Sep 6, 2012

The Mighty Hercules



Before He-Man, there was The Mighty Hercules, part of the 1960s sword-and-sandal fad. He appeared on Saturday morning and sometimes Sunday morning tv from 1963 to 1966, and occasionally afterwards, in five-minute segments with stiff animation that seemed amateurish even to little kids.  With his square jaw, expressionless face, and black curlicue hairstyle, he  looked exactly like the Filmation Superman, but in a toga so his muscles would be visible.

Unlike the Hercules of Greek mythology, this Hercules ruled the kingdom of Caledon along with his two sidekicks: a teenage centaur boy who repeated everything twice ("Be careful, Herc!" "Be careful, Herc!"), and a young satyr boy who only tooted his panpipes. Some commentators have found a romantic subtext in the interactions between Hercules and the centaur-boy, but I don't remember enough episodes to be sure.

But I do remember the thrilling theme song (sung by gay-friendly Johnny Nash).  It was a tad risque, and it summed up all of the characteristics gay boys in the 1960s were looking for in boyfriends.

Softness in his eyes,
Iron in his thighs,
Virtue in his heart,
Fire in every part,
Of the Mighty Hercules.