Many visitors to the website are already aware of the lawsuit brought against ABC and SJC Productions by Warner Bros. Inc. claiming TGAH infringed on their Superman copyright. This legal nonsense continued past the shows broadcast history, and due to this factor, many potential licensees backed away from producing merchandise based on the show. Fans would not see Maxwell gun and badge playsets, no lunchboxes, school folders, trading cards, or any of the other types of products one would normally see.
However a handful of official items were released during the years of 1981-1983. The extreme popularity of Believe It or Not, had fans and music lovers alike waiting for a single release. The first 45 single was distributed in a plain paper cover, while the next batch that shipped a few weeks later came in the slick red sleeve featuring the shows title and insignia. The same sort of cover (although a larger size) was used with the sale of the theme's sheet music. A full Joey Scarbury album called America's Greatest Hero was released next. Believe It or Not, and Sum of My Old Friends are the only two songs heard on the record that are actually in the show.
A series of child size shirts were also found in stores during the shows run. The costume insignia appeared on two of the shirts, on being made of a slick heat applied transfer, the other having the symbol screened right on the shirt itself. Another style had a drawing of a brick wall with Ralph's feet sticking out, as if he crashed headfirst through the brick with the shows title all on the front. It's been said a second cartoon style shirt was also offered, but I never found it back in the 80's or yet today.
Finally on the toy side of things Cannell Productions had the misfortune of signing with the toy company Mego to produce action figures. In the 70's Mego was the king when it came to 8 inch action figures, although by the 80's a series of incidents had Mego on the verge of going out of business. A box set with a convertible VW bug and figures just over 3 inches tall of Ralph and Bill found a limited release. Most sets found today have a Kay-Bee price sticker, and basically if you didn't have that toy store chain in your area you had no idea this even existed. One wonders why the convertible was included not Maxwell's tan sedan, and this was the last licensed product that came out of the company before closing its doors.
The Holy Grail of TGAH action figures were the unreleased 8 inch figures of Ralph, Bill, and Pam. A few prototypes of Ralph and Bill have surfaced in the last 25+ years, along with their backing cards in some cases. Only one of figure of Pam is known to exist, and all are in the hands of various Mego or TGAH collectors. For a complete and accurate history of TGAH Mego figures please visit: http://www.megomuseum.com/teevee/greatestamericanhero.html
To my knowledge no other licensed items other than what I've reported here appeared during the run of the show. Recent years have brought out other licensed items such as limited run action figure, statue, comic books, (thanks to William Katt) t-shirts, and halloween costume to name a few.
This frisbee is a VERY rare piece, not sold in stores. I can only make a guess as to it's origin. Notice it has a Paramount Television logo. Cannell struck a deal for the pilot to be issued on videotape, outside the United States through Paramount. The studio also handled broadcast distribution for the series outside the U.S. This had to be a promotional item for one or maybe both of those methods of distribution.
Another item I stumbled across, and the seller had no idea where it came from. If you look close, there is a TM trademark stamp, and maybe some other words that are too blurry to read under the bricks. I'm pretty confident this wasn't a legit merchandise piece sold in stores. Some enterprising button maker, could have produced this in his basement to sell at flea markets, etc.
Could also been something produced in another country. I've seen many items over the years, especially from Argentina that aren't really legit. Some even produced in more recent years, but appear to have been "aged" to look old.
If anyone has the answers about the origin of the frisbee or button, or if you have either one, or any other GAH items of interest please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org