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Cleaning off the desktop III: A helicopter, the Tamiami, and Girls With Guns
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Published Sunday, May 11, 2014 @ 8:26 AM EDT
May 11 2014

We were living in Philadelphia in the summer of 1985, and the television was on as background noise. A "Miami Vice" rerun was airing. I'd caught a few minutes of the series earlier in the year and, frankly, it wasn't on my must-see list. Anyway, I was working on something when I heard a car engine gunned, followed by a hard cut to Tommy Shaw's driving "Girls With Guns."

I looked up to see a tracking shot of speeding convertible. After a few seconds, it became obvious the tracking vehicle was a helicopter, perfectly matching the speed of the auto. I slowly became aware that there weren't any edits... this was one long honking aerial shot.

It runs for a total of 79 seconds, an eternity in a filmed television series. I couldn't find many details. The episode, "Glades," was the ninth in the series' first season. It originally aired on November 30, 1984; I apparently caught the rerun on June 21, 1985. The show was directed Stan Lathan (who would later go on to direct 122 episodes of "The Steve Harvey Show"), and the director of photography was Duke Callahan, who was also the D.P. on the motion picture Conan The Barbarian. The helicopter pilot and cameraman were uncredited.

The segment starts on the west side of Miami and continues along the Tamiami Highway. My guess is the director told the stars to drive themselves to the location that day, and he told the DP to grab a camera, get a helicopter, and get him some filler because the episode timed out short.

Or, it could have been a deliberate attempt to create a shot so impressive an old fart like me would remember it nearly 30 years later when he accidentally encountered it on the web.

Here's the link to the full song.


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« Cleaning off the desktop II: This week in Fugelsang
Home Page
Cleaning off the desktop IV: The usual stuff »