Thursday, April 26, 2012

Geek TV: Birdman and the Galaxy Trio!

51vUN1WwUvL._SX500_Concept: Birdman: Ordinary human endowed with wings and solar powers by Ra, assisted by his eagle sidekick Avenger, battle a variety of bizarre villains as directed by Falcon 7. Galaxy Trio: The exploits of three extraterrestrial superheroes.


Total Episodes: 20, comprised of 40 Birdman segments and 20 Galaxy Trio segments (each episode had 2 Birdmans, and 1 Galaxy Trio).

Original Air Dates: September 9, 1967 to September 6, 1969

Original Network: NBC

Geek Factor: 7

Characters:

Birdman Segments:

Birdman-And-The-Galaxy-TrioBirdman (Keith Andes): The sun god Ra gave an ordinary human the ability to shoot solar rays from his fists, project solar shields for defense, and a set of wings (presumably biological, like the X-Men's Angel), Birdman requires regular doses of sunlight to renew his powers. He operates out of a hidden lair in a volcano with his giant eagle, Avenger. He must be related to Space Ghost somehow, as both have this tendency to yell out their names in a dramatic manner, like a battle cry.

Falcon 7 (Don Messick): Birdman's contact with Inter-Nation Security, Falcon 7 (real name unrevealed) wears an eyepatch and gives Birdman his missions.

Birdboy (Dick Beals): Birdman's sidekick. His origin is similar to Captain Marvel Jr.'s – Birdman finds a boy near death from exposure after a shipwreck, and gives him some of his super energy to revive him and give him powers. His wings are mechanical, and spends time searching for his lost father.



General Stone: One of several military leaders, he appears multiple times and tends to take the brunt of villains' schemes.


Number One (Vic Perrin): Leader of the evil organization F.E.A.R.

X the Eliminator: A mercenary hired by FEAR to eliminate Birdman.

Mentok the Mind-Taker: A mind-controlling villain, it's he that is responsible for creating Birdgirl.

Vulturo: Evil scientist who makes a vulture-like costume to combat Birdman. Also hired by FEAR.

Galaxy Trio Segments:

bird2Vapor Man (Don Messick): Has the power ot transform all or part of his body into gas, can cause various forms of vapor to emanate from his hands. From the planet Vaporus, where apparently everone has this power.

Meteor Man (Ted Cassidy): Can enlarge any part of his body, gaining superstrength in that part. From the planet Meteorus, where everyone has the ability, presumably.

Gravity Girl (Virginia Eiler): Has the ability to control gravity. From the planet Gravitas. In some segments, she's mistakenly called “Galaxy Girl.”

Geek Guest-Stars: Not applicable.

Geek Pedigree:

birdman3Prior to voicing Birdman, Keith Andes appeared on a 1964 episode of The Outer Limits. At the same time as Birdman, he also appeared on the original Star Trek episode “The Apple,” playing Akuta; he also appeared on three episodes of I Spy, playing Troy Duncan in two episodes and a different character in a third. His last geek role was playing Darius in a 1980 episode of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

As mentioned previously, Don Messick has had such a long career in animation voices that I'd be exhausted trying to provide all of the credits! His career at Hanna-Barbera began in 1957 voicing Ruff and other characters in The Ruff & Reddy Show, he was the narrator on Quick Draw McGraw and The Huckleberry Hound Show, he voiced Boo Boo and Ranger Smith on The Yogi Bear Show, Bandit and Dr. Benton Quest on Jonny Quest, Blip and others on Space Ghost, Atom Ant and Precious Pupp on The Atom Ant Show, but for millions of children of all ages, he'll always be the voice of Scooby Doo. He died in 1997, last providing the voice of Dr. Quest in The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest.

John Stephenson, who did the voices of Cumulus, Reductor and others, had his first real geek credits in three episodes of Science Fiction Theatre, then was the narrator on The Ruff & Reddy Show, Fancy-Fancy and The Sergeant on Top Cat, the narrator on Top Cat, Dr. Benton Quest on Jonny Quest (apparently he and Don Messick shared this role?), was Mr. Slate on The Flintstones, Professor Conroy on Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles, voiced Farik on The Arabian Knights, and a whole mess of other characters! Other notable voice roles were Doctor Doom, Karnak, Magneto and others on The Fantastic Four (1978), but he continued to do voice roles up to 2010.

Vic Perrin, who did multiple voices on this show, could have been seen in The Adventures of Superman episode “The Golden Vulture,” playing a character named Survey. He also appeared as Agar in three episodes of Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. Later, he appeared in two episodes of The Twilight Zone, and was the Control Voice on The Outer Limits, voiced Dr. Zin and others on Jonny Quest, voiced the Creature King in an episode of Space Ghost, was the narrator for the 1966 version of One Million Years B.C., voiced Hawkman in the Justice League of America segments on Aquaman, did four roles on the original Star Trek (Tharn in “Mirror, Mirror,” the voice of Nomad in “The Changeling,” the voice of Metron in “Arena,” and a Keeper in “The Menagerie.”), voiced the Silver Surfer on The Fantastic Four (1967), played an Alien in an episode of The Invaders, and appeared in or did additional voices for many, many other shows such as The Wild Wild West, Land of the Giants, Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, Mission: Impossible, Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch, The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, The Fantastic Four (1978), Challenge of the SuperFriends (he was Sinestro), Project UFO, Spider-Woman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Spider-Man (1981), The Incredible Hulk (1982-1983) and many others!
Dick Beals, the voice of Birdboy, voiced Ralph Phillips in the Looney Tunes short “From A to Z-z-z-z-z-z” as well as the follow-up Ralph Phillips cartoon, voiced Gumby in the 1957 The Gumby Show, voiced Buzzer Bell and Shrinking Violet on The Funny Company, additional voices for a few other shows, Buzz Conroy on Frankenstein Jr. and the Imposssibles, many other roles here and there... but did you know he was also the voice of Davey on Davey and Goliath?

Ted Cassidy, the voice of Meteor Man, is of course best known for playing Lurch on The Addams Family, Godzilla on Hanna-Barbera's Godzilla animated series, and a whole mess of other roles, both on-screen (such as Ruk in the Star Trek episode, “What are Little Girls Made Of?”) and voice only (such as the Thing on the 1978 Fantastic Four). Ted died in 1979.

DVD Release: Complete series.

Website: Unofficial websites are http://www.hbshows.com/site.php?c=./birdman.htm and http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/b/birdman1.htm There doesn't seem to be an official website at all, and on Kids WB, there's no Birdman at all!

Notes: Many fansites claim that Birdman's real name is “Roy Randall” or “Ray Randall,” but apparently there was no official real name for him (this same error has been perpetuated for some time). Birdman was always a favorite of mine! Of course, there's the modern-day Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law program, which uses the Birdman characters (as well as many other Hanna-Barbera characters) in a satirical fashion, but I can't honestly call them the same character!

2 comments:

  1. Jon,
    Re: "Mentok the Mind-Taker: A mind-controlling villain, it's he that is responsible for creating Birdgirl."

    You're conflating two similarly-named villains. Mentok set up a lab in a nearby extinct volcano and took control of Avenger, using him to lure Birdman into his clutches. Then he took control of Birdman. His first use for Birdman was to steal some government plans.

    Dr. Mentaur equipped a circus aerialist with a costume, including metal wings, and a super-strength serum to portray Birdgirl. He used her to steal atomic weapons from an arsenal.

    You might like the site http://webpages.charter.net/superheroes/birdman.html (it's a pretty thorough reference).
    Hope this helps!

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