The Herculoids

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The Herculoids
Herculoid logo.jpg
The Herculoids title card.
Genre Animated series
Created by Alex Toth
Directed by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voices of Mike Road
Virginia Gregg
Ted Eccles
Don Messick
Composer(s) Ted Nichols
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 18 (36 segments, 1967–1969)
11 (1981–1982)
Production
Producer(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Running time 22 min. - two 11 min. segments (1967–1969)
6 min. segments of Space Stars (1981–1982)
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera Productions
Distributor Taft Broadcasting (original)
Worldvision Enterprises (former)
Great American Broadcasting (former)
Turner Program Services (former)
Warner Bros. Television (current)
Release
Original network CBS
Original release September 9, 1967 – January 6, 1968
Chronology
Related shows Space Stars
Website

The Herculoids is an American Saturday-morning animated-cartoon television series, created and designed by Alex Toth, that was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. The show debuted on September 9, 1967 on CBS.[1] Hanna-Barbera produced one season for the original airing of the show, although the original 18 episodes were rerun during the 1968–69 television season, with The Herculoids ending its run on September 6, 1969. Eleven new episodes were produced in 1981 as part of the Space Stars show. The plotlines are rooted in science fiction, and have story direction and content similar to Jonny Quest and Space Ghost.

This series is set on the distant planet Amzot (renamed Quasar in the later series Space Stars, with which it otherwise shared a continuity). The name "Amzot" was first mentioned in the Space Ghost episode "The Molten Monsters of Moltar" (in which the Herculoids made a brief guest appearance) and in the series proper in the "Time Creatures" episode.

Characters[edit]

There are eight regular characters who make up the Herculoids:

The Herculoids[edit]

Humanoids[edit]

The three humanoid characters were the only ones who could communicate in English.

  • Zandor (voiced by Mike Road) - The protector of Amzot/Quasar, and leader of The Herculoids.
  • Tara (voiced by Virginia Gregg) - Zandor's wife.
  • Dorno (voiced by Ted Eccles in the original series, Sparky Marcus in 1981) - Son of Zandor and Tara. Despite being their son, he still refers to them by their first names, rather than "Mother" and "Father." However this changed in the 80's revival of the series.

Creatures[edit]

The five creature characters of The Herculoids are:

  • Zok (voiced by Mike Road) - A flying space dragon. He can emit laser beams from his eyes and tail. His eyes also produce a "nega-beam" that can neutralize certain energy attacks. Zok can survive in space unaided, is capable of interstellar travel, and can breathe fire.
  • Igoo (voiced by Mike Road) - A rock ape. An extremely large and powerful simian, he has extremely dense rock-like skin and is nearly invulnerable to harm. In one episode, Igoo wades through a pond of molten lava. Igoo has a kind and gentle temperament as well as a great fondness and devotion for Tara, and would do anything for her.
  • Tundro (voiced by Mike Road) - A ten-legged, four-horned rhino/triceratops hybrid. He can shoot explosive energy rocks from his cannon-horn (Zandor, Tara, and Dorno also occasionally shoot similar rocks with slingshots). His natural armor-plating is exceptionally strong, similar to Igoo's rock skin. His legs have the ability to extend to a remarkable length, somewhat like stilts. He can also spin his head at blinding speed, allowing him to drill through solid rock, and has the ability to make magnificent leaps.
  • Gloop and Gleep (both voiced by Don Messick) - Two protoplasmic creatures. They are able to absorb and deflect energy blasts and laser beams, often placing themselves between attackers and other Herculoids to act as shields. They can also form shapes including, but not limited to: cushions, trampolines or parachutes to break falls; stretching themselves between tree limbs or rocks to act as slingshots; encircling an attacker's limbs to restrain them, or the entire body to squeeze and render them unconscious. Gloop is the larger of the two.

Legacy[edit]

After its initial run, The Herculoids was featured in several anthology wheel series produced by Hanna-Barbara including Hanna–Barbera's World of Super Adventure, Space Stars (for which 11 additional episodes were created), and both the Cartoon Network and Boomerang incarnations of Super Adventures. The series has also influenced other artists of various mediums. Award-winning video game designer David Crane has stated that he enjoyed the series as a child and that the character of Blobert from the A Boy and His Blob franchise was directly inspired by Gloop and Gleep.[2] Jamaican American DJ DJ Kool Herc at one time employed a backing band which also drew its name from the show, fictionalized versions of which appear in the Netflix period series The Get Down.

