Ah, those unforgettable words…especially poignant since they were said to me by Steve Forrest (Hondo)a number of times. Yep, I played T.J. McCabe in the original series, the guy with the bolt action scope rifle who’d climb up on high places (technically the sniper was called the “high man”), yank my cap around and try to emulate Steve McQueen’s smooth moves with guns. So it’s a real gas to see the original 13 come out on DVD…especially because I never had good copies of the originals!
SWAT was a great experience, with a bunch of great guys. We were surprised when they cancelled the show…it had been doing great, #1 all summer…then ABC switched it to try to win another night…good old network TV wisdom…and we lost our audience.
The scuttlebutt around the 20th Fox lot was that Aaron Spelling hated the show…it wasn’t what he felt his name should be associated with…you may remember he went on to do Family and Dallas after that…so he allegedly swapped us out for Starsky and Hutch, which was a more character-driven show. Can’t say I blame him…the writing got pretty stale pretty quick, because at least one of the line producers would take good scripts and turn them around to focus on Hondo and also dumb ‘em up in favor of action, whereas we kept hoping they’d give us more of a shot at a Rookies-style, character-strong program.
We did have a lot of fun in that short 35 episodes…and I was particularly happy to find out that Rod Perry (Deke), whom I believed, thanks to a story Mark Shera (Luca)told me in the mid-80s, had died of a heart attack way back then, is in fact still very much alive!
But still sad that my old pal Bob Urich (Jim Street in SWAT, Dan Tana in Vegas, Spencer in Spencer for Hire)is gone for real. He was a good and good hearted man.
The only bummer about the new movie is that at least a couple of the guys from the old show did brief cameos in the flick, but since I live in NY, and the casting agent told me there was no real effort to include all of us anyway as in a reunion scene, I got left out of the movie. That was a little disappointing, I would have loved to do a bit in it, especially since they reprised our original character names (and made my character into a bad guy!) Well, that’s Hollywood for you.
Best news is I’m happy to hear our old fans are still out there and rooting for good over evil on the streets of L.A. Thanks for still digging the show, everybody!
your ever-lovin’, crime-fightin’ T.J.
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Well, I played Dominic Luca in the original series, and what Jim has told you (above) about the devolution of the writing and focus of the show is true. Aaron Spelling was embarrassed about the series’ violence–mild compared to today’s fare. And with more than a little public pressure, the networks conceived and implemented what came to be known as the “Family Hour.” No guns, no death, no violence. And soon after, no SWAT. But I’m afraid his recollection of a rumor about Rod Perry’s demise is a little fuzzy. Not only is Jim’s mention of Rod’s heart attack news to me, but no such story of Rod’s death was relayed to Jim by your’s truly. And yes sadly, Bob Urich’s passing was a terrible shock and sadness to us all. He left a great legacy, though. And he lives on in this wonderful compilation of shows. Great fun to view episodes that I’ve not seen in decades!
BTW: I didn’t get a chance to be in the film because…well… no one asked. LOL!!!
Best,MS in LA
This is one of the 1970s action dramas about S.W.A.T team in action. Many of us who enjoyed this show were saddened that this show did not reappear in re-runs and thanks to the producers and the studio for 13 glorious episodes (three DVDs). Now we have the opportunity to view, entertain and enjoy this show. This is one of the few shows about a team of cops in action. There were several single cop shows such as Beretta; two-cop shows such as Starsky and Hutch, but S.W.A.T is the only one about a team. The show stars well known actor Steve Forrest and this show also paved way for the success of Robert Urich (Vegas) and Mark Shera (Barnaby Jones). I hope the success of this DVD set will convince Columbia TriStar to produce second set of DVD covering the second season.