Highway to Heaven

Season 5 Episode 13

Merry Christmas from Grandpa

Aired Unknown Aug 04, 1989 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • Will Estes previously appeared in 'The Correspondent' back in season 4.

    • Michael Landon's five-year old daugher Jennifer appears in this episode. She has an uncredited part as a little girl at the White House. A few years later, she had a bit part in Landon's last project, 'Us.' As a young adult, Jennifer Landon would receive several Emmy awards for her work in daytime television.

    • Interestingly, the final broadcast of 'Highway to Heaven' is a Christmas episode, just like it was in 1984 for Landon's previous series 'Little House.'

    • After Highway to Heaven finished its original broadcast run on NBC, it went into syndication. However, after its initial rerun phase, it was not seen on U.S. stations for a long time and disappeared from the public. About fifteen years later, in the mid-2000s, it resurfaced on cable's TVLand channel which devotes itself to playing classic television. Highway to Heaven experienced a new resurgence in popularity, which coincided with its release on DVD. Since finishing its run on TVLand, it has been picked up by the Gospel Music Channel and INSP - Inspiration. As of late December 2010, it was airing twice a day Monday through Friday on these religious and family-value themed cable networks.

    • Season 1 was released on DVD by the Michael Landon Estate and A&E Home Video in 2005. Season 2 quickly followed, with the third season in 2006. It did not sell as well as anticipated, so season 4 and season 5 were not released in the U.S. However, sales have been better overseas. During 2008 and 2009 discs for all five seasons were released in France. The first four seasons have been made available to consumers in Germany; and the first three seasons have been released in Australia. According to the wiki page for this series, "the episodes contained on these releases are edited, syndicated versions and not the original broadcast versions." That means a few minutes are missing from each episode, and in some cases, the lost footage negatively impacts the story (see notes for season 2's 'Birds of a Feather').

    • Michael Landon died on July 1, 1991, less than two years after the broadcast of this final episode of Highway to Heaven. He had been set to do another series, a family drama called Us, for CBS. He filmed the two-hour pilot which has been shown as a telefilm on CBS and cable, but unfortunately his health prevented him from continuing with plans for another weekly show. He was 54 years old when he died of pancreatic cancer, the exact same age of Victor French who passed from lung cancer.

    • NBC gave Landon a 13-episode order going into season 5. The first episode of the fifth season, 'Whose Trash Is It Anyway?' aired in October, then NBC pre-empted the series till early December when the two-part 'Hello and Farewell' was broadcast. This holiday themed episode should've aired next, but NBC was not happy with the ratings and put the show on an extended hiatus until March. The remaining ten episodes of the series aired in the spring and summer months. That is why this Christmas episode did not air in December as Landon likely intended, but in August. It turned out to be the series' final episode.

  • Quotes

  • Notes

    • During the course of five seasons, 111 episodes were produced of Highway to Heaven. Michael Landon wrote 21 episodes for this series. He directed 94. On 19 of these, he was both writer and director. The two scripts that he authored were directed by Victor French.

    • Dan Gordon was the main story editor. He authored more scripts than any other writer on this show, including Michael Landon: a total of 34 episodes. He directed three.

    • Just thirteen episodes were produced of Highway to Heaven in its fifth and final year. Michael Landon directed all of these episodes, and he wrote the final episode. Dan Gordon did not write any scripts for this season. Most of the writing was done by Parke Perine (three episodes); Vince Gutierrez (two episodes); and other long-time staff writers like Paul Cooper (one episode); Lan O'Kun (one episode); and David Thoreau (one episode).

  • Allusions

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