The Greatest American Hero (First Episode)


The Greatest American Hero

The Greatest American Hero debuted on ABC in March of 1981.

All the best music, movies and TV shows have already been made, we’re here to help you remember them all. The Greatest American Hero is just one example of that.  Debuting in 1981, the show was another Stephen J. Cannell production (R.I.P.).

This was the show’s first episode which premiered as a two-hour movie. In this episode, school teacher Ralph Hinkley encounters aliens who leave him with a red power suit, turning him into a superhero. The trouble is that he lost the instruction manual and now has to learn by trial and error to control the powers of his suit. With the help of his girlfriend and an FBI agent, a most unlikely crime-fighter gets tangled in one crazy adventure after another.

The ‘hero’ was played by William Katt. It also featured Robert Culp as FBI agent Bill Maxwell and Connie Sellecca as lawyer Pam Davidson. Here’s a forgotten tidbit; the lead character’s surname was changed from “Hinkley” to “Hanley” for the latter part of the first season, immediately after President Ronald Reagan and three others were shot and wounded by John Hinckley Jr. on March 30, 1981. The character’s name was reverted to “Hinkley” after a few months had passed.

While it doesn’t seem like it, the show only lasted three seasons with the final episode on Feb. 3, 1983. The show ran for a total of 45 episodes but has earned a place in millions of people’s hearts forever.

Check out the cool theme song below from Joey Scarbury. “Believe It Or Not” while a major hit (#2) on Billboard’s pop charts back in 1981, was held back from the #1 position at that time by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie’s “Endless Love”.

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Source: Sal Amato


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