Greatest American Hero Costume

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greenguy

Well-Known Member
Kal, it is indeed the angle of the wings. Over the course of 3 seasons the insignia changes A LOT, just little things here and there after the biggest change from the 1st to 2nd season.

scottusernames I missed that auction, because I've never seen one by someone claiming to be Madalone. However, so many of these fakes have been sold and resold I lost track a long time ago. Are those the only photo's you have of the fake?

My own saga with the fakes started in 1999. When I created my TGAH website back in 1998, I barely knew any html. Met a fellow fan who did, and he created a lot of my original site, while I provided the content. In 1999, a suit came up for sale on ebay. That's the first picture below, and to my eye it appears to be an actual costume from the show. My website pal asked if I thought it was real, and I said yes and he bid, and won. While he was waiting for the suit to be shipped, I contacted the seller to ask if he had any other GAH related pieces. He claimed to have already sold a belt buckle, but he had an insignia & cape. Like an idiot, I bought both. My friends suit arrived first, when he sent me the pics my heart sank...it was NOT the suit from the auction photos. As the insignias were hand made and sewn, no two are exactly alike. If you see one from episode to episode that looks identical, it's because its either the same tunic, or the insignia was taken off an old tunic, and put on a new one. The insignia on the costume sent to my friend did NOT look like the one in the sellers photo, and not exactly like anything seen onscreen in regards to design, construction, and appearance in photo's or on film. Then I noticed the zippers in the sleeves, no suit appearing on screen ever had zippers in the sleeves. (see photos 2,3, and 4) My friend contacted the seller, who refused to take it back ( I discovered much later the seller had already sold it once before, and was forced to take it back and return the dough) and he claimed you could see the zippers on screen very easily which just is not true. Then my own package arrived, and sure enough my insignia was the same as the one on the fake costume. Looked brand new, not almost 20 years old and the gray portion of the insignia was a felt like material which is not correct. Real 2nd & 3rd season insignias use a t shirt like cloth, not felt. The cape looked perfect too, smelled new and looks just like the one pictured in scottusernames photo's. My insignia is pictured with the sketch, sorry no photos of the cape. Its upstairs and the wife is asleep. Seller refused to refund me, word did spread about the fakes and Jet Beetle discussed it on this forum years ago. It was also on the Original Prop Blog and so were many of the fake Superman costumes the seller also sold.

I have no idea how many people that own fakes, or have sold fakes actually know the costume IS fake. I accuse no one of knowingly displaying a fake as screen used, or misleading a buyer, except for the guy that sold the fakes originally. See pics 6, 7, and 8. The other way to spot a fake is that the tunic and pants do not "cling" or "hang" on the body or mannequin the same way the real suit does.

Photo 9 compares one 2nd season insignia to 2 3rd season versions, and 10 is a close up of the real one in photo 9, you can see the big loops that make up the red within the symbol. 11 is my fake inserted over a real screen used in private hands. The screen used suit looked old, even smelled old, not like the fakes. Not as if I've had a chance to smell multiple fake costumes from TGAH...LOL..or multiple screen used for that matter.

Some of the 3rd season insignias are the worst, look cheaply made with wrinkled gray cloth. Some used for specific shots in which it could damaged are really bad, horrible stitching etc.

Kal, about the first season symbol being white or gray. I think I told you, I go back and forth. Dorleac's color sketch shows gray, (see pic below) but it sure looks white onscreen. I can think of one exception, the scene in Don't mess Around With Jim when Beck pulls the tunic out of the black case it looks a little gray. That insignia was the original design, and assembled the same way it was in the 1st season. Or it was just a 1st season tunic the production still had around.

