The Impossibles (TV series)
The Impossibles was a series of animated cartoons produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1966 and aired on American television by CBS. The series of shorts (6 minutes) appeared as part of Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles.
The Impossibles were a trio of rock and roll musicians. When contacted by "Big D" (voiced by Paul Frees) about criminal activities in Empire City, they became superheroes. Like the Monkees, the group’s appearance (in their musician form) was based on 1960s pop star stereotypes, which included somewhat long hair, brightly colored (and matching) outfits, high-heeled boots, screaming female fans and, unlike the Monkees, no percussion or bass instruments. Nothing is known about their personal lives, although Fluid-Man once mentioned having an Aunt Tilly. They seemed to have secret identities though even a little child would have no trouble connecting the singing Impossibles to the hero Impossibles on appearance alone. They also seemed to change to their "secret identities" in front of the crowds they were playing to when given a mission.
Posing as a trio of young rock 'n roll musicians, the Impossibles were in reality super-powered crime fighters dedicated to battling evil supervillains of all shapes and sizes. When performing for their adoring fans (usually star-struck, screaming teeny boppers) the lads would play their mod, futuristic-looking guitars atop an equally futuristic bandstand (emblazoned with their "Impossibles" logo on the side, a la Ringo Starr's drumkit) that could convert into a car (the "Impossi-Mobile"), or a jet (the "Impossi-Jet"), a speedboat, or even a submarine. Their standard catch cry when called into action was "Rally ho!"
Their humorous dialogue was typically peppered with puns. As with many Hanna-Barbera characters, The Impossibles were topical and inspired by their times, in this case resembling the rock 'n roll groups of the mid-Sixties.
Each member of the Impossibles had a specific, and very visual superpower:
- Coil-Man (voiced by Hal Smith) - Short, barrel-chested and sporting a mod haircut, blond "Coily" could transform his arms and legs into impossibly stretchable or coiled springs, allowing him to bounce to avoid attacks, deliver long-range punches, or drill through walls. Coil-Man usually drove the Impossi-jet, and his guitar contained a small TV receiver through which "Big D" (voiced by Paul Frees, who also served as the voice over Narrator in almost every episode) could contact the group and deliver orders (Big D used Multi Man's guitar in "The Fiendish Dr Futuro," "Beamatron," and "The Diabolical Dauber"). Because of his presumably metal coils, Coily could be held in place by a super magnet, but could also conduct heat or electricity with his coils. He also hid in a closet disguised as a wire coat hanger, further implying that he was at least partially made of metal. Coil-Man's costume was purple and blue and included a purple mask and a cowl crested by a triangular fin.
- Fluid-Man (voiced by Paul Frees) - Dark-haired Fluid-Man, aka "Fluey", could morph parts (or all) of his body into a liquid form, a talent perfect for sneaking up on an enemy though a water faucet. He could also vaporize himself into a cloud or storm, but he could also be soaked up and trapped by a sponge ("Televisatron" and "Return of the Spinner"), or frozen solid inside a block of ice ("Not So Nice Mr. Ice"). Fluid-Man's costume resembled a lime green wetsuit complete with diver's mask and swimfins. Fluey's speaking style indicated that he was the beatnik of the group.
- Multi-Man (voiced by Don Messick) - Multi could create infinite duplicates of himself which were often destroyed, leaving only the original behind. His duplicates rarely, if ever, functioned independently, and were often used as camouflage, a bluff, for extra strength or transportation (he could fly by continuously creating replicas above himself). When duplicating himself, he could push tons of rocks out of the way or crack the block of solid concrete he and the others were entombed. The character had shaggy, orange hair that covered his eyes (his eyes, in fact, are never seen) and he usually held a shield for what seems decorative reasons. Multi showed the ability to repel bullets with his bare hand ("Fero, the Fiendish Fiddler"); (it is possible the artist may have accidentally left the shield undrawn). Multi-Man's angular, red and black costume resembled an stylized 'M', and included a short, triangular red cape. Favorite saying: "You got them all except the original." Multi bore a resemblance to the identical members of the singing group "The Way Outs" from The Flintstones.
Each episode usually began with the villain pulling off his improbable caper while the Impossibles are busy performing at a concert across town, where they are called into action by their chief, "Big D." After a series of funny super powered forays, the Impossibles would best the baddie, and usually return to finish their gig.
