Challenge of the Super Friends

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Challenge of the Super Friends
Challenge of the Super Friends.jpg
Also known as 'Super Friends III'
Genre Adventure / Animation / Fantasy / Sci-Fi / Superhero
Created by E. Nelson Bridwell
Carmine Infantino
Julius Schwartz (consultants)
Written by Jeffrey Scott
Directed by Ray Patterson
Carl Urbano
Creative director(s) Iwao Takamoto
Voices of Jack Angel
Marlene Aragon
Lewis Bailey
Michael Bell
Bill Callaway
Ted Cassidy
Melanie Chartoff
Henry Corden
Danny Dark
Al Fann
Shannon Farnon
Ruth Forman
Bob Hastings
Bob Holt
Buster Jones
Stan Jones
Liberty Williams
Casey Kasem
Don Messick
Vic Perrin
Renny Roker
Stanley Ross
Dick Ryal
Michael Rye
Olan Soule
Jimmy Weldon
Frank Welker
Louise Williams
Narrated by William Woodson
Theme music composer Hoyt Curtin
Composer(s) Hoyt Curtin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 16 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Producer(s) Don Jurwich
Cinematography George Epperson
Tom Epperson
Charles Flekal
Ron Jackson
Jerry Smith
Larry Smith
Terry Smith
Brandy Whittington
Jerry Whittington
Editor(s) Larry C. Cowan (supervising editor)
Running time 60 minutes (including commercials)
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera Productions
DC Comics
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network ABC
Original release September 9 – December 23, 1978
Preceded by The All-New Super Friends Hour
Followed by The World's Greatest Super Friends

Challenge of the Superfriends is an American animated television series about a team of superheroes which ran from September 9, 1978, to December 23, 1978, on ABC. The complete series (16 episodes) was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions for Warner Bros. Television and is based on the Justice League and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics and created by Julius Schwartz, Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky. It was the third series of Super Friends cartoons, following the original Super Friends in 1973 and The All-New Super Friends Hour in 1977. It continued to air on Boomerang in the United States until February 2, 2009.


First segment[edit]

As originally aired, this season an adventure with Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Wonder Twins, similar to those that had aired the previous season in The All-New Super Friends Hour. Thanks to these episodes being shown using the opening credits of the All-New Super Friends Hour in syndication.

Second segment[edit]

The second segment of this season featured Challenge of the Super Friends was a 16 episode series that came the closest to the comic books. Not only did Challenge have the Justice League of America, it was the first official Super Friends series to feature DC Super Villains from the comics. And this series had 13 of them together as an alliance called the Legion of Doom. Superman foes like Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Toyman, and Bizarro, and Batman foes like the Riddler and Scarecrow. The Legion of Doom dwelled in a murky swamp and launched their attacks for global conquest from a sinister looking, swamp-based, mechanical, flying headquarters, called the Hall of Doom (which resembled Darth Vader’s helmet) as a suitable contrast with the Super Friends' gleaming Hall of Justice. Every week, the Legion schemed to either get rid of or destroy the Super Friends so they can conquer the world. The Super Friends themselves consisted of 11 Justice League heroes. [1] the first segment alone being used with the Challenge of Super Friends opening, and confused references to the show[2] it is often mistakenly believed that the first and second segments were two separate shows.

Production background[edit]

Early development[edit]

When the Challenge of the Super Friends season was originally conceived, it was named "Battle of the Super Friends" and featured the introduction of Captain Marvel to the Super Friends. The group that challenged the heroes was called the "League of Evil", led by Marvel's nemesis Doctor Sivana. However, Filmation produced Shazam! and The New Adventures of Batman which prevented the use of characters such as Mister Atom, King Kull, Beautia Sivana, Joker, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and Catwoman. Early conceptual art drawn by Alex Toth would also include Heat Wave, Poison Ivy, and Abra Kadabra.[3]

Narration, music and character designs[edit]

Bill Woodson provides the uncredited voice of the narrator in Challenge of the Super Friends, and the opening narration was by Stanley Jones. The show's main theme and original music was composed and arranged by musical director Hoyt Curtin. The music supervisor was Paul DeKorte. Character designs for this particular Super Friends series were done by Andre LeBlanc.

