Saturday, November 7, 2009
Saturday Morning 1967- Green Lantern
In 1967, Filmation released the new "Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure" which, as you might guess, featured the previous year's Superman cartoons along with a new batch of cartoons featuring Aquaman. It also featured appearances by Hawkman, The Flash, The Atom, The Justice League of America, the Teen Titans and (obviously) Green Lantern.
These Filmation DC Heroes cartoons are all pretty much the same. The heroes fight one or two of their villains and a whole lot of made-up, Filmation aliens. There are two reasons why the Green Lantern segments are significant: One, they're the first animated appearance of Green Lantern and two, they feature a sidekick.
Green Lantern is almost unique amongst Silver Age DC heroes in that he doesn't actually have a sidekick-no Lantern Boy or Lantern Lad or Greenie, the Wonder Flame. The good folks at Filmation saw this obvious deficiency and stepped up to the plate. They gave us a cute, blue kid from Venus named Kairo.
Funny thing is, Green Lantern didn't have a costumed sidekick in the comics, but he did have a helper. A close friend and confidant who knew his secret, leant a hand, dry-cleaned his tights...
His name was Thomas Kalamaku. But, as far as GL was concerned, his name was "Pieface".
This may need some explaining. Tom is a Native Alaskan, or an Eskimo as we (Honkies) used to call them. And, if you've never left the "lower 49", you may not realize this, but "pieface" is an ethnic slur.
So, Filmation felt they needed to do DC one better and not go around having a superhero calling his sidekick by a name that was, frankly, offensive.
So, here's to you, Kairo. You may have been a lame, last-minute replacement, but at least you never let the Man keep you down!