Thursday, June 30, 2005

Oz Meets The Superfriends

This particular episode of the Superfriends has obvious amusement value for Eric and I, as Eric is a rabid Oz fan and I'm a rabid Aquaman fan. Thus the sheer entertainment value inherent in a crossover between the two is quite high. As expected, I was giggling through the entire episode as I watched it and looked for good screen grabs.

The World's Greatest Superfriends: Planet of Oz - First aired on Saturday November 10, 1979 on ABC. Eighth and final episode of the season. My review copy was taped off Boomerang. The main characters in this episode are Superman (Danny Dark), Wonder Woman (Shannon Farnon), Aquaman (William Callaway) and Mr Mxyzptlk (Frank Welker). Batman, Robin, and the Wonder Twins also appear briefly at the beginning and end of the story.

Plot: A tornado sweeps away the Hall of Justice with Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman inside. Upon landing they discover that Mr Mxyzptlk has brought them to his twisted version of Oz. After a series of misadventures, the trio manage to outwit Mxy and somehow return home.

The story starts out with Batman in his batcopter trying to get into the "eye of the tornado"... Um. If a tornado has an eye, it's really small and only a complete doofus would be attempting to get into it. But then, this is the Superfriends universe.

Upon landing in Oz, Mxy confronts Superman, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman with the words, "What's the matter, Superdunce? Don't you read the classics? You're in the Land of Oz!"

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Of note: Mxy is holding up a book. However, I think Eric can confirm that it's not a recognizable edition of the book (maybe it's a fifth dimension printing) and there's a small flaw in the image in that you cannot read the author's name. And to be honest, it doesn't look like "L. Frank Baum" to me. Still, it's nice to see The Wizard of Oz being acknowledged as a book.

Naturally, Mxy tells the trio to find the Wizard and to follow the yellow brick road... and so off they go. Of note: no Munchkins, no good witch, no magic shoes.

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Their adventure doesn't follow the book at all. First they run into a walking venus flytrap with an extra dragon head, then into a witch who attempts to boil them. Then, the witch turns the trio into characters from Oz. Superman becomes the Tin Man, Wonder Woman the Cowardly Lion, and Aquaman the Scarecrow.

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Continuing on their journey, Aquaman is attacked by crows and carried to a purple river, where he convinces a local jellyfish to waterproof his straw so he can swim.

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Nice use of Aquaman's powers here, as he's dropped into a river and quickly summons aid. However, he seems a bit concerned about going over the falls... doesn't he realize he's made of straw and probably won't get hurt? As he goes over the falls, he does a nice acrobatic jump out of the water.

Wonder Woman is dragged underground and into a dark swamp, where she is attacked by wild boars and must electrify her lasso (using a kite made out of bark and a handy lightning storm) to fight them off.

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It took WW long enough to remember that she had a lasso on her. Even though their powers weren't working quite right, she could have done tons of stuff with it. I found it very giggle inducing that she would immediately think to make a kite and try to charge her lasso with electricity, rather that use the lasso to secure herself safely in the tree or something.

Superman gets caught in a rainstorm, and then Mxy turns the yellow brick road into Kryptonite. Somehow Supes uses his heat vision to turn the tin into lead (???) and solve both problems at once.

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This is the most difficult bit to accept in this story. Aquaman summoning a sea creature in a purple river? Odd, but not too odd. Wonder Woman electrifying her lasso with a kite made out of tree bark? Strange, but I'll buy it. Superman using his heat vision to turn tin into lead? Huh? I thought that was Firestorm's shtick? How can heat vision do that?

The trio, now waterproofed, electrified, and rust-proofed manages to meet up again, and they continue their journey to find the Wizard.

Note that after Superman changes his suit, it becomes silver instead of blue.

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At this point things get really strange. The trio is captured by a gang of Jawa-like creatures (who even mutter in Jawa-ese) that take them to a giant hourglass (no, seriously!) and toss them in.

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Just to make sure we get the Star Wars connection, the bottom of the hourglass has a monster in it that drags them down. How do our intrepid heroes get out of this horrible jam? Um. They don't. The monster drops them just outside the gates of the Wizard's castle. The castle is giant-sized, and the crew uses a handy key to get into the building where they are confronted by a giant Wizard!

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Of course, it's not what it seems. No, it's only Mxy, who used them to create the ingredients for a magic spell: "Grassius Oxide" (the straw Aquaman waterproofed), "Electo-lassiosium" (Wonder Woman's electrified lasso), and "Krypto-leadonium" (Superman's transformed tin). Mxy combines the ingredients into a potion that will prevent him from returning unwillingly to the fifth dimension. Unfortunately for him, the trio figured out his plan "hours ago" and Superman turned his suit back into tin.

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As Mxy fades into the fifth dimension, so does the world he created. And the trio are left standing in a desert. A quick cut later and they are back in the Hall of Justice, somehow restored to its proper place, with Batman arriving to ask where the tornado took them.

As usual, this is a hilariously bad episode of one of the goofier shows of the late 70s. It's strangely compelling in that can't-look-away sort of style. And if nothing else it qualifies as a fun little romp.

Crossposted to/from Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog

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