Team composition experimentation[edit]

Hanna-Barbera's writers experimented with team composition as well. Challenge of the Super Friends added The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), and Hawkman (Katar Hol) who were members of the Justice League of America, as well as several new characters: Black Vulcan (who was based on the DC Comics character Black Lightning), Apache Chief, and Samurai. These characters were created to add racial and cultural diversity to the show (this was also mentioned in some of the episode introduction extras on the first two Challenge of the Super Friends DVDs).


Super Friends/Justice League of America[edit]

Eleven heroes make up the Super Friends/Justice League of America. They are:


Legion of Doom[edit]

Thirteen villains comprise the Legion of Doom during the Challenge of the Super Friends season. They are:


Despite the claim in the program's title sequence that the Legion's members hail from "remote galaxies", only Brainiac and Sinestro are extraterrestrials; the remaining members are all natives of Earth (Even though Bizarro called Bizarro World home he was created by Lex Luthor via duplicator ray on Earth technically making him a 'native' of Earth). Solomon Grundy is a zombie, an animated dead person, as the episode Monolith of Evil makes clear. In History of Doom, even Solomon Grundy supposedly dies from the solar flare.


  • Jack Angel - Flash, Hawkman, Samurai, Professor Nikaido (in "Journey Through Inner Space"), Fort Knox Guard (in "Wanted: The Super Friends"), Japanese Distress Caller (in "Monolith of Evil"), soldier (in "Super Friends: Rest in Peace")
  • Marlene Aragon - Cheetah, Hera (in "Battle of the Gods")
  • Lewis Bailey -
  • Michael Bell - Riddler, Zan, Gleek, Fearians (in "Invasion of the Fearians"), Rom-Lock (in "Terror From the Phantom Zone"), Young Lex Luthor (in "History of Doom"), Pete (in "Trial of the Super Friends"), Sphinx (in "Battle of the Gods"), Dr. Tomokawa (in "Journey Through Inner Space")
  • Bill Callaway - Aquaman, Bizarro, The Capricorn Kid (in "Batman: Dead or Alive"), Bizarro Alfred Pennyworth (in "Wanted: The Super Friends"), Robot Gangsters (in "The Rise and Fall of the Superfriends")
  • Ted Cassidy - Brainiac, Black Manta, Barlocks (in "Conquerors from the Future"), Diamond Exchange Man (in "Super Friends: Rest in Peace"), British soldier (in "The Giants of Doom"), Gorilla Guard (in "Revenge on Gorilla City")
  • Melanie Chartoff -
  • Henry Corden - Dr. Varga (in "Invasion of the Brain Creatures"), Brain Creature Leader (in "Invasion of the Brain Creatures") Torahna (in "The World Beneath the Ice")
  • Danny Dark - Superman, Commissioner James Gordon (in "Super Friends: Rest in Peace"), Superboy (in "History of Doom"), U.S. Mint Guard (in "Wanted: The Super Friends"), Man in Car (in "Monolith of Evil"), Radar Engineer (in "Doomsday")
  • Al Fann - Young Apache Chief (in "History of Doom")
  • Shannon Farnon - Wonder Woman, Aphrodite (in "Secret Origins of the Super Friends"), Hippolyta, Empress Zana (in "The World's Deadliest Game"), Swiss Scientist #2 (in "Attack of the Vampire"), Medusa (in "Battle of the Gods"), Timora (in "Conquerors of the Future"), Lois Lane (in "Super Friends: Rest in Peace"), Raymara (in "The World Beneath the Ice"), Dr. Brooks (in "Invasion of the Brain Creatures")
  • Ruth Forman - Giganta
  • Bob Hastings -
  • Bob Holt - Count Dracula (in "Attack of the Vampire"), Logar (in "Terror From the Phantom Zone"), Gormack (in "The World Beneath the Ice"), Ozar (in "The World Beneath the Ice"), Correl (in "The World Beneath the Ice"), Telegraph operator (in "Batman: Dead or Alive"), Zeus (in "Battle of the Gods"), Invisible Man (in "Battle of the Gods")
