Challenge of the Super Friends

Challenge of the Super Friends
Also known as 'Super Friends III'
Genre Adventure / Animation / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Created by E. Nelson Bridwell
Carmine Infantino
Julius Schwartz (consultants)
Written by Jeffrey Scott
Directed by Ray Patterson
Carl Urbano
Creative director(s) Iwao Takamoto
Voices of Jack Angel
Marlene Aragon
Lewis Bailey
Michael Bell
Bill Callaway
Ted Cassidy
Melanie Chartoff
Henry Corden
Danny Dark
Al Fann
Shannon Farnon
Ruth Forman
Bob Hastings
Bob Holt
Buster Jones
Stan Jones
Liberty Williams
Casey Kasem
Don Messick
Vic Perrin
Renny Roker
Stanley Ross
Dick Ryal
Michael Rye
Olan Soule
Jimmy Weldon
Frank Welker
Louise Williams
Narrated by William Woodson
Theme music composer Hoyt Curtin
Composer(s) Hoyt Curtin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 16 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Producer(s) Don Jurwich
Cinematography George Epperson
Tom Epperson
Charles Flekal
Ron Jackson
Jerry Smith
Larry Smith
Terry Smith
Brandy Whittington
Jerry Whittington
Editor(s) Larry C. Cowan (supervising editor)
Running time 60 minutes (including commercials)
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera Productions
DC Comics
Distributor Warner Bros. Television
Original network ABC
Original release September 9 – December 23, 1978
Preceded by The All-New Super Friends Hour
Followed by The World's Greatest Superfriends

Challenge of the Superfriends is an American animated television series about a team of superheroes which ran from September 9, 1978, to December 23, 1978, on ABC. The complete series (16 episodes) was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions for Warner Bros. Television and is based on the Justice League and associated comic book characters published by DC Comics and created by Julius Schwartz, Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky. It was the third series of Super Friends cartoons, following the original Super Friends in 1973 and The All-New Super Friends Hour in 1977. It continues to air on Boomerang from Cartoon Network in the United States.


First segment

As originally aired, this season consisted of two half-hour segments. The first of these featured the Legion of Doom, a team of thirteen recurring foes, the Super Friends' worst enemies. Every episode would feature battles between the thirteen supervillains of the Legion of Doom and the eleven superheroes of the Justice League of America. The Legion of Doom dwelled in a murky swamp and launched their attacks for global conquest from a sinister looking, swamp-based, mechanical flying headquarters called the Hall of Doom as a suitable contrast with the Super Friends' gleaming Hall of Justice.

Second segment

The second segment of this season was an adventure with Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Wonder Twins, similar to those that had aired the previous season in The All-New Super Friends Hour.[1] Thanks to these episodes being shown using the opening credits of the All-New Super Friends Hour in syndication, the second segment along being used with the Challenge of Super Friends opening, and confused references to the show[2] it is often mistakenly believed that the first and second segments were two separate shows.

Production background

Early development

When the Challenge of the Super Friends season was originally conceived, it was named "Battle of the Superheroes" and featured the introduction of Captain Marvel to the Super Friends. The group that challenged the heroes was called the "League of Evil", led by Marvel's nemesis Doctor Sivana. However, Filmation produced Shazam! and The New Adventures of Batman which prevented the use of characters such as Mister Atom, King Kull, Beautia Sivana, Joker, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and Catwoman. Early conceptual art drawn by Alex Toth would also include Heat Wave, Poison Ivy, and Abra Kadabra.[3]

Narration, music and character designs

Bill Woodson provides the uncredited voice of the narrator in Challenge of the Super Friends, and the opening narration was by Stanley Jones. The show's main theme and original music was composed and arranged by musical director Hoyt Curtin. The music supervisor was Paul DeKorte. Character designs for this particular Super Friends series were done by Andre LeBlanc.

Team composition experimentation

Hanna-Barbera's writers experimented with team composition as well. Challenge of the Super Friends added The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), and Hawkman (Katar Hol) who were members of the Justice League of America, as well as several new characters: Black Vulcan (who was based on the DC Comics character Black Lightning), Apache Chief, and Samurai. These characters were created to add racial and cultural diversity to the show (this was also mentioned in some of the episode introduction extras on the first two Challenge of the Super Friends DVDs).


Super Friends/Justice League of America

Eleven heroes make up the Super Friends/Justice League of America. They are:


Legion of Doom

Thirteen villains comprise the Legion of Doom during the Challenge of the Super Friends season. They are:


Despite the claim in the program's title sequence that the Legion's members hail from "remote galaxies", only Brainiac and Sinestro are extraterrestrials; the remaining members are all natives of Earth (Even though Bizarro called Bizarro World home he was created by Lex Luthor via duplicator ray on Earth technically making him a 'native' of Earth)



See: List of Super Friends episodes

DVD release

Warner Home Video originally released this season of Super Friends on two separate DVDs on June 1, 2004. The first one being "Challenge of the Super Friends: Attack of the Legion of Doom", which featured the "Challenge" segments, and the second being Challenge of the Super Friends: United They Stand", which featured the Super Friends segments. Both DVDs only featured four episodes. The first season was re-released as "Challenge of the Super Friends: The First Season" on July 6, 2004. The second season was re-released as "Super Friends: Volume Two" on May 24, 2005. Both of these DVDs were a box set with all sixteen episodes.

Title Type Ep No. Release date
Challenge of the Super Friends The First Season 16 July 6, 2004
Super Friends: Volume Two Volume 2 16 May 24, 2005


Cartoon Network produced a couple of commercials spoofing Challenge of the Super Friends.

In 2003, Cartoon Network Latin America aired the spoof series The Aquaman & Friends Action Hour that starred Aquaman as a children's television show host and the Legion of Doom as his bankrupt villains.

Legends of the Superheroes

The two NBC televised live-action specials of Legends of the Superheroes produced by Hanna-Barbera was based largely on Challenge of the Super Friends while featuring Adam West, Burt Ward, and Frank Gorshin of the 1966 Batman television series fame (West would go on to voice Batman in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians). The Justice League starred Batman, Robin, Captain Marvel, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Huntress, and Black Canary against the Legion of Doom which featured Mordru leading Doctor Sivana, Riddler, Giganta, Sinestro, Weather Wizard, and Solomon Grundy (Superman, Wonder Woman, and their associate characters were absent due to the Superman film and Wonder Woman television series licensing the rights, respectively).

DC Super Friends

Despite using the main theme from the World's Greatest Super Friends, the 2010 DC Super Friends "The Joker's Playhouse" shares several elements of its opening sequence with Challenge of the Super Friends including introducing the Legion of Doom.[4]

Robot Chicken DC Comics Special

The opening sequence of the Robot Chicken DC Comics Special parodies the opening of Challenge of the Super Friends with the Legion of Doom substituted for Robot Chicken original characters Chicken, Mad Scientist, Nerd, Humping Robot, Composite Santa, Gummy Bear, the Unicorn, and Bitch Puddin'. The Legion of Doom, Hall of Doom, and Hall of Justice also feature prominently in the episode.


  1. Michael C. Rupprecht. "Hanna-Barbera Superfriends Chronology". Archived from the original on January 28, 2008. Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  2. McNeil, Alex (1997). Total Television Book and CD-ROM. Penguin (Non-Classics). ISBN 0-14-026737-9.
  3. Nobleman, Marc Tyler (29 July 2011). "Super '70s and '80s: "Super Friends"—Darrell McNeil, animator". Noblemania. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  4. "DC SUPER FRIENDS™ The Joker's Playhouse DVD Episode | Imaginext | Fisher Price". YouTube. 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2016-06-01.

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