Wilcox originated the role of California Highway Patrolman Jon Baker in the late '70s TV series

By Lindsay Kimble
March 24, 2017 06:08 PM
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One half of the CHiPs TV series’ iconic duo doesn’t show up in the big screen reboot – and now he’s revealing why.

Larry Wilcox – who portrayed California Highway Patrolman Jon Baker in the 1977-1983 show – does not make a cameo in the new film, although his former castmate, Erik Estrada – aka Frank “Ponch” Poncharello – does.

“It’s a complex issue, but basically, I wasn’t invited to my own party,” Wilcox told Vulture.

In the new CHiPs, Dax Shepard – who both wrote and directed the film – portrays Jon, and Michael Peña is Ponch.

CHIPS, (from left): Larry Wilcox, Erik Estrada, 1977-83.
Larry Wilcox (left) and Erik Estrada in CHiPs
| Credit: Everett

Wilcox said he used to own the movie rights to CHiPs, but ultimately sold them in hopes of doing a new series.

“About five years ago, I went back with my attorney to Warner Brothers, which by then had the film rights, and said, ‘I’d be interested in doing a CHiPs movie with Erik Estrada in an old-guy role with new and younger so-called heartthrobs,’ ” said Wilcox. “And they said, ‘We already have a CHiPs project going here. It’s a $37 million movie.’ ”

He claimed that he was never approached about being involved in the project, but insisted he “wasn’t offended.”

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“Sure, it would have been complimentary to my ego if [Shepard had] said, ‘Hey, we would love your input,’ “Wilcox told Vulture. “But it wasn’t required, and I don’t have a problem with that.”

Wilcox, 69, has not seen the film, and plans to wait to watch until it’s available on demand.

“It’s funny, somebody asked, ‘Are you hoping it doesn’t do well?’ ” Wilcox said. “No, I hope it’s successful, and I wish Dax and Michael good luck and congratulations for all the hard work.”

CHiPs is in theaters now.