Put all your chips in this weekend with the big-screen adaptation of “CHiPs” starring Dax Shepard and Michael Pena as Jon and Ponch, the roles that were originated by Larry Wlicox and Erik Estrada four decades ago on NBC.
Airing from 1977 to 1983, you can say that “CHiPs” was like an urban Western that followed the adventures of Jon Baker (Wilcox) and Frank ‘Ponch’ Poncherello (Estrada): handsome and heroic crime-fighting partners and best friends, riding their wheels of justice in keeping law and order on the road as motorcycle officers of the California Highway Patrol. For five out of those six seasons, all-American and straight-laced Jon was the Lone Ranger, whereas the suave, dashing, fun-loving daredevil Ponch was a cross between Zorro and the Cisco Kid – with a little bit of the Lone Ranger in him.
Tackling everything from drunk driving to cattle rustling to repo men to organized crime, Jon and Ponch will stop at nothing in keeping the highways and byways safe for every man, woman and child, which includes a moral lesson that comes with the job of solving crimes week after week.
After forty years, “CHiPs” remains a guilty pleasure thanks to reruns in syndication, so catch Jon and Ponch if you can weekdays on cable network Me-TV (www.metv.com).