Top Ten Conundrums about The Mighty Hercules.

1.  Daedalus and the Mask of Vulcan…Separated at Birth? 

Are these guys identical twins…or are they the same person?

You never see the Mask’s face…it’s always hidden behind the trash can he wears on his head.  And you never see Daedalus’ face either.  He wears some cheesy kind of bandit-mask.  (Did they even have cheesy bandit-masks in ancient Greece?)

Both men have the same build, and they wear exactly the same crummy old grey robe.   You never see the two of them together in the same place.    And to top it all off, they both have the EXACT SAME VOICE.

What’s going on here?   Are the animators just trying to save money?  Or are Daedalus and The Mask the same person, and they’re just trying to screw with our heads? 

The world will never know.   

2.  Seriously.  What’s the story with with Newton?  

Sometimes I think Newton must be gay. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)   But he’s quite androgynous, so it’s difficult to pinpoint his lifestyle choice.  

Actually, in the earlier episodes, Newton had a deeper (albeit somewhat more obnoxious) voice, and it was clearly male.   But very soon after that, Newton adopted that whinnying high-pitched tone, suggesting a total lack of testosterone.   It makes you wonder if he got gelded by King Dorian’s Royal Veterinarian. 

Newton has plenty of effeminate mannerisms (especially the way he keeps looking at Herc with those big goo-goo eyes, like a schoolgirl with a crush).  But then again, he also hangs out a lot with with The Beautiful Helena, who’s quite the catch.   He’s also half-horse…(which is a whole separate area I don’t even want to get into). 

So I’m not really sure which way Newton’s gate swings.   At the very least, he must be very gender-confused, not to mention species-confused.

(NOT that there’s anything wrong with that…!)

3.  How come all the monsters sound the same?  

There are so many monsters on this show it’s a wonder anyone can walk through the Learnian Forest without tripping on one.   But whether it’s the Dreaded Beast of Charon, the Nemean Lion, or the Minotaur of Minos, the monsters on the show all bellow or scream in only two different ways.

The first monster sound is a low-frequency angry moan, which sounds like someone wailing through a rolled-up newspaper:    

“WHOOOOOAAAANNNNHHH!…WHOOOOOOAAANNHHH!” 

When you consider the budget of the cartoon, they probably DID used a rolled-up newspaper.

The other monster sound I call “Hissing and Horking”. It’s hard to describe with words, but try to think of an angry cat with with emphysema.  If you’ve seen the show, you’ll know what I’m talking about:

“HiCHHHHHHHHHH!……HiCHHHHHHHHHH!”

I’m not sure if there is any correlation, but it seems to me the “angry moan” is reserved for the mammal-type of beasts, while the “hissing-horking” is more applicable to reptilian monsters. 

Mabye someone should do a study.   (Are there any 20th Century Popular Folklore PhD’s out there?)  

4. Why does Hercules get beaten up every episode?

Each episode is so predictable that you can set your clock to it.    Someone is in trouble.  Herc flies  down from Mount Olympus, and without even warming up or stretching, he immediately starts to fight with Daedalus and/or Willamena and/or whatever asshole monster happens to be around. 

And in every damned episode,  he gets the crap beaten out of him, because he isn’t wearing his ring, and he only has regular human strength.  Just when you think he’s screwed…just when he’s about to be eaten or blown up,  then (and only THEN), does he put on his ring.  The Thunder of Zeus flashes (Tant-Taraaaah!) , Herc gets his strength back, gets up and goes on to kick some serious ass, and saves the day.

Uh, Herc.  Did it ever occur to you to keep your ring ON at all times? 

Shades of Scorpius!   Why would you ever take it off in the first place?  Maybe if you kept it on, you wouldn’t get clobbered so much…Dumbass!    

Unless it has something to do with batteries that need recharging.  If that’s the case, then at least they should mention this on the show, for the benefit of the viewing audience. 

They owe us that.

5.  How is it possible to run without using your torso?

You can really get a sense of how astutely the animators studied the principles of classic anatomy and  human motion and kinetics, when you watch Hercules run.