- The Spinner (voiced by Hal Smith) - A supervillain with spider-based powers, specifically web spinning. He is one of the villains to have more than one appearance. The first time was when he stole a million dollar tiara. The second was when he stole a poodle by the name of "Little Miss Muffet".
- Perilous Paper Doll Man (voiced by Don Messick) - A supervillain made of paper who has the ability to slip underneath locked doors, or fold himself into paper airplanes for a quick getaway. He is one of the villains to have more than one appearance. The first time was when he stole most of the top secret plans from the Pentagon and had to return there to get Plan X. The second time was when he was robbing hotels.
- Professor Stretch (voiced by Paul Frees) - A super-stretchy supervillain with elasticity powers. He is one of the villains to have more than one appearance. The first time was when he sabotaged a tank by using powder from a shaker that turns anything into rubber and in the end we see him being used as a basketball. The second time was when he created a monster made of rubber cooking chowder.
- Beamatron, the Laser Beam Man (voiced by Hal Smith) - A supervillain who shot laser beams from his fingers, lasers had short battery lives.
- The Bubbler (voiced by Don Messick) - A supervillain who kidnaps the young Shah of Shishkabob (voiced by Ginny Tyler) by sealing him in an unbreakable bubble. The Bubbler has an undersea hideout at the bottom of the ocean guarded by a giant attack octopus named Octavius. However, Multi ties Ocky into knots.
- The Burrower (voiced by Allen Melvin) - A supervillain who burrows under banks in order to pilfer the money inside. He has a henchman named Muddy (Hal Smith) who has a worm named Curly (Don Messick).
- Timeatron (voiced by Keye Luke) - A supervillain who can bring villains from the past to help him. These villains include Captain Kid (Paul Frees), Jesse James (Don Messick), and Goliath (Hal Smith). Timeatron goes to bring back Alexander the Great (Don Messick) but ends up trapped thanks to Multi destroying the time cabinet with an ax.
- Smogula (voiced by Alan Reed) - A supervillain who floats around in a rain cloud and wields a weather-controlling ray-gun.
- Sinister Speck (voiced by Hal Smith) - A supervillain who has a potion that lets him shrink and grow at will.
- Mother Gruesome (voiced by June Foray) - A female criminal that uses a machine that can bring villainous storybook characters to life. She has a pet crow named Cromwell (Don Messick).
- Fero, the Fiendish Fiddler (voiced by Don Messick) - A supervillain who, despite his attire making him look like a caricature of Nero, could send people and objects to anywhere he wished with a hi-tech violin.
- Diabolical Dauber (voiced by Paul Winchell) - A supervillain artist that brings to life anything that he paints.
- Televisitron (voiced by Hal Smith) - A supervillain who used a remote control to send his foes into various channels of the television to do them in.
- Aquator (voiced by Paul Winchell) - An underwater-based supervillain who steals a formula for changing the size of organisms in an attempt to create an army of giant-sized micro-organisms.
- Devilish Dragster (voiced by Paul Winchell) - A speedy car thief with a Boris Karloff accent who steals a diamond-encrusted car.
- The Puzzler - A supervillain (Paul Frees) who had the ability to change shape due to being a living puzzle. Notably, he is the only villain given an origin, as he mentions having fallen into a jigsaw-making machine which gave him his abilities.
- Satanic Surfer (voiced by Don Messick) - A supervillain that can surf and use a remote control ukulele.
- Scurrilous Sculptor (voiced by Lennie Weinrib) - A supervillain who carries a gun that fires quick-dry cement either turning people into statues or making instant rocks and walls.
- Scheming Spraysol (voiced by Hal Smith) - A supervillain with a spray nozzle helmet that sprays liquid or gas.
- Dastardly Diamond Dazzler (voiced by Alan Reed) - A villain in a turban who steals a diamond that contains a genie (Hal Smith).
- Terrible Twister (voiced by Don Messick) - A supervillain that is dress like a top with a propeller beanie who steals by spinning like a twister.
- Terrifying Tapper (voiced by Hal Smith) - A supervillain that can travel through telephone wires with his weapon, the deceminator which he used to send Coil Man to Ackbar the Martian (Don Messick) in his flying saucer and Multi Man to Captain Cutlass (Alan Reed) on his smuggling ship, the Sea Serpent.
