(03-22-2019) – Stories about those in the CHP or California Highway Patrol, go back to the Broderick Crawford days with uniformed officers driving mid 50s Buicks, although how those officers transported bad guys in the back of 2 door cars is beyond me. Soon, Dragnet, Adam-12 and other shows arrived on the scene. Then around 1978, “CHiPs” arrived.
It was “the Lone Ranger” on wheels, minus the star and his sidekick angle. The team concept was in full effect. Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada were “Baker and Ponch”, two CHP motorcycle officers cruising LA’s nearly vacant freeways (they did a lot of shooting on the 118 freeway before it was actually opened for use).
Also on the show, Robert Pine (Chris Pine’s dad for those of you who were born in the 90s and beyond) and Lou Wagner, who was the quirky guy in the CHP garage who wore a lab coat to fix cars while adding gadgets that reminded you of James Bond’s Q character.
Lou also was one of the apes in the original “Planet of the Apes” movies with Charlton Heston and Linda Harrison. At a recent “Hollywood Show” at the Westin LAX, not only were Larry, Lou and Erik there, but so were some big time fans of the show, talking with their faves and getting autographs. While Erik was surrounded by mobs of people, I caught up with both Larry and Lou in a down moment. Larry talked about time racing all sorts of vehicles, the time he lost to country singer Tanya Tucker, set 8 land speed records at Bonneville, (but not IN a Bonneville), and his “Top Gun” adventures (this guy likes to fly!). Lou and his wife Deborah (who I worked with some 20 years ago at LA’s KFWB radio when it was “News 98”) were looking great, and Lou talked about the one car from his past he doesn’t need to get back….because HE STILL HAS IT!
Enjoy Talking About Cars #136, and remember, please LISTEN, SUBSCRIBE (it’s free), LIKE, SHARE/RETWEET, and COMMENT! Also remember we are now a WEEKLY podcast!! Let me know who you would like to their on future shows!
Thanks again to David Elkouby and his wife Ester of the Hollywood Show for their help with this episode.