20180612

SUPER-FRIENDS

"Evil power repels all goodness," Solomon Grundy said on the TV animation, 'Super-Friends'. In the episode, 'Monolith of Evil', first went on air in 1978, the Super-Friends found themselves tricked into traveling beneath the ocean floor straight through solid rock down into the underworld where the ancient evil monolith power source was buried near the center of the earth, surrounded by molten lava. 

The monolith was the single source of all evil power and the Legion of Doom was hell-bent on controlling the power source in their quest to conquer the universe. However the Justice League computer's analysis of the data revealed there was a flaw, "The power source is not evil. Monolith is just a source of energy like any other, good or bad, according to intent of its user." 

In an earlier episode, 'Wanted: The Super-Friends', viewers were introduced to the 13 sinister villains of all time. "A meeting will come to order. The Legion of Doom is now in session. It is the purpose of the Legion to align our infamous forces against the power of good and defeat them, leaving us the rulers of the world. To do this, we have gathered together the 13 most ruthless villains on earth. 

"The frigid Captain Cold; the sinister mind of Sinestro; the awesome Bizarro and Solomon Grundy; the cunning Cheetah and the super intelligent computer android, Brainiac; Black Manta and Grodd the gorilla; the Toyman and the humorous but sinister Riddler; the feminine yet ferocious Giganta and the hideous Scarecrow. Not to mention, the evil genius and brilliant leader shepherd myself Lex Luthor. 

"Our first act of villainy will be of the greatest importance to us all because in a short while any and all resistance to the Legion of Doom will crumble. My dream machine is programmed to seek out the sleeping minds of our arch-enemy the Super-Friends and subject them to our will. We will control their dream making our dream come true." (guffaw) 

Jeffrey Scott shared with fans in February 2015 on the Animation World Network website, "Two amazing things happened to me in 1977. First, I saw 'Star Wars'. As soon as I saw that enormous Imperial Star Destroyer glide into shot from above the big screen I knew I was going to love the movie! When I came out of the theater I felt like I was walking three feet off the pavement. Wow! I couldn't help thinking that this film was going to make a billion dollars. I underestimated. 

"The second thing that happened in 1977 was that my dad, Norman Maurer, who was story-editing 'Super-Friends' at Hanna-Barbera, sold his 'Robonic Stooges' series. This was to change my life forever. I was my dad's assistant story editor on 'Super-Friends'. So by his going off to run the 'Robonic Stooges' series I was promoted to story editor on 'Super-Friends'. 

"I went on to write a slew of episodes for the series that season, as well as edit the remaining scripts. The show was a huge hit for ABC, leading to an unprecedented pickup for the next season consisting of 32 half hours! With the previous season under my belt, and feeling cocky about the success of the series, I decided to write all 32 half-hour scripts. This was 'Challenge of the Super-Friends'. 

"The series was another big hit for ABC which gave my career a huge boost. But honestly, by today's (2015) standards the writing was awful! Animation writing has changed enormously since the 1970s. I'm happy to say, for the better. When I go back and re-read my old 'Super-Friends' scripts I cringe. The action was overwritten. Every angle and shot was called out, making some scripts 50 pages long, twice as long as many of the scripts I write today (in 2015). 

"And the dialogue was clich├ęd, stilted and just plain bad. Yet, for its day (1977-78), it was considered great. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera loved it. Peter Roth, the Director of Children's Programs at ABC loved it. And the viewers loved it. And if you like older animated shows, even today (in 2015) it's sort of okay, in an odd, campy, 'bad' sort of way. It's fascinating how art changes over the years just as technology changes. 

"The state of the writing art in animation is getting better and better. Countries like India and China are aware of this and are demanding better writers for their animated TV and features. Audiences expect better stories and gravitate toward productions with better writing. It's not expensive animation that makes a hit, it's a good story. As each generation grows up, watching and absorbing a higher quality of art, the current quality level becomes the base from which the new generation of artists refine their technique and improve the state of the art. We've come a long way in a century, in animation and in writing. I can't imagine what we'll see a century from now (in the 22nd century). Perhaps I'll literally be walking three feet off the pavement when I see it."

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