Just heard from Craig Baxley, a past president of Stunts Unlimited, and the stunt coordinator and director who worked on The A-Team television show, 1983-87. He was able to clarify some of our readers’ questions about the original GMC Vandura used on the show.
Q: How many actual, genuine A-Team 1983 GMC Vanduras were built?
A: “There were at least 8 vans built for the show: 2 for the first unit and 6 for the second unit.”
Q: Who drove them?
A: “I had Henry Kingi doing all the jumps and major chase sequences and Tony Brubaker covering the driving on the first unit.” (See below for production credits for these gentlemen.)
Q: What was your role?
A: “I was the stunt coordinator and second unit director for the entire series (also directed 9 episodes).”
Q: How many of the Vanduras were actually destroyed in the filming of the various original (98 in total) episodes?
Q: A reader has written in, saying that in later episodes of the series, it seemed action sequences from earlier shows were spliced in. Perhaps to save money?
A: “Whoever the fan was that stated action was reused in latter episode was misinformed… that never happened.”
Q: How many of the original A-Team Vanduras survived?
A: “When the show ended, there were 3 remaining: 2 on first unit and 1 on second.”
Q: Were any of the original Vanduras used on The A-Team Experience attraction that was a part of the Universal Studios (in California) tour in the 1980s?
A: “As to the ones used at Universal, they were built from the tour/show. We had nothing to do with that.”
Q: Who were the main stunt professionals who deserve credit for the TV show’s wild and crazy action sequences?
A: The Stunt Doubles for The A-Team were: Hannibal: Bob Orrison, Face: Norman Howell, Murdock: Steve Chambers, and B.A.: Henry Kingi (Driving) and Tony Brubaker. All helicopter work was done by Chuck Tamburro (when additional was needed: Rick Holly and Mick Tamburro).
What a cast of stunt professionals. These men went on to contribute memorable stunt work to many hundreds of television shows and movies. Their contributions are legendary. It’s impressive – and worthwhile – to look back on The A-Team and realize what an all-star cast it had, both in front of, and as well behind, the camera.
It’s hard to say what happened to the original GMC Vanduras that survived the TV show. Mr. Baxley said he doesn’t know, since he has been busy with many other projects since. One was seen in sad shape a few years ago in a back parking lot at Universal Studios. But that could have been one of the vans from the attraction. If we can find out anything more about the whereabouts of the originals, we will post it here.
June 29, 2010