Saturday, October 01, 2011

Geek TV #5: Astro Boy!

astroboy1Concept: Ministry of Science head Dr. Tenma builds a powerful robot to replace his son who died in a car accident, but later burns down the Ministry of Science and disappears. Dr. Elefun is put in charge of finishing Astro Boy's development, and tells Astro he wants humans and robots to co-exist in peace. Astro Boy then begins to fight crime, evil, and injustice.

Total Episodes: 104

Original Air Dates: 1963-65

Original Network: Syndicated version in USA was redubbed (and rewritten) from the Japanese original series, which itself was based on a manga.

Geek Factor: 10 (this show and Gigantor were my generation's introduction to robot superheroes)

Astro Boy (Billie Lou Watt): Super-powerful robot, able to translate more than 60 languages, strength equivalent to 100,000 horsepower, flight via foot and arm jets, super-hearing, various built-in weapons, electronic brain. Astro often deals with human prejudice because he is a robot, despite his work for good.

Dr. Packadermus Elefun (Ray Owens): Repairs Astro Boy and sends him on missions, much to Astro's teacher's chagrin.

Geek Guest-Stars: N/A

astroboy3Geek Pedigree: Astro Boy was created by Osamu Tezuka, who also created Kimba the White Lion. Billie Lou Watt also voiced Jimmy Sparks on Gigantor, and was also the voice of Ma Bagge on Courage the Cowardly Dog. Ray Owens also voiced a character on Gigantor, as well as voiced the Flash in the Filmation cartoons. Gilbert Mack also did voices for both Astro Boy and Gigantor. Assorted voices for the show were done by Peter Fernandez, who also did voices for a number of Japanese shows and movies translated into English, such as The Magic Land of Alakazam, “Mothra,” Gigantor, “Godzilla Versus the Sea Monster,” The Space Giants, Marine Boy, Ultraman, Star Blazers (Mark Venture), but is probably best known as the voice of Speed Racer as well as Racer X – and he also wrote the US lyrics for the Speed Racer theme. Peter also did some voices for the Power Records Book and Record Sets.

DVD Release: Boxed Sets

Website: is probably the best one out there, although if you were a fan of the US version of Astro Boy, you may feel lost quickly!

Notes: I recall watching Astro Boy as a child, although I have stronger memories of Gigantor. Watching some episodes in the past few years, I'm not sure it holds up as well as I'd like.

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