1 9 8 7 (USA)
1 x 120 minute episode
6 x 60 minute episodes
The creator of comic superhero Captain Justice, Abner Bevis (Milo O’Shea), is in a rut – he has been drawing the comic strip for 30 years, is running out of fresh ideas and has begun repeating old storylines.
The comic’s publisher- Pizazz Comics – wants to kill the strip off due to falling sales, and children are losing interest in it.
Captain Justice – also called “The Crimson Crusader” – is, in reality, beloved schoolteacher Brad Steele.
The Captain wears a red costume with blue gloves and a blue triangle on his chest with a gold “CJ” in the centre. He does not have a cape but is able to fly, is immune to harm, has incredible strength and infrared X-ray vision.
Inside the comic strip, Captain Justice (Jeff Lester) – the heroic saviour of Pleasantville – is about to save the lovely Rachel Kirk (Dianne Kay) and her sister, Tippy Kirk (Dana Short) from his arch-enemy, the evil Max Mayhem (Harris Laskaway) when he begins to fade.
Realising the inhabitants of Pleasantville are dependent upon the affections of people in the real world, Captain Justice decides to travel to the third dimension and force them to remember him. To do this, he flies through the Forbidden Zone and crosses over into the real world to seek out Abner Bevis in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, the ruler of Comic Book World – “the Great and Magniﬁcent One” – summons Gumshoe (Robert Forster), a 1940s-style private detective, and hires him to ﬁnd Captain Justice and bring him back.
The gruff-looking but softhearted Gumshoe drives through the Forbidden Zone in his 1940s roadster, ﬁnds Captain Justice, and agrees to help him on a crusade against crime in the real world.
The pair are soon heroes and Emma Greely (Caitlin Clarke) – a reporter for the Los Angeles Gazette – celebrates Captain Justice in a series of newspaper articles. As a result, there is a renewed interest in his comics and Pizazz reinstates Captain Justice and Pleasantville is saved.
Although seven episodes were created, ABC pulled the plug on Once A Hero after three weeks at the very bottom of the ratings. Some local stations didn’t air it at all.
Believers | Triangle | The Return of Lazarus | Things Get Ugly | Manos Arriba, Mrs Greely | Remember the Cottonwood | Thank You, Captain Justice