Monday, July 17, 2006

 

On a TV Screen Long Long Ago...

My children recently discovered the fun of 1970s Saturday morning animation series, The Superfriends, when I bought a DVD of episodes from a season called Challenge of The Superfriends. My son asks to watch it over and over, and it got me to thinking about a rare live action primetime TV movie that Hanna-Barbera produced as a tie in to this popular series. The film, which aired in 1979, was called The Legends of the Superheroes. The 1970s was the decade of live action superhero films and TV shows. Superman was taking off on the big screen with Christopher Reeve. On TV, Spiderman, The Incredible Hulk, Wonder Woman (and even Shazam! and Isis, on Saturday mornings) were all popular live action shows. In fact, the producers of The Legends of the Superheroes were unable to use the characters of Superman and Wonder Woman (who are of course featured in the original animated Superfriends) because Superman had just been launched into a film franchise, and Wonder Woman had her own series on another network. Anyway, I doubt many people remember The Legends of the Superheroes. It was a campy sort of film (the kind you wouldn't see anymore), distinguished only by the fact that (a slightly older) Adam West and Burt Ward returned to reprise their roles as Batman and Robin (along with Frank Gorshin as The Riddler) from the campy 1960s live action series Batman. The film is broken into two parts, the first involving The Justice League battling their arch enemies; the second half focusing on The Superfriends gathering to give a Friar's Club type roast to Batman (I'm not kidding).

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