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Legends of the Super Heroes
I am not sure if you ever saw the movie Mallrats. During that movie, two of the main characters leave the comfort of their modern mall and go down the road to a less savory indoor mall. I was always bummed by that characterization of what was the Route 1 Flea Market in New Brunswick, NJ (which is now a movie theater). I loved that place, it was a giant indoor flea market where you could find all sorts of treasures, especially in the videotape department.
It was there that I pad 10 bucks for a videotape of the TV special, Legends of the Superheroes (sometimes spelled as Superheroes). I showed it to everyone I knew, and we could hardly believe our eyes.
Legends of the Super Heroes is the combined title for two one-hour, live-action Hanna-Barbera TV specials which aired on NBC in January 1979. They were very 1970s in tone and were produced like any other variety shows of the time with gloriously middling production values and a smirk inducing laugh track.
Legends starred the heroes of DC with Adam West and Burt Ward leading the charge playing their roles as Batman and Robin along with other less media-ready superheroes like Garrett Craig as Captain Marvel, Howard Murphy as the Green Lantern, Bill Nuckols as Hawkman, Barbara Joyce as The Huntress, Rod Haase as The Flash, Alfie Wise as The Atom and Danuta Rylko Soderman as the Black Canary.
The special has two distinct parts. The first part, “The Challenge” has the heroes (de-powered) face off against the Legion of Doom in a must-see Battle Royal.
Part 2 is “The Roast” and it is just that, a celebrity roast of the superheroes hosted by Ed McMahon, filled with corny jokes and the unfortunately named Ghetto Man.
Legends of the Superheroes is high camp and should be celebrated as the high watermark of 1970s superhero television that it is. That is why I am so happy to see that the special has been released on DVD by the Warner Archive. So if you want a chuckle and are a fan of 70s TV, point your browsers to Amazon and order up a copy of Legends of the Superheroes.