The Hitchhiker
The Hitchhiker.png
Title screen
GenreAnthology
Horror
Mystery
StarringPage Fletcher
Nicholas Campbell
ComposersPaul Hoffert
Shuki Levy
Michel Rubini
Haim Saban
Country of originU.S.A.
Canada
France
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes85
Production
Executive producersLewis Chesler (1986-1987)
Riff Markowitz (1986-1987)
Richard Rothstein
Jeremy Lipp
Jacques Methe
David Perlmutter
Running time30 mins. (approx)
Production companyChester/Perlmutter/Markowitz Productions
DistributorRysher Entertainment
HBO
Release
Original networkHBO (1983-1987)
First Choice (1983-1987)
USA Network (1989-1991)
La Cinq (1989-1991)
Original releaseNovember 23, 1983 (1983-11-23) –
February 22, 1991 (1991-02-22)

The Hitchhiker (also known as Deadly Nightmares in the United Kingdom and Le Voyageur in France)[1] is a mystery horror anthology television series. It aired from 1983 to 1987 on HBO, and First Choice in Canada. The series later moved to the USA Network from 1989 to 1991.

Synopsis

Each episode is introduced and concluded by a mysterious wanderer known only as "The Hitchhiker," and explores the foibles of humanity and its dark spirit. The title character was played by Nicholas Campbell from 1983-1984 (3 episodes), and Page Fletcher from 1984-1991 (82 episodes). There were a total of 85 episodes over six seasons (39 first runs on HBO and 46 first runs on USA).

Production

The series was a United States/Canada/France co-production. It was filmed in Vancouver and Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Paris, France. The show was produced by Corazon Productions (Season 1 for a total of three episodes), Quintina Productions (Seasons 2-4 for a total of 36 episodes), and La Cinq, Atlantique & Quintina Productions (Seasons 5-6 for a total of 46 episodes).

The Hitchhiker was created by Lewis Chesler and Riff Markowitz, later joined by Richard Rothstein. The pilot episode consisted of three stories. Richard Rothstein wrote two and Jeph Loeb and Matt Weissman wrote the third.

Paul Hoffert created the theme music for the show.[2]

Episodes

Series overview

Season Episodes Originally aired Network
First aired Last aired
1 3 November 23, 1983 (1983-11-23) December 14, 1983 (1983-12-14) HBO
2 10 November 13, 1984 (1984-11-13) April 9, 1985 (1985-04-09)
3 13 September 15, 1985 (1985-09-15) April 22, 1986 (1986-04-22)
4 13 February 17, 1987 (1987-02-17) May 12, 1987 (1987-05-12)
5 26 May 22, 1989 (1989-05-22) December 16, 1989 (1989-12-16) USA Network
6 20 September 21, 1990 (1990-09-21) February 22, 1991 (1991-02-22)

Season 1 (1983)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Shattered Vows"Ivan NagyLewis CheslerNovember 23, 1983 (1983-11-23)
22"When Morning Comes"Ivan NagyLewis CheslerNovember 30, 1983 (1983-11-30)
33"Split Decision"Ivan NagyLewis CheslerDecember 14, 1983 (1983-12-14)

Season 2 (1984–85)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
41"Lovesounds"David WickesJeph Loeb & Matthew WeismanNovember 13, 1984 (1984-11-13)
52"Remembering Melody"Christopher LeitchTeleplay by : Alvin Sapinsley
Based on a short story by: George R. R. Martin
November 27, 1984 (1984-11-27)
63"Face to Face"David WickesStory by : Richard Rothstein
Teleplay by : Robert J. Avrech
December 4, 1984 (1984-12-04)
74"And If We Dream"Mai ZetterlingStory by : Richard Rothstein
Teleplay by : Leora Barish
January 15, 1985 (1985-01-15)
85"Petty Thieves"Christopher LeitchStory by : Richard Rothstein
Teleplay by : William Darrid
January 29, 1985 (1985-01-29)
96"Videodate"Richard RothsteinRichard RothsteinFebruary 16, 1985 (1985-02-16)
107"A Time for Rifles"David WickesWritten by: Stanford Whitmore
Story by: H.A. DeRose
March 2, 1985 (1985-03-02)
118"Man at the Window"Christopher LeitchMichael JanoverMarch 12, 1985 (1985-03-12)
129"Hired Help"Mai ZetterlingWritten by: Stanford Whitmore
Story by: Gail Glaze
March 26, 1985 (1985-03-26)
1310"Murderous Feelings"Mai ZetterlingCharles IsraelApril 9, 1985 (1985-04-09)

