Reviews
July 27, 2013 posted by Charles Brubaker

DVD REVIEW: DePatie-Freleng’s “Super 6″

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In this day and age, you just never know what weird and obscure cartoon will suddenly reappear, after being hidden from public for years, maybe decades. Case in point: DePatie-Freleng’s Super 6.

For those who don’t know, The Super 6 (on screen, simply titled “Super 6″) is a cartoon that aired on NBC Saturday Mornings starting September 10, 1966. It was produced by DePatie-Freleng (DFE), their first try at making made-for-TV cartoons after doing theatrical shorts for several years.

This is a three-short cartoon: the first segment featuring “Super Bwoing”, and the second “Brothers Matzorileys”. The third slot rotated between Granite Man, Magneto Man, Elevator Man, Super Scuba, and Captain Zammo. Collectively, The Super 6 takes place in Super Service, a company where superheroes work on the clock. It is run by Super Chief (voiced by Paul Frees), a dispatcher who assigns a superhero for any crime that takes place. Often times he is forced to dispatch Super Bwoing, the “rookie” of the group, to stop a crime because everyone else is busy. He would always fly with his “Super Bwoinger”, a guitar which also acts as his weapon. He’s the clumsy one in the group, although he would succeed in catching bad guys.

Granite Man is, as his name implies, made of granite. He spends his day as a statue in the park, but he would get his assignment delivered to him by his assistant Percival, a messenger pigeon. His power is super-strength, due to his nature as a living statue.

Magneto Man and his assistant Cal both have English accents. His power, of course, is being able to attract anything through his magnetism. Each episode featuring him ends with Cal giving a brief scientific tidbit, an early use of featuring educational content in a Saturday Morning cartoon.

Elevator Man’s power is becoming big or small, made possible by his belt that has an up button and a down button, like an elevator. Cartoons starring him are a bit different from what you would expect in the show. His adventures are told through monologue, where he narrates everything that went on. His cartoons are the least humorous of the bunch, the closest the show has to semblance of seriousness.

Super Scuba can be described as a poor man’s Aquaman. Along with his mermaid assistant Bubbles, Super Scuba handles marine related crime.

Finally, there’s Captain Zammo. His power is to go back in time to historical events, together with his assistant Private Hammo. He does the least fighting in the group, often delegating any physical fighting to Hammo, which often injures him. In spite of that, Hammo is fiercely loyal to Zammo, willing to take the bullet if asked by him. Captain Zammo made the least appearance out of all the superheroes in this cartoon.

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In the middle of all this were the Brothers Matzoriley, who were not part of the Super 6 line-up. The cartoons centered on a siamese triplets (three heads sharing the same body) taking on different jobs in each episode, sometimes even appearing in different time periods. One can compare this to the Three Stooges if they all shared the same body. They originally appeared as villains in the Inspector cartoon The Great DeGaulle Stone Operation (1965).

This is a fun, enjoyable show, with enjoyable characters and stories parodying the superhero genre. This being a DePatie-Freleng production, it had involvement from many Looney Tunes veterans, including directors Hawley Pratt, Robert McKimson, and Norm McCabe. Much of DFE’s theatrical animators, such as Manny Gould, Don Williams, Bob Matz, and Art Leonardi, were involved, together with numerous other animators hired in order to churn out enough TV episodes to satisfy network demands. Manny Gould in particular stood out; according to Mike Kazaleh, Friz Freleng used Gould’s animation on the show as the yardstick for other animators to follow. Bill Lava is often derided for his music on the later WB cartoons, but he does effective scoring on this show. The voice talent are top notch. Paul Frees and Daws Butler are very prominently featured, with Charles Smith (he voiced Super Bwoing), June Foray, Arte Johnson, Joan Gerber, and others making up the cast. As an icing on the cake, there’s the catchy theme song sung by Jerry Lewis’ son, Gary Lewis and the Playboys.

This is a very cheap, barebone DVD. The 20 half-hour shows are crammed into two DVD discs, so compression is there. In spite of that, however, the picture quality is pretty good. The colors are vibrant, and the film transfer looks new. Like most DFE outputs, the show is owned by MGM, but they didn’t release the DVD, instead licensing it to a third party distributor TGG Direct.

Even though Amazon won’t release it until August, it already available in most Wal-Mart stores, found in their $5 bin, mixed with other cheap DVDs containing public domain cartoons. There are absolutely no extra content, but the cartoons alone make this purchase worth it.

