Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What Might've Been: Street Hawk (1985)

Universal had found what they thought would've been a gold mine with a sub-genre of adventure shows in the 80's. That trend started with Knight Rider, which was in its third season on NBC, and continued with Airwolf, which had just taken off at CBS. The common thread was that you had ordinary men operating extraordinary machines.

For ABC, Universal was commissoned to create Street Hawk, which boasted a high-tech motorcycle, piloted by a helmeted vigilante. It would actually represent Universal's return to superheroes, three years after The Incredible Hulk ended its run at CBS.

Street Hawk had been bumped from the fall lineup due to the success of a summer series, Call to Glory, which resulted in Glory, starring Craig T. Nelson, getting a full season order. Hawk finally bowed in January 1985, with actor-singer Rex Smith in the title role. Jesse Mach (Smith) had been a motorcycle cop until an accident pulled him off the road and into the office as a public relations officer. A chance meeting with a technical genius (Joe Regalbuto) leads to Mach adopting the identity of Street Hawk and continuing his fight against crime, albeit in secret, which leads in turn to the predictable condemnation from his superiors.

Here's the pilot, with guest stars including James Avery and Christopher Lloyd.

Anyway, Street Hawk lasted just 1 season, and after a subsequent cable run, hasn't been heard from much since. However, that cannot be said for its stars. Rex Smith would be the first man to don the red costume of Daredevil just a couple of years later when ol' hornhead would team with the Hulk in a TV-movie. Joe Regalbuto might still be better known for his supporting role on Murphy Brown. A clip of Regalbuto, taken from an episode of Happy Days, was included in Weezer's 1994 video for "Buddy Holly".

Rating: B-.

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