October 24, 2015

FRANKENSTEIN, JR. AND THE IMPOSSIBLES

FRANKENSTEIN, JR. AND THE IMPOSSIBLES
(CBS, September 10, 1966-January 7, 1967)


Hanna-Barbera Productions

MAIN CAST:
Dick Beals – Buzz Conroy
Ted Cassidy – Frankenstein, Jr.
John Stephenson – Professor Conroy
Paul Frees – Fluid-Man, Narrator, Big D, Professor Stretch, The Puzzler, Infamous Mr. Instant, Artful Archer, Dr. Futuro
Don Messick – Multi-Man, Perilous Paper Doll Man, The Bubbler, Fero, Satanic Surfer, Terrible Twister, Anxious Angler, Crafty Clutcher, Bizarre Batter
Hal Smith – Coil-Man, The Spinner, Beamatron, The Sinister Speck, Scheming Spraysol, Terrifying Tapper, Rascally Ringmaster, Not So Nice Mr. Ice, Billy the Kidder, The Insidious Inflator

            Frankenstein, Jr. and the Impossibles was part of Hanna-Barbera’s 1960s superhero production output, taking inspiration from both Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and the growing rock and roll craze for their latest characters. The show was broken up into three segments, one featuring Frankenstein Jr. (Ted Cassidy) and two (despite Frank receiving top billing) featuring The Impossibles.

Professor Conroy, Buzz and Frankie character model sheet.

            Unlike the classic novel, Frank was actually a 30-foot robot in a superhero suit invented by boy scientist Buzz Conroy (Dick Beals). Aside from a passing resemblance to the famous literary monster, there was little else to connect Frankie to the novel beyond his name. They lived in Civic City with Buzz’s father, Professor Conroy (John Stephenson). Whenever evil was afoot, Buzz would activate Frank through an energy ring and they would take off to deal with the problem while exclaiming “Alakazoom!”

The Impssibles as musicians and heroes.

            The Impossibles had the secret identities of being a rock and roll musical group, who were designed using all the typical pop star stereotypes of the day including long hair, brightly colored matching outfits and high-heeled boots. When contacted by Big D (Paul Frees) through one of their futuristic-looking instruments, they changed into their heroic alter-egos (sometimes in front of the crowds to whom they were playing, rendering the secrecy of their identities somewhat moot). The team was comprised of Coil-Man (Hal Smith), who could change his arms and legs into stretchable coiled springs that were comprised of metal (magnets were not his friend); Fluid-Man (Frees), who could transform his body into a fluid or vapor (and of course could be stopped by things like sponges); and Mutli-Man (Don Messick), who could create infinite duplicates of himself and could physically repel bullets (which didn’t explain the shield he always carried). The stage they performed on could become various types of vehicles, and they charged into battle with the cry of “Rally ho!”

The Impossibles' rogues gallery.

            The series debuted on CBS in September of 1966 and ran for a single season of 18 episodes with music composed by Hoyt Curtin. CBS kept it on for an additional year of reruns until 1968. Despite the goofy nature of the series and the painfully pun-laden dialogue, the series became one of the targets of complaints about violence in children’s television and CBS pulled it from their network.

Buzz model sheet.

The Frankenstein, Jr. segments were repackaged into the 1976 series Space Ghost and Frankenstein, Jr., which aired on NBC as a replacement for the recently-cancelled Big John, Little John. Meanwhile, The Impossibles’ heroic identities and designs were reused for another Hanna-Barbera program: The Super Globetrotters. Nate Branch (Scatman Crothers) was Liquid Man, also called Fluid Man and Aquaman, and featured a similar wet-suit brandished with an “F” logo; James “Twiggy” Sanders (Buster Jones) was Spaghetti Man, and although he was taller and skinnier his powers resembled Coil Man’s; and Hubert “Gesse” Ausbie (Johnny Williams) was Mutli Man, who had the same powers and only the addition of a full mask to the costume design.

A page from the comic book.

            The same year as the show, Gold Key Comics produced a single issue based on the program starring both Frankie and The Impossibles. The issue was reprinted in the United Kingdom by Atlas Publishing as The Impossibles Annual featuring a new text-based story. The characters returned to comics in 1996 in Archie ComicsHanna-Barbera Presents #8. In 1967, Whitman produced a coloring book and several puzzles, as well as the book Frankenstein, Jr.: The Menace of the Heartless Monster was as part of their Big Little Book series in 1968.

Space Ghost and Frankie on bubble bath.

Frankie was one of the included shows featured as slides for Kenner’s Give-A-Show-Projector set. Both he and The Impossibles were the subjects of their own individual Roalex sliding puzzles. In the 1970s, Frankie joined Space Ghost on boxes of Bubble Club Fun Bath. In 1998, each Impossible received their own keychain featuring both of their identities from Jun Planning Co., Inc. Frankie was made into a plush doll for the Warner Bros. Studio Store the following year. In 2008, Frankie became a figurine bank by Funko, who later released him as a Pop! vinyl figure as part of their Hanna-Barbera line. In 2011, the complete series was released to DVD by Warner Archive as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection.

The Impossibles all over Mask of the Blue Falcon.


After Frankie’s second run ended in 1977, he and would appear again in the Yogi’s Space Race episode “Franzia.” Fluid-Man made a cameo appearance in the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode “SPF” as a victim of cybersquatting. All of The Impossibles appeared as either costumes or pictures in 2013’s direct-to-video movie Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon.


