Friends, welcome to yet another fantastic video. Today, we will discuss the incredibly nostalgic and enjoyable animation, yes, Hanna Barbera’s Super Friends, which aired on ABC from 1973 until 1986. (with a few breaks in between). We will be discussing the 1973 premiere of the first season.
Super Friends occasionally receives a bad name because it is lighthearted in comparison to more modern superhero cartoons, but keep in mind that it debuted when action-adventure cartoons were uncommon. In the late 1960s, everything seen to be too violent or dark was forbidden from children’s television; as a result, Saturday morning programming tended to be all rather humorous and light. Some of them even included laugh tracks.
When “Super Friends” originally came out, it was the only option available if a kid wanted anything more action-packed than “Scooby-Doo” or “Popeye.” The show had appearances by Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman in addition to two stereotypical adolescent sidekicks, Wendy and Marvin, and their Scooby-Doo-like pet, Wonder Dog.
Super Friends was reportedly picked as the moniker for the programme because “Justice League of America” appeared to be too violent for the children.
What The Cartoon Television Series Is All About
Super Friends was the new name for the Justice League of America comic book when it was adapted for television by the animation studio Hanna-Barbera, who also acquired the animation rights to the DC Comics characters. It was felt, among other things, that the name Justice League of America would come off as overly nationalistic in the post-Vietnam War era.
On the program, the squad did, however, occasionally refer to themselves as the Justice League. For a younger audience and to comply with the stringent broadcast guidelines for violence in children’s television in the 1970s, the frequent violence in superhero comics was dialled down a few notches.
The idea for a program to properly bring it to life had emerged at the height of comic book popularity. As already mentioned, Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman were the main characters in the series. These heroes were among the most well-known and recognisable in the history of DC Comics, including Aquaman, whose popularity prompted Filmation to create an Aquaman cartoon even before Wonder Woman.
Wendy Harris (voiced by Sherri Alberoni) and Marvin White (voiced by Frank Welker) and their dog Wonderdog served as the team’s initial sidekicks; none of them have any unique skills unless one considers the dog’s puzzling ability for “talking” as one. The Flash, Plastic Man and Green Arrow were among the Justice League members who periodically made appearances in earlier seasons as guest stars.
Only one opponent genuinely qualified as a “supervillain,” a costumed genius by the name of The Raven, but because of limitations, the heroes were unable to harm any adversaries. They may, at most, catch them or prevent their escape. The 80s and 90s kids will be reminded of Captain Planet and how he never threw a kick or a punch!
But in the first season, the Super Friends seldom ever engaged in direct combat with their adversaries. The heroes resembled supporting actors in their own sitcoms more than anything else. In most cases, the heroes would focus on averting calamities, while Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog would really solve the case, identify the culprits, and reveal their schemes. (Well, Wendy indeed would do all that. Marvin was essentially a less inebriated and stupider version of Shaggy from “Scooby-Doo.”)
Usually, one of the Super Friends would catch the villain, and after hearing their tragic tale, the heroes would devise a just solution that was advantageous to everybody. Wonder Dog would then make a fool of himself, and everyone would laugh. That was the usual formula of a Super Friends Episode.
The first season of “Super Friends” was highly different from later seasons as the plots were really lighthearted, and each episode lasted an hour. Therefore, they were drawn out for what felt like an eternity and there wasn’t much action. The first episode is perhaps the least watchable by today’s standards; regardless of how crude the other episodes may still have been, it still knocks on your door of nostalgia, so it is a fun watch if you are in a mood for old cartoons!
The Super Friends get a TroubAlert alert about an out-of-power massive freight train in the Sierra Nevada Mountains as they convene for their weekly meeting at the beginning of the episode. To prevent an out-of-control train from colliding with another train, Superman travels to California. The Queen Victoria cargo ship is in the middle of a severe storm and will be forced into some rocks, according to a subsequent TroubAlert that the Super Friends get.
Aquaman must figure out how to anchor the ship when Wonder Woman transports him there in her thought-powered invisible jet. Batman and Robin are then caught up in the action as they have to save two construction workers when an out-of-control crane puts their lives at risk as they are en route to the ocean to pick up Aquaman. As Batman, Robin, Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog reassemble, Aquaman successfully anchors the ship with the assistance of some marine life.
They see Sir Cedric Cedric, a Special Inspector of Scotland Yard, who informs them that the British ships have been targeted and that he is searching for the saboteur. In the meantime, Wonder Woman was flying around on patrol when she discovered a dam leak poised to result in a flood. Wonder Woman constructs an earth dam to stop the water, but as it starts to leak, she rams a boulder into it. She is joined by the other Super Friends, who then close the floodgates in order to help halt the deluge.
A mysterious shadowy person is discovered when Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog investigate an electricity generating facility during a storm. The youthful heroes encounter Sir Cedric Cedric while pursuing the enigmatic stranger, who informs them that the suspect has fled. Later on, we find out it was none other than Sir Cedric Cedric who was the “Power Pirate! It was actually Anthro, an extraterrestrial from the planet Traum, posing as a Scotland Yard special inspector in an effort to steal energy from Earth and transport it to Traum.
Yes, one of the most heartwarming moments in this episode is when Batman says, “Robin, Superman, and Aquaman to the Batmobile,” a line from the Batman TV show from the 1960s that we all know and love. The three passengers are then flown to what could be the Grand Coulee Dam by Superman. They run across WonderWoman, Wendy, Marvin, and WonderDog there. As Wonder Woman tumbles down a waterfall, Batman says, “I’ll catch her,” and she responds by saying thank you.
Superman flew Batman, Robin, and Batwoman in the Batmobile in World’s Finest #90, and when I saw this, it made me think of the aforementioned Super Friends scenario.
On August 24, 1974, the 16 one-hour episodes that made up the first season of Super Friends came to an end. Super Friends was, however, brought back because of the popularity of The Six Million Dollar Man and the live-action Wonder Woman series among ABC’s prime-time audiences. As a mid-season replacement, the first 16 episodes of the show were rerun from February 7, 1976, until September 3, 1977. The 1-hour episodes were divided into two thirty-minute episodes.
DID YOU KNOW?
More than almost 30 years later, in Geoff John’s “Teen Titans” book, in 2006, Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog were first introduced to the DC Comics universe. The writer who took over when Johns departed the title two years later would go on to kill off Marvin (by a rabid Wonder Dog, no less) and paralyse Wendy.
Wonder Dog should not be confused with Dog Wonder, the mascot of Blue Falcon, another superhero depicted on ABC Saturday morning cartoons; this personality was featured on Scooby-Doo; his alias is Dynomutt, and he is a robot; in contrast to Wonder Dog, who has no superpowers and is just Marvin and Wendy’s pet along with the other superfriends in season 1.
DC also released a Super Friends comic in 1976.
The Comic Books ran from 1976 to 1981. The comic book series is essential for introducing the members of the Global Guardians, even though it is not considered official.
There are 47 comic book series issues and 2 special issues of Super Friends in the market.
OUR FINAL THOUGHTS
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to claim that without “Super Friends”…”Batman: The Animated Series,” Spider-Man,” or anything else that followed may not have ever been. The programme had a larger audience than any print comic book, reaching millions of viewers every Saturday morning. Creators like Alex Ross, Geoff Johns, and Mark Waid have credited the programme with fostering (or even creating) their love for superheroes, ultimately leading them into the comics industry and beyond.
I mean… If the show didn’t matter, I wouldn’t be discussing it right now. The chances of a reboot are slim, so we can get into the internet and caress our nostalgic nerves whenever we want.
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