Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Super Cops



The book THE SUPER COPS by L. H. Whittemore was a bestseller from 1973 about two daredevil police officers/detectives who were, due to their at times reckless exploits, nicknamed "Batman" and "Robin." The real life detectives, Greenberg and Hantz, made the round of talk shows in the day but by the time the film based on them came out just a year later, they were already old news, supplanted by the ironically more realistic police novels of Joe Wambaugh.
THE SUPER COPS is not a bad little film as it episodically details their meeting and their adventurous patrols and cases. The most interesting aspects, though, are the folks behind the scenes. The screenplay, for example, is written by one Lorenzo Semple, Jr….best known as one of the major writers of the BATMAN TV series. Guess they figured who better to write about the exploits of Batman and Robin. He also wrote the 1966 BATMAN movie and later returned to super-heroes with the scripts for SHEENA and FLASH GORDON. The director is, in fact, the late great Gordon Parks, the brilliant African-American photographer and previously director of THE LEARNING TREE and the seminal blaxploitation film, SHAFT!
The stars of the film are Ron Liebman, a loudmouthed New York stage actor later known for a well-done but short-lived TV series entitled KAZ (and for a tempetuous marriage with equally loudmouthed actress Linda Lavin) and David Selby, coming off several years of teen-idolhood as DARK SHADOWS’ sexy, sideburned werewolf/ghost Quentin Collins. Neither actor really made it as a screen star but both have continued to be welcome presences on TV and in film from time to time.
The real detectives acted as advisors and appear in small roles in the film. Anybody know whatever happened to Batman and Robin?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Booksteve,

I remember this well...I believe they were later busted for corruption.

Tex Lebeauf

Phillip said...

I don't know about the real cops, but I saw the movie about four or five years ago... in a theater! It was a private screening in L.A., and it was great! (well, it wasn't actually great, so much as it was... not good. Kinda disjointed.) Fun, though!

I seem to remember reading someplace that Batman & Robin were inspiration for Starsky & Hutch.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there was a lot of talk when Starsky and Hutch premiered about how it was inspired by these guys. I think ABC or the producers of Starsky and Hutch might have been capitalizing on the publicity "The Supercops" were getting at the time.

-- Mike S.

lisa_mynx said...

I've never seen the movie, but I did read the book years ago and enjoyed it...