Why The 1990s Flash Suit Was A Disgusting And Smelly Disaster

Fans of comic book properties spend a lot of time obsessing over the designs of the suits their favorite superhero characters are given to wear. There’s a lot of money and time put in to each piece of clothing, but for the actors that actually have to wear the tight leather or spandex pieces, it’s not always fun and games. Here’s what former The Flash actor John Wesley Shipp had to say about his costume from the nineties when compared to the one Grant Gustin has been able to wear when filming The CW’s brand new Flash series.

Shipp is undeniably a good person to talk to when it comes to The Flash’s suit. He starred in the original series as Barry Allen/ The Flash, and actually has been around the set of The CW’s The Flash, joining the cast as Barry’s father. Den of Geek recently spoke with Shipp about which show has the better costumes, and Shipp without a doubt believes The CW’s costume is better than the stuff they made him wear in the nineties.

“I haven’t been in his suit. But from what I understand, I don’t know how it could be more uncomfortable than mine was! I understand they have a different kind of glue, so they don’t have to take it off with acetone anymore. They can clean it.”

Not only did the poor guy have to be around acetone in order to get that sucker off, he says the network only produced four suits for him to wear during the filming of the first season.

We couldn’t clean our suits. It cost $100,000 to build four suits in 1990. They’d just hang ‘em up in the trailer and spray it with Lysol! It was crumbling. I didn’t have a cooling unit for the pilot episode, which we shot in May and June in LA. So I'd be in it for 10 minutes, I’d take off the glove, and it would literally be filled up with sweat. They got me a cooling unit to wear under it by the time the series was up and running.

That’s seriously the most disgusting description of a costume I’ve ever read in my entire life. Still, it makes sense. All those suckers that volunteer to be mascots for their high school team or even at Disneyland don’t usually describe the costumes as comfortable. Plus, it’s not like The Flash is the only TV show to force its characters into uncomfortable clothing. Sleepy Hollow’s Tom Mison, for instance, has to wear a long overcoat when shooting in the summer. Despite knowing other actors are uncomfortable, having to wear a cooling unit and getting sweaty even with that unit on sounds truly terrible.

The good news is that today’s costumes are sleeker, more fitted and less puffed up than the costumes of yesteryear. Just check out this look at Gustin as The Flash and compare it to Shipp’s look up top.


Still, the next time you see Grant Gustin fitted out as The Flash, just remember how committed he is to the role, and that brand new, extremely expensive suit.

Catch both Shipp and Gustin on The Flash when it premieres on Tuesday, October 7 at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.