SuperFriends was an animated series that premiered on ABC on September 8, 1973. The series was executive produced by the creative team of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The series featured the adventures of DC Comics book heroes Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman. These five superheroes along with superheroes in training Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog focused their abilities on putting away criminals, saving lives, and stopping terrible disasters after getting messages from their computer, the "TroubAlert."
Each episode of the SuperFriends was geared to present, not only action, but also some lesson of educational value. In the short run of the series, a number of other famous DC comic book heroes appeared: Plastic Man, The Flash, and Green Arrow.
The last new episode of the series entitled "The Watermen" was broadcast on December 22, 1973. The show continued in reruns until it was taken off the air on August 30, 1974. Two years later, however, the series was rebroadcast from February 7, 1976 to September 3, 1977. In an enduring testament to the popularity of the SuperFriends characters, they were later featured in a number of spin-offs and revivals.
In 1977, the Hanna-Barbera produced sixty-two cartoon featuring the Superfriends. These cartoons were shown on ABC as part of The All-New SuperFriends Hour. Each hour long episode featured four cartoons (one half-hour cartoon and three seven minute shorts). The hour-long show featured adventures of the original fives superheroes from SuperFriends. Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog, however, did not appear. They were replaced by the shape-shifting Wondertwins Zan and Jayna and their space-monkey Gleek. The All-New SuperFriends Hour ran from September 10, 1977 to September 2, 1978 and was replaced in the next season by Challenge of the SuperFriends and SuperFriends (1978).
Challenge of the SuperFriends was one of the most popular incarnations of SuperFriends that featured the Justice League of America against the Legion of Doom. This half-hour series ran for sixteen episodes from September 9, 1978 to September 15, 1979. It was accompanied in its run by SuperFriends (1978) which also presented sixteen half-hour episodes from September 9, 1978 to September 15, 1979. These episodes featured the same characters as The All-New SuperFriends Hour in further adventures.
In 1979, Hanna-Barbera discontinued Challenge of the SuperFriends. Reruns of old SuperFriends episodes were mixed with eight new episodes and were presented under the new title The World's Greatest SuperFriends. The World's Greatest Superfriends was a hour long series that ran from September 22,1 979 to September 27, 1980.
In the 1980's, SuperFriends continued in a number of incarnations. From September 1980 to September 1984, Hanna-Barbara produced sixty-six seven minute shorts (see Superfriends (1980)). Twenty-Four of these shorts were shown in the 1980-1981 season, accompanied by SuperFriend's reruns, under the title The Superfriends Hour. In the 1981-1982 season, sixteen new shorts were presented as a part of the half-hour long Superfriends. These new shorts were, of course, accompanied by reruns. The 1982-1983 season, however, was all reruns. Although Hanna-Barbara produced twenty-four new SuperFriends shorts, ABC decided to show only reruns of the SuperFriends in a thirty minute program entitled The Best of SuperFriends. Most of the unaired shorts (called by some "The Lost Episodes"), however, would later air in syndication.
The 1984-1985 season, new half-hour SuperFriends episodes would return to ABC under the title SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show was a half-hour sixteen episode cartoon that featured Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, and the Teen Titans Firestorm and Cyborg. In the 1985-1986 season, these same characters would appear along with Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and Samurai in the half-hour The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. This final incarnation of Hanna-Barbara's SuperFriends offered ten new episodes. On September 30, 1986 with the end of the last episode of The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, Hanna-Barbara's twelve year run of original SuperFriends episodes was over. The SuperFriends, however, would continue to live on in syndication.
First Telecast: September 8, 1973 Last Telecast: December 22, 1973
Episodes: 16 Color Episodes (16 one-hour episodes)
Follow-up Shows: The All-New SuperFriends Hour, SuperFriends (1978), Challenge of the SuperFriends, The World's Greatest SuperFriends, SuperFriends (1980), SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show, and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians.moreless