Michael Landon Was Inspired to Create ‘Highway to Heaven’ After a Drive Through Beverly Hills

When Toilet on the Moor which ended in 1983, the series star and producer Michael Landon was looking for his next project. It didn’t take long for the acting director to come up with an idea for another engaging, family-friendly show: Highway to Heaven. But the series probably wouldn’t have happened if Landon hadn’t taken a trip through Beverly Hills one afternoon.

How Michael Landon came up with the idea for ‘Highway to Heaven’

Michael Landon in Highway to Heaven
Michael Landon as Jonathan Smith joins Highway to Heaven| Herb Ball / NBCU / NBCUniversal Photo Bank via Getty Images

In a 1988 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Landon explained how he came up with the idea for a show about a temporary angel (played by Landon) and the ex-cop (Victor French) who will help him accomplish the tasks that will take him to heaven.

“I was driving through Beverly Hills to pick up my kids on Friday night,” Landon said. “[P]people respected each other. There is no worse place for that than Beverly Hills; I think when people have a little more money, they really believe that the Red Sea will separate and their car please to proceed. ”

Landon continued: “And I thought, ‘Why is everyone so angry? If they just spent that same time being nice. . . . Obviously the traffic is going to get much better if everyone has a chance. ‘”

NBC unsure of ‘Highway to Heaven’

Highway to Heaven
View from Highway to Heaven “Match Made in Heaven” program | Gene Trindl / NBCU / NBCUniversal Photo Bank via Getty Images

Landon was very successful Toilet on the Moor, but NBC execs were not so happy when he commented on them Highway to Heaven.

“I think they really felt like it was just something I had to get out of my system,” he said. Bonanza starred with the LA Times.

However, Landon’s instinct ensured that there would be an audience for a family-friendly series with a focus on true faith. Highway to Heaven, premiered in 1984, broadcasting for five seasons. Critics may have found the show hokey, but many viewers liked it.

“Landon told me, ‘I’m not too worried [the critics] say. There are a lot of people out there trying to make people laugh; there are very few shows that can, on a regular basis, give the audience a good call. I know I can do that – and if I do it well, they will [the audience] it will be back, ” Brandon Tartikoff, then president of NBC Entertainment, told the newspaper.

Michael Landon has adopted the message ‘Highway to Heaven’

Michael Landon as Jonathan Smith joins Highway to Heaven | Ron Tom / NBCU Photo Bank

For Landon, the heartwarming stories surfaced in Highway to Heaven we weren’t just a way to attract spectators to his show. The series came from his own perspective on life. In one of his last interviews before his death in 1991, Landon spoke about his faith.

″ I believe in God, I believe in family, I believe in truth between people, I believe in the power of love, ”he told Life magazine ( tron AP). “I believe that we are truly created in the image of God, that God is in all of us. ”

″ So I don’t see why I should be scared to death – and I am not, ”he said. “I do not want to die, and I am going to fight like hell without it, but I am not afraid to die. ”

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