Following a success of a Marvel Cinematic Universe, there has been a resurgence of superheroes in cinema and TV. Green Arrow, Supergirl, a Flash, and a agents of SHIELD have array on network TV, while Daredevil and Jessica Jones have dual of a many watched array on Netflix. With arriving cinema formed on both DC and Marvel comics, it seems expected this trend will continue for some time.
While it was nowhere nearby as successful, there was another teenager rebirth for superheroes in radio in a 1970s. It started with a renouned Six Million Dollar Man (1974–1978), that told a story of Steve Austin, an wanderer and exam commander given superhuman bionic replacements for both legs, one arm, and one eye.
Some of a TV array from this period, like The Amazing Spider-Man (1977–1979), Wonder Woman (1975–1979), and The Incredible Hulk (1977–1982), brought characters from a comics to a tiny screen. Several other attempts were made—Captain America (1979), Dr. Strange (1978), and The Punisher (1989)—but nothing of these resulted in a series.
There were also a array of strange superheroes with due series. Most never done it serve than a commander movie, and those who did had usually brief runs. However, some peculiar and fascinating characters did come out of these efforts.
We’ll usually be covering characters combined for radio (with usually a commander or a few episodes), rather than those blending from comics or other media.
10 The Questor Tapes
The Questor Tapes was a 1974 radio commander about an android named Questor, played by Robert Foxworth, whose memory tapes have been damaged. Questor has to find out who combined him and what his purpose is, while eluding supervision army who wish to constraint him. Questor has greater-than-human strength, speed, and intelligence, interjection to his robotic nature, and also a genuine attract that wins him allies among a humans.
Eventually, Questor discovers that he is indeed a latest in a prolonged array of androids, placed on Earth ages ago by scold and gratuitous aliens. He is told his mission: “We protect, nonetheless we do not interfere. Man contingency make his possess way. We beam him—but always nonetheless his knowledge.”
The TV film was a brainchild of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, who hoped it would spin an ongoing series. Questor would have trafficked a globe, assisting people to equivocate war, overcome prejudice, and quarrel other amicable ills. That never happened, nonetheless a film picked adult a cult following, and a novelization was combined by D.C. Fontana.
There wasn’t an Iron Man film until 2008, nonetheless a armored favourite was being ripped off 30 years earlier. In 1977, Exo-Man featured a favourite wearing a absolute mechanized fit like Tony Stark’s, nonetheless not as cool.
Dr. Nicholas Conrad, played by David Ackroyd, was a shining college highbrow operative on a new material, a memory cosmetic that would change figure underneath electric currents. Unfortunately, Nicholas witnessed a Mafia killing, that stirred a host to send a strike male after him. Nicholas wasn’t killed, nonetheless a try left him inept from a waist down.
Fortunately, a special cosmetic presented a resolution to both a stoppage and a community’s problems with orderly crime. He used it to erect a bulletproof armored exoskeleton that extended his strength and stable him from harm. The fit was tough adequate to withstand being rammed by a automobile and gave a favourite a strength to travel by a thick petrify wall. Unfortunately, it was also slow—so delayed that even a knave on crutches could have gotten divided from him. Fortunately, a bad guys never suspicion of using divided and spent their time futilely sharpened and punching a armored hero.
Exo-Man was combined by Martin Caidin, a inclusive techno-thriller writer who had formerly combined The Six Million Dollar Man. His essay done a fit sound a lot some-more possibly than a 1970s special effects could. But even with a name like Caidin’s behind it, Exo-Man was cursed to obscurity. The commander had decent ratings nonetheless never managed to spin a series.
8 The Man With The Power
The 1977 TV film The Man With a Power starts with a immature male named Eric Smith (played by Bob Neill), whose recently defunct father was a supervision agent. He is visited by Agent Walter Bloom (Tim O’Connor), who worked with his father. Bloom has several startling revelations: First, Eric’s father was indeed an visitor being. Second, Eric has hereditary penetrating powers from him.
Bloom recruits Eric as an representative and trains him how to use his ability to psychokinetically pierce matter. His initial assignment is to strengthen a visiting Bengali princess from army seeking to disintegrate her father’s government. With his superhuman powers, Eric saves a day and wins Princess Siri’s heart. His powers weren’t adequate to get him a unchanging series, though.
