1979 production with Ed McMahon was actually a double spin-off, of the live-action Batman AND the animated Super Friends!
Posted by David Lambert
After the classic live-action late-'60s Batman series went off the air, stars Adam West and Burt Ward were still highly recognizable as the Dynamic Duo. One appearance they made together as Batman and Robin came in 1979, at the height of the popularity of the Saturday morning cartoon series Super Friends (which began in 1973, and had a dozen-year run in various incarnations...most noticeably the late-'70s version Challenge of the Super Friends). In 1979, Hanna-Barbera capitalized on the fans of both shows with a 2-episode prime time live-action special titled "Legends of the Super-Heroes", which aired on NBC that January.
The first episode was titled "The Challenge", and the second part was titled "The Roast". Besides West and Ward, Frank Gorshin also returned from Batman in his legendary role as The Riddler. Other classic DC Comics heroes and villains also were in the production, including many that were known primarily at the time for their Super Friends appearances. The bad guys on the Legion of Doom included Sinestro (Charlie Callas), Giganta, Solomon Grundy, The Weather Wizard, Doctor Sivana, Aunt Minerva (played by Ruth Buzzi), and Mordru the Merciless. Joining the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder on the Justice League were Green Lantern, The Flash, Hawkman, Black Canary, The Atom, The Huntress, Captain Marvel and a new hero: Ghetto Man. Also appearing was William Schallert (The Patty Duke Show) as "Scarlet Cyclone" (a.k.a., "Retired Man"). Hosting the second episode, "The Roast", is none other than Ed McMahon (The Tonight Show, Star Search)! You'll also hear the voice of Narrator Gary Owens (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in) and briefly see a pre-Night Court Marsha Warfield in an uncredited bit part.
Warner Brothers has announced today at the New York Comic Con that this rarely-seen production will come to DVD exclusively through their WBshop.com online store's manufacture-on-demand (MOD) program. Available starting October 19th, the cost will be $19.95 for a 100-minute disc. You can pre-order Legends of the Super-Heroes right away, and lock in a copy of this DVD for your collection. Be aware, though, that as usual this MOD title will only be available to ship to U.S. destinations (we don't have any of the details, but we are given to understand that this is due to legal reasons, rather than any studio limitations). Package art isn't available yet, but here's the studio's description of the release:
Heroes and villains of DC Comics square off in the two-part, live-action, made-for-TV (with a laugh track!) smackdowns of Legends of the Super Heroes. The Challenge: Batman and Robin (Adam West and Burt Ward of the live-action Batman TV series) lead The Flash, Green Lantern and more JLA members against The Riddler (Frank Gorshin reprising his TV role), Mordru, Weather Wizard and other Doom-dealers. The Legion's ultimate gambit: trick the heroes into downing a diabolical depowering drink! The Roast: Poking fun beats swapping punches when celebrity host Ed McMahon emcees a rowdy rave-up. Who knew DC Super Heroes and villains packed as much verbal wit as physical grit when not locked in mortal combat? These Legends will leave you laughing.
Sucks that, per WB's site, there was no remaster/restore done, but ZOMG IT'S FINALLY GETTING A RELEASE!!!!!!!!111!!!1