September 01, 2018

SAMSON AND GOLIATH / YOUNG SAMSON


SAMSON AND GOLIATH /
YOUNG SAMSON
(NBC, September 9-December 2, 1967)

Hanna-Barbera Productions




MAIN CAST:
Tim Matheson – Samson
Mel Blanc – Goliath, various
Don Messick – Various
John Stephenson – Various
Daws Butler - Various


            Samson & Goliath was an action series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions for NBC. It was sponsored by General Mills and distributed through their advertising agency, Dancer Fitzgerald Sample. It was the only DFS-sponsored cartoon to be outsourced to Hanna-Barbera, as the agency’s own in-house studio, Gamma Productions, was closed before production on the series began. It was also the only DFS show not to be created by either Jay Ward Productions or Total Television.

Samson and Goliath traveling the countryside.


            The show followed a teenager named Samson (Tim Matheson) who traveled around the country by motorcycle with his dog, Goliath (Mel Blanc), helping those in need. Whenever they encountered trouble, Samson would bring together his golden wristbands and say the words “I need Samson Power” or “Time for Samson Power”, turning him into a superhero version of the biblical Samson complete with super strength. A second meeting of the wristbands would transform Goliath into super-powered lion (ironic, since the biblical Samson slew a lion as one of his feats). In his second form, Goliath gained a plethora of abilities such as super strength and durability, a powerful roar, steel-slicing claws, energy beams and heat generation and a vision obscuring smoke cloud. Unlike the biblical Samson, this Samson’s strength wasn’t connected to the length of his hair but could be enhanced by twisting his wristbands. Likewise, preventing Samson from bringing his wristbands together could prevent his transformation. His wristbands were also capable of generating an offensive shockwave attack. Their de-transformation sequence was never shown.

Samson and Goliath transformed.

            The pair encountered foes from both science fiction and inspired by other mythological elements. There was a creature created from the Aurora Borealis; the legendary Colossus of Rhodes statue reanimated by energy from a fallen meteorite; Nerod, an avid collector of Roman antiquities who modeled himself after Emperor Nero; Baron Von Skull, an elderly WWI German pilot who created evil war machines; and the terrorist organization P.E.R.I.L, led by Monarch (Don Messick), who created an anthropomorphic fire monster, amongst other threats.

Concept art of Samson's transformation.

            Samson & Goliath debuted on NBC on September 9, 1967. The series ran for a single season of 13 episodes, each containing two story segments. It was written by Tony Benedict, Walter Black, Eddie Brandt and Dalton Sandifer, with music by Ted Nichols. Like with all of Hanna-Barbera’s other action-oriented series, Alex Toth handled the initial character designs. Although its run was short, Samson & Goliath continued to air well into 1968. That April, its name was changed to Young Samson in order to differentiate it from the Claymation series, Davey and Goliath

Samson vs. the Colossus of Rhodes.

Later reruns saw the original name restored and its segments separated and aired alongside segments from other General Mills-sponsored programs Rocky & Bullwinkle, Tennessee Tuxedo and Go Go Gophers to round out the full half hour. When Samson & Goliath entered syndicated reruns in 1989, it was combined with other Hanna-Barbera cartoon The Space Kidettes as The Space Kidettes and Young Samson. This package was distributed by The Program Exchange, which was founded by DFS in 1979. To make room for more commercials, the Kidettes segments were drastically whittled down while the Samson segments only had some minor trimming done. Unfortunately, both shows were edited directly onto their master tapes, destroying their original broadcast versions. Since Kidettes was only 20 episodes, six segments of Samson weren’t used and have been lost ever since.

Clangggg!

Samson was featured in the first and third issues of Gold Key ComicsHanna-Barbera Super TV Heroes series, credited under the title Young Samson and Goliath. Whitman also published a coloring book for the show. In 2011, Warner Archive released the complete The Space Kidettes and Young Samson syndication package to DVD as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection.



EPISODE GUIDE (the accuracy of this guide is in question; read text for more info):
“The Curse of Monatabu / The Aurora Borealis Creature” (9/9/67) – Samson & Goliath investigate a witch doctor terrorizing a remote village with a giant monster. / An electricity monster manifested from the Aurora Borealis terrorizes an Eskimo village.

“The Great Colossus / Cold Wind from Venus” (9/16/67) – A meteorite brings the Colossus of Rhodes to life and it goes on a rampage. / A pair of androids from Venus arrive on Earth and begin freezing the planet to make it inhabitable by Venusians.

“The SSX-19 / Operation Peril” (9/23/67) – A terrorist group plots to steal a new experimental plane and exchanges Samson’s bracelets with lead ones to keep him away. / PERIL succeeds in capturing Professor Talos.

“The Secrets of Evil Island / The Monsteroids” (9/30/67) – Samson & Goliath head to Evil Isalnd to investigate the disappearance of a missile. / Samson & Goliath teleport to an asteroid to deal with the alien Zargo and his robot army.

“The Idol Rama-Keesh / Salamandro” (10/7/67) – General Tong and Ramu send a mechanical idol to terrorize a local village. / Villains teleport from an undersea laboratory into a ship to steal the gold bullion it carries.

“Baron Von Skull / Moon Rendezvous” (10/14/67) – Samson & Goliath face off against a former WWI flying ace. / Samson & Goliath end up on the moon while trying to recover a stolen graviton.

“The Lost City of the Dragon Men / The Colossal Coral Creature” (10/21/67) – Samson & Goliath have to save Professor Kinkaid from an underground city. / A pair of criminals revive a monster and set it loose on an Australian city.

“Zuran’s Creature / The Dome” (10/28/67) – Dr. Zuran transfers Samson’s super strength into his robot. / Samson & Goliath have to stop The Dome from launching missiles.

“Nerod / The Terrible Dr. Desto” (11/4/67) – Samson & Goliath fight against Nerod and his gladiators. / Dr. Desto uses a time machine to bring terrors from out of the past.

“From Out of the Deep / Thing from the Black Mountains” (11/11/67) – The Gill Men interrupt Samson & Goliath’s vacation. / A missile awakens a monster in the Black Mountains.

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