Whenever Herc is in an all-out sprint, take a closer look.  His legs are going like crazy, but his upper body remains perfectly motionless.  There isn’t even the slightest pumping motion with his arms. 

Holy Crap.   That really is amazing!  (If you don’t believe me, try to run that yourself.)

Maybe only Demi-Gods are able to run like this.

(And also maybe Rocket Robin Hood…but that’s another cartoon altogether.)

6.  Why doesn’t anyone take off the Mask of Vulcan’s mask?

Every episode, the Mask explains (for the benefit of the audience):  “While I wear the Mask of Vulcan, I am INVINCIBLE and ALL POWERFUL”. 

So?   Big deal.  Just take off his mask, and then just pummel the sonnavabitch.  

But NOOOOooooo.    For some reason, Herc never seems to catch on to this.   He might throw things at the Mask, like wagon, a huge boulder or a barn.  He might try to pound The Mask in the chest with his bare fists.   All this does is make The Mask laugh, and he explains (yet again) that so long as he wears the mask, he is invincible, and all powerful.  (Yeah, we got it the first time.)

Hercules:  Just TAKE the freaking mask off, and kick his ass!

It makes you wonder about Ol’ Herc.  Maybe the lad ain’t that bright.

7.  Exactly who is the “Hercules Song” supposed to appeal to? 

I’m not talking about the famous opening theme song by Johnny Nash that everyone knows.   I’m referring to the lesser-known, somewhat obscure song that Newton occasionally sings:  

“I’m glad.  I’m glad.  To have.  To have.  A friend.  A friend.  Like Hercules.  Like Hercules”.     

Oh.  My.  God.

Can this be any more GAY?   

“I’m not….I’m not.  Afraid….afraid.  When I’m…when I’m.  With Hercules…with Hercules”.

Um…Okay, Newton.   We’ve heard enough, now.

I started watching this show when I was five…and even at that age,  I realized this song was LAME and was meant for younger kids.   

It makes you wonder, just exactly what age group where they trying to target with this song?   (Two?…One?)   It ranks right up there with Barney and the TeleTubbies.

“Whenever… Whenever….There’s trouble… There’s trouble… He gets there.  He gets there.  On the double! On the double! “

Okay, Newton. We get it.  You may STOP now.

“So I sing.  I sing.  To you.  To you.  Be good.  Be good.  Like Hercules.  Like Hercules.  Like Hercules!”

For the Love of Zeus, Newton.  Please stop.  Just STOP!  Won’t someone make him STOHHHHP!?  (Sob!)

8.  Tewt’s Remarkable Communication Skills

Before I start, there’s one thing I want to ask.   WTF is Tewt?   I think he’s supposed to be a satyr (one of those mythological figures that are half-man and half….what?   Goat?…Horse?…Pig?  Whatever it is…it just ain’t right. 

Poor Tewt can’t speak,  but he communicates with his flute.  (I dunno, maybe he’s partially retarded or autistic.)    But whatever the reason, he sure has overcome his handicap.  It never ceases to amaze me how much information he can convey with a few notes of music:  

“Tweet twoo”.

“What’s that,  Tewt?  Helena is kidnapped on Skull Island by Daedalus, and the only way to cross the water is by using the Enchanted Boat of Diomedes that’s docked by the Cave of Doom?”

They must have borrowed this theme from Flipper:  

“Click Clack”

“What’s that, Flipper?  Bud is stranded on Skull Island, a hurricane is approaching, and the only available boat is moored in Coral Harbor?”

Do you know what would be really cool?  Put Flipper and Tewt together and see if they can understand each other.

 8. Why is Helena Single? 

Ahhh, The Beautiful Helena.  (Sigh).   You gotta admit,  she IS pretty hot.  The animation isn’t great, but at least the artists know how to make her look like a woman.   She has some pretty decent curves, when you compare her to other early 60′s animated females (Wilma Flintsone?…PUH-Leeze!)

