October 31, 2009

I was thrilled to discover that Disney had made available Condorman on DVD. I got mine by cashing in Disney Movie Rewards points, or apparently you can get it through their Disney Movie Club (a subscription service).

Condorman Poster

I have fond memories of this 1981 goofy superhero/spy spoof. It starts Michael Crawford, who went on to greater fame as the original musical Phantom of the Opera, and Oliver Reed as the Russian baddy. Crawford is Woody Wilkins, a comic artist and writer who insists on trying out the gadgets of his hero, Condorman, before drawing them, so they’ll be realistic. So the film begins with his jumping off the Eiffel Tower wearing hang glider-like wings, for example.

Who is Condorman?

Well, uh, Condorman is what we call a comic hero, in a comic book.

A comic book?

Yeah, you know like Donald Duck, Popeye, Superman.

Crawford’s character is a flake, albeit a talented artist, but thanks to his propensity for dress-up, he still winds up helping a gorgeous Russian spy (Barbara Carrera) defect with the help of his CIA buddy (James Hampton). After they meet, he starts drawing her into his comic book as “Laser Lady”, and the CIA funds building more of his gadgets, including a really cool Condorcar that becomes a hovercraft.

The movie is full of outrageous international events, slapstick, family-friendly romance, and bad special effects, but I liked the concept and still enjoy the film, nostalgically. It’s like James Bond for kids, with comics added. Anyone else remember this?

8 Responses  
Stephen Geigen-Miller writes:  

Remember Condorman? Let’s put it this way: For several years, my sig line was, “He is not an agent of the C.I.A.! He is a writer of comic books!” :)

Johanna writes:  

Ooh, good one! I like it when the Russian baddy talks about any child finding his secrets for one small coin.

steve B. writes:  

Yeah I enjoyed this as a kid. I put it in the same category as “Hero At Large” with John Ritter, another one of those “regular guy becomes a superhero” movies.

James Schee writes:  

Ooooh yeah I will always remember Condorman as it was the first VCR movie I ever got to pick out. I’d ridden to the place with my mom, and she looked at me and said for me to go pick out something I’d like to watch and this one looked exciting! (I don’t remember ANYTHING about the movie outside of a cool car)

Weeks before the technician had arrived at our house, and brought out this HUGE box that had something called a VCR, which he hooked up to our TV. That was like magic to me, as before then TV wasn’t that big a deal for me outside of whatever show my parents were watching at the time.

The only time I’d gotten to watch something I was interested in was a little toy car movie player thing. They had it at the clothing store my mom went to, and she’d put me in there, feed the machine its money and I’d be good for an hour watching Casper and Popeye cartoons.

Condorman was something for me, with it at my house, that I had been in charge of picking out. So yup, I remember Condorman.:) (need to rent it someday)

Stan Hosmer writes:  

I remember going to the drive in to see this! A few years ago I picked up a copy on VHS through ebay, and loved it just as much then as when I was a youngster. Always wanted to know who did the art for the comics in the movie, anyone have a clue?

Bill D. writes:  

I remember getting this from the video store as a kid and really enjoying it. The dad from Teen Wolf was Woody’s CIA friend and eventual reluctant handler, right?

Johanna writes:  

Yes, that’s one of his better known roles.

Scarecrow and Mrs. King: The Complete Second Season » DVDs Worth Watching writes:  

[…] Germany. (Someone wants a normal contact for a handoff, in a plot that reminded me of the setup for Condorman — there were a lot of similar ideas floating around TV and movies in the 80s, it seems.) […]


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