Believe it or not, he’s walking on air! William Katt stars as mild mannered high school teacher Ralph Hinkley, whose close encounter with aligns leaves him with a red super -power suit that only he can control. But when Ralph loses the instruction manual, the safety of mankind is left in his fumbling hands. Now with the help of his attorney girl friend Pam Davidson (Connie Selleca) and FBI agent Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp), the worlds most unlikely flying crime fighter is ready for action. Who could it be? Believe it or not, he’s THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO!
I remember this series 1981-1983 so fondly as an 11 year old child in the mountains of West Virginia. I would have to go to a neighbors house to watch this show since we did not have a television set at the time. I would watch the skies hoping an alien would show up to find me worthy of a super suit or a Green Lantern ring. I thought aliens were always showing up to give earth beings weapons or costumes and was waiting for my turn. The Greatest America Hero series is one of my favorite shows as a child along with Adam Wests Batman and the Super Friends cartoons which was so cool to see in the pilot episode in 1981.
I acquired several of the various magazines that featured The Greatest America Hero on the cover such as T.V. Guide July 24-30th 1982, Mad, Cracked, Dynamite and others. My first opportunity to own something of significance from the show since there had not been any merchandise released came in the late 90′s when I found a Hollywood dealer that had several costumes available and I could have my pick for the sum of $3500. The choices were The Super Boy costume from the late 1980′s series, The Spider-Man costume from the 1978 series or William Katt’s Greatest America Hero costume. I chose the Greatest America Hero costume without hesitation.
I was so excited when the costume arrived while we have several Hollywood pieces of significance in The Hall of Heroes collection this was the first and has a special place in my heart. This is, of course, nearly a decade before the museum was founded in 2007. The costume arrived a few weeks before Halloween and I always throw a cool Halloween party where I would be a different super hero every year. This year I decided to wear the original Greatest America Hero costume. I found a blonde curly wig to complete the outfit which we still have on the mannequin with the costume. My guests loved it but couldn’t “Believe it or not” that I was actually wearing this original Hollywood costume. Of course this is a party and there was drinking, so after a few I decided to do a stunt in the costume. I jumped off of a trampoline over a blazing bonfire wearing the original Greatest America Hero costume I definitely had a few too many. The costume luckily was not harmed except a torn stitch but no burn marks. I have never worn the costume since.
The next holy grail piece came a few years later when one of the Greatest American Hero Mego toys showed up on Ebay. These are very hard to find and expensive when you do find one. I was very pleased to win this rare Greatest American Hero which ison display in our museum as well. I have had several offers from collectors to purchase this rare item but I believe in the work we do here at Hall of Heroes to preserve these rare collectibles.
The greatest thing for me was this past November 2015 at The Grand Rapids Comicon where I was able to meet William Katt for the first time. I do celebrity panels for many comicons and I don’t usually geek out at the celebrities but could not help myself this time. I am sure many of you have a childhood icon that if you have met them know exactly what I am talking about. I think my first impression to him was almost like a weird stalker when we met. I was rambling on and on about how much I enjoyed the show and was such a huge fan. William was set up right across from The Hall of Heroes booth so I had to restrain myself from going over several times. He then came over to look at his original costume and took we took some pics together with the costume. We had the opportunity to chat several times over the weekend. Sunday I was hosting his panel so William Katt and I were together in front of many fans talking about the show and my 11 year old self was so geeking out. I started the panel out by telling William we found something he lost several years ago and proceeded to pull out the instruction booklet prop that was included in the series gift set. He and the audience enjoyed that introduction and William autographed it for me. I then brought out my 11 year old self and was talking about how much the show meant to me and getting to meet William in person. William then got up and came over and have me a big hug during the panel my 11 year old self was again geeking out. Meeting William in person was such a great joy for me and he so gracious and kind to his fans. I strongly encourage you to meet him if he is at a con you are attending. William is indeed on our list of celebrities to bring to an event at Hall of Heroes Museum when we relocate into a larger facility.