Written By: Stephen J. Cannell Directed By: Rod Holcomb
Guest Cast: Richard Herd (Adam Taft), G.D. Spradlin (Nelson Corey), Bob Minor (John Mackie), Ned Wilson (Shackelford), Robby Weaver (Buck), Edward Bell (David Knight), Jeff MacKay (police officer), Hank Salas (Brother Michael), Robert Dunlap (accountant), Jeff MacKay (Cowan, Jason Corbet, Robert Jean Williams, Jody Lee Olhava, Robbie Kiger, Carol Jones, Ed Deemer, James King, Corkey Ford, John Caliri, Lydia Fernandez, Cheryl Francis
Schoolteacher Ralph Hinkley and F.B.I. Agent Bill Maxwell are brought together in the desert and encounter a spaceship whose occupants give them a red super suit and book of instructions. Ralph losing the book does not help them stop a takeover attempt of the U.S. government by a wealthy industrialist and the corrupt vice president.
Before the pilot premiered ABC, impressed with the rushes, had already ordered the series as a mid-season replacement. The network promoted it in every imaginable timeslot, both with promos made up of lifted scenes from the movie, and with speciality shot spots featuring Katt and Culp.
Due to its heavy on-air promotion the pilot scored sky high ratings. For example, it was reported that in the Los Angeles overnight ratings, the pilot scored a 45 share. That's around double the share top rated series such as "C.S.I." pull in today. Network audiences have dwindled so much in the past few years, so a series with numbers as high as the "TGAH" pilot movie would be an overnight smash.
The well-written script by Cannell, top notch acting by the cast, and tight direction by Rod Holcomb make this number one on many fans' list of favorite "TGAH" episodes. Behind the scenes all was not well. Warner, owner of DC Comics, was stopping at nothing to keep the pilot from airing claiming the series would be infringing on the Superman copyright. A judge ruled the pilot could air, but Warner/ DC continued legal action well into "TGAH's" second season and beyond.
During the pilot's teaser funky super-hero type music is heard before the regular theme starts.
At the end of the teaser a shot close-up of Katt is shown as he holds the light as he's flying. This shot is not seen in the finished pilot.
When we hear the "GAH" theme for the first time in the opening credits, there's no lyrics, just music.
When Bill's partner beams back up into the spaceship it is the beam down ran backwards (look at the reflection of the suit's case in his hand).
In the script of the pilot dated July 16, 1980, William Maxwell is named William Alexander.
The belt on the suit looks shiny, as opposed to the duller felt-like appearance of the belt in the series. Also this suit's belt is the only one that the flap appears on the outside.
This is the only time the full suit with the gray/silver trim on the collar appears.
The alley where Ralph makes his first flight was located in Pasadena, but most of the background used in the flying scenes were shot with a alley miniature.
In the same flight there's a shot looking from the ground up. As Ralph passes over the camera the image of Katt's body looks flat, like a photograph.
Notice the bum that gets Ralph's street clothes as he's taken away by the police. It's the first of several sets of clothes he loses during the series run.
Check out the insert shot of Ralph's arms as he's strapped down by the orderlies. The cape is over the stand-in's stomach instead of behind his back and one arm isn't wearing the suit, it's a sweatshirt sleeve!
This is the only time the outside edge of the holographic vision is made up of moving shapes. The rest of the first season the holograph's outside edge is made up of rainbow colors. The second and third seasons the edge is a wavy black line.
Ralph also grabs Pam's arm during a holograph and asks her, "Can't you see that?" She says no, but in later episodes someone could touch him and see what he does.
After Ralph is knocked down trying to crash through a wall to save Bill, you can clearly see the stunt double's face subbing for Katt as he gets up.
The skinhead that's standing closest to the wall when Ralph crashes through it gets clobbered by one of the concrete blocks and is still standing!
It's a dummy of Culp that the Katt stunt double is carrying as he takes to flight over the wall. Same with the full body effects shot of Katt holding the dummy as he twists and turns during the same flight.
The close-up of Ralph evesdropping on the plot between Nelson Corey and the vice president is a repeat shot used earlier in the pilot. It's optically tinted dark to simulate the darkened room. It appears to imply in this scene that the suit also gives Ralph super-hearing. We never see this power again.
The unconscious skinheads Ralph drags into the room are dummys.
Different helicopter footage is used at the end. One style of chopper is used as it flies past the moon, another style is used for the mock-up the pilot is sitting in, and yet another for the full body effects shot of Ralph flying past it.
Pilot says "launching pad in site" instead of "landing pad in site."
Watch in the "Get outta here dummy!" shot, as it appears Katt flies in front of the chopper cockpit. Katt was actually stationary, and the camera locked down with the platform the helicopter mock-up was on as it turned to simulate Ralph flying past. If you have a clear, sharp, print of the pilot notice in the last second or two of the shot a studio light on a stand appears in the background back past the pilot's head.
Ralph hovers for a moment after he warns the chopper off, it's the only time he hovers during the series.
When the skinheads are shooting at Ralph, it's empty cartridges hitting the suit not bullets.
When Ralph and Tony are shooting hoops, Ralph tosses the ball to Tony, the scene switches to over Tony's shoulder and Ralph again has the ball without Tony throwing it back.
Ralph breaks Bill's hand for the first time at the end.
THE HIT CAR
Episode 1 Air Date: March 25, 1981
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell Directed By: Rod Holcomb
Guest Cast: Gwen Humble (Scarlet Wild), Gianni Russo (Johnny Damanti), Kene Holliday (Arnold Turner), Ernie Orsatti (Bob Baron), Bob Goldstein (maitre d’), Virginia Palmer (woman), Quin Kessler (hat check girl), W.T. Zacha, Anthony Charnoto (Mike), Arnold Turner (Billings), Ernie Orsatti (Bob Aaron), Melvin F. Allen (man), James Arone (waiter) Bill and Ralph travel to San Francisco to bring a federal witness back to L.A., the fact she refuses to fly and mob threats against her life make the job a little harder.
Great first episode! It's jam packed with so much going on, Ralph dealing with Bill, and Pam, mobster's girlfriend, the suit's powers, his class, and the souped up hit car. The rocky relationship between the 3 main leads makes for some awesome moments in this episode. Rod Holcomb directs this episode after helming the pilot, and helps establish the series direction even more.
When Ralph speed runs to catch the thugs who shot Bill the flying sound effects are heard.
In one shot, the van that drives by the camera trying to escape Ralph is NOT the same style of van actually used with the actors.
Watch the close up when Katt runs up beside the van. If you look at the van's passenger window it has been blacked out. That is to conceal the fact the van is actually standing still and Katt is running in place, with a bit of a smoke effect blowing by to simulate Ralph and the van's movement.
The stunt man who skids along side the van is wearing a huge blond wig; Katt's hair was never this big or bushy.
After stopping the van and after Bill cuffs the bad guy, Ralph takes to the air. Notice the takeoff is performed by a stunt man WITHOUT a blond wig; he has short very dark straight hair.
In the scene at the courthouse with Ralph, Bill and Arnold Turner, you can see that underneath Ralph's street clothes Katt is wearing the top of the suit with the silver/gray collar that was used in the pilot. This is the last time this suit appears (except for stock footage) in any way in the series.
The scene that you can see just the very top of the hit car pulling up outside the double doors of the school was shot with miniatures.
Notice when the gunfire comes through the glass of the doors it makes BB size holes.
When Ralph is trying to change into the suit to take on the hit car, he pulls a pant leg off and you can see he does not have on the baseball sock type boots on. There is no silver/gray boot top trim on his leg.
Shots of Ralph's flight down the alley from the pilot are used during his flight towards the hit car.
As the stunt man crashes into the pavement in the same scene you can see the shadow of the camera at the bottom of the screen.
Footage again from flying down the alley in the pilot is used again right before Ralph crashes into the bush. The crash into the bush looks like it might be an alternate take not used in the pilot, in the scene where Ralph runs too fast and cannot stop himself before he flips headfirst in what looks like the same bush.
In new prints of the episodes that were made in the late '90s the end battle with the hit car has had its audio changed slightly. All gunfire sound effects are different than what originally aired on ABC and in mid-'80s syndication. Also in portions of the battle, the music has been brought up louder in different areas than what was heard on the original broadcast and in mid-'80s syndication.
Portfolio head shots is what it looks like was used for the pictures of Rhonda and Tony for the "Taming of the Shrew" sign.
HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU, KID
Episode 2 Air Date: April 1, 1981
Written By: Juanita Bartlett Directed By: Bob Thompson
Guest Cast: James Whitmore, Jr. (Gordon McCready), June Lockhart (Mrs. Davidson), Bob Hastins (Harry Davidson), Red West (Cliff), Thomas W. Babson (Colvin), Will Gill, Jr. (African representative), Gerald Jann (Asian representative), Eric Forst (European representative), Roger Etienne (captain), Daniel Chodos (aide), Al Dunlop (mechanic), Nick Ginardo (consul person), Bert Hinchman (bus driver), Blake Clark (policeman), Zitto Kazann (consul general), F.J. O’Neil (Van Kamp), Laurence Haddon (Gen. Morehead), Denise Halma (Carrie)
Bill includes Ralph in a search for a missing jet fighter with a top secret gunsight aboard. Also, Ralph has to deal with meeting Pam's visiting parents on top of the fact that the suit has given him the uncontolled ability to turn invisible..
Ralph uses the suit's power of invisibility for the first time in this episode.
Faye Grant does not appear in this episode.
Ralph's last name is totally removed starting with this episode, either covered by silence or sound effects.
Bill gives Ralph a communicator in this episode.
After Ralph's first crash while he's sitting on the ground, you get a great look at how the baseball sock type boot strap goes under his boots. Notice the pointy toe of his boot/shoe, this style of footwear didn't stay with the suit for long. This first crash is also the crash you see in the credits, with Katt rolling down the mound of dirt. But the actual close-up seen in the credits of Katt rolling down is never used in this, or any other episode. The shot stays with the stuntman all the way down, and picks up with Katt after the tumble.
During Ralph's search for the plane, the same shot of Katt getting up and brushing himself off preparing to fly is used three times.
A bad take of a Katt stuntman jumping to fly is used in the same flight sequence. Instead of having his arms and legs stretched out as he takes to the air, it looks more like a bunny hop he makes over the scrub brush. The second unit director must have had him do it again because a better take of a leap over the same brush is used next.
During the restaurant scene Ralph tells Pam he's going to have to "run the gauntlet" past her parents to leave. Yet between them in the background is a doorway marked with an EXIT sign.
The estate where the gunsight is to be auctioned off is the same location used for Nelson Corey's in the pilot.
Notice in these first few episodes that most of the time Ralph uses a mirror when he's getting a holograph.
Ralph's flight with Bill over his shoulder is footage from the pilot, tinted optically to make it look dark out.
Finally, after Pam's parents meet Ralph you would think they could have recognized him from the restaurant.
SATURDAY ON SUNSET BOULEVARD
Episode 3 Production #9603 Air Date: April 8, 1981
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell Directed By: Rod Holcomb
Guest Cast: Alexa Hamilton (Theresa), Kai Wulff (Serge Valenkov), David Tress (Mikhail), Mal Steward (Sherman), Ian Teodorescu (Russian official), Lev Mailer (Frederic), Will MacMillan (Kerner), Christopher Thomas (Craig), Lawrence Benedict (Hellinger), Richard R. Holley (helicopter pilot), Glenn Wilder (Kavolstock), Joseph Warren (Harlan Cain)
Bill faces getting kicked out of the FBI for failing a polygraph test because of Ralph and the suit, but uses the defection of a Russian couple as a way to get around the bad test.
As usual with the 1st season, this episode has it all, trying to beat the Russians hit squad to the couple, Bill and the polygraph, the students are involved, etc. The script goes in many different directions weaving different situations and characters together, and it works.
In the opening credits, for the first time we hear a shorter version of the theme. A version made by not recording Believe it or Not over, just editing the credits down.
We are introduced to Agent Carlisle, who has the first name of Norm; it later changes to Les.
After taking the FBI file from Carlisle, Ralph's leap out the window is stock footage from The Hit Car.
The close up of Ralph crashing into the ground and getting up is footage from the pilot movie tinted dark.
The "Help Me Rhonda" bus ride from the pilot is used again. Except in the DVD release, in that case the entire song has been replaced with alternate music.
Connie Sellecca is very pregnant in this episode.
During Ralph and Tony's "pick your friends carefully" conversation, watch for a dark haired man, who is probably a crew member, stop a tall black man who is about to walk into the shot. (The crew member has a red shirt sticking out from under the back of his vest, could this be a red GAH crew shirt?) Plus after that, two other guys keep following Katt and Pare' trying to get on camera.
The location of the stuntman running before slipping on the banana peel does not match the alley that Katt was filmed in. Plus, why is the stuntman punching the air as he runs?
Also the background that's used in the flying after the banana slip looks like it was shot at the stuntmans location, not the alley used by the main unit.
Nice touch adding the wind effect blowing Pam and Teresa's hair after Ralph runs past them.
Episode 4 Production #9606 Air Date: April 15, 1981
Written By: Juanita Barlett Directed By: Gabrielle Beaumont
Guest Cast: E.J. Peaker (Rose Black), Simone Griffeth (Alicia Hinkley), Peter White (Semenenko/Simpson), Kurt Grayson (Vladimir Zorin), Jens Nowak (submarine seaman), Don Dolan (Technitron guard), Georgo Ganchev (submarine captain), Dave Shelley (Manny), Al White (station attendant), Nicholas Worth (Leonard), Stephen Kahan (Merv)
The disappearance of Rhonda's mother leads to the uncovering of a plot by Russian spies to steal super secret U.S. weapon plans.
We see Ralph's house for the first time since the pilot. It's no longer the 2 story style home, but more of a ranch style of house. No explanation for the change was given.
Ralph's house number is 13216.
This is the only appearance of Ralph's ex-wife.
In this episode, Hanley is now Ralph's last name.
