iTunes Diaries, entry #4: “Greatest American Hero (Believe it or Not)” by Mike Post and Stephen Geyer

I was once a little…um, okay, terribly obsessed with iTunes.  I got my first iPod in 2004 and became immediately entranced by Apple’s seeming infinite lists of music for sale.  Over the years, I spent way too much time on iTunes and spent way too much money on music, some of which was great, and some of which was not.  In 2011, for the sake of my sanity and my bank account, I went cold turkey.  I suspended my iTunes activities and completely stopped visiting site.  With the iTunes Diaries, I take a look back, highlighting the good, the bad, and the ugly in music that I just had to have in the moment. 


Blame it on my parents, I guess. Although they’d hardly call themselves sci-fi geeks, they certainly were (and still are) fans of science-fiction/fantasy/adventure TV shows and movies. During the late 70s and early 80s, particularly with the release of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, sci-fi was all the rage. (Along with this came the first video game boom [and bust], the rise of comic books, and the general if somewhat reluctance acceptance of all things geekery.) During my formative years, we all watched shows like the original Star Trek, Battlestar Galatica, and Buck Rogers. And once I saw the likes of Return of the Jedi and The Dark Crystal, I was summarily hooked on the genre myself.

Fitting snugly within the sci-fi world was the superhero subgenre. My folks were not comic book readers and neither was I. However, during this same time period, a slew of shows and movies were made that fit well alongside the more traditional sci-fi fare, such as Wonder Women, The Incredible Hulk, and Superman. (And god, in the 80s, I could not get enough Superman. From the original with Christopher Reeve to the what-the-shit-is-going-on-here movie Supergirl, which I heartily adored.)

But with success comes parody, right? Enter The Greatest American Hero; a show with a simple premise. Guy gets special suit from aliens. Special suit gives guy super powers that he doesn’t know how to use and can’t really control. Guy joins FBI agent to fight crime. Throw in a pretty girl. Hilarity ensues.

You want to talk about a show that I watched religiously as a kid? Man, I tuned into channel 6 every week to watch The Greatest American Hero because it was damn near the funniest night time show on TV!  (Ahem, that we were allowed to watch, ahem.) And because it had the most AWESOME theme song of any TV show ever in the history of TV shows, probably:

From YouTube user sdh1230.

“Believe it or Not” is, truly, a classic theme song from the 80s. And it’s one of many that made it onto popular radio….well, adult contemporary radio, which is what was often on in our car. So even when I wasn’t at home glued to the TV set, I still occasionally heard this song over the airwaves, and it always made me smile. (And I bet it made, and still makes the vocalist. Joey Scarbury, a whole lotta money.)

But as with all memories, The Greatest American Hero and “Believe It or Not”eventually faded into the backdrop of my mind. But then we hit the 1990s, and along came this:

From YouTube user UPRC.

Seinfeld was always good for a laugh, but I distinctly remember guffawing more than a bit to this scene. That song! OMFG! That was The Greatest American Hero song!! Needless to say, “Believe It or Not” once again became imbedded in my memory, this time, for good. It seemed only right that the song would end up on my iPod. Hearing it brings forth silly memories of that funny guy clad in red, flying into billboards, using his “x-ray” vision to see things he shouldn’t, and not so much catching as impeding criminals with his antics. So chances are pretty good that if you see me on the subway today wearing my earbuds and very a goofy smile, I’m probably listening to “Believe it or Not.”

I’d say funny, but this image is actually a little creepy. (source)

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