The Greatest American Hero (1982) – It’s All Downhill From Here and Dreams


Things are definitely starting to get goofy in The Greatest American Hero universe, it’s still wonderfully fun, but you can see that there are other people starting to mess with the formula…

First up we have It’s All Downhill From Here, written by Patrick Hasburgh, which aired on the 3 March, 1982. Ralph (William Katt) and Pam (Connie Sellecca) are having a bit of a getaway to Squaw Valley to get some skiing in (which Ralph does with the jammies on) and watch some of the international level competition going on. It also ends up being the best place, apparently, for spies to do their thing, in that a Czechoslovakian skier, Yuri (Norbert Weisser) is passing top-secret information to the American’s via their skier, and hopeful competitor, Templeton, who is quickly assassinated, via a dart gun, that makes it look like he had a heart attack.

Having holo’d on the murder, Ralph tries to go to the local authorities, Blandin (Red West), but gets shut down. When he calls Bill (Robert Culp) in, they dig into things, especially when Blandin turns up dead, from an apparent stroke.

They organize a bit of an escape plan to help Yuri and his girlfriend Anna (Sarah Torgov) defect, though the CIA, led by Kline (William Lucking) seems to be causing problems all around.

The episode is made worse, by the use of horribly painted backdrops of white mountains and trees when they are supposed to be outside, as well as the introduction of an old friend of Ralph’s, Samantha (Sandra Kerns), who is a bit of a crackpot, conspiracy nut and ex-hippie.

On the flipside, with this episode, Don Cervantes, who plays Paco, gets his own credit in the show’s opening titles.


Dreams is up next. This one aired on 17 March, 1982, and was written by Cannell himself. And if it had have been written as part of a larger arc, in the serial format that television seems to be following these days, this would have been a big step along the way in the suit corrupting Ralph storyline.

Ralph helps the high school’s janitor realize his dreams when he sneaks into a toy company and place a game the janitor created on the CEO’s desk. He also helps Bill make a collar, in a nice throwaway scene. There is also a big speech coming up that Ralph is expected to make, about youth, education and crime, something Bill has some thoughts on…

The rest of the teachers are upset that the janitor is able to get out of his job, and they all decide to change things up and start running after their own dreams, no matter the expense, even if it costs them their jobs.

Meanwhile, a man named Johnny Sanova (Michael Baseleon) is facing a parole board (with a label on his prison uniform that looks like gaffers tape), and feigning devotion to a higher power, gets released. Upon his release, he vows vengeance on the pair of guys who put him in jail in the first place… Ralph and Bill.

So while everything seems to be going wrong for everyone, just focussing on their dreams, and not striving towards them realistically, Sanova grabs Bill, Pam and the kids…

Will Ralph be able to save everyone and get their lives back on track?

Believe it or not!




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