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Worst Superheroes Ever

I have high hopes for the upcoming Justice League of America film, to be directed by George (Mad Max) Miller. Of course, there’s always the possibility for disappointment. But it’s not humanly possible for Miller—or anyone—to do a worse job with the Green Lantern, Hawkman, Captain Marvel, et al. than the last time they appeared together in a live-action format.

In 1979, possibly the worst year in the history of television, Hanna Barbera (bad sign already) produced two one-hour prime time specials apparently meant to expand the audience of its “Challenge of the Super Friends” cartoon show. Titled “Legends of the Superheroes,” the first episode was a tongue-in-cheek adventure with the heroes battling a villainous attempt to destroy the world. (Though I guess “tongue-in-cheek” is a generous description of a program featuring a laugh track.) That was merely bad. The second-episode was the real jaw-dropper, a “celebrity roast” of Batman hosted by Ed McMahon. Words fail me, which is why we have YouTube. And in answer to your question: no, this wasn’t what was considered funny in the 70s; it’s just what was on television. That’s why disco got to be so popular—we were desperate to get out of the house!

(Thanks to the Manhattan cable access show Media Funhouse for bringing this to our attention!)

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