  • Buster Jones - Black Vulcan, U.N. Representative (in "Trial of the Super Friends"), Plutonium Plant Guard (in "Swamp of the Living Dead"), Skier (in "Fairy Tale of Doom"), Galactic Policeman (in "Doomsday"), Admiral Brighton (in "Sinbad and the Space Pirates")
  • Stan Jones - Lex Luthor, Opening Narration, Caesar (in "The Time Trap"), Evil Being (in "Swamp of the Living Dead"), Giant (in "Fairy Tale of Doom"), Hul (in "Terror from the Phantom Zone"), Jonathan Kent (in "Secret Origins of the Super Friends"), Jor-El (in "Secret Origins of the Super Friends"), Lord Darkon (in "Demons of Exxor"), Camelot Knight (in "The Time Trap"), Sinbad (in "Sinbad and the Space Pirates"), Fort Knox Guard (in "Wanted: The Super Friends"), Knight (in "The Time Trap"), Townsman #2 (in "Trial of the Super Friends"), Gorilla Guard (in "Revenge on Gorilla City"), Scotland Yard Man (in "Conquerors of the Future"), Manatoo (in "History of Doom"), Toran (in "The Incredible Space Circus")
  • Casey Kasem - Robin, JLA Computer, Colorado Soldier (in "Super Friends: Rest in Peace"), Man from Parthenon (in "The Giants of Doom"), Swiss Scientist #1 (in "Attack of the Vampire"), Subway Switchman (in "Conquerors of the Future"), Likan (in "Conquerors of the Future"), Professor Charleston (in "The Rise and Fall of the Superfriends")
  • Don Messick - Scarecrow, Astronauts (in "Giants of Doom"), Domed City Ruler (in "Conquerors from the Future"), Fear-Gassed Gorilla (in "Revenge on Gorilla City"), Vartoo (in "The Final Challenge"), Mocking Kryptonian (in "Secret Origins of the Super Friends"), Ground Quake Kryptonian (in "Secret Origins of the Super Friends"), Plutonium Plant Guard (in "Swamp of the Living Dead"), White Rabbit (in "Fairy Tale of Doom")
  • Vic Perrin - Sinestro, Dr. Starns (in "The Anti-Matter Monster"), Turkish Engineer (in "The Anti-Matter Monster"), Professor Reed (in "The Rise and Fall of the Superfriends"), Frankenstein Monster (in "The Rise and Fall of the Superfriends")
  • Renny Roker -
  • Stanley Ralph Ross - Gorilla Grodd, Nar-Tan (in "Doomsday"), Old Indian (in "History of Doom"), Space Pirate at Easter Island (in "Sinbad and the Space Pirates"), Minotaur (in "Battle of the Gods")
  • Dick Ryal - Captain Cold, Hall of Doom Computer, Abin Sur (in "Secret Origins of the Super Friends"), Captain Nemo's Sailor (in "Fairy Tale of Doom"), Gorilla Tracker (in "Revenge on Gorilla City")
  • Michael Rye - Green Lantern, Apache Chief, Outer Galaxy Region Ruler (in "Conquerors from the Future"), Solovar (in "Revenge on Gorilla City"), Plutonium Plant Guard (in "Swamp of the Living Dead"), Sinbad's First Mate (in "Sinbad and the Space Pirates")
  • Olan Soule - Batman, Astronaut (in "The World's Deadliest Game"), Vol (in "Demons of Exxor"), Fort Knox Guard (in "Wanted: The Super Friends"), Scientist (in "The Time Trap"), Townsman #1 (in "Trial of the Super Friends"), Subway Engineer (in "Conquerors of the Future"), Train Passenger (in "Conquerors of the Future")
  • Jimmy Weldon - Solomon Grundy
  • Frank Welker - Toyman, Lilliputians (in "Fairy Tale of Doom"), Rokan (in "Rokan: Enemy from Space"), Mister Mxyzptlk (in "The Rise and Fall of the Super Friends"), Wind-Up Baby (in "The World's Deadliest Game"), Wind-Up Cat (in "The World's Deadliest Game"), Gorilla Child (in "Revenge on Gorilla City"), Mort (in "Conquerors of the Future")
  • Liberty Williams - Jayna, Aphrodite (in "Battle of the Gods"), Young Giganta (in "History of Doom")
  • Bill Woodson - Narrator, Perry White (in "Super Friends: Rest in Peace"), Rayno (in "History of Doom"), Captain Nemo (in "Fairy Tale of Doom"), Admiral Hubbard (in "Doomsday"), Pierre Marcel (in "Battle at the Earth's Core"), Dr. Willardson (in "The Incredible Space Circus"), Sheriff (in "Batman: Dead or Alive")


