(Highway to Heaven)
Somewhere in the USA
Jonathan is an angel. He once lived on earth
as Arthur Gordon who was born in 1917, lived
his life as an "honest" lawyer then died in
1948. Arthur left behind a wife named Jane
and a daughter, Mandy.
In heaven, God decided to make Arthur an angel
named Jonathan Smith His mission: to return to
earth and help those in trouble and in need. If
he performed his task, Jonathan would pass his
probationary period, earn his wings and become a
full fledged angel. To get the job done,
Jonathan elected to used acts of kindness and
compassion in lieu of his angelic powers which
he used sparingly.
Jonathan's first assignment was the Havencrest
Retirement Home where he took a job as a
handyman and saved the place from being sold.
Soon after, he met Mark Gordon, a cynical ex-cop
who needed purpose in his life. A graduate of
Lathrop High School, Mark (a.k.a. "Stick")
served as a cop on the Oakland Police force for
15 years. But his years of dealing with
dishonest people had made him bitter.
With a little persuasion, Jonathan restored
Mark's faith in humanity and then revealed to
Mark that he was an angel. A grateful Mark
offered to help with his assignments and soon he
became Jonathan's loyal sidekick.
Together they took to the road in Mark's aging
grey Ford LTD sedan (license plate: IDT0458). On
occasion, the car broke down, but through the
power of God (a.k.a. "The Boss") and some good
old fashioned elbow grease Mark always found a
way to get the car going again.
Over the five years they drove across America,
Jonathan and Mark (in the guise of common
laborers) interceded in the lives of people who
were lonely, desperate or dying, including
- Cancer patients
- Elderly in retirement
- Physically challenged (amputees,
blind, disfigured, mentally ill)
players addicted to pills
- Disillusioned movie
- Corrupt politicians
- Grieving veterans
(of both WWII & Vietnam Wars)
divorced parents fighting over custody of the
- Young boxers pressured into throwing
- Nazi death camp survivors
businessmen, and basically those who needed a
second chance to get their lives together. On
Christmas Eve, Jonathan and Mark like the
three ghosts in Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" gave several
men a look at their future. And Jonathan even
transformed in to a werewolf one Halloween
night to help a boy overcome his fear of
Occasionally, both Jonathan and Mark lost faith
in God but they always found a way back to their
mission. Once, the Devil himself interfered with
Mark when he accidentally ran over a girl. In
his frenzy, Mark mistakenly sells his soul to
Satan in exchange for the girl's life. But
through a little slight of hand, Jonathan
manages to retrieve the "contract" and resume
their mission on earth.
Jonathan, too, made mistakes. Once he used his
angelic powers to lash out at some bullies and
lost his job for a time, until Mark's good deeds
helped Jonathan get reinstated. And when
Jonathan learns his wife, Jane Gordon is dying,
he hates God after He fails to reunite him with
his wife in death. But God had a plan and
Jonathan soon dealt with his disappointment and
like a good, obedient angel, he continued to
travel down that "Highway to Heaven."
TRIVIA NOTE: Born
Eugene Maurice Orowitz on October 31, 1936 in
Forest Hills, Queens, New York, actor Michael
Landon grew up in Southern New Jersey
(Collingswood), and graduated from Collingswood
High School in 1954. He won a javelin throwing
scholarship to USC but when a torn ligament
injury forced him to lose the scholarship, he
turned his eyes towards acting.
One of his early roles was a werewolf in the now
cult classic film I Was A Teenage Werewolf
(1957). He soon gained major success as the
rebellious, Little Joe Cartwright on the western
adventure BONANZA/NBC/1959-73 and followed that
success with the western drama LITTLE HOUSE ON
THE PRAIRIE/NBC/1974-82 and the fantasy drama
HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN/NBC/1984-89.
When Landon realized he had cancer, he made a
visit to THE TONIGHT SHOW starring Johnny Carson
(a life long friend) and very graciously summed
up his condition.
Surrounded by family and friends, Landon died of
pancreatic cancer on July 1, 1991 in Malibu,
California. He is buried at Hillside Memorial
Park, Culver City, California. Landon's Irish
Catholic mother, Peggy Landon had committed
suicide in 1974.
Victor French was born December 4, 1934 in Santa
Barbara, California. Known for his "bad guy"
persona in the western films, French began to
play more sensitive roles in his later TV
In 1977, French played Roy Mobey, a loveable
redneck police chief from Clinton Corners,
Georgia in his own sitcom CARTER
French died of lung cancer on June 15, 1989
after filming the last episode of HIGHWAY TO
HEAVEN. Both he and Landon had been friends from
their days on the "Prairie" when he played the
character Mr. Isaiah Edwards.
French was inducted into the Hall of Great
Western Performers of the National Cowboy and
Western Heritage Museum in 1998.
the Assignment Angel
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