Have Cheetah,Will View #418 – “Captain America” (1979)

Its 10:22 pm

About three weeks ago good ol Dollar Tree had yet another DVD/BluRay sale. Due to some car issues I couldn’t get to the sale. I watched on YouTube what other collectors were getting and when someone showed that they had gotten the two Captain America movies as a double feature,I knew who to call.
I call my buddy Catfish for some help,I told him that the original Captain America films were at Dollar Tree and he goes “Say no more,I’m on my way!!” In about 40 minutes,Catfish calls back and says “I got ’em!” and all was happy. This past Sunday we met up at the library for an movie exchange and in my excitement I got my Captain America but forgot to hook Catfish up with his goodies…..lucky for me,he is a diehard fanboy and understood why I was so jazzed.
So last night I told Paladin we watching “Captain America” and he sighed and said “Chris Evans,again???” I said “No,this time we are watching the REAL Captain America,Reb Brown!!” The cheetah’s eyes got huge and he said “Really???”
Oh yeah……

Back in our review of Dr. Strange,I shared with how the superhero landscape was laid out. Superhero shows were being aired on TV but with such small budgets,they had to rely on the charm of the actors to carry extremely weak stories. Effects and scope of these made for TV shows were so limited that even simple origin stories couldn’t be told because of the budgets (or lack of) involved.

“Captain America” was no different. In this film,we meet Steve Rogers (Reb Brown) fresh out of the Marines and just living the dream of driving up and down the Pacific Highway in his van and drawing various sites and people.
He stops at a pal’s surf shop to pick up some mail and gets a letter from a old family friend,Jeff Hayden. He calls Hayden who says he needs to see Steve urgently. But someone is shadowing Steve and is determined to stop him from meeting Hayden.
Steve is set up for a serious accident in which he survives but his van is wiped out.
He then meets Dr. Simon Mills (Len Birman) and his assistant,Dr. Wendy Day (Heather Menzies) at a top secret lab. Simon tells Steve that Steve’s father created a serum called “FLAG” which increased human strength,reflexes,speed. Simon asks for Steve’s help in testing the serum but Steve declines,he has done his part and now he is off to see Jeff.

Steve arrives at the Hayden home only to find Jeff badly beaten and dying. He only manages to say “Katherine. Steve,please” before dying. But the bad guys,who are attempting to find some film that includes plans for a neutron bomb,think Hayden has told Steve where its at.

Again,Steve is ambushed but he doesn’t get away so easy this time,in fact it looks like Steve in going to die until Simon injects him with the FLAG serum. Steve recovers but still rejects helping Simon until Simon tells him about his dad who fought for the little guy and earned the nickname “Captain America”.
After yet another close encounter,Steve decides to help and Simon shows him the new gear they designed especially for him…..a costume,a fancy jet motorcycle and of course the iconic plastic shield…..(yes,you read that right).
Now all they have to do is find out who wants that film and a neutron bomb…….

Its been over 40 years since I watched this movie and its sequel,”Captain America II: Death Too Soon”. I really enjoyed rewatching this movie,like “Dr. Strange” before it,it had it’s heart in the right place.  Reb Brown brought a lot of charm as Steve Rogers and definitely looked like a good Captain America. Len Birman as Dr. Simon Mills was the best actor here,he played it seriously and Heather Menzies was teased as a possible love interest for Cap.

The cast of bad guys included two staples of most 1970-80 shows and that was Lance LeGault who later would co-star on “The A-Team” and Steve Forrest,who while always making a great heavy is best known for playing “Hondo” on “S.W.A.T.” in the mid 1970s.
The budget was so small they had to repurpose Steve’s van to carry the new motorcycle Captain America got. They never explained how Cap could jet blast outta the back without torching the van or how Steve would be able to put his bike back.

The shield was bulletproof but it looked and flew like a frisbee more then a great weapon,you just have to suspend your belief when you see it.
The story was okay,there are no supervillains or mentioning of other heroes and also no Stan Lee cameo. It is homage to a much simpler time and showed that superheroes did have a place in films and TV.  Without movies like this,there wouldn’t be any Marvel movies like we have today,these little TV films and everyone involved were true pioneers.

“Captain America” has a run time of app. 100 minutes and has no special features.
You can shop your local Dollar Trees to find this Shout! Factory release.

The cheetah and I gave this a huge thumbs/paws straight up.

Which classic superhero show/film is your favorite? Feel free to drop a comment and share it with us.

5 thoughts on “Have Cheetah,Will View #418 – “Captain America” (1979)

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