See: List of Super Friends episodes

DVD release[edit]

Warner Home Video originally released this season of Super Friends on two separate DVDs on June 1, 2004, the first one being Challenge of the Super Friends: Attack of the Legion of Doom, which featured the "Challenge" segments, and the second being Challenge of the Super Friends: United They Stand, which featured the Super Friends segments. Both DVDs only featured four episodes. The first season was re-released as Challenge of the Super Friends: The First Season on July 6, 2004.

Title Type Ep No. Release date
Challenge of the Super Friends The First Season 16 July 6, 2004


Cartoon Network produced a couple of commercials spoofing Challenge of the Super Friends.

  • One dealt with the idiosyncratic nature of the Legion of Doom and Brainiac's odd manner of dress (Brainiac: "Look, I just want some pants...a decent pair of pants!" Solomon Grundy: "Solomon Grundy want pants, too!").
  • The second, co-starring The Powerpuff Girls, dealt with Aquaman's powers (Aquaman: "My ability to talk to fish is of no use to us, Wonder Woman!") as well as the level of violence compared to today's cartoons, as Wonder Woman and Aquaman look away while the Powerpuff Girls beat up the Legion of Doom, going so far as to set the Scarecrow on fire. Most notably was Bubbles' double-entendre reply to Wonder Woman's compliment on how they were developing as superheroes. "Someday we'll be as developed as you." Lex Luthor, as a villain with a dirty mind, began laughing. His underlings understood the joke and laughed as well. When a piece of the Hall of Doom's ceiling fell on Luthor's head, everyone laughed.

In 2003, Cartoon Network Latin America aired the spoof series The Aquaman & Friends Action Hour that starred Aquaman as a children's television show host and the Legion of Doom as his bankrupt villains.

Legends of the Superheroes[edit]

The two NBC televised live-action specials of Legends of the Superheroes produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions was based largely on Challenge of the Super Friends while featuring Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshin of the 1966 Batman television series fame (West would go on to voice Batman in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians). The Justice League starred Batman, Robin, Captain Marvel, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Huntress, and Black Canary against the Legion of Doom which featured Mordru leading Doctor Sivana, Riddler, Giganta, Sinestro, Weather Wizard, and Solomon Grundy (Superman, Wonder Woman, and their associate characters were absent due to the Superman film and Wonder Woman television series licensing the rights, respectively).

DC Super Friends[edit]

Despite using the main theme from The World's Greatest Super Friends, the 2010 DC Super Friends "The Joker's Playhouse" shares several elements of its opening sequence with Challenge of the Super Friends including introducing the Legion of Doom.[4]

Robot Chicken DC Comics Special[edit]

The opening sequence of the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special parodies the opening of Challenge of the Super Friends with the Legion of Doom substituted for Robot Chicken original characters Chicken, Mad Scientist, Nerd, Humping Robot, Composite Santa, Gummy Bear, the Unicorn, and Bitch Puddin'. The Legion of Doom, Hall of Doom, and Hall of Justice also feature prominently in the episode.


  1. ^ Michael C. Rupprecht. "Hanna-Barbera Superfriends Chronology". Archived from the original on January 28, 2008. Retrieved 2016-06-01. 
  2. ^ McNeil, Alex (1997). Total Television Book and CD-ROM. Penguin (Non-Classics). ISBN 0-14-026737-9. 
  3. ^ Nobleman, Marc Tyler (29 July 2011). "Super '70s and '80s: "Super Friends"—Darrell McNeil, animator". Noblemania. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "DC SUPER FRIENDS™ The Joker's Playhouse DVD Episode | Imaginext | Fisher Price". YouTube. 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2016-06-01. 

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