The 1988 Olympics inspired the iconic 'Baywatch' slow-motion run

By: H&I Staff     Posted: March 5, 2021, 1:49PM

Image source: Everett Collection

Few scenes in television are as iconic as the Baywatch slow-motion run. Having been parodied and referenced in the media so many times throughout the years, chances are you knew about the run before you knew about the show itself. While the montages of lifeguards coming to the rescue has become a staple in pop culture history, it was originally used to save time and money.

In 1989, the production of the first season of Baywatch began with a fairly small budget. The lack of funds made filming difficult as they often faced problems filling the full hour of each episode without going over budget.

After filming the 1988 Olympics a year prior, co-writer for the series Michael Berk came up with the idea to fill in time for each episode with slow-motion running montages. Berk noted his use of slower frame rates in the Olympics for certain events to better capture the movements and form of the athletes. With everyone on the Baywatch cast in terrific shape, the filming technique paired with a soft rock music background went on to be an instant success.

"The audience kinda liked it. And they liked the music. They liked to sit back and watch music videos," remarked David Hasseloff on the idea of implementing slow-motion music montages to the series.

Slow-motion running would become a mainstay of the series following the first season. They kept the montages around not just because of its growing popularity, but also because it was a good way to pad episodes that were running short on time.

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