Tuesday, April 3, 2012

1979 The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show Opening Theme

All my life, there's been comics. I was cool with cartoons like most kids, but comics always came first. That's how I could tell the real comic book super-heroes from the "fakes" like the Blue Falcon, Mightor, Space Ghost, and Birdman. That's also how I knew Plastic Man was a "real" super-hero, but a Benedict Arnold who acted like the worst kind of fake.

First off, until someone takes Hack/Slash to animation, a forward slash in a title does not sound like good cartooning. Second, the title announces itself as "comedy/adventure," which is fine if you're Big Trouble in Little China and both come naturally. Typically though, it just means the "laughs" are tepid and the action isn't taken seriously, as was the case here. Third, the cartoon continued the huge mistake perpetuated since DC started publishing Plastic Man in the '60s of treating Plas as a zany oddball in a straight world. It pretty much kills any dramatic heft or depth in the character, and in more recent years has rendered him the most noxious of obs. The original Jack Cole comics are so great because Plas is the heroic straight man in an insane world of catastrophe, heinous deeds, and nutty scams. You're glad the Pliable Paladin has the flexibility to bend around and contain the crushing weight of man's inequities. In the cartoon, Plastic Man is just an annoying dork trying way too hard to be funny and failing miserably. Fourth, the cartoon traded sleazy hustler Woozy Winks for the klutzy pinhead Lou Costello impersonator token sidekick Hula-Hula. Fifth, they saddled Plas with the Southern Belle bimbo Sue Dibny wannabe Penny who produced Baby Plas, who in itself was the six-six-sixth. Finally*, they had that absolutely wretched live action Plastic Man for interstitials during cartoons, even though his voice in no way matched that of the animated Plas, and he was so sleazy that he made you want to punch his face off. I watched some of his work before writing this, and all these years later, I still want to commit acts of violence upon this person, just to make him stop talking.

I suppose the point of all that was to say that I hate The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show more than most any other super-hero cartoon and I've hated it longer than most anything else in this life. I'm not sure which I heard of first-- this show or Nazis. I think I've hated this show longer than the concept of an (admittedly stylishly dressed) army of real life genocidal madmen who murdered millions. It also made me hate Plastic Man for many years, but the character is much cooler than this, so please try to forgive him for having a bad show that somehow managed 130 episodes in two seasons.

While I've got you here, I'll throw in the opening to 1980's The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam! Only thirteen episodes were produced, so unlike Plastic Man, there weren't enough to re-run consistently in syndication throughout my freakin' childhood. In fact, I maybe caught this show once or twice as a kid, and the rest was on YouTube as an adult who didn't get much out of them. Still, Captain Marvel's another fun character who once was among the big guns, but DC rarely gets them remotely right after decades of ownership...

*Okay, one more-- a jet? Who thought a jet was a good idea?

1 comment:

Hero Supreme said...

Awesome job coordinating Animated Anthem Day, thats how I found you and I am now subscribed. Viva Plas!