36 years ago tonight, on Monday, February 24, 1975, the series “S.W.A.T.” premiered on ABC.
One week earlier, on Feb 17, the 2-hour pilot aired, but the first episode of the series was broadcast on this date in TV history.
Like most civilians (and most 14-year olds) I had never heard of a S.W.A.T. team before, but this show made the acronym a common household term. S.W.A.T. stands for Special Weapons and Tactics. In many big city police departments it’s the unit that’s called in for those heavy-duty assignments when street cops just aren’t enough.
The series “S.W.A.T.” was set in an unnamed California city and featured the five men in the unit. Actor Steve Forrest starred as Lt. Dan “Hondo” Harrelson, the Commanding Officer. Second in command was Sgt. David “Deacon” Kay, played by Rod Perry. A young Robert Urich portrayed Officer Jim Street, while James Coleman and Mark Shera played Officers T.J. McCabe and Dominic Luca, respectively.
“S.W.A.T.” was a Spelling-Goldberg production and was technically a spin-off of “The Rookies,” also on ABC. “S.W.A.T.” ran February 1975 until June 1976.
Another fun memory: The “Theme from ‘S.W.A.T.’” performed by Rhythm Heritage became a #1 hit song in 1975.