The Wayback Machine: Mister Terrific (1967)





The first superhero I fell in love with was Superman, then in 1966 came Batman, all from TV. It is true I really discovered comics from the TV series of the age, and that is a good sign for all these young movie goers these days.

Of course, there were other series then that I loved as much as Batman, and I was too young to know the difference between superhero adventure and out-and-out sitcom-ery. (Of course, Batman was really both, I guess.)

Of the latter were the TV series Captain Nice and, my favorite, Mister Terrific!

Let’s take a closer look at Terrific by dialing up the ol’ Wayback to 1967. Here we goooooo …

Mister Terrific aired on CBS from January 9 to May 8, 1967. It starred Stephen Strimpell in the title role, and lasted 17 episodes.

Riding the tide of the camp superhero craze (again, Batman) of the 1960s, the show’s premise involved gas station attendant Stanley Beamish, a mild-mannered scrawny youth who secretly worked to fight crime for a government organization, the Bureau of Secret Projects, in Washington. All he needed to do was take a “power pill” (drugs!) which gave him the strength of a thousand men and enabled him to fly, much like Superman albeit by furiously flapping his arms while wearing the top half of a wingsuit. (Think Spider-Woman.)

Unfortunately (at least for the Bureau), Stanley was the only person on whom the pills worked. It was established that, although the pill would give him great strength, he was still vulnerable to bullets. Furthermore, each power pill had a time limit of one hour (like Underdog and DC’s Hourman), although he generally had two 10-minute booster pills available per episode.

Much of the show’s humor revolved around Stanley losing his superpowers before he completed his given assignment.

Stanley’s government employers were Mr. Barton J. Reed (John McGiver) and Mr. Harley Trent (Paul Smith), and his day-job partner at the service station was Hal Walters (Dick Gautier, who also played Hymie the Robot on Get Smart). Stanley was sworn to secrecy concerning his alter-ego and superpowers.

Alan Young, who had just completed his run as Wilbur Post on the popular Mister Ed series, was the original choice to play Stanley Beamish, and appeared in the original 1966 unaired version of the pilot, which featured a different supporting cast.

I dunno. I can’t quite see “Willll-buuuurrrr!” in the flying suit and goggles.