The Super Globetrotters, but in non-super form. From the intro to their show.


Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1979
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When the world-famous championship basketball team, The Harlem Globetrotters, branched out into entertainment appealing to young viewers, they made themselves eligible for a fate that …

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… also befell The Beatles and The Jackson 5ive — conversion into a Saturday Morning cartoon show — which they were, for a two seasons totaling 22 episodes, starting September 12, 1970, featuring, among others, the voices of Eddie Anderson (Rochester, Jack Benny's butler, both in live action and in a Warner Bros parody of Benny's show), Scatman Crothers (Hong Kong Phooey) and Nancy Wible (Sally in Davey & Goliath).

And once "satmornized", they became eligible for being "kicked up a notch", as, say, Josie & the Pussycats and Gilligan's cast had done to them by being sent into outer space. The Globetrotters became superheroes in a separate show that debuted September 8, 1979.

True to its well-known traits, the producer — Hanna-Barbera, in both cases — cribbed from one of its own lesser-known properties, The Impossibles. Two of the five Globetrotters featured took both their superhero names and their super powers from that source (Hubert "Geese" Ausbie as Multi-Man and Nate Branch as Liquid Man), and a third (Twiggy Sander as Spaghetti Man) had the same super power as The Impossibles' Coil Man. Also, Louis "Sweet Lou" Dunbar, aka Gizmo Man, had the super power of being able to pull any handy object out of his hair, just like Captain Caveman, except Gizmo Man's hair was all on the top of his head in the form of a huge "afro" haircut. Only Freddie "Curly" Neal was all new in both name and abilities. As Sphere Man, he could turn himself into a basketball.

Surprisingly, the team found these powers useful in defeating one super villain after another, taking their assignments from an entity called The Crime Globe. But the story always turned in the end to a slapstick basketball game of the sort The Harlem Globetrotters had been entertaining their fans with for years. The only difference was, the slapstick was exaggerated as only super-powered animated players can do.

Stu Gilliam, who had played Neal in the original Globetrotters cartoon, reprised the role in this one, as did Johnny Williams as Ausbie. Buster Jones (Black Vulcan in Super Friends) played Sander. Adam Wade (otherwise a face actor) played Dunbar. Crothers's voice was also in this show, this time as Branch. Globetrotters announcer Michael Rye, who also did various voices in Spider-Man and Scooby Doo, did his own voice. The Crime Globe was Frank Welker, a superstar of voice acting, who also did Jabberjaw and Buford.

One season of 13 episodes was made.


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Text ©2007 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Hanna-Barbera.