Splish Splash! I took an ice bath! Yeshhhh, it’s true. In the winter of 1973-1974, I was a little monster (approximately three years old) when my sisters and I were playing on ice, one street over from our house. All I remember from this frigid occasion is falling through up to my ribs in ice water!
It wouldn’t be a big deal if I were older and taller. So, you can imagine the shock to the system! There might’ve been some tears, and I got hauled back home, where my Mom put me in a hot bath. Hey! Avert your eyes! I’m bathing over here! I got swaddled up and plopped on the couch, where I watched Filmation superhero cartoons. It was love at first sight…
Lou Scheimer’s Filmation Studios provided an excellent selection of DC Comics character cartoons to indulge in. As I sat there thawing out, I took in “The Adventures of Batman &Robin” and from the frantic music (snare drum, guitar, bass, and various horns) to the first glimpse of the Dynamic Duo, I was ecstatic! Freezing, but ecstatic.
Superman, Superboy, Hawkman, The Flash, Green Lantern, The Atom, Aquaman rounded out the animated roster in solo adventures as well as a few Justice League of America and Teen Titans cartoons.
The Batman and Robin cartoons were a treat, as they battled characters from their Rogue’s Gallery such as the Joker, Riddler, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman and a few new ones, like Simon the Pieman. Oh, he was “upper crust” to be sure!
The slight changes to the Bat-vehicles are among my favorite versions. The Batboat, Batplane, etc. are basic black and red combos, loosely based on the classic George Barris designs.
What always caught my eye, was the fact that Batman would be zipping down the streets of Gotham after a villain and the streets would always be empty of pedestrians or traffic. Not a deal breaker- I was hooked!
The Aquaman cartoons had Aqualad and Tuskee, their faithful walrus buddy as well as their girlfriend Mera, and the seahorses Stormand Imp. I find myself whistling the theme music to these adventures quite often and imitating Tuskee’s call. Yeah, I’m a dork. But, why not celebrate the King of the seas and his adventures fighting Black Manta or the Fisherman, among others.
Superman swoops in with his adventures, to battle Braniac, Lex Luthor, , and other creeps, like a Mummy and a Warlock! I love to quote Superman, “ A Warlock. A male witch!” Super isn’t alone as he has his friends Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White. Can I get a “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” ?! Don’t forget Superboy and his pal Krypto. This is an adolescent version of Superman if you weren’t sure, and they some great adventures, too!
Green Lantern joins the adventures with his sidekick, “PieFace.” The Robert Schmeigel segment of “SNL” used to make fun of the the way the pair flew through the air. I get the joke, but never thought that was the undertone of the story. Great outer space stories with weird aliens, that resemble your Aunt Gertie or something like that! Speaking of outer space, Hawkman and his faithful bird sidekick were tearing it up all over space, getting into trouble and eventually persevering.
Let’s wrap this up with Flash and Kid Flash-they zigzagged all over the place, fighting Blue Bolt, another speedster. The Atom was a mini mighty man and his micro adventures were a bunch of fun! The Teen Titans- Speedy, WonderGirl,KidFlash, Aqualad. (No Robin.) They fought giant robots and creatures that were terrorizing Earth. Same with the JLA- Justice League of America. Their roll call was Superman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Flash and Atom. (No Batman or Wonder Woman, etc.)
So on that winter day when I was frozen to the bone, I thawed out and took in the glorious superhero cartoons. They warmed my spirits and eventually my body. They cartoons were sold on VHS as SuperPowers Cartoons. During the mid 90’s or so, Cartoon Network revived the animation with their own superhero hour. I taped them and relived the thrill and warmth once again! Now, the shows are available on digital formats and DVD collections. Yes, I have them. I still have my VHS tape, mostly full of Cartoon Network’s show, with some decent new animated intros. I hope you too, can relive the fun!