The Mighty Heroes
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|The Mighty Heroes|
|Directed by||Ralph Bakshi|
|Voices of||Herschel Bernardi|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||20 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||William M. Weiss|
|Running time||30 min|
Paramount Domestic Television
CBS Paramount Television
CBS Television Distribution
|Original release||October 29, 1966 –|
The Mighty Heroes was an animated television series created by Ralph Bakshi for the Terrytoons company. The original show debuted on CBS, on October 29, 1966, and ran for 1 season with 20 episodes.
The stories took place in Good Haven, a fictitious city that was continually beset by various supervillains. When trouble occurred, the city launched a massive fireworks display to summon a quintet of high-flying superheroes into action.
In Act 1 of each episode, the team members were portrayed as accident-prone bunglers. A typical occurrence had them in combat hopelessly tangled together offering each other stock apologies, often while falling en masse until they were captured by the villain. In Act 2, however, having escaped the villain's deathtrap in the cliffhanger, the team always managed to regroup and fight with proper coordination to win the day.
The cartoons originally appeared as a segment of the long-running Mighty Mouse Playhouse during the 1966-67 season, which was renamed Mighty Mouse and The Mighty Heroes in recognition of the new segment. Some weeks during the network run, two complete Mighty Heroes segments would open and close the show with a classic Mighty Mouse cartoon in-between. In other weeks, one Mighty Heroes episode would be split in two to open and close the show, with two Mighty Mouse cartoons broadcast in-between.
The character voices were provided by Herschel Bernardi, who provided those of Strong Man, Diaper Man, and Tornado Man, and Lionel Wilson, who provided those of Cuckoo Man and Rope Man. Bernardi was also the original provider of the "Ho Ho Ho" voice of the Jolly Green Giant and of StarKist's Charlie the Tuna's voice in commercials. Wilson was also the voice of the title character in another famous Terrytoons series, Tom Terrific. Only 20 episodes were produced; the series came to an end when Bakshi left Terrytoons in 1967.
Reruns of The Mighty Heroes were eventually syndicated by Viacom (now CBS Television Distribution) in the 1970s as part of the Mighty Mouse package. There have also been two licensed VHS releases. Episodes of The Mighty Heroes also appeared in movie theaters for a time, with an episode shown to audiences, preceding the main attraction.
They appeared in animated form as guest stars in the episode "Heroes and Zeroes" of the late 1980s series Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, produced by Bakshi, in which they had all retired and were running the accounting firm of Man, Man, Man, Man and Man. Even Diaper Man had grown up, evidenced by his wearing a mustache.
They were in the 1999 pilot Curbside.
There are three comic book adaptations of The Mighty Heroes. The first series was published by Dell Comics in 1967 and ran for four issues. The second series was published by Spotlight Comics in 1987 and ran for one issue. The third series was published by Marvel Comics in 1998 and also ran for one issue.
The individual Mighty Heroes
All five of the Mighty Heroes had the power to fly. Individually, they were:
- Strong Man has super strength. He speaks with a friendly farm-boy type of accent and holds a civilian job as a mechanic. His favorite fighting move is his "jet-propelled blow" by which he flies into a villain fist-first.
- Rope Man is a sailor who works at the docks. Erudite with a British accent, he can transform into a seemingly unending length of rope. He can use his hands like lassos, and can even weave himself into a net. The drawbacks to his powers are that he frequently gets tangled up or knotted, more often than not around his own teammates.
- Tornado Man is a television weather forecaster who can spin himself into a tornado. He often sucks the villains into his vortex, then shoots them out toward the nearest wall. He speaks in a wheezy voice.
- Cuckoo Man is a bird-shop owner whose powers are the most limited of the group. Unlike the other heroes, who can fly with no effort, Cuckoo Man has to flap his arms almost constantly in order to keep aloft (the conclusion of every episode always shows him lagging behind the pack as they fly off into the distance). Cuckoo Man changes into his costume by jumping up through the bottom of his store's cuckoo clock and popping out through the little door. While the other heroes' flying is accompanied by a "jet" sound effect similar to Mighty Mouse's, Cuckoo Man's is represented by a chugging jalopy-engine sound.
- Diaper Man is a red-headed, diapered, yet fully articulate baby as well as the leader of the group, who sounds a lot like Popeye the Sailor Man. His main weapon is his bottle, which by holding on to the rubber nipple, he can swing around (or shoot like a slingshot) forcefully. The bottle can also shoot high pressure streams of baby formula. In emergencies, Diaper Man (and often Strong Man) will drink some formula from the bottle when extra strength is needed.
Almost all of the 20 episodes were named after the enemies the Mighty Heroes encountered in each.
- "The Plastic Blaster"
- "The Frog"
- "The Junker"
- "The Shrinker"
- "The Ghost Monster"
- "The Stretcher"
- "The Monsterizer"
- "The Drifter"
- "The Shocker"
- "The Enlarger"
- "The Toy Man"
- "The Dusters"
- "The Big Freeze"
- "The Timekeeper"
- "The Scarecrow"
- "The Time Eraser"
- "The Return Of The Monsterizer"
- "The Paper Monster"
- "The Raven"
- "The Bigger Digger"
The series had no opening/closing titles of its own.