Pic 13 is a grab from Don't Mess Around With Jim, the episode was filmed early in the 2nd season. Look at the little "edges" I've marked with the arrows. What is that? This appears to be a 1st season style symbol, and in certain shots of that first year you can make out these in other episodes. Kal, did you notice on the suit sketch the notation "Stitch Witchery Emblem on"? I have never used Stitch Witchery, but I know it's a tape like material. Do you think for the original insignias the costumers used this material not only to attach the patch to the tunic, but to also attach the symbol to the circle? I've never seen those edges on any other style insignia, except the more sharper corners 1st season version. It also looks gray, not white.

Pics 14 and 15 are massive close ups showing the style of the embroidery. Is that the correct term? The style on the screen used suit (and can be seen in some pictures of Katt) is very poofy, kinda like loops. Its as if I had a needle when I went to visit the screen used suit, I could have slipped that needle through the "loops". All the insignias on the fake suits has very flat, or flush embroidery. A needle is NOT going to be stuck through one of those unless you rip a thread out.

To my knowledge the fakes are no longer produced, and the best guess is maybe between 6 and 12 were sold. Very hard to tell since some fakes have been sold more than once to unsuspecting buyers. If this info helps just one person not to lose their hard earned scratch on something they believe is screen used, when it's not, I will be happy about that.
 

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Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
Kal, about the first season symbol being white or gray. I think I told you, I go back and forth. Dorleac's color sketch shows gray, (see pic below) but it sure looks white onscreen. I can think of one exception, the scene in Don't mess Around With Jim when Beck pulls the tunic out of the black case it looks a little gray. That insignia was the original design, and assembled the same way it was in the 1st season. Or it was just a 1st season tunic the production still had around.

I'll edit in more later, as I must get back to work right now...

Greenguy, when you mentioned that I made a note to look into it. I had noted in my promo picture search download to start my costume that sometimes the piping looked white, sometimes white in the middle and darkened at edges and sometimes a mix depending on the hand position to light source. I had initially thought the gray was that light reflective fabric Richard Donner used for Superman Kryptonian outfits to get them to glow on screen... but its an expensive material so i thought its just must be the way the fabric handles the light and how it shows up on film or pictures. (Like the infamous Captain Kirk TOS green/gold tunic). So wanted to look into it more. But so far i think it was a white fabric then moved to gray... but looking into to it.

I watched a couple mid/late season 2 episodes this weekend and noticed the cape piping is now shiny red again pretty regularly and the chest symbol is grey, light gray to a darker gray (could be lighting tho).

Thanks for the detailed review of inaccuracies and signs of a fake costume. Great info.
 

greenguy

Well-Known Member
Greenguy, when you mentioned that I made a note to look into it. I had noted in my promo picture search download to start my costume that sometimes the piping looked white, sometimes white in the middle and darkened at edges and sometimes a mix depending on the hand position to light source. I had initially thought the gray was that light reflective fabric Richard Donner used for Superman Kryptonian outfits to get them to glow on screen... but its an expensive material so i thought its just must be the way the fabric handles the light and how it shows up on film or pictures. (Like the infamous Captain Kirk TOS green/gold tunic). So wanted to look into it more. But so far i think it was a white fabric then moved to gray... but looking into to it.

I watched a couple mid/late season 2 episodes this weekend and noticed the cape piping is now shiny red again pretty regularly and the chest symbol is grey, light gray to a darker gray (could be lighting tho).

Thanks for the detailed review of inaccuracies and signs of a fake costume. Great info.
I lean the direction you do, that the first year it was white. Not how it shows up on film like the TOS green/gold tunic.

I think that cape piping might be at its shiniest in the 2nd season episode Dreams. Reminds me of a shiny ribbon.

You are very welcome, I hate seeing people pay $$$ for something they think is screen used, and its not. I added 3 more photo's in my long post about the fakes.
 

Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
Fraud really is a bummer. I totally agree ... it's a sad its a part of life with replicas. I'll have to design a flaw or a tell with whatever suit I come up with. Always has to be a few to spoil the bunch.
 

greenguy

Well-Known Member
Yep, always scammers in the world.

