Supertrain

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s well, a train.

Supertrain was, at the time, the most expensive TV show ever made. It aired on NBC in 1979, and was cancelled afer nine episodes.

Created by Donald E. Westlake and Earl W. Wallace it was billed as The Love Boat, but on a really fast train (not that fast, slower than some real trains at the time in fact).

The BBC were so excited about the show so paid up front.

For two runs, BBC reportedly coughed up more than $25,000 per hour seg, which if not a record series price in this market is close to it.

Variety

The biggest cost sunk was for the train models, one of which crashed.

The pilot episode enjoyed a VHS release as Express To Terror, which was directed by Dan Curtis.

Frankly I thought Supertrain was the worst idea I’d ever heard. I thought they were out of their minds. But a good friend at NBC said ‘everybody wants you to do this thing called Supertrain.’ And they convinced me to do it – against my better judgement.

Dan Curtis

Dick Van Dyke guest-starred in one episode of the anthology series, and in 2018 the train models were found in a barn, and later sold for $25,000 dollars – about the cost to the BBC for one episode.

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