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")
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)
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)