November 3, 1973
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Directed by
Main Super Heroes(s)
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The Balloon People is the ninth episode of the first season of the Superfriends. The episode introduced a family of aliens called Balunians, who had a strange balloon-like physiology. This was the third episode of the show to deal with the subject of pollution, with the last two times that was addressed being in Dr. Pelagian's War and Too Hot to Handle. Once again an alien world is portrayed as being too polluted to live on. This planet is called Balunia, and within the context of the story the Balunians leave their homeworld, and one family of Balunians land in Marvin White's backyard.

This episode is unique in that the antagonist of the story; Noah Tall, is the first antagonist in the series that could actually be considered a supervillain. Unlike most of the other antagonists, that consisted of mainly misguided scientists and good-hearted people just going too far to make the world what they envision as a "better place," Noah Tall was actually a greedy man, who lusted for power. This is really the first time we see a truly evil character in the show, but it didn't make the tone of the episode any darker, especially since his sidekick was a character played for laughs. His name was Twisty, and he had some type of extreme speech disorder just for comedy. Even Noah Tall's name is a play on the phrase "Know-it-all." These villains were clearly played for laughs.

Much of the episode focuses on humor. This episode can probably be called the first completely comedic story. A good portion of the time the villains make unsuccessful attempts to kidnap the Balunians. Much of the plot of this episode would likely be considered ridiculous by most people, everything from the chill attitude that Americans seem to have regarding aliens living among them, (the writers decided to skip the whole xenophobia concept) to the Super Friends taking Wonder Dog to the pet shop to get a pedicure. It should also be noted that although the Balunians survived this story, realistically one might think that they would have a high mortality rate on a planet like Earth, where every sharp thing in existence could kill them. At one point Aquaman even has to tell them not to touch the coral reef in the ocean.

It's quite a thought actually, thinking that these aliens could be killed just walking down the street and petting a feral cat that scratches them, causing them to pop. This story is indeed quite absurd, even for the Super Friends, which itself was already written in a fashion of absurdity. But on the other hand, it should also be noted that by the end of the episode, Krim, the father of the alien family, goes to work for the United States Government. One might think that this could be the government's way of keeping an eye on aliens from space that are potential threats to national security. (not that aliens with balloon bodies would be) The fact is though, Krim and his family is never seen again in the show so it's just as likely the government decided to take them to Area 51 and do terrible experiments on their corpses. But their fate isn't revealed beyond this episode so it's impossible to determine.


A family of alien "Balloon people," known as Balunians, travel to earth to find a more suitable home since their home planet of Balunia was now wasted because of pollution. But an evil genius known as Noah Tall wishes to learn there secret of "teleportation," a special telekinetic power that they possess. So Noah Tall, with the help of his bumbling assistant Twisty, devise a plan to capture them.

Plot Summary

Plot Summary for 'The Balloon People'

In the rec room in the Hall of Justice, Marvin is tuning up his table tennis technique. He tells Wendy he could probably beat the champion of China, because he never misses a shot. She then asks who his opponent is: "the invisible man?" She then sees that his paddle has a string on it which causes the ball to continuously come back to him. Just then, they are interrupted by the sound of the TroubAlert. And on the space monitor, appears an alien spacecraft, which is a flying saucer. The craft keeps fading out of focus over and over again. The monitor is unable to hold the picture, which puzzles Superman. Marvin suggests that the craft can make itself invisible. Superman tells everyone that the craft is heading toward Earth.

While on board the mysterious craft, are a family of strange humanoids. They are the balloon people: Krim, his wife Gloma, his daughter Plinky and a dog, Grunk. After checking out Earth's atmosphere, Krim determines that it is clean enough that they can live on the planet. He tells his family to prepare for a landing. They then land in what they think is a jungle, and they realize that it's unlikely they will run into any Earth people there. They then step outside and Gloma notices how clean and good the fresh air is. Plinky then notices a building. Krim thinks this is odd, since they are in what they thought was a jungle. (but is actually the backyard of Marvin's house!) They notice that the large building is actually a doghouse, and they then realize that the dogs of earth must be giant creatures. So they then decide to inflate themselves to maximum size. They then fill their bodies full of air, and grow to the size of average Earthlings. At this point, Wonder Dog comes out of the dog house and sees the strange alien creatures. He begins barking at the dog, but when Krim approaches Wonder Dog, he is terrified, and retreats back in his doghouse so scared that his teeth are chattering.

