Chosen One of the Day:Commander USA

Contributed by
Jul 7, 2017

Once in awhile, an artiste comes along that is way ahead of their time and, because of this, isn’t properly appreciated for the visionary they truly are. One such trailblazer was the one and only Commander USA from USA Network’s Commander USA’s Groovie Movies. Long before USA introduced the Internet to its boyfriend Rami Malek, it was the network equivalent of a circus sideshow and basically to where the best public access TV personalities graduated when they hit the big time (in other words, it was the greatest programming ever). Enter Commander USA and his show, which aired in the mid-to-late ‘80s, when cable TV was basically like the Wild West.

Commander USA was a salty, cigar chomping, blue-collar superhero who hosted a movie showcase from his secret headquarters located under a mall in New Jersey. Due to his bad knees, he had to retire from the League of Decency and general superhero work, and instead opted to do what any geriatric superhero would do: Pursue a career in entertainment. Since it was decades before superheroes hustled money from tourists for pictures in Times Square, he sought fame and fortune on cable TV, where he showcased horror and sci-fi movies and a Mexican wrestling superhero named El Santo from 12-5pm on Saturdays. Now that I think about it, his show was pretty much the precursor to SciFi/SYFY’s whole existence, so we should probably see about having a monument of Commander USA erected at 30 Rock.

The Commander was occasionally joined by his nameless agent or his “puppet,” Lefty, which was just his left hand with eyes and a smiley face drawn on with cigar ash. He also had a moose head named Monroe that eventually started talking back to him. I’m fairly certain Commander USA was just Captain America’s boozer uncle from Jersey who hadn’t been able to hold a job since his wife left him 30 years ago, and was slowly losing his grip on reality as the episodes progressed. For some reason, Marvel refuses to make this canon. 

Anyway, here's a clip of the time Commander USA wrote a steamy romance novel as a gift for his mom on Mother's Day, because that's not at ALL creepy. No one should be deprived this legendary moment in pop-culture history.