He comes from a family steeped in the tradition of firefighting. His father died after responding to a fire, as even as Fire Chief he was always the first one into a building. The son is forced to endure some hardships because of his father's legacy. Some expect him to be an immediate hero, others think he will be an inadequate fireman and use his relative fame to rise to an elevated position in his career.
The initial concept behind Showcase was that it was to be a medium where fans could write to the editor at DC Comics (still called National Comics then) and ask for specific characters to be included. Although the series deviated from this pattern to focus more on superheroes, the first issue contained the stories of a firefighter as had been requested by a young reader.
The character appeared only in the single issue as a main character, though it was revealed that he did indeed exist in the main DC continuity as he later was a firefighter in Gotham City.
Note: In his Showcase appearances, Fred Farrel was spelled "Farrell." When Gerry Conway brought him into the pages of Batman, his last name changed to "Farrel."
Major Story Arcs
He appears in only one issue as a main character. As was the case of the late golden age/early silver age, the issue was serialized and broken into three stories. The first story tells of his background and a short training exercise. The second tells of his training to become a fire inspector, and inspecting for fire hazards at a circus. In the process they warn a carnie about the dangers of fireworks but the warnings are unheeded. He ends up saving a lion and an elephant. In the third story a warehouse fire has to be fought with the back story of a pay increase for the fire department.
Powers and Abilities
Fred is in excellent physical conditioning and is an expert on firefighting.