Thursday, May 17, 2007


In 1973, Hanna-Barbera launched the very first animated series based on the superhero team the Justice League of America!

This childrens' show went through many changes before airing, the most significant is
changing the name to Super Friends. In the height of the Vietnam War, HB thought it would be too jingoistic so a new 'friendlier' name was given.

There has never been a more epic battle

Challenge of the Super Friends was the third Super Friends series that ran during the 1978-1979 television series. The hour-long episodes were made up of two half-hour segments. The first segment stories were similar to the previous season, The All-New Super Friends Hour, which featured Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Wonder Twins, Zan and Jayna.

The second segment stories were called The Super Friends vs. The Legion of Doom which saw a handful of villains teaming up to take over the world and take down the Super Friends.

l-r Apache Chief, Black Vulcan and Samurai
Twelve villains were hand picked by Lex Luthor to join the Legion of Doom.

The roster included Solomon Grundy, Sinestro, Black Manta, Cheetah, Giganta, the Scarecrow, Toyman, the Riddler, Bizarro, Brainiac, Captain Cold and Gorilla Grodd.

The heroes that battled the Legion of Doom were Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, Green Lantern and Hawkman.

The Wonder Twins were cut from the roster in the half of the show for some reason.

Three new characters were created to join the Super Friends in order to add a
bit of cultural diversity to what would be an entirely white cast of characters. Their names are Black Vulcan, Apache Chief and Samurai and I'll let you guess which ethnic group each of them represent. While Hanna-Barbera's intentions were good at the time, they now seem quite stereotyped.

The theme to the Legion of Doom segment was written by John Beal and narrated by William Woodson.

1 comment:

Patrick Dempsey said...

My all-time favorite cartoon series. I watched this series religiously every Saturday morning when I was 8/9 years old. I have them on DVD now and love every episode! I even contacted John Beal about obtaining the music, but he says that was all handled by H-B which is now owned by WB. Most likely, the music is long gone. But, the series endures so thanks for posting this!