Monday, October 20, 2008

Between Two Armies

Season: 1
Episode Number: 1
Season Episode Number: 1
Production Number: Unknown
Airdate: Unknown

Writer: George Kashdan
Director: Hal Sutherland

Voices: Ted Knight (Narrator, Crystal Man Leader), Bud Collyer (Superman), Gilbert Mack (Hawkman), Gerald Mohr (Green Lantern, Rock Man Officer), Ray Owens (Flash), Pat Harrington Jr. (Atom, Crystal Man Officer), Vic Perrin (Rock Man Leader).

Plot: Two alien races, the Rock Men and the Crystal Men, bring their battle to Earth. Their attempts to destroy each other present a terrible threat to the planet Earth and it is up to the Justice League of America to help the two races come to peace.

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Between Two Armies is the first of three seven-minute cartoons produced by Filmation for the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure in 1967. The shorts appeared between two Aquaman stories in the later half of the show.

This version of the Justice League includes Green Lantern, the Flash, the Atom and Hawkman, all of whom had three of their own seven-minute segments in the series. Also present is Superman but not Aquaman, although he appears in the Justice League theme song.

This is the first time the Justice League appeared in animation. Although Super Friends is a more well-known version of the JLA, Filmation's version is a closer adaptation from the comic books. The roster is current for its time; Atom and Hawkman were new recruits in the late 60s, so for them to be spotlighted on the show would have made sense.

Missing from the team are Batman and Wonder Woman, whose rights may have been tied up elsewhere. Three other members, Martian Manhunter and new-recruits Green Arrow and Black Canary, are also not in this series. The main reason for these absent characters is probably that Filmation didn't want too many characters in the show. It's harder to write for and it requires a lot more animation, something that Filmation didn't have the budget for.

One of the reasons for the close adaptation of the Justice League in this series is due to Filmation hiring actual comic book writers to pen the their scripts. Who better to write the characters than the real deal! This episode was written by George Kashdan who worked for DC Comics between the 40s and the 60s.

There is a definite element of science-fiction in this story which is present in most Filmation superhero cartoons. The plot serves as a lesson about racial prejudice which would have been very forward thinking in 1967. Leave it to the Justice League to teach kids about loving your neighbour!

DVD Releases:
  • DC Super Heroes: The Filmation Adventures

  • Back to Episode Guide

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