|Legends of the Superheroes|
The opening title used for both specials.
|Country of origin||
|No. of episodes||
95 minutes approx.|
January 18 – January 25, 1979|
Legends of the Superheroes is an umbrella title for two one-hour, live-action TV specials produced by Hanna–Barbera that aired on NBC in January 1979. The series was loosely based on Hanna-Barbera's Super Friends cartoon show, then airing on Saturday mornings on ABC. The specials were produced like standard variety shows of the time: on videotape and with a laugh track.
The producers were unable to use the characters of Superman and Wonder Woman (featured in the original Superfriends) since Superman had just been launched into a film franchise and Wonder Woman had her own television series on another network.
Legends of the Superheroes starred Adam West and Burt Ward, reprising their roles as Batman and Robin from the live-action Batman TV series. The show also had a large ensemble cast of other DC Comics superheroes that included Garrett Craig as Captain Marvel, Howard Murphy as the Green Lantern, Rod Haase as The Flash, Bill Nuckols as Hawkman, Barbara Joyce as The Huntress, Alfie Wise as The Atom and Danuta (Danuta Rylko Soderman) as the Black Canary.
- Adam West as Batman (both specials)
- Burt Ward as Robin (both specials)
- William Schallert as Retired Man/Scarlet Cyclone (both specials)
- Mickey Morton as Solomon Grundy (both specials)
- Jeff Altman as Weather Wizard (both specials)
- Charlie Callas as Sinestro (both specials)
- Howard Murphy as Green Lantern (both specials)
- A'leisha Brevard as Giganta (both specials)
- Garrett Craig as Captain Marvel (both specials)
- Howard Morris as Dr. Sivana (both specials)
- Danuta Rylko Soderman as Black Canary (both specials)
- Bill Nuckols as Hawkman (both specials)
- Rod Haase as The Flash (both specials)
- Gabriel Dell as Mordru (both specials)
- Barbara Joyce as Huntress (both specials)
- Frank Gorshin as The Riddler (1st special)
- Ruth Buzzi as Aunt Minerva (2nd special)
- Ed McMahon as Himself (2nd special)
- Alfie Wise as The Atom (2nd special)
- June Gable as Rhoda Rooter (2nd special)
- Pat Carroll as Hawkman's Mother (2nd special)
- Brad Sanders as Ghetto Man (2nd special)
- Gary Owens as Narrator (uncredited) (both specials)
- Marsha Warfield as Woman in phone booth (uncredited) (1st special)
Notable guest stars
Notable guest stars in the two specials included Frank Gorshin reprising his role as The Riddler from Batman, Howard Morris as Doctor Sivana, Gabriel Dell as Mordru, Charlie Callas as Sinestro, Jeff Altman as the Weather Wizard, Ruth Buzzi as Aunt Minerva, Mickey Morton as Solomon Grundy, June Gable as Rhoda Rooter, Pat Carroll as Hawkman's mother, A'leshia Brevard as Giganta, William Schallert playing the Scarlet Cyclone (more commonly referred to as "Retired Man") and Brad Sanders as "Ghetto Man". Ed McMahon played himself, hosting the celebrity super-hero roast.
Both specials preempted Project U.F.O.
In the first episode, the Justice League of America (Batman, Robin, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Captain Marvel, Huntress and Black Canary) unite at the Hall of Heroes to celebrate elderly retired superhero Scarlet Cyclone's birthday. The party is interrupted by the Legion of Doom (Riddler, Weather Wizard, Sinestro, Mordru, Doctor Sivana, Giganta and Solomon Grundy), who announce they have hidden a deadly bomb in a secret location, and the heroes must follow clues to find it. It's all, actually, a trap to make the heroes drink Mordru's de-powering potion, which succeeds, but the heroes face off the villains even so, disarm the bomb and recover their powers. Only after the whole battle is gone, and the heroes have proven victorious, does Scarlet Cyclone arrive to give his aid.
The second episode was a celebrity roast of the superheroes hosted by Ed McMahon. All of the major characters from the first episode return. New characters featured include Ghetto Man, an African-American superhero who performs a stand-up comedy routine; Aunt Minerva, the Captain Marvel villainess who seeks a sixth husband from among the male superheroes; Rhoda Rooter, an entertainment reporter who snags an exclusive interview with Giganta and the Atom (Alfie Wise) on their engagement to be married; and Esther Hol, Hawkman's mother.
Warner Home Video's Warner Archive Collection released the specials on DVD on October 19, 2010.
In popular culture
In the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Crisis: 22,300 Miles Above Earth!", Joker, Penguin, Gorilla Grodd, Kite Man, Black Manta, Two-Face, Gentleman Ghost, Mr. Freeze, Riddler, Poison Ivy, Clock King, and Solomon Grundy roast (literally and figuratively) Batman with help from a kidnapped Jeffrey Ross.