Friday, March 29, 2013

Literary Toons: The Greatest Adventure: Stories From the Bible (1985)

Talk about slipping through the cracks!

The Greatest Adventure: Stories From the Bible was a direct-to-video series produced by Hanna-Barbera that launched in 1985, and ended with its 13th & final episode, "The Easter Story", in 1993. It merits mention here because it did air on Sunday mornings for a time on USA Network. However, today, you'd be hard pressed to find it.

Around the time this series began, the Japanese anime series, Superbook, had ended production, and was soon to make its way to the US through CBN. Greatest Adventure takes two college students and a Middle Eastern youth through Biblical times, thanks to a magical doorway. Now, understand that this actually takes away from the presentation of each episode, in this writer's opinion.

3 years ago, I reviewed "The Easter Story" in my other blog, The Land of Whatever, without using a video. Someday, we'll post that episode here, but for right now, let's take a look at the story of "Queen Esther". Helen Slater ("Supergirl") essays the title role, with Werner Klemperer (ex-Hogan's Heroes) as Haman, who is looking to wipe out the Jews for his own selfish ends. Klemperer wasn't doing a lot of acting by this point in his career, as he had shifted toward becoming a conductor of classical music.

Hanna-Barbera spared no expense in finding celebrity guest stars to fill out the episodes. Take for example Lorne Greene as Noah, a few years after the 60's icon (ex-Bonanza) had made the movie "Heidi's Song" for H-B. If you can find these episodes on DVD (and they are available---somewhere), excuse the time travelers, as they are representing our school and college age viewers in the audience. You know, kind of like Wendy & Marvin on Super Friends a decade earlier, but a little more out of place.

Rating: B-.


Jennifer Schillig said...

Wow, Werner Klemperer playing someone who wants to wipe out Jewish people? Who'd'a thunk?

...I'll get my coat.

hobbyfan said...

I wouldn't classify it as typecasting. It'd been years since Hogan's Heroes, and, as noted, Klemperer had been away from acting for quite some time.