Friday, January 24, 2014

The Banality of Good: Captain Nice

Ann Prentiss and Williams Daniels in NBC's 1967 series "Captain Nice"
Buck Henry, in creating his clever and largely unappreciated 1960s superhero sitcom “Captain Nice,” anticipated with comic effect something that would probably happen in real life if some masked, super-strong fellow were to fly around doing good deeds.
We imagine helpless, grateful citizens being overawed, and look-up-in-the-sky-ing, but very, very quickly we’d get used to him, just as we get used to every impossible thing that happens — men landing on the moon, Japanese nuclear reactors poisoning the Pacific, walking around with Star Trek communicators in our hands, and so forth.
I remember an episode in which a highway bridge, ruined by corrupt contractors, collapses during its dedication ceremony. Luckily Carter Nash (William Daniels) is on hand as Captain Nice to catch the bridge. The mayor wonders if he wouldn’t mind just standing there to support the bridge permanently.

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