Wednesday, February 16, 2011

YouTube Wednesday: CAPTAIN NICE

Continuing our weekly feature "YouTube Wednesday"...
Yes, this promo art was by Jack (King) Kirby!
In January 1966, Batman, starring Adam West and Burt Ward debuted on ABC.
This set off a wave of Bat-Mania, and all three TV networks scrambled to add superhero programming to schedules already crowded with science fiction and fantasy programming ranging from Man from U.N.C.L.E. to My Favorite Martian!
While one or two, like The Green Hornet, were done seriously, most of the new shows were not even campy tongue-in-cheek like Batman, but flat-out comedies!
The best of the new shows was the brainchild of Get Smart co-creator Buck Henry, who was asked to to to superheroes what he had done to spies, hopefully with similar ratings.
"My mom made my costume!"
Broadway actor William Daniels was cast as police chemist/mamma's-boy Carter Nash who gained short-term super-powers by drinking a formula he accidentally created.
Along with veteran performers Alice Ghostly (Carter's overbearing mother), Liam Dunn (annoyed Mayor Finney), Bill Zuckert (inept Police Chief Segal) and newcomer Ann Prentess (police Sgt/Carter's girlfriend Candy Kane), the show tried it's best to capture the style and flavor that made Get Smart a hit.
It didn't.

It was amusing, and Daniels tried his best, but a limited budget caused a lot of the super-stuntwork to misfire, ruining the jokes.

After only 15 episodes, Captain Nice was cancelled.
Maybe if they had done a crossover with Get Smart...

There was some merchandising including a one-shot comic book, a novel written by the same author who did the Get Smart books, and a limited-distribution batch of trading cards, all of which are HTF.
It's not out on DVD, and unless you videotaped it when it ran on Comedy Channel around 1993-94 (like I did), the only place you'll find it is on bootleg dvds or YouTube.
Here's the pilot/origin episode "The Man Who Flies Like a Pigeon".
Enjoy!


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