Question: I swear I've seen a movie involving David Hasselhoff and Jack the Ripper, but my movie-major friend insists it's a bad dream. Who's right? Russell
Ausiello: Those movie majors they think they know everything. You did not dream the 1985 made-for-TV movie Terror at London Bridge (also known as Arizona Ripper and Bridge Across Time), which starred Baywatch star-to-be David Hasselhoff as a modern-day Chicago cop who relocates to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, to escape the stress of big-city policing and finds himself hot on the trail of Springheel Jack. How'd that happen, you may be asking. Well, I'm guessing that screenwriter William F. Nolan ran across the curious bit of information that the 140-year-old London Bridge, in danger of imminent collapse because of ever-increasing traffic loads, was purchased from the British government in 1962 by American chainsaw magnate Robert McCulloch for the sum of $2,460,000, shipped across the Atlantic and reconstructed in the resort town of Lake Havasu. The bridge was ready for use in 1971 and became a major tourist attraction. Rather than tucking this bit of trivia away in the mental file of "Can you believe it?" after-dinner topics, Nolan spun a story involving the spirit of Jack the Ripper, which is trapped in the bridge's capstone when he leaps into the Thames in 1888 to avoid capture, and is unleashed when a modern-day woman cuts her finger and drips a little blood on the stone. Jack is resurrected and the chase is on. This curiosity came out on video in 1990 and is long out of print, but there are used copies for sale online.