Monday, July 23, 2007

Roar Like Thunder

[The Original Blue Thunder: enough fire-power to take out every Ayamku in Brunei]
Written by GL

We're getting very technical in this post. In all respects, there were several helicopter (or as my good friend Kal-El would say: chelee-hopter] shows on television that made an impression on young Bruneians; one that we won't name now, the other was big, bad Blue Thunder. However, what many may not know is that Blue Thunder originated from a movie, and not a television show.

Blue Thunder the movie was released in 1983 and revolves around a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) helicopter pilot selected to be a pilot for the world's most advanced helicopter, nicknamed 'Blue Thunder' With powerful weapons and stealth technology, the machine can fly totally virtually undetected. It was also loaded with gadgets such as infrared scanners, powerful microphones, cameras, and a U-Matic VCR (anyone know what that is? No? Let's continue)

[Roy Schneider as Frank Murphy: all that fire-power and he uses a tiny pistol]

Police officer, Frank Murphy discovers that a crazy action group is planning to use Blue Thunder to carry out their mission of secretly killing off politicians. Murphy manages to record a meeting between the bad guys, who are planning to use Blue Thunder for naughty purposes, and must try to get the video tape to a television station before he gets killed.

[Blue Thunder vs piece of crap: no contest]

The final awesome showdown is between Blue Thunder and a dual 30mm cannon equipped Hughes/McDonnell Douglas MD500 helicopter over Los Angeles city. I won't tell you the ending but I will say, there are credits at the end.

A short-lived television series, also called Blue Thunder, was aired in 1984 on ABC, based on the movie.

The series used the exact same modified AĆ©rospatiale Gazelle helicopter from the movie, as well as a large portion of stock footage from the film. As backup to the helicopter, a ground vehicle unit, called Rolling Thunder, was also featured. It was a large support van with a desert camouflage off-road vehicle inside. As high-tech as that all sounds, only eleven episodes were made before the series was cancelled.

A Region 1 DVD set of the series was released on 22 August 2006.

[Series Cast: can you spot Hightower?]

And just for worthy mention, Dana Carvey and Bubba Smith were part of the starring cast in the Blue Thunder television series. Dana Carvey, you may know as Garth from Wayne's World, and Bubba Smith, you may know as Hightower from Police Academy. Ah, the wonderful world of acting.

Even though the show didn't last that long, it was successful enough to build a playset vehicle out of. A company named Multitoys Corp. built a playable Blue Thunder helicopter in 1983, complete with figure.

[Original Box: awesome detail on the packaging]

I have been researching and I've found that it is quite a hard toy to find. It comes fully assembled with spinning blades, an open-able cockpit, spinning rear blades and a pose-able rotary gun at the front (the signature of Blue Thunder).

It also came with one action figure, about 2" inches tall, that is supposedly of Roy Schneider himself. With his nose even. Put the fella in the cockpit, drop the lid, spin the rotors and you have near a month's worth of imaginary, fantasy fun.

[The Original: now that's a toy]

I recall that I had Blue Thunder - it was an awesome toy, and it still looks awesome today, just by pure fact of design likeness. In terms of functionality, I'll admit that there isn't much to shout about, and yet, it's only a helicopter toy (and how much stuff can you do with a helicopter toy anyway] The key thing is that Blue Thunder was an iconic vehicle of the 80s. And it's only Classic Articulation's job to pay tribute to such a cool toy.