When shooting point blank at Ralph, actor Nicholas Worth, for safety reasons, aims the gun just slightly to one side of Katt so as not to be firing blanks directly at him.
In the original broadcast version of this episode, Ralph flies Lenny up the side of the Technitron building, then leaps backwards onto the ledge above. During the backwards leap the flying sound FX play too long, and can still be heard even after Katt has stopped moving and is sitting on the ledge. Current prints of this episode have fixed this, and the sound FX stops as he lands.
Before crashing at the gas station, during Ralph's flight several close-up shots are used of Katt on the blue screen stage without any backgrounds matted in. In a couple of these shots one of the pipe looking arms of the flying rig can be seen in the bottom left corner of the screen. The same pipe is also visible for a split second before Ralph's crash into the trash dumpster.
In the original broadcast version and mid-80's syndication prints, "John Smith" pulls the gun out of the drawer, and there is a silencer attached to the barrel. Yet when he turns to fire at the door and Ralph, normal loud gunshot sound FX are heard. In new prints made in the late 90's the sound FX have now been changed to correctly simulate a silencer.
Not much is shown of the submarine exterior mock-up that Ralph lands on, probably due to the episode's limited construction budget. The new prints of episodes made in the late 90's have a much better brightness than the originals. Because of this, in the new prints you can now see a large black tarp stretched over the sub tower to simulate the night sky as Katt rocks the mock-up back and forth.
MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN COWBOYS
Episode 5 Production #9607 Air Date: April 29, 1981
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell Directed By: Arnold Laven
Guest Cast: Jack Ging (Tracy Winslow) John Hart (himself), Ferdy Mayne (Abe Figueroa), Frank McCarthy (Edward McAstelli), William Woodson (announcer), Brandon Williams, Joseph Chapman (Tim Carson), Robert Gooden (Sam Watson), Bruce Tuthill (Norm Woods), Glen Wilder (Pete King), William Woodson (announcer), Charles Walker (man), David Clover (policeman)
Bill tries to prevent an old war pal, now a cop, from going crooked. Ralph decides to retire from the super-hero business after his last attempt hits the skids. That is until a chance meeting with a silver age hero gives him encouragement.
In the first action scene, you can see very clearly that it's a stuntman that crashes and makes two attempts at flight, while two cops stare.
In the original broadcast of this episode, Ralph speeds past a motorcycle cop, as he's running a train whistle sound FX can be heard. In the current version of this episode that now airs, the train FX are significantly toned down, and the running footstep FX brought up.
After Ralph saves the tour bus, the stuntman for Katt runs and leaps over the camera. Notice the mini-trampoline not quite hidden at the bottom of the screen.
During the car chase, and on Ralph's flight to Bill, the same flying FX shot showing Ralph diving down, wobbling, then back up over a hill is used.
David Clover that plays the motorcycle officer returns as a gate guard in the 2nd season episode Now You see It.
When Ralph looks at the Lone Ranger ad a close up insert of the newspaper is used. As scene continues and he looks at the ad again the insert is NOT of the newspaper ad, but a shot of the photo the Ranger gives him that takes place a few minutes later!
When the stuntman as Ralph saves the eldery lady during a chase scene, look at the cars in the background as he scoops her up into his arms....they are driving backwards! Which means this scene was shot in reverse, the Katt stuntman was holding the eldery lady's double while going backwards, and dropped the lady double to the ground. When ran in reverse for the final cut of the episode, it looks like he flys towards her and scoops her into his arms.
When Ralph flies up to the rooftop to spy on the bad guys, notice the shot of Katt as he flies away from the camera. The image of him is flat, like the shot of him didn't composite right.
Look at the FX shot of a flying Ralph as he dives down and his arm smacks a tv antenna, breaking it off. The antenna and rooftop it's attached to are miniatures added to the background plate.
Before Ralph crashes at the jewel heist, some stock flying footage from the pilot is badly edited in.
Also of note is that ABC aired TWO versions of this episode!! The first ABC broadcast included slightly more flying footage of Katt and a bit different dialogue from Culp as they follow the bad cops to the jewel robbery. A few weeks later, ABC aired this episode again, some flying & dialogue was trimmed and music changed a little. This is very unusual, as episodes don't normally change in any way before networks rerun them.
FIRE MAN Episode 6 Production #960
Air Date: May 6, 1981
Written By: Lee Sheldon Directed By: Gabrielle Beaumont
Guest Cast: Sandy Ward (Lt. Rafferty), Timothy Carey (Cameron), Woody Eney (Moody), Mark Withers (Shaeffer), Raymond Singer (Kaufman), Steven Hirsch (Lane), Paul Cavonis (Thompson), Henry Sanders (policeman), Duane Tucker (fireman), Scott Thompson (young boy), Gayle Vance (young lady), Mercedes McCloskey (woman), Danny Glover (Joyner), Robby Weaver (Ray Buck)
Tony is accused of torching a federal records building when he is picked up in a car he repossessed which had been spotted at the scene of the crime. It's up to Ralph, Pam and a somewhat skeptical Bill to prove he's innocent.
Take a look at the 1st two cops that try to bust Tony, one is Danny Glover of Lethal Weapon fame.
In the original ABC broadcast and early syndication prints, when Ralph calls police about the hot car ring, when dialing you can hear what sounds like Katt just tapping plastic with his finger. In prints currently airing of this episode touchtone sound FX have been added.
When the agent spying at Ralph's house is running back to the car, look at the background; you can see Ralph's shadow as he's pacing back and forth. The shadow should have the hood of the fire man suit on; it doesn't. The scene right before this one shows Katt putting it on.
Does everyone with an attic have a huge shiny door that opens up to their roof?
In prints currently in syndication and in the DVD release, you can now see, due to the better contrast and brightness, that after picking up the bag lady in the burning theatre Ralph carries her up a set of stairs, before flying with her over the side of the building. Before now in all other prints from 1981 up through the episode airing on FX, the stair scene was always way too dark to see what was actually happening.
Once again stock footage of Ralph's flight and crash over the wall from the pilot is used tinted dark.
In the scene that shows Maxwell's car flip, notice the hand held camera inside the car shows Culp pulling up slowly almost to a stop in front of the car he is to crash into. The scene then switches to a wide shot of Maxwell's car speeding fast, then hitting the flip car and rolling.
Also the hand held camera inside the car with Culp, never rolls in a circle to simulate the rollover of the car. It just turns upside down and kinda shakes around. On a side note this same turning upside down footage of Culp inside the car quickly appears in the 1st season episode of Hardcastle & McCormick titled The Crystal Duck. The odd thing about it is that although this footage is used, Culp does NOT appear in the episode. When his shot is used it's supposed to be another actor!
When Katt lands in front of the fire man, there is a pane of glass between him and the flame. When the flame shoots out towards him, it hits the glass and spreads out, making it look like it's hitting him. It was a cool effect making it appear the suit was protecting Ralph, plus keeping Katt from the dangerous flame at the same time.
This is Bill's 1st trashed car.
THE BEST DESK SCENARIO
Episode 7 Air Date: May 13, 1981
Written By: Juanita Barlett and Stephen J. Cannell Directed By: Arnold Laven
Guest Cast: Eugene Peterson (Clarence Carter), Duncan Regeher (Palmer Bradshaw), Michael Ensign (Principal Kane), Tom Pletts (Agent Genesta), Eric Server (Kyle Morgan), Rod Colbin (Theodore Svenson), William Frankfather (Chet Kanaby)
Bill is so depressed after being passed over for younger agents that he decides to quit the FBI after one last outing with Ralph: rescuing Pam from the peril of her boss's mob connections.
A nice finish for the 1st season, with developments for all three characters. Although this one is short on action, it more than makes up for it with outstanding writing. Plus Sellecca gets to do more than just show up with the burgers and cokes. The adult themes and more complex plots found in the 1st season episodes would not continue on in all the remaining episodes.
Ralph gets the power of pyrokinesis.
A clue that something was going to happen to Bill's car, was him having an older model than he usually drove.
Bill's actual onscreen trashed car count is now up to 2, although Ralph and others state that this one is the 3rd.
By this time it was getting very hard to hide the fact that Connie Sellecca was going to have a baby.
We learn Bill's family were sharecroppers.
The flying sound FX in this episode are more muffled than the ones normally used in the other episodes.
This is one of the rare episodes that the FBI office scenes were actually shot in a real building, as opposed to offices built on a set.
Pam works for the law firm of Carter, Bailey, and Smith.
We didn't get to see many large scale live effects like Ralph throwing the junk car; it was a great idea on someone's part to use the junkyard crane to accomplish this.
The second season starts out with a decent episode, although Operation: Spoilsport or Don't Mess Around With Jim would have made a stronger season premiere.
Oddly enough, years later I found out by obtaining some press info given to ABC stations, Operation: Spoilsport was intended to be the second season premiere. Then ABC changed the schedule and made The 200 Mile-an-Hour Fastball the premiere show. One has to wonder if some network executive thought the episode should change because ABC was coming off the World Series right before "TGAH" returned for it's second season, thinking that the popularity of the sport would work better as the premiere episode.
THE TWO-HUNDRED-MILE-AN-HOUR FASTBALL Episode 8 Production #96202 Air Date: November 4, 1981
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell Directed By: Georg Stanford Brown
Guest Cast: Markie Post (Debbie Dante), Carmen Argenziano (Nick Castle), Michael J. London (Raymond Sloat), Richard Gjonola (Russ Decker), Bruce Kirby, Hector Elias, William Marquez, Stanley Brock, Ralph Maura, Charles McDaniels, Porfirio Guzman Berrones, Hank Robinson, Mike Douglas (himself), Richard Guonal (Russ Decker), Ralph Mauro (man), Hank Robinson (umpire #1), Porfirio Guzman Berrones (Manuel Cortez)
Ralph and the suit go undercover in pro baseball with Bill as his manager to trap Latin American revolutionaries who hope to finance a coup by fixing baseball games.
A fun episode, but I'm not so sure it rates for a season premiere as its a "gimmick" episode. As I stated above, Operation: Spoilsport was originally intended to kick off the series 2nd season. That episode or even Don't Mess Around with Jim seem to have fit the bill better.
This is the first episode to use the alternate, slightly changed version of the theme.
When Ralph throws his pitch at the tryout, you can clearly see the cable used to jerk the catcher/stuntman backwards off his feet.
Originally the script had Ralph appearing on the "Merv Griffin Show," apparently a deal could not be worked out, and it was changed to the "Mike Douglas Show."
You can see in Katt's scenes by the pool with Markie Post were dubbed to make the change.
This is the first episode to use the silly, "ah, ah...oh no" during the shakey flight scenes, instead of the better first season screams or no screams at all.
During the first action scene, there are shots of a stuntman "live" flying behind the bad guys car. Watch for the last "live" shot as the car turns to the right, before the scene changes, just for a split second, you can see the white platform the stuntman is laying on.
The scene of Katt's double jumping in front of the bus and bringing it to a stop, was really filmed in reverse. The scene was originally shot with the stuntman holding on to the bus' bumper and the bus backing up, pulling the stuntman away from the stalled car.
This is the first episode in which Connie Sellecca only appears in a short phone call scene.
In the original broadcast version (and first syndication run)during Ralph's flight from the stadium, one flying shot has no flying sound effects dubbed in. Since the new prints were made a few years ago this has been corrected. Now in any broadcast or DVD versions the flying sound effects can be heard.
As Ralph takes to the air with the bad guy over his shoulder, one of the shots is stock footage from the pilot, with Katt flying with the Maxwell "dummy" over his shoulder.
Excellent stuntwork by the double who jumped off the billboard backwards, (with a dummy over his shoulder!!) so the footage could be ran backwards showing Ralph flying "live" up to the top of the sign.
Episode 9 Production#96201 Air Date: November 11, 1981
Written By: Frank Lupo Directed By: Rod Holcomb
Guest Cast: John Anderson (Gen. Stocker), Dudley Knight (Charles Ratner), James Burr Johnson (Major Dyle), Robin Riker (Nancy Ratner), John Di Fusco (Sgt. Jenson), John Brandon (Adm. Bailey), Al White (Capt. Reilly), Don Maxwell (motorcycle cop), Russ Martin, Arnold Spivey (Smitty), John Bristol (guy who lives under the bridge), Dein Wein (spiral computer), Rex C. Yon (man near the phone booth)
The greenguys return with a warning of Earth's imminent destruction, sending Ralph and Bill tracking a computer malfunction that's set to launch America's nuclear missiles.
The series hit a bullseye with this episode, which is probably my favorite after the pilot. Director Rod Holcomb never lets the scenario of WW III get too outrageous, and keeps viewers excitement up with the ticking clock. Plus who doesn't enjoy getting a "save the word" demand from a recently char-broiled dead guy?
Connie Sellecca again only appears in this episode for a short phone call scene, due to her missing a few episodes while having her baby.
This is the first time the Villicana Piranha appears.
The music, eerie spaceship, ghostly make-up and voice of Sgt. Jenson, plus him getting beamed into the ship make a pretty freaky scene.
When the original "Wednesday on The Greatest American Hero" promo aired for Operation: Spoilsport, it showed a few seconds of the "Those missles cannot be disarmed" scene. Sgt. Jenson's voice did not have the spooky reverb like in the final cut of the episode, instead the actor's own normal voice was heard.
The Ralph doll used for the effects shot of his and Bill's shadows flying past the moon was sold a few years ago at auction.
After stopping the launching missle, Ralph gets thrown to the ground by the explosion. Look at the stuntman when he hits the ground and rolls backwards, it appears there's no belt buckle on the costume's belt.
DON'T MESS AROUND WITH JIM Episode 10 Production #96204
Air Date: November 18, 1981
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell Directed By: Robert C. Thompson
Guest Cast: Joseph Wiseman (James J. Beck), Byron Morrow (Marshall Dunn), Stan Lachow (Jordan Heath), Bernard Behrens (Dr. Springfield), Barry Cutler (cab driver), Michael Alldredge (Vern), W.T. Zacha, Luck Andreas, Bernard Behrens, Fred Lerner, Jerry Dunphy (himself), Chuck Bowman (Keith Asherman), Barry Cutler (cab driver), Barry Davis (Croupler), Phyllis Hall (girl #1), Zan Dres (girl #2), Don Pulford (Gil), Dave Ziletti (Phil), Sonny Shields (Diggs), Carl Wickman (pilot)
An eccentric billionaire who has staged his own death kidnaps Ralph and Bill, threatening to expose the secret of the suit if they do not help him.
