When local commuters and early risers headed down canyon on Wednesday, April 28, they knew some big time work was mobilizing in the vacant lot next to Three Rivers Mercantile. What they didn’t know was a famous TV celebrity was the center of attention.
Parked in the middle of all the heavy equipment was “The Screaming Mimi,” a Sikorsky S-58T owned by Summit Helicopter. Thirty years ago, the chopper was a regular in the hit TV series Riptide and painted pink with a huge mouth with teeth and tongue on its front end.
Riptide, a popular detective series, aired on NBC for three seasons from 1983 to 1986. In recent years, The Screaming Mimi has been building upon its impressive legacy by fighting wildfires and performing aerial crane feats.
This past Wednesday, the huge chopper was ferrying materials to remote utility pole sites in the vicinity of the Mineral King Road for Southern California Edison. A fleet of more than a dozen boom trucks were distributed at seven remote locales to receive and install The Screaming Mimi’s cargo of utility poles and construction supplies.
Bill DeLain, an SCE public affairs region manager, said the recent pole replacements are just a part of the company’s ongoing commitment to upgrade infrastructure in and around Three Rivers.
“The contactor, Asplundh, has some very remote places to install the poles on this phase of the project,” said DeLain. “The best way to access those job sites is by helicopter.”
DeLain also said there would be no widespread power outages necessary on the current phase of the project.