Focus on: Airwolf: Season I - A quick in-depth look at the classic TV series

Airwolf

The Series Begins

I always used to look forward to Airwolf every week. The churning of the helicopter blades, followed by the synthetic sounds of the theme as conjured by Sylvester Levay always signaled the beginning of a taut new adventure. Airwolf and Blue Thunder were introduced about the same time on the air. The latter came first on the big screen, but the supercopter known as Airwolf quickly stole the thunder from the other inferior chopper. Without Roy Scheider at the helm, BT was just another bird with clipped wings.

The Opening Theme video

Jan-Michael Vincent plays Stringfellow Hawke
Jan-Michael Vincent plays Stringfellow Hawke

Stringfellow Hawke

The main character in the series, Stringfellow Hawke (Jan-Michael Vincent), is a former combat pilot from Vietnam who could fly anything with wings or rotors. After the war, he did some flying for a government agency called the Firm. His boss, Archangel, recruits him for a mission to retrieve Airwolf when its developer, Dr. Moffett, steals it and flies it to Libya. After retrieving the copter, Hawke hides it from the government hoping that he can use it as a bargaining chip for information on his MIA brother Saint John who was shot down in 'Nam.

Stringfellow is reclusive and lives in a mountain cabin. He is an accomplished cellist. He rarely gets close to anyone since most of his family was either killed or is MIA. His only friend is Dominic Santini who Hawke also works for on occasion, flying chopper errands and doing movie stunts. It's a perfect cover for some of those government missions.

Jan-Michael Vincent

Date of Birth: July 15, 1944

Place of Birth: Denver, Colorado

Much like his character in Airwolf, Vincent himself has been fairly elusive and reclusive. He has appeared in a number of TV shows and films, most notably The Winds of War, Bonanza, Gunsmoke and Damnation Alley. He was very nearly killed in an auto accident in 1996. Vincent's last screen appearance was in 2004.

Dominic Santini played by legendary actor Ernest Borgnine
Dominic Santini played by legendary actor Ernest Borgnine

Dominic Santini

Dominic Santini (Ernest Borgnine) was a friend to both Stringfellow and his brother Saint John. A former military man himself, now Santini runs his own helicopter service doing shuttle runs for the government and stuntwork for Hollywood. Always known for being tight with his wallet, Santini is all heart and will help out anyone in need - as long as it doesn't involve money. He routinely flies Airwolf with Hawke, serving primarily as navigator and armament coordinator, but even he gets to occasionally take the pilot's chair while Hawke is off adventuring.

Ernest Borgnine

Date of Birth: January 24, 1917

Place of Birth: Hamden, Connecticut

Date of Death: July 8, 2012

Ernest Borgnine had a long and quite prolific film and television career spanning over six decades. Through it all, he tended to play curmudgeonly characters with hearts of gold. Some notable appearances included The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, Escape From New York, The Poseidon Adventure and, on television, McHale's Navy. He was still doing movies right up until his death.

Alex Cord plays Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III, codenamed Archangel
Alex Cord plays Michael Coldsmith-Briggs III, codenamed Archangel

Michael 'Archangel' Coldsmith-Briggs III

Archangel (Alex Cord) is the head of a mysterious government agency called The Firm. Always meticulously dressed in a white suit and fedora, Michael was critically wounded when Dr. Moffett stole Airwolf on a government testing ground. He carries a cane, although his limp may be more cosmetic than a true injury. He definitely lost his left eye, however, and wears a black eyepatch in strong contrast to his otherwise pristine white uniform. Ironically, when he's wearing flight gear on Airwolf, his eyepatch turns white. Like we'd forget what he looks like if he ever sheds the white suit.

Archangel is always accompanied by an assistant who is, routinely, female and generally quite attractive. Hawke has fallen for more than one of these lovely aide-de-camps.

Alex Cord

Date of Birth: May 3, 1933

Place of Birth: Floral Park, New York

Born Alexander Viespi, on Long Island, Cord was stricken with polio at age 12. Convalescing in Wyoming, he rode horses as therapy for the illness which he overcame by age sixteen. Cord subsequently dropped out of high school to follow his dreams of becoming a rodeo wrangler. His life took a new direction, though, when he was thrown from a bull at a rodeo and spent several months recuperating in a hospital.

