Super Friends, an American animated television series about a team of superheroes, premiered on ABC television on September 8, 1973. The series featured the adventures of five DC Comics heroes: Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. They, along with superheroes in training, Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog, focused their abilities on putting away criminals, saving lives and stopping horrible disasters upon receiving messages from their computer, the “TroubAlert.”
During its first season executive producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera aired 16 one-hour episodes. These were rerun several times until the end of the season, August 24, 1974.
The show did not air again until the fall of 1977. From then until September 30, 1986, Super Friends was reincarnated under several different titles, including the original. The titles and the years they were aired are:
- The All-New Super Friends Hour: 1977 - 1978
- Challenge of the Super Friends: 1978 - 1979
- The World’s Greatest Super Friends: 1979 - 1980
- Super Friends: 1980 - 1983
- Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show: 1984 - 1985
- The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardian: 1985 – 1986
Starting with the original Super Friends, the great hall of the Justice League was described in the opening narration as the team’s headquarters. During the opening credits of Challenge of the Super Friends the Super Friends were named as the Justice League of America. Enthusiasts of DC comic heroes have expressed the opinion that the storylines for the Challenge episodes were the Super Friends era’s best portrayal of their heroes.
The All-New Super Friends Hour featured four animated shorts per program, following the same basic format each week. The first segment featured two of the heroes for the purpose of team-ups in the first and fourth segments teaming up in a separate mini-story. The second segment featured a story with the Wonder Twins. The third segment was deemed the “primary” adventure, featuring the entire Super Friends roster in a longer adventure. The fourth and final segment featured a story with one of the primary lineups and a “special guest star.” Between segments there were short spots with members of the Super Friends giving basic safety lesson plans, providing first-aid advice, demonstrating magic tricks, creating crafts and presenting a two-part riddle featuring the week’s primary plot line.
There were numerous spin-offs from the Super Friends’ series. They included The Plastic Man Comedy Adventure Show, Batman, The New Teen Titan and Superman.
Even though there have been no new episodes made since 1986, Super Friends continues to live on in syndication. Happy 40th birthday!