Though I feel sorry for Helena.  Life isn’t easy.  She’s constantly kidnapped by the creepy old  Daedalus, harassed by Wilamena, tied to trees or chased by countless monsters.   The only regular male companionship she seems to have are Toot, Newton, and occasionally a pre-pubescent Timon.    She looks kinda lonely…what she needs is a REAL man. 

Then, Hercules comes along and sweeps her off her feet to rescue her, and Helena is thrilled  to be with him.  She flirts, drops hints, tries to steal a kiss, and basically does everything but throw her panties at him.  Yet Herc remains totally clueless.

Just when you think things are going to start to heat up between the two of them, each episode invariably ends with Hercules taking off into the sky, screaming “Olympiaaaaaaa”, leaving a puzzled Helena behind, wondering what it is she did that Hercules wont’ even TALK to her.

Come on, Herc.  She’s hot.  And she wants you.   Get with the Program. 

Maybe it’s because Herc has “issues”  with women…(not that there’s anything wrong with that!)   

9..Why does Hercules narrate his own show?

“Meanwhile, back in the kingdom of Caledon, a young king Dorian ponders his future….”

Come on.   I know the show is for kids.  But did they think we WOUDLN’T NOTICE that voice of Hercules and the narrator of the show are ONE and the SAME?

Why does Herc even bother?  Does he need the work that badly?   (He’s a Demi-God and his Dad is King Zeus).  You’d think he’d have enough connections to not need any extra income. 

Who knows?  Maybe he has gambling debts or something.  Or maybe he’s just so egotistical, that he needs to tell stories about himself in the third person, so we all get impressed.

But I don’t think Herc is like that.  I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.   Perhaps they just asked him, because no one else can do it.  Who else are they gonna get to narrate the show?  King Dorian?…He sounds like a wuss!   Or Newton?…Come on! (See comment #2).   

Chances are, Herc is probably helping out by filling in for someone.  (It could be that the Narrator of Ellipsides is off sick and needs a stand-in).  

10.  Where can I get one of those Moonstone Belts?

Where do they come from?  What kind of technology is this?  They look AWESOME.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show,  these are belts that Herc gives out to selected friends.  The belt buckle has a big “H” logo on it, and is about the size of a CD.  Whenever you’re in trouble, you signal Herc by opening up the buckle, and out streams this really bright Giga-Watt beam of light that strangely enough sounds like an electric monorail. 

HmmmmmmMmmmmmmmmm.

That…is…so…COOL.

You wonder why Newton or Toot don’t start screwing around with these belts when Herc’s away.  I’d be using it like a magnifying glass to burn ants.    Or reflecting it off a mirror or a watch glass to piss people off.   Or hey, instead of depending on Herc every time a monster comes, why not shine it in the mostners face to blind them?  (HiCHHHHHHHHHH…!   HiCHHHHHHHH!)

I also wonder about the technology behind the Moonstone Belts.  It might be a laser, but I’m thinking it’s quite a strong beam (it illuminates half the side of Mount Olympus in broad daylight!).  You’d need a battery pack the size of an 18-wheeler just to power it.   

Maybe it’s a nuclear reaction, but that also doesn’t make sense.  In order to generate that amount of visible light from beta-gamma decay, the  radiation fields would have to be enormous.  The belt operators themselves would get fried, unless they were behind several feet of lead. 

Maybe they’ve discovered a source of Cold Fusion.   If so, then come on Herc, and share the technology with the rest of the planet, so that David Suzuki and Al Gore will get off our backs!

 

 

 

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14 Comments on “Top Ten Conundrums about The Mighty Hercules.”

  1. Funny Videos Says:

    LOL, thats funny! btw nice post! cheers

    I laughed so much! lOLOL thats some good stuff!

  2. Friar Says:

    Glad you liked it!

    (I think anyone who grew up watchign that show can identify!)

