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Angels

Michael Landon as Jonathan SmithJonathan Smith - The spiritual drama HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN/NBC/1984-89 starred Michael Landon as a "honest" lawyer named Arthur Gordon who died in 1948. In heaven, God makes Arthur a probationary Angel and sends him back to earth in the guise of Jonathan Smith. His mission: to help and council the troubled and the needy. Beginning his assignment alone, Jonathan later partners with a cynical, bearded ex-Oakland cop named Mark Gordon (Victor French), who likes to wear an A's baseball cap.

They drive from assignment to assignment in Mark's aging grey Ford LTD sedan (license plate: IDTD458) which on many occasions breaks down, but through the power of God (a.k.a. "The Boss") and some good old fashioned elbow grease Mark away finds a way to get the car going again.

Over the five years they were on the road, Jonathan and Mark interceded in the lives of people who were lonely, desperate or dying. They befriended those with cancer, the elderly in retirement homes, the physically challenged (amputees, blind, disfigured, mentally ill, etc.), football players addicted to pills, disillusioned movie stars, corrupt politicians, a grieving veteran WWII pilot whose son was killed in Vietnam, bickering divorced parents fighting over custody of the children, Nazi death camp survivors, a heartless business man, and basically those who needed a second chance to get their lives together. Jonathan even turned from an angel to a werewolf one Halloween night to help a boy overcome his fear of monsters. And once one Christmas Eve, Jonathan and Mark like the three ghosts in Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol gave several men a look at their future.

Victor French as Mark Gordon
Mark Gordon

Occasionally, along the way, 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 of 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 (Dorothy McGuire) was dying, he hates God when He fails to reunite him with his wife in death. But God had a plan and Jonathan soon dealt with his disappointment and resumed his role as an angel.

See also "TV Character Bios: "Jonathan Smith"


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