2. Highway to Heaven (2)
First aired: 9/19/1984
In this, the pilot movie for the series, we meet Jonathan Smith walking slowly down a lonely road toward an
unknown destination. He flags down a passing truck and asks for a ride from the old man driving. The man
refuses and drives on, only to have his truck engine blow before he gets more than a few yards down the road.
Jonathan obligingly does a little quick mechanic work on the vehicle and tells him to have a nice day. The man
hastily changes his mind and offers a ride. With this scene, the theme of the entire series is set into motion.
Stangers help strangers, people do good for one another, the forgotten and lonely are given a new purpose in life,
and the world becomes just a little bit better place. In this case, Jonathan's destination is a retirement home called
Havencrest, where he takes on the recently vacated job of handyman. It seems no one wants the job because the
home is on the verge of being sold out from under the residents, leaving most of them nowhere to go. Life at
Havencrest is best described as dreary. People rarely speak to each other or do anything enjoyable and the place
seems devoid of any cheer. Jonathan sets out to restore the quality of life for the residents. He brings dozens of
cheerful flowering plants, tools, and lots of enthusiasm, recruiting the old people to help with the gardening, giving
not only some needed diversion but also a chance to spend some time and get to know each other as friends. One
particularly tough case is Estelle (Helen Hayes), who refuses all attempts to bring her into the life around her.
Between Jonathan, who gives her a puppy to take care of, and Sidney, a fellow resident who gives her a lecture
on her own selfishness and the offer of his own loving heart, she eventually starts to live again.
Writer: Michael Landon
Director: Michael Landon
Guest star: Kurt Smildsin (Better #2), Benjamin Jurand (Better #1), Ralph Clift (Track Teller), Stephen Yochem
(Gary Johnson), Charles Lampkin (Doc), John O'Leary (Mr. Haskins), Georgia Schmidt (Loretta), Elizabeth Kerr (
Miss Mattie), John Bleifer (Sid), Mary McCusker (Leslie Gordon), Joe Dorsey (Mr. Sinclair), Eddie Quillan (Clyde)