During a week when the image of heroes like Lance Armstrong and college football star Manti Te’o seemed to crumble like so many stale crackers, I was happy to hear a few stories about heroes who have endured in our consciousness for decades.
I’m talking about the actors who portrayed superheroes on our favorite childhood TV shows. On Jan. 29, as part of the third season of Pioneers of Television, PBS profiles a group of such stars, including Adam West (Batman), Burt Ward (Robin), Julie Newmar (Catwoman), Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman), Jack Larson (Jimmy Olsen), Lou Ferrigno (the Hulk) and William Kaat (the Greatest American Hero … remember him?).
As for TV’s versions of Superman and the Hulk, I was always frustrated that these characters with earth-shaking power were relegated to knocking out fairly pedestrian crooks. I was too young to realize that the shows simply could not afford to convey intergalactic threats as today’s special-effects blockbusters can.