Cameos[edit]

Roughly contemporaneous to their own series premiere, the Herculoids made an appearance in an episode of Space Ghost, "The Molten Monsters of Moltar" (sources are unclear and/or inconsistent as to exact airdates). In the "Council of Doom" story arc, Space Ghost, while battling the combined might of all of his enemies, meets a number of Hanna-Barbera heroes just as they were debuting in their own respective series. Along with the Herculoids were Shazzan, Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor, the last two sharing one series. Several episodes of Space Ghost Coast to Coast mention or show the Herculoids. In "Lawsuit", Space Ghost mentions the Herculoids planet. In the episode "Sequel", he goes to their planet and refers to it as a "rotten hippie monster commune" after they demand he leave while pelting him with stones.[3] Gloop is mentioned by name and features prominently in the Sealab 2021 episode "Hail, Squishface". Gloop makes several guest appearances on Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law as well. Gleep is mentioned at one point but he does make cameos in "Mindless" and "Juror in Court", and Zok makes an appearance in "Peanut Pubeerty" (Phil Ken Sebben throws a graph chart at him).

Tundro makes an appearance in "Beyond the Valley of the Dinosaurs" firing his energy rocks at Phil Ken Sebben, who forgot to close the hot tub time portal to prehistoric times, Tara appears on the evolution chart in between Fred Flintstone and Race Bannon in "Evolutionary War". The Herculoids is mentioned in an episode of The Venture Bros., where an old "fan letter" of Dr. Venture to the show is discovered. Upon reading, the letter is revealed to be more akin to hate mail; young Rusty Venture called the Herculoids hippies for not fighting in Vietnam. Tundro and Gloop appear in an episode of Family Guy, "8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter". In the scene, Gloop fails to get a babysitting job from Lois. In protest, Tundro shows up and fires his energy rocks at Lois. (NOTE: The Herculoids is owned by Hanna–Barbera, not FOX parent News Corp..) Gloop and Gleep appeared in a cameo as captured prisoners of a hostile alien race in the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Mis-Placed in Space".

In other media[edit]

Comic books[edit]

Super TV Heroes #1 (1968) displayed the Herculoids among other Hanna-Barbera characters on its cover.
The Herculoids on the cover of Cartoon Network Presents #17 (1999).

The Herculoids have appeared in various comic books through the years. In 1968-1969 they appeared in issues #1-2, and issues #4-7 of the series Hanna-Barbera Super TV Heroes. In 1978 they appeared in issue #3 of the Marvel Comics series TV Stars. Between 1997–1999 they appeared in issues #5, #9, #13 and #17 of the DC Comics series Cartoon Network Presents.[4]

Episodes[edit]

Original series[edit]

Each show featured two Herculoids episodes.

