That graphic of the fire bird, and this show, is my first memory of television. Thank you for telling me what it was!
Nine-year-old me (in 1979!) thought this was the bestest cartoon evar!
BotP meant so much to me when I was little, it influenced my design styles and love of scifi that lasts even today.
There was nothing else like it on TV.
Oy…this’ll be showing my age all too embarrassingly, but I can think of at least three Americanized anime before BOTP–“Astro Boy” and “Kimba the White Lion”, from Osamu Tezuka (in Japan, they were “Mighty Atom” and “Jungle Taitei”), sometimes referred to as “Godfather of Anime”. (And Disney’s “The Lion King” probably should have been sued for, um, “borrowing” VERY heavily from “Kimba”.)
And “8th Man”, a cyborg superhero who got his powers from smoking “energy” cigarettes (!).
The US versions were all from the early-to-mid '60s–one of our local Detroit independent TV stations broadcast them. Although “8th Man” wasn’t without its charms (jesus–energy cigarettes?), the Tezuka shows are things of beauty, as are the multitude of manga he produced, some of it quite adult in content. (Not X-rated adult, just meant for adult consumption.)
I loved that show. I still occasionally make Keyop chirping noises for no good reason.
I remember both fondly.
I need to check the chronology – was Kimba in turn building upon the popularity of Born Free?
The two robots added for the American market (or non-Japanese market, whatever) were the part of the show I hated even as a kid. The rest of the show was great, and I’m puzzled that nobody has tried to make a sharp live action version of this. The subject and demographics are ripe for something that could make a lot of money if done right.
My Battle of the Planets story:
Me and my grade school friends in San Francisco would pretend to be characters from the show. The heroes of Battle of the Planets would stand on each other’s shoulders to form a pyramid and spin around causing a tornado that destroyed the enemy and whatever unfortunate shantytowns happened to be nearby. Then they would fly out looking cool in their bird costumes. To simulate this in our play, the five of us would hold hands and run in a circle. One recess, other kids wanted to join in. The circle kept growing and growing and growing until the whole upper level playground of Longfellow elementary school was just one spinning circle consisting of each and every kid out there. Hundreds of kids. The teachers were freaked. They tried to stop it, but of course they couldn’t. It didn’t stop until the circle just got too fast and everyone fell down. From then on spinning in a circle was banned.
Oh man! Battle of the planets. . . I recall making my own winged cloak thing out of an old sheet, and being more than a little disappointed that the wings didn’t slow my fall to the ground when I lept off fences and walls.
Super bonus points for my first exposure to a female-to-male transgender character (go Zoltar!). :}
As a kid, I remember thinking the vehicles were really cool. For those who don’t know, each character drove a unique vehicle (jet, car, motorcycle, and sub, I think) that would fit into the larger Phoenix.
I also remember thinking that the characters actually looked and acted like teenagers. They argued a lot, and all the guys wanted to date the girl.
I kind of remember this show, but I remember Star Blazers much more vividly, which probably came later. BotP wasn’t bad, but Star Blazers had a much more compelling story and memorable characters.
Me too! No one ever gets it.
Casey Kasem as the voice of Mark, if I recall. I wanted one of those little razor-winged birds he would throw.
Was there a scene in this show where a space ship is about to crash, and a crew member turns to the captain(?) and says: “what do we do???” And the captain says, matter-of-factly: “we die.” ?
There has not been one show ever or since with cooler costumes. At the time, they were beyond imagination - how could you ever make something so good? Now, you’d still need to spend a hunk to approximate them.
I lived their lives many days over, my Huffy Pro Thunder II was my craft, and the lakes, hills and forts near home the galaxy.
TV50 was probably the greatest tv station of all time.
Nope…Tezuka had done a manga version of “Jungle Taitei” long before, and the anime premiered in Japan in 1965. “Born Free” was released in 1966. Whether America (and other countries) released it because of “Born Free” is probably up for debate.
you’re thinking of The Last Starfighter, unless maybe they were referencing this show?
Nothing beats the Wave Motion Gun!