Highway Patrol was a half hour syndicated crime drama produced from 1955-1959. The great Broderick Crawford played Chief Dan Matthews,the only regular on this series. Most of the action took place out on the endless highway,where Chief Matthews and his men did battle with assorted bank robbers, kidnappers, and hijackers. Traffic safety,their stated job at the time,seemed to be a low priority. Lots of cool hardware: big Buicks, helicopters, and Harley Davidson Police Special motorcycles. Filmed in black & white,the way it should be.
Highway Patrol was a film-for-syndication series, made by early producer, ZIV. It followed the career of Sergeant Dan Matthews, the plain clothes boss of the officers that protect and serve the population on wheels. The part was essayed by the great character actor Brodrick Crawford, a gruff, gravel voiced, overwieght man with a permanant, jowly frown. He seemed an unlikely man of crime-busting action, but this, and the fact the show was done on the cheap, with actual highways and other locations, without studio lighting, added to the air of a gritty, non-Hollywood realism. The crooks that came under Matthews' jurisdiction were always commiting usual crimes like knocking over small town banks or motels, but on occasion escaped cons or kidnappers would appear. One memorable episode featured a psycho with his car rigged out to be a huge bomb that would detonate if his hand left the steering wheel, and Brodrick was put in the position of holding on with one hand, and fighting off the bomber with the other. The use of fast-talking technical cop jargon and codes were fascinating too, and everybody learned from Highway Patrol that "10-4" meant a completed message twenty years before CB radios.
Highway Patrol is/was awesome! If you like high speed car chases in black and white then let me tell you this is the show for you my friend. You will see all kinds of cops chasing all kinds of creepy criminals and they always get their man in the end cause they know what they are doing and they don't take no crap from no punk highway nasties! If you like watching cops win against nasty punks and dole out the justice like lunch ladies dole out sloppy joe sandwiches then this show is totally one you can not miss ever ever ever!
I recollect watching this series during its initial run as an adolescent in the late 1950s and then in syndication throughout the 1960s when it was a very popular staple of Los Angeles television. My siblings and friends watching the show after school always liked the helicopter scenes the best. Whenever our parents would take us on a road excursion to the desert or mountains of Southern California us children were always on the look out for highway patrol cars hoping to see Chief Dan Mathews in one of them.
Every episode would conclude with Broderick Crawford, out of character, giving a driving safety tip then the following dedication before the closing credits: "This program is dedicated to the Highway Patrols throughout the nation and their contribution to the safeguarding of public welfare. We are deeply grateful for the technical advice and assistance which made the authentic product of the program possible."
Highway Patrol, a syndicated police action/drama show produced by ZIV TV has been rated among the best of the syndicated TV shows ever in the history of the media.
Broderick Crawford stars as the gravel-voiced Chief Dan Mathews who in every episode leads his fellow highway patrolmen into some dangerous situation that requires the intervention of the law & every story leads us from the commission of the crime to its swift resolution.
And unlike any other cop/detective show from that era, Highway Patrol relies on its realistic depiction of the patrolmen performing their duties whether by motorcycle, patrol car or even helicopter & they even shown them using CB radios in a rather realistic manner.
I'm sure glad i finally get to see what makes this show so popular now that it is being shown on Chicago TV again after all these years!
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