In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit.
These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground.
Today still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune!
If you have a problem … if no one else can help … and if you can find them … maybe you can hire
The A-Team!! Of course you knew the answer …
The 1980’s were a golden age for television. One of its biggest hits was a show about 4 Vietnam-soldiers, falsely accused of a bank robbery in Hanoi and decided to become fugitives on the run. To make ends meet, they would perform freelance missions as vigilantes fighting corrupt politicians, dirty cops, mafia members and guerrilla soldiers.
The show became an overnight classic and after a mere 3 weeks, it already crowned the number 1-spot! The rest is history …
The thing that made The A-Team so wonderfully pleasing for the eye was its simplicity. The group had only four members and each one of them had their own special set of skills, almost like superheroes in a comic book.
- There was the leader of the group – a brilliant strategist and tough-as-nails military genius.
- A mechanic who was able to transform any piece of old iron into a state-of-the-art, reinforced vehicle or beefed up bulldozer which never seemed to fail.
- Then you had the best pilot the American army had ever known, but … there was something strange about this man, he was a little weird sometimes.
- Last but not least, you had the ladies’ man. A suave, smooth-talking scrounger who was hugely successful with women and who was able to get his team anything they needed, using a variety of disguises. He was the perfect con man, though always neatly dressed like the gentleman that he was.
More famous and lots more fun than The Beatles, this quartet was a match made in heaven!
The formula was always the same: some good citizen was pushed into giving up their home, money or life by a couple of criminals, but the police was powerless to do anything about it.
The victims in each episode were hard working people like a local farmer, a fire brigade on the brink of bankruptcy, an honest to God police officer who wanted to rid the corruption in his department, and so forth …
Problem? Not for The A-Team!
But there was more!
The four members of The A-Team were fugitives from the law. The show wasn’t just about fighting some bad guy and trying to help out innocent people. No, there was also the threat of being chased by US soldiers … and the fear they would one day end up in prison!
Plus, the show always had a beautiful woman running around. Remember Melinda Culea as Amy Amanda Allen? (notice the three A’s in her name, which she used to get on board of the A-team)
One classic element of the show was when the mission half-way through didn’t go so well. The good guys would be captured, and for a brief moment it seemed as if the bad guys could actually win.
But nothing to fear! B.A., Hannibal, Face & Murdock would always rise to the occasion and stand tall. That was the number 1-reason for the show’s success. You knew the good guys were going to win eventually.
Another thing of beauty was the classic van they drove with … it was fast, awesome and always easy to find in a parking spot!
The show was an innocent, almost childish look upon the world, a purposely naive and innocent picture without any bloodshed or real pain. It was the same way children would play Cowboys & Indians. The filmmakers of The A-Team only had one goal: to entertain people with action and humor!
‘No one dies!’
This was yet another trademark of the vastly popular show. Cars crashed, helicopters went down, trucks blew up in a massive explosion … but … no one ever died! The bad guys came crawling out of their demolished vehicles with nothing short of a severe headache as if they were indestructible superheroes.
Creator of the show Stephen J. Cannell once said in an interview that in some episodes more than 8.000 bullets were fired and (luckily) not one of them was a hit! There would only be material damage to the cars and buildings. If only wars in real life would be this wonderful …
As far as acting went, George Peppard played a number of weird-looking characters in the show. When the time came to dress up a disguise, Hannibal would wear a fake mustache, a wig, perhaps some glasses and who knows what else?
You could always tell it was Hannibal, but the fun of the show was partly to see this tough military soldier suddenly transform into a whole different character.
But the man of the hour (actually, 40 minutes) who delivered 90% of all great jokes in the show was Murdock! The difficult relationship between Murdock and B.A. was very funny to watch in every single episode of the show.
Comedy actor Dwight Schultz was so incredibly talented as the mentally-challenged (not!) helicopter pilot that his character Murdock always managed to find new ways to escape the psychiatric hospital (usually with a little help from his best pal, The Faceman Templeton Peck).
We would be keen to make a list of ALL characters Murdock has played in The A-Team (because each one of them is hilarious!), but these are some of the best:
- Murdock thinks he can talk to animals
- Murdock and his talking teddy-bear
- Murdock has a sudden affection for walnuts and even sets up a union to protect them. He says he understands them very well, because he too is ‘nuts‘.
… and last but not least …
- Murdock – and this is by far his greatest performance – transforms into Captain Cab (to protect taxi drivers against a wave of violence) in which he gets the support of Socky (a talking sock on his hand)
Of course, everything must come to an end.
And it’s the last season of The A-Team that feels a bit odd. The creators of the show started tampering with the formula to keep the success going. The first 4 seasons all had the same basic rules, yet season 5 changed things around …
In the first four seasons, Colonel Lynch and the legendary Colonel Decker – great acting by William Lucking and Lance LeGault – were never successful in apprehending the A-Team. So, they were replaced by Jack Ging who would play the part of General Bull Fullbright.
But at the end of season 4, this new character was killed – a true shock for the otherwise docile television show. Oh no!! Someone died on The A-Team!!! I knew it …
With the very first death set in motion, the show started its last season. It wasn’t much of a success and it became clear that the show was running on its last legs.
In season 5 the team is lured in a trap by General Hunt Stockwell (measly performed by Robert Vaughn) resulting in the team having to work for the government. And so, several new characters were added to the show.
The most important addition was Frankie Santana, a young but very talented Puerto Rican stuntman from Hollywood who managed to come up with an unlimited resource of equipment to create special effects, such as fake explosions, and such.
The new character was played by Eddie Velez. The actor tried to fit in, but the otherwise faithful audience never truly accepted this new face. The team had changed …
The biggest problem of The A-Team started when the show took itself too serious. B.A. and Face started to fade to the background, Hannibal was hardly the leader of the group anymore, and even Murdock was only mildly amusing at times. Good thing they didn’t stop shooting bad guys …
All things considered, this is one of the best shows EVER made! It’s funny, entertaining and …
the perfect escape to nostalgia!
did you know?
The very first episode of the series shows a different actor playing Face. Actor Tim Dunigan was replaced by Dirk Benedict, because he was deemed too young and too tall. According to creator Stephen J. Cannell, the A-Team was supposed to be made up of Vietnam veterans. Tim Dunigan was only 28 years old when the show started, so he obviously could never have lived through the Vietnam war …
Give it to me straight:
Let’s be honest! The A-Team is head and shoulders the very best television show of the ’80s!!
The simplistic formula of four Vietnam soldiers who are on the run from the government and decide to become vigilantes to protect the innocent against the corrupt – it is a story so simple that it could have been penned down by a child.
But it is exactly this simplicity which gives the show its raw power! No one ever died, regardless of how many bullets were fired of how many cars exploded in the air.
The A-Team was a laid-back and consciously unrealistic action-packed show for children, despite the waves of violence shown. But the violence was always child-friendly. There was no blood, no real pain and no victims of any kind. It was about good guys hitting bad guys on the head … and nothing more!
Every new episode was about seeing your favorite team claim victory over the enemy. You had the devious plans of Hannibal the leader. There were the tough one-liners and steel-hard fist fights of a compassionate B.A. For the female fans there was Face with his smooth-talking, gentleman sales-pitches. And what would The A-Team be without the crazy absurdity of Murdock.
Forget The Beatles or The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – the best team ever put together is … THE A-TEAM!!!