Friday, September 14, 2018
Space Family Bestiary!
I don't know what it is exactly about The Herculoids that makes them so darn fascinating, but there's no doubt to my imagination, both nostalgic and modern, that this "family" of man and beasts is one of the great things wrought for the wonder that was Saturday morning television. Alex Toth designed them, gave the look which hovers between the real world and the cartoon world in which gravity doesn't work and humans have enormous heads. The standard material for Hanna-Barbera had been that kind of stuff, funny cartoons like The Flintstones and The Jetsons and then came Toth and Space Ghost and a new moment filled with superheroes. But 1967's The Herculoids at once taps into that superheroic zeitgeist and adds dashes of science fiction and family adventures which steep and give us something truly unique.
The Herculoids live on the planet Amzot. Their leader is man named Zandor who has a lovely wife named Tara and a doughty son named Dorno. These three humans are joined by a coterie of monsters to protect their home world from relentless invasions from the depths of space and the planet and more.
Zok is a flying dragon who can emit laser rays from his eyes and tail, Tundro is an enormous rhino-like beast with numerous legs and plated armor who can fire energy rocks from his horn, Igoo is a giant ape who appears to be made of stone and has the strength to prove it, and finally there is Gloop and Gleep two shapeless creatures who ooze and wiggle into all sorts of shapes and forms to serve the moment. Weird don't cover it -- but somehow this illogical brew tastes exceedingly good.
Just watched the series once again and loved it all over again. The adventures are varied enough and the cast large enough to keep any of it from seeming stale, even after all these decades. I cannot recommend this cartoon highly enough.
Check it out.