When A Teacher Became The Greatest American Hero

By Linda Speckhals
Source: (IMDb).

In 1981, America got a new superhero: the Greatest American Hero. Unlike so many other superheroes, his powers were not within him, but rather part of the suit he wore. Nor did he have a superhero name, but simply went by Ralph Hinkley or Mr. H. to some of his students. However, he did refer to himself as “Captain Crash” and “Captain Gonzo” in a rather self-deprecating way.

It Poked Fun At The Superhero Genre

The show, which was on from 1981 to 1983, was a mix of comedy and action, and it poked fun at the superhero genre. The creator, Stephen J. Cannell, had originally planned for the series to emphasize realistic problems, and what he called “character comedy” which was centered around real human flaws. However, new management at ABC wanted more heroic storylines to make the show more like a children’s show. It still remained different from other superhero series as it not only poked fun at the genre but also explored how the ordinary man could live like a superhero.