November 19, 2011–A Blast From My Television Past


From 1984-1986, Airwolf aired on CBS and was the favorite of many people.  Every night it came on, our television was tuned in.  Granted, I didn’t get the full benefit of the show as our house had only one television…a black and white, aerial only, knob tuned wooden box on four legs.  Trust me when I say that I was blown away when seeing this show on a color set…and 61” flat screen!  What I saw as a child could not compare.

The story involves Stringfellow Hawke (Jan-Michael Vincent), a guy that lived out in the woods in a cabin with his dog.  He was a musician (he played the cello) and was also a test pilot of the ultra fast, super sonic helicopter called Airwolf.  He worked closely with Dominic Santini (Earnest Borgnine) who owned Santini Air.  As the pilot of Airwolf, Hawke worked alongside a secret agency to help with top secret missions around the world.  While he was working, Hawke was also on a hunt for his brother Saint John who has been missing since his tour in Vietnam.  For some reason, his name was pronounced Sin-Jin.  I haven’t the slightest how they got that from something like Saint John.  But, that’s Hollywood.

There were quite a few things going on in this series.  Not only was Hawke a musician and loved to be alone in the woods, he loved art and had a collection he received from his grandfather.  The FIRM, the agency that designed Airwolf, stole his collection because they thought he wouldn’t want to be the pilot.  In return, they placed a lady in action to be the one briefing him on his missions.  Well, Hawke, in return for the FIRM’s actions, stole Airwolf and hid it in the desert in a washed out cave and refused to hand it over until the FIRM helped him find his brother.

About a year after it went off air, there was a temporary revival of the show by the same name on the USA network.  There was an all new cast and this time, the pilot of Airwolf was Hawke’s brother.  There was a new contact at the agency and the girl at Santini Air was supposed to be Santini’s niece.  I don’t know about that show as we did not have the ability to have cable and my Dad wasn’t about to get a satellite.  Everyone we knew with one of those huge white or black metal dishes ended up with a bad dish after lightening struck it.  Oh well, they eventually became large bird baths or flower gardens.

I watched two or three episodes this morning.  I do that every now and then since I have the series on Netflix.  It’s my way of stepping back into the past.  I’ve tried to watch other shows I watched as a teenager, like Silk Stalkings that used to come on CBS as part of “Crimetime after Primetime.”  I couldn’t sit through it.  It had lost its luster as I became an adult.  Dynasty still holds a special place, so I can watch it anytime.  Maybe later, I’ll try to watch Tour of Duty and see if it still does something for me.  It was filmed in the 80s!

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