Now this you’ve gotta see to believe! This may well be the worst set of television specials since The Brady Bunch Variety Hour, but you know what? They are both worth watching. If you have 90 minutes to spare, you have got to check out Legends of the Superheroes and witness these 1979 NBC specials for yourself.
Campy, cheesy, and corny are on full display here and cranked up to full volume as a plethora of superheroes and villains battle it out both physically and with witticisms in both “The Challenge” and “The Roast.” There’s a sense of insanity in the air –or is that some other substance? – as Batman, Robin, Flash, Captain Marvel, Hawkman and the rest of the Justice League of America (sans Superman and Wonder Woman) take on their nemeses throughout both specials.
Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshin reprise their roles as Batman, Robin, and The Riddler, respectively in “The Challenge.” All three ham it up as they and other superheroes and villains do a variety of superhero-based challenges and sketch comedy. The Riddler and his plethora of baddies have one aim: they want the good guys to drink their depowering concoction. Will they succeed?
The second special, “The Roast” is hosted by Ed McMahon and is even campier than “The Challenge” and all the more enjoyable because of it. How these guys kept straight faces throughout the special is a mystery. Basically, the superheroes have some to be roasted by their nemeses and family (or so we’re told).
What results is a madcap hour of sketches, an overlong musical number, and one classic moment between Adam West and Burt Ward where Batman lustily tells Robin, “Just wait until I get you back to the Batcave.” You can tell that West immediately realized how it sounded. Good times.
Both specials are like watching a train-wreck; despite how horrific it gets you just can’t look away. Both specials never fail to serve up an endless supply of bad jokes, puns, gags, unfunny bits, and an ever-present laugh track. However, these things only make them all the more worthwhile to watch.
Bonus Features include deleted scenes and bloopers (both are worth watching!).
So, yes, I highly recommend Legends of the Superheroes to anyone and everyone. It’s classic TV of a class all its own.
Legends of the Superheroes is available only through the Warner Bros. Archive Collection. Order your copy today by clicking here!
What did you think of these specials? Leave a comment and let us know!