The Man With a Power is really obscure, nonetheless it has a tie of sorts with one of a many renouned scholarship novella franchises of all time. Persis Khambatta, who plays Princess Siri, and John de Lancie, who has a really teenager role, both went on to star in Star Trek. Persis Khambatta played a bald Deltan Lieutenant Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and John de Lancie played a repeated invincible knave Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation and successive series.
Samurai (1979) is a story of a favourite who, like Batman, possesses no superhuman powers nonetheless is so sublime that he can repress armed gangsters with ease.
Lee Cantrell (Joe Penny) is a counsel in a San Francisco prosecutor’s bureau who is undone by criminals too large for a law to touch. Fortunately, Lee’s martial humanities instructor, Takeo Chisato (James Shigeta) has lerned him given childhood in a humanities of a samurai, and he has achieved an extraordinary spin of skill.
Lee’s dress resembles a black leather karate gi with a red belt and headband, and he carries a razor-sharp katana. However, in a late 1970s, radio was underneath a good bargain of vigour to revoke assault in programming, so Lee used his sword to cut by doors or disjoin energy cords nonetheless never strike anyone with it. It was transparent in a uncover that no one was ostensible to bond a puzzling samurai with a apostolic immature prosecutor, nonetheless as Lee didn’t wear a mask, it was misleading how he designed to keep his temperament secret.
Samurai was not picked adult as a series, and Joe Penny went on to relations celebrity as Jake in a investigator array Jake and a Fatman.
6 The Last Ninja
A matching judgment to Samurai nonetheless with some-more worldly writing, The Last Ninja (1983) also displayed a some-more in-depth bargain of Japanese martial arts. Kenjiro “Ken” Sakura (Michael Beck) is a demure superhero. He is a Westerner who was lifted by martial humanities master Aitaro Sakura (Mako) and lerned in a art of ninjutsu. But Ken isn’t looking for adventure; he is calm with his still life as an art dealer.
Things are taken out of Ken’s hands when a supervision representative comes calling. There are people in a comprehension village who know about his ninja training, and they need his help. Terrorists have prisoner a organisation of scientists and are holding them in a high confidence building. The military have a building surrounded, nonetheless they don’t have anyone means of unctuous into a building, defeating a terrorists, and rescuing a hostages. No one, that is, unless Ken will lend them his extraordinary skills.
Ken dresses as a stereotypical ninja, all in black and nonetheless a leather and red headband. While it’s tough to trust that ninja skills and shuriken are as effective as night prophesy rigging and silenced guns, a film does a good pursuit of creation we trust it. Ken relies some-more on stealth, planning, and misdirection than a standard martial humanities hero.
The Last Ninja had a makings of a good series, nonetheless it was never picked adult and (appropriately) dead into a shadows of obscurity.
5 The Ultimate Impostor
The Ultimate Impostor had dual episodes . . . sort of.
The initial chronicle of a uncover was presented as an part of The Six Million Dollar Man patrician “The Ultimate Impostor” in 1977. Rudy Wells, a scientist who combined Steve Austin’s bionic limbs and eye, had a new invention. He’d detected how to download information from a mechanism directly into a tellurian brain. Wells used this device to module supervision representative Joe Patton (Stephen Macht) to pronounce Arabic, play a violin, quarrel like a kung fu master, or collect adult any other ability needed. The downside was that a download degraded after 72 hours, so while Joe could be anyone and do anything, he had to finish his missions quickly.
The thought was clever, and a fact that Joe lives in a same illusory star as a Six Million Dollar Man and a Bionic Woman combined good crossover possibilities, nonetheless a spin-off array never happened. Undeterred, in 1979, a creators somewhat mutated a thought and done a commander movie, also patrician The Ultimate Impostor, with a opposite expel and no references to a smoothness of The Six Million Dollar Man.