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Episode Guide

Show 1
Coldpinky (Super Bwoing)
Jolly Green Gorilla (Brothers Matzoriley)
Down Please (Elevator Man)

Show 2
Easy Kid Stuff (Super Bwoing)
Dirty Pierre (Brothers Matzoriley)
The Cement Mixup (Granite Man)

Show 3
Molehattan Island (Super Bwoing)
High Noon (Brothers Matzoriley)
Will the Real Magneto Man Please Stand Up? (Magneto Man)

Show 4
Martian Mixup (Super Bwoing)
Knight’s Hart Day (Brothers Matzoriley)
One of Our Missiles is Missing (Super Scuba)

Show 5
Hag Bag (Super Bwoing)
You Go To My Heads (Brothers Matzoriley)
Right Train on the Wrong Track (Granite Man)

Show 6
Thunder 8-Ball (Super Bwoing)
Ruin and Board (Brothers Matzoriley)
Whale of a Tale (Super Scuba)

Show 7
Mayor Go Round (Super Bwoing)
Moby Richard (Brothers Matzoriley)
London Britches is Falling Down (Magneto Man)

Show 8
Jumping Jack (Super Bwoing)
Highway Slobbery (Brothers Matzoriley)
Having a Ball (Granite Man)

Show 9
Bomb Clom (Super Bwoing)
Heck’s Angels (Brothers Matzoriley)
Water, Water Nowhere (Magneto Man)

Show 10
Think Little (Super Bwoing)
Heau Beau Jest (Brothers Matzoriley)
The Mummy Caper (Elevator Man)

Show 11
Don’t Gloat Red Coat (Super Bwoing)
No Biz Like Schome (Brothers Matzoriley)
Shapoor Caper (Elevator Man)

Show 12
Monster Come Home (Super Bwoing)
Road Scholars (Brothers Matzoriley)
Smuggler’s Cove (Super Scuba)

Show 13
A Witch in a Ditch (Super Bwoing)
The Three Matzoteers (The Brothers Matzoriley)
The Bad Brothers Ride Again (Captain Zammo)

Show 14
Unidentified Floating Object (Super Bwoing)
Hyde and Shriek (The Brothers Matzoriley)
Matucci Venus (Granite Man)

Show 15
Jerk and the Beanstalk (Super Bwoing)
Window Pains (Brothers Matzoriley)
Who’s Watching the Gold? (Super Scuba)

Show 16
The Karate Kid (Super Bwoing)
Dog Nappers (Brothers Matzoriley)
The Fly (Elevator Man)

Show 17
Who Put the Finger on Arnold Hangnail? (Super Bwoing)
A Tree Grows in Matzovania (Brothers Matzoriley)
The Pacific Star Caper (Elevator Man)

Show 18
The Man from T.R.A.S.H. (Super Bwoing)
Willy of the Wilderness (Brothers Matzoriley)
Ship of Mules (Captain Zammo)

Show 19
Topsy Turvy Time Traveler (Super Bwoing)
Lone Shark (Brothers Matzoriley)
The Termite (Magneto Man)

Show 20
Little Shredded Riding Hood (Super Bwoing)
Matzonuts (Brothers Matzoriley)
The Hessians are Coming (Captain Zammo)

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16 Comments

  • I’m tempted. I remember the show, and remember being a tad frustrated at how little of the show went to the “real” superheroes, even if they were all silly. Super Bwoing just sort of annoyed me, while the Matzorileys seemed to belong to another show (although they did share a bumper or two with the superheroes).

    Elevator Man was a sendup of noir with its overripe narration, but must have played as serious to little kids (Spy Shadow on “Super President” — that one WAS trying to be serious). Super Scuba was likewise a sort of detective parody, the swingin’ PI with the faithful secretary (even then, I wondered if they had something going after hours).

    The Brothers Matzoriley were truly odd: One head was a Moe Howard tough guy, one was a nervous coward, and the one in the middle was a cheerful Asian stereotype spouting Charlie Chanisms. They had even earlier ancestors in the titles for “A Shot in the Dark”, where a shadowy three-headed assassin menaced a caricature of Peter Sellers.

