The episodes' villains, weren't really evil, as was the case with most episodes from season 1, although the previous two episodes did have evil villains. Hank and Ben were really just trying to make the world a better place by getting rid of gold, which they viewed as evil, because of the world's greed. However, they are unaware that their equipment was also creating massive collateral harm in the surrounding area, such as rendering crude oil deposits useless and dangerously damaging urban infrastructure to the point where whole cityscapes could be rendered unsafe for habitation.
That is the overall theme of the episode, how greed is one of mankind's worst problems, but simplistic solutions can make things worse. In fact, the episode concludes with a philosophical debate with Batman explaining why the fanatics' crusade is unacceptable and neatly refuting their simplistic arguments for it.
This episode is also quite educational, as there's a lot of nuclear physics discussed in the episode. Nuclear fusion and Nuclear fission is mentioned, but the process used to extract quarks from gold is pure science fiction. Also, quarks are shown as being blue in color, despite the fact that in real life color doesn't exist at the subatomic level. This was likely to illustrate that they were indeed intended to be "blue quarks." This "blue" refers to color charge and not the visual color. After all color is only visible due to photons, which make it possible for us to see only larger than the molecular level.
The episode is also fairly educational in other ways. This episode gives us a few lessons in seismology. Such as tremor statistics of the 1970s. In fact the character Director Wimple, basically serves as the primary educator of this field in this episode. We learn some things about seismographs, such as the fictional getigraph, which Wimple uses to track every single quake in the vicinity.
|Plot Summary for 'The Ultra Beam'|
High in the sky, a blue colored jet is soaring in flight above the Earth. This blue jet is being piloted by Hank and Ben, over one of the richest gold mining country in the world. Their mission: the destruction of all gold in the world. They set the plane's controls to automatic, allowing it to hover over the ground, and head toward the back of the jet, where they turn on the blue ray extractor, which emits a blue beam, that penetrates the ground below. Underground, the beam spreads out in thousands of circles through the rich gold-bearing ore. Tiny electrical particles called quarks flow out of the gold, and are pulled up to the jet. The gold in the earth is thereby turned into a worthless residual metal.
While at school, Wonder Dog watches Marvin, who is being punished for talking out of turn in his classroom by writing "I must not talk out of turn during class" one hundred times on the chalkboard. After the second time he writes it, his chalk breaks. Just then, both chalkboards in the classroom breaks. Marvin then asks: "What the heck is going on?"
Wendy Harris is checking the teletype machine in the Hall of Justice. She reads the report, which says that a skyscraper is in danger of collapsing. The Super Friends check it out on the Justice League Monitor, and see that the skyscraper under construction is indeed in danger, because a steel girder has broken. Superman tells them he better see what he can do to save the building. Just then, the SDI screen shows the underwater face of a great dam is cracking. Wonder Woman finds this to be a strange coincidence that both the steel girder and the dam broke at the same time. Marvin even tells her that the blackboard in his classroom also broke a little while ago.
Superman then arrives at the construction site to save the skyscraper from collapsing. Many onlookers cheer as he saves the day. He then returns to the Hall of Justice with the girder. While Aquaman speeds toward the dam to save it. The dam, made of blocks of stone, shows mud, which informs Aquaman where the water is pouring through a crack near the river bottom. Aquaman dives downward to find the damage, he discovers that the cement along the topside of one of the stone blocks has crumbled, and is being washed out. The danger is, that the other blocks could be destroyed, if one block is washed out. He spots a pile of blocks from the dam's construction. He grabs one of the blocks and replaces the defective one. He leaps to the surface to relieve the water pressure with the water valve, but the controls are stuck, he jumps down to the spillway, a huge tunnel to carry the river in case of emergencies, which this qualifies as one. But there to, the cement is crumbling, and the gates are jammed shut. Aquaman then takes a boulder, using it as a battering ram, swimming against the gates, successfully opening them, relieving the pressure. Aquaman then takes the block that Aquaman had replaced back to the Hall of the Justice League for examination.
In Marvin's classroom, Batman and Robin are with the kids examining the blackboard. Robin then snaps his fingers and tells them that it could have been a sharp sound. Wendy suggests maybe it was a sonic boom. Batman tells them that it's possible, and that certain frequencies have been known to shatter a glass. He then demonstrates with a glass cup. He then has Robin, Marvin and Wendy sing. Wonder Dog then howls higher and higher, causing the glass to shatter. Marvin tells them that it couldn't have been Wonder Dog that caused the blackboard to shatter, as he wasn't yowling when the it shattered. Robin suggests it could have been Earth vibrations. Marvin tells them he didn't feel any that afternoon, but Wendy tells him that the blackboard just might have. Wendy then tells them that although the drinking glass did shatter, the glass on the windows did not. Robin says that a tremor of one frequency can be felt by one object, but not another. They then decide to check with the Seismological Bureau. They then determine that the other disasters could have been caused by tremors as well.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is flying in her invisible jet, and she observes that a huge transmission cable carrying telephone messages from one part of the country to another, has broken, interrupting communications. She helps a linesman repair it with a hook from her plane.
