Mar 1, 2021

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. 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?

  3. Why does Samson have an epic camel toe?

    Cartoon Network used to have Boomerang, which, as it sounds, showed Boomer cartoons. They even had what could probably be considered a forerunner to the event comic: A crossover involving all the Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the day.

    Nickelodeon had old shows too, like Flipper.

    1. Is that what "boomerang" was referring to? I always thought that it just meant "bommeranging" to the shows you watched as a kid. I don't think the term "Boomer" was commonly used for that generation until they began hitting their 50s; before that it was just "us." I went by the nickname Boomer for years, and no one ever guessed that it meant a Baby Boomer.

    2. I first heard it in the 90s, FWIW. Though without the "out of it" and "Republican" and "take credit for other generations' issues" (usually Silent) connotations it now has.

  4. "Young Samson and Goliath" looks like a lot of fun and if you head over to deviant art he seems to keep inspiring gay viewers

    1. I honestly think a lot of these cartoons could be given the Pryde of the X-Men treatment. (That is to say, updated for modern times.)

  5. Oh, DC Comics has a Pride anthology coming up in June. Père et fils Scott (In this timeline, Obsidian's courage inspires his father to come out as well.), Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. Apollo and Midnighter. (Basically Batman And Superman if "I don't not like you" was an awkward confession of love.) And of course Batwoman and the Question. And that's just who I recognize on the cover.

    There are also variant covers with a rainbow motif. There's no rhyme or reason to who gets these these: Nightwing has been speculated as bisexual (for non-Wertham reasons) at least since the 80s, and even his major love interests are subject to said speculation. (You would not know it from Birds of Prey, but Chuck Dixon is a homophobe.) But Lobo never got such speculation, though I'm not even sure sexual orientation applies to him, being an alien who slaughtered the rest of his species and reproduces asexually to boot (from a single cell...) so he's always been careful to also kill his offspring.


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