(California Highway Patrol) was
a campy cop drama that ran from 1977 to 1983 on NBC.
The main characters were Erik Estrada as Officer Francis
“Ponch” Poncherello, Larry Wilcox as Office Baker, and
Robert Pine as Sergeant Joe Getraer. The show was
basically about the daily adventures of Baker and "Ponch"
as they patrolled the highways of L.A. on their
motorcycles, and it ultimately ran for six seasons as
139 episodes. Although it was cheesy, it was a huge hit
with viewers. In the show’s heyday, merchandising
included things like action figures, puzzles, die cast
cars, and of course the CHiPs lunchbox.
In many ways, CHiPs was more
comedy than drama, and some of the first season shows
were flat out hilarious. There was rarely any real
violence on the show, and episodes were mostly light
hearted. Ponch (Estrada) was the macho and outspoken
officer, while Baker (Wilcox) was more “by the book”.
The two complimented each other nicely. Episodes
typically featured the duo on some routine patrol after
a briefing from Sergeant Joe (Pine) on what bad elements
to be on the lookout for that day. And the duo’s
attempt at apprehending the day’s criminals often
culminated in an over-the-top car crash. Show would end
with the duo demonstrating the fun and sun of the
Southern Californian lifestyle.