At the New York State University, one of Peter Parker's tutors has accidentally given three students all the materials they need to create an atomic bomb. While Peter Parker tries to find ... See full summary »
Robert F. Simon,
A rocket carrying four young people--scientific genius Reed Richards, his World War II buddy Ben Grimm, his wife Sue Richards and Sue's hot-headed brother Johnny Storm--is bombarded by cosmic rays while orbiting the Earth. The radiation gives them special powers: Richards can now stretch his limbs, Johnny can burst into flame, Sue can render herself invisible, while Ben has been physically transformed into a big orange rock and given super-strength. They decide to name themselves The Fantastic Four, and use their powers to battle world-dominating villains such as Doctor Doom and The Mole Man. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
Stan Lee & Jack Kirby's monumental Comic Book Feature Fantastically adapted & Faithfully Rendered to its Fantastic Origin & Storyline! so, "It's Clobberin' Time!"
The move to television of Comic Book adaptations was surely in full swing or beyond that zenith when Hanna-Barbera brought us the "FANTASYIC 4", Saturday mornings, Fall TV Season in 1967 was the time and location. While CBS went with features from Filmation Associates like DC Comics' SUPERMAN/SUPERBOY('66), SUPERMAN/AQUAMAN Hour of Adventure('67-,68) and BATMAN/SUPERMAN Hour('68)(with other features like GREEN LANTERN, ATOM, HAWKMAN and "...all the Super-Super Heroes of THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF America!", ABC stayed with FANTASTIC 4 and the other Marvel Comics' Star Feature, "SPIDER-MAN"('67).
"SPIDER-MAN" was not however also a Hanna-Barbera Project. It was produced by Ralph Bakshi, Steve Krantz & Company(the future Producers of the animated feature adaptation of Robert Crumb's FRITZ THE CAT(1972). Because both half-hour shows aired back to back Saturday Mornings, had they shared a common production company, there would doubtless been plenty of "crossovers"(in comic book jargon, a Cameo Appearance by a character from a different feature, but from the same publisher.
It was Stan Lee and Marvel Comics who turned "crossovers" from the occasional, to the expected! And returning to "FABTASTIC 4"; we find it to be a much more 'realistic' rendering than most any other animated series. Much like the Fleischer Brothers/Famous Studios Paramount Pictures' SUPERMAN Cartoons of the 1940's, the art design of characters and backgrounds were all adaptations of the Comic Pages.
The 'look' of the production, together with a faithful transference of the personalities, the foibles and the rivalries of the team, all add up to a cinematic/electronic clone of the Comic Page Originals.
The casting of proper voices for the group is the crowning glory of the hour, in order to make the series nearly perfect. Ideally the casting would involve examination of the Comic Page personalities of the principals. To make sure the voice would be fitting, proper and supportive amplification of the characters and plot lines, I would choose the voices as if we were doing a Radio Program. They did do that thing! The cast of voice actors led by veteran character actor and Road Show Bogart, Gerald Mohr(Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards), Joann Pflugg(Susan Storm/Invisible Girl),Jack Flounders(Johnny Storm/The Human Torch) and the Dean of Voice Actors, Paul Freese(Ben Grimm/The Thing, many, many others).
The weekly stories were neat adaptations of those Stan Lee/Jack Kirby masterful early Marvel Fantastic Four Classic sagas. We saw the "Screen Debut" of such great friends and foes as: The Mole Man, Super Skrull, Galactus, Silver Surfer, The Watcher and Dr. Doom. Because of the rights of animation adaption belonged to the previously mentioned Ralph Bakshi/Steve Bakshi/Robert L. Lawrence & Associates, their battles with Prince Namor, The SUB-MARINER and THE INCREDIBLE HULK as well as 'crossover' meetings with CAPTAIN America, THE MIGHTY THOR and THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, were not allowed to be portrayed on the TV Screen, at that time.
The producers added appropriate Musical Theme and incidental music to underscore the action. Hanna-Barbera was well equipped to assure that this audio-emotional aspect of the stories was taken care of properly. They did.
As a sort of dress rehearsal or a pre-courser to "FANTASTIC 4" and other of their other Comic Book-like characters*, Hanna-Barberra had given us "JONNY QUEST"(1964-65) as a Friday Night, early Prime-Time Entry on ABC.
NOTE:* Just as The Comic Book Hero was adaptable to animation, so too we saw some original cartoon series that were very much in the Comic Book Hero tradition. Hanna-Barberra, for example, gave us SPACE GHOST(1966-68,1994-2004) and THE MIGHTY MIGHTOR(1967-'68). And by the by, SPACE GHOST was succrssfully adapted to his own Comic Book! So, the Wheel has spun a full turn, once again!
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