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Blue Thunder is an American drama series based on the movie of the same title that aired on ABC from January 6 until April 16, 1984 featuring the Blue Thunder helicopter.[1]

Blue Thunder
Blue thunder dvd.jpg
DVD cover
Based onBlue Thunder
Directed byGuy Magar
StarringJames Farentino
Dana Carvey
Sandy McPeak
Dick Butkus
Bubba Smith
Composer(s)Frank Denson
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes11
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)Rastar Productions
Public Arts
Columbia Pictures Television
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Original networkABC
Original releaseJanuary 6 –
April 16, 1984
A mock-up of the Blue Thunder helicopter, as seen on the back lot tour of Disney Hollywood Studios, Florida

The series uses the converted Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopter and large portions of stock footage from the 1983 film. A ground unit named "Rolling Thunder" backed up the helicopter in the television series. This was a large support van with a desert camouflage off-road vehicle stored inside.

The television series cast includes James Farentino, Dana Carvey, and former professional American football players Bubba Smith and Dick Butkus. The series was canceled by ABC after they felt the similar Airwolf on CBS would win the ratings battle.[citation needed] Also, the series aired at the same time as the CBS soap opera Dallas on Friday nights, and lost.

Eleven episodes were made before the series was cancelled.[2]



  • James Farentino as Frank Chaney, protagonist, policeman and pilot of the "Blue Thunder".
  • Dana Carvey as Clinton Wonderlove, aka "JAFO", Frank's flight engineer on "Blue Thunder", as well as his sidekick. Clinton handles technical aspects of the chopper.
  • Sandy McPeak as Captain Braddock, Frank's superior.
  • Bubba Smith as "Bubba" Kelsey, a cop who is one of the two members of "Rolling Thunder", Frank's ground crew.
  • Dick Butkus as "Ski" Butowski, another cop who is the other member of "Rolling Thunder".
  • Ann Cooper as J.J. Douglas, radio operator who is Frank's contact at headquarters, and the only female regular in the series.

Episode listEdit

No. Title Directed by Written by Air date
1"Second Thunder"TBATBAJanuary 6, 1984 (1984-01-06)
2"A Clear and Present Danger"TBATBAJanuary 13, 1984 (1984-01-13)
3"Arms Race"TBATBAJanuary 20, 1984 (1984-01-20)
4"Revenge in the Sky"Bernard McEveetyJames DochertyJanuary 27, 1984 (1984-01-27)
5"Trojan Horse"TBATBAFebruary 3, 1984 (1984-02-03)
6"Skydiver"TBATBAFebruary 24, 1984 (1984-02-24)
7"Clipped Wings"TBATBAMarch 2, 1984 (1984-03-02)
8"Payload"TBATBAMarch 9, 1984 (1984-03-09)
9"The Long Flight"TBATBAMarch 16, 1984 (1984-03-16)
10"The Godchild"TBATBAMarch 23, 1984 (1984-03-23)
11"The Island"TBATBAApril 16, 1984 (1984-04-16)

US television ratingsEdit

Season Episodes Premiered: Ended: Nielsen rank Nielsen Rating[3] Tied with:
1983–84 11 January 6, 1984 (1984-01-06) April 16, 1984 (1984-04-16) 60 14.2 N/A

DVD releaseEdit

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the complete series on DVD in Region 1 on August 22, 2006.[4] A Region 2 release followed on 27 September 2010.[5]


  1. ^ O'Connor, John J. (6 January 1984). "TV WEEKEND; 'JERK TOO,' 'BLUE THUNDER'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
  2. ^ "Blue Thunder: The Complete Series". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  3. ^ "1983-84 Ratings History -- The Networks Are Awash in a Bubble Bath of Soaps".
  4. ^ "Blue Thunder DVD news: A Thundering Change In The Box Art!". Archived from the original on 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
  5. ^ "Blue Thunder: The Complete Series [DVD]: James Farentino, Dana Carvey, Dick Butkus, Bubba Smith: Film & TV". Retrieved 2012-06-28.

External linksEdit