    • The show came on at the same time CBS fully committed to the real superhero stories in their Saturday morning lineup, both with Hanna-Barbera’s initial superhero efforts and with the Filmation Superman series (which benefited from doing the soundtracks in New York with basically the same cast as the Fleischer Superman cartoons and the original radio show). As it was “Super 6″ came across as a more under-control version of “The Mighty Heroes”, CBS’ parody effort by Ralph Bakshi, but to me it just felt like the D-FE staff’s hearts weren’t really into those stories as much as they were The Brothers Matzoriley shorts (those definitely have their own PC problems in 2013. But you can’t deny that, for the 1960s, a three-headed character was an original idea).

  • the $5 bin at walmart?!!! Christmas came early! I gotta keep my eyes open for this!

    much thanks for sharing!

  • Five dollars, for 20 episodes of an old cartoon?
    Tempting….I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled for it.

  • Wow! The prints ARE pretty good! Here’s hopin that the remaining United Artists DePatie-Freleng shorts will follow (single disc/cheaper purchases of The Inspector Volume 2 and Roland and Rattfink).

    • My little pet theory: “The Great Race” was the original inspiration for Roland and Ratfink, just as “The Pink Panther” and “A Shot in the Dark” (their credit sequences, really) inspired the Pink Panther and The Inspector. “The Great Race” was yet another Blake Edwards film with catchy Henry Mancini music, plus two lead characters who were almost (by design) cartoons already. Animating the Great Leslie and Professor Fate seems a no-brainer. But for whatever reasons (Legal? “Race” came from a different studio) the characters became more generic parodies and notably stayed away from racing plots until near the end of their run.

      Ratfink was a consistently irritable villain through the series, a bit like Professor Fate. Roland was less developed; variously an old-fashioned hero, a flower child, a bystander who passively provokes Ratfink’s backfiring schemes, a sometimes lucky idiot, etc.

  • I remember seeing a Captain Zammo episode in 2004 at the Worst Cartoons Ever festival at Comic-Con. And I do recall the Super 6 show as well. Upon first seeing it, I wondered why it sounded like a Warner Bros. cartoon, then I saw Freleng’s name applied to it.

  • I’d like to see a DVD release of BAILEY’S COMETS!!

    • Hell YES!!!

  • I wonder what it was up against on the schedule? I was the right age to watch it and I have zero memory of it.

    • 1966-67: “Mighty Mouse and the Mighty Heroes” CBS, Local Programming ABC
      1967-68: “Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles” CBS, ‘The New Casper Cartoon Show” ABC
      1968-69: “The Bugs Bunny / Road Runner Hour” [second half-hour] CBS, “The New Casper Cartoon Show” ABC

      I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Charles for the heads up. Bought my copy at my local WallyWorld tonight, and am looking forward to watching it.

  • These are certainly great news, although I never saw THE SUPER 6 until now (save for a couple of clips on YouTube) I am sure that I´m for a pleasant discovery when I receive it in the mail, judging from this review. Hopefully this will make way for more DePatie-Freleng DVD releases in the future; personally, in addition to the theatrical shorts still unreleased (TIJUANA TOADS, BLUE RACER, HOOT KLOOT et al.), I would like to see a release of THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF DOCTOR DOLITTLE. DFE’s Saturday Morning output was usually a few notches superior to Hanna-Barbera’s and others in terms of design and animation (although it still was limited TV-animation, it was a bit more fluid than H-B’s; after all, DFE used many of the former WB animators).

  • Was Manny Gould specifically hired by DFE to work on this show? He doesn’t have a theatrical credit until 1966. I would assume that Friz or someone would have quickly put Gould on theatricals based on what he was doing on this show. Same deal with Corny Cole. But there were also a lot of names not usually associated with DFE on the credits here.

  • It took me 45 minutes scouring through two $5.00 bins at my local WalMart before I found it today. Watched 3 shows thus far. Every bit as good as I remember it..Great voice work. Charles Smith does a great Jimmy Stewart parody voice as Super Bwoing..Frees and Butler are topnotch as well..Looks good despite no extras..Because its relatively rare, five bucks is a great price for it. I would highly recommend it..

  • I fondly remember this show, and have not seen it since its 1966 run. A lot of fun! In the wake of BATMAN, the superhero genre with a kind of Bullwinkle & Rocky / MAD Magazine sensibility. Some of the parody was lost on the 5 year old me, but very funny to me today (i.e. SUPER SCUBA is a dead on impersonation of Dean Martin). Well worth $5! Got mine at Wally too! Thanks for the ‘heads up’ on this.

  • On Super 6, is there a character called “Dirty Pierre?” I remember my dad roaring with laughter at cliches spoken by this lumberjack-type character as he skied downhill.

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