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"The Greatest American Hero"
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"The Greatest American Hero" (1981) More at IMDbPro »TV series 1981-1983

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The Greatest American Hero: Season 3: Episode 9 -- Ralph and Maxwell battle sinister forces that have taken a young scientist's uncle as hostage in exchange for an advanced weapon that could dramatically shift the world's balance of power.


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7.3/10   2,767 votes »
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1 | 2 | 3
Release Date:
18 March 1981 (USA) See more »
What America needs is a super hero. What America got was Ralph Hinkley!
A teacher is asked to be a superhero using a special alien suit with powers he can barely understand or control. Full summary »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
One of the Greatest American TV Shows See more (56 total) »


 (Series Cast Summary - 7 of 73)

William Katt ... Ralph Hinkley / ... (44 episodes, 1981-1986)

Robert Culp ... Bill Maxwell (44 episodes, 1981-1986)

Connie Sellecca ... Pam Davidson / ... (41 episodes, 1981-1986)

Michael Paré ... Tony Villicana (30 episodes, 1981-1983)

Faye Grant ... Rhonda Blake (28 episodes, 1981-1982)

Jesse D. Goins ... Cyler Johnson / ... (21 episodes, 1981-1983)
Don Cervantes ... Paco Rodriguez (20 episodes, 1981-1983)

Series Directed by
Arnold Laven (7 episodes, 1981-1983)
Ivan Dixon (6 episodes, 1981-1983)
Rod Holcomb (6 episodes, 1981-1982)
Bruce Kessler (5 episodes, 1981-1983)
Robert C. Thompson (4 episodes, 1981-1982)
Lawrence Doheny (2 episodes, 1981-1982)
Gabrielle Beaumont (2 episodes, 1981)
Chuck Bowman (2 episodes, 1982-1983)
Robert Culp (2 episodes, 1982-1983)
Sidney Hayers (2 episodes, 1982)
Christian I. Nyby II (2 episodes, 1983)
Series Writing credits
Stephen J. Cannell (44 episodes, 1981-1986)
Frank Lupo (10 episodes, 1981-1983)
Patrick Hasburgh (7 episodes, 1982-1983)
Juanita Bartlett (5 episodes, 1981)
Babs Greyhosky (5 episodes, 1982-1986)
Rudolph Borchert (3 episodes, 1982-1983)
Danny Lee Cole (2 episodes, 1982-1983)
Robert Culp (2 episodes, 1982-1983)
J. Duncan Ray (2 episodes, 1982-1983)

Jeff Ray (unknown episodes)

Series Produced by
Stephen J. Cannell .... executive producer (44 episodes, 1981-1986)
Christopher Nelson .... associate producer / producer / ... (33 episodes, 1981-1986)
Juanita Bartlett .... co-executive producer (30 episodes, 1980-1983)
Frank Lupo .... producer / supervising producer (25 episodes, 1981-1986)
Jo Swerling Jr. .... supervising producer / co-executive producer (19 episodes, 1981-1986)
Gary Winter .... associate producer (11 episodes, 1982-1983)
Alex Beaton .... producer (8 episodes, 1980-1981)
Babs Greyhosky .... producer (7 episodes, 1982-1986)
Series Original Music by
Pete Carpenter (44 episodes, 1981-1986)
Mike Post (44 episodes, 1981-1986)

Garry Schyman (unknown episodes)
Series Cinematography by
Jacques R. Marquette (20 episodes, 1981-1983)
Héctor R. Figueroa (7 episodes, 1981)
Series Film Editing by
Mike Elias (7 episodes, 1982-1983)
John Elias (6 episodes, 1981-1983)
Rod Stephens (6 episodes, 1981-1982)
Gloryette Clark (4 episodes, 1981-1982)
Edilberto Cruz (2 episodes, 1981)
Patrick M. Ryan (2 episodes, 1981)