  3. brettlegree Says:

    Couple more:

    1. What’s with Herc’s exploding arrows? You know, he fires them at a big rock, and it blows the rock up.

    2. Herc looks *nothing* like anyone from Greece I’ve ever met. Geez man, he makes Casper the Friendly Ghost look like he’s spent a month in Aruba. Herc, brother, where’s your tan?

  4. Friar Says:

    Hey Brett

    Those are pretty good. I might have to add an addendum to the Hercules Conumdrum List.

    1. Yeah, I forgot about Herc’s “magical” arrows. They defy the laws of physics…mabye it’s the same arrow supplier as Rocket Robin Hood’s.

    2. When you come to think about it, the whole Hercules cast IS pretty White Bread. You’d think they lived in Norway and not the sunny Mediterreanean.

    Mabye it was to save ink (after all, the whole cartoon seems to be drawn with four colors). Howcum you dont see bright green or red, for example?

  5. RJ Says:

    Dude, that is good sh**. Thanks, you really made my day reading that. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one out there that has carried genuine concerns all these years.

  6. Friar Says:

    @RJ

    It’s good to know that someone else besides me has watched The Mighty Hercules! :-)

  7. some guy Says:

    Not only do all the monsters sound the same within the hercules cartoon but they also sound the same as some of the monsters that spiderman encountered in his cartoon?

  8. Friar Says:

    @some guy

    I think they also borrowed from Rocket Robin Hood.

    All three cartoons are basically interchangeable.

  9. Dave Stubbs Says:

    Brilliant. I have every episode on DVD. I interviewed the late Jimmy Tapp, the voice of Herc, before the Athens Olympics in 2004. Thought I’d share it with you and fellow fans of the show. Cheers. Dave Stubbs, Montreal Gazette

    Hercules would shine in Athens
    Broadcast legend Jimmy Tapp gave spirited life to a mythological hero
    Montreal Gazette
    Mon July 5 2004

    Column: DAVE STUBBS
    Source: The Gazette

    With the sundial showing 39 dawns to the opening ceremony, Athens Olympic organizers don’t need merely 25 hours in their day.

    They need more than perfect weather for round-the-clock construction, and the full support of testy citizens who long ago wearied of the daily disruptions.

    What they need is help of major, even mythological proportion. Say, that of a former Montreal broadcaster who could take this project effortlessly on his broad back and make it work.

    They need Jimmy Tapp. Or at least, Tapp’s formidable alter-ego, the Mighty Hercules.

    As Herc in the early 1960s, in more than 100 cartoon shorts, Tapp swooped down from Mount Olympus, his tunic billowing, to save the day. Without fail.

    “I’m still amazed by the popularity of that show, and by how many people remember me as Hercules,” Tapp said from his home in Oakville, Ont. “Who knew it would be a cult hit?”

    Hercules is the most popular hero in Greek mythology, legendary for his unworldly strength. Born of an adulterous fling between Zeus and Alcmena, he showed promise while in diapers, slaying two serpents sent to his cradle by Zeus’s insanely jealous wife, Hera.

    Later, Herc went quite mad, cursed by Hera, and murdered his own wife and three sons. He regained his purity by performing 12 nearly impossible labours, including the cleansing in one day of stables that sheltered thousands of cattle. He diverted two rushing rivers through them to avoid picking up a shovel – wouldn’t you? – and the Greeks soon revered him as a demi-god.

    (One legend has it that Augeas, ruler of Elis, failed to deliver one-tenth of the cattle herd to Hercules as reward for the clean-up, so Herc killed him, took all the cattle and founded the ancient Olympics to celebrate.)

    Alas, in the cartoon, Herc was saddled with the more pedestrian duty of saving the Learien Valley from the villainous Daedalus, Wilamene the Sea Witch, and the Mask of Vulcan, a guy wearing what looked like a wastepaper basket turned upside down on his head.

    Gaining extraordinary strength from his magic signet ring, Hercules protected the wimpy King Dorian, the gorgeous if lonely maiden Helena (whom Herc never once kissed), a redundant centaur named Newton, who said everything twice, and Newton’s annoying satyr sidekick, Tewt, a pan flute-playing Zamfir wannabe.