Season 3 (1985–86)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
141"Nightshift"Phillip NoyceStory by : April Campbell Jones & Bruce Jones
Teleplay by : William Darrid
September 15, 1985 (1985-09-15)
152"Out of the Night"Brian GrantStory by : Richard Rothstein
Teleplay by : Marjorie David
October 29, 1985 (1985-10-29)
163"The Killer"Carl SchenkelStory by : Richard Rothstein & Christopher Leitch
Teleplay by : April Campbell Jones & Bruce Jones
November 12, 1985 (1985-11-12)
174"W.G.O.D"Mike HodgesStory by : Richard Rothstein
Teleplay by : Thomas Baum
November 26, 1985 (1985-11-26)
185"Man's Best Friend"Philip NoyceStory by : April Campbell Jones & Bruce Jones
Teleplay by : Nevin Schreiner
December 10, 1985 (1985-12-10)
196"Ghostwriter"Carl SchenkelThomas BaumJanuary 7, 1986 (1986-01-07)
207"O.D. Feelin'"Richard RothsteinRichard Rothstein & Christopher LeitchJanuary 28, 1986 (1986-01-28)
218"Dead Man's Curve"Roger VadimStory by : Christopher Leitch
Teleplay by : John Harrison
February 11, 1986 (1986-02-11)
229"The Curse"Phillip NoyceStory by : Richard Rothstein & Christopher Leitch
Teleplay by : Thomas Baum
February 25, 1986 (1986-02-25)
2310"True Believer"Carl SchenkelWilliam KellyMarch 11, 1986 (1986-03-11)
2411"Last Scene"Paul VerhoevenStory by : Richard Rothstein
Teleplay by : Robert J. Avrech
March 25, 1986 (1986-03-25)
2512"Man of Her Dreams"Phillip NoyceStory by : April Campbell & Bruce Jones
Teleplay by : Gary Ross
April 8, 1986 (1986-04-08)
2613"One Last Prayer"Brian GrantStory by : April Campbell & Bruce Jones
Teleplay by : Leora Barish & Henry Bean
April 22, 1986 (1986-04-22)

Season 4 (1987)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
271"Perfect Order"Daniel VigneMarjorie DavidFebruary 17, 1987 (1987-02-17)
282"Minuteman"Chris ThomsonThomas BaumFebruary 24, 1987 (1987-02-24)
293"Dead Heat"Kees Van OostrumStory by : William Rontog
Teleplay by : Maurice Noel
March 3, 1987 (1987-03-03)
304"Why Are You Here?"Chris ThomsonStory by : Christopher Leitch
Teleplay by : Christopher Leitch & L. M. Kit Carson
March 10, 1987 (1987-03-10)
315"Homebodies"Carl SchenkelStory by : Christopher Leitch & Richard Rothstein
Teleplay by : Christopher Leitch
March 17, 1987 (1987-03-17)
326"Doctor's Orders"Reynaldo VillalobosThomas BaumMarch 24, 1987 (1987-03-24)
337"The Legendary Billy B."Chris ThomsonStory by : Marjorie David
Teleplay by : L. M. Kit Carson
March 31, 1987 (1987-03-31)
348"In the Name of Love"John LaingStory by : Richard Rothstein, Christopher Leitch & Jeremy Lipp
Teleplay by : Jeremy Lipp
April 7, 1987 (1987-04-07)
359"Made for Each Other"Thomas BaumThomas BaumApril 14, 1987 (1987-04-14)
3610"Joker"Colin BuckseyStory by : James Padrino
Teleplay by : William Gray & Robert Reneau
April 21, 1987 (1987-04-21)
3711"Best Shot"John Kent HarrisonJohn HarrisonApril 28, 1987 (1987-04-28)
3812"Secret Ingredient"Colin BuckseyGail GlazeMay 5, 1987 (1987-05-05)
3913"Cabin Fever"Clyde MonroeStory by : April Campbell, Bruce Jones & David Latt
Teleplay by : April Campbell, Bruce Jones & Jon Boorstin
May 12, 1987 (1987-05-12)

Season 5 (1989)

  1. "The Martyr" (1989-04-22)
  2. "In Living Color" (1989-04-29)
  3. "Dark Wishes" (1989-07-01)
  4. "Garter Belt" (1989-07-7)
  5. "Shadow Puppets" (1989-07-08)
  6. "Renaissance" (1989-07-14)
  7. "The Miracle of Alice Ames" (1989-07-15)
  8. "Code Liz" (1989-07-21)
  9. "Her Finest Hour" (1989-07-22)
  10. "Together Forever" (1989-07-28)
  11. "Phantom Zone" (1989-08-04)
  12. "Spinning Wheel" (1989-08-05)
  13. "Square Deal" (1989-08-11)
  14. "Part of Me" (1989-08-12)
  15. "Fashion Exchange" (1989-08-18)
  16. "Hootch" (1989-09-16)
  17. "Coach" (1989-09-30)
  18. "The Verdict" (1989-11-04)
  19. "Hit and Run" (1989-11-10)
  20. "Studio 3X" (1989-11-11)
  21. "Striptease" (1989-11-17)
  22. "The Cruelest Cut" (1989-11-18)
  23. "The Dying Generation" (1989-11-24)
  24. "My Enemy" (1989-11-25)
  25. "Power Play" (1989-12-09)
  26. "Pawns" (1989-12-16)

Season 6 (1990–91)

