Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Dragon Riders

Hey kids (of all ages), it’s Saturday Morning Cartoon time again!

A few weeks ago I featured the YOUNG SENTINELS / SPACE SENTINELS, one of Filmation’s rare ventures not involving licensed properties. That show was a single season and mostly forgotten, but one of its characters was recycled the next year in the FREEDOM FORCE, which was broadcast in 1978 as part of the TARZAN AND THE SUPER 7 cartoon block. The oddly Nordic-looking version of the Greek demigod Hercules returned, now riding Pegasus, the winged horse.

Now, why Hercules, who possessed the ability to fly under his own power with the Sentinels, needed a winged horse here is a good question. But Pegasus has always been too popular an image to be confined to the lesser-known hero Bellerophon, his original rider. So he’s been associated with bigger stars like Perseus. (Who didn’t need a winged horse either, since he had the ability to fly thanks to talaria he wore.) Strange paring him with Herc though, as one of the strongman’s legendary labors involved killing Pegasus’ nephew!

Filling out the team were generic versions of public domain characters Merlin and Sindbad… Along with “Super Samurai”, who was sort of a less sci-fi version of ULTRAMAN, a Japanese guy who could transform into what appeared to be living, giant samurai armor.

Probably the biggest “star” of this little group was ISIS, an animated version of the super-heroine from Filmation’s 1975 live-action, Saturday Morning show, originally shared with SHAZAM. The animated Isis would pop into Filmation’s HERO HIGH a few years later… By which time the mere five episodes of Freedom Force would already be slipping into oblivion. More from the OldHorseman.




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