Sunday, 25 December 2011

"From all of us here at AIRWOLF...Season's Greetings!"

Dear all,

For the 4th and final post for 2011, and on CHRISTMAS DAY itself, here are the final eight men we interviewed during the principal shoot in October and November. As some people have enquried whether further cast and crew will be "secured"; as a reminder to my first post, the production will be returning back to LA next year to do just that.

Once again, it has NOT been decided whether the 4th Season team will be interviewed. Next month may see a decision on that.

For now though, this final batch of cast and crew either worked on just the one episode, or served in their individual roles throughout the series. Some were responsible for the distinctive look, pace and feel of the show, while some are owed the respect of earning "AIRWOLF" the accolade of being the first ever television production to win not one, but three stuntman awards in 1986. Here they are:

DEAN WEIN and W.K. STRATTON ('Chuck St. Clair' and 'Mark Gordon'; Moffett's pair of sinister cohorts in the 'Pilot' episode. Wein also guest-starred in Season 2's 'Random Target', while Stratton was yet another Bellisario favourite, doing his first show "Black Sheep Squadron", then portraying Commander Ted Lindsey on "J.A.G.")

ED FROMMER (Utility Player and regular Background Artist)
GREG BARNETT and CHUCK HICKS (right-to-left: two of the stuntmen responsible for the show's '86 Stuntman Association awards in the 3rd Season episode, 'Annie Oakley')

HARVEY LAIDMAN (director of 4 classic episodes. 'Proof Through the Night' & 'Echoes From the Past' in the 1st Season; 'Kingdom Come' and 'The Deadly Circle' in Season 3)
MICHAEL BERMAN and LEON ORTIZ-GIL (the editors of The Wolf. Michael cut the fan-favourites 'Moffett's Ghost', 'HX1', 'Airwolf II' and 'Day of Jeopardy' amongst others. For Leon, he co-edited the two-hour 'Pilot' movie, and served as Associate Producer for the entire series, being responisible for every aerial battle sequence)

MICHAEL SNYDER (post-production associate producer. Handled the "revolutionary" computer graphics for the monitors of "AIRWOLF's" rear cockpit control)
RICK SHUSTER and KEVIN LaROSA (stunt & camera pilots for Seasons 2 and 3)

TOM BLANK (a "jack of all-trades", literally. 1st Assistant Director for the 'Pilot', 'Bite of the Jackal' and 'One Way Express' in Season 1, then promoted to Unit Production Manager. He would stay in this role till the end of the 2nd Season, during which he directed two episodes; 'Condemned' & 'Eruption')
And that's your lot for this year, folks. Throughout 2012, I'll be keeping you informed about the post-production of the documentary, and those additional shoots I'm working towards in the Autumn (that's the Fall for you Stateside fans)

Until then, here's the cast wishing you a Happy Christmas in December, 1985. They're stood in-front of the Jetcopters hanger in Van Nuys, CA, that served not only as the base and supplier of the aerial unit and their helicopters, but which the art department dressed as Dominic Santini's air charter service, Santini Air.

CBS Airwolf: Season's Greetings from the CAST

The producer of the forthcoming "AIRWOLF EXTENDED THEMES" album, Mark J. Cairns, and his orchestrator/associate producer, Jan Michal Szulew, have been working flat-out on the highly-anticipated sequel soundtrack, to the original best-selling "AIRWOLF THEMES". Check-in with their individual blogs for updates and preview teasers from the all-new tracks, by clicking on their names above.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

This briefing is from File: A56-7W. Classifed, top secret. Subject is...AIRWOLF!

"...a Mach One plus attack helicopter with the most advanced weapons system in the air today."

Dear all,

Delayed post for the 3rd week, but it's the turn of the guest stars. In addition to the cast and crew we interviewed, we also met up with 7 notable "visiting artists" to hear their own stories and memories.

You may notice one particular gentlemen dressed as a cowboy. Mr. Lance LeGault, who was none other than the infamous Colonel Decker; pursuer of George Peppard and "The A-Team" for 3 long, failing years. Guest-starring in a trio of "AIRWOLF" episodes (two being classics; the third not so, and Lance himself will tell you..."If I ever catch the sonofabitch that called me Noble Flowers, I'll kick his ass"), he also narrated with his perfectly deep/booming voice, the backstory narration for the 1st Season, of which this post has been named after.

Here they are:

CATHERINE HICKLAND ('Angelica Horn' in Season 3 premiere 'The Horn of Plenty'. Married to David Hasselhoff during "Knight Rider", she guest starred as Michael's lover Stevie Mason in the Knight/Mason trilogy)
JAMES WHITMORE, JR. ('Major Sam Roper' and 'Sam Houston' in Season 1's 'Daddy's Gone a Hunt'n' and 2nd Season premiere 'Sweet Britches'. Only thing that was missing was a cigar)

LANCE LeGAULT (The man and the above intro say it all. Also did 'Sweet Britches', along with 1st Season finale 'To Snare a Wolf' and 3rd Season's 'Wildfire')

LENORE KASDORF (The titular guest character of Season 3's 'Jennie')

ROBIN RIKER ('Dr. Karen Hanson' from 'Moffett's Ghost' in the 2nd year)

SANDRA KRONEMEYER ('Lydia' - one of the Archangel's "white lady" assistants in the 3rd year. 'Kingdom Come', 'Annie Oakley' and 'The Girl Who Fell From the Sky')

SONDRA CURRIE ('Diana Norris', alias 'Gloriana' in Season 1's 'Mind of the Machine'. The wife of producer/director Alan Levi, and the bride's mother in comedy film "The Hangover")

WENDY SCHAAL ('Marilyn Kelsey' from 'Hawke's Run' in the 3rd Season. The voice of 'Francine' on "American Dad")


The producer of the forthcoming "AIRWOLF EXTENDED THEMES" album, Mark J. Cairns, and his orchestrator/associate producer, Jan Michal Szulew, have been working flat-out on the highly-anticipated sequel soundtrack, to the original best-selling "AIRWOLF THEMES". Check-in with their individual blogs for updates and preview teasers from the all-new tracks, by clicking on their names above.

Monday, 5 December 2011

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them....maybe you can hire: "THE AD-TEAM"

Dear all,

2nd week and the 2nd batch of stills. As we interviewed nine of them, I thought I'd post those of the Assistant Directors. Like any scripted production, be it television or film, the AD's really are the unsung heroes of the show. They're there from the crack of dawn to the very end of the shooting day, keeping everyone and everything in check, so that it all runs smoothy.

Of course, on a show as heavily ambitious and demanding as "AIRWOLF", it never always went according to plan, and the gentlemen below didn't shy away from sharing those experiences and challenges. It could be said that is an understatement, if what they told is anything to go by. But thanks to it being a boom and a bang "boys and their toys" series, there were many stand-out moments to be had; usually involving those mesmerising explosions, the unforgettable flying of David Jones, and a special Academy Award winning cast member.

(NOTE: I stated nine AD's, but only eight appear below. That's because Tom Blank, who became Unit Production Manager after just three episodes of serving as a 1st, would continue in that role till the end of the 2nd Season. He also directed two episodes in that season, so we're classifying him as an episode director).

R. JOHN SLOSSER (1st assistant director - season 1)

RYAN GORDON (2nd and 1st assistant director - seasons 1 & 2)

LOUIS RACE (2nd assistant director - season 1)

WARREN GRAY (2nd and 1st assistant director - seasons 2 & 3)

RICHARD ABRAMITIS (2nd assistant director - season 2)

ROBERT NELLANS and SCOTT CAMERON (2nd assistant directors - season 3)

BOB BENDER (1st assistant director - season 3)

Saturday, 26 November 2011

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing - FOR NOW, but in the meantime...

Dear all,

Welcome to the official blog for the all-new independent documentary on "AIRWOLF". A special feature-length retrospective, that has been entirely self-financed and produced by Martin Grant, it will be the full story from the cast & crew behind one of the most expensive, cinematic and troubled television productions.

Originally airing from 1984 to '86, the hi-tech "Super Machine" series couldn't of been further away from the "Knight Rider in the Sky" that ill-informed people claimed it to be. A show of the highest production values, that not only rivalled the motion pictures of its time (surpassing some even), it was as dark, well-written and executed as they came. With 'classified missions' drawing from realistic Cold War themes, gripping political and espionage thrillers took place in Libya, Cuba, Germany and Russia to name a few.

