Monday, February 11, 2013

'Flash Gordon' Saturday Morning Animation Ahead Of It's Time


From IMDB

The animated series 'Flash Gordon' (1979 - 1982 NBC) was originally conceived as a live action film for television, but it soon became clear that live-action would be cost prohibitive, so an animated film was instead commissioned. The results were so well received that it was decided not to air it as a film, but instead as a series. The film was heavily re-edited to play as a weekly serial and many additional episodes were ordered. After the series was canceled, the original version of the film (which included a lengthy prologue and other scenes that were never seen in the series) aired under the title 'Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All.'


As the show was originally conceived for prime time rather than Saturday mornings, the first season was more violent and featured 'sexier' women than other Saturday-morning shows of the period. It also ran as an updated version of an old-style chapter play, with one overarching serialized story rather than separate, self-contained episodes. The second season was made more kid-friendly and abandoned the serialized format for two 11-minute mini-episodes, a miscalculation as the show's ratings then plummeted severely, leading to cancellation.


Dino De Laurentiis became a "ghost" producer on the series when Filmation developed monetary problems completing the animation involving the use of computers to create the spaceship animation, one of the first uses of computers in traditional animation. Since DeLaurentis was seeking the rights for the use of the Flash Gordon property for a live action film, and Filmation held the rights for all filmed media for the Flash Gordon characters, Filmation and DeLaurentis came to a deal. In exchange for the funding to complete the animation on the series, DeLaurentis would get the live action film rights to Flash Gordon while Filmation would retain the rights to animated projects featuring Flash Gordon.


Plot:

Flash Gordon blasts off to the planet Mongo with girlfriend Dale Arden and scientist Hans Zarkov to prevent evil dictator Ming the Merciless from dominating the universe. In attempting to put an end to Ming's villainy, Flash receives the aid (and often the hindrance) of Prince Barin of Arboria, the Hawk Men led by King Vultan, Queen Fria of the ice-covered land of Frigia, Thun the Lion Man and Ming's sexy, scantily-clad daughter Aura, who has a powerful attraction for Flash.

Cast:

Robert Ridgely ... Flash Gordon
Diane Pershing ... Dale Arden
Allan Melvin ... King Vultan
Melendy Britt ... Princess Aura
Bob Holt ... Additional Voices
Alan Oppenheimer ... Dr. Hans Zarkov






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