DVD Review – Legends of the Super-Heroes from @WarnerArchives

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LOTS-1Greetings, Bat-Fans! Ye Olde Dragon here, with my review of Warner Archives’ Video On Demand DVD release of Hanna-Barbera‘s LEGENDS OF THE SUPER HEROES (1979). The reason I selected this title is indeed because Mssrs. West & Ward reprise their famous roles as The Caped Crusaders, leading a selection of DC Comics‘ Super-Heroes in pitched battle with several of their arch-enemies. Please note that the screen captures are unedited, other than the reducing the dimensions of the graphics to allow for space. No enhancements of any sort have been performed.

SYNOPSIS

In January of 1979, NBC aired a pair of hour-long prime-time specials under the collective title of LEGENDS OF THE SUPER-HEROES. Part one was titled “The Challenge”, featuring an un-named grouping of DC Comics’ Super-Heroes and their race to stop a doomsday weapon set by a group of some of their arch-foes. Legends_002Part Two was called “The Roast”, and it was just that – a comedic roast of the Heroes, by other heroes as well as some of the foes from “The Challenge”, even going so far as to have Ed MacMahon (as himself) as the “Roast Master”. Legends_009 Legends_024

CAST

– Our Heroes –

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Adam West returns to his role of Batman after ten years.
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Burt Ward returns to his role as Robin after ten years.
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Garrett Craig as Captain Marvel. The character’s OWN TV show had just ended.
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Danuta as Black Canary.
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Rod Haase as the Flash
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Barbara Joyce as The Huntress, who had JUST started appearing in comics at the time.
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Bill Nuckols as Hawkman.
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Howard Murphy as Green Lantern.

With the exception of West and Ward, the rest of the heroes were pretty much unknowns with these specials being pretty much the only credit listed on IMDb.com. The villains, on the other hand, were either established TV/movie comedians, or had played heavies on sitcoms and police/action shows, and had never played comic book villains with the exception of Frank Gorshin who had, of course, already played the Riddler.

– Our Villains –

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Mickey Morton is picture PERFECT as SOLOMON GRUNDY. Your eyes do not deceive you. That is INDEED Charlie Callas as SINESTRO.
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After a decade away. Frank Gorshin reprises his role of The Riddler, in the first of the two-part special.
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Gabe Dell as Mordru, a foe of the Legion of Super-Heroes, from the 31st century.
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(L – R) Gorshin, A’Leshia Brevard as Giganta and Jeff Altman (yes, as in Pink Lady and Jeff infamy) as The Weather Wizard
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Howard Morris was the PERFECT actor to bring Dr. Thaddeus Bodog Sivana, arch enemy of Captain Marvel, to life.
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In “The Roast”, Callas wore the more commonly seen Sinestro costume.
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BONUS VILLAIN! In “The Roast”, Ruth Buzzi plays criminal mastermind AUNT MINERVA, another classic foe of Captain Marvel, to PERFECTION!
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BONUS HERO! The Atom, played by Alfie Wise (Burt Reynolds’ sidekick in some of his 1970s films) and Giganta (A’Leshia Brevard) announce their engagement to gossip maven ‘Rhoda Rooter’ (June Gable) on “The Roast”.*

DVD

Considering that this feature is not derived from film, but from 36 year old video masters, the quality is amazing! Though the disc itself is the standard WAC , there IS a nice, customized menu screen, seen below:

Legends_001It’s nice that you have a choice of watching either part, or both at one sitting. The deleted scenes and outtakes, running just under8.5 minutes. Mostly bloopers, involving prop accidents, or waiting for a plane to pass overhead. There’s also the “piano/click count” for the infamous Mordru singing That’s Entertainment segment, without the full soundtrack. Very neat bonus!

PACKAGING

Considering there was no poster made back then (marketing was nothing like it is today) or really any publicity shots, I can forgive the design team for creating a cover using screen caps. The back is the typical WAC design. The disc, as stated is the standard WAC design.

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DVD SPECIFICS

The show is presented in its original full-screen format in the 4X3, 1.37:1 aspect and is in Dolby Digital sound. It played beautifully in my Sony Blu-ray player as well as my HP Pavilion G. As with all WAC video-on-demand discs, this is a DVD–R. There are no additional language options.

OVERALL RATING

This has long been a guilty pleasure of mine, as I saw this when it first aired. Yes, there are groans galore, as it follows in the campy, melodramatic style of Fox’s BATMAN series, and its animated counterpart at the time, SUPER FRIENDS (also from Hanna-Barbera) was a more loyal portrayal pf the heroes. The thing is though, is that it had a major cool factor, in that it was LIVE-ACTION, and that it was the debut for all but four characters (Batman, Robin, Riddler & Captain Marvel/Shazam) in that format. They all looked great – with the exception of Hawkman, who really had a horrible mask.

The fact that Warner Archives made this available is fantastic. For years, the only way to see this was as a bootleg from a convention.By all means, add it to your collection. No Hanna-Barbera super-hero collection is complete without it! On sheer nostalgia, coupled with great video quality, great sound and the outtakes:

I hereby give Warner Archives’ release of LEGENDS OF THE SUPER-HEROES 4 out of 5 “Jaggies”!
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…End of line…

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