A few friends and I were chatting the other day about TV and the shows we grew up watching as kids. We were laughing and exchanging our memories of the stuff we thought was cool and the TV stars we used to think were hot.

The conversation was sparked by my desire to try and find a DVD of some old episodes of the classic show “CHiPs”, which followed California Highway Patrol motorbike cops, Ponch and Jon, as they rode those sunny highways in pursuit of cars and justice. It was a show that had more cheese in it than the Tillamook cheese factory, but for me, as a little boy, those sun drenched freeways, the cool sunglasses and uniforms, the Kawasaki motor bikes and the car chases, were irresistible TV lures. I think that it was CHiPs that first gave me the idea that one day I wanted to live in California. I dream I achieved just days after my 21st birthday.

There isn’t a DVD of “CHiPs” available at the moment, but I understand one is due out soon. Proof, perhaps, that the generation who grew up watching car chases on Californian highways (that invariably ended up in a fireball without injury or loss of life) have grown up and now want to remember those days again. I caught a couple of episodes on cable a year or so ago, and even though they were truly awful, they made me smile and took me right back to those late Saturday afternoons sitting on my turtle shaped cushion far too close to the TV, but close enough so that I was right there with Ponch and Jon in California, chasing down bad guys on shiny motorbikes wearing cool shades.

It was a long night of remembering the old names of our old hero’s. Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar man. Hannibal, Murdoch, Ace, and Mr T of the A team. Michael Knight and K.I.T from Knight Rider. There were so many. And as we sat there enthusiastically exchanging stories of how happy we were to get the action figures and annuals, we entertained each other as we mimicked those old familiar theme tunes that we could all recall with almost no effort.

We amused each other recalling who we considered to be hot among our TV heros and heroines. I dare not even think how old I was when I had a crush on Wonder-woman who always looked amazing in her get up that seemed like the salvaged remains of a wardrobe collision between Miss World and a Soviet soldier. Or Jamie Sommers, the Bionic Woman, with her flowing blonde hair and soft focus skin. Charlie’s Angels was a favorite too. Three of the most beautiful women in the world hanging out with one of the most average guys in the world and working for a guy who only ever appeared on a big old speaker phone.

Then came Baywatch, a show where the shabby acting, the terrible script, and the presence of a hairy chested David Hasselhof might have otherwise spelled a televisual catastrophe, but for one thing… babes in bikinis gratuitously filmed in slow motion!

It wasn’t the first beach rescue based TV show I’d ever watched. An Australian show called ‘Chopper Squad’ pre-dated ‘Baywatch’ by more than ten years and was once as highly regarded by me as ‘CHiPs’. It followed the adventures of Australia’s helicopter Surf Rescue and featured girls in bikinis that were extremely skimpy for their time. But back in 1976 I simply never noticed them of course, instead I just saw the cool helicopter and the dramatic rescues.

Maybe I shouldn’t get ‘CHiPs’ on DVD. Maybe it’s better to leave the show back where it belongs, in the long summers of the school holidays when my bike was the only thing I needed for adventures and my feet didn’t quite reach the floor when I sat at the dinner table. But then maybe it would be nice just to have that little bit of history back? Something that might serve as a small reminder of more innocent days.