Saturday, October 8, 2016

Literary Toons: SuperTed (1983)

In 1978, animator Mike Young,  better known here in the US for his later reimagining of He-Man, among other things, developed a series of stories about a sentient teddy bear endowed with super powers. The idea was that Young wanted to help his son overcome his fear of the dark, and in the original stories, SuperTed would also have the same phobia.

Five years later, Young reworked the origin for a series of animated shorts that aired first in the UK, then were imported to the US by the Disney Channel. This time, SuperTed was just a discarded teddy bear deemed defective by the manufacturer. An alien named Spotty (Jon Pertwee, ex-Doctor Who) brought the bear to life with some cosmic dust. Mother Nature endowed the bear with powers to fight crime. Derek Griffiths voiced SuperTed.

In 1989, Hanna-Barbera obtained a license to adapt the series for American audiences. Since SuperTed had been out of production, the battling bruin returned in The New Adventures of SuperTed as part of the Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera anthology package, but, save for Victor Spinetti as Texas Pete and one other cast member, H-B opted to recast virtually every role. Danny Cooksey (ex-Diff'rent Strokes) took over as Ted. We'll review H-B's version another time.

Right now, though, let's join SuperTed & Spotty as they try to round up Texas Pete and his henchmen in "SuperTed and the Stolen Rocketship":

Droll, not so much different from any other action cartoon of the day, save for its length.

Rating: B-.


Christopher Sobieniak said...

It's ending theme song still kicks ass! The original SuperTed shorts had a very ecological bent to them loooking back at these episodes. I never noticed that as a kid but it's pretty obvious today.

Mike Young (as a producer) was also the man behind the unforseen box office hit, Norm of the North, which should've been avoided but parents apparently knew better.

hobbyfan said...

Young also gave us the ridiculous Butt-Ugly Martians, which wasn't quite as successful when it aired on Nick. He's now the guy you could blame for Moonscoop's poor handling of the Fantastic Four and Sabrina in recent years.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Thanks, seems like SuperTed was the only positive thing he did!

As a bonus, here's a safety film produced to teach kids how to cross roads!

hobbyfan said...

I'll have to look for that some time.