While at this very moment, Batman is driving the kids home in his Batmobile. Marvin then thanks the Dynamic Duo, and tells them that he's sure that Wonder Dog would want to see them. He calls for Wonder Dog, but he doesn't come, instead he gives a warning bark, meaning something is wrong. They all race to the backyard. They then see the aliens and Batman says: "Great blazes!" The aliens think they are in danger so they deflate themselves, to make them smaller and hard to find amidst all the grass. But Krim is surrounded by everyone. Batman tells everyone to back off since they have frightened them enough already. He then asks him where he comes from and he asks him to trust him. Krim then shouts: "The doghouse, the doghouse!" The balloon people then use their mind to move the doghouse. Batman tells everyone to step back so they don't get hit by the doghouse. This causes a distraction and Krim runs off and hides with his wife under the porch steps. Krim asks Gloma where Plinky and Grunk are, and she tells him that she thinks they landed somewhere in the tall grass. She then tells him that the Earthmen said they wouldn't harm them, but he tells her that might be a trick.

Meanwhile, Robin spots what looks like a model flying saucer, but Marvin tells them it's not his toy. Batman then realizes that it's not a model, it's a real spacecraft, which brought the balloon people to Earth. Robin says it looks familiar, and Batman tells him it should, since it's the same one that they saw on the monitor, which kept on fading out, and understandably now, since the craft was so small it's no wonder the monitor couldn't stay focused on it.

Meanwhile, Plinky and Grunk are hiding in the grass by the basement window, and Plinky says she sees Wendy moving toward her parents under the porch steps, just then, Grunk inflates to maximum size and starts barking, and rushes toward her. She then says: "Don't be afraid, puppy." She then takes the dog in her hands and comforts him. She tells the others he feels like a balloon. They then feed the dog some dog food, realizing he was hungry, and wishing the others would trust them. Krim is then convinced that the people of Earth are friendly and kind, they then come out from their hiding place and approach them. They then greet them and apologize for mistrusting them. Batman tells them he can understand their caution, since they are as strange to them as they are. Krim then introduces himself to them, and tells them they are from the distant planet Balunia, and that they have been traveling through space for a very long time. He tells them he left Balunia because over the centuries, his people carelessly allowed the air to become polluted, he goes on to explain to them that dirty air makes their bodies weak and sickly, so they had to find a new home, where the atmosphere is reasonably clean and pure. Marvin then asks if it was them that made the doghouse move. He tells him that his people have the ability to move small objects with thought power. Marvin asks him if he's referring to telepathy, to which Gloma tells him they call it teleportation, which allows them to move objects with their mind, but they can't transmit their thoughts to each other. They then explain that they deflate by releasing air from their hands, but in emergencies, they open the valves in their chests, which is much faster. Batman tells the balloon people that if they wish to live on Earth, they will need a house to live in. He tells them that since he they can make themselves small, they can live in their flying saucer. Marvin told him he could park his saucer next to Wonder Dog's doghouse, and Wonder Dog can protect them. The arrival of the balloon people attracts the attention of the media, including the World Herald newspaper, which writes an article about the saucer which landed in the White's backyard. The news also reaches television.

Miles away, in a remote island-laboratory complex, a scholar named Noah Tall who heard about the Balunian's teleportation power, is very interested in understanding it's secret. Noah is a man who operates on the theory that knowledge is power, which is a very sound philosophy, but in his case, he desires such knowledge, to gain power over mankind. He and his assistant, Twisty, are watching a news report on TV stating that according to the Dynamic Duo, the Krim family will be residing in Marvin's backyard. Mr. Tall tells Twisty to prepare the jet for a flight to the mainland. He goes on to explain to Twisty that if they learn the secret of teleportation they could gain control of the world.

Sometime later, in Marvin's backyard, he is teaching Plinky how to play basketball. He explains the basic idea of the game and she believes it sounds easy, but he tells her she's playing against Super Marv, the "wizard of the basketball court." He then begins dribbling toward the other basket, but she takes the ball with her suction hands. She then demonstrates to Marvin how she does it, and she grabs a baseball from the ground with her suction power. He then asks her if she would like to play on his team.