Episode Title Original air date Synopsis
1 The Pirates September 9, 1967 After killing two creatures with a treasure chest, pirates bury it on Amzot when the Herculoids approach; Dorno is captured and held hostage.
2 Sarko the Arkman September 9, 1967 Sarko (pronounced Arko in this episode) captured Igoo for unknown reasons, attacked Zandor with poisonous gas, and captured Dorno and Tundro as well.
3 The Pod Creatures September 16, 1967 An alien spacecraft hovers over Amzot, ordering the pod creatures to destroy all forms of life. The pods then drop onto the planet. Meanwhile, Dorno, Igoo and Gleep, on a mission to get firewood, see the pod creatures as the covers open up and start attacking the trio.
4 Mekkor September 16, 1967 A group of powerful robots, led by a larger robot, attack the Herculoids.
5 The Beaked People September 23, 1967 Krokar, leader of the Beaked People, staged an invasion on the winged monkeys, purposely letting one escape so he can capture Zandor and rule Amzot. (Note: This was the only episode in the 1967 version where Dorno refers to Zandor and Tara as dad and mom; even in this episode Dorno reverts to calling Zandor by his name. In the 1981 revival series Dorno refers to Zandor and Tara as father and mother.)
6 The Raiders September 23, 1967 Sta-Lak (then unnamed) flew over Amzot; upon seeing Zandor and Zok, Sta-Lak turned his ship invisible to avoid detection, with the intent of taking Tara prisoner.
7 The Mole Men September 30, 1967 After being woken up by a bird, Zandor investigates Marcon and the Mole Men's plans to invade the surface world, saving a condemned prisoner in the process. Meanwhile, other Mole Men are attacking the Herculoids.
8 The Lost Dorgyte September 30, 1967 Zandor rescues a young boy from a vulture; the Herculoids then take the boy back to his heavily-shadowed home because he can not live in sunlight. The insect-looking creatures attack the Herculoids on their way out.
9 The Spider Man October 7, 1967 A group of spider creatures kidnap Dorno, then try doing the same with Tara. Gloop saves her while Gleep blows a horn beckoning the Herculoids to action. Zandor briefly freed Dorno with his shield but was soon captured with Dorno. After a stalemate Zandor calls the Herculoids to action for one concentrated attack. (Note: this was the first time that the Herculoids were referred to in name within the episode.)
10 The Android People October 7, 1967 Zandor was captured by Gorvac, leader of the Android People, and created a giant evil clone of Zandor with plans to create an army of Zandor clones.
11 Defeat of Ogron October 14, 1967 Andropon and his robots invade Amzot, where the Herculoids easily defeat them. After Andropon continuously threatens to build replacement robot armies (and Zandor continuously vows to defeat said armies), Andropon pits his top warrior Ogron against Zandor and Zok.
12 Prisoners of the Bubblemen October 14, 1967 Brotak and his Bubblemen kidnap Zandor and Tara for the purpose of using them as scientific experiments.
13 Mekkano, the Machine Master October 21, 1967 Trained machines break Mekkano out of an intergalactic prison, where he vows to destroy the ones who put him in prison: Zandor and the Herculoids.
14 Tiny World of Terror October 21, 1967 Torrak shrinks the Herculoids down to microscopic size for the purpose of destroying them with his super-powered microbes and then enslaving the galaxy.
15 The Gladiators of Kyanite October 28, 1967 After destroying the last wild creature of Kyanite, Neron and his gladiators capture Tundro. Zandor and Zok, followed by the rest of the Herculoids, arrive at the arena to rescue Tundro and fight the gladiators.
16 Temple of Trax October 28, 1967 The unnamed high priest of Trax kidnaps Tara in order to use as a sacrifice for the idol Trax, cutting off the Herculoids in their rescue attempt. Can Zandor and Zok, who are miles away, get to Trax in time?
17 The Time Creatures November 4, 1967 Oton, leader of the Time Creatures, has determined that in order to rule the world, he has to change Amzot's past, starting with destroying the Herculoids and altering time in his favor.
18 The Raider Apes November 4, 1967 Gotron and his Raider Apes burn a village in search of gold. The Herculoids come to the villagers' aid.
19 The Zorbots November 11, 1967 A terrible wind storm was raging on Amzot. However, Zandor noticed that winds on the left side of a canyon were aiming right, while winds were the opposite direction on the right side. Zandor and the Herculoids investigated, as Konar was destroying Amzot's atmosphere to replace it with his own. Konar sent his henchmen, who were either killed or injured by the Herculoids. As Zandor confronted Konar, Konar brought out the giant Zorbots to take on the Herculoids. Zandor chose to surrender in order to destroy the wind machine from within and, when successful, battle the Zorbots.
20 Invasion of the Electrode Men November 11, 1967 Volton and his Electrode Men flew into a volcanic crater, setting up a dome headquarters to take over Amzot. The Herculoids were easily defeating them until Volton took Tara and Dorno prisoner. Zandor and the Herculoids had to wait until nightfall, when the Electrode Men's power was weakened.
21 Destroyer Ants November 18, 1967 A lightning storm awakens a nest of giant ant eggs. These oversized alien army ants cause havoc and destruction that Zandor and the Herculoids must put an end to.
22 Swamp Monster November 18, 1967 A hideous monster emerges from a swamp and goes on a rampage, destroying anything it comes in contact with by its radioactive touch. It eventually traps Dorno and Gleep in a cave, and it's up to Zandor and the rest of the Herculoids to rescue them and defeat the creature.
