The Flash was described as today's answer to the Roman God Mercury (or Hermes in Greek mythology). Son of Zeus, Mercury (or Hermes) became the winged messenger of the Gods at Olympus because he was able to move swiftly between the world of man and the world of Gods, hence he acted as a link between mortals and the Olympians (e.g. "newsflash").

In the 1990-91 season, CBS commissioned 22 episodes (including the pilot) of the live-action adventure series, 'The Flash', based on the DC comics superhero, to go up against 'The Cosby Show' and 'Cheers'. "We're in a very tough spot. We're going up against a couple of shows that have very big audiences. Obviously, it's not the ideal position for our show to be in," Paul De Meo acknowledged. ''We never wanted to be between 'The Simpsons' and 'Cosby'. That's our whole audience,'' Danny Bilson conceded. Research revealed that 'The Flash' appealed to kids, teens and men 18 to 49.

The TV pilot reportedly costed Warner Bros. Pictures $6.5 million to produce with each episode costing $1.4 million to make. Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo started developing 'The Flash' for television in 1988. "We have the biggest series budget Warner Bros. Television has ever (allotted to any show)," Danny disclosed. "We have to shoot at night, because we feel that the suit and the mystique of the character only work when we can control the lighting. We're not going to put him out in bright sunlight, because it's not as effective, and night shooting is expensive."

The Flash red suit costed $25,000 to design and created. Robert Short told Marc Shapiro, "Unlike a Batman or Superman, who have things like ears and cape lengths that can be played around with, with The Flash, you basically have a guy who looks like he has been painted red. My initial reaction was that I had nothing to work with … It remains true to the comic book and manages to come across with that 'Batman' (the 1989 movie) look."

About 50 actors were tested for the part of The Flash. The role eventually went to John Wesley Shipp, best known on daytime television in shows such as 'Guiding Light', 'As The World Turns' (where he won an Emmy), 'Santa Barbara' (where he won his second Emmy) and later on 'All My Children'. "I wore a suit of foam latex with individually sculpted muscle pieces. It's sort of like wearing 3 wetsuits at once," John told 'Tribune Media Services'.

"They'd hook me up to an ice chest between takes. It's foam latex, and there's not actually any fabric stretched over the muscle structure, which makes it look like a second skin. It breathes with you, (while) the (Michael Keaton's) Batman suit was hard to work in because it was not flexible. When I sweat in (this) suit, and I do, it comes through and trickles down as though the suit itself was sweating. It's the hardest thing I’ve ever done."

Danny Bilson advised, "We can put a hose to his back which keeps him from sweating, because the sweat deteriorates the foam." The producers reportedly ordered 4 copies of The Flash suits costing $100,000 in total because the outfit made actor John Wesley Shipp sweat so much. Bob Miller was given a budget of $11,000 to spend on wardrobe for each episode.

Bob told Valli Herman of the 'Los Angeles Daily News', "We are creating our own period. It's taking your favorite things from each period and creating your own. A lot of space-age movies get rid of the past, but that's not realistic. People always borrow from the past. If you watch the different episodes, there might be a party, and they're all in 1930s gowns for that scene; in the next, they're in a 1950s diner."

For the 1990-91 season, 'The Flash' attracted a rating of 8.8% compared to 'Cheers' (21.6%) and 'The Cosby Show' (17.4%). During the season, 'The Flash' attracted between 13% share of the audience (representing a rating of 8.7%, about 13.0 million viewers) and 23% share (about 22.2 million viewers or a rating of 14.2%). David Poltrack of CBS told 'The New York Times', "Thursday became the ideal night for advertisers. For example, fast-food advertisers wanted to advertise before the weekend. They were willing to pay a premium to reach the younger viewers.''

Betsy Frank of 'Saatchi & Saatchi' observed, "Only in recent years did the motion picture companies become aggressive marketers, using television to announce new movies. There are really big movie dollars available on Thursdays. Clearly, that's why Fox moved 'The Simpsons' to Thursday.'' It was made known Warner Bros. asked CBS to schedule 'The Flash' opposite ''The Cosby Show' "because it had research that suggested 'Cosby' was losing some of its appeal to younger viewers." David Poltrack pointed out, ''With the premium that advertisers are willing to pay on Thursday, that show ('The Flash') is worth about 25% more to us there than it would be on a Sunday night.''

'The Flash' comic book first launched in January 1940 with Jay Garrick being The Flash during the golden age. Some 50 years later, 'The Flash' returned on screen but in the live-action TV series, John Wesley Shipp played police chemist Barry Allen (The Flash during the silver age or since 1956). Barry Allen, the world's fast human, could run at speed power of up to 347 miles per hour because of an accident one night while experimenting with unknown chemicals in his laboratory.

Set in Central City, John Wesley Shipp recounted, "When I first heard about 'The Flash' ... I thought I'd just be running around in a union suit. But they are taking the character of Barry Allen, his alter ego, very seriously, so there is something in it for me as an actor. It has a fantasy element, but we also try to deal with social issues. We’ve done shows about drug addiction and the homeless."

Danny Bilson explained, "We've taken the traditional elements of the comic book and are telling it in a very straight manner. We felt that to play 'The Flash' the way comic book characters have been portrayed on television in the past would have been stupid." John Wesley Shipp added, "One of the things I liked is that when Barry gets the super powers in a laboratory accident, his first reaction isn't, 'OK, I’m going to save the world.' I don't want The Flash to become a vigilante. I don't want him to abuse the power. I'm after the writers to explore its effects on Barry.

"I was really impressed by the fact that the characters had real human values … I think there is some interest in finding out what it costs Barry (to be) The Flash, physically as well as psychologically. What's interesting for me is the process by which he comes to terms with the power … He's written as sort of an ordinary guy in extraordinary circumstances."

Since 2014, John Wesley Shipp could be seen playing Barry Allen's father, Henry in the CW network series, 'The Flash'.

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