'The Flash': John Wesley Shipp Reflects On 28 Years DC's Speedster

It has been almost thirty years since John Wesley Shipp first donned the costume of DC's The Flash, starring as Barry Allen in a short-lived but much-loved TV series that ran in 1990 and 1991.

Tonight, as The CW's new interpretation of The Flash reaches 100 episodes, Shipp will don a remarkably similar suit once again, celebrating his successor's landmark and the role he has played in the property and the new show over the years.

“I tell people it took me 28 years to get a hundredth episode, and it only took Grant a little over four years, so I guess we all know who the fastest man alive is,” Shipp joked earlier today during an interview with ComicBook.com.

“It still astounds me that one season of a show that we did 28 years ago still has this much resonance with the genre fans,” Shipp said. “I’m glad nobody told me 28 years ago. I might not have been able to go on. But from this side of having done it, watching everybody’s reaction, it makes my heart very full.”

That echoes something that series star Grant Gustin told us during a red carpet interview for The Flash's 100th episode: that he thinks he will appreciate more in the future than he does now just how deeply embedded The Flash will be in his life.

Shipp admits that after more than 20 years as the face of The Flash to many casual fans, he was eager to see what the next guy would do with it -- and he has praised Gustin and the show's writers and producers from the start.

He has, then, become one of the show's biggest advocates in geek circles, since he was out there doing the convention circuit while the younger cast were still shooting their first few episodes.

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“I’ll tell you, that is partly a gift of [the producers], in that they brought me back in a paternal role,” Shipp said. “I don’t think that it would have had the same resonance for me if I had come back as Jay Garrick. I’m not entirely certain, although I probably would have, done that right off. Jumping into another superhero suit on set with a bunch of 20-somethings, at my age all these years later, gave me pause. But there was something about hooking into Grant’s psychology from the very first episode. He knew that I was The Flash, and I knew, or had a guess at what his insecurities and hopes and dreams going forward might be. I was invited back and it caused me to invest in his success. I was always, from the minute it was announced, invested in his success because 24 years representing The Flash is a long time. But it caused me to invest in a very personal way, and I couldn’t be more delighted.”

The Flash airs on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT, before episodes of Black Lightning on The CW.