Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Animated World of DC Comics: Superman-Aquaman Hour of Adventure (1967)

CBS' Saturday lineup in 1967 was loaded with superheroes. Space Ghost returned for a 2nd season, but in reality, all he was there for was to introduce Shazzan, The Herculoids, and Mighty Mightor, the latter of whom shared a half-hour show with Hanna-Barbera's heroic take on Moby Dick. Meanwhile, Filmation & DC gave Superman some company by adding Aquaman and a rotation of back-up features. Muttley16 uploaded the intro to the Superman-Aquaman Hour of Adventure onto YouTube. The instrumental would later be used as the closing when Aquaman was spun off into a separate series the next year, the version we'd see in syndication during the 70's. Here's the intro, with cheesy lyrics:

Noticably missing were, of course, Batman & Robin, who had their own live-action show on ABC, but that series was on its last legs, and the Dynamic Duo would make the transition to animation the next year. 20th Century Fox held the TV license to the Caped Crusaders, thus precluding their appearances in Justice League & Teen Titans shorts, respectively. Also, there were rumors of Wonder Woman, Metamorpho, or even Plastic Man being adapted by Filmation, but Batman producer William Dozier had filmed a pilot for Wonder Woman that didn't sell, and thus Fox had the rights to her as well. Plas wouldn't appear until a guest appearance on Super Friends in 1973. Metamorpho would finally make it to TV via Justice League Unlimited just a few years ago. DC writers Bob Haney & George Kashdan were the principal writers, lending credibility to the episodes. Narrator Ted Knight also voiced several villains and supporting characters, but as we all know, Knight gained his greatest fame just 3 years later on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Superman would soldier on for another season of new adventures once Batman joined the party, but all the toons would be off the air by 1970 until picked up for syndication a few years later.

Looking back, like all adventure cartoons of the day, continuity was not a consideration, as every episode was one-and-done, although the format would change for the Batman-Superman Adventure Hour the next year. The whole idea was that it was pure escapist adventure fare. And it was fun.

Rating: A-.

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