A teacher is asked to be a superhero using a special alien suit with powers he can barely understand or control.
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1986   1983   1982   1981  
Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete series cast summary:
 Ralph Hinkley / ... (44 episodes, 1981-1986)
 Bill Maxwell (44 episodes, 1981-1986)
 Pam Davidson / ... (41 episodes, 1981-1986)
 Tony Villicana (30 episodes, 1981-1983)
 Rhonda Blake (28 episodes, 1981-1982)
 Cyler Johnson / ... (21 episodes, 1981-1983)
Don Cervantes ...
 Paco Rodriguez / ... (20 episodes, 1981-1983)


A pair of strangers, liberal high-school teacher Ralph Hinkley and right-wing FBI agent Bill Maxwell, have a close encounter in the Southern California desert one night with "little green men", who give our heroes a red superhero suit. The suit works only for Ralph, and the two, accompanied by Ralph's cute lawyer girlfriend Pam, reluctantly team up to battle criminals. Problems ensue when Ralph loses the suit's instruction book, so he had to master the suit's powers on his own. Written by Marty McKee <mmckee@wkio.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


What America needs is a super hero. What America got was Ralph Hinkley!


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Official Sites:



Release Date:

18 March 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran héroe americano  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (43 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ralph's surname was changed near the end of the first season from Hinkley to Hanley because of the name's negative connection with John Hinckley (the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in an assassination attempt on March 30, 1981). Ralph's last name was changed back to Hinkley in the first episode of Season 2 ("The Two Hundred Mile an Hour Fastball"), after the furor over his name subsided. Interestingly enough, the unaired 1986 "Greatest American Heroine" pilot includes a scene in which Ralph Hinkley meets the President of the United States (who was still Ronald Reagan in real-life 1986). See more »


[about a woman who said she saw a sea monster]
Bill Maxwell: She probably thought she saw what she said she thought she saw.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits of the pilot "Greatest American Heroine", the three-note NBC theme is heard as the letters "i-n-e" appear one at a time on screen. (An in-joke as NBC was the network the series was being pitched to at the time) See more »


Referenced in Family Guy: Believe It or Not, Joe's Walking on Air (2007) See more »


Believe It or Not
Written by Mike Post & Stephen Geyer
Performed by Joey Scarbury
(theme song)
See more »

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User Reviews

Title Explains It All
12 February 2004 | by (Las Vegas, NV) – See all my reviews

This was a beautifully done show that actually was well liked and had a really good writing script. Its almost a wonder how this hasn't made it into syndication, but shows such as 'Married With Children' and others like it have. This actually gives someone the impression of what it must feel like to suddenly end up a super hero and have no clue as to how to completely control the use of super powers. On top of that, it had an inventive way of explaining why the hero had to wear the funny and odd looking suit everywhere. The writers even included embarrassment when the hero was in the suit in public. This shows more towards reality than anything.

The story opens where an alien ship comes in contact with a man from earth. The man receives a suit that gives him super powers which he has no idea how to use or control completely. He then goes around fighting crime as a superhero. It sounds so simple and almost dumb to those who have never seen or heard of it before. Yet, add a good cast and script writers, anything can become a hit.

Hopefully, this ends up on DVD for future people to enjoy. Will be great to add to any collection.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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