Based on the popular Marvel comic book characters, The Fantastic Four were a group of scientists who were accidentally struck by cosmic rays during the launching of a test rocket ship. When their experimental ship passed through cosmic radiation too strong for its shields to withstand, the four—scientist and rocket designer Reed Richards, his wife Sue, ace pilot and lovable lunkhead Ben Grimm, and Sue’s hotshot younger brother Johnny Storm—were all bombarded with cosmic rays. Crash landing on earth, the four discovered that the radiation had left each of them with a strange, new power.
Reed, soon to be called Mr. Fantastic, became a pliable mass, with limbs that could stretch to seemingly endless limits. Sue gained the power of invisibility, and was thus named the Invisible Girl. Ben became The Thing, an incredibly strong, orange granite behemoth who constantly grumbled about his new lumpy appearance. Johnny gained the ability to “Flame on,” encasing his body in fire and giving him the power of flight. The impetuous youth’s new powers earned him the nom de superhero The Human Torch.
Flying into action aboard the Richards-designed U-Car, the Fantastic Four battled such evil luminaries as the Mole Man, the alien Skrulls, and the despotic Doctor Doom. The Fantastic Four ran for two original seasons and one season of repeats before bowing out in 1970. Later in the decade, The New Fantastic Four hit the airwaves, with The Human Torch replaced by wisecracking robot H.E.R.B. The new show lasted only one season, but the original foursome returned with new episodes fifteen years later as part of The Marvel Action Hour.
USA / Syndicated – Hanna Barbera / 19×25 minute episodes / Broadcast from 30 August 1970
Executive Producers: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
Gerald Mohr as Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards
Jo Ann Pflug as The Invisible Girl/Sue Richards
Paul Frees as The Thing/Ben Grimm
Jack Flounders as The Human Torch/Johnny Storm