Oct 14, 2012

Zandor, Tor, and Chuck: Saturday Morning Muscle

When I was a kid in the late 1960s, it was hard to find beefcake on tv.  Wild Wild West and Tarzan were reliable, there were shirtless teens on Maya, and otherwise you had to hope that an episode of That Girl would have Ann Marie befriending a boxer, or Kirk would get his shirt ripped off on Star Trek.  

But Saturday morning cartoons more than made up for it, with huge numbers of teenage boys and adult men with muscular bodies on display (mostly spandex and open shirts, however; nothing like the semi-nudity of today).  In the fall of 1967, for example:

At 8:30, The Herculoids (1967-69), about a nuclear family of blond space barbarians who defend their planet from alien invaders.  The kid, Dorno, was about my age, but with an amazing build, like Tommy Norden from Flipper.  The dad, Zandor, was even hunkier.

At 9:00, Shazzan (1967-69), about two teenagers trapped in an Arabian nights world with the titular magic genie (not to be confused with Shazam, the Michael Gray series).  Shazzan wore a black vest and no shirt, and the teenage boy, Chuck, wore a white shirt unbuttoned to his navel.  Note: the girl was his sister, not his girlfriend.

At 9:30, you had your choice of Space Ghost and Dino Boy (1966-68), about a boy trapped in a prehistoric world with a cave man guardian, or Samson and Goliath (1967-68), about a boy and dog who morph into superheroic Samson and his lion, Goliath.  I preferred Samson, who wore another shirt unbuttoned to his navel, plus no pants.

At 10:00, The Mighty Mightor (1967-69).  about a prehistoric teenager named Tor -- super hunky already, and a member of a tribe of bodybuilders  -- who morphs into the superheroic Mightor. Unfortunately, the girl in this picture was his sort-of girlfriend.

  At 11:00, reruns of Jonny Quest.

Then a quick lunch, a bit of playing outside, and it was time for an afternoon of The Magic Sword or an old Tarzan movie.

See also: Bamm-Bamm Rubble: Gay Promise on The Flintstones.


  1. Were there any subtexts, or was it just a matter of beefcake?

  2. Frankly, I don't remember the plots very well, which might be a clue -- I tend to remember bonding! Doesn't look like there would be much room for it with a nuclear family, a boy-girl pair, a boy with a girlfriend,and a boy with a lion.

    1. That's the weird thing. I saw these shows on Cartoon Network, on the retro channels, and even then, I thought "REALLY? No extended family? Most people know their grandparents, their in-laws, their aunts and uncles. On a primitive world like Herculoids, they'd most likely have sworn brothers."

      In other news, my autocorrect can duck itself.

  3. I was born in 1983, so we had reruns of Masters of the Universe. As I grew up, the beefcake even became live action: "No, Jason and Tommy, showing off your pecs and and is not a regulation gi." (I daren't day so out loud in front of my little brother at the time, but that was the first real hint of a bit of bi tendencies for me.)

    Yeah, so much beefcake, what do you mean it's for kids?


No comments that use abusive or vulgar language or point out that a character is Not Wearing a Sign.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...