Saturday Morning Cult-TV Blogging: Challenge of the Super Friends: "Swamp of the Living Dead" (November 11, 1978)

In “Swamp of the Living Dead,” an episode of Hanna-Barbera’s Challenge of the Super Friends (1978), the Legion of Doom negotiates with an old witch in a swamp to possess the greatest powers of all time. A dark force, an Evil Being, promises the Legion of Doom it will comply, but wants the Super Friends in return.

The Legion of Doom sets out to capture and destroy the Super Friends one-at-a-time, setting “super traps” for the heroes.

Before long, the heroes are captured in tubes under the swamp, and gassed into suspended animation.  

While the heroes suffer this “strange fate in the depths of the fathomless bog,” the Legion of Doom inherit from their benefactor -- “The Evil One Who Haunts the Night” -- the ability to raise an army of the living dead.

The Legion of Doom and the zombie army attack the Federal Plutonium Plant, but no one should ever count out the Super Friends.

Challenge of the Super Friends delves into George A. Romero territory in “Swamp of the Living Dead” after, in its previous installment, visiting the Planet of the Apes (Gorilla City!).

In “Swamp of the Living Dead,” the Legion of Doom seeks power from a dark force that happens to inhabit a local swamp.  Why or how this creature -- a kind of floating head -- has come to exist is never explained. The Legion of Doom, however delivers to it the Super Friends, starting with Hawkman, and then Batman and Robin.  The Dynamic Duo end up running the Batmobile into the swamp, and Robin exclaims, “Holy Reckless Driving, Batman!”

The funniest thing about this episode is that the Legion of Doom has never, ever -- in the entire history of the show -- been able to successfully restrain or stop the heroes from the Hall of Justice for any significant duration of time.

But when the dark swamp entity demands the superheroes as a price, the Legion of the Doom promptly captures them all. Maye they should have just quit while they were ahead.

In addition to his reckless driving comment, Roin gets in a quasi-reference to Kolchak at one point: “Holy Night Stalker!”

Next week: "Conquerors of the Future."


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