Elsewhere, the mysterious Blue Jet sits hovering over the ground, at another site where gold is located. The cylindrical containers in the plane are now all full of quark particles, and they shut of the extractor. Now, they have ruined all the gold in this part of the country, and they then head to their next target.
At the bureau, the Director Wimple shows the Dynamic Duo and the Junior Superfriends a machine called a getigraph. He tells them that "geti" stands for "Ground electronic tremor indicator." He tells them that there are around 50,000 tremors in the world each year. He then show's them a model of the Earth's crust. He tells them to pretend that one of the rocks slip, producing a tremor. The getigraph is designed to detect such a tremor. They then try to see if there was any indication in the getigraph that there was a tremor in the vicinity of the incidents at the time they happened. The kids get to work to check the charts, and the Dynamic Duo return to the Hall.
Back over the transmission tower, Wonder Woman lowers the cable she used to replace the defective one. And the lineman below attaches it to the crossbar and signals Wonder Woman. She then flies the plane along the towers, stretching the cable out along the towers, a task that would have taken a ground crew weeks, took her a few minutes. As she reaches the last tower, another lineman completes the connection. She then heads back to HQ.
There, they are examining the defective materials. They examined them, determining that they had all been badly damaged, and the kids tell them there were no tremors near the skyscraper, dam, school or transmission towers. This leaves Batman puzzled, he then says: "Riddle: What do all these materials have in common?" Robin says they all come from the Earth. Blackboard is from a slate quarry, the cable from a copper mine, cement from a limestone quarry, and steel, which is made from iron, is also a mined material. Batman then determines their next step is to investigate the mines and quarries that the materials came from. Batman tells the kids to go back to the Bureau and monitor every tremor that the getigraph records.
Superman then heads toward the iron mines, Aquaman heads to the island limestone quarry, Wonder Woman heads to the copper mines, while the Dynamic Duo collect samples from a slate quarry. Elsewhere, the Blue Jet continues to extract quarks from yet another gold field.
And at the Bureau, Wendy notices a wavy line on the getigraph, they decide to look into it and call Batman. They then use Wimple's radio to call Batman. They tune into the bat frequency and tell Batman that there is a tremor coming from 50 miles north of the Bureau. Batman turns the Batmobile around, screeching the tires, and heads toward the source of the tremor. They then notice the blue beam. Batman then calls out to the Blue Jet, but they do not answer. The blue beam then shuts off and the plane takes off. Batman asks Wendy if she was still reading a tremor, to which Wendy answers no, which makes Batman positive as to what the cause of the tremor was, it was indeed the blue beam from the jet.
The Blue Jet then arrives at UltraTech, their home base, which serves as a factory and hangar for the airplane. In the hangar, the plane's cargo of quark cylinders are moved across the hangar on a conveyor belt, into the production laboratory. On a machine called a quark rectifier, the particles will be transformed into any metal: iron, chromium, tin, aluminum or whatever is needed. The two men discuss how after they are done eliminating the Earth's gold, maybe mankind will start to worry about things that actually matter, such as improving the quality of life. They also deduce that Batman must have located them through the Seismological Bureau.
Meanwhile, at the Earth Resources Chemical Laboratory, the Super Friends brought their ore to find out if they are defective. They use the spectroscope and see that the ore barley contains any of the trace metals that they were supposed to. They then deduce that the blue beam is somehow affecting certain minerals in the Earth. They then decide to take action to locate and stop them. They all separate and search the country and Marvin and Wendy have instructions to call them over the Batradio the instant the next tremor occurs.
Wonder Woman takes her transparent plane to the Eastern United States, patrolling that part of the country, while Aquaman stations himself offshore, Superman speeds off toward the Western United States and Batman and Robin begin a ground patrol in search of the jet. Meanwhile, the kids are monitoring the tremors on the getigraph. They are unaware that Hank and Ben are spying on them, getting ready to sabotage the seismograph. Ben introduces himself to the kids, and Marvin is surprised to see his shoes, saying he never seen any shoes like that before, but Ben tells them when your as short as he is you got to do something about it. They tell the kids they are tourists and ask if it's okay if they can look around. She tells them the director went to get his lunchpail, but he said they can stay, so it's likely all right if Hank and Ben stay as well. They then ask about the getigraph, and Marvin tells them it's a seismograph that records and measures tremors. Ben bounces over to the director's desk and grabs a miniature American flag. Marvin tells him not to touch anything, but Ben says it's just a little souvenir. Hank tells him he better go follow him, since he's kind of playful. A chase throughout the building then begins between Marvin and Ben, but Wendy stays in the seismic room.
Back in the seismic room, Wendy seems a little agitated, and tells him his friend isn't very nice. But Hank tells him he doesn't mean any harm, he's just a little irresponsible. Ben bounces back into the room and sets the flag back down on the desk and whispers to Hank, asking him if he got to the machine. He tells him that Wendy was watching him and hands him a magnet. Marvin came back to the room. Just then, Mr. Wimple returns and Wendy introduces him to the tourists. Hank asks him to explain to him what the getigraph is, Wimple then tells him that it's an electromagnetic-type seismograph. Wonder Dog notices that Ben is acting strangely, as if about to sabotage the machine, the two lock eyes, and Ben takes a ball to see if he'll play fetch. But he doesn't. He then places the magnet on the bottom of the machine. They then leave before Wimple even is able to explain how the machine works.
