The Christian Broadcasting Network, in an effort to spread the Gospel to Japan, worked with famed anime studio Tatsunoko to create two series featuring kids traveling back to the days of the Bible, taking part in those events. The more famous one, Superbook, is about to be remade in CG for a new audience. The original has already found huge audiences around the world, with Gizmo acting as mascot for a number of other kid-targeted outreaches. Even non-Christians remember the show. (I do enjoy David Willis’ Shortpacked comic, most of the time, but if your going to visit the archives, I should warn you this is no Christian comic in any form.)

I’m personally curious to see how the new show works out, and how the new Gizmo will be received compared to his predecessor.

However, I tend to prefer the other CBN series in that comic, The Flying House, the subject of tonight’s program. Note that there’s a lot of space where the commercials would go, so you may spend a half-minute between segments looking at a black screen. At first I thought something went funny with the video, too. 🙂

UPDATE: 11/13/2021: With Vodpod down I haven’t been able to repost the episode until I found this fan upload on YouTube. There’s foreign subtitles on the episode itself though the intro doesn’t have them. I think they’re Arabic, but I wouldn’t know which one.

Being more of a sci-fi person, I thought the concept of a house being converted into a time machine was cool. You don’t have to worry about finding a place to stay (although you do have to get supplies now and then), and the house flew! Until the TARDIS came along, it was the best living space ever (sorry, Batcave and Fortress of Solitude).

While Superbook focused on the Old Testament, and had it’s heroes traveling through time (or at least some kind of holo-deck style simulation, I was never quite sure) via a “magic Bible”, the titular building was itself a time machine, taking the kids to events chronicled in the New Testament. While Superbook had the kids randomly traveling to famous Bible tales, learning a moral they took back to whatever problem they were having at home, The Flying House had a continuous tale. In later episodes, when they got to Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection, they didn’t try to fit it all into one episode. Jesus dies in one episode, the next has the Professor trying to console the children. It’s been a while, but I forget if the resurrection happened there, or if they waited to the third episode.

Poor Professor Bumble seldom left the house, and missed most of the good adventures, despite having built the machine so he could experience them. Most of the “fun” (when they weren’t being beaten by Romans, tempted by Satan, or trying to explain to anyone they met again why they didn’t age much in the years since they last saw them) was handled by the kids and SIR, the Solar Ion Robot. Oddly, nobody seemed to find SIR odd, seeing as he was made of metal and made to look like a cutesy construction worker/spelunker. Even if someone saw the house flying and/or disappearing, they would just chalk it up to a work of the Lord and move on, rather than the old “let’s just pretend we didn’t see that” or “man, I’m overworked/giving up booze”.

52 episodes of the series, refered to in Japan as Time Classroom, Adventures of the Flying House was produced, and according to Wikipeida’s Superbook entry, neither show was originally meant to be seen outside of Japan. The anime craze, with Voltron and Robotech leading the charge, hadn’t hit full force. When CBN finally did air the shows in English, the names were changed to make everyone appear to be Americans (like a number of anime dubs over the years).

The Flying House doesn’t get the love that Superbook does. Still, I look forward to the updated Superbook, partly with hopes that Justin, Angie, Corky, SIR, and Professor Bumble may also get a second chance at life. (Oh, and they do get back home again in the final episode.)

There are episodes all over YouTube (in their usual pieces), but you can also catch the shows at CBN’s Media Player site (update: not there anymore). Currently only the first six episodes of The Flying House and a few random episodes of Superbook are available. Superbook was released on DVD, but it seems to be sold out and discontinued. I was able to find one DVD for The Flying House. I hope it gets the love it deserves someday.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

7 responses »

  1. Jeremy says:

    I”m actually writing my own stories, that”s a response to the new Superbook. It”s a spinoff between Superbook and Flying House entitled, Trouble Shooters. It”s an attempt to reuse the original look of Christopher, Joy, Justin, Corky and the rest of the gang, but imagines what life would be like if they were detectives as well as give them character developement. The only noticeable change is their clothing. For instance, Chris’ outfit matches John Connor from T2, Joy’s outfit is a schoolgirl outfit, Justin’s similar to Dale’s hawaiian shirt, Corky wears blue shirt and green shorts and Angie wears a Yuffie-style costume.

    The concept for the series was influenced by old school disney cartoons like ducktales, chip n dale rescue rangers, talespin, darkwing duck, etc.


    • ShadowWing Tronix says:

      I’m a little unsure about this one. While I have no problem with a “where are they now” story involving the characters, this is so far from the source that they might as well be new characters. Plus I’m pretty sure Superbook and The Flying House aren’t even in the same continuity, since both saw the birth of Jesus in completely unrelated situations.

      (Also, I theorize that Superbook doesn’t actually take you back in time, but makes you think you were, like some kind of Star Trek holodeck. But I can’t back that up.)


  2. Jeremy says:

    For what it’s worth, the characters are suppose to be revamped, in the same way the Jungle Book characters were revamped in Talespin. For instance, Justin is the team’s pilot, Angie pretty much has Yuffie’s abilities but with Becky’s [Talespin] personality. (After all, I found Becky and Angie’s personality very similar. XD).

    I also have an intended pilot episode of how they meet, their very first face off against the bad guys, etc. It’s suppose to be 4-5 parts and Profesor Bumble will play an important role in the plot.

    But right now, I’m working on post-pilot episodes. When I finish the first one, I’ll post it so you can see it. 🙂


    • ShadowWing Tronix says:

      I have to admit, the Tailspin premise bothered me at first, but I warned up to it rather quickly. Good luck.

      (I don’t know your religious affiliations, but please remember these were based on Christian cartoons for young people, and keep it in that spirit. Otherwise Mr. Tronix will be an unhappy camper. Not that I can do much about…)


  3. Jeremy says:

    I’ll try. I plan to use some subtle Christian themes in the series. And I’ll share this idea since your the first to hear it: the gang goes up against a cult heavily influenced by the WOF movement, and Organization XIII. I plan for it to be one of the strongest villains they’ve gone up against.

    I’ll have to admit, I kinda intend for the series to be made for both kids and adults, but I may also bring up mature issues like sex, abuse, etc. These aren’t set in stone just yet, but they’re just some thoughts I’d thought I’d share with you.

    Plus I plan to go deeper into Chris/Joy’s relationship. As well as Chris’s relationship with his dad in an episode inspired by ‘A Goofy Movie.’

    And to answer your question, I am a Christian.


    • ShadowWing Tronix says:

      I always figured Chris and Joy might get married when they grow up, but never had the same sense for Angie and Justin for some reason.

      If you’ve ever read Archangels: The Saga, it’s a great muse for doing mature stories from a Christian perspective. (Wish I could have gotten the entire series.)


      • Jeremy says:

        lol. I thought that about Justin/Angie too. In fact, they’re gonna be fashioned after screwball couples like Baloo/Rebecca and Han Solo/Leia in the series.


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