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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   2,665 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:
Smart and Entertaining... See more (56 total) »


 (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)

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
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?

According to Stephen J. Cannell, the emblem on the suit (and also on the clothing of the aliens) was inspired by the square-handled scissors on Cannell's desk.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 »
Believe It or NotSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
18 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
Smart and Entertaining..., 12 September 2004
Author: Heather_Chiles from Sacramento, CA

I remember The Greatest American Hero, I adored this hilarious series about ordinary guy Ralph Hinkley getting a magical supersuit from aliens (little green-guys) back in the 80's. Conceived by the legendary TV giant Stephen J. Cannell, this is the kind of show that when you think back on it gives you all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings inside. It just makes you feel good and reminds you how wildly imaginative and cool television was in the 80's. I'm glad to see I'm not alone in remembering this show that was cut down way too early. 2 years on the air just wasn't enough. The Greatest American Hero was made in the early 80's, when the trials and tribulations of the 1970's were still somewhat fresh on peoples minds. After the Vietnam War, high gas prices, Nixon-Watergate, and two more lousy presidents, the very idea that a man in underwear and flaky cape could run around saving the world like Superman or Batman was seen as a complete joke. This was an original and great idea to explore. One word to describe the way the series approached this idea would be "smart", like Star Trek this show seemed to have a definitive intelligent and creative force behind it. It was more of a human drama/comedy then a straight up conventional superhero show. What would happen to a regular person if they were given a magical superhero outfit? What would happen if they lost the instruction manual and didn't know how to use the goofy looking costume? The way people treated Ralph (they thought he was a nut) when they saw him in his super suit is probably the way people would react in real life if they came across a man dressed as a superhero. This series never seemed to get its just dues back in the early 80's, OK so The Greatest American Hero wasn't Mozart or The Great Gatsby. It was middle brow entertainment like many other crime and adventure shows, but it was very well made middle brow entertainment. It was smart and the witty dialogue in this show rivals any of the "more adult" TV shows from it's time. I do remember getting grief from my older siblings and cousins who never got the joke of The Greatest American Hero for liking it, they would purposefully sing the theme song 'Believe it or Not' off key to annoy me, "Look at what's happened to me...". I so wanted to hit my older sister when she did that. Ralph wasn't a wimp he was an ordinary man put into extraordinary situations, so he reacted like a regular guy would. Hence his screaming like a banshee would he couldn't control the suit in mid air. Others here have pointed out the many problems The Greatest American Hero had to put up with during it's brief 2 years on the air, one I would like to mention was it was constantly yanked around on its schedule. It may be cliché to repeatedly call ABC or any other network 'villains' when talking about how they shafted a particular TV series, but in this case it really is true. In the beginning the series was perfectly aired on Wednesday nights, but then for whatever reason the network moved it to Thursday nights, and then finally it was shifted to the death slot of Friday nights were it was beat up in the ratings by the real kids shows like The Dukes of Hazzard and Knight Rider. The Greatest American Hero was written with children in mind but was not soley targeted at kids. Without a teenage to adult audience to sustain it, the series died a quiet death at the hands of ABC. I hope that one day we see a return of The Greatest American Hero.

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Superhero Name For Ralph dvps330
Can we all please agree... shalmo
What happens when you switch the theme music with Lois & Clark? bmdgsc
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