Cord returned to high school and subsequently went to college in New York and Connecticut. He started acting in 1961 and has appeared in numerous TV series and movies. Some notable appearances include Route 66, Mission: Impossible, Police Story, Fantasy Island and The Six Million Dollar Man. Cord retired from acting in 2009 and lives on a horse farm in Texas.

First Season Episodes

Episode Name
Date of airing
Summary
Guest Stars
Director
Shadow of the Hawke
January 22, 1984
Hawke and Santini are sent to Libya to retrieve Airwolf from its deranged creator Dr. Charles Henry Moffett.
Belinda Bauer, David Hemmings
Donald P. Belisario
Daddy's Gone a Huntin'
January 28, 1984
Hawke must stop an Air Force officer from trading a high-tech plane to the Russians for his adopted son
James Whitmore Jr., Charles Knox Robinson, Aki Aleong, Chad Allen
Virgil W. Vogel
Bite of the Jackal
February 4, 1984
A rival of Michael's attempts to outwit Hawke by using Santini as bait
Scott Hylands, Shannen Doherty
Alan J. Levi
Proof Through the Night
February 11, 1984
Hawke and Santini rescue a Russian defector and his wife and daughter
Rick Lenz, Linda Grovenor
Harvey Laidman
One Way Express
February 18, 1984
Hawke is hired by a movie studio to perform a dangerous stunt which is really a cover for a high tech gold robbery
Henry Darrow, Paul Carr
Alan J. Levi
Echos From the Past
March 3, 1984
Hawke is captured by a spy syndicate who make him believe that he's lost a year of his life and that his brother is alive and has returned stateside
Zohra Lampert, Robert Hogan, Christopher Connelly, Michael Halsey, Milt Kogan
Harvey Laidman
Fight Like a Dove
March 10, 1984
The daughter of a Nazi war crimes hunter attempts to avenge her father's murder by capturing the man who killed him who is also a notorious arms dealer
Tovah Feldshuh, Walter Gotell
Stephen Dollinger
Mad Over Miami
March 24, 1984
Santini is hired by villagers to deliver the ransom for the release of captured prisoners
Gina Gallego, Tito Vandis
David Hemmings
And They Are Us
March 31, 1984
Hawke aids the forces of South Limbawe who are being besieged by their North Limbawe neighbors
Christopher Stone, Raymond St. Jacques, Grand Bush
Nicholas Corea
Mind of the Machine
April 7, 1984
A scientist uses Airwolf to design a series of computer simulations that could be used to train other pilots to fly the super copter in the future
David Carradine, Sondra Currie
Ivan Dixon
To Snare a Wolf
April 14, 1984
A bureaucrat uses government resources to attempt to pinpoint the location of Airwolf and is willing to stop at nothing to lay his hands on her
Lance LeGault, Kathleen Lloyd, Jeff MacKay
Alan J. Levi

Notable Guest Actors

Over the show's three year run, a number of well known actors and actresses have appeared on Airwolf in a variety of different roles. Here are some of them from the first season. Enjoy!

Belinda Bauer as Hawke's love interest Gabrielle Ademaur in Shadow of the Hawke
Belinda Bauer as Hawke's love interest Gabrielle Ademaur in Shadow of the Hawke

Belinda Bauer

Date of Birth: June 13, 1950

Place of Birth: Australia

Character Played: Gabrielle Ademaur

Episode: Shadow of the Hawke

Gabrielle was the first love interest in the show for Stringfellow Hawke. Bauer is a Canadian and has appeared in Robocop II, Flashdance and UHF along with several key television appearances. She no longer acts professionally and, at last report, was practicing psychology in L.A.

Deborah Pratt as the Archangel's beautiful assistant Marella
Deborah Pratt as the Archangel's beautiful assistant Marella

Deborah Pratt

Place of Birth: Chicago, IL

Character Played: Marella

Episodes: Various

Deborah Pratt was married to Airwolf producer Donald Bellisario for seven years. She has appeared in numerous television shows, including Quantum Leap, CHiPs, Happy Days, Magnum P.I. and others. She is also an accomplished writer and director.

Herb Jefferson Jr. is a prolific character actor who played a carrier commander in Airwolf
Herb Jefferson Jr. is a prolific character actor who played a carrier commander in Airwolf

Herbert Jefferson Jr.

