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The Mighty Hercules TheMightyHercules


Hercules Ruled! Easily my favourite animated series for weeks if not months. Rounding out your character roster, I'll mention Herc's girlfriend Helena, Newton's sidekick "Toot" who communicated via pan-pipes alone. Besides Daedalus, Hercules had to worry about "The Mask" and the sultry yet evil Wilamena.

Give me three or four jerky frames a minute of The Mighty Hercules over the steroid-bloated, effeminate Disney clown any day.

Great site, keep it up!
- Steve

Thank you for printing the lyrics to the Hercules theme. My brothers and I used to watch it everyday after school. It was shown as one of the segments on a local kid's program called "Johnny's Follies" on WVUE in New Orleans.

I didn't think anybody else remembered this cartoon until I heard it mentioned on the Canadian comedy series, "The Kids in The Hall." During a monologue about gay couples by Buddy (Scott Thompson), the last pairing he mentions is "Hercules and Newt." When the audience laughed, I knew even people in Toronto were familiar with the show.

- David Bush

When I was a kid, Mighty Hercules used to play on a show called "Boomtown" starring Rex Trailer, which was a western-type kid's show. My sister and I used to love that cartoon and would play-act it all the time. Now, some 30 years later, it was always lingering in the back of my mind, when I happened to pick up a toy selling newspaper and the Mighty Hercules board game was being auctioned off for a minimum bid of $650!! So much for that . . .

- Ken Paruti


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Thanks Ken!

My first experience with Hercules was as an oft-stoned college student in Dallas in the mid-1980s. Channel 27 had a Felix the Cat / Mighty Hercules hour, which fit in nicely with my strict regimen of blowing off classes while watching mindless television. Of course, the best thing about it is the utter cheesiness. This was lost on my girlfriend, who thought I was just sitting around watching stupid cartoons, when in fact I was, um, well, OK, that's what I was doing. But still. Hercules was the beginning of the end for that relationship, but even though she still doesn't get it, we remain friends to this day.

- W. Evans

The Mighty HerculesThe original Mighty Hercules show was a popular staple in the lunchtime line-up of Montreal's CFCF-12 station in the early-mid 70s. A single 5-minute Herc segment was shown each weekday at 12:00 noon just before The Flintstones. I suppose one of the reasons for its popularity was the fact that local Montreal TV & radio personality Jimmy Tapp provided the voice of Hercules himself! Knowing that Mr.Tapp was about as far removed in real life from the character of Herc only added to the charm of the show. :)

Around 1976, the series disappeared entirely from the airwaves in Montreal and wasn't seen again until channel 12 dug out the grainy old prints and ran them at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings in 1992.

Thankfully, a company called "Alan Enterprises" bought the series shortly thereafter and re-syndicated it with crisp, clean new prints. Herc never looked so good! YTV (Canada's national cartoon cable network) picked up the series aound 1994-95 and broadcast it from coast-to-coast for the first time in nearly 20 years which gave me a chance to re-live some truly wonderful childhood memories.

- Daren Gleason

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from viewer 'Ann'

I have an obscure one for you. It may not have been a "show" in itself, but it was at least a serial cartoon, with an episode played daily on a kids' after-school lineup. It was called "Hercules" and was pretty low-budget animation. Hercules had a sidekick whom I remember as a faun or satyr, but one of the other two people I know who remembers the cartoon swears it was a centaur named "Newton". This character said everything twice, the most frequent phrase being, "Right, Herc!, Right, Herc!" This has been impossible to forget for all three of us.

The main bad guy was Daedalus, who was always inventing dastardly machines and schemes. There was also a female romantic interest whom none of us can remember (Helena) other than that she was blonde and very sweet.

The whole thing was quite ancient-Greek looking, and drew from mythology for many of the other characters. I was watching it around 1964-66, and my friends remember it being sometime between 1963 and 1967. Two of us saw it in the Washington D.C. area, the other in north central Connecticut.

The best thing about "Hercules" was the theme song, which had a lovely and heroic melody:

hero of song and story
winner of ancient glory
fighting for the right
fighting with his might
with the strength of ten
ordinary men
people are safe when near him
only the evil fear him
softness in his eyes
iron in his thighs
virtue in his heart
fire in every part
of the mighty

The Mighty HerculesGod help us, we can still sing it with gusto and goosebumps. Does anybody else on the planet remember this cartoon? Dare I hope we could find it on video cassette to show our eye-rolling offspring? With all the hullabaloo about the Disney movie, and references to the more recent cartoon Hercules, this one is a needle-in-the-haystack to search for on the web.