My apologies for hijacking this with all of that other fake suit info. I know some of it could come in handy for you and others that are interested in putting together a costume, but still, there was a lot of other stuff in there too.

I think I have pictures of the legit suit on an old drive before the owner finished the display, it's laid out on a floor, or some flat surface. If you think those might be of help I would be happy to look for them.
 

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Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
Yep, always scammers in the world.

My apologies for hijacking this with all of that other fake suit info. I know some of it could come in handy for you and others that are interested in putting together a costume, but still, there was a lot of other stuff in there too.

I think I have pictures of the legit suit on an old drive before the owner finished the display, it's laid out on a floor, or some flat surface. If you think those might be of help I would be happy to look for them.

Oh my goodness no, there is no hijacking of this topic... only awesome info. I really appreciate all of the info. I can even use how fakes were made for mine.

If you can find those pictures of the real suit that would be awesome.

I need to figure out how to create a sowing pattern for this suit so others have a guide for seams, and placement on the symbol and stuff.

So with a little googling i found what I think is the perfect material for the red. Its used by Universal Studios Florida and WDW for making superhero suits for the parks... its a matte red nylon-lycra 10oz + fabric. Link below... worst case i can order that if i cant find it here in MA. I think the parks use a proprietary fabric.. but same company.

Solid stone fabrics... theres a nice matte black too... maybe for the cape?

 

greenguy

Well-Known Member
Oh my goodness no, there is no hijacking of this topic... only awesome info. I really appreciate all of the info. I can even use how fakes were made for mine.

If you can find those pictures of the real suit that would be awesome.

I need to figure out how to create a sowing pattern for this suit so others have a guide for seams, and placement on the symbol and stuff.

So with a little googling i found what I think is the perfect material for the red. Its used by Universal Studios Florida and WDW for making superhero suits for the parks... its a matte red nylon-lycra 10oz + fabric. Link below... worst case i can order that if i cant find it here in MA. I think the parks use a proprietary fabric.. but same company.

Solid stone fabrics... theres a nice matte black too... maybe for the cape?

Looks like a good choice. Please let me know how it looks when you get a hold of some. You had many shoe choices, did you decide on what pair to go with?

With all of this suit talk, I'm getting the desire to have one made for display.
 

Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
Hi so what an odd day....

So yesterday the red pajamas (literal red kids pjs) came... black kids capes and ironed on the 4" patch ... happy kids with tGAH "costumes" ... so being 2.5 and 5 they are now a permanent outer skin ... so thats a win... my daughter has to wait for the right size to come...

So today my family ran an errand to Kohls, kids in tow (in costumes) and my 2.5 year old is singing the theme song ... and a Kohl's employee says "Hey! The Greatest American Hero!" The Employee then tells my family he was a background extra in one show of tGAH.... he said it the show called "firebug or something" wasnt sure but .. he was wearing a brown coat with dark wavy/curly hair walking away from the camera at a BBQ scene? ... he was also an extra in Fallguy show too... ill have to check a few shows .. there's the arsonist on Dreams and there was a show Fireman where Tony is the fall guy for an insurance scam... anyways oddly specific story but ... had to share.

So Im leaning toward the $65 dollar shoe in the pick below. It has a little more room for the stirrups... but the top left is also a a good choice as its a matte red. The suede like one was an earlier option... not bad for a slip in shoe.

Still need to run to the fabric store here... but this week i hope.

The kids "flying" and "crashing"..


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greenguy

Well-Known Member
In addition to the 2 episodes you named, there's also the big fire scene at the start of The Good Samaritan. Those are the only 3 GAH episodes off the top of my head that I recall have fires in them. Interesting...I will have to check that out.

In my opinion if you intend to go with the stirrups, the $65 shoe is the best bet because as you said it has more room underneath. If you were to go with the 3rd season style I think the $63 shoe would be the good choice.