While in the street, a spy truck owned by Noah Tall pulls up to Marvin's house: the Snoop Wagon. They begin to stake out the backyard, but then they notice the Super Friends coming in the Batmobile, so they decide to drive around the corner and spy on them from there, where they will be out of sight from the Superfriends.

As the Justice League arrive to pay a social call to the Krim family in Marvin's backyard, Plinky knocks on their spacecraft to get their attention. Wonder Woman introduces herself, and Superman tells Krim that they have something in common: he too is from another planet. He then tells him the name of the planet: Krypton. Krim tells him he had heard of Krypton, and knew that it had exploded. Aquaman introduces himself, telling them he would like to get them acquainted with Earth, telling them they'd like to take them on sightseeing trips on land, sea and air. Wendy tells the Super Friends that they are going fishing on the lake with them later this afternoon. Noah Tall overhears this, and realizes that catching the balloon people would be easy because there would be no on around but the kids.

At the lake, the kids and Krim family are in their rowboats so that they can go fishing. Nearby, Noah Tall is spying on them with binoculars in his motorboat. They disguise themselves with fake facial hair, so that they wouldn't be recognized. Twisty says to Noah: "Gee boss, you look terrific!"

And now we see the kids fishing, and Plinky points to some litter in the water and asks if they are fish, and Marvin tells her that they are an old milk carton and some empty soda cans. Gloma asks if such a thing pollutes the water. Wendy tells her it sure does, but people who should no better, throw trash any place they want. Meanwhile, Noah Tall and Twisty approach in their motorboat, and he tells Twisty to toss the anchor in their boat as soon as he starts the motor. They believe it was an accident, and they believe they can't hear their shouts, but the balloon people take to flight and exit the boat. They head back to the Junior Super Friends, and Krim asks who those people were, and Marvin tells him they were just a couple of fishermen trying to catch something. Plinky tells them they did catch something: "They caught us!" They then move on...

Sometime later in Marvin's backyard, Marvin is raking the lawn, while Wonder Dog sets a hockey stick neatly against the wall of the house. Krim then approaches Marvin, noticing he's very busy. Marvin tells him that Superman's coming to take him sightseeing, and so he's trying to make the yard look clean. Meanwhile, Plinky approaches Wendy who is using a broom, and asks her what she is doing, and she tells her she's sweeping the dust off the porch. She tells her that she wants to help, and Wendy tells her she only has one broom, but Gloma tells her they don't need brooms, and she tells her daughter: "Let's show her how we sweep on Balunia." They then open their chest valves and air blows out and blows the dust off the porch. Superman then arrives asking the Krim family if they're ready for their trip. The four of them shrink themselves and get in the ship, and Superman takes the ship in his hands, and takes to flight. He shows them the countryside, cities, farms and forests.

Meanwhile, at a construction site atop a cliff, Noah Tall watches Superman in his Snoop Wagon. Twisty is worried they won't be a match for Superman, but Noah Tall tells him that he may be the strongest man in the world, but he is the smartest. He has Twisty create a distraction that will force Superman to land so that he can respond to the emergency.

While above, the Krim family notice some buildings with dirty smoke coming out of them, polluting the air. Superman tells them they are factories. Krim wonders if Earth people realize how harmful that is. Just then, Superman spots the emergency that Twisty created, a bulldozer, on it's way to falling off the cliff and crashing into a railroad station. He lets go of the ship, and takes flight down toward the bulldozer, while Krim flies the ship down for a landing. Noah Tall waits below by the Snoop Wagon for the Balunians to land so he can capture them. The next moment, the bulldozer falls of the cliff, plummeting toward the station, Superman swoops down and catches it...and easy feat for an alien with such vast superhuman strength. But just then, a steam shovel is also approaching the cliff, because Twisty also sent it toward the cliff, and the Balunians decide to use their telekinetic powers to stop the steam shovel, since Superman is busy with the bulldozer. Realizing that it's to big for them to stop by lifting it, they decide to turn the ignition key, thereby shutting off the motor. Noah Tall is angry with Twisty, because if he wouldn't have tried to send the steam shovel over the cliff, they would have landed their spacecraft. They then leave the scene, waiting for another chance.