Clearly you are wise and well-connected. Please help. Thanks!

- Ann

Thanks for the memories, Ann.

To call this cartoon series 'limited animation' is stretching even that broadly defined term. The animation on The Mighty Hercules produced by Adventure Cartoon Productions in association with Trans-Lux, was only a step above those toy TVs with the record player on top that you slid the filmstrips through. Whole conversations would take place with only three or four frames changing, and it would be the same sequence you saw time and time again.

That little gnome used to drive me crazy repeating everything with that high-pitched annoying yelp. He screamed "Herc! Herc!" as often as officer Tootie said "Ooh! Ooh!" on 'Car 54, Where are you?'. But I was compelled to keep watching, I don't know why.

Mighty Hercules 'The Mighty Hercules' premiered in syndication in September 1963 and was available as a half-hour show, or as five minute segments that could be run during local kid's shows. Watching the episodes one after the other in a half hour block was pure sensory torture. The episodes were written by George Kashdan and Jack E. Miller, two former editors/writers at DC comics where Superman comics were published.

'The Mighty Hercules' was a lot like the old Superman comics - Herc's girlfriend Helena (Lois Lane) and his dorky pal Newton (Jimmy Olsen) were always getting into trouble and Hercules has to step in and save the day.

Like another DC character (Green Lantern), Hercules derives his strength from a ring given to him by his father Zeus. Because of the five minute running time, there wasn't room for a lot of character development, another similarity to the Sixties' Superman.

Hercules couldn't fly, so at the end of each segment he was usually shown running off into the distance or jumping off a cliff, shouting his trademark "Olympia!"

Mighty HerculesSomeone told me, though it may have been a joke, that Disney would have given the green light to their 'Hercules' movie a decade ago, but they were waiting for this cartoon to fade from the public memory.

And it did, Ann, until you brought it up again. I afraid you'll be hearing from Disney's lawyers!

"Now come on and admit that when you were in 4th and 5th grade that old Hercules was pretty cool stuff, for me it was 1965-66.

"Then in about 1975 it was rerun on KHJ channel 9 in Los Angeles before the birth of my oldest son. He would wake up early, and I would watch it and reminisce about my childhood. I have been looking for Hercules on videos and on cartoon shows for years. Besides, do you remember that Johnny Nash sang the '70s hit I Can See Clearly Now?

- Linda Collins

"Why hasn't anyone mentioned the all-but-obvious homosexual subtext to the original animated Hercules?

Hercules"From the Johnny Mathis-style rendering of the very gay theme song ("softness in his eyes/iron in his thighs), to the musclebound but hairless Hercules - this had to be a huge inspiration to Saturday Night Live's Ambiguously Gay Duo.

"I remember watching Hercules as a kid on Johnny's Follies on WVUE in New Orleans and being somewhat disturbed by the whole thing - even at that young age I could tell something was different about this cartoon.

"I remember one episode where the Prince was dying and one of the physicians said that only the fruit of the lotus could save him, and the other physician said something like "Where can that fruit be?" and then it cuts to Hercules walking along with Newt.

"The people writing this show had to know what they were saying. Next time you get a chance to see Hercules watch closely."

- M.O.T.O.

"I used to love that cartoon !

"I was in nursery school at the time, growing up in Connecticut. I loved to watch it while eating a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of soup (Liptons - umm umm good!)

"I worshipped Hercules so much that I named my new pet Guinea Pig after him! My mom also brought home a female G.P to keep "Herc" company, I named her "Sharon". They made a lovely couple. Well, Hercules the Guinea Pig also "had the strength of ten, ordinary men" too, and apparently the labido to match, because he spent more time on top of Sharon than I spent watching teevee! My parents would sheepishly skirt the subject when I asked what they were doing.

"Anyway, good old Hercules eventually loved poor Sharon to death, she died from too much of Hercules's lovin'. Poor Hercules missed his wife so much that he too died within a month of his dearly departed.

"Thats how I remember the Hercules cartoon."
- Manny F


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