Of all the cartoons and animated series I have watched over the years, only a few have burrowed deep into my fond memories and nostalgia. The Mighty Heroes. This is one series I usually can stump people on when injecting it into a conversation. I can use one hand to count off which cartoons were my favorite while growing up. Yes. There was Looney Tunes, but this is not about them or the other series I could mention.
One cartoon series that always bring deep chuckles, laughs, and other enjoyments to me are The Mighty Heroes. A series that was created by the animator Ralph Bakshi for The Terrytoons Company back in the mid-1960’s. It ran for one season. Just twenty episodes.
I was very, very young. I remember it’s theme song and that introduction of every character. And if it only ran that one season (not including any rebroadcasts or later syndications. Which I am researching to update on that fact by the end of this article). It still stands as a great cartoon show.
The show opened with a quick introduction of all the main characters, who during their day jobs see a call for action. With that call to action, here are the main characters and what their powers are: Strong Man – A mechanic by day. He is super strong and can fly. When called into service he leaps out of his coveralls at the local shop and with the battle cry of “Yah Hoo,” in a southern farm boy accent and he is gone
Rope Man – A sailor at the docks of the city. When it is his time, he spins and leaps out of his clothes revealing his rope body. He has a seemingly never ending amount of rope that he can call upon but usually gets tangled up in himself. His battle cry to action is ” Gung HO!” in a light British accent. But his downfall is he speaks too much.
Tornado Man – a local weather man excitedly spins into a mini-tornado. He is a short man speaking in a wheezy type of voice and says, “Wheeee.” His tornado powers are usually used to suck the bad guys into it and slam them into a wall.
Cuckoo Man – a local bird store owner, dives into a cuckoo clock, emerging in his super suit, bouncing and flapping his arms out the door saying “Cuckoo, ah, Cuckoo, Go Cuckoo Man Go.” His powers include flight. But his flight has to be by the actual flapping of his arms and tends to lag behind the others as his flight is extremely slow. He has no other real powers but is not a complete waste to the team.
And last but not least, Diaper Man, A baby who pulls up the side of his crib, ties his blanket around like a cape, fixes his drooping diaper and baby bottle and leaps out the window all the while saying, “Up and AWAY”! His powers include flight and his baby bottle that he grabs by the nipple and launches it at the criminals like a slingshot. But he has used it to shoot baby formula to incapacitate the bad guys. Even drinking from it will give him added strength. He is very smart.
And they will use their phrases usually at the end of the episode, but if you are lucky, sometimes during one.
When watching this cartoon series, if you haven’t noticed it by now, I guess I will now have to tell you, it is a parody of superhero cartoons. Their actions are funny. The situations they get involved in are comical. Sometimes, caught in a villain’s trap, they struggle at a commercial break. But eventually, after the break, there is a solution, and they triumph in the end.
Watching and enjoying this well-produced show is what I did. Most, if not all of them, at least once if not three or four times. Anyone could find on them on the internet if they look hard enough. But I want people to understand and discover these heroes. So, I have found most of the episodes are on YouTube. Please, watch them and see what they were all about, inside and out. The quality of the show is above most that released at that time. The characters were not doing that limited animation movement. The actions, although exaggerated with comedic timing were fluid. That made me keep my attention on the screen, plus with subsequent viewings over the years, I still stand by that remark. And all the other components, vocal talent, sound effects that came together for an entertaining show. So… Find it. Please.
Update: The Mighty Heroes did run in syndication in the early ’70s along with Mighty Mouse.