Tuesday, April 3, 2012

1967 The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure: The Atom Segment Intro

"Through the magic alchemy of nature's most awesome sources of energy, Ray Palmer: Atomic Physicist becomes... THE ATOM! A power-packed Mighty Mite, whose brilliant mind and great strength serve law and order against crime and injustice. Tiny Titan! Scourge of evildoers! THE ATOM!"

As a child, and this is still somewhat true today, my barometer for a super-hero's popularity/cultural impact was their multimedia penetration. For instance, Superman was obviously the top dog in the early '80s, with numerous cartoon series, several box office hit movies, and a live action TV show. Batman was a distant second, because he really only had the one Filmation cartoon series repackaged over and over again, but he could fall back on the Adam West TV show/movie that brought on Batmania in the '60s. Still, dude was slumming in Scooby-Doo cartoons with Robin (who also deserves his place on this list.) #3 would be Spider-Man, who had two cartoons and a short-lived TV show that was repackaged into lousy Saturday afternoon movies. Also, he was the guy other heroes got exposure guest-starring with as his "Amazing Friends." The Hulk was arguably fourth, since his TV show reruns were big in syndication, and he had his own cartoons. Wonder Woman was better known by everybody though, and even if her sole animated avenue of regard was Super Friends, she still had her own live action series. Bringing up the rear of the upper echelon was Aquaman on the other side of that equation, having his own cartoon, but no live action; and Captain America, who had cheesy TV movies and limited animation opportunities, but broad public recognition.

From there, you had the Fantastic Four, who had their own cartoons that nobody I knew cared about, and then the segment players. The Marvel Super Heroes featured Thor, Iron Man, and Sub-Mariner, who shared crudely animated segments. Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure hosted spots for the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, the Teen Titans, and a version of the Justice League of America lacking an Amazon, Martian, or millionaire playboy vigilante. The Atom had his own slot, and one with the JLA, plus he appeared occasionally on Super Friends. In my mind, that made him a top 20 super-hero, and I liked his adventures more than most of his DC contemporaries on that show. However, those segment shows were produced in the 1960s, so they were dated even by my childhood standards, as was their reflection of the pecking order. Further, while the Marvel heroes got thirteen character cartoon segments at seven minutes each, the DC heroes only got three a piece. That means the equivalent of maybe one episode of a Superman or Spider-Man cartoon. Finally, in the decades since, the Mighty Mite has only guest appeared on other shows. I think it's safe to say the Atom isn't on anybody's objective top twenty list anymore, but I love the little guy! Also, this intro is great fun, and thanks to my fan-made Martian Manhunter theme aping it, I will likely forever hear Ted Knight's voice bellowing whenever I think of "THE ATOM!"

Always remember kids, "Against the force of evil, the Atom will succeed!"


Hero Supreme said...

That's awesome that the Atom has his own site. The Mighty Mite deserves it. I am really looking forward to The Sword of the Atom shorts being made for DC Nation.

Diabolu Frank said...

They're doing SOTA shorts? I did not know that! I only just discovered Ray Palmer turned up on Batman: The Brave and the Bold, so I'm pretty out of the loop...

Hero Supreme said...

Its true! Here is one source: http://tv.ign.com/articles/122/1221309p1.html

The Atom also cameoed on Young Justice a couple weeks back. Its his time to shine!

Arthur Canning said...

Fun intro..
..cool piece..