Copter Cave-In is the 18th episode of Highway Patrol’s fourth season on TV. This aired originally back in February 1959. What I love about this episode is basically the use of the helicopter. It was new in the fight on crime, and this crime show utilized the helicopter frequently.
The thing is that these were early copters, whirlybirds as they were called. They lack the safety and enclosures of today, but that’s really what makes it exciting to watch. There’s more risk in those early versions of the helicopter.
In the case of this episode, the helicopter comes into play during the second half of the thirty minute show. It’s used to help scout out the villain of the piece who is hiding in the mountains.
I do love the helicopter flying around because of the mountain scenery and just the history of the helicopters. That’s mostly why this episode is worth watching.
The show stars Broderick Crawford as Chief Dan Mathews and William Boyett as Sergeant Ken Williams. Boyett is always a pleasure, while Crawford simply overacts his way through most of these shows. It’s something I think about a lot because he was so revered for this portrayal and yet when I finally saw the episodes, he was anything but impressive. In fact, I think of him as a motor mouth. He talks fast, loud, and hard with an attitude that often suggests he’s the king and that’s just how it is.
The show is full of badly written scenes. All of the confrontations with the villain are ridiculous and over played. This includes the bit at the end with the prospector the villain comes across. When they fight, there is a cave in. It isn’t realistic and when Mathews and Williams are close to getting him, all the “coppers” dialog reminds me of a bad movie.
There was just nothing to this script. The bit with the cops getting awat was cheesy, especially Mathews. The only logical bit was the take down of the crook when he was going to leave. Yet he wasn’t killed and simply stood back up to be downed by the chief who utters a crazy line about this being the first time he’d been shot at with his own gun.
So, long story short, watch for the copters, but don’t expect a well written show because it isn’t there.