Saturday, September 15, 2012

Geek TV: The New Adventures of Flash Gordon!

flash1Concept: Possibly the most faithful adaptation of the classic newspaper comic strip (at least for the first season), brought to animated form.
 
Total Episodes: 32

Original Air Dates: September 22, 1979 – November 6, 1982

Original Network: NBC

Geek Factor: 9

Characters:

Flash Gordon (Voice of Robert Ridgely): Hero of the series, courageous and daring!

Dale Arden (Voice of Diane Pershing): Heroine and general damsel-in-distress, lusted after by Ming the Merciless!
Dr. Hans Zarkov (Voices of Alan Oppenheimer and Bob Holt): Brilliant Earth scientist, inventor of the rocket ship that brought himself, Flash and Dale to Mongo.

flash2Ming the Merciless (Voice of Alan Oppenheimer): Evil emperor of Mongo, but not satisfied with his conquests!

King Vultan (Voice of Allan Melvin): Leader of the Hawkmen, and a staunch ally of Flash's.

Princess Aura (Voice of Melendy Britt): Daughter of Ming, in love with Prince Barin.

Prince Barin (Voice of Robert Ridgely): Leader of the forest-kingdom of Arboria.

Geek Guest-Stars: N/A

Geek Pedigree:

Of course, given that this was a Filmation production, you've got Lou Scheimer providing the narration, and the (as I write this article) upcoming autobiography of Lou's is going to be the be-all and end-all of his career! Don Christensen and Norm Prescott, as well as Hal Sutherland, all have connections to the Filmation legacy, too.

flash3Episodes of the series were written by Ted Pedersen, whose credits include episodes of Space Academy, The Bionic Woman, Jason of Star Command, Godzilla, The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show, and later Thundarr the Barbarian, G.I. Joe, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Batman: The Animated Series, Spider-Man (1995), X-Men (1993-1996), Iron Man (1994-1996) and many others; Samuel A. Peeples, whose credits include a crapload of westerns, the Star Trek episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” episodes of The Girl from UNCLE, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Space Academy, Jason of Star Command, and the story for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Paul Dini, whose career I've discussed here several times (and will no doubt do so again in the future); Michael Reaves (another whose career has been covered here before, and will be again); and Tom Ruegger, who if I haven't covered his career before when I did Batman: The Animated Series, I know I'll touch on it again!
flash4Bob Holt, one of the men who voiced Dr. Zarkov, was just covered when I wrote about Dungeons & Dragons, so you can refer back to that for his career (I'll be coming back to him in the future). Allan Melvin, who did the voice of King Vultan and Thun, may be best known for playing Cpl. Steve Henshaw; for the Beetle Bailey animated series of 1963, he voiced Sgt. Snorkle and others. He later did voices on The Flintstones, appeared in episodes of Lost and Space, voiced Drooper on The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, voiced H.R. Pufnstuf on that show, was the voice of Magilla Gorilla in the 1970s and 1980s, and did a lot of other voice work through the 1970s, including Bluto on The All-New Popeye Hour. After Flash Gordon, he did the voice of Electro on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and many other shows. He may be better remembered by some of you as Sam the Butcher on The Brady Bunch, or perhaps his role as Barney Hefner on All in the Family and Archie Bunker's Place. He passed away in 2008.
Melendy Britt, the voice of Princes Aura, was previously the voice of Batgirl and Catwoman on The New Adventures of Batman, as well as on Tarzan and the Super 7, Penny and The Chief on The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show, and later guested on-screen in an episode of The Incredible Hulk, and was the voice of the title character on She-Ra, Princess of Power. She later played Marcia Donnelly on Weird Science, the TV series, and voiced Gran Gran on Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Alan Oppenheimer, the voice of Ming and one of the Zarkov voice actors, has been a major voice talent for Filmation, best known for voicing Skeletor on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and I plan on covering his career more extensively when I get to that series. Dale Arden voice actress Diane Pershing was another who I covered in Dungeons & Dragons, so you can consult that on her career (which I'll delve into more in later entries).

Robert Ridgely, the voice of Flash Gordon and Prince Barin, had previously played Dracula in an episode of Get Smart, played Boris in Blazing Saddles, guest-starred in two episodes of Kung Fu, voiced a bunch of characters on Uncle Croc's Block, played Don Quixote in an episode of Ark II, and voiced Tarzan for Filmation's excellent animated series. He later went on to voice the title character in Thundarr the Barbarian, Kraven the Hunter in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Ka-Zar in Spider-Man (1981), General Ross in The Incredible Hulk (1982-1983), and many, many other roles, onscreen and off! You might have last seen him onscreen as the Hollywood Showcase Announcer on That Thing You Do!

DVD Release: Complete series on DVD (out of print)

Website: http://weirdscifi.ratiosemper.com/flash/cartoon.html is a decent page, but not much is there. The official site (Which makes it look like a new release is coming) is at http://www.hearstent.com/flashgordon.html

Notes: I was very excited to work on the special features for this one, as I loved the show in its first season! If you get the box set, don't even bother watching the second season, which had a change of format – it's kind of like the second season of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, in that character names are the same, but it doesn't feel like the same show any more!

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