Super Dave Osbourne: Icon

A history of stuntman extraordinaire Super Dave Osbourne
September 10, 2008
As a child of the 80's I absolutely LOVED Super Dave. In fact I defy any 80's kid to say that they didn't like Super Dave. I noticed that some folks get written about ALL the time on our beloved Retro Junk. The most notable perhaps being the bafoonish 1960's Batman, Adam West or Ernest P. Whorrol. Somewhere along the way though Super Dave seems to have been lost and is never talked about. Still any time I mention the stunt man extraordinaire with anyone that persons eyes light up as memories of the super one flood through there mind. Quickly they'll start to talk about how much they loved him and of course there favorite stunts, or rather stunt attempts.

The always serious Super Dave.

Since no one on this site seems to be talking about Super Dave Osbourne then I have decided to take the initiative and write an article about him myself. It took a good bit of research to put together this article but I think you much like myself will be pleased with the outcome. Hopefully it will remind everyone else of Super Dave Osbourne and spark conversation about him.

Super Dave with his Elephant friend Simba.

If I'm going to talk about Super Dave then I have to start with the man behind Super Dave, Bob Einstein. Bob was born on November 20th 1942 in Los Angeles to actress Thelma Leeds and radio comedian Harry "Parkyakrkus" Einstein. He also has a famous younger brother named Albert, who was born in 1947 so you KNOW his cruel parents knew about the other Albert Einstein, you know the super genius who invented gravity..... before you say anything about Einstein not inventing gravity, I know its a bad joke.

Super Dave always knew how to travel.

Anyways back on the subject you might being saying to yourself I don't know any other famous Albert Einstein's. Well that's because he is better known by the name Albert Brooks, who has made several appearances on The Simpson's including as the voice behind the fantastic Hank Scorpio, who stars in my personal favorite episode, "You Only Move Twice". Of course Albert is known for many other things then The Simpson's as well but that's what I mostly know him from and the article isn't about him anyways its about older brother dear old Bob.

The Super One's younger brother Albert Brooks.

Bob Einstein got his start in show business on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour", where he was a writer and made eleven appearances as the character Officer Judy. While on the show he also earned an Emmy along with Steve Martin and Rob Reiner for outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy-Variety or Music. After that the sky was the limits as he became a writer and producer for hit shows such as "The Sonny And Cher Comedy Hour".

The Intro for the Sonny And Cher Comedy Hour.

It wasn't a hit on which Bob debuted his famous Super Dave Osbourne character though. No, in fact Super Dave made his first appearance on "The John Byner Comedy Hour" in 1972. The show wasn't popular but Bob liked the character and decided to use him again on "Van Dyke and Company" in 1976. Again the show wasn't popular despite being a critical success gaining Bob his second Emmy for Writing Achievement in Comedy-Variety or Music, this one shared by the likes of Dick Van Dyke, Allan Blye and Byron Paul. However with the next show Super Dave would appear on would be the one to give the character his big break.

This is why Super Dave is a champion Tennis player.

In 1980 Bob re teamed with John Byner to create the hit show Bizarre. With everything going right Bob decided to give his stuntman character he thought had so much potential one last shot. He wouldn't regret it. Super Dave Osbourne debuted on Bizarre in the second season and proved to be a huge hit, enough to even rival John Byner himself in popularity. The more episodes Super Dave appeared in the more loved he became. Bizarre was also the first time, at least to the best of my knowledge from my research, that Super Dave teamed up with his stunt coordinator Fuji Hakayito, played by Art Irizawa, and the inept reporter at the scene, Mike Walden. The three characters blended together and highlighted each others strengths perfectly. The sky was now the limit.

Mike Walden, Super Dave and Fuji Hakayito, one of the greatest comedy trios ever.

If you have somehow never seen a Super Dave stunt it more then often went along these lines, Super Dave would attempt a stunt which would ALWAYS go painfully awry, that is of course if he didn't injured before the stunt could even take place. Often times you would see Super Dave have a horrendous fall, have his body literally stretched or even have his body smashed up into his head. At the last take before impact Super Dave would be replaced by a painfully obvious dummy, with Super Dave doing a voice over while every thing went to hell. After the "stunt" took place the dummy was once again replaced by the real Super Dave now fringing incredible pain while swearing at the useless Fuji and Mike, who would more often then not accidentally cause further pain to the super one, Mike would often call for a ambulance who would run Dave over, Mike would then yell at the ambulance telling them to go away only to have them drive off with Super Dave still under the ambulance and being dragged along with it. Other times Mike and Fuji would just ignore Super Dave after a stunt gone wrong and leave him there in pain. After the stunt goes bad Super Dave is no longer pretending to be a happy guy but rather lets his true self, bitter jerk, out often times calling Mike a "putz", swearing at Fuji or making fun of them both.

It wasn't uncommon to see Super Dave's body driven up into his head after a stunt gone wrong.

After Bizarre was canceled in 1985 the popularity of The Super Dave character was still there with Bob keeping the character alive by making appearances on late night TV shows, such as Late Nite with David Letterman. Once it appeared that his popularity would not subside it was decided that a few years after the cancellation of Bizarre that Super Dave would finally get a spin off of the show in 1987 simply titled "Super Dave".