Outstanding episode that gives us some greenguy history, in that Ralph was not the only person to be given a suit. Nice touch showing that a person given awesome power can misuse it. The only thing missing from this episode was a flashback scene showing a young J.J. Beck and his suit but, given the series limited budget, it's understandable the money couldn't be spent on the design and construction of another suit that would be used only once.
It's odd that ABC aired two episodes in a row featuring the return of the spaceship. You would think such an event would have been spaced out over several episodes.
Connie Sellecca was absent from this episode due to the birth of her baby.
You get a great look at the black case the suit was stored in during the scene where the thug walks up and hands it over to Marshal Dunn.
During the scene in which Beck confronts Ralph and Bill, his face is lit from underneath with a eerie glow after he opens the case. Great effect, and nice that they took the time to light him that way to depict the light coming from the inside of the box.
In the original broadcast and syndication versions while Ralph is changing into the suit, he starts to emerge from some bushes, you see the film freeze, then run backwards to show him ducking down behind them again. Then after a shot of Culp it runs forward, letting Katt run out and leap over the camera. In the new prints this has since been corrected and the "freeze" is not there.
The awful "oh no... oh no" dialogue was still being used during the flight scenes in this episode.
Ralph's flight from the casino uses stock flying footage from the alley flight from the pilot.
Just like in Operation: Spoilsport, this episode features a great Ralph and Bill hitchhiking scene.
Footage of more than one style of helicopter is used at the end of the episode, plus when the chopper flies up to the bottom of the spaceship, the optical effects didn't quite cut it....the chopper is transparent!
Spectacular end to this episode as Beck and Dunn walk out under the eerie spacecraft. A perfect combination of live action merged with opticals, with awesome music and sound effects.
Episode 11 Prod Air Date: November 25, 1981
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell Directed By: Ivan Dixon
Guest Cast: Gregory Sierra (Sheriff Vargas), Dennis Burkely (Preacher), Paul Koslo (Bad B.), Mariannce Muellerleile (Stella), Tony Burton (Curley), Dennis Fimple (Cile Kane), Marland Proctor (Basil), Hoke Howell, Terrence Beasor (county sheriff), Kerrie Cullen (Flo)
A Biker gang gets control of the suit, take Bill hostage, and are out to terrorize a desert town.
A typical biker gang script made slightly more interesting when a member of the gang tries to use the suit. Culp's explaining to the bikers how the suit works while the guy gets banged up in the costume is a classic GAH moment.
This episode is still using the silly 2nd season "Oh no" "Oh Bill" "Oh No" dialogue dubbed in over the flying scenes. If the producers were going to continue with Ralph's uneasiness with flying they should have stuck with the straight screams. Thankfully this "oh no" stuff didn't last for long.
If I had a dollar for every time Dennis Burkley played a biker on tv, I'd be rich.
Nice touch as Ralph speed runs down the hill. First using a Katt double, then Katt himself making it look as though Ralph covered the long distance even quicker. Very simple, but yet very effective.
When Katt's double pulls the door off the sheriff's car as it skids to a stop, take a look at the stunt drivers pants. He's only wearing the top half of the sheriff's uniform, he's wearing blue jeans instead of the tan uniform pants.
After Ralph gets the suit back, he takes off for the school. During his flight he passes the gas station, the pumps in the background plate are still standing. Just minutes before was a scene showing the bikers had ripped a couple of them out of the ground.
Episode 12 Air Date: December 2, 1981
Written By: Frank Lupo Directed By: Bruce Kessler
Guest Cast: Edward Winter (Charley Wilde), Georgo Loros (Hydra), Garnett Smith (Hanson), Blake Clarke (Sgt. Crane), Christopher Thomas, Joe Horvath (Doug), Steve Leibman (Huey), Dennis Madalone (biker)
Good episode! I'm sure it was hard to come up with a good story that involved chasing the bad guy's AND find a interesting way to involve Ralph's student's without it seeming forced.
This is the only episode that the GAH theme is NOT heard playing in the background during the teaser.
In the teaser notice the following dialogue:
Ralph: "If he was to sabotage those tanker's while the concert was going on, could you imagine!"
Army Guy: "I want the gas safely stored at the Utah depot, before it becomes the least bit unstable."
Ralph: "Blow it up!"
(None of these line's appear in the final broadcast version of the ABC episode)
This was Sellecca's first episode back to full time after the birth of her baby.
Ralph's jump out his bedroom window has no flying sound effects until the scene switches to the shot of him in the sky. The new prints have corrected this.
During the same flight, stock footage of his crash into a office building from Sunset Boulevard. is used here. Watch as the stuntman gets up from the floor, and runs towards a closed door, yet when the scene switches, it's to the stock footage shot from Hit Car of him leaping out a window!
The video that was transmitted of Hydra from prison was matted onto a screen from a old Radio Shack TRS-80 computer!
Ralph's take-off from the Playland Motel was footage originally used in Don't Mess Around with Jim.
The biker that Bill takes the dirt bike from is Dennis Madalone, the series stunt coordinator.
Nice touch was when a machine was used to blow a dust cloud in the scenes with Katt's double running down the dirt road.
During Ralph's flight to Bill after stopping Hydra's rocket, there is one close-up body shot of Katt, if you look fast, on his side near the belt area, a red ball/knob from the flying rig he's mounted on is visible.
THE BEAST IN THE BLACK
Episode 13 Production#96203 Air Date: December 9, 1981
Ralph stretches the suits powers to the limit taking on an evil spirit intent on returning to the living by possessing Bill.
Written By: Juanita Bartlett Directed By: Arnold Laven
Guest Cast: Christine Belford (Sheila Redman), Jane Merrow (Betty), Rae Allen (Edith), Jeff MacKay (Dr. Weinstein), Vince Howard (Workman), John Macchia (Arnold)
Spectacular episode!! I wish there had been more episodes like this, that pitted our heroes & the suit against more than bank robbers and commies. Someone posted on another website that TGAH was a series searching for an identity, and used this episode as an example because it strayed from the shows typical format.
This episode a great example of how not having the instruction book left the door open for a writer to stretch the shows format. Not in a way as if it's searching for an identity, but in a way to keep it fresh and not have interchangable cookie cutter scripts.
This was another of the first episodes to be filmed for the second season, since Connie Sellecca doesn't appear at all.
You can see the little table the wheelchair crashes into was a fragile breakaway.
Jeff MacKay from another of my favorite series, "Tales of the Gold Monkey," plays the emergency room doctor. He also played one of the cops from "TGAH" pilot who picks Ralph up and takes him to the hospital after his first flight.
Bill actually "steals" from the emergency room in this episode.
The blue eyes Bill has while possessed was a nice touch.
You have to give Culp a hand for the great job he did in changing Maxwell's mannerisms during the possession scenes. Plus kudos to Christine Belford for her job in looping the dialogue to match Culp.
The only thing I hate about this episode are the silly "oh, no" cries that are dubbed over Ralph's flight to Shelia Redman's apartment.
Christine Belford, who played Shelia Redman also appears as Bill's blind date in the third season episode Thirty Seconds Over Little Tokyo.
THE LOST DIABLO
Episode 14 Production#96211 Air Date: December 16, 1981
Bill arranges a field trip for Ralph and his students to search for a lost gold mine and in the process gets them mixed up with a band of murderous claim jumpers.
Written By: Juanita Bartlett Directed By: Lawrence Doheny
Guest Cast: Fred Downs (Pop Casco), John Miranda (Fletcher), Gary Grubbs (Doyle), Bill Quinn, Joseph Whipp
This is a so-so episode, made better because we learn a little about Bill's early FBI background, plus notice how Culp changes Bill's personality from FBI bust'em and badge'em type to a grizzled old prospector.
It was also a nice touch giving the "kids" a little more background and what they would do if given the opportunity to have a substantial amount of money. The ending leaves much to be desired with the bad guys killing themselves by shooting off a gun in the mine. More to do with the series timeslot at the time, than lack of creativity on the production side.
The production of this episode is what I find most interesting, it was shot on film, but edited on videotape. It was an experiment by Cannell to see if this would help bring down production costs. In the end, Cannell chose to stay with editing on film rather than video. This episode was given an Emmy nomination for best editing on videotape.
This is the only episode that during the original broadcast had its guest credits and end credits done in different style of letters. The "GAH" font is not used, probably because this episode had the film transferred to video for editing. More than likely there was no "Hero" font to use with video, and instead of spending the money to create one, they chose to use a different font to key in.
Watch as Ralph changes into the suit inside Bill's tent. As he holographs on the map, look at his legs. Katt does not have the boot spats on. There is no gray trim of the boot below his knees.
Check out the scene as Ralph wakes up to find the kids went back to the mine, the camera starts to pull back as Bill and Pam wake up. In the background you see Culp grab his shoes to put them on, in the next shot, a close-up of Katt, in the background you see Culp's shoes already on, and he's jumping up! Who needs the suit for a quick change!!
The shot of Ralph crashing while looking for the vertical shaft was an unused bit of footage shot for Here's Looking at You, Kid.
If the kids had a look at the top portion of the suit in this episode, don't you think at least one of them would have remembered it five episodes later when catching Ralph in it at the circus?
Look at the scene of Ralph and Bill discussing the mine boobytraps in front of Fletcher, it's raining. You can see the rain clearly in the close-ups of Katt.
We get to meet Bill's first partner, Harlan, in this episode.
Episode 15 Production#96207 Air Date: January 6, 1982
While investigating the death of a mercenary who had contracted the smallpox virus, Bill finds himself kidnapped by the fanatical leader of a mercenary group who plans to kill millions by unleashing a plague.
Written By: Rudolph Barchert Directed By: Arnold Laven
Guest Cast: Ed Grover (Bunker), Arthur Rosenberg (Kelly), Jeff Cooper (Reo), Glenn Wilder (Harvey Locke), Melvin F. Allen (Arnold Diggs,), Richard Brand (Dr. Keene), James Dybas (medic), Hand Salas (cadre man), Robert Curtis (truck driver), Black Marion (radar operator), J.P. Bumstead, Chip Johnson
Good episode! Great balance between the action and humor. The script manages to fit in a little of everything, Bill at the office, Ralph and the kids, great scenes between our three main characters.
This episode is a good example of Bill's relationship with Carlisle. I could never figure out if Carlisle's dislike for Bill was jealousy over his record, or the fact that after reading each of Bill's reports about his busts, that they didn't add up, and something was going on.
Kudos to everyone who performed stunts in this episode! They really had a workout, and made everyone look great!
The "Wednesday on The Greatest American Hero" promo that ABC ran shows the close-up of Culp falling after being shoved from the chopper, instead of seeing the background of sky with Ralph matted in behind him, we only get to see the bluescreen he was shot in front of.
In this episodes teaser, we see the guy who sells coffee saying the line, "Yeah, Harvey Locke." this line never appears in the finished episode.
This episode is one of the few that has the FBI office scenes shot in a real building and not on a stage.
Watch as Bill opens the door to the Faultline Hotel room before he's kidnapped. The plate on the door says 127, just a second later it shows Ralph and Pam going to another room door to open it, it's the same 127 room door.
In the scene that shows Ralph flying between the birds, there's a close-up of Katt being pelted with feathers. If you look at the stomach area of the suit, it's all bloated out, from what I guess is the plate underneath the costume that Katt was hooked up to.
Check out the scene with Bunker questioning Bill. You get the see a good close-up of the first communicator as Bill turns it on and shoves it down into his pocket.
There's a skinhead mixed in with the bad guys in this episode. Is it a leftover terrorist from the pilot movie, still trying to be involved with taking over the U.S.?
In the flying close-up right after the line, "smallpox....so you do know." For just a second on the right side of the screen, you can see a sharp edge of the chestplate bulging out from underneath the suit.
During the great scene of Ralph using the landmines to make Bunker believe they are under attack, a couple of old take-offs from "Here's Looking at You, Kid" are used.
In one landmine scene, great stunt work and editing makes it look like Ralph was blown up from three mines in a row.
As Culp's double falls from the chopper, if you look quick at the bottom right hand corner of the screen, you see what he lands on peek up into the shot.
Great idea to used skydivers for Ralph and Bill, but did they have to make that chute cord white, plus the chute pack on the leg is so easy to see!!
If you look quick when Ralph and Bill crash to the ground, you'll notice the Maxwell dummy has its hands tied together to keep them from flinging around during the fall.
I never much cared for the Ralph crashing thru the window after the janitor closes it. He looks right at it, before leaping. Plus if you watch the left of the screen, you can see the stuntguy's feet landing and bouncing.
The shot of Ralph flying straight from right to left after crashing through the window was never used with any other background plate during the series run.
During the battle in the lab you can clearly see the face of Katt's double as he throws the soldiers around, plus the smallpox vial is not in his hand! This whole scene with the double looks like it was shot as a afterthought, like maybe someone thought a little more action was needed at the end, and this was shot quick with some extras and the double, the walls don't even match.
If you have this episode watch as Ralph crashes through the wall, catches the vial, Bill swings into action, Ralph jumps up and grabs a soldier by the gun and slams him up against some kind of computer set-up, scene switches to the double throwing some different soldiers around, then cuts back to Ralph holding the first soldier again by the gun, ripping it out of his hands and bending it!
The new prints of this episode used for current syndication and the DVD release have had a new font included to replace "TGAH" font for the guest cast and closing credits. It's similar to the real "GAH" font, but not the same. This font was not originally found on the prints when broadcast throughout the '80s.
TRAIN OF THOUGHT
Episode 16 Air Date: January 13, 1982
While trying to stop a train hijacking by terrorists, Ralph is injured. The accident gives him partial amnesia: he loses all recollection of Bill and the suit.
