Monday, July 4, 2011

Tuesday's Forgotten TV: Legends of the Superheroes

Happy Independence Day!  I hope everyone's having a great holiday weekend.  I know I'm a day early, but since I'm home and have the time, I thought I'd post this week's Forgotten TV.  It's something I just picked up at the Philadelphia Comic Con and remember seeing when it first aired back in 1978--Legends of the Superheroes!

This was a 2-part special that aired on NBC, produced by Hanna-Barbera, that featured a version of the Superfriends (minus Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman) pitted against a version of the Legion of Doom (minus several villians) in comedic, almost vaudevillian, fashion.  It was a bizarre special, but enjoyably so.  The first night featured the heroes trying to stop the villians plot to destroy the world, and the next night featured a Friars Club-style roast of the heroes by those same villians.  The cast included Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshin reprising their roles from the Batman TV show, Charlie Kallas as Sinestro, Jeff Altman as the Weather Wizard, and Ed McMahon as the MC of the roast.  God bless the 70s!

Here are some clips from the specials.  Thanks!


8 comments:

Caffeinated Joe said...

I actually saw this when it aired way back when. It floats in the vague tributaries of my unconscious, bobbing up now and again. So bizarre.

Phillyradiogeek said...

Thanks Joe. I have vague remembrances of it as well, which says something interesting about me, as I was barely four years old when it aired in November of 1978, and it was never rerun, to my knowledge. Now I have it on DVD to cherish forever :)

Todd Mason said...

A vlogger notes its consanguinity with THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL, albeit less of this cast seems stoned. Old (variety show) habits died hard in the late 1970s, which despite some real bright spots might've been the worst period ever for US television. (1999-2001, in part because of a still ambitious set of cable stations challenging the broadcast nets, might despite some real trash still be the best time for US television so far...though both best and worst periods have some competition, to be sure.)

Jay Amabile said...

I bought bootleg VHS tapes of these specials years ago but I upgraded to the recent official DVD releases recently. Cheesy, but awesome.

Phillyradiogeek said...

Todd: I too thought of the Star Wars special while watching this. They are indeed spiritual sisters. I have to say, however, that I don't find the Star Wars special nearly as awful as everyone else does. It's not good, don't get me wrong, but I've seen far worse. And for stuff like this, I always take the context of the times into account. And I find the 2000s to be a very good era for TV.

Jay: awesome indeed. Much more enjoyable than it probably should be. KAREEEEEEM!

Bill D. said...

It has always bugged me that Adam West never tucked the edge of the mask under his cape in this. I don't know why it infuriates me so, but it does. His Batman was always so tidy about details like that!

Phillyradiogeek said...

I noticed that too, and it is distracting. West does a great job hamming it up for the camera, as usual. He's the poor man's Shatner.

ajm said...

Ed McMahon hosted the roast -- with career judgment like that, I think I now understand why he died broke.

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