The many promises that Super Dave delivered every week.
The show would be a format that Bob Einstein was familiar with, being a half hour comedy music-variety show. Another point of the show was that it was more aimed at a general all ages audience that would range from children and adults alike instead of the more raunchy feel that Bizzare had. Bob wanted Super Dave to appeal to everyone. Now Super Dave didn't swear after a stunt gone wrong unless it was under one of many different sound effects such as a slide whistle or the ever popular duck quack. The first twenty minutes of the show would typically have Super Dave hosting a show that usually would have popular singers of the day such as Ray Charles, K.D. Lang, Jerry Lee Lewis, Doug And The Slugs and a young up and coming Celine Dion and sometimes comedy acts such as vantrioquist Ronn Lucas, Steve Allen and his old heroes The Smothers Brothers.

Super Dave with the legendary comedy duo The Smothers Brothers, and a young up and coming Celine Dion.

The real meat of the show however came during the last ten minutes where Super Dave would be at the fabled Super Dave Compound to do another stunt. Along with Mike Walden and Fuji Hakayito, Super Dave got another sidekick in the man who ran The Super Dave Compound, Donald Glanz who was potrayed by Don Lake.

Super Dave with Mike Walden and Donald Glanz after the Wheel of Good Fortune stunt goes wrong.

As the seasons ticked on, the variety part of the show started to lessen making more time for Super Dave's time on the compound. Often times there would be only one musical guest or comedy act while the rest of the shows time was taken up on the compound and other times there would be no guests at all, instead having Super Dave's always popular and always bogus contests taking up that time. Either way it didn't hurt the show, more people tuned in for the stunts and the shenanigans that came at the compound anyways. As time went on though ratings eventually declined, despite being very funny it was still the same idea every episode. It might be a different stunt but you knew that the stunt would go wrong Super Dave would get hurt and you might hear that duck quack over a swear word. So after a four year run it was decided in 1991 that the show would not be renewed for a fifth season and would be canceled.

Super Dave giving his trademark thumbs up of approval on the cover of TV Guide.

Fortunately for Bob Einstein though he owned all rights to the character and could still do with it as he pleased. Despite the fact that his show was canceled Bob knew that the character was still very popular epically with children now. With that in mind he started appearing in Nike commercials with the likes of Reggie Miller and Gerald Wilkins where being the big superstar that he was in his own mind would comically get the NBA Superstars names wrong. Also in 1992 a new children's animated show was created called "Super Dave: Daredevil For Hire". Bob Einstein and Art Irizawa reprised there roles as Super Dave and his side kick Fuji. Although the show had a small following it wasn't popular enough to gain a second season and was canceled with only 13 episodes produced.

Super Dave from his Daredevil For Hire animated series.

After the show went off the air Super Dave's popularity began to drop knowing this Bob decided to put the character to rest for a little while only making appearances as Super Dave on Late Night TV. Much like it did in the 1980's the few appearances that Super Dave made had fans wanting more.

Super Dave with yet another one of his classic rides.

Once again the characters popularity demanded yet another show, this one was a sitcom entitled "Super Dave's Vegas Spectacular" and re teamed him with Art Irizawa, Mike Walden and Don Lake all of whom reprised there popular roles as the super ones not so trusty sidekicks Fuji, Mike Walden and Donald Glanz. Unlike his other shows it was a complete failure.

The cast of Super Dave's Vegas Spectacular.

It seemed like this time people had finally had there fill of the Super Dave Character. Bob Einstein wouldn't give up on it though and in 1997 was contracted to do yet another show staring Super Dave, this one called "Super Dave's All Stars" This show was just a recall to the original Super Dave show however only instead of doing stunts at the end of the show they would show clips of old stunts that he did on his other show. Once again this show lasted only one season.

Even if you get canceled when your Super Dave Osbourne you always have reason to smile.

In 2000 Bob Einstein decided to give Super Dave one more shot at the big time this time in the form of a movie called "The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave". In the movie Super Dave decides to retire after yet another stunt backfires, this time on New Years Eve 1999. He then meets Sandy a mother who's son Timmy has a heart condition which requires an operation which forces Super Dave to do one last stunt to get the money necessary for Timmy's operation. Once again Bob Einstein was reunited with Art Irizawa, Mike Walden and Don Lake, all reprising there old roles. They were also joined by some of Super Dave's other famous friends Ray Charles, Michael Buffer, Evander Holifield and more. The movie was released direct to DVD in 2000.

Cover for The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave

Since then Bob has mostly retired his stuntman character making only a few appearances as Super Dave most notably once again on Late Night TV this time however mostly only on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Super Dave one Jimmy Kimmel Live

Life after Super Dave hasn't been hard for Bob however as he has still let to leave the spotlight landing popular recurring roles on shows such as "Arrested Development", where he played Larry, a character where he repeated everything that George Bluth Sr., who was under house arrest and in another room from his family, said. He also has a recurring role on HBO's hit comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm" where he played one of Larry David's oldest and dearest friends named Marty Funkhouser, who might just go down in history for having one of the greatest last names in TV history.

Bob Einstein as Marty Funkhouser with Larry Dave on Curb Your Enthusiasm

Although it has been a while for Super Dave the character has proved one thing for sure, he is beloved. Every time he makes a appearance whatever audience he is in front of cheers for him wildly and laughs at his bitter sarcasm and dry wit. It has been proven time and again that he is popular and if Bob Einstein wishes it he could probably have the Super One make another comeback in yet another TV show. Until then we have to settle for Andy Samburg's brilliant "Hot Rod".

The Super Dave inspired Hot Rod

Although Hot Rod was great he was obviously inspired by the one true fake stuntman of our time, the always great Super Dave Osbourne.

Hopefully Super Dave would give this article a thumbs up
More Articles From tbondrage99
An unhandled error has occurred. Reload Dismiss