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

Photos (See all 49 | slideshow) Videos (see all 46)
The Greatest American Hero: :  -- Clip: Striking out a major leaguer
The Greatest American Hero: :  -- Clip: Opening sequence
The Greatest American Hero: :  -- A teacher is asked to be a superhero using a special alien suit with powers he can barely understand or control.
The Greatest American Hero: :  -- A teacher is asked to be a superhero using a special alien suit with powers he can barely understand or control.

Overview

User Rating:
7.3/10   2,353 votes »
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View company contact information for The Greatest American Hero on IMDbPro.
Seasons:
1 | 2 | 3
Release Date:
18 March 1981 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
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:
Awards:
Nominated for 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 win & 4 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The TV gods had it in for this show See more (55 total) »

Cast

 (Series Cast Summary - 7 of 72)

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

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

Connie Sellecca ... Pam Davidson / ... (41 episodes, 1981-1986)
Don Cervantes ... Paco Rodriguez (23 episodes, 1981-1983)

Faye Grant ... Rhonda Blake (22 episodes, 1981-1982)

Michael Paré ... Tony Villicana (21 episodes, 1981-1983)

Jesse D. Goins ... Cyler Johnson / ... (19 episodes, 1981-1983)
(more)

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
Michael T. 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
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)
Jim Marquette .... assistant camera (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:
Runtime:
60 min | USA:30 min (43 episodes)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Initially Pam was only to be featured in the Pilot, as a recurring gag was to be Ralph having a different girl friend in each episode. 'Connie Selleca' impressed the producers so much with her performance that she was made a regular on the series.See more »
Quotes:
Ralph Hinkley:You see what I mean? Like right now for instance. You're not even listening to me. I mean, for all I know, we could be driving into the biggest shootout of this century
Bill Maxwell:[not listening] Yeah, kid. I'll work on that for ya
See more »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Believe It or NotSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
69 out of 70 people found the following review useful.
The TV gods had it in for this show, 9 September 2004
Author: POKOLAUQ2004 from South Carlonia

The Greatest American Hero was an excellent action-comedy series from the early 1980s that unfortunately seemed to be a victim of bad timing and fate.

I'd say about 70-80% of the story lines were good to excellent, and even the mediocre or few bad episodes were carried by the strength of the charming lead actors. William Katt played a high school teacher named Ralph Hinkley who was given red power suit by peaceful aliens only to be teamed up with a neurotic FBI agent named Bill Maxwell played by Robert Culp. Connie Sellecca offered the human touch as Ralph's girlfriend Pam Davidson. Katt's character lost the instruction book to the power suit in the pilot episode, leading to a very original and hilarious version of the ever familiar superhero story. But right from the start this series was plagued with problems such as a silly lawsuit from DC comics, who asserted that Stephen J. Cannell stole their Superman character. Cannell won the landmark case, but many potential merchandising companies were scared off by DC and Warner Bros. studios who still held a grudge against GAH. Then mere weeks into the show's 1981 debut, President Ronald Reagan was shot by a would be killer named John Hinckley...it just so happened that the main character's name on GAH was Ralph Hinkley. The ABC network even went so far as to dub over "Hinkley" with "Hanley" in a couple of early episodes. Speaking of ABC, they were probably Cannell/GAH's worst enemies. The network gave the show late starts in all 3 seasons, while other shows began their season rightfully in September, GAH would be forced to debut as late as October or November. ABC also consistently pre-empted GAH with other events (like major league baseball) during the 2nd season.

ABC then put GAH in a hole that could never be dug out of, the network drilled into the publics mind that GAH was nothing but a campy children's series that wasn't worth bothering with. The network nearly always promoted the series with shots of series star William Katt being silly and crashing into walls. GAH did have moments of camp and silliness, but it was written on an adult level and played straight so it was by no means an Adam West type camp series. There was more to this series then Ralph simply being an inept Superman. Sometimes ABC wasn't even close in it's promo ads to the plot of an episode, billing it all as Saturday morning kiddie fare. The series never recovered from this type of grossly unfair advertisement. It seemed like a lot of people just never understood the concept behind GAH, and no matter how many times you valiantly explained the premise of this show to people, it simply didn't matter. The damage was done. This was seen as simply an idiot children's series by way too many folks out there. Unfortunately that was the nail in the coffin. No TV show was going to survive being up against such odds. After 3 very short seasons and 44 episodes, The Greatest American Hero was cancelled by ABC in the spring of 1983...only to be replaced with two flimsy sitcoms that received even lower ratings and ultimately bombed. GAH has earned a "cult classic TV" status over the years, which is quite an accomplishment for a show that has barely been rerun in the continental United States since the 80s. Yet GAH could have been even more then that had the playing field been not so ridiculously lopsided against the show. There's a much anticipated DVD release coming around the corner, hopefully it will finally give this series justice and the fair handshake it never got.

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