Legends of the Superheroes

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Legends of the Superheroes
Legends of the Superheroes title.jpg
The opening title used for both specials.
Composer(s) Fred Werner
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 2
Production
Executive producer(s) Joseph Barbera
Producer(s) Bill Carruthers
Running time 95 minutes approx.
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run January 18 – January 25, 1979 (1979-01-25)
Chronology
Related shows Super Friends

Legends of the Superheroes is an umbrella title for two one-hour, live-action TV specials produced by Hanna–Barbera that aired on NBC in January 1979. The series was loosely based on Hanna-Barbera's Super Friends cartoon show, then airing on Saturday mornings on ABC. The specials were produced like standard variety shows of the time: on videotape, and with a laugh track.[1]

Cast[edit]

Legends of the Superheroes starred Adam West and Burt Ward, reprising their roles as Batman and Robin from the live-action Batman TV series. The show also had a large ensemble cast of other DC Comics superheroes that included Garrett Craig as Captain Marvel, Howard Murphy as the Green Lantern, Rod Haase as The Flash, Bill Nuckols as Hawkman, Barbara Joyce as The Huntress, Alfie Wise as The Atom and Danuta (Danuta Rylko Soderman) as the Black Canary.

Superman and Wonder Woman did not appear on the show because both of those characters were already being used elsewhere: Superman was in the beginnings of his movie franchise and Wonder Woman still had her own live action television series.

Notable guest stars[edit]

Notable guest stars in the two specials included Frank Gorshin reprising his role as The Riddler from Batman, Howard Morris as Dr. Sivana, Gabriel Dell as Mordru, Charlie Callas as Sinestro, Jeff Altman as the Weather Wizard, Ruth Buzzi as Aunt Minerva, Mickey Morton as Solomon Grundy, June Gable as Rhoda Rooter, Pat Carroll as Hawkman's mother, A'leshia Brevard as Giganta, William Schallert playing the Scarlet Cyclone (more commonly referred to as "Retired Man") and Brad Sanders as "Ghetto Man". Ed McMahon played himself, hosting the celebrity super-hero roast.

Episodes[edit]

Both specials preempted Project U.F.O.

The Challenge[edit]

In the first episode, the Justice League of America (Batman, Robin, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Captain Marvel, Huntress and Black Canary) unite at the Hall of Heroes to celebrate elderly retired superhero Scarlet Cyclone's birthday. The party is interrupted by the Legion of Doom (Riddler, Weather Wizard, Sinestro, Mordru, Dr. Sivana, Giganta and Solomon Grundy), who announce they have hidden a deadly bomb in a secret location, and the heroes must follow clues to find it. It's all, actually, a trap to make the heroes drink Mordru's de-powering potion, which succeeds, but the heroes face off the villains even so, disarm the bomb and recover their powers. Only after the whole battle is gone, and the heroes have proven victorious, does Scarlet Cyclone arrive to give his aid.

The Roast[edit]

The second episode was a celebrity roast of the superheroes hosted by Ed McMahon. All of the major characters from the first episode return. New characters featured include Ghetto Man, an African-American superhero who performs a stand-up comedy routine; Aunt Minerva, the Captain Marvel villainess who seeks a sixth husband from among the male superheroes; Rhoda Rooter, an entertainment reporter who snags an exclusive interview with the Atom (Alfie Wise) and Giganta on their engagement to be married; and Esther Hol, Hawkman's mother.

DVD release[edit]

Legends of the Superheroes DVD release cover from Warner Archive.

Warner Home Video's Warner Archive Collection released the specials on DVD on October 19, 2010.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Crisis: 22,300 Miles Above Earth!", Joker, Penguin, Gorilla Grodd, Kite Man, Black Manta, Two-Face, Gentleman Ghost, Mr. Freeze, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Clock King, and Solomon Grundy roast (literally and figuratively) Batman with help from a kidnapped Jeffrey Ross.

References[edit]

External links[edit]