Written By: Frank Luppo Directed By: Lawrence Doheny
Guest Cast: Milt Kogan (doctor), James Lydon (McGivers), Judd Omen (Mohammed), Nick Cinardo (Sylvester), Sonia Petrovna (Sonja), Nick Shields, Robert Alan Browne, Warren Munson (engineer), Perry Cook (Carter)
An outstanding episode! One of the best in the series run. The three leads are perfect, they have to learn all over again how to get along with each other and the suit. Katt's perfect as Ralph learns again the suit is all too real. "I see it...I see the train. Let me pick up the car again." A great script by Frank Lupo. This episode does seem to make the point that Ralph's head is unprotected, although this doesn't seem to matter in all other episodes when he crashes head first through walls.
At the start of this episode while saving Bill from two terrorists, Ralph throws one bad guy out a window. Glass breaking sound FX are heard but there is no glass in the window.
The head terrorist that hijacks the trainyard office has an on-again, off-again fake accent.
In the scene with Pam driving Ralph home from the hospital, watch Sellecca's hands as she drives. She's pretending to use the steering wheel, actually she's not driving, just sliding her hands back and forth across the wheel as if turning it.
You get a great look at the custom red shoes Katt wore with the suit as Culp tosses the suit back at him in the scene right outside Ralph's house. Actually you get one of the best behind the scenes look at the costume in this episode at different times. You can see how the belt was made, how the elastic was placed inside the tights and more.
During the scene of Ralph learning how the suit works again, we see a close-up of Culp as he pulls his gun. The scene then switches to a wide shot showing him wearing sunglasses, glasses he was not wearing seconds before in the close-up.
I don't like the silly cartoon sound effects used when Ralph tosses the terrorists from their van.
You can see as Katt's double slides along the rails when stopping the train, that he's not really sliding on the rails with the shoes. It looks as if some kind of flat runners are attached to the shoe bottoms. To do this, the baseball sock type stirrups that go underneath the shoes had to be cut to attach the metal.
NOW YOU SEE IT...
Episode 17 Production#96210 Air Date: January 20, 1982
Ralph discovers a new power within the suit - precognition - that allows him to see the future of a plane set to crash with Pam and a top secret cloaking device aboard.
Written By: Patrick Burke Hasburgh Directed By: Robert C. Thompson
Guest Cast: Christopher Lofton (Sen. Henderson), Jon Cypher (Beller), Charles Bateman (Col. Cullen), Laurence Hadon (Burke), Robert Covarrubias (De Jesus), Richard Beauchamp (Phillipe), Joe Mantegna (Juan), Matthew Faison, David Clover, Patrick Cameron (Smitty), Dennis Haskins (Trigg), Glenn Wilder (Capt. Fredericks), Gary Jensen (Capt. Williams)
Actually after watching this episode again I think it deserves to be rated a bit higher than I did originally. A lot is crammed in, and it's balanced well. We get a little of everything; Ralph teaching, Pam working, Bill working up new suit scenarios, and a new suit power to boot!
This episodes teaser shows Ralph diving, out of control, to save a single engine plane. In the finished episode the same shot of the airplane spinning downwards was used, but the shot of Ralph was changed to him totally flying in control to save the plane.
The sub scenes are stock, taken from Reseda Rose, as well as the music in these scenes.
Ralph's flight with the vertical stablizers would have been better if new flying effects would have been shot with Katt wearing them, instead of stock flying shots.
You see a great close-up shot of the suit's boot spats as Ralph attaches the gizmos to his legs. Notice the shoe is the one with the grid-like tread on the bottom.
There's one flying effects shot during the test flight which was only used in this episode and no other. It's the shot of Katt on his side entering the shot from the left side of the screen, and spinning toward the right side.
The stuntman who takes the fall for Katt when he crashes at the precognition crash site looks like he was launched towards the ground instead of just jumping into the scene. He comes flying in and smacks the ground hard, more so than if he had just jumped.
This is the first episode in which Bill gets to experience the power of the suit by touching Ralph, or if Ralph touches Bill.
The actor who plays the "look down at your shoelaces" guard also appears as the motorcycle cop who sees Ralph speed run in My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys. The actor who played Burke also appears in Here's Looking at You, Kid.
After Burke's line "Who the hell is Ralph?" we see a shot of Katt flying towards the camera. As he does, he puts his hands up in front of his face and turns his head as he goes up and over. I believe this was an alternate take from the Pilot, if used this would have been the shot of Ralph right before he hits the billboard in the alley.
Nice touch adding the "live" shot of Ralph's hands grabbing the tail of the plane. This would have looked even better if the double's dark hair wouldn't have been seen performing the stunt. This scene has a little bad editing, when you see the live hands grab the tail, cut to Katt effects flying not holding the tail, right back to the live hands letting go of the tail, back to the same effects flying shot of Katt backing away from the plane.
In the ABC version watch the phone booth scene as Bill looks up Miller Stables, he finds the address, and Katt turns and clearly mouths the words "I'm flying," yet there's just silence. He then runs out of frame, as to take off. Culp then loads the cat into the car by himself and then jumps in. All of a sudden as the shot changes, we see Katt run up to the car and jump in! Obviously this scene was changed at some point on location to include Ralph leaving with Bill and could not be fixed in editing. Now in all prints (DVD and syndication) the line "I'm flying" has been restored and it makes no sense since Katt actually jumps back in the car instead of taking to the air.
Awesome live shot from inside the plane as Ralph flies past the cabin's windows. After flying past the window, there's a shot of the hijackers reacting to seeing a flying Ralph. Now wait a minute....if Ralph flew up on the left side of the plane, past the cabin windows, to the planes door, he never would have passed by the cockpit windows.
Another nice "live" shot of Katt flying and struggling to keep up with the plane at its door. The wind machines are on full blast for this shot truly depicting the effects of flight.
One lone jet pilot sees Ralph fly Pam from the plane, he has the line "team leader two, did you see that!?" the music and sound effects are very loud, but you can here the line...."negative"
The stock footage of the plane crash looks like it takes place on some sort of runway, instead of out in an open area.
THE HAND-PAINTED THAI Episode 18 Production#96215 Air Date: January 27, 1982
A federal agent brainwashed years ago while a POW leads Ralph and Bill to chase down the connection between mind control and acts of sabotage.
Written By: Frank Lupo, Stephen J. Cannell and Burke Hasburgh Directed By: Bruce Kessler
Guest Cast: James Shigeta (Shawn Liang), John Fujioka (Gen. Vin Chow), Kurt Grayson (Tim Lider), Hilary Labow (Erika Van Damm), J.P. Bumstead, Kurt Grayson (Tim Lider), Terrance O’Hara, Charles Lanyer, Hilary Labow, Terrance Evans, Michael Cornelison, Chris Hendrie (Marv Keegan), James Saito (Kelly Kim), Odesa Cleveland (nurse), Lori Michaels (Shirley)
A so-so episode. This one never did really grab me, despite some great comic bits between the three leads. Maybe the script was re-written several times since 3 writers are credited. I would be very interested in reading any early drafts of this episode that are different than what was aired, if they exist.
Great stuntwork by Katt's double when he flies up the side of the building with a dummy over his shoulder. Scenes like these filmed on location were accomplished by having the stuntman with the dummy stand on the edge of the roof and jumping off backwards! When reversed it looks like he flies up the side and lands on the roofs edge. You can see tons of these kinds of reverse scenes in any episodes of "Six Million Dollar Man" and "Bionic Woman."
A couple of years after this episode was made, there was a second season "A-Team" episode that had a very similar ending as this one.
MORE TO COME...
JUST ANOTHER THREE RING CIRCUS
Episode 19 Air Date: February 3, 1982
Bill is given the assignment of finding a missing clown, so he and Ralph go undercover and join a circus to investigate.
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell Directed By: Chuck Bowman
Guest Cast: Catherine Campbell (Erica), David Winn (John), Kai Wulff (Peter), Alex Rodine (Klaus), Derek Thompson, Richard Doyle (Uri Yovanovitch), Patrick Stack (Chuck), Chip Johnson (Sharp), Jourdan Fremin (Lisa), Derek Thompson (Spielman), Gene Lebell (Yuri)
Another well balanced episode, manages to fit alot of stuff in, and even gives Pam a little field work, something that was needed in many more episodes. Sellecca never had enough to do. Great scenes between Maxwell and Carlisle highlight also.
The ABC promo for this episode had the voiceover "Ralph and Jill go undercover." JILL! Who is Jill? More than likely the voiceover artist had copy to read with the typo Jill instead of Bill.
As Ralph tries on some of Yuri's clown items, he has the line "The circus is about to begin" after which we see a shot of a elephant falling to the ground, then a reaction shot of Culp inside what looks like Yuri's tent, but he already left.
The shots of the gliders are slightly cheesy, using the same background plates of a city at night as was used for flying effects. I had at one time owned one of the miniature gliders used in this scene, but have since sold it.
Watch the effects shot as Ralph catches a falling Bill, some of this footage is stock from the pilot with new backgrounds matted in. Culp is wearing his standard blue/gray suit as he falls, but look carefully when Ralph catches the falling body, the dummy has on a BROWN suit, also this same brown suited dummy is seen in the flying shot where Ralph has his right arm stuck out. This looks like footage shot for the episode The Hand Painted Thai in which Ralph saves agent Tim Lighter as he jumps from a tall building. The actor that played Lighter was wearing a brown suit and the building background plate matches the building from Thai, the footage was just optically tinted dark to appear like night for this episode.
Bill says in this episode "Ralph, I'm the number two federal officer in all of Los Angeles, and if we crack this clown caper I'm gonna be number one!" Now this would have been interesting to see this agent Bill spoke of becoming suspicious of Maxwell's "all of a sudden" kill record.
A lot of what looks like 1950s stock footage is used in the circus scenes.
Check out the wrist bands on the suit after Ralph crashes into the picnic table, they are white, instead of gray.
As Ralph flies from the park, the flying sound effects is dubbed in about a second too soon.
Ralph flying down towards the rooftop was taken from The Beast in the Black, and the antenna crash was from My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys. Ralph looking down into the air vent was also taken from Cowboys.
During the whole scene of Ralph mopping up the circus bad guys and getting the lowdown of what was going on from the real Biff Henderson, take a look at the suits belt buckle, no insignia can be seen, just shiny blank metal.
THE SHOCK WILL KILL YOU
Episode 20 Production #96220 Air Date: February 10, 1982
Ralph rescues a disabled space shuttle, and in the process unleashes a outer space slime monster that's out to kill and eat all the electricity on Earth.
Written By: Patrick Burke Hasburgh, Frank Lupo and Stephen J. Cannell Directed By: Rod Holcomb
Guest Cast: Don Starr (Crocker), Rod Colbin (Gen. Enright), Ray Girardin (Col. Nelson), Leonard Lightfoot (lieutenant), Bert Hinchman, Doug Hale, Ned Ballamy (R.J.), Randy Patrick (Rider), Bert Hinchman (guard)
This episode is way too ambitious for it's budget. It's too bad the production couldn't have skimped on a couple of normal "bad guy" shows, to save up a little extra dough to spend on this one. No fault of the production company, only a certain amount could be spent and it's difficult to do a "creature" type episode with no funds. Wise move to keep it mostly in the dark. This episode was a bit off the series format, but director Rod Holcomb never lets it become too silly, and we are treated to several great character bits.
Had this episode been produced a couple of years later, more "real" shuttle footage would have been available by the truckload to use instead of the cheap NASA like animation depicting the craft in space.
Ralph starts using the phrase "Works for me", which seems like an early attempt by Cannell and his team to coin a phrase to identify with his series. Someone must have really liked this one, it went on to be used in the NBC series "Hunter." They had much better luck with the famous "I love it when a plan comes together" used over and over on "The A-Team."
We learn in this episode that Bill keeps gun magazines in the glove compartment and kills time during stakeouts by doing the crossword puzzles in the back!
Ralph worries about TV coverage catching him "streaking in like the red baron" to save the shuttle. Why didn't he just turn invisible?
While Ralph and company are watching the shuttle approach they discuss the fact the landing gear won't be down, clearly in one shot you can see the gear starting to deploy.
In one of the first shots showing Ralph from the back as he comes up on the shuttle, you can see the craft is being escorted by jet fighters. I wonder what their pilots would have thought? A couple of excited jet pilot voiceovers would have been nice.
Several shots from the "binoculars point of view" are seen as Ralph flys the shuttle in. Some of these shots would have been impossible to see looking up from the ground.
The shuttle miniature was auctioned off a few years ago, and now rests in the collection of "GAH" fan Will Fong.
You gotta love the line: " Oh, I'd be afraid I'd cook a train or something."
Several not very "special effects" are seen in this episode as Ralph becomes a human magnet.
You get a nice close up of the costume's belt buckle as Bill's gun attaches itself to it.
One of the techs examining the shuttle looks as though he's using the gunsight prop that's been slightly modified from "Here's Looking at You, Kid."
You can clearly see the lines pulling the blanket with the wrapped up silverware as it "follows" Ralph when he's pacing back and forth.
Bill loses another tan sedan as his seventh car is trashed in this episode.
The GAH gang again visits the same "hydro electric plant" location last seen just two episodes ago in The Hand Painted Thai.
The laughable space monster was at its best when left in the shadows and even then it was never effective.
After Ralph drops the slime monster in the drink, he crashes (which looks as though it could be never used footage originally shot for Operation: Spoilsport, or The Lost Diablo) if you look close it appears that the stuntmans belt may not have a belt buckle on it.
A CHICKEN IN EVERY PLOT
Episode 21 Production #96205 Air Date: February 17, 1982
Ralph, Bill, Pam and the kids travel to the Virgin Islands to help a old friend of Bill's. When they arrive they find out the man has been killed and they are targets of a Voodoo Cult.
