Harvey Birdman is a fictional character based on the superhero Birdman from the Hanna-Barbera show Birdman and the Galaxy Trio. He is depicted as a depressed and awkward prospective host on Space Ghost Coast to Coast and an attorney on Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.
Birdman and the Galaxy Trio
On the 1960s Hanna-Barbera show Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, Birdman was the main character of two out of three of the show's segments. This incarnation of Birdman was voiced by Keith Andes, and he did not use the name Harvey. Instead, Birdman's real name, in the show, was Raymond "Ray" Randall. The original Birdman was a regular, non-comedic super-hero with an eagle sidekick named Avenger. His powers came from the energy of the sun's rays, and he was able to fly using his wings.
Space Ghost Coast to Coast
In the 1990s Cartoon Network decided to base new comedy shows on older characters (although in many cases, that simply meant creating a more or less original character sharing their basic name and appearance). Their earliest show of this style was Space Ghost Coast to Coast, where Birdman appeared in four episodes, voiced by Scott Finnel. On the show he was portrayed comically; depressed, out-of-work, and desperate for money. Birdman hosted the show in the episodes "Pilot" and "Sequel," and was fired on both occasions. It was here revealed, contradicting the original Birdman show, that his first name was Harvey.
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
Birdman later got his own show, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, now voiced by Gary Cole. In the show, Harvey is a defense attorney, and his clients are generally classic Hanna-Barbera characters given new roles (Fred Flintstone appears, for example, as a mafia don, and Boo-Boo Bear is accused in one episode of being a mad bomber). Many of Birdman's former associates and enemies appear on the show in supporting roles (the character Reducto, now given the first name Myron, regularly appears as a prosecuting attorney, and Mentok the Mind-Taker judges cases from late Season One onward). Instead of being a clever superhero, this version of Birdman is portrayed as a semi-competent, bungling lawyer, although among the show's increasingly outlandish cast of characters, he is often the straight man.
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- "Birdman and the Galaxy Trio: The Complete Series", DVD Talk (accessed 2013-02-01).
- Ted Loos, "TELEVISION/RADIO; When Superheroes Sue: The Second Career of Birdman", The New York Times, July 07, 2002.