- Anxious Angler (voiced by Don Messick) - A supervillain in a torpedo-shaped fish suit that steals with a fishing rod.
- Rascally Ringmaster (voiced by Hal Smith) - A villain who has circus performers as his henchmen.
- Infamous Mr. Instant (voiced by Paul Frees) - A scientist that has a gun that can create anything in an instant.
- Crafty Clutcher (voiced by Don Messick) - An inventive supervillain that has created remote-controlled gloves for clutching anything at a long distance.
- Not So Nice Mr. Ice (voiced by Hal Smith) - A supervillain that plans to conquer the city by freezing it with the help of his henchman Freezer (Don Messick).
- Bizarre Batter (voiced by Don Messick) - A supervillain that bases his crimes on baseball.
All villains were defeated in a timely manner and justice was always served. Some villains were made to serve a useful purpose and even went straight upon their capture:
- The Artful Archer (voiced by Paul Frees) - A supervillain who was dressed like Robin Hood. He decided to take up being a musician.
- Cronella Critch the Tricky Witch (voiced by Janet Waldo) - A witch who was robbing a charity-for-orphans party. She was turned into a cat due to a spell reversal by Multi-Man.
- Billy the Kidder (voiced by Hal Smith) - A futuristic western bandit that wanted to rob from the Mint. After serving his time he is seen as a rodeo clown.
- Dr. Futuro (voiced by Paul Frees) - A villain from the 40th century, who traveled to the 1960s in order to steal a gold brick to finance his crimes. He accidentally ran into an age-reversing machine, and was turned into a baby.
- The Insidious Inflator (voiced by Hal Smith) - A supervillain who attacked places with giant balloons that he brought to life by using a special ray-gun. He had served time and is seen selling balloons to children.
An ad for the Saturday morning cartoon lineup in comic books of the time referred to "the Bubbler," "Bratfink," and "The Sponge."
The Impossibles episodes were written by the great Warner Brothers story man Michael Maltese, who is known mostly for his work with director Chuck Jones.
- The Spinner (series premiere) - The Spinner steals a $1,000,000 tiara. Animation: Dick Lundy, Kenneth Muse.
- The Perilous Paper Doll - The Paper Doll Man has stolen a top secret plan and is out to steal the second part. Animation: William Keil,
- Beamatron - Beamatron steals a priceless painting from a ship. Animation: Dick Lundy (Opening Scene), Kenneth Muse,
- The Bubbler - The Bubbler kidnaps the Shah of Shish-Ka-Bob and it's up to the Impossible to rescue the Shah. Animation: Unknown Note: This Episode Marks the First Time Where The Narrator Says, And So the Singing Impossibles Suddenly Become, Coil Man, Multi Man, and Fluid man, Ready to do the impossible in the Cause of Justice.
- The Burrower - The Burrower uses his burrowing machine to steal half a million dollars from the bank and dig ten mile down to his lair. Animation: Bill Keil, (Other Animator Unknown) Note: This is the First Time when the Impossibles rides the Impossi-Jet into the Sunset.
- Timeatron - Timeatron uses his powers to bring villains from the past to pillage for him. Animation: Dick Lundy, Kenneth Muse, Note: Second and Final Time with the Narrator Said, And so the Singing Impossibles Suddenly Become, Coil Man, Multi Man, & Fluid Man, Ready to do the Impossible in the Cause of Justice.
- Smogula - Smogula freezes the Impossibles and seals them within a cave, so they won't interfere with his plans to conquer Empire City. Animation: Edwin Parks, Carlo Vinci.
- The Sinister Speck - The Speck uses a formula to shrink himself in order to photograph some top secret plans. Animation: Carlo Vinci, Hugh Fraser,
- Mother Gruesome - Mother Gruesome invents a machine that brings villainous storybook characters out of their stories to help her with her crimes Help Coil Man save way. Animation: Irv Spence, Ed Love.
- Fero, The Fiendish Fiddler - To get the Impossibles out of the way, Fero uses his fiddle to transport them to different planets. Animation: Carlo Vinci, Hugh Fraser,
- The Diabolical Dauber - The Dauber uses a special brush where anything he paints becomes real. Animation: Kenneth Muse.