Date of Birth: September 28, 1946

Place of Birth: Sandersville, GA

Character Played: U.S.S. Enterprise Captain

Episode: Shadow of the Hawke

Jefferson is probably best remebered playing the roll of Boomer in the iconic science fiction classic series Batteslar Galactica. He's appeared in dozens of films and TV series, including ER, Dukes of Hazard, Mission: Impossible, T.J. Hooker and Hill Street Blues. He is very involved with community and veterans programs, including Toys for Tots and The Wounded Warrior Project among others.

Actor/director David Hemmings plays the evil and charismatic Dr. Charles Henry Moffet
Actor/director David Hemmings plays the evil and charismatic Dr. Charles Henry Moffet

David Hemmings

Date of Birth: November 18, 1941

Place of Birth: Gulidford, Surrey, England

Character Played: Dr. Charles Henry Moffet

Episode: Shadow of the Hawke

Date of Death: December 3, 2003

Hemmings was both an accomplished actor and director. His acting career spanned five decades until his untimely death at age 62. Among his more familiar roles, he starred in Barbarella, Gladiator, Gangs of New York and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen along with dozens of TV guest shots. He also directed episodes of Airwolf, Quantum Leap, Murder She Wrote, The A-Team, Magnum P.I. and In the Heat of the Night. He also produced several films and TV series and co-wrote the screenplay for the 1972 film Running Scared that starred Robert Powell and Barry Morse.

James Whitmore Jr.
James Whitmore Jr.

James Whitmore Jr.

Date of Birth: October 24, 1948

Place of Birth: New York, New York

Character Played: Major Sam Roper

Episode: Daddy's Gone a Huntin'

James Whitmore Jr. has acted and directed in hundreds of television programs.including NCIS, 24, Cold Case, Quantum Leap, 21 Jump Street, Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider, T.J. Hooker and lots more. He's the son of legendary actor James Whitmore.

Aki Aleong
Aki Aleong

Aki Aleong

Date of Birth: December 19, 1934

Place of Birth: Port of Spain, Trinidad

Character Played: Colonel Quoc

Episode: Daddy's Gone a Huntin'

A prestigious ethnic face in Hollywood, Aki Aleong's acting career has spanned nearly six decades. Among his many film and TV appearances, he has been in The Outer Limits, V, General Hospital, The A-Team, Seaquest and Babylon 5.

Chad Allen played young Ho Minh Truong, who may have been Stringfellow's son.
Chad Allen played young Ho Minh Truong, who may have been Stringfellow's son.

Chad Allen

Date of Birth: June 5, 1974

Place of Birth: Cerritos, CA

Role Played: Ho Minh Truong

Episode: Daddy's Gone a Huntin'

Born Chad Allen Lazzari, the young actor made his first TV appearance on the show Simon and Simon at the age of seven. Since then, he's racked up quite a resume, including major roles in shows like St. Elsewhere, Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, Our House and My Two Dads. He's also had numerous guest shots on shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Highway to Heaven, The Wonder Years, Punky Brewster, NYPD Blue, Criminal Minds and many more. Allen is very active in LGBT community.

Scott Hylands
Scott Hylands

Scott Hylands

Date of Birth: 1943

Place of Birth: Vancouver, BC

Role Played: Mitchell Bruck

Episode: Bite of the Jackal

Scott Hylands is a Canadian actor who is probably best remembered for roles in the detective drama Night Heat in the '80's and the reimagined V in more recent years. His stints on TV include appearances in shows like Ironside, Cannon, Barretta, Wonder Woman, NYPD Blue, The X-Files and the TV miniseries Centennial. He was usually the bad guy.

Shannen Doherty
Shannen Doherty

Shannen Doherty

Date of Birth: August 12, 1971

Place of Birth: Memphis, TN

Character Played: Phoebe Danner

Episode: Bite of the Jackal

Before her role of a lifetime as Brenda on Beverly Hills 90210, young Ms. Doherty had regular roles in two shows - Little House on the Prairie and Our House. She was also a star in the show Charmed and has had recurring appearances on the resurrected 90210. Shannen's screen life often mirrors elements of her personal life, which, to say the least, has been tumultuous.

