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The Many Faces Of… The Flash

Russ Dimino looks at the many actors who have played The Flash

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Back in the days of KryptonSite, Russ Dimino had a frequent column “The Many Faces Of…” where he’d look back at the different actors to play an iconic DC Comics role. He came out of “retirement” here to explore the different actors who have played The Flash, just in time for tonight’s premiere! This is an update of a column originally published in 2004.

Flash_Jay_Garrick_0006Anyone can tell you that Superman’s real name is Clark Kent, and everyone knows that Bruce Wayne is the man beneath Batman’s cowl. But ask a few comic book fans who the Flash’s secret identity is, and the answer is likely to vary. That’s because there have actually been several different characters to possess super speed, don an orange costume with a lightning bolt logo and take on the name of the Flash.

The original “Golden Age” Flash was named Jay Garrick, and first appeared in Flash Comics #1 in January 1940. His successor, Barry Allen, debuted in Showcase #4 in 1956. Barry’s nephew Wally West first appeared as Kid Flash, Barry’s sidekick, in Flash #110 in December 1959, and then became the full-fledged Flash himself after Barry died saving the world during the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event in 1986. Bart Allen, Barry’s grandson, first appeared in Flash vol. 2 #91 and had a super-speeding career of his own under the name Impulse. Bart went on to become the new Kid Flash and served as a sidekick to Wally before inheriting the role of the Flash himself in 2006. A resurrection and a reboot have led to Barry Allen once again holding the title of the Flash in the comics in DC’s “New 52” era (a company-wide relaunch of all the titles saw much of the previous continuity wiped clean in 2011).

flash_L08The first time the Flash appeared on television it was in cartoon form. The scarlet speedster made several appearances on Filmation’s “The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure” in 1967. Though the series primarily focused on the exploits of the two titular heroes, other heroes rotated in and out of an additional segment on the show. The Flash who appeared here was the Barry Allen version, and his voice was supplied by Cliff Owens. He was often accompanied by Kid Flash, a.k.a. Wally West, who was voiced by Tommy Cook.

02The next time Flash made the airwaves, he was joined by a few friends… Super Friends, that is. Throughout the various incarnations of the show from 1977 – 1986, including “The All New Super Friends Hour,” “The Challenge of the Super Friends,” and “Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show,” Jack Angel lent his voice to the Flash. Angel was also the voices of Hawkman and Samurai, and went on to provide voice work for shows like “Darkwing Duck,” “Tale Spin” and “Peter Pan and the Pirates.” He was also the voice of Teddy in the movie “A.I.”

Flash_Legends_of_the_Super-Heroes_001In 1979, the Flash appeared in a two part live-action TV special called “Legends of the Superheroes,” which featured characters like Batman and Robin, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel, Hawkman, Black Canary, and more. It was done in a campy, tongue-in-cheek style reminiscent of the Adam West “Batman” series of the 1960s, and, in fact, Adam West and Burt Ward reprised their roles as Batman and Robin. In part one, the heroes team up to save the world from a group of villains. In part two, the heroes pay tribute to Batman and Robin in the form of a roast. This movie has pretty much been relegated to the realm of bootleg copies sold at comic book conventions. The Flash was played by Rod Haase.

Of course this isn’t all! Navigate below for more:

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New CW Head Throws Shade At The Flash

New CW President Brad Schwartz has thrown shade at The Flash while propping up another series.

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New CW Entertainment President Brad Schwartz today threw some shade at The Flash when propping up one of The CW’s better new performers, Wild Cards, when doing an interview with Deadline.

“You’ll probably be hearing more announcements from us very soon,” he said. “That show did great. It grew 10% versus what The Flash did in the same spot the year before. So, here we are beating shows that everyone’s very romantic about. We’d very much like to renew that one.”

Obviously, this is to show that Canadian imports perform better than more expensive fare… but might it be considered that The Flash was a show in its ninth season – a time when new audiences might not be interested in jumping on to series? Or, perhaps that portions of The Flash fandom had moved on, with no interest in The Cecile Show? Finally, The Flash Season 9 mostly aired at a time where producers and/or cast were unable to promote it, during the 2023 strikes, which makes the comparison very unfair.

Wild Cards is a fun series, but there’s no reason to denigrate The Flash or the superhero shows that made The CW great. Hopefully this was just a wild misunderstanding of his quote. The fact of the matter is: Sometimes more expensive fare is worth investing in. Especially considering how Schwartz hypes up the new season of Superman & Lois, that should be known to the new people in charge of The CW.

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Flash Cast Member Returns for the Superman & Lois Finale

A major actor from The Flash will be playing a role in the series finale of Superman & Lois.

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A major cast member from The Flash will be appearing in the series finale of Superman & Lois.

No, it’s not Grant Gustin, sadly… the actor in question is Tom Cavanagh, the actor who brought us infinite Wells variants. Cavanagh revealed this recently at a convention, where he talked about how he usually enjoyed directing season finales for the show, but was unable to in this case because Gregory Smith had already signed on to direct the Superman & Lois finale.

Superman & Lois showrunner Todd Helbing, who had also worked with Cavanagh before on The Flash and recruited him to direct the series’ 100th episode among others, instead suggested he has a role in the finale.

No word yet on what that role might be. As Superman & Lois is at a different spot in the multiverse, it doesn’t necessarily even have to be a version of Harrison Wells or Eobard Thawne. It could serve as a good closer, though, to the Arrowverse in general, as Superman & Lois is the last gasp for that world on The CW. In any event, you can see video of Cavanagh speaking about this (and more) at our Superman & Lois portal, KryptonSite.

The final season of Superman & Lois premieres this Fall on The CW.

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Flash Missing: Vanishes In Crisis, April 25, 2024

The “Flash Missing: Vanishes in Crisis” headline in the Flash TV series pilot was dated April 25, 2024.

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While events of the series would ultimately speed up the timeline, Flash fans surely remember the final moments of the pilot episode of the Grant Gustin-led series where we see a Central City Citizen newspaper graphic announcing “Flash Missing, Vanishes In Crisis.” The date of that article? April 25, 2024.

Which happens to be… today.

When The Flash premiered in 2014, one might have expected that April 25, 2024 might be the right time for the final episode of a 10-year run… of course, as we saw, the Crisis happened a few years earlier, The Flash ended in 2023 instead, and it all might have been a good thing, considering how strikes and pandemics got in the show’s way. Still, it’s fun to think about, and it’s fun to remember that fantastic rush we had after the end of watching such an excellent premiere. And hey – not only did we get nine seasons of the show, but we also had a bad Flash movie that the series was far superior to, even in its worst moments. Win-win!

Ride the lightning, everyone.

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