Super Friends

Super Friends

Most kids have a superhero they identify with. Problem is, each used to have their own individual shows and there just wasn’t enough time on Saturday morning for every hero to get a time slot – meaning some young Aquaman fan was probably out of luck. The solution was to put them all together, and that’s precisely what Hanna-Barbera did in 1973, under the umbrella of Super Friends. All the favorites were there – Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, even Aquaman, plus a few up-and-coming prospects from the minor leagues.

Headquartered at the Hall of Justice and able to utilize its massive array of super computers, the Super Friends diligently waited for a “Trouble Alert” to flash across one of their nifty big screens and they were off and running. Culprits tended to be culled from the DC Comics pool of villains from decades past – from Lex Luthor to The Riddler, to the unpronounceable Mr. Mxyzptlk. All were generally in the process of creating mayhem for the citizens of the Earth and needed to stopped in their tracks.

Never ones to take all the credit, the Super Friends let their young apprentices get into the action as well, although it was clear that some weren’t likely to make the final cut. In the show’s debut, the “Junior Justice Leagures” consisted of, ahem, Marvin, Wendy and Wonder Dog, none of whom looked ready for their own series any time soon.

Eventually, that batch of underacheivers was sent back to the minors and the Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna, took their place in The All New Super Friends Hour. This time, at least someone saw fit to give the newcomers some respectable powers of their own (Wonder Twin Powers, Acitivate!) Zan could transform himself into anything that could be made of water, ice or vapor (and it turned out, that allowed for plenty of options. Ice cannon, anyone?) Jayna, on the other hand, could morph into the animal of her choice. For comic relief, they were paired with a wacky monkey named Gleek.

As new seasons arrived, new superheroes and new supervillians emerged. In 1978, Challenge of the Super Friends introduced the illuminating Green Lantern, the expansive Apache Chief, electricity-weilding Black Vulcan, Samurai and Hawkman. Over on the side of evil, the Toyman, Giganta, Black Manta and Solomon Grundy did their best to take out the caped do-gooders, as well as the rest of civilization. Of course, they were never successful.

The show continued to make changes to its title throughout the years, but fans would have to wait until 1984 to see any new characters introduced. On Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, familiar comic book faces Firestorm and villain Darkseid joined the fray, and the next year, Teen Titans member, Cyborg, got his feet wet.

The following year spelled the end for the team’s Saturday morning mayhem, as The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians just didn’t keep the ratings up enough to knock those loveable Smurfs off of their little blue pedestal. The Super Friends, it appeared, had finally met their match, thanks to the super evil network programming executives that gave them the ax.

They might be off the air now, but memories of the Super Friends remain indelible in the conscious of every kid that ever poured a bowl of cereal, wrapped themselves in a blanket, and sat curled in front of a tv on Saturday mornings. Back then, the world was a simpler place, and we all felt a little more secure knowing that our Super Friends were vigilant in their fight against evil.

Were the Super Friends a part of your regular Saturday morning viewing back in the day? Who was your most (and least) favorite member of the Hall of Justice? We’d love to hear all of your thoughts and recollections of this iconic cartoon in our comments section below.

One Response to “Super Friends”

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  1. Jeremy says:

    This was one of my favorite cartoons, and I am so very happy that the series has been released on dvd. It also spawned one of my favorite toy lines of my youth.

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