Adam-12 meets PT 73

More often this Patrol Boat just sits idle at Universal
PT 73 no longer is part of the Universal experience. It carried on – into much of the 80’s as part of the tour. Because of it being a noticeable iconic prop, it had to be removed when film companies shot the Red Sea. Tales from the Gold Monkey TV series took over this section and PT 73 was replaced by Cutter’s Goose. A water landing airplane replaced the old PT.
“Battle Stations”
This base is where the parting of the Red Sea would become a tour favorite. An Airplane replaced the old PT 73.
The natives are restless…they returned on Tale’s of the Gold Monkey
We can use this set…
PT 73 was replaced by a water taxi flying PT Boat
We moved the PT 73 when this set from Tales of the Gold Monkey TV series took over this section of the lake. The PT boat although no longer in use was kept around for its popularity with the Glamour tram tour. It lived in spirit long after Mchale’s Navy was canceled. Earnest Borgnine traded the PT boat in for an Airwolf helicopter. That TV series filmed at sets previously used in Mchale’s Navy. It’s a small world in TV Land.
I always wanted to make a board game about sneaking around studio backlots. Just security, trespassers, and a backlot to run around on. Complete with handcuffs and a get out of jail free card. Ages 10 and up…like Jumangi !
Just like The Munsters TV series, features spun off the success of these two TV series. Both shows overlapped production here at Revue Studio’s…Universal’s Television Division. These feature films based off television series started a new trend. Normally, TV series sprout up based on the success of a feature film. Alias Smith and Jones, for example, was created by Glen Larson based off the popularity of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. As a kid, to see The Munsters on the big screen and in color, was extremely satisfying.
By land or sea…PT 73 in a display in 6 points Texas, Universal. This picture looks like an accident waiting to happen. Engine 51, from Emergency TV series, sits in position.
Behind old buildings lie even older treasures…
Our main gate, truck gate on Lankershim. Across the street is Bluffside Park. Jimmy Stewart Drive takes you inside the studio. Bank of America is left of police cruiser. What was first an autograph seeker turned into a shots fired call for this episode. In 1988, this scenario played out in real life.
The Tower of London castle is towering over this police unit. This is now the tram entrance to the Earthquake animation.
A spider box as they are called in the trade with 3 cables feeding D.C. power to equipment on set, foreground bottom left.
This courtyard is known as the Court of Miracles. It was often used by catering for meals, tables and tents popped up when a full day of filming was to take place on these sets.
A sniper- autograph seeker is terrorizing the backlot.
One Adam-12, three studio employees have been shot.

Same spot as previous picture – decades apart
Sniper views…same street.
” Help me, I’m not on break, I’ve been shot! “
The crime scene…
Reverse angle, rooftop sniper view…
PT 73, parked in our Spartacus set, just a short tow from where it was based along side the Red Sea. It sits on a massive steel wheeled platform that back in the day was towed by elephants.
Transportation moves it this way.
Duct tape, glue, screws, and some gray paint…We’ll fix her back up in no-time.
This is the same balcony the snipers are on where the PT Boat was in dry dock in 1974. ” Reverse angle” This shoot was for the NFL Network. These are pro-football players.
Put your hands up!
What pro football players do in the off-season…
I’m on the wrong lot…
Not that you care, but, that is a D.C. “direct- current” set lighting can and breaker behind our star. That’s where the big studio movie lights get their power from. Every couple of buildings has power distribution hidden inside them. These electrical D.C. cans as they are referred to are the arteries to these sets coming to life.
This was a much used area and doorway in my career…often this area was basecamp and full of Star Waggons. That is the name of a popular studio rental created by Lyle Waggoner.
Remember this Hunk …On a show starring Tim Conway and Ms. Carol Burnett?
Lyle Waggoner‘s Star Waggon studio rentals have corned the business of movie star trailer rentals. The studios no longer have their own star and make-up trailers, like in the 60’s and prior. I have discovered the oldest one in existence. The Holy Grail, it still exists. The first one ever built, directly for a major movie actress. The trailer I have- access to- is where this idea first came about. More on that story to come…
Spartacus square- under attack. ” Clear the PT Boat-watch for crossfire”…
This area is jam packed with Star Waggons for very large base camps, there is room to park, and power to supply transportation needs.
What is now Jaws Lake -was Singapore Lake in Mchale’s Navy. PT 73 also filmed in this body of water. The ship would get moved around on that ancient wood flatbed cart.
Rusted corrugated steel would be placed over the wooden shingles changing this east coast fishing village to a more distant Pacific base for Mchale’s Navy. This set became Cabot Cove. PT 73 anchored here when need be.

One Adam-12

One Adam-12, we have a report of autograph seekers sneaking into Universal Studios. Meet security at the Lankershim truck gate. They will direct you from there…

Well, that’s how this episode rolls, and what was an autograph seeker turns into a shots fired sniper call. Employees are down in the backlot. As Reed and Malloy respond in their Dodge Valiant, a manhunt begins on our backlot. A tactical incident response is needed to rescue the fallen laborer and to apprehend the sniper. As I watched this episode, this iconic prop from a decade ago worked its way into another television episode. The PT 73 was sitting parked in Spartacus Square.

In need of a face lift, nothing a coat of paint and a little re-anchoring couldn’t fix. But PT boats aren’t much in demand after Mchale’s Navy fulfilled its obligations. So, this boat moved around more by land than by sea. Welcome to Hollywood’s biggest backlot. These two hit legendary TV series unite briefly in this episode.

Later on in the 80’s, PT 73 would return to the sea this series filmed at, as part of the tour. Honorable mention by every tram, as a submarine follows the Glamour Tram. Then sea mines explode by means of compressed air, and all that commotion leads to the parting of the Red Sea.

But once again, fiction would sync up with a factual event that took place sadly on our lot. The exact same gate that Adam-12 pulled up at to enter the lot had an autograph seeker pay it a visit. This tourist approached security wanting to meet Michael Landon. Highway to Heaven was a hit series at this time. But it was being filmed in Culver City, at the MGM main lot.

After being told “NO” by security, a short time later this fellow returned and opened fire on security. Two guards were killed.

Security is a mixed bag, many retired LAPD officers are corporate security, capable of carrying firearms. But the cheaper form of private security does not carry weapons. That is due to a major executive having a gun pulled on him by security. That changed the landscape. Walkie-talkies replaced firearms for the overall patrol of the studio. This coincided with the time frame of this episode, in the early 70’s.

Lo and behold, in 1988, this 1974 TV episode of Adam-12 rings many bells for anyone who experienced that afternoon at Universal Studios. Peace be with; Jeren and Armando….End of Watch!

Written and lived by… Donnie Norden

2 thoughts on “Adam-12 meets PT 73”

  1. Thank you Donnie for all that have done and continue to do.
    Thanks to you, time stands still for a while for this geezer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s