Henry Darrow played Philip Maurice in the episode "One Way Express"
Henry Darrow played Philip Maurice in the episode "One Way Express"

Henry Darrow

Date of Birth: September 15, 1933

Place of Birth: New York, NY

Character Played: Philip Maurice

Episode: One Way Express

Henry Darrow was born Enrique Tomas Delgado in 1933. He started acting in 1959, appearing at first in uncredited parts, then graduating slowly to more significant roles as he became noticed. He was the first hispanic actor to play the role of Zorro in several TV series, including both live action and animated adventures. He's been a notable guest on dozens of TV episodes including stints on The Wild Wild West, Mission: Impossible, Kung Fu, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, The Six Million Dollar Man and Knight Rider, just to name a few. Darrow continues to act even to this day.


Paul Carr played director Simon Sayes in "One Way Express"
Paul Carr played director Simon Sayes in "One Way Express"

Paul Carr

Date of Birth: February 1, 1934

Place of Birth: New Orleans, LA

Character Played: Simon Sayes

Episode: One Way Express

Date of Death: February 17, 2006

Paul Wallace Carr is probably best remembered by science fiction fans as Lt. Lee Kelso in the second classic Star Trek pilot, "Where No Man Has Gone Before", but that's just one of his significant guest appearances. He was a regular on The soap operas Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives and appeared on numerous TV shows like The Riflemen, Rawhide, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, Green Hornet, The Virginian, Ironside, Mannix, Police Story, The Six Million Dollar Man and many others. Carr died of complications from lung and brain cancer in 2006.

Chris Connelly appears in two episodes of Airwolf, playing Stringfellow Hawke's bother Saint John
Chris Connelly appears in two episodes of Airwolf, playing Stringfellow Hawke's bother Saint John

Christopher Connelly

Date of Birth: September 8, 1941

Place of Birth: Wichita, Kansas

Character Played: Saint John Hawke

Episode: Echos From the Past

Date of Death: December 7, 1988

Television junkies will recognize Christopher Connelly as Norman Harrington in the soap opera Peyton Place. Since then, he has appeared in numerous TV shows as a guest. Some of his most memorable guest stints include The Fugitive, Bonanza, Mission: Impossible, Ironside, Quincy, Police Story, The Fall Guy and Fantasy Island. Connelly died of cancer at the young age of 47.

Tovah Feldshuh plays Nazi hunter Sarah Lebow in the Airwolf episode "Fight Like a Dove"
Tovah Feldshuh plays Nazi hunter Sarah Lebow in the Airwolf episode "Fight Like a Dove"

Tovah Feldshuh

Date of Birth: December 27, 1953

Place of Birth: New York, NY

Character Played: Sarah Lebow

Episode: Fight Like a Dove

Perhaps one of the best known jewish actresses in tinseltown, Feldshuh is probably best known for her recurring character on the ubiquitous television series Law and Order and it's spinoffs where she plays lawyer Danielle Melnick. She also appeared in the TV miniseries Holocaust and has had guest spots on shows like The Equalizer, Love Boat, LA Law, Cosby, Crossing Jordan and Ugly Betty. She's married and has a son and a daughter. She can also be seen gracing the stage on Broadway where she has won several Tony awards.

Walter Gotell
Walter Gotell

Walter Gotell

Date of Birth: March 15, 1924

Place of Birth: Bonn, Germany

Character Played: Hans Daubert/Helmut Kruger

Episode: Fight Like a Dove

Date of Death: May 5, 1997

Over the course of his acting career, Walter Gotell made appearances in seven Bond films. His first appearance was in "From Russia With Love" where he played Morzeny. All of his subsequent appearances, he played Russian General Gogol of the KGB in the Bond films of the '80's that featured Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton. His prolific film and TV career spanned over 50 years and he made appearances in shows like The A-Team, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The X-Files, MacGyver, Miami Vice, Knight Rider, Fantasy Island, The Fall Guy and many more. On the big screen, he could be seen in blockbusters like The Guns of Navarone, The Boys from Brazil and his final appearance before his death as Erik the Old in big screen adaptation of Prince Valiant.