Written By: Danny Lee Cole and Jeffrey Duncan Ray Directed By: Rod Holcomb
Guest Cast: Ron O’Neal (Col. Felipe Augereau), Thalmus Rasulala (Victor Suchet/Etienne), Lincoln Kilpatrick (Le Masters), John Hancock (Gen. Louie Devout), Todd Armstrong (Ted McSherry)
The voodoo master combined with scenes of his followers with torches and jungle drums make for a eerie setting, not a typical episode for the series.
Culp's scenes as "the ugly American" as he tries to get information from the locals are classic Maxwell.
As Louie Devout eases the boat away from the dock after knocking Bill out, you can see a reflection in the glass of someone, possibly the director making a motion with one of his arms.
Nice change seeing Ralph flying over the ocean and jungle setting, but a little more care should have been taken when shooting the background plates. The opticals of Katt seemed a little ill-fitted to the backgrounds in some shots, and shots of the jungle animals reacting should have been left out totally.
As Ralph hot-wires the jeep in front of Tony, he tells him someday they would sit down and he would tell the story of how he became a teacher. This small glimpse into Ralph's past should have been expanded on in another episode. In fact the only past we really learn about during the series run is Maxwell's, Ralph's is briefly touched on, and Pam's pretty much ignored altogether.
Watch when Tony and the gang get out of the jeep to move the road block, Tony has the line "I'm going to feed that guy that rattle" watch Pare' as he almosts starts laughing after he says it.
As Ralph flies in to save Pam from the blade, the speed of the flying effects was increased dramatically.
The stuntman's leap onto the police car as the president is trying to escape was kind of a let down. It looks as though he jumped from the ground onto the passenger side door. Surely with all of the trees around he could have jumped out of one onto the cars roof and swung himself down onto the door, then skidded along the side. (a classic Ralph move)
The stuntman's final leap into the air after stopping the president was impressive.
THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA
Episode 22 Production#96219 Air Date: February 24, 1982
Still in the Virgin Islands, Ralph rescues a survivor of a yacht hijacking who claims the incident was interrupted by a sea monster.
Written By: Frank Lupo Directed By: Sidney Hayers
Guest Cast: Jeremy Kemp (Devereaux), Glynn Turman (Le Clerc), Michael Halsey (Collins), Anne Bloom (Linda), Will Hare
·In the opening scene featuring the Contrail’s highjacking, you can see in the background another boat as the thugs board.
·Katt, Sellecca, and Pare' are great in the "Prince of Wales" scene, little scenes like this are terrific, and it's too bad this kind of humor is not what the series is remembered for.
Culp's opening scene on the phone with Katt was shot in a little cubby hole meant to be a FBI office. Since Culp was on location with the rest of the cast, the usual FBI sets back in the states could not be used.
Ralph's map charting the missing craft is the same map with the magic marker circles and arrows that can be seen in A Chicken in Every Plot.
Check out when Ralph flies after the Contrail, the stuntman comes leaping over the back of the boat, then a nice cut is made of Katt in mid-air landing on the deck. It's an almost seamless cut that gives you the effect that it was Katt that came over the side and landed.
After landing aboard the deserted Contrail, Ralph pulls Bill and Pam up from the water. Notice for the entire scene Sellecca holds a jacket in front of her, letting it drop only once, threatening to push the series out of the family hour! (ie. cold water )
During the Bill kidnap scene, Katt's stuntman does a great leap off the balcony, plus his leap into the kidnappers is awesome because it looks as though he hits them with a lot of force, instead of just a jump on top of them.
The shot of Ralph catching the drunk is stock footage (notice the dummy's brown suit) from The Hand Painted Thai matted into a dark background plate, and kudos again to the stuntman for performing a backwards leap in the dark with a dummy over his shoulder, to be used in the reverse film effect.
Obviously it's a double who is pulled across the dock as Ralph begins to be keelhauled.
New flying effects was shot with Ralph holding the boat's rope and reeling it in while in the air.
An awful prop monster head was used as "Carrie" in the last shot in this episode, you would think since it was shot in close up a more realistic monster head could have been found, but it was a nice touch showing Ralph was right.
IT'S ALL DOWNHILL FROM HERE
Episode 23 Production #96218 Air Date: March 3, 1982
While on a ski trip with Pam, Ralph witnesses the shooting of a U.S. ski team member and needs Bill to find the killers and help a Russian ski team member to defect.
Written By: Patrick Burke Hasburgh Directed By: Sidney Hayers
Guest Cast: Red West (Blandin), Sandra Kearns (Samantha), Bill Lucking (Klein), Norbert Weisser (Yuri), Michael Billington (Talenikov), Stefan Gierasch (Karpov), Sara Torgov (Anna), Craig Schaeffer (boy in the lift line), Dan Shurwin (Scott Templeton), Stan Howard (lift attendant)
This episode suffers from the main unit not going on location with the cast. All of the exteriors with the first unit actors are shot on a soundstage in front of a small not very convincing backdrop, while the second unit took off in search for snow.
A couple of new close up blue screen shots were done of Katt showing him skiing.
Bob Hastings appears again, not as Pam's father, but as a sportscaster calling the ski race!
Some awesome ski stunts can be seen while "Free To Fly" plays over the scene, showing us that the suit can ski.
One known "blooper" exists that aired on one of the d*ck Clark Blooper shows, it was taken from this episode.
All of the flying effects is stock footage matted over new snowy backgrounds, so even though we see Ralph in the suit wearing red snowboots, when he's flying no extra boots over the suit are seen.
Ralph flies up on the shooter who is trying to escape in a snowplow, funny how this guy doesn't hardly seem surprised to see a guy FLYING after him!
Watch as the little kids that are in the plow's path ski to a stop, the scene changes to a wide shot of the snowplow bearing down on them. If you look close, you can see the stuntman's cape flapping from behind the plow, yet in the scene he hasn't ran over the hill and grabbed the runaway machine yet!
When you see Katt's second unit double land and tumble in the snow, he's wearing the red snowboots, yet when he comes running over the hill chasing the runaway plow the double has no extra boots on.
In the stopping the plow scene, it appears like the bootspat stirrups on the stuntman's costume have been cut, the spats are all bunched up on top of the red shoes.
Katt and Culp's scene with Bill Lucking as Klein is classic "GAH," with overlapping dialogue, it shows how talented these guys are.
Notice during the shell game switch between Ralph and Yuri, that Culp's hair appears much darker than in the rest of this episode, he must have had some color added during this episode's production.
The moving background behind Samantha, Bill and Yuri while they are escaping on the snowmobile is obviously on some sort of turning drum.
Watch Katt's shadow after he slams the two bad guys against the lockers, you can see his hands come up and grab the helmet to remove it, but when the scene cuts back to him he is just starting to raise his hands to take the helmet off.
Watch Katt and Culp in the background as he says the line "One people one planet," Katt turns to face Culp, you hear the dubbed line, then the scene is reversed to see Katt's face forward again, you can really spot this due to Culp's hand motion. It looked as though Katt was turning to Culp to ask if he was alright, and then the scene would have contunued. Some script or other behind the scenes changes must have taken place for them to have manipulated the ending like this. It would be interesting to see how the original script ended.
Episode 24 Production #96221 Air Date: March 17, 1982
Bill wants Ralph's help in watching out for a vengeful parolee, meantime Ralph's wrapped up in trying to help three fellow teachers realize their dreams.
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell Directed By: Sidney Hayers
Guest Cast: Michael Baseleon (Johnny Sanova), Elizabeth Hoffman (Margaret Detwiller, Robby Weaver (Ray Buck), Fred Stuthman (Evan Thoman), Nicholas Worth (Norm), James Costy (Duffy Magellan), Johnny Crear (Matty), John LeBouvier (Irma Keeler), Charles Hutchinson (Ted Keeler), Peter Trancher (seminar guest speaker), Edward Bell, Nick Pellegrino, Milt Kogan
Money must have been tight at San Quentin for Johnny Sanova's prison number on his shirt to be written with magic marker on a piece of tape.
The effects shot of Katt, large in the frame flying past the camera holding his clothes was unused effects from his alley flight in the pilot movie.
A new insert of Ralph's arm dropping his clothes was filmed, but it wasn't a blue screen effect, it was just shot in front of a plain white backdrop.
When you see Ralph get up facing the camera from his landing on the toy maker's rooftop, it's a few seconds stock footage from The Beast in The Black, you can see the clothes line with a sheet hanging on it in the background.
Ralph's leap from the toymakers roof is stock from My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.
Watch as Pam drives Bill and Ralph to the bank, Sellecca's hands are constantly moving across the steering wheel but she's not really gripping and turning it!
Ralph landing on the bank thugs' car and pulling it to a stop is stock footage from 200 Mile-an-Hour Fastball.
Take a look at the footage of the Carlton Hotel as Ralph flies in the doorway to try and save Bill and Pam, in the footage it shows him flying right in front of people walking down the sidewalk, passing right in front of their faces!
Katt bursts into a room full of people and pretends to be a singing telegram, Katt had to loop the phone number dialogue because you can see he really says a 465, instead of 555 that's normally used in TV/movies.
It was nice to see Ralph do something on a large scale as pick a van up in the air, however the small Ralph figure with a paper looking cape used in the effects shots left much to be desired.
Notice that Bill has the thug driving the van pitch all of their guns out the window! Not a very safe thing to do considering what could have been hit down below.
Once again the stirrups on the bootspats are cut on the stuntman's costume as he brings the van skidding to a stop.
Ralph's crash on the roof as he goes to save Evan looks like it was shot on the same rooftop used as the toy maker's building at the start of this episode.
Listen to Culp as he's explaining to Principal Knight about Margaret, he says "I don't know what to tell ya, if it hadn't been for the ball, uh the courage of this Margaret...." Sounds like whether scripted or not, he almost slipped something in that I'm sure ABC's Standards and Practices Department wouldn't have let pass had they caught it.
This is the only episode in which you don't hear the "GAH" theme during the end credits, the song Dreams was heard. Incredible is the fact that at no time while the song was playing was it interrupted by the usual "Tomorrow on Good Morning America" voiceover, it makes me wonder if Cannell and Co. had requested that this airings end credits not be interrupted in the original first broadcast.
THERE'S JUST NO ACCOUNTING...
Episode 25 Production #96223 Air Date: March 24, 1982
After Ralph rescues a kidnapped little girl and recovers the ransom, he finds himself dogged by a maniacal IRS agent after he discovers the case of cash at Ralph's house.
Written By: Frank Lupo Directed By: Ivan Dixon
Guest Cast: James Whitemore, Jr. (Byron Bigsby), Jerry Douglas (Jack Martel), Marc Alaimo (Donnie Armus), Emily Moultrie (Debbie Sherwin), Cloyce Morrow (Penny Sherwin), Carole Mallory, Eugene Peterson, Ted Gehring, Ryan MacDonald
Bill mentions in this episode "We've snagged missiles out of the sky" nice reference to Operation: Spoilsport.
When Katt's double runs across the bridge to take off, the flying sound effects starts a little early, before he makes his leap.
Notice when Martel leans out the window and with the gun and blows a hole in Maxwell's windshield they are driving in a business district, yet when you see all of Ralph's records fly out the window and Maxwell slids to a stop, magically the scene is changed to a more open rural area.
Nice that the production took the time to shoot new flying effects showing Ralph carrying the little girl.
In just a handful of minutes we get to see Ralph land on his feet on the boat, and he does it again while holding the girl, showing in this as in other episodes that he was learning how to control his flights better.
More new flying effects are seen as Ralph flys through his records that are blowing in the wind.
Of course then when Ralph flies over his house carrying the case full of money, it's stock footage, and no briefcase can be seen.
With this first run show the middle break episode bumpers were changed back from Ralph using his powers on Pam's car, to the normally used billboard crash from the pilot.
The Sherwin's house is the same location used in 200 Mile-an-Hour Fastball, it's the house Ralph and Bill go to negotiate Ralph's baseball deal.
When the stuntman takes off from the Sherwin's house you can see the "air ram" used to launch him spring up from behind the bushes.
Immediately after that take off we get to see a old Ralph effects shot matted into a new background of what looks like a white sky and bare leafless trees going by. This is the only episode this shot ever appears in.
While preparing to snatch another child, you gotta love Armus as he says "You don't think that Captain Video or whoever is gonna show up again do you?" Then he gets into it with Martel over the "flying guy." A nice touch showing the effects on normal people after seeing Ralph.
Once again we get to see the incredible flight up to the top of the billboard first used in 200 Mile An Hour Fastball (plus a angle from the bottom looking up as the stuntman flys towards the top, not used in Fastball) when Ralph stops Martel from snatching the kid.
When Maxwell slides into the scene of the botched kidnapping he's driving his normal box shaped tan sedan, as you see him chase Armus and they smash cars together Maxwell's has changed to a older model and different shaped vehicle, then after Ralph saves the bad guys car, Maxwell's has changed back to the regular tan sedan.
Most of Ralph's flight with Bill up the side of the building is stock effects from the pilot with new backgrounds matted in.
After all the action seen in this episode, you would have thought the ending with "Mr. Fatty" and his goons would have been more extensive.
THE GOOD SAMARITAN
Episode 26 Production #96222 Air Date: March 31, 1982
Bill wants Ralph's help in chasing down a pair of escaped convicts, while Ralph has decided it's time to use the suit for human interest type missions.
Written By: Rudolph Borchert Directed By: Bruce Kessler
Guest Cast: Keenan Wynn (Ira Hagert), Dennis Lipscomb (Dave Tanner), Carmen Argenziano (Murph), Harry Grant (Nino), Sandra McCully (Judy), Bill Quinn (Harlan), Ron Thompson), Will MacMillan, Wendy Wessburg (TV reporter), Pat Wilson (woman), Joshua Miller (Jonathan)
Watch as Dave Tanner pulls up in his van listening to the police scanner (it looks like a CB radio instead of a mobile scanner), look as you see the close up of the device it's not even on!
Following the take off towards Ira's house the effects shot of Ralph flying up towards the camera with the grassy background below was first seen in Now You See It.
The effects shot of Ralph flying over the rooftop is stock first used in Reseda Rose.
