The Greatest American Hero (1981) – Hog Wild and Classical Gas


The effects for the flying sequences are still terrible but the charm of the series remains in this week’s installment!

First up, Hog Wild. This one  aired 25 November, 1981 and was written once again by Cannell. Ralph (William Katt) and Bill (Robert Culp) are returning from a communication seminar, something Bill feels was a complete waste of time, except for the fishing he got in.

Things go badly for our heroes when a motorbike gang, led by Preacher (Dennis Burkley) confronts them, and gives them both a serious beating. Bill, intent on evening the score, sends Ralph after them in the jammies, but once again, Bill gets grabbed by the baddies, who seeing the suit in action have a plan to put it to use. They want to destroy a town whose Sheriff (Gregory Sierra), drove them out.

Holding a young, local waitress, Sandra (Carol Jones) as hostage and for information, they come up with a plan using Ralph, a hijacked 18 wheeler and a desire for revenge. Bill is not going to be held so easily, and when Ralph is de-suited and thrown into the local jail alongside the Sheriff, it’s up to Bill to ride into town, face down the baddies, get the suit back to Ralph, and help save the day.

There’s a brilliant bit where Bill is trying to coach one of the bikers on how to use the suit (despite the fact that he knows it will only work on Ralph). He also has a fun interaction with the driver of the transport truck, which elicited more than a few chuckles…


Classical Gas aired on 2 December, 1981, and was penned by Frank Lupo. This one involves some jealousy for Ralph, a big break for the kids, and Bill complaining about the kids’ loud music these days.

Rhonda (Faye Grant), Tony (Michael Pare) and the gang have a hip little rock band happening and thanks to some work on Pam’s (Connie Sellecca – back after missing these past few episodes), part with a music agent, Charley Wilde (Edward Winter). Unfortunately, it’s obvious to everyone that the only thing Charley is after is Pam, which for the first time, sees Ralph using the suit for personal reasons… jealousy… Could this be the start of the corruption mentioned in last week’s installment (I know, I know, it’s episodic television, and isn’t serialized, but it would have been awesome to follow through on that idea).

The kids do well enough that they have been asked to open for a stellar line-up of artists who are putting on a benefit concert to stop the use and transport of nerve gas.

Sounds like a perfect occasion for a terrorist attack!

And one is being planned by no less than Hydra! Well, not that Hydra, but a terrorist (George Loros) who refers to himself as Hydra.

While problems arise between Pam and Ralph, Bill tries to get to the concert (with the kids horribly superimposed on what looks like Woodstock footage) to stop the attack!

It’s a fun episode, and it’s easy to overlook the terrible effects because, even now, it’s still so damned charming, and entertaining!






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