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REB BROWN AS CAPTAIN AMERICA IN TWO 1979 TV MOVIES

1979 part one: *** part two: **
With a cool motorcycle, iconic uniform, and the boomerang shield, Captain America reigns: more of a bionic Evel Knievel than the traipsing comic book hero...

Reb Brown as Captain America... beachside
But first he’s Steve Rogers, a budding artist fresh out of the Marines, cruising the coast in a groovy fan for leisure, but the bad guys want him dead and the good guys want him… super, despite the fact Reb Brown’s a big guy to begin with: so the transformation is nothing like the original, which morphs a skinny wimp into a muscular stud. And Brown’s performance is surprisingly monotone given energetic turns in BIG WEDNESDAY, UNCOMMON VALOR and especially CAGE. At a certain point you'd think he needs coffee more than a shield: In the patriotic red, white & blue uniform, Reb looks the part, and this TV movie builds up the plot… about a Militant’s threat to detonate a neutron bomb… and takes forty five minutes for our hero to assume his identity and then kick in gear. The best scenes occur during the latter part of the second act: involving Cap riding that motorcycle around, dodging bullets and beating up thugs. Then, when the ante is upped, and Steve Forrest takes the villainous forefront from thug Lance LeGault, things get a bit too heavy-handed although it's always cool whenever Captain America puts his foot down.

Flyin' High
The follow-up, DEATH TOO SOON, starts off with some neat action – Captain America completely out of the bag without any explanations – but a majority of the film flags beneath a thick plot involving Christopher Lee spreading an age-accelerating gas, and then extorting the government into paying him for the antidote. There are just a few action scenes where Captain America and his motorcycle go to work – but alas, not much work’s to be done: just a lotta talk about world domination.

Heather Menzies, the ing√©nue from the first, is replaced by Connie Selleca, while Len Berman returns as the scientist who’d granted the powers (handed down by Steve’s father, the original Captain America). And yes, this is extraordinarily dated – with music even CHiPs would consider corny… but it’s simple fun: like how a child’s mind registers a comic book rather than a grownup’s progressed interpretation.

Reb Brown reflects Captain America
Were the two movies, CAPTAIN AMERICA and DEATH TOO SOON, supposed to be followed by a weekly series?

Yes... And what happened is THE INCREDIBLE HULK was running at the time, and Marvel Comics, when they got down to it… they were charging twenty-five hundred dollars an episode, a licensing fee for THE HULK, okay…  

The Shield of Captain America
And then they got around to us, and CBS wanted to buy it for fifteen episodes, and they said they wanted fifty thousand dollars a licensing fee per episode… So they didn’t do it… They just took the budget away… They could not do the CAPTAIN AMERICA series, only the two made-for-TV movies, and I ended up riding my motorcycle around the living room...

And what was Captain America's shield made of?

That was plastic… The reason they had it be plastic is so I could see through it… And in the new Captain America, they had the titanium… But they had to make it so that I could see through it, and you could ride the motorcycle and still see through it... 
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