1973: ‘Super Friends’ Debuts
It was on this day in 1973 that young DC Comics fans rejoiced when the first episode of Hanna-Barbera’s new Super Friends cartoon aired for the first time on ABC. Based on the Justice League of America comics, the show featured the grouping of Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman working together to fight crime. During the first season, the show introduced two average teens (Wendy and Marvin) and Marvin’s “Wonder Dog” who “helped” the superheroes with their missions. The show aired its last episode in August of 1974, but due to the rise of popularity of superheroes, reruns of the show were brought back to the air during the fall of 1976. In 1977, the show changed its name to the All-New Super Friends Hour and dropped Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog. The trio were replaced by another including Zan and Jayna aka “The Wonder Twins” and their pet monkey, Gleek. Jayna could turn herself into any type of animal while Zan was limited to transforming himself into bodies of water. The show continued on through 1986 taking on different titles: Challenge of the Super Friends (1978-1979), The World’s Greatest Super Friends (1979-1980), back to Super Friends in 1980 to 1983, Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984–1985) and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (1985–1986).
1966: The First ‘Star Trek’ Series
The TV series Star Trek should not be as popular as it is. The original pilot for the series starring Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Christopher Pike was rejected by NBC, but they offered the crew a second chance. The science fiction adventure show created by Gene Roddenberry debuted on this day in 1966 with high ratings but dropped to 52nd out of 94 programs by the end of the season. NBC threatened to cancel the show during the second season, but huge fan letter-writing campaign persuaded the network to carry on. The show was moved to Friday nights and given less of a budget to work with. Upset with the situation, Roddenberry resigned as producer and ratings continued to fall. But the show became extremely popular with syndicated reruns, enough to warrant a new film franchise and a bunch of TV spin-offs many years after the original had ended its airing.
1973: Sigmund the Sea Monster Appears
Sigmund and the Sea Monsters was unlike many of the Sid & Marty Krofft shows because instead of having a human go to some fantastic world, Sigmund involved fantastical creatures coming to the real world. The trouble started when two brothers, Johnny (Johnny Whitaker from Family Affair) and Scott (Scott Kolden from Me and the Chimp) were playing on the beach near Dead Man’s Point (which doesn’t seem like a great idea) and they meet Sigmund Ooze, a non-scary sea monster, sort of like Casper the Friendly Ghost. Sigmund (played by Billy Barty but voiced by Walker Edminston) had been thrown out of his home by his family because he lacked the skills of scaring humans. The boys snuck Sigmund into their garage and allow him to live there. What could go wrong?
Premiering on NBC on this day in 1973, the show ran for two seasons and featured Zelda (Mary Wickes) an overbearing housekeeper; Mrs. Eldels (Margaret Hamilton – the witch from The Wizard of Oz!), a neighbor, Sheriff Chuck Bevans (Joe Higgins), Sheldon the Sea Genie (Rip Taylor) and Shelby (Sparky Marcus), Sheldon’s nephew. One episode even featured Jack Wild.
A reboot of the series was created in 2016 airing on Amazon’s streaming service. The show’s storyline was quite similar but with a few new characters. During the show’s seven episodes David Arquette played Captain Barnabus who has devoted his life to capturing sea monsters. The boys were staying with their cousin Robyn and her mother Maxine for the summer. Johnny Whitaker even appeared as a special guest star.
- 1922: Sid Caesar (actor)
- 1925: Peter Sellers (actor)
- 1932: Patsy Cline (singer)
- 1965: Darlene Zschech (singer)
- 1966: Peter Furler (singer)
- 1971: David Arquette (actor)
- 1971: Martin Freeman (actor)
- 1979: Pink (singer)
- 1981: Jonathan Taylor Thomas (actor)
- 1989: Avicii (musician)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.