Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Super ‘70s and ‘80s: “Super Friends”—introduction

Introduction to series “Super ‘70s and ‘80s.”

Gathered together from the city limits of Hollywood are the most memorable voices for toons ever assembled…

Almost everyone interviewed for this subseries (scroll to bottom for full list) had not been interviewed before about Super Friends. Some were lively and chatty while others kept it short or remembered little; I include all responses in the name of curiosity (and thoroughness).

Voice actors and production staff I reached out to but, for various reasons, didn’t interview: Norman Alden (Aquaman 1), Janet Waldo (Hawkgirl), Kathy Garver (Rima), Al Gmuer (Hall of Justice designer).
I did not try for Casey Kasem since he was a household name outside of Super Friends and my intention here was to give the floor to people who we’ve heard from less, if at all.

It seems almost any time I’ve read a post about the series, the multicultural heroes created for it (Apache Chief, Black Vulcan, Samurai, El Dorado) were criticized as stereotypical or even racist.

I don’t feel they were, nor did any of the voice actors who portrayed them. I don’t see anything wrong with a character whose native language is not English speaking in an accent that reflects that. What is offensive about those characters: three out of the four did not wear pants.

Here are previously unpublished cast pics courtesy of Sydney Croskery, daughter of the late Danny Dark (Superman).

Frank Welker, Sherry Alberoni, Casey Kasem, Olan Soule, Shannon Farnon

Casey Kasem, Danny Dark, Sherry Alberoni

Wally Burr, Shannon Farnon, Casey Kasem, Sherry Alberoni

Olan Soule, John Stephenson, Frank Welker

The surfboard shot of Danny Dark is from 1973, and it’s the only one dated; I think the others are from that year, too, because I believe they include Sherry Alberoni (who played Wendy only in the first season, which began in 1973).

A cast shot that has been published:

From a great Super Friends article by Patrick Jankiewicz (Starlog 9/04).

And another version of it, plus two (including Wally Burr, kneeling):

Photo courtesy of Norman Alden.

I particularly appreciated Jonas Croskery signing an e-mail “Son of Steel.” (Yes, his father is also Danny Dark.)

I got permission to post all images; if you want to repost, please do the same and ask me first

Welcome to the first-ever oral history of Super Friends.

Writers interviewed (7 parts):

Jeffrey Scott

David Villaire

Duane Poole

Michael Reaves

Marc Scott Zicree

Glenn Leopold

Mark Jones

Production staff interviewed (5 parts):

Bob Hathcock, animator

Darrell McNeil, animator

Bob Singer, character designer, and Iraj Paran, art director

Don Jurwich, producer

Michael Kohler, musician

Voice actors interviewed (15 parts):

Bill Woodson (narrator)

Shannon Farnon (Wonder Woman 1)

Constance Cawlfield (Wonder Woman 2)

B.J. Ward (Wonder Woman 3)

Bill Callaway (Aquaman 2, Bizarro)

Wally Burr (Atom)

Mark L. Taylor (Firestorm)
Jack Angel (Flash, Hawkman, Samurai)

Michael Rye (Green Lantern, Apache Chief)

Buster Jones (Black Vulcan)

Fernando Escandon (El Dorado)

Michael Bell (Wonder Twin Zan, Riddler, Gleek)

Liberty Williams (Wonder Twin Jayna)

Marlene Aragon (Cheetah)

Dick Ryal (Captain Cold)


Sam said...

This is truly amazing!

What about the boy, girl and dog who came before the Wonder Twins? What do you know about them?

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks Sam! I did not track down the voice of Wendy but prolific voice actor Frank Welker (easily Google-able) did Marvin and Wonder Dog.

ACcountryFan said...

I've read almost all of the voice actor/actress interviews and a few of the interviews from those in the production/writing staff. Considering those amazing cast pictures are from the show's first season in 1973 then John Stephenson was actually part of the series and not a guest voice. Stephenson was the voice of Colonel Wilcox during the show's first season. John had quite a lengthy run on Hanna-Barbera cartoons but I read on-line somewhere that he doesn't like doing interviews which I feel is a shame considering all of the first-hand knowledge and stories he could provide about his experiences doing cartoon voices. He turned 88 last month.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks, ACcountryFan, for correcting me. I'm glad you've made time to read so much of the SUPER FRIENDS subseries. More animated stuff to come in the umbrella series, from Plastic Man to the '88 Ruby-Spears Superman to Scooby-Doo. Stay tuned!

Gene Kirkland said...

All I can say is...well done.

Jared Stine said...

those were great i 'm only 15 but i'm a huge fan of Challenge of the Super friends.
is there a chance of you interviewing Jimmy "Solomon Grundy" Weldon" or Ruth "Giganta" Foreman? i'm wondering how did you get in touch with all these people like Dick Ryal?

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks Jared. I did try to reach Jimmy with no luck, and don't believe I tried to find Ruth for some reason. I found everyone in different ways, but Dick Ryal was easy: he was in the white pages.

Jared Stine said...

Marc I've read Boys of Steel twice. both times i enjoyed it.

Unknown said...

The actress who voiced over Wendy is Sherry Alberoni. The only other definitive voice role she did was Alexandra on Josie and the Pussycats opposite Casey Kasem who voiced her brother, Alexander. She was interviewed about the Super Friends in 2004 in Starlog Magazine. There was a story regarding the release of Challenge of the Super Friends to DVD and some of the voice actors were interviewed where Danny Dark (not long before he died), Adam West, Casey Kasem, Shannon Farnon, Norman Alden, Sherry Alberoni, Michael Bell, and Jack Angel were all interviewed.