Wednesday, May 19, 2010
When Superheroes were Nice and Terrific on TV
Over on NBC, William Daniels played Carter Nash, a police department chemist who accidentally discovered a superhero formula that could turn him into Captain Nice. Actually, Carter was a reluctant mild-mannered superhero (with a fear of heights), whose mother (Alice Ghostley) convinced him to become a crimefighter. Mrs. Nash even sewed her son’s costume (which kinda looked like patriotic pajamas with stars on the shirt and long red stripes on the white pants). Carter’s girlfriend was police detective Candy Kane (Ann Prentiss).
Created by Buck Henry, who struck gold two years earlier with Get Smart, Captain Nice was regularly thumped in the ratings by The Rat Patrol on ABC. Mr. Terrific didn’t fare much better and both shows were cancelled that May. Captain Nice has built a minor cult following over the years, primarily because of Henry and William Daniels (who would star in St. Elsewhere 15 years later and earn two Emmys as Dr. Mark Craig). Mr. Terrific’s Stephen Strimpnell never achieved such fame, but the Columbia Law School grad had a solid career on the stage.