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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

[Video] Thundarr - Secret Of The Black Pearl

This was the first episode of THUNDARR, from back in 1980. In this story Thundarr and friends get a mysterious black pearl that they must take to the ruins of Manhat, since it can hopefully be used as a weapon against the two-faced wizard Gemini.

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They're pursued by Gemini's groundlings on motorcycles, and when Ariel is taken prisoner Thundarr and Ookla take a helicopter to rescue her. Later Gemini brings the Statue of Liberty to life, but Thundarr is able to use the pearl to cancel out his magic.

Unlike the other episodes I've seen, this one didn't have one of those bits that just came across as pure Kirby. I'm not sure exactly when he became involved in the series, but I wonder if production on this one started before he came aboard? Gemini is a pretty cool villain, though, and his odd two-face design seems slightly Kirbyesque, as did a few backgrounds in his lair. On the other hand, the vehicles are just plain motorcycles and helicopters. They really could have used a Kirby punch-up like vehicles in other episodes got. Oh course the ruins of Manhat, with the collapsed Statue of Liberty, almost certainly intentionally evoke Kirby's KAMANDI #1, whether he had an actual hand in those designs or not.

Just for fun, here's a scan of the credit screen.

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2 comments:

Mark Evanier said...

Jack was involved in THUNDARR before the first episode went into production and I believe he worked on every episode. He was hired in the tail end of the development process to do the final art that convinced ABC to pick up the series. If you don't see his touch in some episode, it's probably just a matter of the other artists doing too thorough a job of adapting Jack's designs for animation.

bob said...

Thanks for the info, Mark. I couldn't remember the timeline of Kirby's involvement with the series except that he came in after Toth did the original main designs.