I love Filmation for their writing, character models, and special effects. Their animation quality varies from episode to episode, and somehow they have the least amount of animation mistakes despite re-using the same shots so often that sometimes He-Man his holding his arm out but doesn’t have a weapon in his hands. However, the worst sin Filmation made was their intros. It sounds like an announcer even when it’s a character (like in He-Man & The Masters Of The Universe or She-Ra: Princess Of Power) doing the narration.
But if you want to know who did it worse than Filmation, at least in the early years, look the intros of Ruby-Spears Productions. Splitting off from Hanna-Barbera, Ruby-Spears did make a few clones in the early days of Scooby-Doo, the show they created for HB. However, once they started breaking out of that they produced some really good show and became one of the pioneers of Saturday morning shows for my generation. Their intros also improved over the years. But not when they made The Plastic Man Comedy Adventure Show.
Based on the comic DC Comics obtained from the fallen Quality Comics, the show took some huge liberties with the source material. I’ll get to that soon, but what’s the real problem with the intro? Well, if it’s still up take a look for yourself.
I promise you this isn’t the advertisement or trailer for the show. This is the actual intro. Does it sound like an intro to you? If Filmation can be accused of sounding like exposition rather than a story, as if introducing a radio drama (which a lot of cartoons did in the old days when TV was a new thing, and yet Filmation didn’t grow out of it until their final series, Bravestarr) Ruby-Spears intros felt more like the ad than the intro. Another example is Fangface, but unlike this show that one WAS a Scooby-Clone and not a well-remembered one. (I have to admit despite the shows I still like that one was pretty lame.) The odd part is when they redid the show to introduce Baby Plas they did a better job.
(UPDATE 8/31/2020: I can’t find a replacement copy of the intro so for now all I have is an actual short episode that contains it.)
Yes, this existed. No, I don’t know why. At least here the opening plays with the narrator a bit as one change after another happens. I don’t know if they ever explained why Plas suddenly stopped making passes at his boss and settled down with Penny, or how one gives birth to a shapechanging baby (we probably don’t want to know that part, kids show or not) but it does feel like a intro instead of a commercial. A rather lame intro but still an intro.
The intro got one thing wrong, while the show itself got the rest wrong. Flight is not one of Plastic Man’s powers. He was being tossed by an enemy in that clip. The remaining errors are the show’s problem. Penny and Hula Hula were not in the original comic, and Plastic Man did not have a supercool cargo plane refitted into a flying headquarters. At this point the tale of former criminal Eel O’Brian (not mentioned in the show as best as I can remember for sure) had a sidekick named Woozy and fought wacky criminals in one city. The only thing they got right was that between the original origin and the DC run Plas’s adventures were on the screwy side. Some of his weirder villains even made it into the show.
So here’s a question for you. Can the narrated intro be good? Why yes it can. And since Friday Night Fights is taking the usual pre-Prize Fight break we will look at one such show tomorrow, and oddly it also comes from Ruby-Spears. It’s also the one your probably thinking of Sean, so don’t ruin the surprise. 🙂