While sometime later at the Hall of Justice, the Super Friends discuss the events of the past few days, and how the Krim family seems to have had a lot of excitement, and Superman is beginning to wonder if the disasters were accidents, implying that someone might be trying to kidnap the Krim family.

Later, the Balunians are ready for their tour of the ocean with Aquaman. They meet him at a lighthouse. Wendy asks them if they need Scuba gear, since there's no air underwater. They tell her that their air is inside their bodies, so they don't need it. Aquaman then arrives, apologizing for being late, because he had to save a fishing boat that was having motor trouble. He asks the Balunians if they are ready for a swim.

They the begin the ocean tour and Aquaman shows them a coral reef, telling them not to touch it because it's jagged and sharp. Plinky asks if the coral reef is rock, and he tells her it's millions of skeletons of marine animals. He then tells them that in his underwater kingdom, the Balunians aren't that strange at all, he then shows them a fish which is known as a puffer, or a blowfish. They then watch as the blowfish increases his size. Plinky tells her father that some Earth creatures are just like them.

Meanwhile, above the ocean, Noah Tall is piloting his personal aircraft with Twisty along for the ride. The aircraft is a helicopter with a suction tube that he calls the Sea Sucker. They see that Aquaman is with the Balunians thanks to their spying equipment. They then fly ahead to drop some itching acid. On arrival, Twisty drops the itching acid out the door. This begins to make creatures of the deep very itchy. A dolphin sends a signal to Aquaman and he quickly leaves to help his itchy, finny friends. This leaves the Balunians alone. Krim looks at the shell of a giant clam and just then, Noah Tall's suction tube approaches behind them, and starts to draw them in. Krim uses the clamshell to clog the tube. At first, Plinky thinks it might be some sort of giant sea serpent, but Krim assures him it's not. He tells her he thinks it's used to clean the ocean floor. They decide to maneuver the tube to where the trash is, since it doesn't seem to know where it is. They start using the tube to suck up junk, which starts to fill up the suction pump in the helicopter, so Tall turns the pump off.

Meanwhile, at the site of the itching acid crisis, Aquaman uses an anglerfish to drop a cork into the hole of the itching acid canister. He tells it that if the acid touches him, he'll be using his fishing rod to scratch himself. Now Aquaman decides to get rid of it...but where?

Aquaman returns to the Krim family and when he sees the tube, he asks them what it is. They tell him it's a suction tube. While above, Twisty is cleaning the junk out of the pump. Noah Tall then switched the pump back on. Instantly, trash is getting sucked up through the tube again. Aquaman sees it, and says "this could be dangerous." Just then, he knows exactly how to get rid of the itching acid, and he pours it into the tube.

While above, seaweed is starting to clog the drain, and just as Noah Tall is about to turn the pump of again, the itching acid starts to come out of the pump. The two of them are now scratching because they are itchy. They decide to retreat, and they bring the nozzle back up, and Aquaman decides to have a look topside. But by the time Aquaman surfaces to the top of the water, the helicopter is hidden by a cloud. In the copter, Tall tells Twisty to head back to the mainland.

In the Hall of Justice, the Justice League are discussing the recent happenings, and they realize that someone is trying to capture the Krim family. Batman suggests that they all take turns acting as their own personal bodyguards. Wonder Woman then states that she'll draw up a schedule.

Later, Krim addresses a meeting at the Hall of Justice, telling the Super Friends of the situation on Balunia, and how Earth is faced with a similar crisis if they don't put a stop to pollution. Wonder Woman tells him that she should tell this to a friend of hers from Washington: Simon Pure, the chief of the Department of Environment Protection. She tells him she'll arrange an appointment with him.

While in the Snoop Wagon, Tall watches a TV news report about Krim's meeting with the government officials. The News reporter goes on to say that the balloon family's friends will be attending as well. The invitation includes Wonder Dog, who is to be going to the pet shop for a hair trim and pedicure in preparation for the high-level government meeting. Tall tells Twisty that this means the Balunians will be left alone in the yard until Wonder Dog returns from the pet shop.

