadblock. Funny thing, I remember Broderick Crawford as being there but I see now that this is not true. Each episode ended with Crawford giving a safety tip, the episode below ends with Crawford saying, "Until then (next week's show), remember, the clowns at the circus, they're real funny, but on the highway, they're murder."

One of the greatest pleasures you can get from watching these old shows is recognizing a future star in a small part. This episode , Motorcycle, is no exception. Since I downloaded this video from hulu.com you will have to sit through a couple of commercials but stick with it, it's worth it just to see a major film star and director at the beginning of his career. He shows up about 2:35 minutes into the program.

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