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Greatest American Hero, The (ABC 1981-983, William Katt, Robert Culp)

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Despite the earnestness of the theme song (which went to number one on the singles charts), The Greatest American Hero never took itself too seriously. William Katt starred as mild-mannered high-school teacher Ralph Hinkley, who, while on a desert field trip with his Whitney High students, was chosen by aliens to don a costume and fight bad guys (now that’s a field trip!). Witnessing this first encounter was FBI agent Bill Maxwell, who happened to be stranded in the same part of the desert.

The extra-terrestrials gave Hinkley a ridiculous-looking red suit, which gave him the powers of flight, x-ray vision and invisibility. But there was one problem: Hinkley immediately lost the instruction manual that came with the suit and had to learn all his newly acquired skills by trial and error. Many, many crash landings followed.

Agent Maxwell frequently employed the superhero in his own cases. When he wasn’t solving crimes, Hinkley continued to date his girlfriend (and eventual wife), attorney Pam Davidson, who was aware of Ralph’s double life. And a double life it was, indeed. When you’re only a so-so superhero, you have to keep your day job, and Ralph continued to teach a class of students that included hunky Tony Villicana, his girlfriend Rhonda Blake, Cyler Johnson and Rodriguez. Ralph’s ex-wife Alicia occasionally appeared on the show, as did their son Kevin.

In 1981, President Reagan was shot and, believe it or not, the incident had an effect on the series. Since Reagan’s would-be assassin was named Hinckley, ABC decided that Ralph’s students would simply refer to him as “Mr. H.” For the few episodes that had been filmed but not aired before the decision was made, “Hinkley” was overdubbed with “Hanley”. Reagan pulled through, and Ralph got his last name back in August of 1981.

Created by Stephaen J.Cannell (producer of The A-Team and 21 Jump Street), the series lasted for three years with the last five episodes shown in syndication. The final episode was intended to be a spin-off for a show called The Greatest American Heroine, with the suit being given to a woman, but it never got off the ground.

The Greatest American Hero was also given the distinct honor of being alluded to on Seinfeld. George re-wrote the words to the Mike Post/Stephen Geyer theme song, using “Believe it or not George isn’t at home” for his answering machine’s outgoing message. A superhero and a pop culture reference point… That’s one cool suit.

“Believe it or not,
I’m walking on air,
I never thought I could feel so free,
Flying away on a wing and a prayer,
Who could it be?
Believe it or not, it’s just me…”

production details
USA / ABC / 1×120 minute episode 43×30 minute episodes / Broadcast 18 March 1981 – 3 February 1983

Creator: Stephen J. Cannell / Theme Music: Mike Post, Stephen Geyer / Sung by Joey Scarbury / Executive Producers: Stephen J. Cannell, Juanita Bartlett, Jo Swerkling Jr

cast
William Katt as Ralph Hinkley
Robert Culp as Bill Maxwell
Connie Sellecca as Pam Davidson
Brandon Williams as Kevin Hinkley
Simone Griffeth as Alicia Hinkley
Faye Grant as Rhonda Harris
Michael Pare as Tony Villacona
Don Cervantes as Paco Rodriquez
Cheryl Francis as Susan
E.J. Peaker as Rose Harris
Dave Shelley as Manny
Robby Weaver as Ray Buck
Michael Ensign as School Principal Kane
William Frankfather as Palmer Bradshaw
William Bogert as Mr. Carlyle
June Lockhart as Alice Davidson
Norman Alden as Harry Davidson
Bob Minor as John Macke

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Clochmerle (BBC-2 1972, Cyril Cusack, Roy Dotrice)

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Clochmerle BBC 1972

Period sitcom, based on a novel by Gabriel Chevallier that was adapted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, that saw the French villagers of Clochmerle kick up a fuss over plans to install a new toilet.

cast
CYRIL CUSACK as Major Piechut
ROY DOTRICE as Ponosse
KENNETH GRIFFITH as Ernest Tafardel
WENDY HILLER as Justine Putet
HUGH GRIFFITH as Alexandre Bourdillat
BERNARD BRESSLAW as Nicholas the Beadle
MADELINE SMITH as Hortase Girodet
GEORGINA MOON as Rose Biraque
PETER USTINOV as Narrator

crew details
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson
Novel: Gabriel Chevallier
Producer: Michael Mills

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC Two – Bavaria
Duration: 9×30 minute episodes
Aired From: 18 February – 14 April 1972 Fridays at 10.05pm

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TV

Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)

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In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.

cast
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen

crew details
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell

production details
Country: UK
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986

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Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)

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Christmas Princess Nicole Munoz

Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.

cast
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3

crew details
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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