John Carrol (unknown episodes)
Mario Di Mambro (unknown episodes)
Dave Goldson (unknown episodes)
Series Casting by
Reuben Cannon (26 episodes, 1981-1983)
Series Art Direction by
John D. Jefferies Sr. (26 episodes, 1981-1983)
Series Set Decoration by
Lowell Chambers (14 episodes, 1981-1982)
Sam Gross (7 episodes, 1981)
Robert L. Zilliox (3 episodes, 1983)
Richard J. DeCinces (2 episodes, 1982)
Series Costume Design by
Jean-Pierre Dorléac (26 episodes, 1981-1983)
Kent Warner (20 episodes, 1981-1983)
Series Makeup Department
John Inzerella .... makeup artist (27 episodes, 1981-1986)
Suzan Bagdadi .... hair stylist (26 episodes, 1981-1983)
Series Production Management
Ronald R. Grow .... unit production manager / production manager (20 episodes, 1981-1982)
Michael J. Maschio .... executive production manager / production manager / ... (7 episodes, 1982-1983)
Larry Powell .... unit production manager (5 episodes, 1982-1983)
Gary Winter .... post-production supervisor (2 episodes, 1982)
Series Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Stephen Sassen .... second assistant director / first assistant director (23 episodes, 1981-1983)
Beau Marks .... first assistant director (9 episodes, 1981-1982)
Bob Bender .... first assistant director (5 episodes, 1981-1982)
Chip Chalmers .... second assistant director (5 episodes, 1982-1983)
Lindsley Parsons III .... first assistant director (2 episodes, 1981)
Richard W. Abramitis .... second assistant director (2 episodes, 1982)
Christopher Hibler .... first assistant director (2 episodes, 1982)
Series Art Department
George Tuers .... property master (20 episodes, 1981-1982)
Bob Skemp .... greensman (15 episodes, 1981)
Pat Moudakis .... property master (7 episodes, 1982-1983)

Kenneth Milfred .... set dresser (unknown episodes)
Series Sound Department
'Fast' Eddie Mahler .... sound mixer (19 episodes, 1981-1983)
Jack C. May .... director of post production sound / director of sound post-production / ... (18 episodes, 1981-1982)
Louis C. Williman .... sound mixer (7 episodes, 1981)
Series Special Effects by
John Coles .... special effects (20 episodes, 1981-1982)
Al Di Sarro .... special effects (7 episodes, 1982-1983)

Frank Ceglia .... special effects technician (unknown episodes)
Ken Speed .... special effects assistant (unknown episodes)
Series Visual Effects by
Alex Funke .... visual effects director of photography (8 episodes, 1981)
Series Stunts
Dennis Madalone .... stunt coordinator (27 episodes, 1981-1983)

Kenny Bates .... stunts (unknown episodes)
Tony Brubaker .... stunts (unknown episodes)
Gene LeBell .... stunts (unknown episodes)
Tony Snegoff .... stunt rigger (unknown episodes)
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Jim Marquette .... assistant camera (44 episodes, 1981-1986)
Robert Blair .... key grip (19 episodes, 1981-1983)
Michael Schuyler .... gaffer (19 episodes, 1981-1983)
Steve Stafford .... camera operator (16 episodes, 1982-1983)
John Kiser .... camera operator (12 episodes, 1981-1982)
Jack N. Green .... camera operator (7 episodes, 1981)
Sal Orefice .... gaffer (7 episodes, 1981)
Bob Rust .... key grip (7 episodes, 1981)

John Earl Burnett .... second assistant camera: second unit (unknown episodes)
Michael R. Marquette .... assistant camera (unknown episodes)
Stan McClain .... assistant camera: aerial unit (unknown episodes)
David Morton .... electrician (unknown episodes)
Series Casting Department
Victoria Tarazi .... casting assistant (15 episodes, 1981)
Series Costume and Wardrobe Department
David Rawley .... costume supervisor / wardrobe: men (21 episodes, 1981-1982)
Gregory B. Peña .... daily set costumer (8 episodes, 1981)
Marie Brown .... wardrobe: women (6 episodes, 1981)
Lorry Richter .... costume supervisor (4 episodes, 1982-1983)
Series Editorial Department
Jimmy Giritlian .... assistant editor (1 episode, 1981)
Dave Goldson .... assistant editor (1 episode, 1981)
Rod Stephens .... additional editor (1 episode, 1981)
Gary Winter .... post production supervisor (1 episode, 1982)
Series Music Department
Stephen Geyer .... lyricist: theme music / composer: theme music / ... (43 episodes, 1981-1983)
Mike Post .... composer: theme music (43 episodes, 1981-1983)
Joey Scarbury .... singer: theme music / singer: main title theme (43 episodes, 1981-1983)
John Caper Jr. .... music editor / music coordinator / ... (29 episodes, 1981-1986)

