Sunday, March 16, 2014

From Comics to Toons: Hagar the Horrible (1989)

Last year, King Features Syndicate's Hagar the Horrible quietly marked his 40th anniversary. Not much fanfare, but then again, Hagar doesn't appear in quite as many newspapers as he used to. Not only that, but did you know he once starred in a prime time special?

25 years ago, Hanna-Barbera obtained a license to adapt the strip for television, adapting one of the earliest storylines in the series, with Hagar (Peter Cullen) coming home from a raid three months late, much to the consternation of wife Helga (Lainie Kazan). Daughter Honi (Lydia Cornell, ex-Too Close For Comfort) is engaged at 16 to Lute (Don Most, ex-Happy Days), a minstrel, and son Hamlet has taken up poetry. Not quite what Hagar envisioned on his way home.

If H-B was looking at this as a back-door pilot for a series, it wasn't happening. The special has never been rerun, which suggests it didn't score all that well in the ratings. After all, despite 41 years in publication, and several paperbacks collecting earlier strips, Hagar still doesn't have the name recognition as King stablemates Blondie or Beetle Bailey.

Right now, let's take a trip into the Middle Ages with Hagar:

Rating: None. Never saw this one when it first came out.


magicdog said...


It would seem HB was trying to reinvent the animated primetime sitcom. In some ways this reminds me of the Flintstones or early Simpsons. It does seem to be missing something, despite the decent voice cast and established comic. I used to read Hagar every Sunday as a kid, so his barbarian antics were not unknown to me.

Funny having Optimus Prime voicing Hagar!

hobbyfan said...

Peter Cullen was working for both Marvel & H-B back then, as he'd also worked on Smurfs, Challenge of the Go-Bots, and a few others for H-B.

Servicable as Hagar? Yep, based on what I looked at as I pulled it off YouTube. Too bad virtually no one cared about it when it aired.