Written by Mugo del Jefe
Musgo should know better. When you ask for companies to empty their vaults, sometimes you get just what you asked for. The Warner Archives Collection may be one of the more wonderful things that a company has done for the movie lovers in the past decade. Instead of milking some of their more obscure releases for anniversary editions or part of holiday promotions, they've made no-frills editions of the movies available online as made-to-order DVDs. This has been a boon to those of us who have scoured used VHS racks for previously out-of-print films. This collection has given us Brewster McCloud, Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark, Bad Ronald, Slither, and Americathon. These films wouldn't survive on the shelves at a major retailer but they find their homes on the Internet.
The same company that has released Goober & The Ghost Chasers and Funky Phantom collections has recently released two episodes of a lost show from the Seventies - Legends Of The SuperHeroes. For those of us old enough to remember - the name is a way that NBC tried to link these two live action episodes back to the Super Friends cartoons airing on Saturday mornings. In January 1979 when these episodes aired the Super Friends was an hour long Saturday morning show featuring Challenge Of The Super Friends as the second half hour - still one of the most entertaining of the incarnations. At the same time, the early Seventies creations of Sid and Marty Krofft including H.R. Pufnstuf, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, and Land Of The Lost were still finding audiences on daytime and Saturday morning television through syndication. Out of this odd mixture of influences came two specials - The Challenge and The Roast.
The specials aired on consecutive Thursday nights on NBC in January of 1979. As an 11-year-old, young Musgo immediately found the ads for these shows in his TV Guide. They promised live-action versions of superheroes that I hadn't seen except in comics or cartoons. At the time, there were repeats of the Batman live-action series and there was Wonder Woman. That was the beginning and end of DC characters I could see in "person" on TV. And my big screen Superman was still a year or two away.