in at a very close second as the most
hideously obnoxious -- yet wonderfully
infectious, comic book cartoon theme song
is the overture to Captain America!
translated by me complete with sound
free to sing along!
Captain America throws his mighty
POW! ZAM! WAP!
those who chose to oppose the
shield must yield!
TWANG! CLANK! ZZAT!
he's led to a fight and a duel is
the Red and the White and the Blue
will come through!
Captain America throws his mighty
POW! ZAM! WAP!
I said, a close second; coming in right
behind the theme to the 1960s Spider-Man
cartoon. "Spider-Man! Spider-Man!
Does whatever a spider can..."
first episode, The
Return of Captain America,
opens in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean,
where a hi-tech sub searches the murky
fathoms. Manning this sub are Earth's
mightiest collection of heroes (--
this Earth anyway), The Avengers:
Iron Man, Thor, Giant Man and the Wasp.
When Thor (voiced by Chris Wiggins)
spots something that looks like a
body, floating in the water, Giant Man (Paul
able to retrieve it and hauls it inside.
body's clothes are in tatters, but
underneath the shredded jumpsuit is a very
familiar, and very patriotic getup.
Recognizing him as the star-spangled
World War II hero Captain America, the
Wasp (Peg Dixon) says that can't be possible because he's been missing for almost twenty years.
the soggy figure jerks awake, shouting
hysterically for someone named Bucky.
Avengers manage to subdue him, but only
after he stops struggling, the distraught
figure recounts the last thing he
remembers before waking up here:
that in the waning days of World War II
America (Arthur Pierce) and his partner,
Bucky (Bernard Cowan), were
trying to prevent a drone rocket filled
with explosives from launching. Alas, they were
too late but race after it on a
motorcycle. When they both leap for it, Bucky
manages to hang on but Cap couldn't and
fell into the ocean below. Above, Bucky
detonates the rocket drone and is engulfed
in the explosion; it's the last thing Cap
sees before splashing down.
Avengers are a little suspicious of this
story and demand proof that he really is
Captain America. This leads to the old
Mighty Marvel Misunderstanding Trick* and
they have a little dust up, where Cap
proves his mettle and wins their trust.
old Mighty Marvel Misunderstanding trick
has been employed by Marvel Comics since
the beginning. This scenario has allowed
their heroes to unwittingly battle each
other on more than one occasion.
themselves, the gathered Avengers
explain that the war has been over for a while
and the Allies won. But there is still a
need for those who would fight the good
fight for freedom and justice, and so, they
invite Cap to join their ranks. He
accepts and celebrates by taking a nap.
(Hey, c'mon, it's been a rough day.)
Okay, quick Marvel History Lesson time
... You see, Captain America spent the time after
Bucky's death at the close of the
second World War to the present time in
a state of suspended animation, frozen
in a block of ice. After falling off
drone, he landed in the frozen North
Atlantic. Somehow, his super-soldier
serum enhanced body allowed him to
ahead twenty years and we find the Avengers
out in their handy submarine looking for
none other than The Sub-Mariner,
who'd been causing trouble recently with
the surface world. Beaten back again,
Cranky Prince Namor came
upon an Eskimo fishing village, who
worshiped a shadowy "god"
frozen deep in a block of ice.
to be outdone by a frozen deity, Namor (John
Vernon) chucked the entire block of ice into the
ocean, where the mini-iceberg was lucky enough
to get caught in a warm current and
drifted south, thawed out, and it's
formerly encased prisoner was fortunate
enough to be discovered by the Avenger's
before he revived and drowned. And that's
how Cap happened to be in the ocean.
back to the cartoon!
Cap sleeps below, the
Avengers return to port in New York, disembark, and
face the paparazzi. Mobbed by reporters on
the docks, the Avengers announce they've
made a remarkable discovery as several
photographers swarm closer. But one of
them points something more sinister at our
heroes. And in a flash of light and smoke,
everyone is blinded. When the smoke clears,
it appears the Avengers are gone, leaving
stone statue replicas in their stead.
Figuring it's some kind of trick
the Avengers are using to avoid them the
press clears off.
later, Cap wakes up and finds the sub
empty and the docks
deserted -- except for those strange
statues. Noticing that the Giant Man and
Thor statues have assumed defensive
stances, this isn't the only strange sight
confronting our hero. A lot has changed in the
last twenty years and Cap is quickly overwhelmed.