  1. "Fading Away" (1990-09-21)
  2. "Tough Guys Don't Whine" (1990-09-28)
  3. "Riding the Nightmare" (1990-10-05)
  4. "Strate Shooter" (1990-10-12)
  5. "Hard Rhyme" (1990-10-19)
  6. "Toxic Shock" (1990-10-26)
  7. "New Dawn" (1990-11-02)
  8. "A Function of Control" (1990-11-09)
  9. "Trust Me" (1990-11-16)
  10. "Windows" (1990-11-23)
  11. "Working Girl" (1990-11-30)
  12. "White Slaves" (1990-12-07)
  13. "Tourist Trap" (1990-12-14)
  14. "Homecoming" (1991-01-11)
  15. "Living a Lie" (1991-01-18)
  16. "Made in Paris" (1991-01-25)
  17. "A Whole New You" (1991-02-01)
  18. "Offspring" (1991-02-08)
  19. "Secrets" (1991-02-15)
  20. "New Blood" (1991-02-22)

Cast

Like the much earlier Twilight Zone series, with which it had a lot of other commonalities, The Hitchhiker served as starting point for many actors, some of whom would go on to gain greater recognition elsewhere. Notable cast members (in alphabetical order):

Syndication

In 1995, The Hitchhiker entered syndication. To make the HBO episodes suitable for US broadcast television, edits were made, both for content (to remove nudity/gore/adult language) and for running time, to get them down to the standard 22-minute length needed to insert commercials. Reruns in foreign markets, such as Canada and Europe, often still contained the nudity/language/gore.

After 1983 (but prior to the 1995 syndication), the first three episodes had footage edited and/or re-shot to replace Nicholas Campbell with Page Fletcher, in order to preserve continuity during reruns. The Hitchhiker was syndicated by Rysher Entertainment (since absorbed by CBS Television Distribution) up until 2000.

Home media

Lorimar Home Video released four VHS volumes of HBO episodes to the rental market in 1987 (a trade ad for the first two volumes confirms those were also released on Beta format). Volume 1 contained W.G.O.D, The Curse and Hired Help. Volume 2 consisted of Nightshift, Dead Man's Curve and Perfect Order. The third volume had Ghostwriter, And If We Dream and True Believer. The final Lorimar tape had Videodate, Man's Best Friend and Face to Face. These four volumes were also issued on laserdisc the following year.

Budget label Goodtimes Home Video also released a single VHS volume containing three of the USA Network episodes in 1989. That tape contained Her Finest Hour, In Living Color and My Enemy.

HBO Home Video released a three-volume set on DVD between 2004–2006, featuring various episodes from the series. The two-disc, three-volume sets contain a selection of 30 episodes, most from the HBO-produced episodes but also including some that were made for the USA Network.[3][4][5]

In Australia, Volumes 1 and 2 were issued together in a single set, however, instead of 20 episodes, the Australian set consists of only 17, leaving out The Legendary Billy B., A Whole New You and Dead Heat.

In the United Kingdom, only the first HBO volume was released. This particular release contained nine episodes instead of 10. As with the Australian set, The Legendary Billy B. is omitted from this release.

In Canada, Koch Entertainment (now known as Entertainment One) released Canadian seasons 1 and 3 (which correspond to US Seasons 1-3 and 5, respectively) on DVD in 2004.[6][7] On October 18, 2005, Koch releases The Complete Fourth Season (which corresponds to US Season 6).[8] According to Koch, the reason Canadian Season 2 (US Season 4) was not released was due to them not being able to find out who owned the Canadian distribution rights to those particular episodes.

Alliance Home Entertainment released The Hitchhiker: The Complete Collection on DVD in Canada for the very first time on October 11, 2011.[9] "The Complete Collection" is a bit misleading in that this does not contain all episodes (or even all of the HBO episodes). What is "complete" is that this release combines the three previously-released HBO Home Video volumes into one set.

Between the three HBO volumes and the Canadian season sets, all episodes of the show were released on home video except for Minuteman and Doctor's Orders (both of which came from US Season 4).

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1987 CableACE Awards Nominated Actress in a Dramatic Series Jenny Seagrove (For episode "Killer")
Actress in a Dramatic Series Kirstie Alley (For episode "Out of the Night")
Actor in a Dramatic Series Michael O'Keefe (For episode "Man's Best Friend")
Won Actor in a Dramatic Series Gary Busey (For episode "WGOD")
1999 Gemini Award Nominated Best Sound in a Dramatic Program or Series Tim Archer, W. Michael Beard, Rick Ellis, Thomas Hidderley, and Anthony Lancett

References

  1. ^ "Release Info" at the IMDb. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  2. ^ http://www.paulhoffert.com/
  3. ^ "The Hitchhiker: Volume 1". Amazon. 12 April 2005.
  4. ^ "Hitchhiker V2". Amazon. 12 April 2005.
  5. ^ "The Hitchhiker, Vol. 3". Amazon. 31 October 2006.
  6. ^ "The Hitchhiker: The Complete First Season". 20 April 2004.
  7. ^ "The Hitchhiker: The Complete Third Season". 12 October 2004.
  8. ^ "The Hitchhiker- the Complete Fourth Season". 18 October 2005.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-16. Retrieved 2011-08-22.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)