Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Geek TV: Blackstar!

blackstarConcept: As listed on the Internet Movie Database, “An astronaut, stranded on a primitive planet, fights against the tyranny of the Overlord.”

Total Episodes: 13

Original Air Dates: 1981-1982

Original Network: CBS

Geek Factor: 7


John Blackstar (George DiCenzo): The main character, Blackstar was an astronaut of a future Earth whose ship entered a black hole, sending him to the planet Sagar. He was found by the Trobbits, and defends them and the planet Sagar against the Overlord, using the Starsword.

Mara (Linda Gary): A sorceress, many centuries old, who assists Blackstar.

Klone (Patrick Pinney): Shapeshifting ally of Blackstar.

Storm (): Queen of the Amazons.

Trobbits: Short for “tree hobbits,” they inhabit the Sagar tree. Some of the Trobbits include Balkar (Patrick Pinney), Carpo (Alan Oppenheimer), Goassamer (Frank Welker) and Burble (Frank Welker).

Overlord (Alan Oppenheimr): The main villain, he plots to rule Sagar, using the Powersword. The Powerswort and Starsword can be combined to become the Powerstar, an even more powerful weapon.

Vizier (Lou Scheimer): The Overlord's right-hand man, and a sorcerer in his own right.

Geek Guest-Stars: Not applicable.

Geek Pedigree:

Ah, where to begin? Of course, being a Filmation series, you've got Lou Scheimer, the producer and voice of the Vizier, who was a co-founder of Filmation and voiced characters in probably every one of their series at one time or another! Plus, the animation staff included comic book artist Russ Heath as one of the layout artists; Bruce W. Timm was a layout artist as well, better known these days for his work on Batman: The Animated Series and the related shows. Episodes of the series were all written by Michael Reaves, Marc Scott Zicree, or Tom Ruegger. Michael's written episodes of Isis, Tarzan Lord of the Jungle, Super Friends, Flash Gordon, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Incredible Hulk (1982-1983), Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, The Mighty Orbots, Dungeons & Dragons, and many others. His most recent credits include Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman and Guardians of Luna. Marc is the author of The Twilight Zone Companion, and he's also written episodes of Super Friends, The Incredible Hulk (1983), He-Man, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, The Real Ghost Busters, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and others. Both he and Michael have written an episode of Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II. Tom has been a producer or associate producer on a number of shows since Blackstar, from The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo to Animaniacs to Histeria, but before Blackstar and since, he wrote episodes of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, The Kid Super Power With Shazam!, Flash Gordon, He-Man, The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show, The New Scooby-Do Mysteries, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Histeria, Duck Dodgers, and Batman Beyond.

Frank Welker, as noted many times before, has had an amazing voice career, and is best known for voicing Scooby-Doo (taking over from Don Messick) and Fred in the Scooby Doo cartoons, although that's not even a drop in the water of all the characters he's voiced! Other characters he's done include Marvin, Wonder Dog, Wheelie, Jabberjaw, Wonderbug, Dinky Dog, Dynomutt, Bamm-Bamm, Fangface, H.E.R.B.I.E., The Toyman, Buford, Heckle & Jeckle, Droopy, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Iceman, Darkseid, Kalibak, several characters in G.I., Joe: A Real American Hero, and many, many, many others! He's most recently done voices for Transformers Prime, Futurama, Happy Feet Two Monsters University (due in 2013), and will likely continue to be heard in animation (I hope) for many years to come.

Alan Oppenheimer has as his earliest geek credit providing the voice for Dr. Contrare in Gammera the Invincible, but has appeared onscreen in two episodes of Get Smart, an episode of Bewitched, and by 1970 or so, he was starting to do voice work and on-screen work more or less simultaneously. He could be heard in Inch High Private Eye, Butch Cassidy, Speed Buggy, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Hong Kong Phooey, Valley of the Dinosaurs, and many others. He was the original actor to play Dr. Rudy Wells, playing that role until 1975 (when it was taken over by Martin E. Brooks), voiced Dr. Hans Zarkov and Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon (1979), voiced Dr. Sivana on The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!, and then came Blackstar. Of course, since about 1983 or so, he's best known as the voice of Skeletor, Man-At-Arms, Cringer, and others on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. He's also done voices on The Transformers, voiced Pa Kent on Superman (1988), and many, many other parts. The last credit he has is voicing Alfred Pennyworth in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies in 2009.

Patrick Pinney did additional voices for Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo prior to Blackstar, and afterwards voiced Mainframe on G.I. Joe, Mighty Mouse in Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures, and a number of other roles over the years, including voicing the Thing in two episodes of Spider-Man (1997), a wormguy and others in Men in Black: The Series, and most recently, he voiced a variety of characters from 2007-2011 on Robot Chicken.

Linda Gary provided the voice for Tania Frankenstein in Lady Frankenstein, was the voice of Web Woman on Tarzan and the Super 7, voiced Jane and other female parts on Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, and went on during and after Blackstar to voice Aunt May Parker in Spider-Man (1981-1982), Several characters on The Transformers, Teela, the Sorceress, Evil-Lyn and others on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Shadow Weaver and others on She-Ra: Princess of Power, and doing various voices on shows like The Pirates of Dark Water, Batman: The Animated Series, The Tick, Spider-Man (1994-1997, again playing Aunt May).

DVD Release: Complete series boxed set (out of print).

Website: No official one, but http://www.nightstoneunlimited.com/BlackstarMain.htm is a nice fan site.

Notes: I hate to admit it, but even though I helped do the special features for the complete series DVD set, I have yet to even break the shrinkwrap on my copy of the set! I don't recall seeing the series much when it was first on... having read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit before this same out, I'd imagine I heard “Trobbits” and got way too turned off by that!

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