GALTAR AND THE GOLDEN LANCEOriginal Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1985
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Sword & Sorcery, with barbarian heroes in a world of magic, became a distinct sub-genre of fantasy fiction as long ago as the 1930s. But it took until the '70s, when Conan the Barbarian came to Marvel Comics, which then created Red Sonja to go with it, for it to make any
inroads into the cartoon form of storytelling. The following decade, with Thundarr the Barbarian leading the way, it began to proliferate in animation. It was in 1985 that Hanna-Barbera got into the act with Galtar & the Golden Lance.
Hanna-Barbera was no stranger to heroic fantasy, with heroes such as Space Ghost and Young Samson going back nearly two decades. Galtar may not have been their first to live in a very low-tech society (The Mighty Mightor and Dino Boy, to name only two, preceded him), but he was their first at that particular stage of societal development. His show debuted in September, 1985, as part of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera. The 2nd of that month is sometimes given as its starting date, but the show aired on Sundays, and that was a Monday.
Funtastic World was another way Hanna-Barbera scooped Disney, which was a late bloomer in TV cartoons. Years before The Disney Afternoon tied together DuckTales, The Little Mermaid and others, Hanna-Barbera had a large block of half-hour shows to monopolize kids' viewing time. Aside from Galtar, the block at various times included Yogi's Space Race, The Snorks and Two Stupid Dogs.
Galtar lived on an extraterrestrial world, where the kingdom of Bandisar was ruled by the evil usurper Tormack. He had a particular grudge against Tormack, who had killed his parents years earlier. Also, Tormack was constantly trying to steal Galtar's Golden Lance, a magical weapon that went far toward conferring invincibility in battle. Tormack wanted it to complement The Sacred Shield, which he'd already stolen, because the two together could make him all-powerful, and he dearly coveted rulership of their whole world. The rightful owner of the shield was Princess Goleeta (no relation), who teamed up with Galtar against Tormack. Also allied with them was Zorn, Goleeta's younger brother, who had telekinetic powers. The cast also included Rak and his son Tuk, both inept mercenaries, who double-crossed people right and left because "It's the only work we know."
Galtar's voice was done by Lou Richards (also heard in Mighty Orbots), Goleeta's by Mary McDonald-Lewis (a villain in 1990s Batman), and Zorn's by David Mendenhall (Brother Bear). The bad guy was voiced by Brock Peters (Blorch in Pirates of Darkwater). Rak and Tuk were Bob Frank (also heard in The Barkleys, and no relation) and Frank Welker (Jabberjaw), respectively.
Hanna-Barbera's first foray into the genre wasn't a notable success. It was part of its programming block only for the first season and part of the second. Altogether, 21 episodes were made.