Feeling abandoned and out of place, a
friendly cop helps him find a hotel room,
sacks out until he hears someone entering the
room. He first mistakes the shadowy figure
for Bucky, but it turns out to be none
other than Rick Jones (--
side kick extraordinaire),
who says the Avengers have been missing
since the impromptu press conference on
the docks and he hopes that Cap can help find
scour the news footage in which Cap spots the
sinister man with the funky camera -- that
looks suspiciously like a ray gun. With
the help of Rick's Teen Brigade, Cap
manages to track the criminal down. When
bad guy introduces himself as The Bull, he
tries to use the transmogrifying gun on
Cap; but he proves too agile and captures
Bull to the docks, he forces him to
reverse the polarity on the gun, reverting
the Avengers back to normal. They are
thankful but Cap defers most of the thanks
to Rick. So joyous are they, though, that
they allow the crook to sneak off during
the excitement. Told to head to Avenger's Mansion, to
coordinate the search for Bull, Cap heads
to the mansion where Jarvis, the butler,
takes care of him. Meanwhile,
in an old abandoned building clearly
marked Old Abandoned Building (--
it says "Old Abandoned Building"
on the marquee),
Bull and his gang of thugs plot revenge
our recently resurrected hero. And they
must have paid a visit to either A.I.M.,
Justin Hammer or the Tinkerer because they
have a bunch of new and deadly toys.
Arming up with some high tech battle
gadgets and armor, they kidnap Jarvis, and
leave a ransom demand that Cap come to the
Old Abandoned Building alone.
complies, Bull orders his men to
attack. And despite the lasers, repulsor-rays,
and napalm, Cap busts some heads and kicks
some serious ass -- complete with
spelled-out sound effects. (ZANG!
FLOORG! FWIP! Just like in the old Batman
TV series. I had to rewind it and freeze
advance to make sure that one sound effect
said "FOOP" and not
battle won, Cap returns to the Mansion and
finds the other Avengers waiting for him.
Still too overly modest, when Cap says he's
just a little stiff after the rigorous
battle the Wasp jabs "Not as stiff
as when we found you earlier!"
Dr. Wertham. Dr. Frederick Wertham.
You're needed in the Innuendo Room.
our second episode, Zemo
and the Masters of Evil,
we switch locales to the secluded South
American jungle hide out of one Baron
Zemo, who was one of the Nazis' top mad
scientist and all around no-good-niks. (In
fact, it was his rocket drone that Cap and
Bucky were trying to stop.) When
pilot returns with the latest batch of
scientific journals none hold the
secret of removing Zemo's mask. Asked how
he became permanently stuck under
that hood, Zemo relates that, during the
war, he was putting the finishing touch on
his latest creation, Adhesive X, the
strongest glue ever invented.
(And the potential for evil glue is what
America was onto his schemes and raided
the lab. During the mêlée, Cap threw
his shield, shattering the container of
adhesive, which spilled all over Zemo,
permanently attaching the hood to his
cuts this story short when he spies an
article saying his old enemy is alive
and well and kicking butt with the
Avengers. Still blaming Cap for the whole
mask thing, and everything else that's
gone wrong for him, Zemo's hatred proves so
irrational that his stomping fits and tantrum are very disturbing. (See
illustration in the sidebar. That or he's contracted
fever from the Iceman.)
conspires to form the Masters of Evil to
take out the Avengers and, more
importantly, to kill Captain America.
Rounding up the individual Avenger's most
deadliest foes -- the mysterious Melter,
whose heat beam can melt Iron Man's armor,
the Radioactive Man, who can withstand
Thor's enchanted hammer, and Giant Man's
nemesis, the Black Knight and his lance of
doom -- Zemo is soon ready to roll ...
Elsewhere, unaware that evil is conspiring against them, the
Avengers go about there business. When
suddenly, New York comes under attack as Zemo's henchmen,
armed with sprayers
filled with Adhesive X, coat the
entire city in the gunk's sticky embrace.
With the city held at ransom until
Captain America surrenders, the
Giant Man and the Wasp --)
counterattack. Coming upon the
Radioactive Man first, Thor's hammer is
still useless against him. And when the villain
tries to blast him with the adhesive, the
Thunder God dodges the spray but Cap's feet are coated
with it, sticking him to the street.
leads the bad guy away Iron Man (John
tries to free Cap until they're
the Melter, who blasts away at Iron
Man with his deadly beam. With no time to mess around,
Iron Man uses his
repulsor rays to cut a circular chunk of
the asphalt loose around Caps feet and
drags the whole thing to safety. When Thor
rejoins them, they make a strategic
withdrawal to regroup. The first thing to do is
free up Cap free, so Iron Man tries all the
solvents he has but nothing works. He then
hits upon the idea of asking Paste-Pot
Pete for help. As his name implies, Pete
is an expert on adhesives, who owes
Iron Man a favor. A villain by trade, he
was last seen helping the Frightful Four
fight their Fantastic counterparts.
Iron Man convinces the villain to help remains a
mystery. More recently Pete has been trying to
convince the world to stop calling him
Paste Pot and use his cooler code
name The Trapster! At last check no one's
the solvent works. With Thor ready to attack
them head on, Cap calms him down and forms
a sound counteroffensive that's executed
beautifully when the Masters of Evil
return to Zemo's rocket for more Adhesive X. Unknown
to them, however, Cap switched the barrels out,
filling their sprayers with the
super-solvent instead. Thus, when the villains get
back to gumming up the city they are
shocked to see their spray freeing those
already stuck. The
second phase of Cap's plan calls for the
heroes to switch villains. And as Thor makes
quick work of the Black Knight and his
winged steed, Cap and Iron Man manage to cocoon the Radioactive Man in a
lead lined straight jacket. That leaves
the Melter, who does a number on Iron
Man's armor until Shell-Head tricks him
into blasting a hydrant, causing a spray of water that
shorts out the bad guy's deadly ray.
