Saturday, September 28, 2013

Saturday Morning Memories: Hanna-Barbera's Super-Heroes

Karen: How about some of Hanna-Barbera's super-hero offerings? I had a particular fondness for The Herculoids, which combined a bit of Tarzan, Lost in Space, and a menagerie of critters that would make Ray Harryhausen proud. But there were others -Space Ghost is certainly the most well-known, followed by Birdman. The Galaxy Trio are probably the most obscure. I'm sure some of you have opinions on "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" and "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law," two comedic series that were derived from from these shows. Below are the intros -I really like the music for Herculoids and Space Ghost -they're akin to the Jonny Quest theme, perhaps just a cut below that classic theme.











15 comments:

Edo Bosnar said...

Loved the Herculoids, especially that rhino that shot energy bolts from its horn.
Space Ghost another big favorite for years. The first season watching the show it was a double-bill, with 'Frankenstein Jr.'
As for Birdman, I've only ever heard of him a few years ago; apparently it stopped being aired before I started watching Saturday morning cartoons. However, I've watched a number of clips on YouTube since; it's pretty obvious that alot of the same storyboards and stock animation sequences were later used on Space Ghost. Anyway, I love the way he shouts "Birdman!" in that almost operatic voice.

Murray said...

Title after title reverberates in my memory, with Mightor, Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles (they had a swinging theme!) leading the pack.

But even as my mind tingled with the concepts of these guys, I found, even at that young and innocent age, frustration with the formula stories and repetitive art. Of course, that includes just about all those "Saturday morning cartoons". I couldn't articulate it at the time, but I knew they were second rate behind Bugs Bunny and those efforts. But these guys were superheroes, and I kept watching for those crumbs of creativity.

Oh, yeah! Atom Ant (with a very cute twist at having giant Ted Cassidy voice the theme song)

Humanbelly said...

Partner me up w/ Edo, again. I loved the Herculoids so much that I would have dreams about them. Haven't seen a single episode since, probably, that '68/'69 repeat season, though. But even my 7 or 8 year old self must have recognized the superior character design, here. And I was sucked in by the inexplicable interplay between primitive and high-tech/sci-fi elements. I also remember wondering how the heck that little human family lived on a day-to-day basis-- didn't they sleep in nests, or something? And I DISTINCTLY remember wondering where they went to the bathroom. . . (!)

Alex Toth, eh? I had no idea he was the guy behind these series. That is very cool.

HB

Matt Celis said...

I love Blue Falcon & Dynomutt. It's the only super hero cartoon my son, not yet 4, will sit thru. Probably because he loves dogs and cats; he asks for "Dymomutt" on occasion. He was fascinated by the dolls we have of BF & Dynomutt. Such a great, hilarious show played totally straight. It's Adam West Batman with the serial numbers files off and celebrity guests left out. Works great!

david_b said...

These cartoons I'd hunt for as a youngster, whenever I can find 'em, but I never followed any one of them seriously, nor was a fan of one over another. I just loved 'em...: the music, the action, pacing, you name it.

These became even more missed when the '70s came and there became too many 'Hong Kong Fooey' or 'Clue Club' type cartoons. DON'T get me wrong, lover them too for different reasons, but as a child, I craved cool super-hero action, not the cute dog or sidekick (Jonny Quest's Bandit was the exception...). Hence why I missed the Marvel cartoons so much.

I do take in the Cartoon Network spoofs and have enjoyed both Birdman and Space Ghost done tongue-in-cheek.

Fred W. Hill said...

I recall watching many of those cartoons and I remember the characters but I don't remember anything about any of the stories, unlike, say, the old Warners Brothers cartoons or Underdog and Bullwinkle & Rocky. I know I enjoyed the H-B superhero cartoons as a little kid but I don't think they'd hold up that well for me now but I can still get a kick from the classic W-B, B&R and Underdog cartoons.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember wondering why Space Ghost and his sidekicks (even the pet monkey) wore masks, since they did not appear to have secret identities. Oh well, it was probably enough that it looked cool. iirc, there was a serial where Space Ghost's enemies teamed up and tried to send him back in time and/or to distant planets; in the course of the story, he met other H-B/CBS cartoon heroes who helped him. I'm sure I remember him in ancient Arabia, meeting Shazzan the genie. I think he also visited the Herculoids' planet. My memories of Birdman and the Galaxy Trio are even more vague, but I do remember them. And also Ted Cassidy as the voice of Frankenstein Jr. I don't remember if I knew his name at the time, but that voice was distinctive. And the Impossibles seemed like an attempt to combine the three pop culture phenomena of the 1960's: Bond, Batman, and the Beatles.