23 Mission of the Amatons November 25, 1967 Amak and the Amatons come to the planet and place control collars on some animals. When their efforts to enslave the Herculoids fail, Amak tries to kill them. Gloop and Gleep save the day by turning Amak's stun turret on him, causing his ship to crash.
24 Queen Skorra November 25, 1967 Queen Skorra unleashes a mud/lava creature which they eventually defeat but Skorra plans to force them into exile by sending her drones to capture Gleep, Gloop, Tara, and Dorno. They defend themselves long enough for Zandor and the others to return and drive off the drones. Skorra launches a mega-shield missile and closes the mega-circle to destroy everyone but Tundro creates a smokescreen while the others make a tunnel to escape and then send Skorra running.
25 Laser Lancers December 2, 1967 The story starts with Zandor knocked out by the Laser Lancers and the Herculoids coming to the rescue. Magoth and the Lancers send a new wave of attackers which the Herculoids repel but it is a ploy to take Dorno and Tara hostage. With Gleep's help they seal off the tunnel the Lancers used to sneak up and repel them once and for all.
26 Attack of the Faceless People December 2, 1967 The princess Serena of the Sun People arrives on Amzot, being pursued by Darkon of the Faceless People. Darkon wants Serena so he can control her people. The Herculoids successfully drive him off but not before he captures Zara. Zandor agrees to a swap but substitutes a berobed Gleep for Serena and they destroy Darkon's palace from the inside.
27 The Mutoids December 9, 1967 A ship crash lands on Amzot with a sole occupant on board. Zandor offers assistance and the passenger turns out to be a Mutoid, a race who can change their appearance to anything. The Mutoids plan to use Amzot as a launching site for their missiles to fool their enemies. Can Zandor and the Herculoids stop them in time?
28 The Crystallites December 9, 1967 A meteor crash lands on Azmot and transforms into a giant crystalline object. Zandor investigates and is attacked by the Crystallites while Tara and Dorno are captured in crystal cells. Zandor, Gloop, and Gleep steal uniforms and sneak into the fortress and free Dorno and Tara. Gloop and Zok destroy Kryton's ship and he is defeated.
29 Return of Sta-Lak December 16, 1967 Sta-Lak returns to Amzot seeking vengeance and equipped with robot duplicates of Igoo, Zok, and Tundro. He captures Dorno and Tara and Zandor and the others are forced to go into his volcano lair. The robot duplicates prove no match to the originals even though the robot Igoo can spin at high speeds and has multiple arms, and the mecho-Tundro can fly. Sta-Lak enters a bubble and flees into a volcanic lavahole.
30 Revenge of the Pirates December 16, 1967 The pirate captain and his crew from "The Pirates" returns. Using an image transmitter, the captain immobilizes Zandor and the Herculoids and takes Dorno and Tara prisoner. Zok uses his neutralizing eye beams to free them and then Gloop finds the real Dorno and Tara from the transmitted images and the Herculoids launch a new assault. The captain tries to escape and Gloop blocks his escape missile tube, causing the ship to explode.
31 Ruler of the Reptons December 23, 1967 Tara is captured by the Reptons, who place her in a mind control device to make her their evil queen. She orders her people to destroy Zandor and the Herculoids, who beat them and go to rescue Tara. The Reptons send the Destructo Bats after them, but they escape, recover Tara, free her from the machine's influence, and destroy the Reptons' underground lair.
32 The Antidote December 23, 1967 While investigating panic among the Monkey People, Zandor confronts a giant spider and is bitten and poisoned. Dorno must go to the six-legged mustachioed Spider People within the Endless Caves with the Herculoids to get the only known antidote. The Spider People capture Dorno to hold him hostage. The Herculoids eventually stage a rescue, get the antidote, and block the Spider People's caves to cover their escape.
33 Attack from Space December 30, 1967 Amzot is being bombarded by the planet Luvanuum. Zaygot and his henchmen are trying to destroy Azmot. The Herculoids travel to Luvanuum in a ship captured from Sarco. When they land their ship is destroyed and they are attacked by winged sentries with deadly laser beams. The Herculoids destroy Zaygot's base and he escapes - they use Zaygot's ship to return to Amzot.
34 The Return of Torrak December 30, 1967 Torrak returns and sends out a giant fly to capture Tara. The Herculoids follow and discover that Torrak's warrior microorganisms are now larger and more formidable but defeat them anyway.
35 The Island of the Gravites January 6, 1968 Zandor and Dorno rescue a man floating in the river who says he is from Gravite Island and tells them that a villain has taken over the island. The Herculoids go to investigate and are attacked by giant gravite creatures. The creatures are being created by Lotak who wants the village because of its large deposits of gravite. Zok destroys the machine Lotak uses to make his creatures and Lotak is destroyed when his energy ray backfires.
36 Malak and the Metal Apes January 6, 1968 Malak sends his Metal Apes to attack the Sea People. Dorno is shot off of Zok by one of the creatures. Zandor and the Herculoids destroy the Metal Apes. A damaged Metal Ape returns to Malak's headquarters and is followed by the Herculoids. The Herculoids destroy the remaining Metal Apes and Zok causes a steel beam to fall on Malak and his assistant.