Iron Man and Thor haul the other villains
off to jail, Captain America ferrets out
Zemo and then all hell breaks loose. The fight is fairly
even, but soon Cap has the upper hand --
until Zemo's pilot shoots him. Thinking
they've killed him a victorious Zemo
retreats into his rocket to escape. They launch just as
Thor returns. Using his enchanted uru
hammer, Thor creates a vortex and Zemo's
ship vanishes into the ether. Luckily, the bullet only grazed Cap's skull,
knocking him out, but he
wakes up in time to see the ship disappear.
Asked if Zemo is dead, Thor says no:
the vortex only caused a distortion in
time and space. So Zemo is still alive,
but where, or even when he is is anyone's
I don't think any character
in the old Marvel Universe has been
killed, presumed dead, revamped,
overhauled, or retooled more than Captain
America. He's had several comic book runs.
Made numerous cameos in other Marvel
animated adventures. Had a couple of his
own kitschy 1970's live-action television
movies, and one truly odious feature film.
Curse you Albert Pyun!
version is a wonderful time capsule of
Marvel's early days, and has a nice
retro-vibe going for it. The stories are
basically condensed versions straight from
the comic books. (In this case The
#3 and #4.) Cap's
cartoon was featured with several other
heroes; Thor, Iron Man, Sub-Mariner, and
the Hulk that premiered on the syndicated
Marvel Super-Heroes Show back
1966, complete with yet another
whiz-banger of a theme: "The
Merry Marvel Marching Song".
here if you want to here it.) Most
people remember these old cartoons coupled
with their local affiliate's after-school
kid's shows, usually complete with their
own costumed hosts. Alas, our local host
-- the helmeted Commander NTV, whose
masculine voice was betrayed by the *ahem*
dangerous curves of her jumpsuit -- didn't
have this cartoon. But we did get the old
George Reeves Superman
show so we'll call it a wash.
the biggest complaint is the crude
animation style, known as Xerography,
where you actually copied pencil sketches
straight onto an animation cell. My
complaint isn't the lack of movement,
really, it's the horrible overuse of the
same images over and over and over. This
really comes to light in the scene after
Captain America wakes up on the sub. Here,
starts talking, and through the sub's
window, you can clearly see Cap's body
still floating out in the water because
they used the same animation cel from
freely admit I'm a Captain America guy. I've defended him against
hundreds of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals
in faded Bat-Man and Spawn t-shirts -- the
ones that smell funny, with worse goatees
than mine, and have had that same shirt on
for so long you can see chest hair growing
through the tattered mesh, at the local
comic shops. I've followed
his core title, off and on, for over thirty
I enjoy Cap the most, though, is his
almost constant presence among the ranks
I enjoy how he's got the respect of almost
every hero in the MU, and they'd follow him
a very profound scene in the middle of the
first episode of the Captain
cartoon, where our hero, the human
embodiment of the American ideal, wandered
the streets of New York in a shell-shocked
daze. When Cap was frozen, America was at
the top of her game. We'd help win the war
and were about to enter the baby boom of
the '50s. Twenty years later, things had
definitely changed. The cartoon came out
in 1966, and the comic book it was gleaned
from in 1964. America wasn't in the best
of shape then, and was threatening to fall
apart at the seams; it's President had
just been assassinated; there was civil
injustice, unrest, and cultural clashes;
the generation gap was as large as it's
ever been; and the country's involvement
in a skirmish in a certain southeast Asian
country was about to spin out of control.
Here, Cap is feeling out of place -- outdated,
and feels "I don't belong here."
And then the cop finds him, and after
realizing it's the real Captain
America, he's emotionally overcome and
states "I'm glad you're back Cap. The
world needs you now more than ever."
Then he turns away so Cap can't see he's
know about four or five years ago there
was some rumblings about getting all of
these old cartoons out on DVD, an official
5-Disc set was even announced by Buena
Vista, but for some reason the plug got
pulled -- I assume over some lingering
copyright issues with the new round of
Marvel feature films. Until that day
comes, I guess we'll just have to stick
with our old VHS tapes and the wonders of
YouTube. For more on the history of these
Gantry-Lawrence toons, please feel free to
check out my other review on The
Captain America (1966) Grantray-Lawrence Animation :: Famous Studios :: Marvel Enterprises / P: Grant Simmons / D: Grant Simmons, Doug Wildey / W: Doug Wildey, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Joe Simon / S: Arthur Pierce, Paul Kligman, Paul Soles, Bernard Cowan, Peg Dixon, Gillie Fenwick, John Vernon, Chris Wiggins
by Chad Plambeck: misspeller of words,
butcher of all things grammatical,
and king of the run on sentence. Copy and paste at your own legal risk.
Comments? Shoot us an e-mail.