SUPER PRESIDENT was an actual cartoon series from the 1960’s that has virtually disappeared. It’s rare to catch a glimpse of this DePatie- Freleng show anywhere or even to find people who have heard of it outside of oddballs like me.
This cartoon was not intended for laughs, like it would be today. It honestly featured a superhero whose “secret identity” was being President of the United States. First off, there’s the absurd fun of the name AND the fact that calling yourself Super President instantly blows your cover anyway, unless you think people are dumb enough to not figure out what you’re the president OF. (The Teamsters Union? The National Egg Council?)
President James Norcross was our title superhero and like the Fantastic Four a half-dozen years earlier got his powers from a cosmic ray storm. He had super-strength, could fly via small rockets on his belt and as the topper could transform himself into any substance – steel, granite, water, electricity and on more than one occassion – “ozone”. (Ozone?) Super President also had a nifty Omnicar that could drive, fly and serve as a submarine. The Omnicar was stashed in a secret room in the White House that served as SP’s version of the Batcave (How was this addition to the White House added without attracting attention and how much did it cost?).
Super Prez’s White House was very odd-looking and it was hard to tell if it was supposed to be futuristic or what. It looked like the regular White House but with an “unsharpened” Washington Monument stacked on top of it. The only person who knew SP’s secret identity was President Norcross’ aide, bland man-in-a-suit Jerry Sayles, who was often in need of rescuing from the aliens, monsters and occassional foreign menaces that our hero fought.
In all there were thirty deliriously strange episodes of Super President and the voicework was done by a veritable Who’s Who of animation legends – Paul Frees, June Foray, Daws Butler, Ted Cassidy and Don Messick for instance. Personally I would have loved to see what Ralph Bakshi would have done with this concept. Anyway, Super President cartoons would make a great dessert after, or appetizer before, one of the incredibly weird movies I review on my Bad Movie page.
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