Christopher Stone
Christopher Stone

Christopher Stone

Date of Birth: October 4, 1942

Place of Birth: Manchester, NH

Character Played: Marty Vidor

Episode: And They Are Us

Date of Death: October 20, 1995

Always hovering on the edge of stardom, Christopher Stone amassed an incredible array of film and television appearances before a heart attack claimed his life shortly after his 53rd birthday. Amond his notable appearances, he was in Mission Impossible, Police Story, Wonder Woman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, CHiPs, Fantasy Island, The Fall Guy, The A-Team and MacGyver, just to name a few. He also played recurring roles in The Bionic Woman and Dallas, and he had a starring role in the series The Interns in the '70's and The New Lassie in the late '80's. Stone married Dee Wallace (who played Eliot's mother in ET) and together they have a daughter, Gabrielle, who also acts.

Grand Bush
Grand Bush

Grand Bush

Date of Birth: December 24, 1955

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, CA

Character Played: General Ali Butami

Episode: And They Are Us

Grand Lee Bush has a notable bio and a number of guest appearances in films and on TV. Big screen fans will remember him in Lethal Weapons I and II and License to Kill with Timothy Dalton. He was also in Die Hard and Demolition Man. On TV, he could be seen on CHiPs, Good Times, The Incredible Hulk, Fame, Hunter, Nash Bridges and, in his final acting appearance, on JAG. In 2010, Bush graduated from Medical school. He is married to screenwriter Sharon Dahlonega and together, they have four kids.

David Carradine guest starred as Robert Winchester, a scientist who codeveloped Airwolf with Dr. Moffet
David Carradine guest starred as Robert Winchester, a scientist who codeveloped Airwolf with Dr. Moffet

David Carradine

Date of Birth: December 8, 1936

Place of Birth: Hollywood, CA

Character Played: Dr. Robert Winchester

Episode: Mind of the Machine

Date of Death: June 3, 2009

David hailed from the famous Carradine acting clan and has appeared in dozens of film and TV projects. Probably best remembered for his martial arts role of Kwai Chang Caine in the legendary series Kung Fu during the '70's and it's follow up, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues in the '90's, younger audiences embraced him yet again in Quentin Tarentino's uber violent two part assassin fest, Kill Bill. On the big screen, he can be seen in films like Deathrace 2000, Gray Lady Down, Lone Wolf McQuade and Bird on a Wire. On television, his credits are extensive. Tragically, Carradine died in 2009 by accidental asphyxiation while he was filming the movie Stretch in Thailand.

Government Bureaucrat D.G. Bogard (played by Lance LeGault) wants to get his hands on Airwolf
Government Bureaucrat D.G. Bogard (played by Lance LeGault) wants to get his hands on Airwolf

Lance LeGault

Date of Birth: May 2, 1935

Place of Birth: Chicago, IL

Character Played: D.G. Bogard

Episode: To Snare a Wolf

Date of Death: September 10, 2012

William Lance LeGault (pronounced Luh-GOH) will always be remembered by fans of the '80's action series The A-Team as arch-nemesis Colonel Roderick Decker who would stop at nothing to capture the fugitive unit. On Airwolf, he's the only guest actor to appear in all three seasons of the show (He played different characters each time.) He appeared in numerous television shows including Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, MacGyver, Knight Rider, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Dukes of Hazard, Quantum Leap and Dallas. At the movies, his most notable role was probably as Colonel Glass in Stripes. LeGault died in 2012 of heart failure at the age of 77.

Jeff MacKay
Jeff MacKay

Jeff MacKay

Date of Birth: October 20, 1948

Place of Birth: Dallas, TX

Character Played: Sgt. Willie Nash

Episode: To Snare a Wolf

Date of Death: August 22, 2008

One of Jeff MacKay's first roles was playing a reporter in the blockbuster All the Presidents Men which starred his cousin Robert Redford. Following that, he did stints on television in the shows Black Sheep Squadron and Tales of the Gold Monkey. His notable guest starring roles included Battlestar Galactica, The Greatest American Hero, Hardcastle and McCormick and a recurring role on the show Magnum P.I. One of his last recurring roles before his death was playing Bud Roberts' (Patrick Labyorteaux) father Big Bud in the show J.A.G. He died of liver failure in 2008.


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Comments 1 comment

juliebriggs 21 months ago

I love watching TV show air wolf because of only one star

Interest Alex cord as Michael Briggs

/archangel/

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