In Marvin's backyard, the Super Friends leave for the pet shop, but Robin stays for bodyguard duty. The Krims go to rest in side their flying saucer, knowing that they have a big day tomorrow. They then relax, reading books while Plinky plays with the dog. Robin relaxes in a chair. Noah Tall and Twisty are looking over the backyard fence, and Noah Tall tells Twisty they'll have to take care of Robin by using "Plan B" on him. Twisty asks him what that is; and he tells him it's "the one between 'Plan A' and 'Plan C'..." He then asks him if he still has the toy Krim balloon. He then blows up the balloon and while he's in the neighbor's yard, he waves the toy over the fence and Robin asks what he thinks to be the real Krim what's wrong. He then jumps over the fence to follow Krim, just as Twisty releases the toy, allowing the air to blow out and causing it to run off to lead Robin on a wild goose chase. Tall and Twisty then approach the craft and trap the family in a glass box. Meanwhile, not far from the house, Robin realizes that he's been had, as he recognizes that it's only a toy, the kind that are selling like hotcakes at the novelty stores. He then races back, only to find that the Balunians are gone.

Meanwhile, the Sea Sucker, with Tall, Twisty and their alien captives on board, returns to Noah Tall's private island. And in his lair, he tells them he wants to know the secret to their psychokinetic teleportation. The Balunians tell them that Earth people just can't do it. Krim also tells them that the Super Friends will catch up to them sooner or later, because they have super-intelligence. Noah then boasts about his own intelligence, and tells him he has memorized every word in every encyclopedia he has. They refuse to cooperate, and so Tall has Twisty lock them up in a room until they're ready to change their minds.

Back at the Hall, the Justice League, although completely baffled by the situation, are now certain that the so-called accidents that the Krim family had been experiencing, were not accidents, and that the two "fishermen" finally made their catch. "Holy dead ends!" says Robin, "we don't have a single clue."

Back in the Balunian's cell, Plinky tries to reassure her parents that the Superfriends will come to their aid. But they are in doubt, since they don't even know where they are. She then tells them she has an idea, and after telling them, Krim tells her that he doubts that their brain waves could reach the mainland. But they try it anyway, but only in futility, as the waves can't reach the mainland.

The JLA are still in the Hall, realizing that the Krim family might be trying to get a message to them. And if they are, the only way they might be able to, is by using their thought power to move inanimate objects. Marvin suggests they may be trying to move something in his backyard. But Aquaman cuts in and tells them if they are being held captive hundreds of miles away then it won't work, because brain waves only can travel so far. Marvin then says that brain waves must be like radio waves. He then tells them that in school he and Wendy learned that the further radio waves travel, the weaker they get, that's why they set up Booster stations. Wonder Woman then realizes that she can build a booster device for each of them, and they can spread out to different parts of the country and when the booster picks up the signal it will amplify it, and they can continue relaying the signal until it reaches the object they are trying to move.

In the ocean, Aquaman activates his booster, and he then relays it to Wonder Woman, who is flying in her invisible plane over the coastline, and she relays the signal to the Batcopter, which is flying over Gotham City.

While at the White's residence, Wendy and Marvin are in his room, checking to see if objects are moving. They then move to the backyard to find that the Balunian's thought waves are reaching the saucer, causing it to move, the kids and Wonder Dog climb in the cramped spacecraft and wait to see what happens...

While overhead, the Batcopter is directly above Marvin's house, and Robin points the booster down there, which allows the brain waves to be received at full strength. This causes the craft to be lifted into the air. The Batcopter then follows the craft, knowing it will lead them to the Krims, but they are unaware that the kids and dog are inside the craft.

Meanwhile, at the North Pole, Wonder Woman turns her invisible plane around after receiving the homing beacon from Robin. She then follows it, knowing it will lead her to the Krims.

Back on Tall's island, the heroes that are approaching the island are being watched through surveillance cameras. He sees that the Batcopter is getting especially close. And he also sees that the Krims' spacecraft is approaching. He then realizes that he can learn how to propel spacecraft using cosmic lines of force.