EPISODE GUIDE (note: some segments may be out of order due to conflicting sources):
“The Bubbler / The Shocking Electrical Monster / The Spinner” (9/10/66) – The Impossibles have to rescue the Shah of Shish-ka-bob. / Dr. Shock turns Igor into an electricity-absorbing monster. / The Spinner steals one million dollars.

“The Perilous Paper Doll / The Alien Brain from Outer Space, Part 1 / Beamatron” (9/17/66) – The Impossibles have to stop Paper Doll from getting both parts of a secret plan. / An alien brain captures Buzz and Professor Conroy. / The Impossibles have to retrieve a stolen painting.

“Timeatron / The Alien Brain from Outer Space, Part 2 / The Burrower” (9/24/66) – Timatron brings criminals for the past to steal for him. / Frankenstein has to rescue Buzz and Conroy from the alien brain. / The Burrower digs into a bank and steals half a million dollars.

“Smogula / The Spyder Man / The Sinister Speck” (10/1/66) – Smogula freezes The Impossibles and leaves them in a cave. / Spyder Man is after Conroy’s spy detecting device. / The Sinister Speck shrinks himself in order to photograph top secret plans.

“Mother Gruesome/ Menace from the Wax Museum / Fero, the Fiendish Fiddler” (10/8/66) – Mother Gruesome uses storybook characters as her minions. / Mr. Menace attacks San Francisco with his monsters. / Fero uses his fiddle to transport The Impossibles away.

“Televisatron / UFO: Unidentified Fiendish Object / The Diabolical Dauber” (10/15/66) – The Impossibles end up trapped in various television shows. / The alien Zargon unleashes his warrior onto Washington, D.C. / Everything the Diabolical Dauber paints becomes reality.

“The Wretched Professor Stretch / The Unearthly Plant Creatures / Aquator” (10/22/66) – Prof. Stretch uses his rubber powers to commit crimes. / Plant Man thaws out three prehistoric plant creatures in order to destroy Frankenstein. / Aquator uses a stolen formula to shrink himself.

“The Devilish Dragster / The Deadly Living Images / The Return of the Spinner” (10/29/66) – The Impossibles chase after the Dragster and his stolen item. / The Mad Inventor’s device makes copies of whatever pictures he inserts into it. / The Spinner kidnaps a valuable dog.

“The Puzzler / The Colossal Junk Monster / Satanic Surfer” (11/5/66) – The Impossibles try to retrieve secret documents from the Puzzler, who can take any shape. / Junk Man creates a junk monster to destroy Frankenstein. / The Surfer photographs a secret sub.

“The Scurrilous Sculptor / The Incredible Aqua-Monsters / The Scheming Spraysol” (11/12/66) – The Sculptor turns everyone into statues. / Frankenstein protects the Navy’s new sub from Dr. Hook. / Spraysol uses his spray helmet to incapacitate his foes and steal secret documents.

“The Insidious Inflator / The Gigantic Ghastly Genie / The Artful Archer” (11/19/66) – The Inflator uses a balloon monster to commit crimes. / Zorbo creates a genie in order to take over the world. / The Archer steals a violin and a million dollars.

“The Return of the Perilous Paperman / The Birdman / The Dastardly Diamond Dazzler” (11/26/66) – The Paperman returns! / Birdman abducts two astronauts for a ransom. / Diamond Dazzler steals a diamond that supposedly has a genie inside.

“Cronella Critch the Tricky Witch / Invasion of the Robot Creatures / The Terrible Twister” (12/3/66) – The Impossibles face off against Cronella. / Seranto uses his gravity ray to conquer Earth. / The Terrible Twister goes on a jewel-heist spree in London.

“The Terrifying Tapper / The Manchurian Menace / Professor Stretch Bounces Back” (12/10/66) – Tapper commits crimes by sending himself through phone lines. / Manchurian Menace steals a camera that contains photos of Mars. / Professor Stretch escapes from prison.

“The Rascally Ringmaster / The Mad Monster Maker / The Anxious Angler” (12/17/66) – The Ringmaster robs patrons at his circus. / Baron Von Ghoul creates robots of horror movie monsters to use on a crime wave in London. / The Angler plans to sell stolen space research.

“Billy the Kidder / The Monstermobile / The Fiendish Dr. Futuro” (12/24/66) – Billy the Kidder plans to rob the US Mint. / The Mad Inventor’s Monstermobile will allow him to commit crimes and stay safe from Frankenstein. / Dr. Futuro travels to the past to steal a gold brick.

“The Infamous Mr. Instant / Pilfering Putty Monster / The Crafty Clutcher” (12/31/66) – Mr. Instant’s insta-gun creates mayhem. / Mr. Menace’s putty monster steals a valuable coin collection and Buzz. / The Crafty Clutcher brings his gloves to life to steal fro him.

“The Not So Nice Mr. Nice / The Spooktaculars / The Bizarre Batter” (1/7/67) – Mr. Ice and Freezer use their ice gun to take over. / Dr. Spectro’s ghosts help him conquer Penciltrania. / The Bizarre Batter kidnaps a star player for a ransom. 

2 comments:

  1. I have FRANKENSTEIN Jr and the IMPOSSIBLES on DVD this is the good stuff

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  2. Frankenstrin Jr was voiced by Ted(Lurch)Cassidy and the way that kid Buzz Conroy could bounch his raidar rings beam off certian famous landmark(Big Ben Clock Tower,Leaning tower if Piza,The Statue of Liberty,The Eifile Tower a passing sattlile a lighthouse or a ship of plane and at the end of the one about the evil alien enlarging the zoo animals and after the alien is destroyed Frankenstien Jr and Buzz that the animals for a little ride and animals are totaly enjoying it

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