1 9 6 7 (USA)
17 x 30 minute episodes
Mr Terrific ran from 9 January to 28 August in 1967. 17 colour episodes were broadcast. The series went into the CBS lineup as a mid-season replacement for the low-rated sitcom Run, Buddy, Run, which had premiered the preceding September. Providing a lead-in in the 7:30 pm spot was Gilligan’s Island, enjoying solid ratings in its third season.
Shy and mild-mannered Stanley Beamish (Stephen Strimpell) was the co-owner of Hal and Stanley’s Service Station (“Capital service in the Nation’s Capital”) at the corner of Northwest and Wyoming Streets in Washington DC.
Unbeknownst to his business partner and roommate, suave ladies man Hal Walters (Dick Gautier), Stanley had been recruited by the government’s Bureau of Special Projects to pop special scientifically-engineered power-inducing pills and then go on secret missions.
Stanley’s contacts at the Bureau were the very pro-Mr Terrific Barton J Reed (John McGiver) and the very anti-Mr Terrific, Harley Trent (Paul Smith) – a former assistant district attorney.
Whenever Stanely’s services were required, Mr Red would spring into “a-c-t-i-o-n” (he always spelt it out) and issue a “Purple Alert” – to which Mr Trent would always respond, “Do we have to?”
The pills granted Stanley various abilities – he could crash through brick walls, lift cars as if they were toys, knock bad guys through walls with the force of his breath, and soar like an eagle.
Stanley was rationed to three pills per day, which were doled out to him by Harley Trent. The ﬁrst pill gave him an hour’s worth of strength. After that, he could take two additional pills that were good for ten minutes each (provided he hadn’t misplaced, dropped, or lost them, as was often the case).
When it was time for Mr Terriﬁc to spring into action, Stanley donned a silver jacket and goggles. Swallowing a pill caused his face to turn a purplish tinge momentarily.
He always kicked up a giant cloud of dust on takeoff, which invariably ended up in Trent’s face, and his landings would often see him crash through doors and windows necessitating costly repairs.
Stanley was a busy boy during the show’s 17 episodes – he rescued a crippled airliner, captured his exact double (a notorious safe-cracker), rescued a defecting ballerina, became a circus performer to retrieve a stolen codebook, captured the infamous Mr Big (who turned out to be a woman) and put a jail-breaker back behind bars.
Hal and Stanley often frequented a local establishment called The Hungry Nose.
Coincidentally, Mr Terrific premiered on the same day as NBC superhero spoof Captain Nice – a sitcom based around virtually the same idea. They both also aired for the last time on the same date in August 1967.
Several episodes of the series were edited into a movie called The Pill Caper in 1968.
Barton J Reed