- Televisatron - Televisatron uses his powers to transport the Impossibles to different television shows Coily and Multi at Fluid Man save it! Animation: Carlo Vinci, Hugh Fraser, Irv Spence
- The Wretched Professor Stretch'- Professor Stretch is causing havoc with his elastical abilities. Animation: Edwin Parks. Note: This is the only episode where Hal Smith provides the voice of the Narrator.
- Aquator - Aquator has stolen a secret formula and shrinks himself to microscopic size. Animation:Ed Love
- The Devilish Dragster - The Devilish Dragster has stolen a very valuable item. Animation: Irv Spence.
- The Return Of The Spinner - The Spinner returns and steals a priceless pooch Fluid Man Save Help Dogs! Animation: Kenneth Muse, Jerry Hathcock.
- Satanic Surfer - The Satanic Surfer takes pictures of a top secret submarine. Animation: Dick Lundy.
- The Puzzler - The Puzzler steals some top secret documents which he plans to sell to the highest bidder. Animation: Bill Keil.
- The Scurrilous Sculptor - The Sculptor is turning people into statues.
- The Scheming Spraysol - Spraysol is out to steal some top secret documents.
- The Artful Archer - The Artful Archer steals a priceless violin and a million dollars. It's up to the Impossibles to reclaim them.
- The Insidious Inflator - The Inflator creates giant balloon monsters to help him commit crimes.
- The Dastardly Diamond Dazzler - The Diamond Dazzler has stolen a precious diamond in order to awaken the genie within.
- The Return Of The Perilous Paperman - The Paper Doll Man returns and causes trouble for the Impossibles.
- Cronella Critch The Tricky Witch - Cronella Critch has robbed a charity for orphans party.
- The Terrible Twister - The Twister is on a crime spree and is stealing precious jewels.
- Professor Stretch Bounces Back - Professor Stretch returns and creates a rubber monster to help him in his crimes.
- The Terrifying Tapper - The Tapper is a criminal who can transmit himself over the phone lines. He uses this ability to commit crimes.
- The Anxious Angler - The Angler has stolen some secret space research and plans to sell them to another country.
- The Rascally Ringmaster - The Ringmaster puts on a circus and robs from those who attend.
- Billy The Kidder - Billy the Kidder, a cowboy that rides a robotic horse, is planning to rob the U.S. Mint.
- The Fiendish Doctor Futuro - The Impossibles fight Doctor Futuro who has come from the fortieth century to their time to steal a million dollar gold brick.
- The Crafty Clutcher - The Clutcher uses an invention that brings his gloves to life.
- The Infamous Mr. Instant - Mr. Instant uses his insta-gun which can make anything in an instant to help him commit crimes.
- The Bizarre Batter - The Batter kidnaps a baseball star and holds him for a ransom of $1,000,000.
- The Not So Nice Mr. Ice - Mr. Ice and his assistant Freezer are freezing the city in order to take over it.
A single issue of a Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles comic was released by Gold Key as a tie-in to the TV series, and the contents were reprinted in The Impossibles Annual by Atlas Publishing & Distributing Co. Ltd, UK in 1968. "The Impossibles" comic story was titled "The Impossibles vs. The Mirror-Man". A new text-based story, specially written for the annual was "The Impossibles Cure a Doctor", with the villainous Herr Doktor Adolf von Tischklautz. Big D is mistakenly called "Big B" in this story.
For the 1979 series The Super Globetrotters, the Impossibles' super powers were reassigned, entirely intact, to three members of the Globetrotters team. Coil Man was redesigned and renamed Spaghetti Man. Fluid Man was renamed Liquid Man. Multi Man was unchanged.
The Super Globetrotter costumes of Fluid Man/Liquid Man and of Multi Man remained the same as their Impossible counterparts (including the unexplained "F" on Liquid Man's wetsuit), except the color palettes were changed to match the Globetrotters' uniforms. The transformation sequences and many of the signature "moves" from the 1966 series were re-drawn, frame by frame, to feature the superhero incarnations of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team instead of the guitar-toting Impossibles.
The Impossibles are referenced in the 2013 Hanna Barbera film Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon. There are characters that cosplay as Fluid Man, Multi-Man, and Coil Man and the three of them appear on images and banners on the convention.