The Greatest American Hero “Here's Looking at You, Kid” (part 3 of 6)

So. Ralph is flying, incompetently, with a lot of screaming and wailing. This is accomplished via the usual combination of William Katt acting like an epileptic in front of green screen second unit footage, followed by a face-hidden shot of Katt’s Harpo-wigged stunt double Dennis Madalone falling onto a pile of sand, bookended by a close-up of William Katt looking exasperated.

Caption contributed by Mark

Greatest American Hero drinking game #1: Every time you can recognize Dennis Madalone, take a shot.

Over the Zippo walkie-talkie, Bill hectors Ralph about staying in the air (”You gotta get right back in the saddle again!” “There is no saddle!”), and yet more time is wasted as Ralph jumps into the air and starts flailing around again in front of desert footage, and… oh god, it’s time for the song.


Over rotating footage of William Katt flailing, Dennis Madalone falling down (onto the same pile of sand!), William Katt standing up looking pissy (also by the same pile of sand), and Dennis Madalone jumping into the air (from a springboard hidden behind said pile of sand), we get the following totally necessary ballad from Mike Post’s collaborator, Stephen Geyer.

“Nothin’s Gonna Bring Me Down”
Written by: Stephen Geyer
Performed by: Stephen Geyer and the Anonymous Backup Voices

I’m gonna keep it up (till I get it right)
I’m gonna get it straight (if it takes all night)
I’m going to rise above, I’ll be out of sight
Nothin’s gonna bring me down

I’m gonna fly away (I’ll be light as air)
I want to feel the wind (blowing through my hair)
I want to rise above and I won’t be scared
Nothin’s gonna bring me down!
Doooooooowwwn! Doooooooowwwn!

Of course, this is the kind of self pep-talk that pretty much became a thing of the past after Viagra came along.

So, yeah. This song is just fluff, rather than outright pain. Still, the fact that we have obvious filler consuming nearly a minute and a half of the storyline really makes you wonder just how much trouble they had forcing these things out to 48 minutes every week. I keep expecting a railway porter to show up and start talking about how he’s actually a qualified brain surgeon.

By sheer chance, apparently, though it’s hard to tell, one of Ralph’s crash landings brings him down right next to the camouflage-covered fighter jet. Ralph brushes off his hands in satisfaction at a job well done. I guess if you start with the expectation that you’re grossly incompetent, mere ineptitude feels like success!

Caption contributed by Mark

“This is the worst lichen infestation I’ve ever seen!”

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Mark "Scooter" Wilson

Mark is a history guy, a graphics guy, a guy for whom wryly cynical assessments of popular culture are the scallion cream cheese on the toasted everything bagel of life. He spends his time teaching modern history at Brooklyn College, pondering the ancient Romans at the CUNY Graduate Center, and conjuring maps and illustrations for ungrateful bankers at various Manhattan monoliths. Readers are welcome to guess at reasons why he's nicknamed Scooter, with the proviso that all such submissions are guaranteed to be rather more interesting than the truth. Mark lives in the Midwood section of Brooklyn with a happy-go-lucky, flop-eared dog named Chiyo who is probably, at this very moment, waiting patiently for her walkies.

Multi-Part Article: The Greatest American Hero "Here's Looking at You, Kid"

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