Space Stars revival[edit]

Episode Title Original air date Synopsis
1 The Ice Monster September 12, 1981 Dorno is feeling depressed when Zandor treats him like a child because of his size and age. Meanwhile, an ancient indestructible robotic monster emerges from a block of ice.
2 The Purple Menace September 19, 1981 Glowing purple rocks have brought to life purple vines which cause havoc.
3 The Firebird September 26, 1981 A volcano erupts, revealing a firebird creature who has taken up residency in the volcano's crater and threatens the Herculoids.
4 The Energy Creature October 3, 1981 A meteorite containing an energy creature lands on Quasar. When it imprisons creatures in its coils, it takes on their form and properties also.
5 The Snake Riders October 10, 1981 Dorno and Gleep discover a plot by the Snake Riders to take over the planet. The Herculoids must stop the plans for planetary conquest.
6 The Buccaneer October 17, 1981 The Buccaneer and his band of pirates arrive on Quasar to look for buried treasure.
7 The Thunderbolt October 24, 1981 Saiju, a creature with a voracious appetite, comes upon some electrical-charged rocks and turns into a living electrical monster after eating them. The Herculoids learn that the effects of those rocks are temporary and try to revert Saiju to normal.
8 Return of the Ancients October 31, 1981 The descendents/survivors of a highly developed race that was wiped out on Quasar return to the planet after a 1,000-year mission, and they are not happy to find out their civilization is gone.
9 Space Trappers November 7, 1981 Space Trappers arrive on Quasar and capture the Herculoids for their intergalactic circus.
10 The Invisibles November 14, 1981 A chunk of magnilite lands in the Lost Lake of Quasar. Before long, the Herculoids go up against enemies that they cannot see. Zandor soon learns from the Zelos King Zel that his son Eezo and his followers might be the culprits.
11 Mindbender November 21, 1981 While playing, Dorno, Gloop, and Gleep discover and unearth a metal cylinder which contains a big-brained alien. When they release him, he reveals himself to be a member of race that ruled Quasar thousands of years ago. The Herculoids try to recapture the Mindbender.

Voices[edit]

The Herculoids in other languages[edit]

  • French: Les Défenseurs interplanétaires
  • Chinese: 宇宙泰山 The show was introduced by ATV in Hong Kong as "宇宙泰山" in traditional Chinese or Cantonese, which stands for Tarzan in Space or Universe.
  • Italian: Gli Erculoidi
  • Portuguese: Os Herculóides
  • Spanish: Los Defensores Interplanetarios (The Interplanetary Defenders) or Spanish: Los Herculoides (The Herculoids)
  • Hungarian: A Herkuloidák
  • Japanese: 怪獣王ターガン Kaijû Ô Tâgan (Monster King Targan)
  • The characters' names in Japan were Targan (Zandor), Marmi (Tara), Kane (Dorno), Maryû (Zok), Rikira (Igoo), Tangurô (Tundro), Hyûhyû (Gloop) and Bôbô (Gleep).
  • Welsh: Sandor. The cartoon was dubbed into Welsh and transmitted during Yr Awr Fawr (The Big Hour) on Sunday mornings. Originally shown on BBC2 Wales and then BBC1 Wales in the late 1970s and 1980s, this was before the introduction of the Welsh language channel S4C in 1982.

Home Media releases[edit]

On June 14, 2011, Warner Archive released The Herculoids: The Complete Original Animated Series on DVD in region 1 as part of their Hanna–Barbera Classics Collection. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and Amazon.com.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Markstein, Don (2007). "The Herculoids". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on June 19, 2014. Like the majority of Hanna-Barbera's late '60s adventure characters...The Herculoids were created by designer Alex Toth. 
  2. ^ G4 staff (April 10, 2009). "David Crane Interview Part 2: Pitfall and A Boy and His Blob in High Definition" (Flash video). G4. Retrieved September 29, 2009. 
  3. ^ Ghost Planet Central
  4. ^ The Herculoids (characters) at the Grand Comics Database
  5. ^ "The Herculoids - 'The Complete Series' DVDs: Packaging, Date, Cost and Extras". 

External links[edit]