ByJames M. Tate, writer at
Top Shark Cinema Writer at and Now a Movie Pilot Remora...
James M. Tate

Reb Brown is the epitome of an action star... With his bulging arms and wavy blond hair, he was the perfect choice to play CAPTAIN AMERICA, which, in 1979, consisted of two made-for-television movies wherein the patriotic superhero rode a Red, White & Blue motorcycle and fought polyester bad guys with a funky soundtrack backing his every step...

And so, being that CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER is still in theaters, here's a selection of an interview with Reb Brown right after the release of THE FIRST AVENGER...

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…

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 [laughs].

Did you do some of the riding or was it mostly stuntman?

There was a bunch of stuntmen doing that stuff. The most dangerous stuff of course. Those guys were professional riders, and they were fabulous. Gary Davis was one of the guys… And I can’t remember Eddie’s last name… But they were really good riders and it was fun… They were coming out of the back of the van and it was cool.

What was the best thing about playing an iconic character like CAPTAIN AMERICA?

It was fun being something for the kids. The kids, you know… Even now, because of the one that came out [CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER]... And Because they had the thing on SyFy where they ran mine back to back for a couple of nights... A lot of kids saw it, and they’re all going, even in the neighborhood, “Hey Captain America,” you know.

And they went out and got t-shirts… Captain America t-shirts… I signed them for them… The whole idea now is there’s a whole new audience for it, and he’s such a wonderful character, pure American.

Oh and there was a thing that happened in Venice Beach one time… I’ll never forget this… I was over in Venice, and we were filming the second one, and you’ve seen the film so you remember the thing that happened with the little lady, and the guy took her purse... Well I dispersed them, and we were down there at the beach, and you know Venice Beach… I’m in my motor home…

And I come out in Captain America regalia, the whole bit… The helmet, the shield, everything… I come out and there’s a guy sitting on the wall… It’s 8 or 9 in the morning, and this guy’s drunk… He’s bombed… And he looks up, and goes, “I gotta stop drinking,” and he falls off the wall.

And then I’m coming down the stairs, and I see this hand come up from the wall, and then the other hand. And then it reaches up, and then he looks over the wall, and he’s blinking, and he goes. “Well maybe not!”

Reb Brown is Captain America
Reb Brown is Captain America

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.

Well I like how they explained the uniform in your movie, by saying your dad was Captain America, and you, being his son and facing the same bad guys, will “throw it in their face” with the overly-patriot thing... And in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER it’s a purposely-corny USO show he’s part of… Because nowadays, and especially in the ‘70s, that Red, White & Blue uniform doesn’t timelessly transcend like, say, Spider-Man or Superman or whatever…

Yeah. And they did a good job with it. I thought they did a wonderful job with the movie… I really enjoyed it. And I got to go to the premiere. I also got to take about 75 kids from the neighborhood. It was open that weekend and we all got to see it at the local theater…

And we took pictures in front of the Captain America poster, and it was a blast because the kids recognized me because my movie was on that weekend too, Thursday and Friday… Except when you get a five year old, and he says, “Can you jump that high for me?”

Interview by James M. Tate

Reb's Cap didn't need an injection to be strong! 
Reb's Cap didn't need an injection to be strong! 

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