Greatest American Hero Costume

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Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
Hello,

Ive been watching GAH with my kids and its rekindled that kid in me when the show was on. I've always loved that show... its funny my kids run and crash into the wall like poor Ralph flying on the show. As such Id like to start putting together a costume. I have seen ebay stuff and online sites that sell inexpensive ones, but Id rather make one that is more accurate but fits my needs. Im gonna 3D print a buckle.

So im wondering if anyone here has a material/fabric/color costume specs ... im guessing some 4way red sapndex. Looking at google it appears the chest symbol has a white and at times a light gray inner color. The piping on the wrists, shirt bottom and legs look gray. But sometimes the bottom of the shirt almost looks white. Im not sure what the cape is made of... sometimes its quasi see through... maybe different capes for different scenes.

I've searched the rpf and sadly found that an expert Jet Bettle passed away some time ago. I also found a link to a GAH forum, run by Greenguy... im fairly sure is the same person here, same name and avatar. But i must've missed the costume guide somewhere.... like the instruction book.

I have found a nice 7" GAH symbol online... so that is a nice start.

Any advice or info would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
Got the 7" patch. Looks great. Not 100% accurate, but its still very well done.
 

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greenguy

Well-Known Member
Glad to help. Best of luck with putting one together!

Here's a photo of me from 1986 in my suit. Not spandex as there was no spandex in the fabric store in my town of 8,000 when I needed it, plus the only gray was too dark. I used it anyway as the costume was last minute. The insignia is from one of the t-shirts sold in stores when the show was on. The belt was some weird ladies belt that was originally white, but I painted it and wore it backwards so it's buckle was in the back. My buckle, which is hard to see because the photo is damaged, was made from the lid off a Pringles potato chip can and attached with velcro. I tried notching the first one on the top and both sides, didn't work so I painted the notches and the rest of the lid and found some thin fabric foam and cut the insignia out to glue on the lid. I used the tightest clothes I had, and traced around them on newspaper to make patterns. I guessed on the cape and made the pattern based on several photo's I had and my height. I guessed on the boot spats too, but we didn't have enough grey to put the trim over the top of my foot, and around the heel as seen on the show.. The shoes wore some sort of booties I found at a store, and there were actual soles on the bottom. My mom sewed it all together, and it turned out pretty good I think for doing it in 4 or 5 days without the correct material, patterns, etc.
TGAH 1986 1.jpg
 

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Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
That is awesome!! Fantastic work. Wow! Impressive. Very creative and smart solutions to create a great costume that fast.

Thanks again for all the info. Its extremely helpful. Ill be putting it to good use and researching this weekend.
 

asavage

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Glad to help. Best of luck with putting one together!

Here's a photo of me from 1986 in my suit. Not spandex as there was no spandex in the fabric store in my town of 8,000 when I needed it, plus the only gray was too dark. I used it anyway as the costume was last minute. The insignia is from one of the t-shirts sold in stores when the show was on. The belt was some weird ladies belt that was originally white, but I painted it and wore it backwards so it's buckle was in the back. My buckle, which is hard to see because the photo is damaged, was made from the lid off a Pringles potato chip can and attached with velcro. I tried notching the first one on the top and both sides, didn't work so I painted the notches and the rest of the lid and found some thin fabric foam and cut the insignia out to glue on the lid. I used the tightest clothes I had, and traced around them on newspaper to make patterns. I guessed on the cape and made the pattern based on several photo's I had and my height. I guessed on the boot spats too, but we didn't have enough grey to put the trim over the top of my foot, and around the heel as seen on the show.. The shoes wore some sort of booties I found at a store, and there were actual soles on the bottom. My mom sewed it all together, and it turned out pretty good I think for doing it in 4 or 5 days without the correct material, patterns, etc. View attachment 1456980
I'm so glad you have that picture! This kinds thing is so deeply my jam. That's a fantastic effort and result, and your mom rocks. Thanks for posting that. What a delight.
 

SMP Designs

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I think, if you want to retain the “vintage” look, don’t go with spandex or jumbo spandex, but a light weight ponte di roma. It’s a double knit with a more matte, wool-ish texture and finish and 4 way stretch. It can be found almost anywhere and is not expensive.

For the edging and belt, I’d say, go with what you want for the finish. You can use a light grey ponte or go with something like a matte metallic stretch faux leather. That would give you nice little pop of modern against the red ponte but still look like it belongs.

For the cape, I’d use a ponte as well, just to get a similar movement and finish to the rest of the suit. For the edging, I’d with a basic twill tape in the same color as the suit. That will stabilize the edges and will help with the movement.

Just my 2-cents. HTH :)
 

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Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
Thanks so much for the suggestion and ideas. I'll look into the ponte di roma fabric for sure.

Greenguy sent me a nice hi-def picture that shows the knit of a 3rd season costume. Im not a fabric expert but ... i can try to match that knit or weave pattern to a stretchy fabric.

I definitely want to retain the look of the show. The matte side of spandex could work and that was my initial thought but at times it doesn't seem to act like spandex... it looks loose (not the right word) or not super tight... but that could be just the way it was made. Its definitely a snug fit tho.

And i totally dig that picture of Ralph ... to me it sums up the character and the show... not sure why.. but it does.
 

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Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
Again, many thanks to greenguy for some superb screen caps and outstanding information.

I looked into ponte roma fabric, and i do think a thick double knit ponte would be a good substitute, but based on the screen shots Im convinced the suit was made of some kind of "spandex" ... likely a 10oz+ heavy poly/lycra or nylon/lycra... strong fabric... like 80s football spandex. Matte side out used.

So based on a buckle size of 2.5" confirmed by greenguy:

Piping: grey color, 3/8" wrist, boot covers. In the pilot (various scenes in early shows) this piping is also around the neck. The grey neck piping is dropped after 1st season.

The bottom of the shirt trim is 3/4" grey cotton fabric.... same as wrist fabric. Not sure of cotton fabric type at this time.

The chest symbol is ~7" (promo photos maybe ~6.5+" in size) .

Cape: black fabric (satin like material in pilot) with 3/8" red trim.. red trim fabric unknown... but going to guess spandex to match suit. Will look into tho. May have been satin based on the scene when he's taken by police for psychology eval after first flight in pilot and his cape gets stuck in the door. The cape is approximately 35" radii half ovoid or semi-circle. I have not found any seams in the cape so maybe 1 giant piece. Length is based on Katt's height and promo photos where it spans his finger tip to finger tip lenth... so roughly 1/2 his height of 5'9" or~35".

Seams at shoulders, inside of arm, sides of shirt.

Pants with footies. In seam inner seam and outer seam on pants.

Separate boot covers red spandex, grey trim, and zipper on inside of boot covers. Seam inside of boot cover.

The shoes are possibly a red loafer of some sort... but the tread varies... and sometimes pointy toed shoe and sometimes a more rounded shoe. 1st season has stirrups under the shoes.

The belt... suede? A belt with grey fabric over it? Not sure.. its reversible as the extra flap is inside and at times outside and no color change.. fake suede? Still looking at possibilities.

Again, many many thanks to greenguy for screen caps and some great inside info.

Again still looking into things so info will be updated as I find it or as i get corrections. Been so excited i drew a cartoon of tGAH...
 

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Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
Here are a couple shoe stan-ins.
 

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