Nice reverse film effect showing Ralph inhaling the gas from the SWAT team smoke bomb. Look the second time the shot is shown (when he finishes) you can see the smoke is shown just above Katt's upper lip giving the you the true position (the other side of Katt's head) of where the device really was that shot the smoke out.
When Ralph vanishes from Ira's side as the SWAT team comes in, no cartoony sound effects are heard. I think it was more impressive in the scenes that DIDN'T use the sound.
While chasing the escaped thugs, the flying effects show Ralph above a busy street passing cars, pedestrians, even a guy on a motorcycle! It would have been nice to see some sort of surprise reaction from the normal "man on the street."
A crowd is watching the scene as it's filmed of Bill and Ralph outside the police station when Bill comes out with the stocking hood.
After Ralph first holographs on the missing boys hat, he jumps up and there's a shot through the trees of him running, you can see he doesn't have the cape on. This is BEFORE he finds the boy and takes the cape off.
Kudos to the production for taking the time to rig Culp's coat sleeve with the "smoke tubes" to get the burned hand effect.
The stuntman's leap onto the luggage cart could have been better if he would have fell out of the top of the screen, instead of coming in from the side. It looks like he just ran and jumped on the moving cart.
Watch as Ralph pulls the tractor to a stop, Nino pulls a lever (hand brake?) before Ralph grabs and throws him on one of the luggage carts.
Great flying effects in the final shot as we see Ralph leaving the airport! Flying straight, and fast up from the ground, and out the right side of the screen. We never see this shot or this flying effect matted into a new background any other time in the entire series. Funny how a handful of the best effects scenes of Ralph flying straight were only used once.
CAPTAIN BELLYBUSTER AND THE SPEED FACTORY
Episode 27 Production #96224 Air Date: April 7, 1982
While tracking down drug runners using fast food supply trucks to distribute drugs, Ralph gets some unexpected help from Captain Bellybuster, plus finds a photo of himself flying in a tabloid newspaper.
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell and Frank Lupo Directed By: Arnold Laven
Guest Cast: Chuck McCann, Anthonly Charnoto (Mike), Colin Hamilton, Stanley Grover, Danny Wells, Rex Ryon, Jim Greenleaf, John Roselius (passenger), Janet Winter (receptionist), Bob Jacobs (kid)
Anthony Charnoto appears again in this episode as a mobster type thug.
Nice touch when Bill says "Don't break a door on me now, be careful!" Maybe refering back to when Ralph ripped the door off of Bill's car in There's Just No Accounting. Frank Lupo who co-wrote this episode with Cannell also wrote Accounting.
The reverse film effect is used once again as Katt's stunt double grabs the front of the speeding Hamburger Heaven truck.
Take a look a the double's feet as he skids to a stop while holding on to the front of the truck. Possibly due to the wet pavement, some sort of thicker sandle type footwear was added. If you look close the back of it extends out past the bottom of the stuntmans foot. It's not the normal red shoe.
In the scene where the gang confronts Warful about his newspaper story, we see Warful start recording the conversation, but when Bill suggests to Ralph to show an example of the suit's power, right before the tape recorder explodes you can see the tape is no longer moving. Probably because the batteries or some of the other insides had to be removed by the effects guys to add the explosives for the shot.
This is the only time in the series run that we see blue screen work when showing the cast driving in a car. I'm sure it was done this way to show Katt landing in the backseat while the car is supposed to be moving. All other times the cast was really outside on city streets or shot on a dark soundstage.
Great shot in the scene that shows the Captain leaping out of the limo. If you watch in the background as the limo speeds away, Katt's double is still clutching the bumper.
Great dialogue after Ralph and Bill save Mickey, they walk back through the park, and Mickey questions Ralph as to why the costume if he's not the Captain's replacement.
McCann's Captain gives Ralph a great pep talk about the superheroes of yesteryear, and their impact on society.
Cool scene when the forklift tries to crush Ralph, but watch as he pushes the forklift back to a stop, Katt stops pushing and immediately steps to the right to grab the thug driving. The blades of the lift must have been removed for Katt to get in there, because if not he would have had to stepped back to get out from between the blades then around to grab the thug.
Because of the 7pm timeslot and the non-violence Cannell was famous for, when Bill shoots Don in the arm there is no blood stain.
Listen as during the last scene, Bill is excited that Carlisle has bought the Bellybuster story, and Katt can be heard saying Captain Billybuster.
WHO'S WOO IN AMERICA Episode 28 Air Date: April 14, 1982
Ralph's mother comes to town with plans on marrying a international courier, who's being sought by Arabs, a crazy oil tycoon, and government agents.
Written By: Patrick Burke Hasburgh Directed By: Bob Bender
Guest Cast: Barbara Hale (PaulaHinkley), Tom Hallick (Phillip Kaballa), Michael Prince (Prentice Hall), Jon Cedar (Heller), Hugh Gillin (C.C. Smith), Dave Cass (Goodwin), Daniel Chodos, Don Maxell (Brockman), Daniel Dayden (Haffa), Gerald Jann (Dr. Woo), Milt Tarver (computer clerk), Terri Hanaver (Jill), Ted Richards (waiter), Brian Sheehan (racquetball clerk) Dinah Lindsey Smith (woman)
This is the only episode in which the teaser/preview uses the longer version of the instrumental theme.
Used again during the guest credits is the helicopter view over L.A. From the pilot movie.
Ralph's address on his mother's postcard reads:
Ralph Hinkley 8907 Burke St. L.A., CA 90282 ...but the exterior used for Ralph's house on location reads 13216. Using Burke was probably an “in” joke named after writer Patrick Burke Hasburgh.
When the Arabs grab Ralph and hook him up to the polygraph, notice the insert shot of the polygraph's armband being attached to Ralph. A double for Katt was used for this insert shot. I'll leave the you the fan to watch the episode and figure out how you can tell.
The effects shot of Ralph catching the falling man is actually the shot of Ralph catching Agent Tim Liter with just a new background plate of the helicopter in the sky matted in. By the way, just who is the guy that C.C. Smith orders thrown out of the chopper?
After crashing into the motor lodge, you can clearly see the jumpcut after Ralph grabs the tux, walks out of frame, then before he reappears.
The costume department must have been running low on capes for this episode. Watch after Ralph crashes to the ground with C.C. (who is an obvious double with dark hair) as Katt's double starts to leap into the air you can see the cape isn't even made from a solid material, you can see through it!
Watch as the two thugs are leading Bill away up the stairs at gunpoint. The second thug is very aware that the stuntman is about to crash into them, right before the falling double leaps onto them, he tenses his shoulders up, preparing for the impact.
Robert Culp doesn't appear much in this episode.
Many effects flying stock footage is used in this episode as Ralph flies to motor lodge.
LILACS, MR. MAXWELL
Episode 29 Air Date: April 28, 1982
Bill meets and falls for a woman who's a double agent, planted to find out how he mantains his spectacular success rate.
Written By: Robert Culp Directed By: Robert Culp
Guest Cast: Ted Flicker (David), Adam Gregor (Yuri), Arnold Turner (insurance man), Dixie Carter (O’Neil), Gay Rowan, Trisha Hilka, Gary Pagett, Craig Shreeve, Judd Omen, Robert Alan Browne, James Lydon, Dabbs Greer, Nick Shields, Stefanie Faulkner (Jane), Ralph Clift (Mr. Bunker), Gary Pagett (Mr. Rogers), Craig Shreeve (Mr. Newton), Trisha Hilka (Annie)
In the teaser/preview the shot of Ralph crashing into the doghouse and saying, "I'm sorry puppy, is that your house?" is not seen in the finished episode.
Great idea to search through all the items from old FBI cases, but if Maxwell started solving not only cases assigned to him, but also cases the feds couldn't break, wouldn't that draw even more attention to him?
Culp does a outstanding job showing us a side of Maxwell we are not used to seeing....."uh, Ralph, just keep walkin', don't say....anything."
What was going through the producers' minds when they OK'd the adding of the stupid yelps that Ralph is supposed to be screaming as he crashes into the room with the Russian bad guys?
We learn in this episode the official total of Bill's wrecked cars at the time was 5 cars in 18 months.
This episode had a interesting scene that I wish would have been followed up on in the third season. Carlisle walks in with three men who are visiting from D.C., two are schmoozing with Maxwell, and one, Mr. Williams, is highly suspicious. He isn't impressed with Bill, and says so. He tells Carlisle to keep in touch about this matter. It would have been a nice running thread to tie the series together.
We get a rare piece of background material on Bill in this episode, when he mentions "not wanting anything like this, not since my wife."
The stupid yelps/screams return at the end of this episode when Ralph leaps into the air to stop the surfers with the guns. The rest of the end is sort of a cop out, with Ralph, who is invisible stops all of the bad guys. I expected a better ending.
At the end of this episode it seems as though Bill is not going to let go of O'Neil, it looks as though Bill is not going to testify against her, so there would be no case against her. It ends with a freeze frame of them hugging with a pissed Ralph in the background. By the end of this second season Ralph and Bill, although having their differences now and then, had become good friends. Throwing O'Neil in as a monkey wrench would have been a welcome adult theme in the third season.
The third season started out with a bang... episode-wise. Unfortunately not ratings-wise. "TGAH's" third season was its most troubled. Pitted again NBC's powerhouse new series Knight Rider, and CBS’s Dallas the show was yanked back and forth on the ABC schedule until finally cancelled with four episodes left unaired
This season we finally get to see inside the eerie spacecraft and meet the greenguy's face to face. The series still featured Ralph's class from time to time, with some familiar students gone and new faces added. Most importantly Ralph and Pam were finally married. The flying scenes were greatly improved, showing some of the best flying effects shot for television.
DIVORCE VENUSIAN STYLE Episode 30 Production#9303 Air Date: October 29, 1982
Written By: Patrick Burke Hasburgh Directed By: Ivan Dixon
Guest Cast: Jeremy Kemp (Franz Zedlocker), Dean Santoro (Jackson), Kurt Grayson (Hertzog), James McIntire (Billy Boy Floyd), Jason Bernard (Morgan), Shane Dixon (ranch guard), Wayne Storm (police officer), Robert Gray, Al W. Coss, Joe Clarke, Frank Doubleday, Eugene Brezany
The greenguys return to save Ralph's life after he is wounded saving Bill without the suit's protection, and a group of Nazis come into possession of the super powered costume.
The third season premiered with an excellent choice for the opener. Unfortunately, ABC moved the series to Fridays at 8 p.m. where it didn't stand a chance against NBC's new hit, "Knight Rider." Finally after a season and a half we get to see the inside of the eerie spacecraft, plus Ralph and Bill get to meet one of the greenguys face to face. Culp has some great moments in this episode as he plays with Maxwell's fear of the aliens. Katt is wonderful as he walks through the ship in awe and comes to the understanding of why he must continue to use the suit.
From the beginning of the scene with Ralph getting another copy of the instruction book the viewer knows it will only be a matter of time before its lost once again. I understand the series would have been totally different had he had the book, and the series would have lost some of its charm with Ralph becoming the standard superhero had he known exactly how to use the powers.
After Ralph and Bill's fight in the motel, Ralph leaves. It's clearly a double, not Katt, walking away from the camera as the music starts. The same double jumps into the trash dumpster moments later.
During Ralph's flight towards the lightpole, in one of the shots from the rear, you can see one of the supports of the flying rig.
It seems once again the producers have had some silly garbled screams dubbed as Ralph flies, like last heard in Lilacs, Mr. Maxwell.
During the scene with Katt and Culp, after Ralph's crash into the pole, Katt's hair has been teased back as if to show the wind's effect on his hair after flying. This was something not usually paid any attention to in the series except for his hair actually blowing during flight.
The windshield glass in the bad guys' car is frosted movie glass. It breaks into several big chunks when Ralph's fist smashes it.
Not much blank ammunition was used during Maxwell's gun battle with the Nazis. When the Nazis fire their weapons it's just gun sound effects dubbed in.
One of the best looks at the communicator (that was slightly changed for this season) is seen in this episode in a close up right before Pam picks it up from the ground.
The suit's insignia is slightly altered once again for use in the third season.
The spaceship, when coming in over the weiner wagon, is way too small in comparison to the van. You can actually see the circle of light on the ground showing the size the ship was actually supposed to be.
The outer space scenes shown on the screens of the ship's interior were taken from the PBS series "Cosmos."
At the very end of the episode, Katt wears what is possibly the shortest cape ever made for the suit.
When Ralph shrinks, you can see through the cape as the ants approach him.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Episode 31 Production #9301 Air Date: November 5, 1982
Ralph helps out a old high school friend who is now a pro football player, plus reluctantly attends his 10 year high school reunion.
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell Directed By: Ivan Dixon
Guest Cast: Stephen Shortridge (Price Cobb), Jack Andreozzi (Florenzia), Don Pulford (Miller), Patrick Collins (Gertmanian), Martin Speer (Stan Hawn), Heather Lowe (Wendy Cobb), Chip Johnson (Deke), Dick Butkus (coach), Anthony Davis, Doug France (Caprice), Tom Harmon, Edith Fields, Cathryn Hart (Gloria), Louise Hoven (Roberta), Susan Duvall (Angie)
A "gimmick" episode that gets the suit involved with another sport. The best scenes in this episode deals with Ralph not wanting to attend his high school reunion, the reunion itself, and Connie Sellecca's hilarious bit as "The Red Cross Lady".
Ralph flys in front regular people the most ever in this episode,(chopper pilot,coach,etc.) it would have been nice if in a later episode there would have been a plot with one of these people talking about what they saw, and maybe some other authorities checking into these flying guy stories.
Amazingly, Bob Hastings, who appeared as Pam's father in the first season, turns up yet again in another sports commentator role. He was last seen performing the same duties in It's All Downhill from Here.
Look at the back of Hastings play-by-play monitors, no cables are hooked up to the input ports!
A photo of Barbara Hale as Ralph's mom Paula has been added to the Hinkley living room desk.
On Ralph's reunion invitation the normal fake 555 phone prefix has been relaced with 557 for Cobb's number. Also we learn Ralph's number is 555-4365.
