Friday, December 5, 2014

Genre TV crossovers aren't a new thing

Fans are still geeked about the two-part "Flash"-"Arrow" crossover that aired this week on The CW. And I know this guy is!

This is the combined logos of the "Flash"
and "Arrow" TV series.
But did you know this isn't the first time such a monumental TV geekfest has happened?

To my knowledge, the last time high-profile superheroes — or characters with super powers — showed up in the other's live-action TV series was 38 years ago. (For the record, if you know of anything different than what I'm about to write about, feel free to write a comment in the comment section below this article and we'll talk shop!)

Now fellow fanboys and fangirls, take seat and get your notebooks out because you're about to schooled on a brief history of superhero (and genre) TV crossovers.

Like Barry Allen making his first appearance in the second season of "Arrow" (episode 8, which aired Dec. 4, 2013, for you completists!) — which in turn led to "The Flash," the same thing happened with The Green Hornet (Van Williams) and Bruce Lee's Kato. That crime-fighting pair appeared with the original Dynamic Duo in the ABC series, "Batman."

Two Dynamic Duos tackle crime in Gotham City:
Kato (from left) and The Green Hornet; Batman and Robin
In the seventh episode of the second season of "Batman," titled "The Spell of Tut," The Green Hornet and Kato made their first onscreen appearance. The episode aired Sept. 28, 1966.

The pair returned to "Batman" for the two-part, March 1-2, 1967 episodes respectively called "A Piece of the Action" and "Batman's Satisfaction." (You'll notice the last words in the titles of the two-parters in Seasons 1 and 2 rhymed.) The Green Hornet and Kato come to Gotham City to take down a counterfeiting stamp ring.

Isis (JoAnna Cameron) and Shazam/Captain Marvel
(John Davey)
ABC created "The Green Hornet" series in 1966, with Williams and Lee reprising their short-lived, but now iconic roles. The show lasted one season for 26 episodes.

The next TV superhero crossover didn't happen until the mid-1970s.

JoAnna Cameron played the hottie Egyptian superheroine Isis in CBS' Saturday morning show, "The Secrets of Isis" (which ran for two seasons, from 1975 through 1976).

Shazam (played by John Davey) — whose proper name was Captain Marvel at the time — appeared in three episodes of "Isis," one in 1975 and two '76 episodes. CBS promoted the two series as the "Shazam/Isis Hour" for its Saturday morning line-up.
Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Sommers and Lee Majors
as Col. Steve Austin

Now, if I were to expand this to heroes with extraordinary powers, I'd have to mention Lee Majors as the Six Million Dollar Man and Lindsay Wagner as the Bionic Woman. Their team-ups were quite regular.

Each of the cybernetically-enhanced pair (whose legs made the ultra cool — but admittedly cheesy — noise when they ran) had their own series. "The Six Million Dollar Man" was the first and starred Majors as Col. Steve Austin. It ran for five seasons, from 1974 through 1978.

Wagner's Jaime Sommers was in a whopping 10 episodes of "The Six Million Dollar Man." The first one — appropriately titled "The Bionic Woman" — aired March 16, 1975, with the second-part coming out the next week.  The two-part "Return of …" story covered the first two installments of the third season.
Co. Steve Austin and Jaime Sommers share a tender moment.

"The Bionic Woman" spin-off series lasted three seasons, from 1976 through 1978. Austin appeared in six of those episodes.
Majors and Sommers, whose characters become romantically involved, reprised their iconic roles for three made-for-TV movies, in 1987, 1989 (which basically introduced the world to Sandra Bullock!) and 1994. The couple get married in the 1994 movie, "Bionic Ever After?."

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