The opening credits of Challenge of the Superfriends has a pedigree in crazy that we’d be remiss to examine in close detail. And you can’t spell “remiss” without “miss”, eh?
That made no sense. Just like the show.
The credits begin with Lex Luthor coming at us from what appears to be either a disco or a funky nebula:
He’s soon followed by his comrades, the 13 members of the infamous Legion of Doom. None of them seem particularly perturbed that they’re both flying through the cosmos without protection and on a collision course with a camera.
They look like they’re posing for their senior class pictures.
The narrator boasts that the Legion is “banded together from remote galaxies”, and while I may not know my DC continuity as well as some, I’m pretty sure that 95% of the Legion’s board of directors hails from Earth (Wikipedia confirms that 10 out of the 13 are Earth natives). It’s also a little weird that someone would not only travel to Earth from a “remote galaxy” to begin with, but do so to start throwing down with the local population.
Also, we quickly discover that the Legion has no beauty standards when it comes to their female population (or male population, for that matter):
As the Legion is introduced, their trademark HQ, the Hall of Doom, rises up out of the swamp, looking like a melancholy Darth Vader:
I was never quite sure why the Legion would (a) hang out in a fetid, smelly swamp when there were much nicer villain locales in the south Pacific, (b) ever lower their building below the swamp water, and (c) not have a giant laser cannon strapped to the roof of that thing.
Hey, it’s time to show bad people doing bad things! What dastardy deeds do the world’s worst supervillains commit in their spare time?
Yeah, I think we as a planet are pretty safe here, but the narrator doesn’t think so. Who can face the challenge of these threats? Boy Scouts, perhaps, or… the SUPERFRIENDS!
*cue awesome music as the Superfriends march by*
This may be the only cool moment in the entire show’s history, so I’ll let it slide. Wait, no I won’t:
And I’m pretty sure Wonder Woman doesn’t either, unless she’s belly surfing on top of her invisible jet here.
Enter Hawkman, who looks as if he’s auditioning to become a member of the Thundercats:
I just want to point out that between his wings and arms, the dude has FOUR arm/wingpits, and he never wears a shirt. Have you ever hung out with a guy who never wears shirts but really really should? There’s a reason the rest of the Superfriends stand at least four feet away from Hawkman at all times.
We then are treated to goosebump-raising examples of the Superfriends foiling the Legion of Doom. Batman, for instance, shines the Batsignal on the Riddler, who is conveniently standing by the open window at a bank vault:
Solomon Grundy throws a rock which Superman punches in half (c’mon, Supes, he just wanted to play catch!). Following this, the Flash runs — xylophone tinkling in full excitement like we’re watching the Flintstones or Scooby Doo — and ties up Captain Cold with six feet of twine:
Right here, you just know the Flash is taken aback by his success. He is paralyzed and obviously thinking “I have NO idea what I’m supposed to do now. Maybe make a pet out of him? Use him for cheap air conditioning?”
Giganta and Apache Chief grow to be 200 feet tall and play Tag across the city, stomping hundreds of people into a finely-spread paste. Here you can see Giganta in all her ugly glory passing by the Pac-Man Dots Expressway:
Then Black Lightning and Samurai fly by quickly enough not to offend 1970’s sensibilities with their ethnic awesomeness. What do they do? Who do they combat? We don’t know, but they can fly and that’s a huge blow for racial equality!
Gorilla Grodd busts open a door and looks upset about it. He’s been that way ever since losing the role of King Kong to that “other” giant ape.
The camera flashes to Wonder Woman, who’s getting ready to do some serious lassoing, and you think she’s trying to take down Grodd with it… but she’s actually going for the discount-named Cheetah. No means no, Wonder Woman!
Aquaman, knowing that he’ll never be allowed to do anything cool for the entire series, overdoes it in the credits a tad:
We finally get to the climax of the intro, which has the Justice League racing out of their headquarters, sans a couple of the members who were less-than-white and therefore were not woken up by Alfred for the promotional picture:
At least they got all the rest of the details right here, like Batman and Robin running over water, Wonder Woman and Aquaman flying, and no graffiti anywhere on this highly-taggable building.
Then everyone smashes together for a final shot that would only be improved if a small child scribbled all over it with crayon: