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Early Television Pilots That Flopped, Failed, and Then Forgotten

Updated on April 17, 2016

"Freeway Beauties"

Remember "CHIPs," the ultra-hit of the 1980's starring Eric Estrada and Jon Wilcox? Well, "Freeway Beauties," dares to "push the envelope" of television action-shows with a cast made up of all females. These beauties are tough and know how to keep the freeways of whatever major city is spotlighted each week safe from speeders, slow pokes, and troublemakers who love to cause trouble.


"Unusual Talking Animal Pals"

What a unique concept for a television pilot. This pilot goes where famous animal stars such as "Lassie," never dared to run. This show features a duo of animals that are supposed to be sworn enemies, but somehow make their friendship work.

Stop. Look back with me.

"Long, long time ago . . ." (Don McClean, first words of "American Pie," plug). In a time when television was still growing and so were the ambitious ideas of the think tanks that help the powerful television networks (back then) NBC, CBS, and ABC, run. Oh, it was just that way.

The simple-but-lucrative idea of raking in huge bucks from summer re-runs (did I date myself here?) had not entered the minds of the think tanks of these same powerful television networks, so until the "rerun" was born, the networks, for lack of better thinking, had to settle for spending hundreds of thousands on something they called "Television Pilots."


"Catwalk Intelligence Force"

Put a few highly-trained fashion models who are in fact, secret intelligence officers who are sent on super-sensitive missions each week to gather needed data to stop the terrorists, kidnappers, and other bad guys who are a threat to our way of life. Another pilot with hardly any men.


"Gotcha From Above"

May sound like your typical "dare-devil"-type of police action show, but it is far from it. A team of retired Airborne officers get together and form a skydiving group whose sole purpose is to aid the local police nab drug dealers, thieves, and other "bad apples." When the skydivers get the location of the crimes being planned, they "jump" into action.

Television pilots defined.

A basic concept was hatched, then turned over to script and screenplay writers as more money was spent on noted directors, producers and some famous actors to make these shoddy pilots somehow get sold to whatever network had the highest bid.

Some pilots made it while others "bit the dust" before mounting their horses. This was a sad event for excited, undiscovered actors who had their high hopes dashed with a simple "no," from powerful network executives. And tell me that big television business was not brutal in the early days.

Many of these undiscovered actors turned to alcoholism and others, without any strings to cling to, either went into crime or got a regular job pumping gas at the local all-night convenience store that was owned by an American company. Again. "Long, long time ago . . ." (Don McClean, you are not forgotten).

Below are "my" ideas for a few television pilots that had no chance of being successful. My hub is appropriately entitled . . .

Early Television Pilots That Flopped, Failed, and Then Forgotten

Country crooner, Tim McGraw will narrate the pilot, "Gotcha From Above."
Country crooner, Tim McGraw will narrate the pilot, "Gotcha From Above." | Source

"Dragonflies: The Untold Story"

Not to be outdone, PBS has ideas of its own on how to make some extra bucks with sizzling documentaries such as this one. And more. Each spine-chilling documentary is a 22-week series exploring every detail of the insect being exposed to our way of thinking.


"Impressionist Environmentalist"

This show, even back in early television, was way ahead of its time. The writers developed this super-dramatic pilot that starred an everyday man who was an expert at doing famous movie stars and singers. In each block-buster show, the impressionist would don the appearance, talents, and looks of a celebrity in order to gain the confidence of the corporate thugs who were pollution our water and air. Even in the early 1960's, these were becoming big concerns.


"Circus Clown Police Hypnotist"

is a bold mixture of comedy and drama pitting "Clark, The Circus Clown," against known criminals who are eluding the cops. "Clark," has taken numerous hours of training to be able to hypnotize anyone including the dangerous criminals. Viewers will also notice that in this show, no firearms are ever used. "Clark," first makes the criminals laugh then hypnotize them into surrendering to the cops.


"Secret Facts About Swamps"

Is another brilliant idea of the PBS network. But in this show television viewers will enjoy a weekly-study of secret facts about swamps that until this show was filmed, was thought of as just another swamp. This show will feature such bold facts as: "Drinking swamp water will not make men more virile." And more.


"Fast Food Health Crusader"

Features a type of super-hero, but he is all human. The show simply deals with this one man who loves to see children eat healthy everywhere they go. So this health lover goes undercover as a Health Dept. employee to secretly replace the greasy oil used to cook burgers and fries that kids love, with safe alternatives such as Olive Oil. Then he moves on to another fast food restaurant.


"Uncle G."

Is in the same thinking as NBC's disastrous "My Mother The Car," with Jerry Van Dyke. But this show has a guy named "Larkin Townley," an obscure C.P.A. whose favorite uncle passes away and then is reincarnated into a gorilla. "Larkin," to cope with his loss, visits the local zoo and makes this startling discovery.


"Super Horse"

Is nothing like Superman, Lassie, My Friend Flicka, or any other animal hero of the time. The concept is simple. "Jack Whayfield," a wheat farmer in Kansas has a horse named "Topley," whom he, his wife, "Janie," and their grandkids all love. But one day during a terrible electrical storm, "Topley" is struck with lightning and then has super powers such as flying, X-Ray Horse Vision and a mind that rivals that of Batman. But "Topley," has to depend on "Whayfield," to keep his secret and inform him where his powers are needed.

Since we are into vintage TV, look at this.

And what is television without commercials?

"A Sincere Thank You"

for taking time to read the hubs that I present for your entertainment, education, and some good, old-fashioned nostalgic moments that only exist in our past.

And since I posted Country singer, Tim McGraw's photo (above), I deduced that it be only fair to you to present one of his best songs, "Live Life Like You're Dying."

Have a great day.

Now for some serious music.


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Yes, they were some good old memories.

      I was so into television that when reruns came around, I would forget what was going to happen. It was like watching the show when it was original all over again.

      Ahhh, good times.

      Write me anytime.


    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 

      2 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      Some nice old memories. We were very simple back in those days. Yes, there were a lot less re runs.


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