Anonymous said...

Hot pants guy here...

So I'm driving down I-70 through Kansas just north of Great Bend. According to Superman Family # 195 I should have passed through Smallville....
Musta missed it.

On topic.....
Gleep and Gloop just stood there...
and still stole the show.

Anonymous said...

Loved all of them - Birdman, Space Ghost and the Herculoids. My favourite Herculoid was Igoo the Rock Ape. He always reminded me of a stony King Kong. How can you not love a simian with that name? :)


- Mike 'naming my next pet Igoo - even if it's a goldfish' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Rip Jagger said...

Thanks a lot. My wallet hates this conversation because it just nudged me to finally at last order the dvds for Shazzan, Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles, and the Space Kiddetes and Young Samson.

I long ago got Space Ghost, Birdman, Herculoids, and Mighty Mightor. I thought I better jump or I'd regret it mightily when they eventually become unavailable.

Thanks a bunch.

Really.

Rip Off

Humanbelly said...

Wow, I just saw that 'Loid-mom Tara was voiced by Virginia Gregg-- truly, a stalwart GIANT in classic radio and early television! If there's a radio Hall of Fame, she is unquestionably in it.

Hanna-Barbera really knew what they were doing when they pulled in top-notch former radio talent for their made-for-TV animation. Alan Reed, Gerald Mohr, Paul Frees-- given that the H-B animation style never saw a corner it wasn't willing to creatively cut, a lot of the inherent life of these old cartoons comes from the caliber of voice-acting behind it.

(just a passing observation)

HB

redartz said...

Count me as a Herculoids fan with Edo and HB! It was the creature cast that made the show. Gloop and Gleep were my favorites, as a kid I imagined how many cool activities could be enjoyed with the help of two shape-shifting blobs. One had to wonder, though, about Zandor's odd method of transportation: jumping back and forth between some incredibly rigid vines, presumably to build momentum. Apparently George of the Jungle held the monopoly on swinging vines.

Yes, there was a serial in which Space Ghost met several other Hanna Barbera heroes: it was called "The Council of Doom". I was unaware of this crossover until my wife surprised me with the DVD set for Christmas a couple years ago.

Edo Bosnar said...

I realized looking at the comments that I'm probably remembering something different as far as the Herculoids are concerned, since I was way too young, as in just born, when they first aired. And sure enough, after checking the internet's infallible fount of all worthwhile knowledge (i.e., Wikipedia), I realized I watched the revived Herculoids in 1981. Now I want to see those earlier ones, which I don't think were ever rerun back when I was watching Saturday morning cartoons - unfortunately, it seems like only the 1981 episodes have been posted on YouTube.

themiddlespaces said...

I saw Herculoids reruns in the 1970s because my older brother made a point of putting it on and telling me to watch it. I was instantly hooked. Early on I liked Gleep and Gloop, but later the rock gorilla was my fave.

I wish they could do a cool remake of them.

Fun Fact: DJ Kool Herc, the godfather of hip-hop, who brought the Jamaican DJ tradition of "toasting" with him to the South Bronx which eventually evolved with other facets into hip-hop culture named his crew after the Herculoids and his legendary sound system was called "Herculord."

dbutler16 said...

The Herculoids was probably my favorite. Edo mentions the rhino shooting energy bolts, and the rhino has always been my favorite animal, so I couldn't resist that, nor the wonderfully varied cast of superpowered creatures, nor the Tarzan family angle. I recently watched some of these episodes, and they didn't hold up as well as I would have liked, but it was stil nice for nostalgia's sake.

Space Ghost was another favorite of mine.

Dynomutt, Birdman, and Hong Kong Phooey were pretty good, too.

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