Greetings and salutations, friends, fans and followers, it’s time for another Fabulous Find. This week I’ve set the wayback machine to 1966 where Marvel Comics’ characters hit the small screens of our televisions for the very first time. The animation may not have been much, but still, that was Marvel Comic book heroes on our televisions!
The Marvel Super Heroes Show is an animated cartoon series starring five comic book super-heroes from Marvel Comics. The very first TV series based on Marvel characters, it debuted in syndication television in 1966.
It was produced by Grantray-Lawrence Animation, which was headed by Grant Simmons, Ray Patterson and Robert Lawrence. The show was an umbrella series of five segments, each approximately seven minutes long, broadcast on local television stations across the country that aired the show at different times. The series ran initially as a half-hour program made up of three seven-minute segments of a single superhero, separated by a short description of one of the other four heroes. It has also been broadcast as a mixture of various heroes in a half-hour timeslot, and as individual segments as filler or within a children’s television program.
The segments were: “Captain America“, “The Incredible Hulk“, “Iron Man“, “The Mighty Thor“, and “The Sub-Mariner“.
Sixty-five half-hour episodes of three seven-minute chapters were produced, for a total of 195 segments that ran initially in broadcast syndication from September 1, 1966 to December 1, 1966.
The series, which was produced in color, had extremely limited animation produced by xerography, consisting of photocopied images taken directly from the comics and manipulated to minimize the need for animation production. The cartoons were presented as a series of static comic-strip panel images; generally the only movement involved the lips when a character spoke, the eyes, and the occasional arm or leg, or a fully animated black silhouette. The series used the original stories largely in their entirety, showcasing Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and Don Heck art, among others, from the Marvel Comic books.
Marvel Comics itself announced the series in the “Marvel Bullpen Bulletins” of the November 1966 issues, stating in that monthly fan page’s hyperbolic style that, “It won’t be long before our swingin’ super-heroes make their star-studded debut on TV, appearing five nights a week — that’s right, five — count ’em — five nights a week, for a half-hour each night. So you’ve just got time to make sure your set’s in good working order — check your local paper for time and station — and prepare to have a ball!”
That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? That’s it for this week’s Fabulous Find, but before I leave please check out the individual theme songs from the five shows below, straight from the good folks over at YouTube.
Be seeing you …