Thursday, June 21, 2007

Revenge Of The 80’s presents Hanna Barbera’s World Of Super Adventure

We all remember turning on the TV early in the morning to that UHF channel that played the morning cartoons either before we went to school or in the morning on the weekends and waiting for that famous show to start up, Hanna Barbera’s World Of Super Adventure. The show was basically a compilation show/mash up of several series’ that Hanna Barbera produced in the late 60’s, some more loved by viewers than others. The show, for some odd reason was shown in a variety of different formats throughout the 80’s. It was broken down into days of the week where certain segments would come on like Force Five did, or it would run through a whole series’ segments and then switch to the next show like Robotech did, or it would just show random shows but never the same show two days in a row...this one was the most confusing. You’d turn on the show and wait to see which show’s coming on and see this leader card on the screen:

“Noooooo!” “Shit! Turn it to Speed Racer instead!” The next day would go much better, though: "Word! The Herculoids!"

World Of Super Adventure was comprised of the following shows: Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, Space Ghost and Dino Boy, Fantastic Four, Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor, The Herculoids, Shazzan and Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles. All of these were formatted together in thisone supershow and it premiered in syndication in the Fall of 1980. Some shows received considerably more love than others, leading to segments from the Birdman/Galaxy Trio show, The Herculoids, Space Ghost, Fantastic Four, and Shazzan to become runaway favorites. The show became so popular and drew such high ratings that new shows soon went into production for The Herculoids, Space Ghost (minus Dino Boy), and the Fantastic Four.

At school we used to pretend to be these characters at recess, it was a switch up from playing “Space” (which got old real quick because EVERYBODY wanted to be Boomer and Commander Tigh from Battlestar Galactica (in the old Galactica they were both brothers with big ass afros, now they're a hot Asian female Cylon (?) and a drunk bald White Cylon (??) respectively) one wanted to be Lando Calrissian because he was a snitch who got Han Solo froze in carbonite plus stole his Millennium Falcon). The girls could be Invisible Woman, Gravity Girl, or Tarra and the boys would pretend to fly around and shoot beams from their fists or fake like they’re shooting energy rocks from slingshots while siccing invisible Herculoids at folks...It was truly a sight to behold.

Birdman was accompanied by segments from the Galaxy Trio, whose ranks included team leader Vapor Man who had the power to turn to gas, Meteor Man who could grow himself or his limbs individually to gain super strength and Gravity Girl had the power of telekinesis and she could degravitize anything she wanted. They all worked for the Galaxy Patrol and they used to patrol space in their ship, Condor One.

Space Ghost lived on the Ghost Planet patrolling space with his teenage sidekicks Jan and Jace with their pet monkey blip. We all remember Space Ghost turning invisible and shooting shit up by touching buttons on the power bands on his forearms for different beams (I swear there were only six buttons but he had a beam for every situation...he was worse than Batman and his bullshit Utility Belt). The Dino Boy segments were suspect...especially at the beginning when they're riding around on that dinosaur (below) comment.

The Herculoids (who inspired Kool Herc’s group name the Herculords) were a kind of extra gully space gang/family that lived on a distant planet that they had become the sworn defenders of. For whatever reason, shit used always jump off there and they’d finish it. They consisted of a human family, the father Zandor, the mother Tarra and the son Dorno. They all had slingshots and they used these energy rocks for ammo. I didn’t understand why the son called his parents by their names in the original series, as a kid I thought they were Jehovah Witnesses because I heard The Jacksons called their father by his first name..I soon found out that wasn’t the case with most Jehovah Witnesses when I asked some that showed up at my door as a kid “Why do y’all call your parents by their real names?”. I then understood that the Jacksons were just plain weird. In 1981, they were given a new series and Dorno called them "Mom" and "Dad"...I guess other kids were scratching their heads on that one as well.

The three humans used to roll with (and ride around on) alien creatures named Tundro, a big ass rhino like creature with a horn/cannon that shot out the same energy rocks that the family used as slingshot ammo, Zok an huge space dragon that Zandor used to ride that could fly, breathe fire and shoot beams from his eyes and tail simultaneously. Igoo, a huge gorilla made of stone that would run up on fools and beat their asses with his bare hands and two schmoo like creatures called Gloop and Gleep that pretty much rolled with Dorno. That had so much firepower that their episodes were usually under 10 minutes.

Shazzan was the story of two siblings named Chuck and Nancy who found two rings that when joined together called a powerful genie named Shazzan. They were given a flying camel named Kaboobie, a magic rope and a cloak of invisibility by Shazzan and they searched the world for the rings rightful owners. Every so often, beef would jump off and Chuck and Nancy who touch halves of their rings and Shazzan would appear out of nowhere and regulate. Shazzan would do some elaborate stuff when he could just put ‘em away real quick, too. Made for some interesting viewing.

Moby Dick sucked but the best thing about it was the Mighty Mightor segments from that show. Mightor was a masked superhero caveman (?) with a sidekick dinosaur and a magic club. Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles just meant that we turn the channel and catch either Speed Racer or Thundercats before Space Harlock and The Queen Of A Thousand Years came on (that deserves a whole other post of it’s own).

Of course, we can't leave out the old school Fantastic Four series! This show is to thank for the classic underground Hip Hop album "Operation: Doomsday" by MF Doom. All of those sampled show segments, sound effects, theme music and score appear in numerous Doom beats (if you own any of his Special Herbs beat CD's you know exactly what I mean). People have already began raiding the old Spider Man & His Amazing Friends episodes for similar sounds, but Doom beat them all to that, too.

The popularity of these shows and the effect of them on our generation led to the heads at Williams Street going back and ressurecting some of these characters and their enemies to incorporate them in shows like Space Ghost Coast To Coast, The Brak Show, and Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law. On July 17th, DVD’s featuring the complete series’ of Space Ghost and Birdman are both being released by Hanna Barbera. To obtain episodes of any of these other shows (or any other old school shows for that matter), try here or here

Those looking for old screen captures of these shows individual episodes hit up this spot


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