This superhero parody was beset by
trouble practically from the time it premiered. First, the owners of the
Superman copyright threatened to sue, charging that
the program had stolen their character. Then a man with the same last name
as the hero made a real-life assassination attempt on the President of the
United States, causing scripts to be hurriedly rewritten. Then the ratings
started to fall.
Superman advocates may have cried
"Thief!," but others suggested that the program was more of a steal from Mr.
Terrific and Captain Nice, two bumbling superhero shows of the
Hinkley was a curly-haired young high-school teacher in Los Angeles, who
was set upon by extraterrestrial beings while on a field trip into the
desert. The aliens presented him with an incredible red flying suit, which,
when donned, gave him (and only him) the ability to fly. A neurotic FBI agent, Maxwell,
convinced Ralph to use the suit to help him fight crime. Unfortunately,
Ralph promptly lost the instruction book for the suit, and had to spend
succeeding episodes flailing about in the air trying to master aerodynamics
while crashing into walls and plummeting into bushes. He also discovered
other powers of the suit - often at inopportune time - such as the power to become invisible, and the
power to see at great distances and through solid walls.
only adult besides Ralph and
Maxwell who knew of the suit's powers was Ralph's girlfriend, attorney
Pam Davidson (kids knew - but who would believe them?) . Anybody else who came
upon Ralph while he was trying to jump off a roof in his red jammies just
naturally assumed he was crazy.
Kevin was Ralph's young son by a former marriage;
Rhonda, Cyler, and Rodriguez were street-tough students in Ralph's remedial
education class. The students shared many of Ralph's adventures during
the 1981-1982 season, but were phased out the following season, as Ralph
and Pam were finally married. As for Ralph's last name, it was abruptly changed
to "Mr. H" (sometimes "Mr. Hanley") for a time after the John Hinckley (with a
"c") made an attempt on the life President Reagan on March 30, 1981. Eventually
it reverted back to Hinkley.
theme song of this series was a major hit for Joey Scarbury during the summer