Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Where Have You Gone Officer Ponch?

Back in 1977 (when we all knew a lot better), a young Pax Romano, was smitten with Erik Estrada who played Officer Francis Llewellyn 'Ponch' Poncherello on the television program, CHiPS.

I loved watching Estrada in his form-fitting police uniform as he straddled his motorcycle and cruised the Pacific Coast Highway to protect and serve. WOOF!

While my straight buddies were drooling over the women in Charlie's Angels, I was salivating over the hunky Hispanic officer. As a matter of fact, when I spent my "lost weekend" in Los Angeles in late 1977, I saw Estrada's home and took some photographs of it. Sadly, I never saw the man.

Estrada did a lot of television back in the day (and still does), but his 'Citizen Kane Moment' came about in 1982 when he played boxer, Rico Ramirez in the tele-film, Honeyboy. What a classic! The greatest thing about Honeyboy (other than the title) was the fact that Estrada was shirtless in probably 40% of the film. For camp value, you can't beat this piece ... even Morgan Farichild appears as the love interest!

Several years back, Estrada appeared on VH1's The Surreal Life (along with Tammy Faye, Ron Jeremy and Vanilla Ice), and frankly, he seemed to be the most well adjusted of that bunch! And he still looked great!

You can also catch Erik hawking swamp land real estate in Florida on a late night infomercial. He really seems excited and sincere about the chance to have a house built in Hot Springs Village.

For me, however, he will always be, Officer Ponch, with the perfectly coiffed hair, million dollar smile, and the tightest fitting pair of pants on a law enforcement official ever!

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