Cult Cartoon Essentials

Cult Cartoon Essentials: The New Adventures of Flash Gordon

Blasting off on a desperate mission to save Earth from the evil plottings of the tyrannical space lord Ming the Merciless. Dr. Hans Zarkov and Dale Arden have joined me, Flash Gordon, on a fantastic journey into worlds where peril and adventure await us.

Filmation’s The New Adventures of Flash Gordon ran for two seasons (32 episodes in total) between 1979 and 1982 and served as a homage to the original Flash Gordon comic strip and featured all the major characters from the comic strip including Dale Arden (voiced by Diane Pershing), Dr, Hans Zarkov and Ming the Merciless (both voiced by Alan Oppenheimer – an interestingly Ming’s voice is an earlier version of what Oppenheimer would use as Skeletor in He-Man and the Masters of the Universe); which is why it is still regarded today as one of the most faithful adaptions of the original source material.

The plot follows Flash (voiced by Robert Ridgely) and his companions as they travel to the planet Mongo, where they are forced into battle by its ruler, Ming the Merciless, his daughter Princess Aura (voiced by Melendy Britt), and his army of Metal Men. To help their cause the heroes lead the formation of an alliance beginning with King Thun, leader of the Lion People; King Vultan, leader of the Hawkmen (both voiced by Allan Melvin); and Prince Barin, ruler of Arboria (Ridgely once again).

Originally the series was going to be a feature length movie but plans were changed when the finished product was viewed by NBC. Instead they removed a number of subplots that linked to the show being set in World War Two and instead presented the series a s set in the present day. Don’t worry though, nothing was lost as the original footage was reassembled with the original soundtrack, and became the 1982 TV movie Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All.

As the series developed, 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. this was 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.

 

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