Cult TV

The Highwayman

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..

The Highwayman is an American action-adventure themed television series starring Sam J. Jones, set in “the near future.” It was created by Glen A. Larson and Douglas Heyes and ran from September 20th 1987 until May 6th 1988. Following the pilot it ran for nine episodes.

highway man

Cast

  • Sam. J. Jones as The Highwayman
  • Mark “Jacko” Jackson as Jetto
  • Jane Badler as Ms. Tania Winthrop
  • Tim Russ as D.C. Montana
  • William Conrad as the Narrator (uncredited)
  • Claudia Christian as Dawn (pilot only)
  • Stanford Egi as Master Toto (pilot only)

The 1987 Pilot

It starred Sam. J. Jones (Flash Gordon) as the lead character who was portrayed as more mysterious than any of the other Highwaymen. His real name is never revealed – only known as “The Highwayman” or “Highway” for short. He drives a large, black, computerized truck with a bullet-shaped cabin, which is the nose of a concealed helicopter 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 apparently 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,  the Highwayman’s boss, Ms. Tania Winthrop, and 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).

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.

Categories: Cult TV

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