Cartoon Legacy Part 3: "Super Friends"


   Produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1973, Super Friends was one of the first cartoons to feature a revolving door of characters, with five core characters (Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman) The show itself ran for twelve years, under several different guises: "Super Friends" "The All New Super Friends Hour" "Challenge of the Super Friends" "The World's Greatest Super Friends" "Super Friends" (again) "Super Friends: The Legandary Super Powers Show" and "The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians" 
 
Super Friends had only sixteen episodes, but unlike before (and since) lasted a full hour, after that the series was cancelled, but brought back in 1977 due to the sudden upsurge in superhero shows like Wonder Woman and the Six Million Dollar Man. The new, updated version, now called "The All New Super Friends Hour" consisted of four cartoon shorts - the first cartoon focused on a team-up of two superheroes (Batman and Robin were classed as one hero) the second cartoon featured a story with the Wonder Twins, the third cartoon had all of the Super Friends and the fourth cartoon featured a team-up of one of the core characters and a special guest character. In between each cartoon was a public service announcement (PSA) made by one of the Super Friends or a tips section in which one of the Super Friends would show a magic trick, how to make something or there would be a two-part riddle which related to one of the cartoons. 
 
The format would change once again in 1978 with two different shows put back to back, The All New Super Friends Hour and Challence of the Super Friends, which were both thirty minutes long. The first cartoon had the five core members of the original Super Friends cartoon, plus the Wonder Twins and Gleek, the second cartoon would feature the five core Super Friends and newly rostered characters Flash (Barry Allen) Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Hawkman (Katar Hol) along with three new characters Black Vulcan, Apache Chief and Samurai which were created by Hanna-Barbera. The Challenge of the Super Friends would also include the Legion of Doom as opposed to the aliens and mad scientists that usually appeared in the original Super Friends cartoon. 
 
In the next season, however, would reduce the number of characters to the five core members and the Wonder Twins (along with Gleek) the format was also changed, so that it lasted a full hour, but with only eight new episodes, the rest of the season was made up of re-runs from The All New Super Friends hour with the new name of The World's Greatest Super Friends. 
 
In 1980, the name was changed back to Super Friends and format was changed once again, this time the cartoons were only seven minutes long, but still consisted of Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and the Wonder Twins, with guest appearances from other heroes that had appeared in previous incarnations of the show and another character created by Hanna-Barbera called El Dorado. 
 
After being cancelled for the second time in 1983, Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers show was commissioned a year later, the show would consist of two cartoons which each lasted eleven minutes, once again the core characters and the Wonder Twins starred, along with newcomer Firestorm (Ronald Raymond) The show also featured cameos from some of the old guest characters from the other shows as well as some new heroes and villains from the comic books. 
 
The final incarnation of the Super Friends, The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians" featured Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Samurai, El Dorado, Firstorm and Cyborg, though most of the focus was on the Cyborg and Firestorm. Each episode was thirty minutes long and had only ten episodes, though the most notable (called "The Fear") was the first time Batman's origin was shown outside of the comic books, the episode was written by Alan Burnette, one of the story editors on Batman: The Animated Series. 
 
  
    
  
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