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Nine biggest Super Friends mysteries - VIDEO

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 20th 2008 1:21PM
Super Amigos Do not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of classic TV shows.

Even when I was a little kid, there were some things about the Super Friends (or Superfriends or Superamigos, or whatever they were calling it) that didn't sit right with me. Maybe it was because the confluence of superpowers all in one place just boggled my young mind. Maybe it was the mysterious change from Wendy and Marvin to the Wonder Twins that made me scratch my tiny noggin. Not sure. But those mysteries continue to fascinate me, even into adulthood. It's just that those mysteries are more sophisticated:

1. How did the Super Friends have time to hang out at the Hall of Justice? Every one of the SFs lived in different parts of the country: Batman and Robin were in Gotham City, for instance. So, did B&R commute from Gotham to Metropolis a few times per week? Did they use the Bat Plane or the Batmobile most of the time? Did they claim the mileage on their taxes?

2. Come to think of it, why was the HOJ in Metropolis? Did all of the Justice League just give in to some (pretty forceful) arm twisting from Superman? Did Supe consider how much of a pain in the ass it was going to be for the rest of the SFs to get to the HOJ? I mean, even in the Seventies, fuel for Wonder Woman's invisible jet wasn't that cheap. Almost every one of the other SFs were mere mortals with a particular power, which means they had to use a mechanical method of transport: Batman had a car, plane and motorcycle; WW had that plane; Aquaman swam; Green Lantern and Black Falcon Vulcan... walked (we never really know, do we?).

Superman, however, could instantly fly to wherever he needed, no plane or helicopter or other vehicle required. Why did he require everyone to come to him? Perhaps they didn't like to speak up at the meetings.

3. Why did the SFs always seem to be standing around waiting for the computer to pop up with a problem? After all, there had to have been disasters to avert and evil people to defeat all over the planet. You'd think that the only person manning the computer at the HOJ would have been a dispatcher of sorts, letting the SFs know what's going on by radio. But it seemed like we saw a lot of the SFs just standing around or playing chess while chaos was going on. For a bunch of superheroes, they weren't a very proactive group, were they?

4. Did the SFs get a tax break on the Hall Of Justice? That's an awfully big complex there, and it was right in the middle of Metropolis. Did the government own it and lend it to the Justice League? Or did Superman own it and lease it out to his Justice League LLC? Since the SFs never got paid for their work, I can't see how they ever paid property taxes on the place. Heck, I don't even know how they paid for maintenance; that huge computer must have blown a vacuum tube at least once a month.

5. Why didn't we ever see the SFs' alter egos? Wasn't the whole point about all of these characters that they had to live life every day trying to shield their powers, only to unleash them when disaster calls? If you just watched the Super Friends, you'd never know that Superman was Clark Kent, Wonder Woman was Diana Prince, Batman was Bruce Wayne and Green Lantern was ... whoever he was at the time (he's had a number of alter egos).

6. Did the Wonder Twins ever try changing into something else? Zan was always a form of water. Jayna was always some sort of animal. Was this something that they just knew to do from birth? Or did they at one time try to turn into something else and just failed? Did Zan try to be a ring of fire, or Zayna be a machine gun? I always wondered why they limited their transformation possibilities so much. Seems like a lack of ambition to me. Pheh. Typical teenagers.

(By the way, one of my favoirte Scrubs jokes is when J.D. and Turk do their Wonder Twins thing and Zach Braff ad-libs "form of... an ice menorah!")

7. Were Penguin and The Joker too good for the Legion of Doom? These are Batman's two most vexing enemies. Yet they only made occasional appearances on the Super Friends, and almost never with the Legion of Doom. The only one of Batman's enemies that made it was The Riddler. It makes me wonder why. Did Joker and Penguin look down on the LOD? Maybe they thought their plots were pointless and silly. Or maybe they thought that meeting in a swamp was de classe. Not sure. Maybe the LOD didn't like them.

8. Didn't the EPA go after the Legion of Doom for having their HQ in a swamp? Every time that Darth Vader-looking thing rose out of the swamp, I wondered how many birds were being scattered, how many alligators would fall off the roof, and just how many rare orchids were torn to pieces. OK, I never worried about any of that. But still, it makes you wonder why the government, even if they couldn't snag any of the LOD on their various crimes, couldn't have at least gotten them for building in a designated wetlands region.

9. Why didn't anyone have pants? Didn't it get cold in some of the places where the SFs and their enemies fought it out? I mean, look at what Wonder Woman had to wear ... a bodice, a pair of boots and some bracelets! Didn't anyone get cold?

Oh, and the LOD was even worse, as this old ad from the Cartoon Network points out:

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It is Black Vulcan. The name was changed because the character was riginally going to be Black Lightning. I'm not sure why they couldn't get the rights from Tony Isabella to use the character. Maybe, it was because of the way the character was eventually portrayed.

The mystery that I wonder about is why there were so many characters from Superman's and Batman's "Rogues Gallery" and only one or two from anywhere else.

June 23 2008 at 8:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aaron Vasicek

The Green Lantern that appeared was Hal Jordan and he used the power ring to fly to Metropolis from Coast City, CA. The reason that the Joker was probably not a member was he was such a unpredictable psychopath that he couldn't be trusted to be a member. Plus, he probably didn't want to join anyway, after all they (especially Lex Luthor) were pretty dull and single minded, not the barrel of laughs that would attract the Joker.

June 20 2008 at 11:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
The Deej

I never got how they could instantly get a video feed of whatever doin's were transpiring. Did they have secret video cameras all over the world?

June 20 2008 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Vincent J. Murphy

Scarecrow is also a Batman villain.

June 20 2008 at 3:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

More mysteries, is Superfriends a huge crutch for TV Squad? Can't think of what to write? Write about Superfriends!

June 20 2008 at 3:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I never understood why the Hall of Justice was in Metropolis. I just assumed they had transporters like in the comics and Batman kept an extra Batjet there (Hey, he's rich).

And now, to earn my hopeless nerd cred:

Black Vulcan, not Falcon. Also not to be confused with Tuvok.

The show did show some of the Superfriends in their secret identities, though it was seldom done. Clark Kent was shown in the first season, Hal Jordan was seen in an episode of Challenge of the Superfriends, Diana Price was in an episode in the penultimate season of the show, and Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were shown in the final season.

Penguin and Joker didn't show up until the last season because, I presume, Filmation had the rights to animated versions of the characters until then. In fact, in "The New Adventures of Batman and Robin" they did in the 70s (while "Challenge" was on another network), you can see Riddler in the opening credits--wearing red, oddly--but he wasn't seen in the actual show because Hanna Barbera had him in Challenge.

Can you tell I watched this show way too much as a kid?

June 20 2008 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jeff's comment
Joel Keller

Jeff, I thought it was Black Vulcan. That's what I saw on the SF Wikipedia entry, but for some reason it didn't sound right. And I've seen it as Black Falcon in other places, even though he wasn't in a bird costume (he harnessed electricity, right?). Thanks for pointing it out.

June 20 2008 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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