It's supposed to be Ralph's 10-year high school reunion. That would put his age roughly around 28 or 29, a bit younger than Katt actually was when filming this episode.
The car chase is made up mostly of stock footage from The Good Samaritan. In fact Maxwell is not even driving the normal model tan sedan he usually drove, and the newly shot footage of the older model he was driving mixes back and forth with the newer one.
One again thugs show up driving the Ford Fairlane with the plate TVG-911.
Watch as Katt is "suiting" up, as he says the line: "I'm outta here" instead of attaching the cape he mearly holds it together at the neck as he starts to exit the car.
Right before Ralph brings the Fairlane to a halt, we can see the stuntman poised on the dash with his feet against the front seat. He pushes against the seat to launch himself through the glass. As he hits the pavement you can see the elbow and kneepads he's wearing under his clothes. Of course the real windshield has been replaced with frosted "movie" glass.
We learn Bill's unit he drives is designated X-Ray 6.
Katt's take-off after the line "With doctors Davidson and Maxwell, of course." is stock footage from Fire Man.
Ralph's quick change at the football stadium, was done with a Katt double dressed as Ralph running behind a closed door, then Katt exiting in the suit.
After narrowly missing the helicopter you can see the the flying rig's mounting plate poking out from Katt's left side underneath the costume.
The stuntman's crash through the trees was originally seen in My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.
In this season, Pam works for the firm Sellquist Allen & Minor.
Watch as Katt exits the reunion as he looks to change into the suit. You can see he's wearing the suits red shoes, not his regular street shoes.
High school chum "Ivan" could have possibly been an in-joke, with him being named for this episodes director Ivan Dixon.
One effects shot of Katt shows the ends of the cape hardly blowing. They are drooping at both sides, giving the cape a funky vulture wing look.
In the hand held shot through Price's windshield, notice the skid marks on the pavement as he avoids the oncoming car, indicating this scene had already been shot once.
The shot showing the underside of Price's car as it rolls off the cliff, is in fact not his car at all, but another vehicle. The rims and what you see of the body are totally different.
After stopping Price, Bill tells him again he's with the FBI. Price's response is that he hasn't done anything so he can't be arrested. However he did assault a federal officer after said officer had identified himself.
The interior shot of Bill's car crashing through the thugs house was reused later in "The A-Team" episode Pros and Cons.
You can see the blackness of the soundstage through the hole in the ceiling as Katt's stuntman crashes into a thug.
It sounds as if the actress who appears as "Wendy" has had all her lines re-dubbed.
The majority of shots and landing from Ralph's flight to the stadium were lifted from the second season episode Dreams.
The medium shots showing Katt with a stadium full of people behind him were process shots. No stadium full of people exisited behind him as this was filmed.
The uniforms used for the Hawks and Mustangs do not match the uniforms in the stock footage. In fact the quality of the stock footage doesn't match either.
Watch as Ralph plays, sometimes he has regular football footwear on, and sometimes it's the red shoes from the suit.
Another quick change into the suit, performed by a Katt double in the football get-up, and Katt in the costume.
THIS IS THE ONE THE SUIT WAS MEANT FOR
Episode 32 Production #9308 Air Date: November 12, 1982
When one too many "suit scenarios" has Pam ready to leave Ralph, Bill steps in with tickets to a vacation spot that just happens to be in the area where a top secret jet disappeared.
Written By: Babs Greyhosky Directed By: Ivan Dixon
Guest Cast: Bo Brundin (Stanislov), Pepe Serna (Cortez), Jay Varela (Fernandez), Loyita Chapel (Bunny), Dean Wein (Mitchell), Randall Nazarian, Bob Basso, Dean Wein (Mitchell), Maurie Lauren (Sandy), Bobby Don McGaughey (employee)
Pam's building frustration with the suit finally comes to a head with this show. For a year and a half she has been dealing with the problems of having a super powered boyfriend. Plus this episode lets Sellecca do more than get "burgers and cokes" The almost break up was a great way to lead up to the episode where Ralph and Pam get married. One wishes that the almost break up would have lasted 2 or 3 episodes just to stretch it out, it's hard to believe the couple could have resolved all of the suit problems in one. The tropical type locations used were a nice change from the tall buildings and city streets.
As the Zephyr 1 prepares to take off and during it’s flight, several bits of stock footage are used. Many shots of this footage are from the film Capricorn One.
Several effects shots of Ralph flying and one interior bit are lifted from Dreams and Operation: Spoilsport for use in the bank robbery scenes.
Culp didn't have as many "doubles" as Katt did, however one can be seen during Bill's fight with the "dame" bank robber.
Pam has moved since the second season. She now lives in a apartment instead of the house seen in Classical Gas.
The shot of Ralph crashing into the wall outside of what's intended to be Pam's apartment was originally seen in The Two-Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Fastball.
Once again you can see what appears to be a Connie Sellecca resume photo used as set decoration in Ralph's bedroom. The photo must be really popular because as the scene switches to the Hinkley living room, it can be found again on a shelf.
After Bill surprises Ralph at the hotel a very cool shot can be seen using Katt's reflection in a mirror while he argue's with Culp.
MORE TO COME...
THE RESURRECTION OF CARLINI
Episode 33 Production #9305 Air Date: November 19, 1982
Ralph and the suit dive into the world of magic, to try and discover who is out to stop a group of magicians from performing a series of illusions.
Written By: Frank Lupo Directed By: Arnold Laven
Guest Cast: Andrew Robinson, Jack Magee, Timothy Carey, Ferdinand Mayne, Randi Brooks (Beverly), Sandy Martin (woman), Troy Slater (little boy), Robert Aberdeen (magician)
In a script dated July 13, 1982, Carlini is originally named Cardini.
The exterior shot establishing Carlini's home appears to be footage of the "Psycho" house that sits on Universal Studio's backlot. Looking at the exterior the cast appears in front of when meeting the three magicians, it doesn't look anything like the house used in the establishing shot.
The close-up of the fireplace is stock footage from the second season episode The Beast in the Black.
Timothy Carey also appears in the first season episode Fire Man as Cameron.
Pam mentions Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall in "Hold That Ghost." Gorcey and Hall, two of the Dead End Kids/Bowery Boys, didn't make Ghost; it was Abbott and Costello in "Hold That Ghost."
Troy Slaten, the young Carlini, is probably best known for his role in the FOX series "Parker Lewis Can't Lose."
Bill briefly mentions "Ice Planet Zero". Frank Lupo who wrote this episode also worked on Battlestar Galactica. Galactica had an episode called The Gun On Ice Planet Zero; while Lupo was not credited on that specific Galactica episode, it's possible this was his "tip of the hat," so to speak, to that series.
The first effects shot of Ralph flying to save Toby Roberts is stock from Divorce Venusian Style; it shows him flying towards the street light pole that he crashes into in that episode. One rod from the flying rig can also be noticed in the shot.
Nice touch by Sellecca when she looks out the car window and up, as she and Maxwell speed away to follow Ralph.
As Ralph flys in a awkward position downward, you can see a portion of the flying rig, or chestplate sticking out (on Katt's left)from underneath the costume. Also notice right before he falls out of frame the cape blows slightly to one side, revealing yet another portion of the rig normally covered by the cape.
One can assume the audience thought it was "magic" when Ralph uses the power of the suit to break the chains to save Marco from Carlini's trap.
After Ralph saves Marco, Stoppard heads off to his dressing room. Watch as he bursts through the door followed by Maxwell; we hear Culp's voice start with, "Okay Stoppard...." but it's not Culp entering the room, it's a double dressed in the pirate costume! He also appears again in the Carlini/Maxwell fight; watch for the shot in which Carlini knocks the fake sword handle from Maxwell's grip.
THE NEWLYWED GAME
Episode 34 Production #9309 Air Date: January 3, 1983
On the way to Ralph's bachelor party, he and Bill are kidnapped and Ralph is persuaded to fly a mission for the president.
Written By: Babs Greyhosky Directed By: Chuck Bowman
Guest Cast: Hansford Rowe (Matthew Powell), Norman Alden (Mrs. Davidson), Woody Eney (Martin), Terrence McNally (Campbell), Pamela Bowman (Boom Boom), Dan Peterson (stripper), Alice Backes (Eleanor Pilburn), Frank K. Wheaton (videoman), Robby Weaver (Ray), Cynthia Steele
This episode is one of the best in the series run. Again if Ralph and Bill were really going to work directly for the White House the format of the show would have been altered, but the episode has the viewer guessing as to what is really going on. I can understand why ABC held this episode back to use for the return of the series in January of 1983.
The episode has a great balance of Ralph's personal life and life with the suit, much like the first season's episodes.
During a scene of bullets bouncing of Ralph's chest, we get to see a rare special fx close up shot of sparks zig-zagging across the suit depicting the bullet hits.
Also in the same scene the suit Katt has on has possibly the worst insignia ever made for the series. It's all wrinkled like it had been wadded up, then sewed on the costume.
Also in the same scene as Katt leaps over the hood of the car, notice he's wearing the shoes that have the grid like tread on the bottom, instead of the smooth soled version.
As the rogue government agents go over the slides of Ralph with Matthew Powers, we see a slide of Ralph in flight. It's taken from the 2nd season episode Now You See It....
Norman Alden now plays Pam's father, instead of Bob Hastings. Michael Pare' appears for the last time as Tony, and this is the only time in the third season.
In the flight scene of Ralph taking the photo's at the North Pole, there are close-up shots of Katt in front of a white background. If you look close you can see what he's laying on from time to time.
When Ralph lands back at the jeep from the photo mission, you can see Katt's microphone battery pack under the suit.
After the wedding, the shot of Katt's stuntman laying on the street and grabbing the bumper of the bad guys car and bringing it to a stop was actually ran in reverse for safety reasons to show him grabbing the bumper. He slid with the car going backwards then let go. When ran the other way it looks like he's on the ground and the car runs fast up on him and he grabs it.
When Katt's double lands in front of the door of the underground bunker and rips it off, look at the butt of the costume, it has dirt and grass stains all over it. Probably the same costume the double was wearing at the start of the episode when he grabbed the hose on the back of the tanker truck and slid on the grass to stop the truck from trashing Bill's car.
HEAVEN IS IN YOUR GENES
Episode 36 Production #9307 Air Date: January 13, 1983
Ralph must rescue Bill who has been kidnapped by a crazed scientist, who wants to experiment on him to find out what makes him such a successful agent.
Written By: Patrick Hasbough Directed By: Christian I. Nyby, Jr.
Guest Cast: William Price (Dr. Striegel), Dennis Lipscomb (Tom Gardener), Andre the Giant (monster), George McDaniel (Rutter), Carolyn Seymour (Kris Peterson), Rick Barker (Bradley), Ted Gehring (Lutz), Richard Fullerton, Gene Ross (Plummer), Patricia Wilson (Barbara Lutz), Ruben Morino (gas station attendant), Gina Alvarrado (receptionist)
Maxwell trashes yet another car, but it's not the usual model tan sedan.
Not a very spectacular crash though the boarded-up window at the Airport Cafe. It appears the stuntman jumps from the ground up, instead of crashing as if in-flight.
You can catch a glimpse of the flying rig a couple of times during the Ralph & Pam flight. If you have a copy of the episode as it originally aired on ABC, during the same flight you can see something wing-like all during this shot. This "wing" has been removed from the episode prints currently used.
Watch for the bounce as Katt's double carrying the Sellecca "dummy" hits the safety padding hidden behind the brush.
One of the oldest stock shots of the series can be seen as Ralph (Katt's double) takes off towards the Hunting Club.
In this same flight a not-very-impressive close-up of Katt in front of a white background is used. The cape is all bunched up on his back instead of blowing. Sometimes due to the hectic shooting schedule, there was no time to pull Katt into a soundstage for FX shots, and the production had to do the best they could given the time allowed.
Watch as the creature escapes Building A: the last stunt guy he throws against the supposed rock wall forces the whole rock wall facade to move!
LIVE AT ELEVEN
Episode 37 Production #9304 Air Date: January 20, 1983
Ralph tries to make the connection between terrorists who tried to steal plutonium, and a TV news anchor who plans to run for President.
Written By: Babs Greyhosky Directed By: Arnold Laven
Guest Cast: William Windom (Henry Williams), Alan Fudge (Chuck Cole), Miguel Fernandes (Canton), Will MacMillan (Fields), Eugene Peterson (Sherwood Davis), Melvin E. Allen (security guard #1), Debra Mays (Tammy), Charles Walker (Shelton), Woody Skaggs (Coursey), Victoria Boyd (Vicki), Mary York (policeman), Eileen Saki (nurse), Amanda Harley (Gladine), Dudley Knight (foreman), Terrence Beasor (Schneider), Will MacMillan
The opening shot of Ralph flying in the teaser/preview is not seen in the finished episode.
In the opening credits Connie Sellecca is credited as Pam Davidson, instead of Pam Hinkley. This info is from my original ABC version, I have no idea if it was corrected for syndication.
Eugene Peterson appears once again as an attorney, in the same law firm as Pam, but not in the role of her crooked boss from the 1st season episode The Best Desk Scenario
The shot of Ralph's takeoff from the party is stock footage from There's Just No Accounting.... Plus, if you listen close, the flying sound FX is heard BEFORE he leaps into the air.
Great shots of Ralph flying down the LA river, the shadows added passing over Katt as he flys underneath bridges gives the scene a touch of reality that was missing in the flying FX from the first two seasons.
Ralph's crash into the FBI offices from Saturday on Sunset Boulevard is recycled once again in this episode, as he enters the power plant through the roof.
More stock footage can be seen from the second season episodes The Shock Will Kill You and The Hand Painted Thai as Ralph searches for the plutonium thugs. Katt's shorter hair in the 3rd season made mixing footage from the previous seasons foolish, in the sense that even someone not well acquainted with the series could tell something funky was going on with Katt's appearance changing back and forth.
Kinda cool effect of Ralph glowing as he handles the exposed plutonium rods. ABC used the scene for the network promo in the days before this episodes airing.
