Thursday, August 11, 2011

Super ‘70s and ‘80s: “Super Friends”—Mark L. Taylor (Firestorm)

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

Introduction to subseries "Super Friends" (including a list of interviewees).

How did you get the job on Super Friends?

I auditioned as did several other people. A very dear friend, Ginny McSwain, who went to college with my wife and me, was the casting director at Hanna-Barbera. Knowing Ginny helped get me in the door, I guess, but I had worked at Hanna-Barbera before.

How familiar with the DC characters were you before you got the job?

I only knew of the most famous ones, Superman, Batman, Robin, etc. I was not a big comic book reader as a kid. I did love the old Batman series so it was a thrill to meet Adam West [who voiced Batman the two seasons that Firestorm was on the show, which were also the last two years of the series].

Do you remember any fanfare given that Firestorm was the first new pre-existing hero to be added to the show in several years?

I really don’t remember there being any. Knowing that he was a new character did add to the excitement of getting the job.

Did you contribute any ideas to Firestorm’s characterization?

I don’t remember anything in particular.

What challenges were involved in recording SF?

I only remember being a bit intimidated by the talent in the room. I had done quite a bit of on-camera stuff but voice-over was a new experience.

Do you own your seasons of
Super Friends on DVD?

I do not own any copies of the show.

How much time, if any, did you spend with the other voice actors when you weren’t working? Which cast members (if any) are you still in touch with today?

I don’t really see too much of any of the cast members today because I don’t really do much voice-over work anymore. I did know several of them when we were recording. I had taken a class from Michael Bell. B.J. Ward and her husband, Gordon Hunt, are friends of ours. I would work with Frank Welker several times following
Super Friends.

Do you have any SF memorabilia from the era (i.e. photos, scripts, fan mail)?

I don’t have any scripts, fan letters, or photos, nor do I get fan mail from any
Super Friends fans.

When was the last time you watched one of your SF episodes?

I can’t remember the last time I saw an episode.

How do I look back on doing SF?

I loved doing the show. I had been on a series on CBS called House Calls that was suddenly canceled, so
Super Friends was a great thing to have [at that moment].

What are you doing these days?

I have been blessed with a lot of work in front of the camera since my SF stint. Den Brother, a movie I directed for the Disney Channel, aired in August 2010.

If you have children/grandchildren, how old?

Two sons, 27 and 29. My younger son, Daniel [credited as Daniel D. Taylor, sometimes Danny], is an actor. He has done some voice-over work and a guest star spot on My Name Is Earl.

How do they feel about my time on SF?

I don’t know if they recall it.

How aware are you of the influence that SF had on the current generation of comic book writers?

I don’t think I am aware at all regarding to the influence of SF on comics today. Therefore, I was surprised to hear from you.

Has anyone else ever interviewed you about SF before?

You are the first person to interview me regarding
Super Friends.

Would you be willing to appear at comics/pop culture conventions to sign autographs?

Thanks, but I don’t think I would be interested in attending a convention.

Anything else about the experience I didn’t cover that you’d like to add?

I remember always thinking how funny it was that Casey Kasem (Robin) was just as old or older than Adam West (Batman). Don’t get me wrong. Casey was amazing!

Next: Jack Angel (Flash, Hawkman, Samurai).


Paul Hoppe said...

Firestorm was in my very first Superman comic-book ever. As it was my first superhero comic, it had a profound impact on me as a kid, I must have read it a million times. These comics inspired me to pick up the pen myself. I still have the ragged copy somewhere…

But I don't ever recall seeing TV episodes with him. Now I want to see it!

Great interviews, Marc!

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks Paul - Here's the opening of the show that introduced Firestorm:​ch?v=CAcJz-H8trY. Were you living in Germany in the mid-1980s?

Paul Hoppe said...

Oh, cool! Thanks! Yes I lived in Germany till 2003. Much of the US pop culture made it over there, but not all! Now I live in the country where all the wacky fun stuff came from!

Darrell 'Big D' McNeil said...

um.....slight correction there, m'man! it was olan soule, who HAD provided batty's voice until the '84 sf season, when the opportunity to get adam to do the sf bats came up, that did the voice of prof. stein, (and was part reason they did an episode that focused on the duo in their new roles.) am diggin' everything else, (and i haven't even gotten to mike rye's interview yet!)

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks Darrell, but if I'm understanding you correctly, I had already corrected that - Soule was Batman till '85; West was Stein in '84 and did Batman for the last season, beginning in '85. Glad you are enjoying!

Darrell "Big D" McNeil said... you're mixing ME up here! (lol) adam was NEVER prof. stein, he did the voice of batman in both '84 and '85 incarnations of the show. olan portrayed bats until the '84 "legendary super powers" season. . HE then did the voice of prof. stein for the legendary super powers show while adam did batman. clear? good! now explain it to ME!(lol)

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Darrell - right! Corrected!

Will Rodgers said...

Hello Marc and Darrell,
I can officially confirm the voice over Bat Gigs of Olan Soule and Adam West.

1966-1968: Adam West is Batman in live action TV. Olan Soule played a TV newscaster in part 2 of the first King Tut episode.

1968: The Batman/Superman Hour by Filmation. Olan Soule is Batman. This series needs to be released on DVD.

1977: Adam West voices over Batman on the New Adventures of Batman by Filmation.

1973-1983: Olan Soule voices over Batman on the long running SuperFriends series.

1984: SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show. Adam West takes over as Batman. Olan Soule voices Professor Stein. Both are together in the episode, Island of the DinoSoids. Olan and Adam together was like a passing of the Bat Torch.
1985: Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. Adam West voices over Batman. Somebody else replaces Olan Soule as Professor Stein. Sadly, I don't know who did the voice.
Hope this helps gentlemen. Be sure to visit Will's Ultimate SuperFriends Episode Guide.

Xum Yukinori said...

I suspect Ken Sansom voiced Professor Stein in the GG season... but that is just a guees based on the voice I hear...