Do You Remember? The Super Friends

Deep in the corridors of the Hall of Justice resided some of DC Comics’ greatest superheroes: Superman, Aquaman, Batman & Robin, and Wonder Woman. Collectively, these crimefighters were known as the Justice League of America, based on the DC Comics series of the same name. To children all across the land “tooned” into Saturday morning TV, they were known simply as the Super Friends.

Along with child superheroes-in-training Marvin, Wendy, and Wonder Dog, who headed up the Junior Justice League, the Super Friends were our world’s best hope in stopping the havoc wreaked by super villains everywhere. Each week the Super Friends joined forces to fight such evildoers as Scarecrow, the Riddler, Lex Luthor, Captain Cold, Sinestro, Solomon Grundy, and Superman’s evil counterpart, Bizarro.

After being notified on the Trouble Alert, a giant screen that warned them of impending doom, our superheroes would go their separate ways to do battle. Batman and Robin would team up, while Wonder Woman sped off in the invisible jet, magic lasso in tow. Aquaman would use his aquatic powers to summon help from his creature friends of the deep, and Superman would use his superhuman strength, X-ray vision, and ability to fly. Marvin and Wendy would try their hardest to help out but usually just got themselves in trouble, only to be bailed out by the Super Friends. Also not to be forgotten was Mr. Mxyzptlk, a pesky little villain who could only be defeated by making him say his name backward; no small feat, even for a superhero.

In 1977, Hanna-Barbera unveiled The All New Super Friends Hour. In the new show, the creators chose to do away with Marvin, Wendy, and Wonder Dog and introduced Wonder Twins Zan and Jayna and their loveable sidekick, Gleek. To fight crime, Zan and Jayna would activate their Wonder Twin powers by touching each other’s fists and declaring “Wonder Twin powers, activate!” Once activated, Jayna would take the “shape of” some type of animal, while Zan would assume the “form of” solid, liquid, or gaseous water (Don’t laugh; Zan could make a pretty mean “ice rocket” when the need arose).

The format changed somewhat in the next season’s Challenge of the Super Friends. In this outing, the Super Friends were pitted against the Legion of Doom, a baddie syndicate that included several old foes and a few new ones—Cheetah, Giganta, and the Toyman among them. The cause of good was now being aided by Green Lantern, Apache Chief, Hawkman, Black Vulcan, Samurai, and others.

In 1979, the format returned to standard crimefighting in The World’s Greatest Superfriends. One year later, the title changed again, this time to The Super Friends Hour.

1984 brought yet another new title, but at least the team had the decency to add a few new members to justify the change. Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show introduced Firestorm, as well as new foes like Darkseid and Desaad. In 1985, the title changed once again to Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (with new hero Cyborg), but the Super Friends were at their last gasp on Saturday morning. The show ran for only one more season, giving way to the 80s’s dominance of soft and cuddly cartoons like Smurfs. But rest assured, the fate of the planet was safely in the hands of G.I. Joe and a few others.

About Mickey Yarber 239 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Sometimes referred to as the Retro Rambler...I was born in the '70s, grew up in the '80s, and came of age in the '90s. I love to share all the fun stuff from those years via my Retro Ramblings column.

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