The Greatest American Hero (1981) – Operation: Spoilsport and Don’t Mess Around with Jim


Season 2 continues this week as Bill (Robert Culp) and Ralph (William Katt) deal with some new dangers!!

Up first is Operation: Spoilsport, which aired 11 November, 1981, and was written by Frank Lupo. World War III is on the horizon, and within 24 hours will be well underway, when an automatic missile system targets Russia, and is preparing to launch. It’s all under control of a General Stocker (John Anderson), who refuses to stop the destruction.

Ralph and Bill get pulled into it by the aliens, who, once again using the radio and then a dead body, informs them that they have to stop the attack, and save the world. The encounter is definitely creepy, but happily, there are still some laughs to be had despite the rather heavy subject. A lot of the laughs come from Bill’s dealings with his SAC, Carlisle (William Bogert), and a failed attempt by Ralph to get another instruction booklet to replace the one that has been lost.

As Bill starts following up on leads, he gets a little too close, and is grabbed by men loyal to Stocker, and Ralph has to use all of his powers, especially picking up vibes by trying on various clothes, to track down his friend, stop a nuclear missile launch, and hopefully save the day before its way too late.

Pam (Connie Sellecca) makes a very brief appearance in this episode and is then completely absent from the next… too bad 😦


Don’t Mess Around with Jim aired 18 November, 1981 and was penned by Cannell, who by episode’s end touches on something that I’m sure has been bothering Bill since his first encounter in the desert with the aliens, and their use of dead bodies… is that what is going to happen to he and Ralph when they die?

The crux of the plot concerns a man named JJ Beck (Dr. No himself, Joseph Wiseman), who is supposed to be dead, but concocted his own demise so that he can spend his last few months alone, and just enjoying existence. Unfortunately, his business partner is selling and manipulating his last will and testament, which was originally donating large sums to charities and people who needed it.

Reticent to take on the case at first, Beck practically blackmails them into it, and seems to have a lot of knowledge about the jammies. So as Bill and Ralph head off to Vegas to try to run the will down, that mystery is left to us, which pays off nicely by the end of the episode. All the while, Bill grouses about the way Beck describes him and his career, and it certainly didn’t endear the dying man to Bill in any way.

Ralph puts it all together though, as the money finds its way to charities, he concludes, and Beck admits that he too had a suit at one point, but unfortunately, he fell to the temptation of using it for personal gain, he was corrupted, and he, and the audience both wonder if that will happen to Ralph…








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