Dec 11, 2014

Legends of the Superheroes: a Long-Forgotten Beefcake Fest

January 18, 1979, a Thursday night.  I was 18 years old, upstairs in the room I shared with my brother.

At 7:00, he turned on the tv.  I expected Mork and Mindy, but he turned the channel to Legends of the Superheroes, explaining that it was a sort of live--action version of The Challenge of the Superfriends on Saturday morning.

I hadn't watched Saturday morning tv for a few years, and I was never much interested in superhero cartoons like The Superfriends, but I let Ken watch, glancing over occasionally from my German textbook to see if there was any beefcake.

There was.

The premise: the Justice League of America from DC Comics  -- Batman, Robin, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Captain Marvel, the Huntress, and the Black Canary (have you ever heard of the last two?)  -- gather to celebrate the birthday of retired superhero Scarlet Cyclone.  Suddenly the Legion of Doom announce that they have planted a bomb in the headquarters, and offer them some clues on finding it.  The rest of the hour-long special involves the superheroes deciphering the clues.

Batman and Robin were played by Adam West and Burt Ward, reprising their roles from a decade before.  The other actors were unknown, at least to me

Garrett Craig bulged nicely in his Captain Marvel uniform.

But Bill Nuckols was the most memorable,  a massive bodybuilder, half-naked in his Hawkman costume.

Apparently there was a sequel the next week, a spoof of Celebrity Roasts, but I didn't see it.

There was no internet yet, no way to find out anything else about the beefcake stars, so I shuffled them into the back of my memory, and eventually forgot about them.

But recently, I found an interview with them about Legends of the Superheroes.

Garrett Craig, who was a stand-up comedian before  Legends of the Superheroes, did a little acting, but not much: Third Party Guest in The Blue Knight, a swimmer in Heaven Can Wait, and Richie in Starsky and Hutch.  He's currently a substitute teacher at an elementary school.

Bill Nuckols returned to bodybuilding, placing #6 in the AAU Mr. America competition.  His only tv and film credits are Moose on Sunset Cove, and Wally in Supertrain.  

But you can buy Legends of the Superheroes on DVD and marvel at this long-forgotten beefcake fest from 35 years ago.