Express To Terror

Broadcast History
Episode Guide
Express To Terror
And A Cup Of Kindness, Too
The Queen And The Improbable Knight
Hail To The Chief
A Very Formal Heist
The Green Girl
Where Have You Been Billy Boy
Unproduced Episodes
Lost Episodes
Creative Team
Route Map
Building Supertrain
Grand Central Set
In Action
NBC in 1979
Fred Silverman
Side Tracked
Home Video
TV Guide Review
NBC Publicity
Publicity Stills Collection
Super Stuff
About The Author
Sources and Links

Episode One
Express To Terror
2-Hour Premiere
Wednesday February 7, 1979 8pm (Eastern)

Steve Lawrence 
Char Fontane
Don Stroud
Keenan Wynn
Deborah Benson
Ron Masak
Special Guest Star
Don Meredith
Special Guest Appearances By
Vicki Lawrence
George Hamilton
Stella Stevens
Fred Williamson

Director of Photography Dennis Dalzell
Produced by Anthony Spinner
Teleplay by Earl W. Wallace
Story by Donald E. Westlake & Earl W. Wallace
Directed by Dan Curtis

The first sighting of "Supertrain" is found in the form of this painting presented to the Trans-Allied board by its chairman Winfield Root (Keenan Wynn) announcing the new New York to Los Angeles rail service.

     This is the two-hour series premiere episode for "Supertrain."  There is no on-screen episode title, and it does not include series' standard opening credit sequence.  In the 1980s, this installment was released on videocassette by PRISM Video under its episode title "Express To Terror."  For further details regarding the VHS issue, please check the Home Video section of this site.
     After all that money, the rushed production schedule and the heavy frequency of on-air promos, Steve Lawrence and Don Meredith was the best they could muster to carry the premiere "Supertrain" episode?!?  Though other names are found in the credits as guests, George Hamilton, Vicki Lawrence, Stella Stevens, and Fred Williamson the "Express To Terror" story essentially focuses on Lawrence, Meredith and Char Fontane's characters.  Fontane had been in NBC's "Joe & Valerie" series in 1978, check out Char's entry in the Passengers section of this site for more credits. 

     Steve Lawrence received $50,000 for four weeks work on this episode of "Supertrain," plus provided a day of looping and the show could air twice.  Vicki Lawrence received $15,000 for nine days work, plus provided a day of looping, the show could air twice, and she received a pair of roundtrip tickets to Hawaii.  George Hamilton received $27,500 for ten days work, provided a day of looping, and the contract included two runs of the episode.  Don Meredith received $75,000 for four weeks work and his deal included a day of looping and two runs of this episode. Char Fontane's deal provided $20,000 in compenstation for four weeks work, plus a day of looping and two airings were included.  Stella Stevens received $20,000 for 13 days and provided one day of looping and two airings were included in her deal.  Don Stroud got $40,000 for 4-1/2 weeks work and included a day of looping and two runs of the episode.  Fred Williamson's deal gave the actor $12,500 for 2-1/2 weeks, a day of looping, and two airings.  Keenan Wynn received $20,000 for 19 days, plus provided a day of looping and two airings.  Wynn also received $5,000 for 3 days in New York, plus $100 per diem and roundtrip airfare.

Keenan Wynn guest stars in the first "Supertrain" episode as the eccentric head of the Trans-Allied Corporation that built the train.  Wynn is pictured here with cast regular Edward Andrews as Harry Flood
She may have received Special Guest Appearance billing, but they could have also spelled her name correctly.  There is no "e" at the end of Vicki Lawrence's first name.
This title card is found only the Prism VHS video release.  When aired on NBC in 1979 and when shown on Lifetime TV in the late '80s, the simple title "Supertrain" appears here instead of the episode title.
Actress Char Fontane, pictured on the right, received one of the larger roles in "Supertrain's" pilot.  At the time, she had just starred in a failed NBC sitcom Joe & Valerie.
Don Meredith, former Dallas Cowboys football player, served as Steve Lawrence's buddy in "Supertrain's" pilot.  Meredith's post-football career included color commentary for ABC's "Monday Night Football," as well as a semi-regular role on NBC's "Police Story" and numerous Lipton Tea commercials.

The original "Supertrain" logo as it appears during the opening credits of the early episodes.  The "Express To Terror" episode however does not include the regular series credits, but runs its opening titles over the prepartions of the train to depart Grand Central in New York.

Singer and actor Steve Lawrence received the biggest role and serves as the focal point for "Supertrain's" pilot episode.
Fred Williamson played a supporting role in "Supertrain's" pilot.  Williamson came to acting from professional football.  He played in the 1960s for Pittsburgh's Steelers, Oakland's Raiders, and Kansas City's Chiefs.  His long film and TV career spans more than four decades.
TV Guide Feb 3-9, 1979
-TV Guide February 7, 1979 featuring Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrade of NBC's "CHiPs" series
TV Guide "Express To Terror" Episode Synopsis:
The inaugural run of the trans-continental "Supertrain," an
atomic-powered express with facilities befitting an ocean liner, is marked by intrigue when a mysterious assassin makes repeated attempts on the life of a passenger.

"Express To Terror" Competiton:

ABC aired a special 2-hour episode of "Charlie's Angels" which moved the series ahead one hour to the 8pm slot that night.

CBS aired bought a full-page TV Guide ad to tell viewers about its airig of "The Incredible Hulk" series starring Bill Bixby.  "Hulk" on Wednesdays was a recent move for the series at this time.