Show History

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David RascheDavid Rasche's unique combination of disciplined actor, good looking leading man as well as deft comedian were essential ingredients for "Sledge Hammer!" to fly. He also possessed indefinable buoyancy that made his character, a gun-worshipping sadist, oddly… likable.

Equally important was the casting of Sledge Hammer's female partner, a no-nonsense policewoman who possessed the competency and compassion Hammer desperately lacked.


Dori DoreauServing as the show's equilibrium, Detective Dori Doreau's reactions served as barometers of how to feel about the title character. If she could forgive Hammer, an audience certainly could. Doreau was an island of sanity in a sea of madness.

Spencer had been a longtime fan of actress Anne-Marie Martin, popular thanks to her portrayal of attorney Gwen Davies on the daytime soap "Days of Our Lives", but also noticed her inherent "wacky" side… evidenced in some of her small screen guest shots.
(One example: "Highway To Heaven" wherein Anne-Marie played a glamorous movie star who incongruously acted like a masculine slob.)

Sledge and DoriAnne-Marie's feminine cool complimented Rasche's machismo gone berserk.

Dori DoreauAnother essential, Anne-Marie's extraordinary athletic abilities… often evidenced by her highflying kicks that not only vanquished foes, but won Hammer's heart.

Hammer Gets NailedThe character of Captain Trunk was the archetypical superior officer who bellowed at his insubordinate subordinates.

Always on the verge of apoplexy, the part of Trunk was conceived without any particular ethnicity, so an unusually wide array of performers read for the part.

The celebrated actor Harrison Page commanded the role like no one else could, able to project an endless level of frustration and outrage, mixed with innate dignity, that was critical to sustaining the premise.

As bizarre as the milieu of "Sledge Hammer" would occasionally get, Page's Trunk remained a credible authority figure.

Martha Coolidge CreditAcclaimed director Martha Coolidge agreeing to direct the "Sledge Hammer!" pilot elevated the profile of the project around Hollywood. Adept at both comedy and drama, Coolidge's arrival on the scene engendered immediate prestige.

A few months later, screenings of the finished "Sledge Hammer!" pilot would elicit the same response over and over: Riotous laughter.

Defying conventional odds, where traditional programming usually finds a berth, "Sledge Hammer!" made ABC's fall schedule for the year 1986. (Coincidentally, the year '86 was also the number of Maxwell Smart's inept secret agent.)

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If you held me, all there'd be was contempt.