THE MIGHTY MIGHTORMedium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1967
Creator: Alex Toth
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By the mid-1960s, the Hanna-Barbera studio had mass-produced so many funny animal TV cartoons, the genre seems to have grown a little tired — so they started testing the waters with superheroes. Space Ghost, debuting in 1966, was their first (unless you count Atom Ant, which came out a year earlier). When that one
proved a success, they followed it with The Mighty Mightor, which (along with Moby Dick, who starred in the other segment of the half-hour show) became part of CBS's Saturday morning schedule on September 9, 1967.
Mightor was a typical, average superhero, complete with mask, cape, girlfriend who wondered who he really was the works. The only thing that set him apart from the crowd was the fact that he was a cave man. Or cave boy, perhaps. For added youth appeal, in his secret identity, Tor (apparently, this took place before they invented last names), Mightor was a teenager.
It all started when Tor (no relation) and his pet dinosaur, Tog (more reminiscent of The Flintstones' Dino than Alley Oop's Dinny) rescued an old man from a Tyrannosaurus rex. For this, Tor was rewarded with the old man's magic club, which, when properly activated, transformed him into The Mighty Mightor like Billy Batson's magic word transformed him into Captain Marvel. As Mightor, he had super-strength and the power of flight, and his club could emit force rays, de-necessitating its use for messy, parent-unfriendly bashing. What's more, it turned Tog into a flying, fire-breathing dragon.
Mightor and Tor were played by different voice actors, Paul Stewart (Elevator Man in DePatie-Freleng's Super Six) as the former and Bobby Diamond (more a face actor than a voice man) as the latter. John Stephenson (Professor Conroy in Frankenstein Jr.) voiced Tog in both of his forms, as well as Chief Pondo (the love interest's father, by the way). Tor's inquisitive girlfriend, Shana, was played by Patsy Garrett (also better known for face than voice acting) and the inevitable kid, Tor's brother Li'l Rock, by Norma MacMillan (Casper the Friendly Ghost). The series was created and designed by comic book legend Alex Toth, whose outstanding work is seen from DC to Dell, and points beyond.
The show ran two seasons, a total of 36 episodes. Since time and space don't seem much of a barrier to superheroes, he also had occasional crossovers with other Hanna-Barbera superheroes, such as Space Ghost. While he never had his own comic book, Gold Key Comics included him in six of the seven issues of Hanna-Barbera Super TV Heroes, which ran from April, 1968 to October, 1969, and which also featured The Herculoids, Shazzan and other adventure characters. And there was the usual merchandising, including action figures, lunch boxes, etc.
Like most Hanna-Barbera characters of the time, Mightor retains the interest of his fans even today. Reruns of his adventures are still seen occasionally on Cartoon Network and its offshoot, Boomerang. He also turns up on Adult Swim, where he sometimes plays Judge Hiram Mightor, opposite lawyer Harvey Birdman.