    Still, the five-minute cartoon was fine fare for the small fry. A decade before his career hit I Can See Clearly Now, Johnny Nash sang the catchy theme:

    Hercules, hero of song and story! Hercules, winner of ancient glory! Fighting for the right, fighting with his might; With the strength of 10, ordinary men!

    Hercules, people are safe when near him! Hercules, only the evil fear him! Softness in his eyes, iron in his thighs; Virtue in his heart, fire in every part of the Mighty Hercules!

    The Olympic motif ran deep, with episodes titled Guarding of the Olympic Torch and The Young Olympians, in which not one athlete had to produce a specimen for the doping police.

    Hercules and Zeus were voiced by Tapp, a silky baritone on Montreal radio and television whose variety show Carte Blanche was CFCF-TV’s first broadcast when it signed on in 1961, and whose Tapp Room featured every popular entertainer of the day.

    At 86, the Ottawa native is only six years into retirement with Mary, his wife of 58 years, and this autumn will be inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

    If Tapp is pondering the idea of his Hercules rescuing the Athens Olympics, he’d be wise to ask for royalties he didn’t receive for the cartoon, which remains in syndication and is on DVD.

    “I enjoyed much more fame than financial reward from being Herc,” he said, laughing.

    It was seen on CFCF and the world over, and to this day, Tapp is asked to “do Hercules” by children, their parents and their grandparents. He recalls an advertising sales trip to New York in the ’60s, trying unsuccessfully to meet a major client.

    “I couldn’t reach him and he wouldn’t call me back,” Tapp said. “But then my name clicked. He called me at the Waldorf and said, ‘Aren’t you Hercules?’

    “We met after that and I got the contract – but only after I did Herc on the phone for his kids.”

    Then just a few years ago, diners wouldn’t let him leave a Toronto restaurant without his first performing his show-closing cry of “O-lym-piaaaa!”, usually hollered as he hauled the remorseless Daedalus up Mount Olympus to be jailed for life, or until the next episode.

    Four decades later, Tapp’s Hercules would shine in Athens. Think of it: with dual Canadian-Greek citizenship, he could win medals for this country in any number of events. His strength is unparalleled, so put him on Canada’s weightlifting squad. In the opening credits, Herc pulls back his bow and fires an arrow straight to the sun, surely qualifying him for our archery team.

    And he runs, vaults and throws – a gifted decathlete.

    But let’s not be parochial. Hercules is needed more to kick some Greek butt and get these Olympics organized.

    It’s high time for a comeback, to rescue not the Learien Valley, but the Athens Games and the Olympic movement as a whole.

    In Oakville, admittedly a long javelin toss from the summit of Mount Olympus, Jimmy Tapp, a hero for the ages, is ready for one more herculean task.

  10. Friar Says:

    @Dave

    That’s…AWESOME!!! :-D

    I would have LOVED to meet Jimmy Tapp. Herc was my hero whan I was five…and (despite it’s cheesiness), I still enjoy the show, whenever I happen to find it on TV.

  11. Sabby Says:

    Teletoon Retro shows 6 episodes every night from 11pm-midnight. Some great memories and these 10 Conundrums still haunt me to this day

  12. Phil Says:

    I found this site by googling “shades of scorpius” after watching an episode on Teletoon Retro. I don’t remember laughing so hard after reading your 10 comments. I was just a kid when I watched the shows live on CFCF in the early 60s. At the time it had a major impact on me as far as always wanting to be “good” like Herc and I think all kids could use a little Hercules in their lives.

  13. Friar Says:

    @Phil

    They’ve recently started showing Hercules reruns on Teletoon at 11:30 PM! I still watch them!

  14. DasZuber Says:

    Say whaaaaa?
    Based in this list, I have to assume you’ve never watched the show before lol
    You always see the Mask of Vulcan’s face! Hercules defeats him by taking his mask off … For example :)


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