Highway Patrol (1955–1959)
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Desert Copter 

The Highway Patrol helicopter pursues a smooth-talking but ruthless murder suspect who is trying to escape with a hostage over little-used desert roads.


Herbert L. Strock


Lou Huston (screenplay)




Episode complete credited cast:
Broderick Crawford ... Dan Mathews
Byron Keith ... Officer Ellsworth
Kirby Smith Kirby Smith ... Professor Steve Lamont
Dennis McCarthy Dennis McCarthy ... Instructor Gordon Ryan (as Devlin McCarthy)
Craig Duncan Craig Duncan ... Diner Counterman
Elmore Vincent Elmore Vincent ... Gas Station Attendant
Roy Bourgeois Roy Bourgeois ... Truck Driver
Art Gilmore ... Narrator (voice)


Swindler-turned-murderer Stan Warren is on the run from the Highway Patrol and looking to leave the state quickly. He abandons his vehicle near a roadside diner and convinces desert-bound college professors Steve Lamont and Gordon Ryan to permit him to join them. After tying up Ryan, he forces Lamont to use his jeep to drive toward the state line over the rough and little-used desert roads. Dan Mathews uses the Highway Patrol helicopter to locate the moving jeep, get ahead of it, and commandeer a large truck to block the road. Warren is able to wound an officer during a brief gun battle near the stopped truck, but he is unable to escape from Dan Mathews, who fires upon him from the helicopter with a rifle. Written by Sam Spear

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hostage | police helicopter | See All (2) »


Action | Crime | Drama


Did You Know?


Mathews uses the radio identifier 141 for the helicopter, which was the numeric portion of the registration number. The registration number for this helicopter was N141B, which showed as being a 1947 Bell model 47G. This helicopter was used in several series in the 50's and 60's and is reported to have crashed in 1982 in Ohio. See more »


Lamont has a 15 second head start on Warren after escaping from the Jeep, and Warren is seen driving the Jeep to recapture him for 20 seconds. Since the Jeep travels at a far higher speed than does a man running, he would have easily overtaken Lamont, yet Lamont was nowhere in sight as Warren was apprehended. Lamont is shown being returned in a highway patrol car that approached at high speed. Lamont would have had to have run faster than a motor vehicle to get as far as he did. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: American communities, large and small, are bound together by more than three million miles of roads and highways. It is the responsibility of the Highway Patrol to safeguard the rights of citizens to free, safe, and unrestricted use of these millions of miles of thoroughfares. To most Americans, the highways lead to jobs, to vacation spots, or to families and homes. To a very few like Stan Warren, a highway is not a means of approach - it is an avenue of escape.
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User Reviews

Another Bad Pick-Up
24 February 2012 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

Wanted for murder, armed and dangerous Stan Warren (not credited, in a major mystery; he is the star of this half-hour) is trying to leave the state, but highway patrolman Broderick Crawford (as Dan Matthews) is in pursuit. The fugitive killer meets holidaying university teachers Kirby Smith (as Steve Lamont) and Devlin McCarthy (as Gordon Ryan) in a diner and convinces them to take him on as a cook. Granted, this seems more than a little unbelievable, but our fugitive does appears friendly and cute. The three men drive further into the dessert, to look for ancient fish fossils. Danger is just around the corner, but you can be sure Mr. Crawford will get his man, one way or another.

***** Desert Copter (3/12/56) Herbert L. Strock ~ John Doe, Broderick Crawford, Kirby Smith, Devlin McCarthy

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Release Date:

12 March 1956 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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