The spacecraft approaches the fortress, and a large roof door opens up, allowing the spacecraft to land inside, but closing before the Batcopter could gain access. The kids get out of the craft and start looking around. They then enter an elevator.

Elsewhere in the complex, Noah Tall sees that the Batcopter is trying to land on the building's roof. He then deploys his Sea Sucker Water Gun to keep the chopper away. The Batcopter is unable to land, Aquaman sees this, and realizes that in order to stop the water gun, he has to block the gun's inlet.

Overhead, Superman spots the Batcopter in trouble with his telescopic vision. He then streaks to the rescue. And Twisty notices him on the monitor. Noah Tall tells Twisty not to fear, because he can keep Superman out of their hair by using his cloud buster, which is missiles filled with silver iodide, which seeds clouds and cause rain. And he has every missile targeting every major cloud over the mainland, and the unless Superman stops them, the whole country could be flooded.

Meanwhile, Aquaman gets a ray fish to clog the gun's inlet, while above, the approaching Superman sees the missiles, and using his X-ray vision, he sees the silver iodide inside. He then stops the missiles by punching them. Noah Tall is surprised that he was able to take care of the missiles so quickly, and realizing he would be there any second, he and Twisty take off running, heading for the exit, but they run into Batman and Robin in the elevator, they continue running in another direction, and the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder give chase.

Elsewhere in the complex, the kids and dog are searching for the balloon people. The find a key and then unlock the door, but they didn't notice the Balunians because they were in their miniaturized form. They also end up setting off an alarm, and just as they are about to walk away, Plinky shouts out to them to look down, so they can seem them. They then leave there cell and take off running, and at that moment, Tall and Twisty are in a six wheeler trying to escape, they run into Aquaman, and Twisty turns the car around and heads in the opposite direction, only to to find themselves about to run into Wonder Woman, they take a hard left, causing the tires to screech so as to escape from Wonder Woman. They reach an elevator that takes them up to the cloud buster room, where they jump down the launch slide. They are then launched into the air, and Noah Tall realizes at this point that he forgot to make a plan for them to get down safely. And just as gravity is about to pull them earthward to their most likely doom, Superman grabs them, setting them down softly on the island. Where they complain about how they almost got away with it. Tall even asks Superman how he managed to stop the cloud busters. Superman then tells them he's a "cloud-buster buster."

Later, at the United States Capitol, the meeting with Simon Pure is a success, and he even offers Krim a job, to be his special adviser on conservation and ecological controls. He goes on to explain that the government will provide them a permanent residence in Washington. Krim then accepts the job, and the Justice Leaguers, who are also in attendance, cheer with congratulations.

Later, outside, the Wonder Dog and Grunk "say their good-byes," so to speak. And Wonder Dog even cries. He then pats Grunk on his chest valve which causes him to deflate. He lands safely on Wonder Dog's nose, although he's very small. The others look on and laugh!


  V o i c e   A c t o r       R o l e
 Danny Dark     Superman
 Olan Soule     Batman
 Casey Kasem     Robin
 Shannon Farnon     Wonder Woman
 Norman Alden     Aquaman
 Frank Welker     Marvin White
 Sherry Alberoni     Wendy Harris
 Frank Welker     Wonder Dog
 Ted Knight     Narrator
  G u e s t   C a s t  
  Unknown     Krim 
  Unknown     Gloma 
  Unknown     Plinky 
  Frank Welker     Grunk 
  Norman Alden     Noah Tall 
  Casey Kasem     Twisty 
  Ted Knight     Simon Pure 


Locations Mentioned



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Continuity in Other Media

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Episode Title

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References: Chess, The Invisible Man, teacup, animal, flying fish, Lilliputians, couch potato, woman, newsman, catch, railroad, train, balogna, mouth, acid, starfish, red fish, white dolphin, suction pump, The Teacher's Manual, Thomas H. Palmer, tongue, lap, shark, cargo net, Justice League Meeting Room, pear, banana, Justice League Laboratory, orange, Rapping, football, telescope, pencil, notepad, tea, jellyfish, FX-30, speech disorder, psychokinesis, hockey stick and intellectual disability.


External links

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Previous Episode:
The Androids
Next Episode:
The Fantastic FRERPs
Season 1: SuperFriends (1973)


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