We get another glimpse of the little seen Hinkley kitchen in this episode.
Ralph's takeoff outside of Chuck Cole's house is stock from Dreams.
As Ralph is flying down the street after the above takeoff, watch below him as he tilts from back and forth, you can see what look like some sort of shadows that tilt with him. You can see these, and a little black mark right beneath him. The shadow like marks look like they are from the base of the flying rig Katt was mounted on. Onscreen they tilt when the camera tilted, Katt was for the most part positioned straight and the effect of him tilted, turning, etc. was done with the camera.
The plutonium thugs don't seem surprised when a guy in tights and a cape pops up in front of them, demanding to know what they've done.
More stock footage is seen as Ralph heads off to fix the turbine, we see film from The Hand Painted Thai, Operation: Spoilsport, and Plague.
After Ralph crashes thru the wall and skids along the floor, you can see the line pulling him along.
Episode 38 Production#9311 Air Date: January 27, 1983
Ralph's finds that his newest student is wanted by the CIA and KGB after tapping into a Soviet satellite.
Written By: Rudolph Borchert Directed By: Ivan Dixon
Guest Cast: Douglas Warhit (Allen Smith/Longstress), Joe Santos (Fetchner), James Beach (Oscar), Alex Rodine (Proslov), Jan-Ivan Dorin (Zatkoff), Billy Zabka (Clarence Mortner, Jr.), Evonne Kezios (Zelda), Steve Alterman (Milton), Kene Holliday, Jay Gerber, Edward Bell, James Beach
The stock footage depicting the CIA's trace on Alan's phone call appears to be several years older than the time period it takes place in.
Check out the framed B&W publicity photo as Ralph and Pam's wedding picture.
Joey must have inherited the Piranha from Tony, as he mentions it, but it's not seen.
Notice the way the stuntman doubling for Douglas Warhit (Alan) trys to hide his face as he runs away from his house with the Russian agent on his tail.
Katt's double makes an awesome leap over the stair's railing as he chases after Alan and the Russian agent. A shot made even more effective by shooting from such a low angle, making it look like the leap was a lot higher than it really was.
We get to see the Hinkley kitchen once again in this episode. During the third season we get to see a lot more of the Hinkley house's interior than in the previous two seasons.
When Katt bolts from behind the overturned table during the gun battle scene, he's still wearing his street pants with only the top half of the suit exposed. Yet when he emerges from his house (stock footage from The Two-Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Fastball) he's in full costume.
As Ralph lands to bring the CIA car to a halt, notice the treadmarks already on the pavement. Possibly due to the fact the stunt had already been performed and shot from a different camera angle.
Clarence, the inventor of the solar-powered attache case, is played by Billy Zabka, probably best known for his role as Johnny in The Karate Kid. Also of note is the fact that the first assistant director on this episode is Stan Zabka; a relative perhaps?
Ralph's exit into the hallway, the leap through the closed window, AND the two flying shots can first be seen in the second season episode Plague.
Ralph's catching Alan and falling out of frame revealing the chopper retreating was first seen in Who's Woo In America.
Katt's double does a grand leap when he catches ahold of the helicopter skid in mid-air.
It's a huge shock that the producers actually let Katt hang off the helicopter in flight as Ralph forces the chopper to land. If you look close you can see the "hook" taped to the helicopter's skid that allowed Katt to rest his right leg inside of it while he hung on with his right arm.
THIRTY SECONDS OVER LITTLE TOKYO
Episode 39 Production #9302 Air Date: February 3, 1983
Ralph and Bill find themselves trying to protect a Japanese man after agang tries to kidnap him to force his nephew to turn over a weapon he created.
Written By: Danny Lee Cole and J. Duncan Ray Directed By: Arnold Laven
Guest Cast: Soon-Teck Oh (Ernie Shikinami), Mako (Master of Flowers), Lloyd Kino (Isoroku Shikinami), Christine Belford (Dotty), Peter Kwong (Tanaka), Dana Lee, Edward Bell, Robert Alan Browne, John Wyler (Benning), George Paul (landlady), Bert Henchman (security guard)
In this episode's teaser we see Ralph run into his living room in the full suit: "I'm ready Bill... which way did they go!?!" Right in front of a shaken and now startled Dotty Parker who replies, "Who are you supposed to be?" This scene does not appear in the finished episode.
Fan favorite Christine Belford also portrayed the spooky Sheila Redman in the second season's The Beast in The Black.
We get to see a bit of Ralph's (Katt's double) improvement with the suit, as it's no struggle to quick-change from his street clothes to the magic jammies in a couple of seconds, as he races to catch the thugs who abducted Isoroko.
This episode features the last appearance of the Villicana Piranha and Edward Bell as Mr. Knight.
We also get to see a rare stunt performed by a Katt stunt double dressed in street clothes instead of the suit.
Once again for the upteenth time we get to see Ralph's leap out the hotel window from The Hit Car.
Ralph getting hit by the truck while in mid-flight first appeared in The Good Samaritan.
We learn in this episode Ralph now has a bizarre phone number....555-800, radically changed from 555-4635 given a few episodes before in The Price is Right.
Ralph's take off to catch Ernie is lifted from the second season episode There's Just No Accounting...
Watch as Ralph turns invisible. Maxwell: "Okay Ralph, go do your stuff... beam in on the beam." Notice when Katt disappears, the surrounding image, Culp, etc. shifts slightly, showing the fade from one source to another instead of the more effective "I Dream of Jeannie" pop in and out, that has everything and everyone in the frame perfectly frozen to avoid noticing the camera trick.
When you see the close-up of the laser bouncing off of the suit, take a look at the suit's belt buckle. It's upside down!
WIZARDS & WARLOCKS
Episode 40 Production #9306 Air Date: First aired in syndication.
Ralph, Pam and Bill become involved in a role-playing fantasy game to help find a young prince.
Written By: Shel Willens Directed By: Bruce Kessler
Guest Cast: Steve Peteman, Shunil Borpujari, Nicko Minardos, James Whitmore, Jr. (Norman Fakler)
The script dated Oct. 14, 1982, is called "Swords & Sorcerers."
Take a look at the photo of Stambouli that's given to Maxwell. It's a photo taken during the filming of the mini-golf course scenes featured at the end of this episode.
The stand up coin-op video game Margolis is playing is called Tempest; it has nothing to do with wizards or warlocks. The home video game system Intellivision and it's version of Dungeons & Dragons was used for the close-up insert shots.
After Ralph's crash into the tree with the curtain, look while the cape is up over Katt. Just below the silver/gray trim on the bottom of the tunic, you can see the wireless microphone system pack that he's wearing under the suit.
I'm sure most everyone recognizes Bob Saget (Dennis) in this early role, before he became well known on Full House and America's Funniest Home Videos.
Norman Fackler is played by accomplished actor/director James Whitmore Jr. in his third appearance on the show.
Ralph's flight up the tunnel after Stambouli's thugs is stock footage from Operation: Spoilsport, and the "live action" flying right before Ralph smashes into the thugs was a nice touch.
Some of the most impressive flying can be seen in this episode, as Ralph flies down through the concrete L.A. River area, complete with Katt ducking and shadows falling across him as he passes under bridges.
Nice one-handed catch by Sellecca when Katt tosses the jester's hat to her.
Watch carefully as Stambouli's thug rolls off of the gingerbread house. Right before he falls out of frame, a single mysterious hand appears on the left side of the screen.
Episode 41 Production#9310 Air Date: First Aired In Syndication
Ralph, Pam and Bill try to save a wild stallion from a ruthless cattle rancher, who's out for revenge against the horse
Written By: Stephen J. Cannell and Frank Lupo Directed By: Christopher Nelson
Guest Cast: John Vernon (Justin King), James Hampton (sheriff), Red West (Charley), Luke Askew (Matt), Rick Lenz, Conlan Carter, Linda Hoy (Martha Wells), Beach Dickerson (judge)
Just about a year after this episode was produced, The A-Team aired a two-hour TV movie with a similar theme called When You Comin' Back Range Rider.
With this episode Red West makes his third appearance in the series.
A nice simple "live" effect is used with excellent results, as Ralph picks up Red with one hand and carries him through mid-air.
An obvious "dummy" is used in place of Red West when Katt hoists Red over his shoulder; notice Katt holding onto the dummy's hands to keep them from flopping around before he leaps over the camera.
With production time at a minimum, there was no chance to get Katt and West into a studio for new flying FX to be shot. So the old method of shooting them close in front of a solid background was used. The rear angle was more effective, but the close-up of Katt while flying Red was less so, because you can see whatever it was on which he was lying sneak into the shot from time to time.
Kudos to the Katt stunt double who had to leap off of the peak backwards with the Red "dummy" so the reverse film effect could be used, giving the impression that Ralph flew Red up to the top of the rock.
Look at the framed photo of President Ronald Reagan that hangs in the sheriff's office. Now the next time you go back and watch all of the second and third season episodes, count how many times this photo shows up in various offices.
Two shots of flying FX (seen when Ralph is following one of the King pick-up trucks) were originally used in The Price Is Right.
IT'S ONLY ROCK 'N' ROLL
Episode 42 Production #9312 Air Date: First Aired In Syndication
Ralph tries to save a rock star who has become a target of members of a motorcycle gang who helped finance his first album.
Written By: Babs Greyhosky Directed By: Christian I. Nyby, Jr.
Guest Cast: Judson Scott (Dak Hampton), Anthony Charnoto (Mike Christopher), Robert Dryer, George Dickerson, Leslie Woods, Dennis Stewart, Andy Wood, Michael Mancini, Sheila Frazer, Rick Dees (announcer), David Sage (official)
Fans of The A-Team should recognize the man's voice performing the pilot's voiceover. It's actor/producer John Ashley, who can also be heard performing the voiceover for four seasons at the beginning of every A-Team episode.
Great "live" flying as Ralph skims closely alongside the plane as he nears the baggage compartment door.
More evidence of Ralph gaining more control over the suit's powers, as we see that he doesn't need to take three-steps-and-a-jump as he exits the baggage compartment. He merely drops out and into the air to resume flight.
One of the better "under the gun" flying FX shots can be quickly glimpsed in close-up as Katt is holding the explosive luggage. The shot of Ralph flying wildly just after the explosion is originally from the Now You See It... episode. Notice the smoke trail from the missile in the background. The stuntman falling into the water is also stock, seen before in previous episodes.
Great rare close-up of the communicator as Bill calls Ralph for help with the Road Hogs.
We get to see, yet again, the stuntman leap out the window originally used in The Hit Car. If I only had a dollar for each time this shot was recycled!
More proof of Ralph gaining control over the suit's abilities, as he crashes through the safe-house window, lands on his feet and goes after the attacking Road Hogs.
The stuntman that Katt appears to pitch through the air hits the wall so hard the whole wall facade moves!
When Maxwell runs to check on Dak, he opens the door to what appears to be a dark room. Yet in the close-up as the camera pans across the empty bed, the entire room is brightly lit. Cut back to Culp turning away once again from the darkened doorway.
The less said about Dak's performance at the Station House, the better.
We see Ralph's exit and flight from his house once again used from The Two-Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Fastball.
It’s a stuntman who drops the shotgun to the ground as he leaps over the camera.
Nice effect as Ralph knocks one Hog from his motorcycle. Watch the bike's left handlebar snag the cape and rip it from the stuntman's back.
VANITY, SAYS THE PREACHER
Episode 43 Production #9313 Air Date: First Aired In Syndication
Bill accepts an invitation to be honored as Man Of The Year by a Latin American country where years before he was instrumental in helping them establish a democratic government.
Written By: Robert Culp Directed By: Robert Culp
Guest Cast: Isela Vega, Julio Medina, Dehl Berti, Joseph Culp, Jason Culp, Luis Moreno, Frankie Pesce (bartender)
The same hotel exterior stock footage from It's Only Rock 'N' Roll is used again here.
Ralph bunches up his clothes as he leaps into the air going after Bill, but when we actually see him in flight he's carrying nothing.
Excellent idea using one of Culp's sons as a younger Bill Maxwell in the newsreel footage.
When Ralph tells Bill he's not bringing the suit into the politics of a country, he appears and disappears without the use of any sound effects. This makes the scene much more dramatic than it would have been if the normal cartoon-like sounds had been heard.
This episode is the only time we see Ralph use the suit's power of voice projection.
The opticals of the spaceship approaching, coming in low over the trees and then over the crowd, doesn't match the live action spotlight used on location. Besides the model ship looking a bit small for the shot, when the crowd is illuminated directly in the light and looking up, the craft is not yet above them.
This is the only episode in which people are transported into the spaceship WITHOUT the use of the "light elevator".
Much of the sequence showing Bill and the greenguy is stock footage originally shot for Divorce Venusian Style. In fact, the only new greenguy shot is from the shoulder down as he speaks to Ralph and Bill. More than likely no money was available for the make-up needed to create the greenguy's head, and the hands were just slip-on gloves.
Also, the greenguy now speaks with a cartoon-like voice, not nearly as effective as the original voice heard in Divorce Venusian Style.
If you look closely, Ralph and Bill actually start to float BEFORE the greenguy activates the system allowing them to do so.
THE GREATEST AMERICAN HEROINE
Pilot Episode Production #13000 Air Date: First Aired In Syndication
Ralph and the suit are exposed, and he lets all the attention inflate his ego. The greenguys return with the order that he must give up the super powered costume to make the world forget, and he must also pick someone to carry on.
Written By: Babs Greyhosky Directed By: Tony Mordente
Guest Cast: Mary Ellen Stuart (Holley Hathaway), Mya Akerling (Sarah), John Zee, Jerry Potter, Wayne Grace, Jeffrey Markel (Timothy)
In 1986 Stephen J. Cannell was being honored in his role in creating some of televisions most popular series. At this function he was sitting next to NBC’s Brandon Tartikoff, all the while clips from Cannell’s series were being shown. When clips of TGAH came up Tartikoff supposedy said, “ABC made a big mistake in canceling that show”. So a deal was set in motion for a return of TGAH.