The Impossibles swoop down on a criminal.


Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1966
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In the late 1960s, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio went into superheroes big-time, with …

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Birdman, Space Ghost, The Mighty Mightor, and several others. But before they did, they produced a couple of superhero parodies, such as Atom Ant and this outfit, a bunch of slapstick stars called The Impossibles.

The Impossibles (no relation) were a trio of rock'n'roll musicians, who did the super-powered crime-fighter gig in their spare time. Fluid Man was able to turn himself into liquid, then reconstitute himself back into a human being. Coil Man could turn all or part of his body into powerful coil springs, or any other simple metal object. Multi-Man could create any number of duplicates of himself. They debuted along with Frankenstein Jr., as part of the half-hour cartoon show, Frankenstein Jr. & the Impossibles, on CBS, on September 10, 1966.

Fluid's voice was provided by Paul Frees, whose many roles in animation include Super President, Crawford Crow (of The Fox & the Crow) and Ludwig von Drake. Coil was Hal Smith, who also voiced Gyro Gearloose, Winnie the Pooh's Owl, and Goliath (of Davey & Goliath). Multi was Don Messick, also the voice of Ricochet Rabbit, Ruff (of Ruff & Reddy) and Scooby-Doo.

Tho Frankenstein Jr. got top billing, he only appeared in one segment per show, whereas The Impossibles were in two. They also appeared prominently in Frankie's Gold Key comic book, tho again, Frankie got top billing. But their exposure didn't translate into longevity. Frankie's segments were re-packaged into new shows several times since the original show aired, but The Impossibles haven't been seen in many years.

New versions turned up in 1979, when Hanna-Barbera made superheroes of The Harlem Globetrotters. Globetrotter Hubert "Geese" Ausbie (voiced by Johnny Williams) became Multi-Man, Nate Branch (Scatman Crothers) became Fluid Man, and Twiggy Sanders (Buster Jones) became Spaghetti Man (who, aside from the name, was a lot like Coil Man). There were also a Sphere Man and a Gizmo Man. But this series didn't even mention that some of the Globetrotters' names and motifs had been used before.


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Text ©2003-07 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Hanna-Barbera.