Like many kids in the early 1980s, I watched a television show called “The Greatest American Hero” starring William Katt. It’s about a school teacher who receives a suit made my beings from another planet. The suit gives the wearer superpowers such as flight, super speed, super strength, and so on. What I found cool then and now was that technology is what gives our hero these abilities. Granted, it’s technology that is far more advanced than what human beings are capable of (so far), but that’s not the point.
One episode that I remember most was from season two called “The Beast in Black”. In it, Ralph Hinkley (Katt) has to deal with the spirit of a woman inhabiting a hidden room in an old house. Then there’s the beast in black: a creature that stands between the room and the real world. Though it is never referred to as a demon in the episode, I always assumed it was. This episode brings together the superhero genre with the paranormal for some fascinating sequences. Honestly, this episode scared the bageezus out of me as a kid.
The thing that makes this episode the most special is that it shows just how brave Ralph Hinkley is. Spoiler coming: once Ralph goes into the 4th dimension, his suit no longer works. Without giving away too much, for those who have never seen this, Ralph has to face the ghost and demon to save Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp) all by his mortal self. By the way, Culp gives an amazing performance. Alright, I said too much. Watch the episode!
One more thing, The Retroist covered The Greatest American Hero on podcast episode 57. William Katt is interviewed in that podcast!
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