Deep in the corridors of the Hall of Justice resided some of DC Comics’ greatest superheroes: Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. In the DC universe these crime fighters were collectively known as the Justice League of America. To children all across the land “tooned” in to Saturday morning TV, they were known simply as the Super Friends. Their mission: “To fight Injustice, right that which is wrong, and serve all mankind!”
From their headquarters in the city of Metropolis, the Super Friends kept abreast of crisis the world over through the vigilance of their supercomputer, TroubAlert. True to its name, the computer sounded an alarm to alert the team of trouble the world over. In especially dire circumstances, U.S. Army liaison Colonel Wilcox appeared via live video feed to personally debrief the team members.
The show’s hour-long format afforded plenty of time to showcase each of the superheroes, but they rarely went into action as a group. Normally, either a single hero responded to an emergency call, or several members responded then split up, making best use of their unique abilities based on the emergency at hand. Superman possessed superhuman strength, x-ray vision, and the power of flight. The dynamic duo, Batman and Robin, used gadgets and crime fighting savvy to defeat evildoers. Wonder Woman flew a transparent plane and made use of her magic lasso, while Aquaman used telepathy to summon the help of his aquatic friends of the deep.
In addition to the regular members, three “Junior Super Friends” participated as superheroes-in-training: the teenagers Wendy and Marvin, and their pet Wonder Dog. The trio served the role of comic relief more than legitimate heroes, given their lack of any real super powers. Marvin was eager to prove his worth, but his abilities were never on par with his enthusiasm. Wendy was more useful, having a knack for detective work and deciphering clues. Wonder Dog acted more like a human than a dog, regularly attempting to communicate by gesturing and uttering unintelligible, half-formed words.
The stories were atypical for a superhero show, simultaneously attempting to entertain while providing an education. Rather than fighting costumed criminals, the Super Friends dealt with environmental threats triggered by well-meaning but misguided scientists or aliens using advanced technology. It was through the lessons learned by Wendy and (especially) Marvin that at the end of each episode the kids at home learned an additional moral lesson based upon the circumstances the heroes had just faced.
The series ran for two seasons before cancellation in the fall of 1975. It was brought back by ABC as a mid-season replacement in January 1976 with a half-hour version of the original hour-length stories. Despite their sputtering start, the Super Friends went on to keep Saturday mornings safe for a total of 13 seasons in various incarnations. The team joined forces once again in 1977 as The All-New Super Friends Hour, followed by Challenge of the Super Friends (1978), The World’s Greatest Super Friends (1979), The Super Friends Hour (1980), Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984), and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985).
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The Baffles Puzzle
Professor Goodfellow’s G.E.E.C.
The Weather Maker
Dr. Pelagian’s War
The Shamon ‘U’
Too Hot to Handle
The Balloon People
The Fantastic FRERPs
The Ultra Beam
The Menace of the White Dwarf
The Mysterious Moles
Gulliver’s Gigantic Goof