However, despite being incredibly memorable and becoming a huge international success, fans and casual viewers alike are not aware of the gruelling challenges that its cast and crew undertook to bring to our screens a $1.5 million dollar movie a week for three seasons. While most were positive, and only went to showcase their supreme talents, there were unfortunately some negatives out of their control, including a tragic helicopter crash involving Jan-Michael Vincent's stunt double, Reid Rondell (who also performed the same duty for Tom Cruise in his pre-"Top Gun" era).

It is that, along with many extraordinary recollections and tales, that this documentary titled "ECHOES FROM THE FIRM", will make known in an editorially balanced light.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be posting stills from the footage of 40 people we interviewed during our principal 5-week shoot across the States in October and November. Featured are the producers, writers and directors, along with their assistant directors, editors and pilots. Those we haven't interviewed, we plan to secure next year, when we return to Los Angeles for our second shoot.

This will cover remaining key cast and crew, who were either not available, or simply not found in time. It will concentrate on the costume, stunt and visual effects departments, and potentially the remaining regular cast.

With regards to the 4th Season (titled "AIRWOLF II" in production) that aired on the cable USA Network with Barry Van Dyke in the lead, it hasn't been decided whether that will be covered in Canada. To inform those who don't understand why that happened, the original 3 years aired on CBS in America. CBS cancelled the series without a sufficient number of episodes to be sold in syndication for re-runs.

Universal had financed those 3 years on an *alleged* deficit of $66 million dollars. So, in an attempt to recoup their investment, they commissioned the Vancouver "sequel" series on an episodic budget of $400,000 (less than half the previous budget) and packaged it with the Californian show. They were successful, if the amount of global re-runs in the last 16 years is anything to go by.

But trivia aisde, please enjoy these first batch of stills, taken from our stunning HD footage shot by lighting cameraman, Eric Shepherd (no grading has been applied, only some minimal colour correction):

DONALD BELLISARIO (creator/executive producer. The man behind "Quantum Leap", "Magnum, P.I.", "JAG" and "NCIS")

ALEX CORD ("Michael Coldsmith Briggs III - Codename: Archangel". Played John Wayne's "Ringo Kid" in the '66 remake of "Stagecoach")

DEBORAH PRATT ("Marella", and writer of the classic 2nd Season episode 'Fallen Angel'. Also provided the voice for "Ziggy" in "Quantum Leap". Co-exec producer/writer of that series)

ALAN LEVI (producer & director of the fan-favourites: 'Bite of the Jackal', 'One Way Express', 'To Snare a Wolf' and 'Sweet Britches'. A Bellisario veteran on "Magnum", "Quantum" and "JAG")

BURTON ARMUS (producer & writer of the 1st Season installments 'Daddy's Gone a Hunt'n', 'One Way Express' also and 'Fight Like a Dove'. The man who "Kojak" was based on. Who loves ya, baby?)

CAROL GILLSON (co-producer in charge of post-production, along with "Magnum" and "Tales of the Gold Monkey")

ANDREW PROBERT (concept designer & illustrator; the real designer of "AIRWOLF", including the helmets, flightsuits, logo and insignia. Most famous designs can be found in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" and the franchise's "Next Generation" television series)

GARY LEE (art director. The "V" man)

PETER McKERNAN, SR. (chief pilot & Jetcopters owner; the company which supplied the helicopters, doubled for Ernest Borgnine's fictional charter service Santini Air) and his son, PETER McKERNAN, JR. (pilot and 3rd Season aerial coordinator)

WHITEY KRUMM (special effects coordinator, who earned the show the unbeaten Guinness Book of World Records award for the "Largest Amount of Live Explosives Used in a Single Television Series" for the famous bomb-run)

Bespoke graphics header courtesy of Co-Producer, Mark J. Cairns.


The producer of the forthcoming "AIRWOLF EXTENDED THEMES" album, Mark J. Cairns, and his orchestrator/associate producer, Jan Michal Szulew, have been working flat-out on the highly-anticipated sequel soundtrack, to the original best-selling "AIRWOLF THEMES". Check-in with their individual blogs for updates and preview teasers from the all-new tracks, by clicking on their names above.