Thursday, December 2, 2010
Memories of an Odd Kid: The Mighty Hercules
When I was a kid, Saturday morning cartoons were an indispensable part of my week. I'd struggle to get up each weekday morning to get to school,only to easily and eagerly get up bright and early on Saturday in order to watch cartoons.
And you had to see them when they were being broadcast, because back in those days, we didn't have no newfangled VCRs, or DVDs, or DVR! Nossir! We had to walk FIF-teen miles to watch television, and we only had six channels and by cracky we were grateful for it, and...
..oh..sorry...where was I?
Oh yeah. Saturday cartoons. Anyways, one of the little gems that I loved was a cartoon called The Mighty Hercules, a product of 1963. Set in ancient Greece, Hercules was your basic muscular good guy, son of Zeus and all that. But his power was diminished on Earth, so when things got really hairy, he put on this magic ring that gave him his amazing power boosts (accompanied by the usual dramatic music and flashing lightning bolts).
Hercules had an annoying sidekick, a young centaur named Newton (first name Fig, perhaps!?), who had this irritating habit of repeating himself, repeating himself. Hercules' arch enemy was this evil sorcerer named Daedalus. Yes, the show took certain liberties with the classic mythology, but no worse than the Great Rogerer of All Our Beloved Childhood Stores and Legands..er...I mean, Disney. Hey at least the show featured mythological critters like the Laernean Hydra and the Nemean Lion.
Then there was the theme song. Oh, the theme song. Wow! A real manly-man hero theme song if there ever was one. See for yourself:
Hercules, hero of song and story.
Hercules, winner of ancient glory.
Fighting for the right,
Fighting with his might,
With the strength of ten, ordinary men.
Hercules, people are safe when near him.
Hercules, only the evil fear him.
Softness in his eyes,
Iron in his thighs,
Virtue in his heart,
Fire in every part,
Of the Mighty Hercules.
Wow. Makes you want to slap on a toga and a pair of sandals and start smacking things with a sword, don't it?
And it was sung by someone who you'd swear was Johnny Mathis. I mean, this fellow was so close to Mathis' style, that you'd swear he was going to follow up the theme song with an impromptu rendition of "Chances Are".
Turns out, it wasn't Mathis, but check this out. The singer of The Mighty Hercules was a man named Johnny Nash. You might remember him as the guy who sang about how he could see clearly now, the rain was gone. Yeah, that's the one.
So yes, The Mighty Hercules was one of those beloved childhood memories of mine that, thanks to the vastness of the Internet, has been rediscovered. Childhood cartoons have been in the forefront of my brain thanks to one of those nifty Facebook things where people are encouraged to put up a profile image about something or other.
Come to think of it, I think I'll be devoting a few more OV's to some other childhood favorites (Prince Planet, The Eighth Man, The Mighty Heroes, Frankenstein Junior and the Impossibles, et al). I also have two other ideas in mind, one involves a discussion about Rings, and another involves The Cliched Device of Power Used During Dramatic Moment.
Until next time, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for cigars!