The Super Friends
CBS - Premiered 9-8-73
The Super Friends was a cartoon that joined together some of the most popular superheroes from DC Comics:
and Aquaman. They were assisted by two non-super-powered teenagers, Marvin and Wendy, and the kids' dog,
Wonder Dog. The Super Friends' vow was to "fight injustice, right that which is wroong, and serve all mankind." They did so from their
headquarters, the Hall of Justice.
Unfortunately, as promising as this all sounds, the execution was actually not very good. Certainly, as a small boy I - and presumably
millions of other kids did the same - was excited to see so many superheroes all in one show; but it didn't take very long for the
excitement to wear off.
Although the character designs were by noted comic book artist Alex Toth, the animation (from Hanna-Barbera, the pioneering cost-cutters of the
animation world) was substandard. Such a thing can be forgiven, but it also happened that the stories also fell short of expectations.
Instead of the Super Friends battling equally-powerful enemies in pitched battle, they ended up running around doing good deeds and
taking on badguys who were laughable in design and context (this was, after all, the beginning of the era when kids' shows were
getting a lot of pressure to be safe, nonviolent, and politically correct). A lot of action shots were reused - not just once or twice, but in every
epsiode, it seemed. The whole project looked slapdash, and episodes - at least from the first seasons - are virtually unwatchable now
as an adult.
Still, the series was popular, and made its imprint on pop culture at large. It spawned no less than four spinoff series:
The All-New Super Friends Hour, Challenge of the Super Friends,
The World's Greatest Super Friends, and
The Super Friends Hour. Each of these introduced some new heroes (and occasionally villains), and episodes from the original series
were constantly re-shown.
Ted Knight (of Mary Tyler Moore Show and Caddyshack fame) did the
between-scenes narration; his solemn intoning of "Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice..." brings back instant Saturday morning memories
when uttered at parties or when friends in their late youth get together. Casey Kasem, the famed popular radio announcer and original
voice of Shaggy on Scooby Doo, Where Are You, did the
voice of Robin the Boy Wonder.
The show was lampooned by South Park in the episode "The Super Best Friends."
You can see the 1976 opening of the show here.
Narrator - Ted Knight
Superman - Danny Dark
Batman - Olan Soule
Robin - Casey Kasem
Aquaman - Norman Alden
Wonder Woman - Shannon Farnon
Wendy - Sherry Alberoni
Marvin and Wonder Dog - Frank Welker
The Power Pirate
The Baffles Puzzle
Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C.
The Weather Maker
Dr. Pelagin's War
The Shamon 'U'
Too Hot to Handle
The Balloon People
The Fantastic Frerps
The Ultra Beam
The Menace of the White Dwarf
The Mysterious Moles
Gulliver's Gigantic Goof
The Planet Splitter