Sunday Morning WTF: CHiPs - Rock Devil Rock

As a kid, I used to watch "CHiPs" all the time. To this day, I'm not really sure why.

Wikipedia has a great synopsis of nearly EVERY episode they ever did:

"CHiPs" episodes were usually a combination of light comedy and melodrama. A typical episode would start with Ponch and Jon being assigned to patrol an interesting beat, such as Malibu or the Sunset Strip. In a staff briefing, Sgt. Getraer would warn CHiPs to be on the lookout for a criminal operation, such as people staging accidents as part of an insurance scheme or punk rockers breaking into cars. A few interesting, unrelated vignettes might transpire during the course of "routine" traffic stops. A light-hearted subplot would also be included, such as Harlan trying to hide a stray dog from Getraer. A more serious theme, such as Ponch trying to keep a kid from his old neighborhood out of a life of crime, might also be included. After a few failed attempts to apprehend the gang that had been menacing L.A.'s freeways, the episode would invariably culminate in Ponch and Jon leading a chase of the suspects (often assisted by other members of the division), climaxing with a spectacular series of stunt car crashes. The show then typically featured a dénouement of Ponch and Jon participating in a new activity (such as jet skiing or skydiving), designed to showcase the pair's glamorous Southern California lifestyle. Oftentimes, Ponch would attempt to impress a woman he had met during the episode with his athletic prowess, only to fall and provide Jon, Getraer and others with a hearty laugh."

One of my more favorite episodes was from the sixth and final season of the show titled "Rock Devil Rock." It starred Cassandra Petersen (Elvira, whom we've talked about previously) Peter Marshall (a popular game show host) and (the best part) Happy Days actor Donny Most as satanic rocker "Moloch." This was a classic. Here was "Ralph Malph" wearing Gene Simmons-like makeup being urged to play up the satanic angle because it helped sell records to the lemming kids.

The clip above is the first part of the episode and features Moloch driving away in his flamed out hearse after a big daylight-in-the-park concert (because shooting the show at night was far more expensive) listening to his hit song "Devil take me!" blasting through his ultra-high-tech cassette tape deck - apparently a feature that wasnt a factory installed option on classic Cadillac hearses back in the day.

The scene culminates with a typical CHiPs style finale: the car hits a dirt hill and the editors cut in a stock footage explosion to give the illusion the hearse bursts into a big fireball. Even as a kid I could tell this was a lame fake, but the producers didn't have the budget for big effects later in the series.

I found this clip on YouTube and just had to share.


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