On May 11, 1995, Patrick Delahanty and Tim Lewis stayed up late to watch a “CHiPs” marathon on TNT. They had just finished their senior year at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and really had nothing better to do.
The show began and they started to wonder, “Is there a ‘CHiPs’ web site?” Running to Patrick’s new Power Macintosh 7100/80AV, they checked Yahoo! and a couple of search engines. Nothing…so they decided to make one.
That night, using the Macintosh for screen captures, they created The Original “CHiPs” Web Site. It was given that name because it was expected that other “CHiPs” sites would soon spring up as they had seen for other topics. Information was gathered about some of the episodes which aired in the marathon, some facts were written down for a makeshift FAQ, Volkswagens were counted (don’t ask), and the screen shots were converted to poor-quality GIFs and put online. An archived copy of The Original “CHiPs” Web Site is available online for you to see. It’s amazing how far this site has come!
After graduation, Patrick continued to update and maintain the site in his WPI account. It wasn’t long before it won its first award: “Mirsky’s Worst of the Web”. Nevertheless, the popularity of the site continued. It wasn’t long before Scott Merzbach showed up to lend a hand.
Scott was perhaps the biggest outside help the web site ever had. In addition to unsolicited praise, he managed to supply lists of guest stars for episodes, brief descriptions, as well as the original airdates of every episode. If it wasn’t for Scott, the episode guide may have been an unordered list of episodes for many more months.
In the late summer, Patrick moved to Boston to work as a “Websmith” at The Internet Company. He got the job, in part, due to the “CHiPs” site. Since his WPI account would be deleted in October, The Original “CHiPs” Web Site was moved to The Internet Underground on underground.internet.com.
Not long after starting at The Internet Company, Patrick and a co-worker, Sean P. White, had lunch with the company’s Chief Scientist, Robert Raisch. He suggested we become familiar with the operations of mailing lists and that we consider running one. The “CHiPs” Mailing List was born of that suggestion. The mailing list started out on a demo of ListStar, but thanks to the assistance of The Internet Company’s mailing list guru, John Malconian, the list was soon improved and quickly became a popular attraction of the “CHiPs” web site. Within a month, 75 people had signed on to discuss the show.
In early 1996, the decision was made to rename the web site. This was partly because “The Original ‘CHiPs’ Web Site” sounded silly when there was only one…but mostly because of a problem with directories. Whenever the site was listed in a book or magazine, it was found under a different letter. It might be under “T” for “The”, “O” for “Original”, or “C” for “CHiPs”. There was no consistant filing system. In order to solve these problems, the site was renamed to “CHiPs” Online.
As the months went on, the web site flourished. It became more and more well known and attracted more and more “CHiPs” fans. Unfortunately, in early 1997, problems developed at The Internet Company. On March 6th, Patrick’s birthday, he left The Internet Company for greener pastures with The Monster Board, a division of TMP Worldwide.
The web site continued to be run at The Internet Company for several weeks while Patrick looked for a new home for his other web sites. Finally, he decided to move all his sites under the wing of ADEQUATE.com. This was done just in time too. Not long after “CHiPs” Online moved to ADEQUATE.com, The Internet Company sold its domain, internet.com, to Mecklermedia for well over $100,000…more than any domain name ever at the time. (The record was finally beaten when Compaq bought altavista.com for several million dollars.)
Since the mailing list was still run from the doomed machines of The Internet Company, it had to find a new home ASAP! Patrick decided to run it from his Power Macintosh 7100/80AV in his home until a better solution could be found.
Not long after the list moved to Patrick’s Mac, “CHiPs” ceased airing daily on TNT. The mailing list discussion quickly deteriorated into petty bickering and accusations. Since he didn’t want to deal with that kind of abuse, Patrick decided to take the list out of its misery and turn it off at 11:59pm on June 30th. There are no plans to start up the list again, however Ed Van Cise started a successful mailing list in late 1998.
The third major revision of the “CHiPs” Online look and feel was released at 12:01am EDT on September 15th to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “CHiPs”.
In January of 1998, “CHiPs” returned to daily airings on TNT. It was increased to two shows a day in February.
When “CHiPs ’99” aired on TNT in October 1998, “CHiPs” Online’s traffic hit an all time high. As the reunion movie aired, we served files to thousands and thousands of visitors. Many, many new visitors discovered the site at that time.
On May 12, 2000, “CHiPs” Online celebrated its fifth anniversary with a complete site redesign and a re-done episode guide. “CHiPs” Online also hosted an online chat to mark the occasion.
In June 2003, “CHiPs” Online moved to its new home at CHiPs-TV.com. Still part of the Adequate Network, it now has its own domain where it can flourish and grow!
In June 2007, “CHiPs” Online got a complete site redesign in celebration of the 30th anniversary of “CHiPs” and to mark the June release of the first DVD box set of the show’s first season.
In September 2012, “CHiPs” Online, in conjunction with FanCons.com, reported live from the 35th Anniversary Reunion.
In February 2017, “CHiPs” Online was once again completely redesigned, nearly 40 years after the show originally aired.