Frank Monahan (Joseph Hacker) was an American view who was prisoner while handling in China. He was interrogated, and when he was finally returned, his mind had been wiped blank. However, this tabula rasa state also done Frank’s mind generally receptive to mechanism downloads. His powers were matching to a Joe Patton version, solely his vacant memory meant that his controllers had to be generally careful. If they forgot to give him a information for elementary tasks—like pushing a car—he wouldn’t have those skills.
4 The Phoenix
The Phoenix (1981–1982) is a some-more successful than some in that it got past a commander movie. The array was picked up, and 5 whole episodes were promote before it was canceled.
The array revolves everywhere Bennu of a Golden Light (Judson Scott), a male who is found in dangling animation in an Incan tomb in Peru. When Bennu awakens, he reveals that he is an visitor from a world Eldebran and was placed into hibernation in ancient times. Now that he has awakened, his goal is to find his mate, Mira, and overcome his dim counterpart, Yago.
Bennu looks tellurian nonetheless is physically several times stronger, and he possesses penetrating powers, including clairvoyance, precognition, telepathy, and a ability to float several feet off a belligerent when meditating. He wears a golden talisman with a picture of a phoenix, that he can use to amplify his powers when needed. He is both trusting and wise, and it is pragmatic that when he revives Mira, a dual of them will lead amiability to an cordial age. In a meantime, he helps a people he meets in his wanderings and eludes constraint by Justin Preminger (Richard Lynch), a doubtful supervision agent.
The name “Bennu” comes from a Egyptian name for a fabulous phoenix, and a thought of aliens visiting Earth in ancient times was a curtsy to a papers of Erich von Daniken.
Judson Scott went on to larger celebrity in scholarship novella as Joachim, arch henchmen of Khan in a film Star Trek II: a Wrath of Khan (1982). Richard Lynch seemed as one of a kidnapped scientists in The Last Ninja and went on to spin one of a many famous faces among TV and film villains. He never did locate Bennu. Perhaps he should have reached out to a associate supervision agent—like a Man With a Power or a Six Million Dollar Man—for help.
3 Future Cop
Slightly some-more successful than The Phoenix, Future Cop had a commander film in 1976 followed by a array from 1977 to 1978. It lasted a full 6 episodes before a cancellation. Like The Questor Tapes, this uncover featured a realistic android as a protagonist.
Officer John Haven (Michael Shannon) is an initial man-like appurtenance designed to reinstate tellurian military officers in a field. Essentially, he was Robocop 10 years progressing and nonetheless a intimidating armor. Haven is reserved to maestro patrolmen Joe Cleaver (Ernest Borgnine) and Bill Bundy (John Amos) as a exam of his effectiveness. The locate is that while Joe is told that Haven is an android, no one else in a patrol is authorised to know.
Haven is super-strong and means of some-more accurate observations and actions than a tellurian being. However, while he has an comprehensive memory for laws and regulations, he is really literal-minded and unqualified of bargain tellurian nuances, a smirch Joe struggles to correct. As a array progressed, Haven would presumably have schooled some-more about being human, nonetheless he never had a chance.
This was a second try during a cop-with-robot-partner series. In a 1976–1977 TV season, Holmes and Yoyo had attempted to do a judgment as a nonsensical comedy, usually to be canceled after 13 episodes. The observation open was not nonetheless prepared for a destiny of law enforcement.
2 Gemini Man
Gemini Man (1976) was a 12-episode array that showcased a adventures of an invisible spy. Sam Casey (Ben Murphy) was a laid-back, 1970s-style favourite whose pursuit as a supervision representative took him into dangerous situations. On one mission, he was operative to redeem a Soviet satellite that had crashed into a sea when a device exploded. Sam survived, nonetheless a deviation from a blast somehow “destabilized his DNA,” causing him to spin invisible. It would have killed him, nonetheless supervision scientists were means to emanate an electronic bracelet that restabilized him and done him visible.
Sam could spin invisible by deactivating a bracelet, nonetheless he had a time limit. If he remained invisible for some-more than 15 minutes, a routine became irreversible, withdrawal him invisible perpetually and eventually murdering him. Conveniently, whatever Sam was wearing would spin invisible with him. Perhaps a slow deviation destabilized a DNA of his clothing . . . or maybe a writers were too endangered with essay fast-paced adventures to worry too many about a science.
