Once a Hero

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For other uses, see Once a Hero (disambiguation).
Once a Hero
Genre Action-adventure
Situation comedy
Created by Dusty Kay
Ira Steven Behr
Directed by Kevin Hooks
Kevin Inch
Claudia Weill
Harry Hurwitz
Starring Jeff Lester
Milo O'Shea
Robert Forster
Josh Blake
Caitlin Clarke
Composer(s) Dennis Dreith
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 7 (only 3 aired in the US)
Executive producer(s) Dusty Kay
Producer(s) Ira Steven Behr
Paul Pompian
Editor(s) Stuart Bass
Michael Berman
Running time 1 hour
Production company(s) Garden Party Productions
New World Television
Original network ABC
Original release September 19 – October 3, 1987

Once a Hero is an ABC 1987 science fiction comedy television series. The series stars Milo O'Shea as Abner Bevis, a down-on-his-luck comic book artist whose life is turned upside down when his creation, Captain Justice (Jeff Lester), comes to life. Also appearing in the series were Caitlin Clarke and Robert Forster.


Abner Bevis (Milo O'Shea) is the creator of a comic-book superhero called Captain Justice. Lately Bevis is in a rut and repeating old storylines, and children have lost interest in the comic, so the comic's owners want to kill off the title. Even the characters in the book's fictional world of Pleasantville have started to notice that their lives are repeating themselves, and the lack of reader interest is causing characters to start fading.

Captain Justice (Jeff Lester) decides to cross the Forbidden Zone into the real world, where he becomes a real human being with no superpowers. Also crossing over is a detective character called Gumshoe (Robert Forster), who's looking out for Justice. The Captain's attempts to fight real-world criminals renew interest in the comic, and the owners agree not to cancel it; also, Bevis is inspired to make it more contemporary.

Adding to the stories is suspicious newspaper reporter Emma Greely (Caitlin Clarke), who keeps snooping around. Her troubled and precocious son Woody (Josh Blake) knows the truth about Captain Justice, but she doesn't.


Seven episodes were created, but only three of them ever aired in the United States.

The fourth episode, unaired in the United States, featured Adam West as an actor unable to escape the stereotyping of having played a comic book hero on television (Captain Justice) and earns a living by making public appearances as that character. In this episode, a new movie version of the character is coming out, and the studio files a lawsuit against Adam West's character to prevent him making any further appearances, echoing the situation with The Legend of the Lone Ranger and the Clayton Moore lawsuit.

Title US air date
1 "Believers" September 19, 1987 (1987-09-19)
2-hour pilot episode.
2 "Triange" September 26, 1987 (1987-09-26)
3 "The Return of Lazarus" October 3, 1987 (1987-10-03)
4 "Things Get Ugly" N/A
5 "Manos Arriba, Mrs. Greely" N/A
6 "Remember the Cottonwood" N/A
7 "Thank You, Captain Justice" N/A


Although widely promoted and critically acclaimed, the series was a ratings failure, and was cancelled after only three episodes were broadcast. Many ABC stations preempted the show's pilot with Star Trek: The Next Generation, which they correctly decided would be more successful.[1] Marvel Comics began publishing a comic book spin-off, Captain Justice, but this too was short-lived and was cancelled after two issues.[2]


  1. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (1987-10-04). "Syndicated 'Star Trek' Puts Dent in Networks". The New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ Grand Comics Database entry for Captain Justice, retrieved Feb. 5, 2015

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