US animated tv series (1967-1969). Hanna-Barbera Productions for NBC-TV. Created by Alex Toth. Produced by Joseph Barbera and William Hanna with Lewis Marshall. Directed by Barbera and Hanna. Writers included Neal Barbera, Phil Hahn and Jack Hanrahan. Cast includes Keith Andes, Dick Beals, Ted Cassidy, Virginia Eiler, Don Messick and John Stephenson. Uncertain number (40?) of 30-minute episodes, each comprising two Birdman segments separated by a Galaxy Trio adventure. Colour.
Ray Randall (Andes) is also the masked Superhero Birdman, working for the top secret agency Inter-Nation Security and battling threats that range from hostile Aliens and Mad Scientists to assorted Monsters which menace the world. Birdman possesses natural wings, like Angel in the original X-Men line-up from Marvel Comics. He also draws power from the Sun, which gives him Superpowers such as super-strength, the ability to discharge powerful solar Rays from his hands, and a protective Force Field called a solar shield. His occasional sidekick Birdboy (Beals) is a shipwreck survivor whose life Birdman saved by giving him some of his power; but Birdboy needs artificial wings to fly (see Flying).
The Galaxy Trio are alien superheroes, apparently from the same era, who operate from the Spaceship Condor One. Vapor Man (Messick) can transform into any gaseous vapor he wishes; Meteor Man (Cassidy), from the world of Meteorous, can enlarge any part of his body at will to enormous proportions; Gravity Girl (Eiler), a princess from the planet Gravitas, can control Gravity with her mind. This team fights the usual run of opponents including Robots, Mutants, space Monsters and space pirates.
Animation standards were poor. There are no Birdman/Galaxy Trio crossover episodes. The programme has been released to the home video market. Tie Comics featuring the characters briefly appeared from Gold Key Comics. The Birdman character and several of his foes reappear as former superheroes and villains in the spoofish Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law (2001-2007). [GFi/DRL]
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