Saturday Morning Superheroes Of The 1960s: The Animated Adventures of UNDERDOG, SUPERMAN And More

Saturday Morning Superheroes Of The 1960s: The Animated Adventures of UNDERDOG, SUPERMAN And More

Even before the Batman craze of the 1960s, superheroes were reigning supreme on Saturday morning animated series, and what follows is an in-depth look at 24 of them. Check it out...

1. Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse (1962 to 1963)

kids-tv-courageous-cat-and-minute-mouse

Batman creator Bob Kane came up with this idea about a crime-fighting cat and mouse that in many ways managed to capture the campy feel that would make up the Adam West Batman series four years later. Their rogues gallery includes The Frog, Harry Gorilla, Professor Shaggy Dog, Rodney Rodent, The Fox, The Great Hambone and Outrageous Cat (Courageous’ cousin).

2-6. Tobor: 8th Man (1963 to 1964) and Other Anime Shows (-1969)

kids-tv-8th-man

Throughout the sixties, we were given a number of sci-fi shows imported from Japan as well as one that was such an obvious influence on The Lion King many years later. Those shows — a number of which include robots — are Tobor the 8th Man (produced between 1963 and 1964), Gigantor (1963 to 1966), Astro Boy (1965 to 1971), Kimba the White Lion (1965 to 1966) and Marine Boy (1969).

7. Underdog (1964 to 1967)

kids-tv-underdog

There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here! A popular cartoon series that’s a parody of Superman with Wally Cox voicing both the title character and his alter-ego, Shoeshine Boy. Underdog battled villains like Simon Bar Sinister and Riff Raff, and was constantly having to save this show’s Lois Lane, Sweet Polly Purebread. To do so, as he would announce in each episode, “In the secret compartment of my ring I fill, with an Underdog super energy pill.” Yes, that’s right. Underdog popped pills. But, you know, it was the 60’s.

8. The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show (1965 to 1967)

atom-ant-secret-squirrel

We are very quickly moving into the era of the Saturday morning superhero explosion. This hour-long show was split in two, dealing with the ultra-powerful ant of the title and the superspy squirrel. Atom’s back up cartoons were Precious Pupp and The Hillbilly Bears, while Secret’s were Squiddly Diddly and Winsome Witch.

9. Sinbad, Jr. and His Magic Belt (1965 to 1966)

kids-tv-sinbad-and-his-magic-belt

Sinbad the Sailor had a son (apparently) and he’s the star of this show, sailing the sea with his parrot, Salty (voiced by Mel Blanc) in search of those who need help. To provide it, he tightens his belt, which gives him the strength of 50 men. Yeah, it sounds odd to us, too.

10. Batfink (1966)

batfink

Given the success of the Batman TV series that premiered the same year, this take-off was quickly produced with 100 five-minute episodes airing between 1966 and 1967. Accompanied by his sidekick, Karate, Batfink takes on many villains, usually responding to their firing guns at him, “Your bullets cannot harm me. My wings are like a shield of steel” (though one time one of the bad guys responded, “Yeah, but your head is like a marshmallow,” before hitting him in the skull with a large mallet).

11. Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles (1966 to 1967)

kids-tv-frankenstein-jr-and-the-impossible

In the Frankenstein Jr. portion of things, Frankie is now a giant robot (voiced by The Addams Family‘s Ted Cassidy) along with his young creator, Buzz Conroy. And with The Impossibles, on the outside they seem like a Beatles-like trio, but in reality they’re superheroes Multi Man, Fluid Man and Coil Man.

12. The Lone Ranger (1966 to 1969)

kids-tv-the-lone-ranger

In a nutshell, it’s the Lone Ranger (voiced by Michael Rye) and Tonto (Shepard Menken) making the Old West safe, only this time in animated form.

13. The Mighty Heroes (1966 to 1967)

kids-tv-the-mighty-heroes

Animator Ralph Bakshi had the bright idea to spoof the whole superhero thing and did it with this somewhat subversive series that takes on something like the Justice League. His heroes are Strong Man, Rope Man, Tornado Man, Cuckoo Man and Diaper Man. Quite the motley group.

15-17. The New Adventures of Superman (1966 to 1970) and Other Filmation Shows

kids-tv-new-adv

The Man of Steel was brought back to television for the first time since George Reeves had played him in The Adventures of Superman. Here he’s voiced by Bud Collyer, who had previously brought the character to vocal life in the Max Fleischer animated theatrical shorts of the 1940s and on the radio show. These shorts would later become part of The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure and The Batman/Superman Hour.

18. Space Ghost (1966)

kids-tv-space-ghost

Space Ghost is kind of like Batman in space, armed with weapons and flying around in a cool ship. He’s accompanied by Jan and Jace as his sidekicks, along with their pet monkey, Blip. Years later, he would become the host of his own animated/live action hybrid talk show, Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

19. Birdman and the Galaxy Trio (1967 to 1969)

kids-tv-birdman

Birdman is a winged superhero who gets his powers from the sun, while interstellar heroes the Galaxy Trio consists of Vapor Man, Meteor Man and Gravity Girl. Honestly, these shows were very quickly becoming interchangeable.

