1 9 6 7 – 1 9 7 0 (USA)
The character of Superman first left the comics pages in the 1930s, starring in several animated theatrical shorts.
He then moved on to enjoy a successful radio show during the ’40s, a popular live-action TV version starring George Reeves in the 1950s, and even a 1966 Broadway musical before returning to the small screen in 1966, this time in animated form.
Almost ten years after the live-action TV show was cancelled, Superman starred in The New Adventures of Superman.
The series utilised the same basic cast as the 1940’s radio version and consisted not only of stories about Superman’s world-saving exploits but also of segments that showed him as a boy in rural Smallville.
These segments featured super dog Krypto and Clark’s first girlfriend, Lana Lang. Bud Collyer, who had provided Superman’s voice for both the Fleischer cartoons and the radio broadcast, reprised his role in this version, too.
The strong point of this version was its faithfulness to the comic book. The show featured villains from the printed stories, like Mr Mxyzptlk and Brainiac.
After a season, its title was changed to The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, and Aquaman, the son of Atlantis, starred in segments of his own.
Aquaman, as his name suggests, really, really liked the water.
The green-and-orange suited superhero could breathe underwater, swim at superhuman speeds and communicate with any of the ocean’s inhabitants via aqua-telepathy.
Luckily, all of Aquaman’s foes (Black Manta, The Fisherman, etc.) committed their crimes in or around the water, enabling him to ride to the rescue astride his giant seahorse, Storm.
Aquaman’s junior companion Aqualad often assisted the blonde water-breather, while fellow Atlantean Mera (our hero’s wife in the comic book series) rarely appeared in the animated series.
The cartoon’s Aqua clan also included a seahorse named Imp and a silly pet walrus named Tusky.
Aqualad was eventually spun off to his own segment, and along with Wonder Girl, Kid Flash and Speedy formed “The Teen Titans,” a group of rising young superheroes.
Aquaman left for his own show in 1968, lasting only a single season without the Man of Steel’s backing.
The amphibious wonder went on to co-star in the long-running Super Friends series, ensuring that no water-based crimes would go unpunished.
Another Super Friend, Batman, joined up with the Man of Steel for the 1968 season in The Batman/Superman Hour of Adventure.
The new pairing lasted only one more season, and by 1969, the Man of Steel was once again flying solo in The New Adventures of Superman.
Pat Harrington Jr.
Pat Harrington Jr.
Guardian of the Universe