Thursday, January 09, 2014

Tonight! January 9th! CAPTAIN NICE and MR. TERRIFIC

"Wow! TONIGHT, the premieres of CAPTAIN NICE and MR. TERRIFIC!"

Well, that's what you might've been saying if you were a child in 1967. It isn't 1967 anymore, but some do have nostalgia for those days. The Beatles were alive, nobody heard of "Jihad," and record stores were wonderlands of fun and excitement and what they sold was valuable. Instead of reality shows on TV, there were actual attempts at entertaining you! And yes, two such attempts on January 9th, 1967, were super hero sitcoms "Captain Nice" and "Mr. Terrific."

Like a previous year when two similar-concept shows magically arrived together ("The Addams Family" and "The Munsters") most viewers had a favorite. They favored either the more satiric show, or the goofier one. In this case, the more satiric show was "Captain Nice," produced by Buck Henry, who had worked on "Get Smart."

Following the "Get Smart" formula somewhat, the idea was to have the lead actor play it straight, which would make things even more ludicrous. With a serious actor (William Daniels) rather than a stand-up comic (Don Adams), "Captain Nice"did let the viewer find the laughs without the laughtrack having to boom. In the "99" Barbara Feldon role was attractive Ann Prentiss (sister of Paula, who had once starred in a sitcom called "He and She" with husband Richard Benjamin). Tragically, Ann would eventually suffer some kind of mental breakdown, ending up in jail for a raving plot to murder Benjamin. She died in prison in 2010.

The quickie theme song is by Vic "Addams Family" Mizzy and Jerry Fielding. And it rhymes "hammers" with "pajamas."

"Captain Nice" premiered on January 9th, and lasted 15 episodes. Also premiering on January 9th, and lasting 17 episodes, was "Mr. Terrific."

Mr. Terrific, starred the forgotten Stephen Strimpell, who had better luck in off-Broadway plays and in teaching acting (he died in 2006). His boss on the show was played by reliable moon-faced grouch John McGiver. In the photo, Steve is posing with Dick Gautier, who many will remember as "Hymie the Robot" on "Get Smart." The show had a short run but a much longer TV theme, narrated by voiceover legend Paul Frees. The theme song in the background is by Gerald Fried (better known for his incidental music for many episodes of "Mission Impossible." Gilligan's Island""Star Trek" and "Roots").

The "Captain Nice" theme doesn't try to set up any narrative, but "Mr. Terrific" informs viewers that the ordinary Stanley Beamish got his super powers after experimenting with a "power pill..." but few cared. Well, except Germans. For reasons too peculiar to even contemplate, while "Captain Nice" is only around in bootleg form, a German DVD company actually issued "Mr. Terrific" on DVD as "Immer wenn er Pillen nahm (Whenever He Took Pills)" with German dubbing (and the original English as another menu option). Ist dat gut? I haven't bought the set to find out. Listening to the ol' theme song is enough nostalgia for me.

Theme Song your download of CAPTAIN NICE

Theme Song your download of MR TERRIFIC (No captcha code, wait time or request to pay for a premium account. No use of a weasel cloud service, no shout box for idiots to demand entire albums especially of items they can buy, and no tip jar requesting Paypal donations for the blogger's "hard work." )

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