20. Fantastic Four (1967 to 1970)

kids-tv-fantastic-four

Marvel’s first family of their superhero universe are brought to animated life with stories that feel like they’ve come right out of the comic book. Characters are Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic, who can stretch his body), Sue Richards (the Invisible Girl), Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) and Ben Grimm (the rock-covered Thing).

21. Moby Dick and The Mighty Mightor (1967 to 1969)

kids-tv-moby-dick-and-the-mighty-mightor

After a while, you’re really got to wonder who came up with these pairings. In the Moby Dick portion of things, following a shipwreck a pair of teens are rescued by the great white whale (which is not known for its kindness in the Herman Melville novel) and together take on underwater dangers. And then there’s The Mighty Mightor, a teenage caveman who finds a mysterious club that endows him with powers. Uh, okay.

22. Samson and Goliath (1967 to 1968)

kids-tv-samson-and-goliath-2

Taking a motorbike around the country, teen Samson and his dog, Goliath, do their best to right wrongs. Making it easier to do so is the fact that when his golden wristbands are brought together, he becomes the oh-so-powerful Samson and his dog becomes a lion. Together they take on all sorts of villains.

23. Shazzan! (1967 to 1969)

kids-tv-shazzan

A genie named Shazzan helps brother and sister Chuck and Nancy as they make their way through a mystical Arabian world while riding the flying camel Kaboobie. When in danger, they bring two halves of a ring together to summon Shazzan.

24. Spider-Man (1967 to 1970)

kids-tv-spider-man

Spidey’s had a long history of adaptations, but this was his very first appearance and it’s pretty loyal to the comic (despite some really limited animation at times). It also gave us the famous “Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can” theme song, which is gift enough.

For a look at many more Saturday morning cartoons of the 1960s, please head over to Toonado. 

DISCLAIMER: Comic Book Movie is protected under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and... [MORE]
Related Headlines
STAN LEE'S SUPERHERO KINDERGARTEN: Arnold Schwarzenegger Stars In New Animated Series Premiering This Week

STAN LEE'S SUPERHERO KINDERGARTEN: Arnold Schwarzenegger Stars In New Animated Series Premiering This Week

The multi-talented Arnold Schwarzenegger has been excited all year to executive produce and voice-act in Stan Lee's Superhero Kindergarten, and the animated series officially premieres this Friday!
SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME Star Zendaya To Voice Lola Bunny In SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME Star Zendaya To Voice Lola Bunny In SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY

Following this morning's trailer, a new report has revealed that Spider-Man: No Way Home star Zendaya will be voicing Lola Bunny in Warner Bros.' upcoming LeBron James-starrer, Space Jam: A New Legacy
SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY - The Tune Squad Are Back In The Official Trailer For The LeBron James-Led Sequel

SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY - The Tune Squad Are Back In The Official Trailer For The LeBron James-Led Sequel

WB has finally released the official trailer and poster for Space Jam: A New Legacy, featuring our first look at Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the legendary Tune Squad reuniting for the game of a lifetime!
Latest Headlines
INDIANA JONES 5 Adds Another Key Piece In AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Actor Thomas Kretschmann

INDIANA JONES 5 Adds Another Key Piece In AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Actor Thomas Kretschmann

Following Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mads Mikkelsen, Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm have now cast Thomas Kretschmann in an undisclosed role in James Mangold's Indiana Jones 5 starring Harrison Ford!
THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER: 8 Ways The Finale Sets Up The Marvel Cinematic Universe's Future

THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER: 8 Ways The Finale Sets Up The Marvel Cinematic Universe's Future

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier told a terrific self-contained story, but it also set the stage for some big new stories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Here, we're looking at how it teases the future!
Why THE FALCON & THE WINTER SOLDIER Finale Dropped The Ball With John Walker - SPOILERS

Why THE FALCON & THE WINTER SOLDIER Finale Dropped The Ball With John Walker - SPOILERS

The season finale of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is now streaming on Disney+, and while it delivered a satisfying conclusion for most characters, John Walker's resolution left a lot to be desired...
MORTAL KOMBAT Review; A Painfully Bad Plot Proves To Be A Fatality For [The] Movie

MORTAL KOMBAT Review; "A Painfully Bad Plot Proves To Be A Fatality For [The] Movie"

Mortal Kombat is now playing in theaters and on HBO Max, but how does it fare against other video game adaptations? Well, while the fight scenes are awesome, everything else isn't quite so memorable...
THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER: Read Sam Wilson's Incredible Speech From Today's Season Finale

THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER: Read Sam Wilson's Incredible Speech From Today's Season Finale

Today's episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier served as a bold step forward for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and we thought you'd like to read, and be inspired by, Sam Wilson's speech in full...
THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER: 8 Unanswered Questions We Have After Watching The Season Finale

THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER: 8 Unanswered Questions We Have After Watching The Season Finale

The season finale of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier hit Disney+ earlier today, but both that and the series as a whole has left us with some unanswered questions we're now attempting to figure out...