Thursday, October 21, 2010

When the Price is Right, I Will Own a Copy of "Legends of the Super Heroes"

I am not sure I have a whole $20 plus S&H to get my hands on the bizarre 1970's attempt by DC Comics to keep their superheroes on television screens.  If you haven't seen Legends of the Super Heroes, you're probably going to still get through life okay, but your life will be a bit poorer for it.  Like a lot of comic dorks, I've seen a bootleg copy of a beta-max tape transferred to VHS and all the quality one would expect of that VHS tape after it sitting on the shelf for 10 years at Vulcan Video.

The show is a live action program starring Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman & Robin.  It also features Captain Marvel, Green Lantern, Black Canary and, I think, Hawkman, as well as other DC properties.  And their villains.  Younger readers will not remember the heyday of 70's era Hollywood where Burt Reynolds defined cool, but if you remember Burt Reynolds drunkenly cackling his way through a segment on Johnny Carson, then you'll understand the tone of Legends of the Super Heroes.  

Folks under the age of 25 will be surprised to learn that there was a time and place where superheroes were considered a goofy kids' past time, and there's definitely a vibe on the show that these actors are barely containing their laughter the same way you do when you show up for a costume party and see your friends dressed as gorillas or when you see your friends in pilgrim costumes for the first time in the dress rehearsals for a high school production of The Crucible.*

Only two episodes were produced, but fans older than myself have terrific memories of watching the show (I was two young, I guess). 

It may not be as bad as The Star Wars Holiday Special (which is like spending two hours with your head in a chicken cage with three angry chickens), but the world was not ready for-live action Dr. Sivana and Mordru when this show was produced.

Warner Bros. apparently noticed people were paying money for this thing at cons in pirated copies and/ or the hit count on YouTube must have achieved the right number of hits and figured people would pay good dollars for a decent copy.  Warner Bros. has started an interesting service wherein they print DVDs on-demand.  While you wind up paying more, its meant WB has been able to open their vaults and quit worrying about selling X numbers of copies in order to make a print-run worth doing.

I am not sure $20 plus S&H is the amount I am willing to pay for self-inflicted pain.  Maybe...  $8.99. 

Fortunately, WB periodically runs deals on their archive DVDs, so sooner or later the thing will be more easily available.  But if they wanted to send me a review copy, I wouldn't say "no".  I'm just saying, WB.

For more on the video:

Progressive Ruin

*well, I thought it was funny


Anonymous said...

How have I never heard of this??

I also have a very hard to defend love for the 70's Marvel Dr. Strange movie. I'm so ashamed....


Matt A. said...

I've never heard of it, either. I don't know how I could have missed it. Though I still don't know if it beats the Batman vs. Green Hornet episode.

The League said...

NTT - I think I found out about Legends shortly after you graduated and moved out of town, because I remember watching it circa 2001.

I do think the TV-centric apocrypha of superheroes is pretty amazing. Particularly the live action stuff. Fortunately, WB's new Archive format means that they can afford to release some of this stuff.

Live action Justice League (which must be seen to be believed - its sort of Bwahahaha era)
Dr. Strange
The Corman Fantastic Four Project
the Captain America TV movies
the short-lived Spidey TV show
Japanese Spidey

all pretty amazing stuff

The League said...

Oh, and I've heard of Batman & Green Hornet, but never actually saw it.