Challenge of the Super Friends

ABC - Premiered 9-8-78

Challenge of the Super Friends was the slicker, better version of the popular Super Friends characters that had begun life on Saturday mornings back in 1973. Unlike the previous series, here the superheroes - the original team composed of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Robin - were faced with a group of villains with equal powers. Their nemeses, collectively called the Legion of Doom, consisted of Superman's arch-foes Lex Luthor, Toyman, Bizarro, and Brainiac; Batman's enemies Scarecrow and the Riddler; the Cheetah (Wonder Woman); Black Manta (Aquaman); Captain Cold (Flash); and a few more generic ones (Giganta, Solomon Grundy, and Grodd the Super Gorilla). Thankfully, however, along for the ride were more superheroes, including the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and the generic, ethnically- correct add-ons like Black Manta, Samurai, and Apache Chief. Teen heroes-in-training Zan and Jayna ("Wonder twin powers, activate!") returned, along with their annoying blue space-monkey, Gleek.

Super Friends Challenge of the Super Friends was a godsend for those kids who were dying for some solid superhero action back in the day. We had seen too much of heroes fighting deranged scientists and environmental menaces - we wanted them to hit somebody for a change! And although the violence in this program was of course rather mild, at least it saw the characters go up against badguys who were a match for them, week after week. Of course, the downside was that it was indeed the same villains every week, with no real variety, but that was the price we paid.

Being a Marvel zombie as a kid, though, how I wished I could have had a decent Avengers cartoon every weekend, fighting some of that group's super-duper enemies. Now that would have been awesome!

Voice Talents:
Narrator - Bill Woodson
Superman - Danny Dark
Batman - Olan Soule
Robin/Computer - Casey Kasem
Wonder Woman - Shannon Farnon
Aquaman/Bizarro - Bill Callaway
Zan/Gleek/Riddler - Mike Bell
Jayna - Liberty Williams
Black Vulcan - Buster Jones
Apache Chief/Green Lantern - Mike Rye
Flash/Hawkman - Jack Angel
Lex Luthor - Stanley Jones
Brainiac/Black Manta - Ted Cassidy
Toyman - Frank Welker
Giganta - Ruth Forman
Cheetah - Marlene Aragon
Captain Cold - Dick Ryal
Sinestro - Vic Perrin
Scarecrow - Don Messick
Solomon Grundy - Jimmy Weldon
Grodd - Stanley Ross

Episodes:
Wanted: The Superfriends
Invasion of the Fearians
The World's Deadliest Game
The Time Trap
Trial of the Superfriends
The Monolith of Evil
The Giants of Doom
Secret Origins of the Superfriends
Revenge on Gorilla City
Swamp of the Living Dead
Conquerors of the Future
The Final Challenge
Fairy Tale of Doom
Doomsday
Superfriends: Rest in Peace
History of Doom

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