1 The Invisible Man
A deteriorate before Sam Casey’s accident, another invisible view seemed (sort of) on a screen. In The Invisible Man (1975–1976), scientist Daniel Westin (David McCallum) was deliberately looking for a routine to make things invisible. The scholarship done a tiny some-more clarity in this version, as Weston used lasers to means light to hook around plain objects. He had succeeded in causing tiny objects, like a fountain pen, to blur from sight, nonetheless a supervision organisation appropriation his investigate wasn’t impressed. Fearing that his supports would be cut off, Westin used a routine on himself, usually to learn that he had no thought how to retreat a process.
Weston couldn’t spin manifest and was forced to cover adult with wardrobe and wear a facade and gloves of an amazingly flesh-like element called Dermoplex. The routine usually done his physique invisible, so when he wanted to take advantage of his power, he had to frame naked. Fortunately, a uncover finished before he had to go on a goal in a Arctic.
Weston was given appropriation to continue acid for a heal to his condition by a supervision in lapse for his and his mother Kate’s services as special agents. An invisible view could go places and accomplish things that no unchanging representative could. The array usually lasted 13 episodes, not prolonged adequate for Westin to find a cure, and he never even got a possibility to work with a Six Million Dollar Man and a Man With a Power to lane down a Phoenix.
+ The Man From Atlantis
The Man From Atlantis was comparatively really successful, with 17 episodes between 1977 and 1978. It also has a eminence of being blending as a Marvel comic book array that lasted for 8 issues.
A male with gills and webbed fingers is found flapping comatose in a Pacific by an oceanographic investigate team. Their mechanism concludes that he contingency be a final survivor of a mythological fallen land of Atlantis. Of course, Atlantis is ostensible to be in a Atlantic, nonetheless what a heck? If a mechanism pronounced it, it contingency be a many judicious thing. The male has no memory of who he is or where he is from, so a organisation invites him to stay with them and gives him a name Mark Harris. He helps them with their research—and their occasional side pursuit as supervision agents—while they assistance him redeem his memory and find his home.
Mark (Patrick Duffy) has an array of superpowers: He is means to live underwater indefinitely, can dive to any depth, see in a dark of a low sea, promulgate with dolphins and whales, and float faster than a bottlenose dolphin. He also possesses super-strength, nonetheless how clever he is seems to change from part to episode. He also shares a debility of nautical superheroes like Aquaman or a Sub-Mariner: The longer he stays out of water, a weaker he becomes.
Ironically, a singular special effects bill meant that Mark’s adventures mostly played out on dry land. The schemes of a portly insane scientist Mr. Schubert (Victor Buono) kept him bustling for 6 of a 17 episodes. Other adventures enclosed roving by undersea time portals to a Old West (where Mark’s immorality twin is a gunfighter) and Renaissance Verona (where he meets Romeo and Juliet). After a array was canceled, Patrick Duffy went on to larger celebrity as Bobby on a night soap uncover Dallas. He never mislaid his love for a uncover and has begun essay a array of novels to explain Mark Harris’ origins and serve his adventures.
Since Mark infrequently worked for a government, he could have assimilated army with a Six Million Dollar Man, a Man With a Power, and a Invisible Man to lane down a Phoenix—though maybe not. He had a lot some-more in common with Bennu than those other heroes. Or maybe Oscar Goldman could have collected a organisation of these TV superheroes and told them about a Avengers Initiative. Goldman was already a trainer of a Six Million Dollar Man, a Bionic Woman, and a Ultimate Impostor and would have had easy entrance to other supervision agents like The Man With a Power, a Invisible Man, and a Man From Atlantis. Once they’d all helped Justin Preminger lane down a Phoenix and get him on their side, they would have been an considerable super team. Sadly, it seems that thought never occurred to Oscar.
Where was Nick Fury when we indispensable him?
Matthew Baugh is a author of some-more than 40 published brief stories and 3 novels: The Vampire Count of Monte Cristo, A Girl and Her C.A.T. (with Win Scott Eckert), and The Avenger: The Sun King. He is a longtime comic book and cocktail enlightenment nerd as good as an consecrated pastor.