OMG I LOVE the flying!!!! They look great!! I think it's fantastic you've turned them onto the show. So great that its a family thing. :) My son never got into GAH, although he used to call me everyday (his mom and I had divorced) when he would see me pop up on the FX Network in the suit, drove my ex crazy to see me on TV. "Dad...I just saw you again on TV, Moms so mad..gotta go" I had sent a video to the FX show Backchat, they aired the video and then cut me into 2 Backchat promos that ran for months.
 

Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
Okay... got the $65 shoes today ... fit good and will be great for fitting the stirrups.

That said I struck out on fabric... kinda. So a couple stores didn't pan out and were kinda scrap or leftover fabrics. So I was left with a chain store. Lots of stuff, just not 100% correct. Best red was cosplay lightweight 80/20 nylon lycra, felt way too light. I think i need a sweater like knit lycra... not that thick but knit. They did have a black heavy weight ponte fabric. Felt right weight, not for a cape... but for the suit. Maybe a little bit too heavy, didnt feel like it would breath well... but good material.
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Edit: i did find a fabric company out of seattle that sells a heavy 12.5 oz. per square yard (350 GSM) 86/14 poly spandex. Looks matte but ill have to see if i can get sample. The stone fabric store may be an option but it seems its a light weight spandex.
 
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greenguy

Well-Known Member
Those shoes look great, glad those worked out for you.

Sucks about the fabric, hopefully the company can send you a swatch. Safest way to purchase online to keep from making a costly mistake. That red looks a bit like what my suit from the 80s looks like, but mine is lighter material. I agree, not good at all for a cape.

Thanks for the update!
 

Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
So I may have a good fabric. I reached out and got a response from an online store. Actually two but only one emailed back. Based on the close up photo of the mini walkie-talkie stuffed in the sleeve, they recommended 2.

A cotton/lycra (95%/5%) 10oz/yard, and a medium nylon-lycra (80%/20%) medium weight swimsuit thickness spandex, both matte red.

I ordered a sample of both, 1/2 yard each. They don't do swatches. I'll post pics of both when I get them. Looked up some cosplay guides and most suggest using a cotton-lycra especially if you're sowing for the first time as it sows more like regular fabric... unlike spandex due to the stretch.

I am considering a polyester matte black for the cape. Still haven't found a good gray yet.

Anywhooo... hopefully ill get the fabrics this week.
 

Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
Okay got the fabric today. Here is both cotton/lycra on left and nylon/lycra on right

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Here is the cotton/lycra outside up close.

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And the nylon/lycra outside up close

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The cotton/lyra feels right... good weight and thickness, 4 way stretch. Good color. Does look a little "off" weave-wise.

The nylon/lycra is thinner, 4 way stretch, color is a little "washed out" inside, but looks good outside. Weave is better.

There is a heavy polyester/lycra i may look at. Need to see if its a matte color though.

Since im a newbie at sowing, I'll probably go with the cotton/lycra as ive heard its much easier to work with than spandex... but ill be looking for a more "acurate" fabric.
 

greenguy

Well-Known Member
The nylon/lycra weave looks a lot like the weave in the close up pics I have, but you gotta go with what you feel better in working with. Plus if the look of the costume is correct, that's what's important.

Many thanks for the updates!
 

Kal Argos

Well-Known Member
The nylon/lycra weave looks a lot like the weave in the close up pics I have, but you gotta go with what you feel better in working with. Plus if the look of the costume is correct, that's what's important.

Many thanks for the updates!
Greenguy, thanks. Overall both are nice materials. I think ill learn a lot with the cotton lycra sowing wise.

The nylon/lycra looks much closer to the weave for sure.. but golly does it slide around. It is a slick material.

I think the amount of cursing on the sowing machine will be lower with the cotton/lycra ... LOL ... and skill building will be higher with cotton/lycra. So Ill play with that first... then the more accurate spandex.

The piping I've still not found a good match. Also, the cape... matte satin charmeuse sounds like a good choice though i may go with a matte black thin spandex... for the flow and slide.
 

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