1981 shorts, Episode Lengths: 7 minutes
This incarnation of the Super Friends ran in 1981 on the ABC Network.
We find ourselves with seven-minute shorts once again. Viewers would be treated to 3 new episodes weekly and a rerun from one of the previous six years.
These new adventures featured appearances by the core group of the five classic Super Friends (Superman, Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman and Aquaman) along with the illustrious Wonder Twins (Zan, Jayna and their pet monkey Gleek). There were also guest appearances from members previously depicted in Challenge of the SuperFriends series. Occasionally, a DC Villain, namely a couple of former members of the Legion of Doom would resurface to menace our heroes, but for the most part, our heroes would continue to deal with non comic villains and threats.
The 1981 season was unfortunately shorter than 1980 season due to an animator’s writers strike. It was reduced down to a 30 minute show, only consisting of these new shorts, and eventually melting in with the reruns of the past. There was no special title and the quality of these shorts were the same as the previous ones. There was one new addition to the SuperFriends.
Eventually, the strike cleared up and suddenly, the SuperFriends now faced some real animated Super Hero competition on Saturday mornings. Reruns of Thundarr the Barbarian were on the ABC lineup that year as well. NBC had three Super Hero hits. Hanna-Barbera featured Space Stars (these shows used a lot of stock music heard on the SuperFriends). Filmation’s presented the Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam. Also some real competition for the SuperFriends came along with a 3 season show by Marvel/Sunbow Productions called Spiderman and His Amazing Friends. Over at CBS, Filmation presented the Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour and the fantasy themed cartoon series, Blackstar.
- Another aspect of this season was that there were new health and safety tips as well as crafts that were made, this time being hosted by Black Vulcan, Samurai, Apache Chief, and the Wonder Twins as well as the original five heroes.
- With the exception of Mxyzptlk Strikes Again, these episodes have been edited and aired as part of the 90's syndicated Superman/Batman Adventures package. The series featured edited episodes of various seasons of the SuperFriends, as well as the 1983 lost episodes of the Super Friends for the first time on television, which has aired on USA, Cartoon Network, and Boomerang. It has been reported that these shorts have all aired uncut on TV stations in Canada.
- Narrator – voiced by William Woodson
- Superman – voiced by Danny Dark (1981)
- Batman – voiced by Olan Soule (1981)
- Robin – voiced by Casey Kasem (1981)
- Aquaman – voiced by William Callaway (1981)
- Wonder Woman – voiced by Shannon Farnon (981)
- Junior SuperFriends:
- Samurai – voiced by Jack Angel (1981)
- Green Lantern – voiced by Michael Rye (1981)
- Apache Chief - voiced by Michael Rye (1981)
- Black Vulcan – voiced by Buster Jones (1981)
- The Atom – voiced by Wally Burr (2 episodes: Sink Hole and The Iron Cyclops, 1981)
- El Dorado – voiced by Fernando Escandon (2 episodes: Alien Mummy and Palette's Perils, 1981)
|Ep #||Episode Name||Air Date|
|1||Outlaws of Orion||Three Wishes||Scorpio||September 26, 1981|
|2||Mxyzptlk's Flick||Sink Hole||Alien Mummy||October 3, 1981|
|3||The Evil from Krypton||The Creature from the Dump||Aircraft Terror||October 10, 1981|
|4||The Lava Men||Bizarroworld||The Warlord's Amulet||October 17, 1981|
|5||The Iron Cyclops||Palette's Perils||Colossus||October 24, 1981|
|6||Stowaways from Space||The Scaraghosta Sea||The Witch's Arcade||October 31, 1981|
- All programs based on Hasbro properties were co-productions from 1983-1988, by Marvel Productions and Sunbow Productions. These programs are currently owned by Hasbro.
- The series also featured edited episodes of The New Adventures of Superman, The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, and The Batman/Superman Hour.