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One of the hit movies of the summer of 1983 was Blue Thunder, an action movie starring a seemingly impregnable state-of-the-art police helicopter and Roy Scheider.
The networks decided it was a perfect story for television and six months later both ABC and CBS had produced TV copies: the CBS version called Airwolf and this one direct from the movie.
Frank Chaney (James Farentino) was the head honcho of the Blue Thunder team for the Los Angeles Police Department. Frank was an argumentative, determined pilot who was constantly in trouble with his boss, Captain Ed Braddock (Sandy McPeak).
Flying with Frank in the high-tech chopper was a youthful electronics whizz named Clinton ‘Jafo’ Wonderlove (Dana Carvey).
Two other members of the team drove a truck – for some reason this super helicopter had to be followed around on the ground by a mobile support vehicle.
The two, Bubba (Bubba Smith) and Ski (Dick Butkus), were both ex-football players and built like mountains. The duo helped out in the pinches and added comic relief during the dull spots.
Stories follow Frank and his team as they use Blue Thunder to battle the criminal elements of the city.
The real star of the series – as in the original movie – was the ominous black chopper. It could eavesdrop at 10,000 feet, ‘map’ the interior of other aircraft, switch to flying in a “whisper mode” and tiptoe through the sky undetected, deflect machine gun fire, or blaze away with its own awesome firepower.
It could not, however, outrace conventional jet aircraft – as Airwolf could!
Clinton ‘Jafo’ Wonderlove
Richard ‘Ski’ Butowski
Lyman ‘Bubba’ Kelsey