Andy D'Addario .... music scoring mixer (unknown episodes)
Series Transportation Department
Ronald Stinton .... transportation coordinator (22 episodes, 1981-1982)
Marlo Hellerstein .... transportation coordinator (5 episodes, 1982-1983)
Series Other crew
Rosemarie Abelson .... production coordinator / staff coordinator (27 episodes, 1981-1983)
Joan Etchells .... production accountant (27 episodes, 1981-1983)
Patrick Hasburgh .... staff consultant / creative consultant / ... (23 episodes, 1981-1983)
Grace Curcio .... assistant to producers / assistant to producer / ... (21 episodes, 1981-1986)
Suzi Alter .... script supervisor (14 episodes, 1981-1982)
Ralph Alderman .... location manager (12 episodes, 1981-1986)
Jimmy Giritlian .... coordinator of composite flying (11 episodes, 1981-1982)
Rosemarie Clemente-Johnstone .... script supervisor (7 episodes, 1981)
W. Paul Henley .... location manager (4 episodes, 1981-1982)
Joanna Guzzetta .... location manager (4 episodes, 1981)
Stephen Dorsch .... script supervisor (3 episodes, 1983)
Jane Wilson .... production coordinator (3 episodes, 1983)
Pamela Alch .... script supervisor (2 episodes, 1982)

Daniel Cameron .... security officer (unknown episodes)

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
60 min | USA:30 min (43 episodes)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Two years after the show's cancellation by ABC, NBC picked up the series and aired its reruns in a Sunday night, post-prime time time slot. This led to speculation that NBC was looking to revive the series, but their efforts only resulted in The Greatest American Heroine pilot.See more »
Bill Maxwell:This stinks. I hate this.See more »
Movie Connections:
Believe It or NotSee more »


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41 out of 43 people found the following review useful.
One of the Greatest American TV Shows, 19 April 2005
Author: Bolesroor from New York, NY USA

If you aren't familiar with "The Greatest American Hero" you owe it to yourself to get the DVDs... you won't be disappointed. I used to watch the show as a kid and I loved it... they used to play it on Saturday mornings after the cartoons had ended and I never missed an episode. Flash forward twenty years and I'm amazed at not only how well the show has held up but at all I missed the first time around.

Ordinary schoolteacher Ralph Hinkley is given a supersuit by space aliens... when wearing the suit he has all the powers of a superhero. The trouble is he lost the suit's instruction book in episode one and has to figure out how it works as he goes along. He's partnered with crusty, by-the-book FBI agent Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp) and gets lots of help from his gorgeous girlfriend Pam (Connie Selleca). If you think this is a broad, goofy comedy or kid's show you couldn't be farther off... if you think it's kitschy nostalgia you'd be wrong as well. The Greatest American Hero is nothing short of one of the greatest TV shows of all time.

The concept of the everyman becoming superman allowed the show's creators and writers to examine different aspects of human nature... there's so much going on in every episode that getting the bad guy is almost secondary. In one of the best episodes "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys," Ralph is forced to examine what it means to be a hero while Bill wrestles with having to arrest his OWN hero, a veteran police officer who has turned to a life of crime. The show was unbelievably human, and the three leads are a perfect triangle... Robert Culp grounds the show by not pulling any punches as the skeptical, impatient fed; his disbelief at the premise only serves to make the premise more real.

William Katt as Ralph is excellent, completely believable as a man trying to balance his roles as boyfriend, father, teacher and superhero. Connie Selleca is not just beautiful... she's a confident, funny actor, putting more into Pam than was on the page. This show is also wonderful as a time-capsule piece, a reminder of when TV could appeal to everyone and still be intelligent, dramatic, and FUN. (Today so many dramas open every episode with a corpse it's all but become the rule.) "GAH" is also one of the BIGGEST TV shows ever made... by that I mean its visual look and style of direction is grand, cinematic. If you get the DVD's you'll see that every episode is a mini-movie. You'll also see that it's one of the best transfers EVER done. The show, twenty years later, is more bright, clean and vivid than anything on TV today. And you also get the memorable theme song, which still gives old-time fans like myself instant nostalgia whenever we hear it.

In conclusion I highly recommend "The Greatest American Hero" to everyone... you will love it, your kids will love it, and it will stimulate your imagination, make you laugh and make you think. What more could you ask for?


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Should come to MeTV Dr Wily
GAH reboot on the way! repstein2
Superhero Name For Ralph dvps330
Can we all please agree... shalmo
What happens when you switch the theme music with Lois & Clark? bmdgsc
Ralph's Son thegoddesserin-1
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