Jon was among the first characters on a television series to be identified as a Vietnam Veteran. It was one of the few shows to portray Vietnam Veterans in a positive manner. Larry Wilcox had served in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine during the Tet Offensive.
Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada were often said to frequently clash, and did not get along well with each other during the production of this show. This was reported to be a factor in Wilcox's decision to quit the series. Estrada was said to be similarly displeased working with Tom Reilly, who replaced Wilcox as Poncherello's partner Officer Bob "Bobby" Nelson.
On the Sam Brown (holster) belt, behind the holster, you'll see the officers wearing a rectangular pouch. This is not a part of CHP/Law Enforcement items. This case actually housed the battery for the wireless microphones the actors wore.
Jon Baker (Larry Wilcox) was named after the nephew of the show's Creator, Rick Rosner. The boy had a small role in the first episode, as a boy stopped by Ponch and Jon for riding his bicycle on the highway.
Various California Highway Patrol cars featured on this show, were actual used California Highway Patrol cruisers, bought at auction for the show. The age of the cars used tended to lag three or four years behind the actual cruisers used by the California Highway Patrol at the time. Some of the years, makes, and models of the California Highway Patrol cruisers used were: 1973 Dodge Polara, 1975 Dodge Monaco, 1976 Dodge Coronet, 1977 Dodge Monaco, 1978 Dodge Monaco, 1979 Dodge St. Regis, 1980 Dodge Diplomat.
Early in season five, Erik Estrada briefly walked off the show, due to contract disputes. He was replaced by Bruce Jenner, playing Steve McLeish. During the absence, normal opening credits with Estrada's name and image continued to run, and Bruce Jenner's name was listed among the guest stars.
Final season regular Bruce Penhall had been a Motorcycle World Speedway Champion. His character Bruce Nelson was a World Speedway Champion transitioning to be a motorcycle Officer with the California Highway Patrol. Footage of Penhall competing in the 1982 World Speedway Championship was used in an episode portraying his character competing in the event.
Real California Highway Patrol Officers were sometimes on the scene, due to filming locations, which sometimes confused crew members as to who were actors, and who were real officers there for security and traffic control reasons.
In real-life, California Highway Patrol motorcycle Officers do not ride in pairs. In the first two seasons, this was explained away as being because Ponch was on probation, and Jon was his mentor. However, the viewing audience got so used to seeing them working together, that it stayed that way for the entire show's run, without any further objections.
The freeway chases and crash scenes were filmed on nearly-finished stretches of Southern California freeways. For the first season, the Glendale Freeway (Highway 2) in Montrose, California was used. For the second and subsequent seasons, the intersection of the Foothill Freeway (Interstate 210) and the Simi Valley Freeway (Highway 118) in Sylmar, California were used. These sections of freeway were under construction for many years, allowing producers about a mile of finished freeway section to use for the show. The 210 and 118 were opened in the early 1980s, forcing the freeway scenes for the last season to be shot in Long Beach, California.
Michael Dorn, who spent three seasons on this show, with Robert Pine, would go on to be best known for playing Lieutenant Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). Robert Pine's son Chris, would portray Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and Star Trek Beyond (2016).
Midway through the final season, Tom Reilly (Bobby) was arrested for drug possession. This resulted in his role being reduced, with Bruce Penhall having his role as Bobby's brother Bruce being increased. The California Highway Patrol also threatened to revoke the show's use of their badge and related imagery, over the bad publicity, due to the arrest.
Ponch was among the first leading characters on a dramatic series who was Latino. He's often cited as among the first positive or non-stereotypical portrayal of a Latino-American on a regular prime time drama series.
The word "Chippie", as slang for California Highway Patrol Officer, dates to the 1950s or earlier, but was rarely used, until popularized by this show. The word "CHiP" was coined by the producers, after the network balked at the name "Chippies".
In one episode, where Ponch and Jon were having issues with a paramedic, the engine company vehicle, to which the paramedic belonged, was Station 51. Squad 51, the vehicle, was used exclusively by the series Emergency! (1972). By then, that series had ended, however. This show had no relationship to the Jack Webb-spawned series.
Aside from Larry Wilcox's well publicized departure from the series prior to the final season, other cast changes were made for that season as well. The characters played by Michael Dorn, Brodie Greer, and Randi Oakes (Turner, Baricza, and Bonnie) were written off and replaced, with no explanation.
At the end of the pilot, Ponch attempts to pull over an elderly lady driving erratically on the highway. The lady drives off the embankment and crashes her car, claiming Ponch was instructing her to do so. She ended up being the wife of a Police Official in Sacramento. The end result was Ponch being put back on probation, and paired with Jon again.
According to Larry Wilcox, it was Erik Estrada who had him removed from the show, because he wanted to be the star. The network felt Estrada was more essential, to get that sixth year for syndication. So Officer Jon Baker went "back to Wyoming".
Every scene had wrong locations. Some of the Locations for episode "Cry Wolfe"Call Box displaying SD 424 San Diego had streets from Los Angeles had also Los Angeles Fire Departments trucks. Filming mistakes
In 1992, Estrada showed up in a commercial for Taco Bell, where he plays a Patrolman, who stops a girl in jeans, who's eating the latest offering from Taco Bell, and asks her if she has a license for her dangerously tasty new taco.