Yes, I did do a “many intros” earlier this month and I have an even bigger “many, many intros” planned for October. However, reading the nostalgialess DC take on Space Ghost from the early 2000s made me nostalgic for the real thing. Instead of just talking about that though I felt inclined to go over the anthology series that introduced me to Space Ghost and many more Hanna-Barbera superheroes, so I’m taking this week to go over Hanna-Barbera’s World Of Super Adventure through the intros of the show.
Now, put yourself into the mind (not literally for any of you mad scientists and dark wizards in the audience, please) of a lonely five-year-old sitting in front of his television in 1979 AD when this hits the screen.
You don’t know who this “Hanna Barbera” guy is but you know awesome when you see it! This along with the stuff I was seeing on Saturday mornings and other shows in syndicated reruns before first-run syndication was a concept was my introduction to superheroes. Then I learn about comic books and I was never the same. Here you have an epic narration telling you that these heroes have amazing powers and use them to battle evil and right wrongs. Yeah, you have more than just my attention. And then the shows started. Some of my favorites included…
Note that I would not see any of these intros until they aired on USA’s Cartoon Express, their own syndicated package, or Cartoon Network. You get the Hanna-Barbera’s World Of Super Adventure intro, each show having their own title card, and then the end credits. I don’t remember even hearing about Dino-Boy In The Lost Valley until those airings as well. Hanna-Barbera in the 1960s would have the main show and then some other show in the middle of three shorts, which was true for their comedic shows as well.
Oh, this one (at post time) has part of an episode, too. The Dino-Boy intro isn’t as good as the main intro. It’s the middle segment so maybe they didn’t put as much thought into it? The main intro however is good stuff. Action, a superhero flying in space with cool powers and a spaceship. Jan and Jayce probably could have shown up a bit more but after seeing this intro you know what you’re in for.
Young Samson And Goliath
For some reason I remember this being part of that show but the internet disagrees. Then again they think Dragon Ball Z was a Fox Kids show rather than airing on Fox affiliates since the afternoon lineup was in the (duh) afternoons. In the morning the affiliates had their own stuff except on Saturdays. It’s like saying Voltron was a Fox Kids show. Still, I remember this being part of HBWOSA and wondering why it didn’t show up more often.
Well, that would be because Young Samson And Goliath was actually a middle segment for a rather odd place to put it, the comedic Space Kidettes, about a bunch of kids on some planet or possibly some Jetsons-era Earth who were being chased around by a space pirate who, for reasons unknown, insisted the kids had a treasure map he wanted. If they did, they didn’t know about it. That left very few episodes of Young Samson available for this show to use so it didn’t show up often. Meanwhile around me The Space Kidettes aired on it’s own in syndication with no middle segment except another story with the kids running from Captain Skyhook and Static. One source for the list I looked up claimed different regions had different mixes of shows but I can’t confirm that.
Anyway, as a middle segment intro this is better than Dino-Boy’s, showing off the teen traveling on his scooter (apparently he traveled around the world on that thing) with his dog, Goliath, as they used Samson’s bracelets to transform into a muscle man and a lion with HB’s beloved laser beam eyes. How does a dog into into a lion? Five year old me didn’t ask that. I just watched our heroes battle monsters, robots, aliens, and mad scientists. I was easy to please.
Mightor (and Moby Dick)
I think you mean “transformed into a fire-breathing dragon”, not “transferred”. (Or was Tog doing a body swap this whole time?) Yes, Hanna-Barbera beat Filmation’s He-Man to the punch TWICE. Yeah, it’s just another explanation intro but one that is actually not that bad as a middle segment. Maybe because it’s shorter than Dino-Boy’s? Mightor and Tog (they didn’t even change his name between forms…and nobody asked why the guy who shares part of a name with Tor also has a pet named Tog) would battle enemy tribes, monsters, and other strange creatures. It was also one of those shows with the annoying kid who kept getting himself in trouble trying to be like his hero (right down to his own costume…the world’s first cosplayer) that even I can’t defend. And I can defend a lot. Mighty Mightor was a mid-segment for Moby Dick but unlike a lot of the other middle segments actually had a spot in the main intro.
You may notice some similarity in the themes songs if you watch all these together and that will just build in the next installment or two. You’ll also begin to understand how Hanna-Barbera was able to do a Godzilla series and an Ultraman pilot movie. The Powerpuff Girls weren’t the first HB creations (prior to Cartoon Cartoon) to fight giant monsters on the regular. HB knew how to create a monster.
The odd thing is I don’t remember the Moby Dick segments airing on World Of Super Adventure. It wasn’t until Cartoon Network that I remember watching the “super whale” swap crazed captains for sea monsters and underwater aliens alongside two kids in scuba suits and their pet walrus. (Apparently everyone in the 1960s though walruses had gills. See also Filmation’s Aquaman cartoons.) Meanwhile the intro seems to focus on Mightor’s world, even forcing us to endure Little Rock (who thankfully is just riding his giant bird while wearing a Mightor costume), though I guess at five I related to him somewhat more than I do now, even if the kid got himself into more trouble than Lois Lane on a busy news day.
I think that’s good for part one. Check in tomorrow for men with wings, more monsters, and a Marvel comic family in part two of Hanna-Barbera’s forgotten superhero library.