Samson & Goliath, from a publicity picture.


Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1967
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Space Ghost, who made his debut in 1966, was Hanna-Barbera's first serious superhero. Since he was a success, Hanna-Barbera, being Hanna-Barbera, made an immediate move to flood the market with superheroes. It was only …

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… a year later that they launched The Mighty Mightor, Birdman and Young Samson (no relation), putting them squarely in the superhero business.

The show's original title was Samson & Goliath, an amalgamation of two Bible stories, but it was changed to Young Samson early on to avoid confusion with Davey & Goliath, which drew its name from only one. In both cases, Goliath was the protagonist's dog, tho in the Hanna-Barbera one he'd morph into a flying, laser-powered lion when superhero action was called for.

Adding the word "young" to the title may have helped disambiguate it, but it also made the title less accurate. In this context, "young" usually refers to minors, not young adults. Tho Samson's secret identity, to the extent it was a secret (or even an "identity" in any real sense, since he didn't seem to have a personal life beyond tooling around the country on a motorcycle) was a youngster, he did the "Captain Marvel" trick by turning into an adult when he went into action. He wore a pair of golden wristbands which, when brought together over his head as he intoned "I Need Samson Power", turned him into a modern version of the Biblical personage, able to fly in addition to his super strength. Bringing them together again would work the transformation on Goliath, who, in lion form, could also shoot laser beams from his eyes and had a "laser sharp" paw (differently colored from the other three).

The show debuted on Saturday, September 9, 1967, the same day as Shazzan and Herculoids, another pair of Hanna-Barbera offerings that might, at least loosely, have been considered superheroes. Samson's voice was done by Tim Mathieson, whose other heroic voice roles include Jonny Quest and Sinbad Jr. A total of 20 episodes were produced.

It was no longer the custom for Hanna-Barbera characters to go straight into their own Gold Key comic book titles (possibly because by this time, there were so many of them). But Young Samson did appear in a couple of issues of Hanna-Barbera Super TV Heroes — as did Moby Dick, The Galaxy Trio and most of the company's other contemporary adventure characters.

But after the series had run its course, the characters were retired. They may turn up in an occasional rerun, but no real use has been made of them in decades.


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Text ©2006-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Hanna-Barbera.