Erik Estrada talks hip action, Ponch, Chris Hansen and child predators
Remember "CHiPs," that TV show about sexy motorcycle cops back in the '70s? Well, even if you don't, one of the iconic stars of the show, Erik Estrada, is going to be shaking his groove thing on Univision's version of "Dancing with the Stars," "Mira Quien Baila (Look Who's Dancing!)" I talked to Estrada about his mom, shaking his hips and Internet sexual predators. No, really.
Why are you dancing on TV? Paying homage to the disco era?
Long time ago, I was going to be a New York cop, then got involved with this girl who was into acting, then got bit by the acting bug myself. I had to tell [my mother], ma, hey, I’ve got to try this, man. I’ll do it 'till I’m 30, and if I can’t make a living I’ll come back and still be eligible [until] age of 32 to go to the police academy. I got my job playing “CHiPs,” so playing a cop. That was pretty good. Then I got the [Spanish-language] soap opera fifteen years ago; she liked that. It looses a lot in translation, but [when I was offered this] she said, "Paco, the years are catching up to me. I’m 84 years old. I want to see you on the Latin television again." I said, come on ma. But they offered this to me, I really don’t want to do it, but she said you must, you must. So I’m doing it for her. But now I’ve got to really get into it.
I fool around, but not like this. I felt like a bear out there when I was moving. But I can’t do any more than I can do.
You're back on Univision, which gets pretty kick ass ratings here in L.A.
Listen, the Latin people, I love the Latin people. They are so loyal to you. Even if you haven’t been on TV for thirty years, they still love you. And they cherish you and give you respect. You’re not fast food in the Latin market. [But] Spanish is my second language. I had to learn it for the soap opera, because I didn’t know how to speak or read Spanish when I got it. I went to Berlitz and I crammed and I got it. It’s great to be back, I have a lot of friends here. I know I’m going to be embraced.
Tomorrow I have a pitch to one of the networks for a game show. I can’t tell you too much. But it will be a game show and I’ll host it and own it. It’ll be a good thing. I’m getting up there in age, and I want to have a nice annuity when it’s over. In three years I’ll be 65, baby. I’ll be breaking into my pensions. I was born in 1949.
Absolutely. We build a case, we go out, we go to the magistrate and get the warrant, and then we go get them.
First, they’re shocked just because they're thinking they’re going to pick up a young kid, and then they get us instead. We pop em, pull them out of the car, give him to the sergeant, the guy gets his rights read, we read him his rights right away. Then we go, we strip the car, we go to the apartment, we take anything that relates to the crime.