It is commonly understood that grown men don’t cry – unless, of course, they happen to be subjected to a show produced by Michael Landon, television’s rainmaker when it comes to turning on the eye faucets. Given a few moments of viewing time, the man could make a statue sob. And, after years of coaxing viewers to cry with the hit series Little House on the Prairie, he was up to his tear-inducing ways again in his next endeavor, Highway to Heaven.
Debuting in 1984, Highway to Heaven starred Landon as Jonathan Smith, an angel sent from heaven to help people with their various tribulations. His first encounter (in the pilot episode) was with a bitter and hardened ex-cop named Mark Gordon (played by familiar Little Houseface, Victor French), whose life he helped set on the right course…by making him his earthly assistant.
The pair, who posed as itinerant laborers, roamed the country in search of those in need, guided by Smith’s “boss” (or as you might know him – God.) Nobody is perfect of course, even the ever-helpful team of Smith and Gordon. Each made plenty of mistakes along the way, but in the end, they changed numerous lives and learned a few lessons of their own along the way.
Highway to Heaven ran successfully for five seasons, and left a formidable trail of tears in its wake. The show was cancelled in 1989, perhaps as a result of the death of Victor French who passed away a couple of months before the final episode aired. Fans who yearn to clutch a box of tissues can relive the show via the first three seasons, which have been released on DVD in recent years. And if one yearns for more television angels in their life, the show, Touched By an Angel, followed a similar premise during its run from 1994-2003. Still, without the presence and guidance of Michael Landon, tissues were far less of a necessity.
Do you have fond memories of watching Highway to Heaven each week? Did it ever make you sniffle (It’s okay; you’re among friends here)? Either way, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts on this memorable series in our comments section.