Highway Patrol

Highway Patrol

1955 - United States

Starring Hollywood Oscar winner Broderick Crawford as Chief Dan Mathews, Highway Patrol is today seen as the father of the TV Cop show genre with it's all-action storylines involving the pursuit of murderers, bank robbers, smugglers and hijackers, by car, bike or helicopter across the highways and byways of the Western United States. 

Made on a shoestring budget and starring no other regulars apart from the star himself (who was also a part-owner in the production company that made the series, Ziv TV), the series was a massive hit around the world. In Italy it was known as Policia Della Strode, in Spain -Petrulla de Seguridad and by various other titles in twenty other countries. Its most enduring legacy was the introduction to the phrase 'Ten-Four', meaning 'message received and understood.' Crawford, a Californian, had begun his career in the 1930's playing tough gangster roles and won his Best Actor Oscar in 1949 for All The King's Men, plus a special critics award for Of Mice and Men. He insisted on doing most of his own stunt work and as a result of this incurred a number of injuries, as he explained in 1958. "Running around filming in helicopters and fast cars for three years you're bound to have accidents, and I've certainly had my share. So far I've fractured my skull, broken an arm and an ankle and taken hundreds of falls." 

The series ran from 1955 to 1958 and at the end of its run Crawford secured the lead in King of Diamonds and later in The Interns before popping up as a guest star in Get Smart, Burke's Law and Fantasy Island, to name a few.

Published on December 21st, 2018. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.

Read Next...

Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer

A wisecracking anti-hero detective who lives tough in a tough world of murderers, kidnappers, drug dealers and extortionists.

Also tagged Us Cops

Fanny's Kitchen

Phyllis Cradock and her third husband Major John Cradock were quickly poached from the BBC's Kitchen Magic in 1955 to present ITV's first cookery programme.

Also released in 1955

Fury

US & British co-production about a black stallion that no-one has yet been able to tame.

Also released in 1955

The FBI

Allegedly based on the case-files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, The F.B.I. was endorsed by none other than the Bureau's real-life chief of operations, J. Edgar Hoover.

Also tagged Us Cops

Dragnet

A truly defining early entry in the annals of the embryonic genre of US television police drama series, Dragnet became the seminal template from which all later successful cops shows drew a measure of guidance and inspiration...

Also tagged Us Cops

The Naked City

Semi documentary style police procedural series.

Also tagged Us Cops

Honey West

Described as television's most beautiful private eye

Also tagged Tv Cops

Douglas Fairbanks Presents

Anthology series made in Britain for commercial television but with the US market in mind.

Also released in 1955

Life On Mars TV Series

"My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident and woke up in 1973. Am I mad, in a coma, or back in time? Whatever's happened it's like I'm on a different planet. Now maybe if I can work out the reason...I can get home."

Also tagged Tv Cops