They then head to the next extracting site in their jet, and begin extracting quarks. At the Bureau, wavy lines come on the getigraph, and Wonder Dog tries to awaken Marvin, who had fallen asleep. The getigraph indicates that the tremor originated 300 miles away at 85 degrees. Wendy then radios Batman. Superman then checks the area, but doesn't locate the jet.
But above the sea, the Blue Jet is finished, and they move off to another spot. The tremor then disappears from the getigraph. The Blue Jet locates another spot, and they put the jet into hover attitude and begin extraction once again. The tremor is shown on the getigraph, and once again Wendy reports it to Batman, telling him the new tremor is 200 miles away at 180 degrees. He then reports it to Aquaman after telling Wendy that her last bearing was in error, Superman found no plane, and it turned out to be a false alarm. Aquaman searches the new location, but finds no sign of a blue jet. Once again, Batman tells Wendy over the radio that her last report was a false alarm again, and that the getigraph is sending them on wild-goose chases. He then instructs them to find out what's wrong with the machine.
Elsewhere, at a gold mine, Wonder Woman asks a gold miner if he has seen a blue jet or blue beam anywhere. He tells her that he hasn't, and that the only thing that has been troubling him lately is that the rock he has been mining lately has contained no gold.
Back at the getigraph, Wonder Dog is holding a flashlight at the getigraph so that Wimple can see what he's working on. But everything seems to be in order.
Back at UltraTech, the Blue Jet returns. And they decide to make iron with the quarks they had stolen. While back at the getigraph, another tremor is detected five miles away at 45 degrees. Wimple tells her that's just outside of town, going out along Ninth Avenue northeast. But the kids don't want to risk reporting another false alarm. They then analyze further and realize that ever since the arrival of the tourists the machine hasn't functioned properly. Wonder Dog then starts tracking Ben's footsteps with his nose, but instead he finds a lunchpail with a sandwich in it, under the getigraph, but the magnetism from the magnet under the device pulls the lunchpail back underneath it. They then deduce that the magnet was interfering with the magnetic field. Wonder Dog takes the magnet away and the wavy lines move in the true direction: five miles east on Second Avenue, just outside of town. Just in case in might be another false alarm, the kids decide to check it out themselves. He tells Mr. Wimple to call Batman if they are not back in 20 minutes. Wimple then hands Marvin an indicator to take with him, since it will lead him to the exact location of the tremor, since it's controlled by the getigraph. They then ride their bikes five miles and end up at the UltraTech building. The pointer on the indicator is pointing directly to the front door of the building. When they enter the building, they locate the Blue Jet, they enter the aircraft and they locate the blue beam. Wendy wonders who could be behind all this, just then, Hank and Ben sneak up behind them and greet them. Wendy recognizes them instantly. She remembers seeing them at the Seismological Bureau. Marvin then accused them of sabotaging the getigraph with the magnet, and they tell him he's right. The two tell them that they are only trying to help the human race, not harm them. He tells them about how the blue beam has been collecting quarks, which are parts of atoms, an elementary particle of matter. They tell them that the quark rectifier can make the quarks become any element they desire. He has them observe how they used them to make pure iron. Marvin asks if they used the jet to gather all the quarks. The two men decide to stop talking because the kids are getting too nosy. They decide to entertain them and bring them along with them on the jet. They ask them if they would like to see them extract the quarks. They agree, and they get in the jet and take off.
Meanwhile, Aquaman is talking to an oil driller at an oil platform. He tells Aquaman that the world runs on wheels and engines are what keep them turning. But engines can't function without the lubrication of oil. But he tells him that the oil coming from his well looks like orange juice. Aquaman tells him the Super Friends are doing everything they can to get to the bottom of the situation at hand. He then tells him if he sees a blue jet or hears of one to contact them immediately.
Back on the jet, the kids are explaining to Hank and Ben that their extracting of the quarks is weakening the metals of Earth. Hank and Ben explain to the kids that it's because the blue beam's radiation travels miles, and it's unfortunate. They go on to tell them that there's no loss of natural resources with the process, in fact, they can create any type of metal they like. Marvin tells them that the gold they are extracting quarks from is not their gold. He asks what difference that makes. Wendy tells him it makes a lot of difference.
Elsewhere, Batman and Robin are in the Batmobile driving down a country road, when they receive a call over the batradio Mr. Wimple, who tells them that Marvin and Wendy are overdue from checking the source of the tremor.
Back in the jet, Marvin asks why they ruined the iron ore in the mines. They tell them that it's cheaper, quicker and meets the needs of industry better. They go on to explain that if there is a shortage of copper, quarks can be used to manufacture more copper. The kids are surprised that the blue beam is capable of that. They tell them it's not impossible, and they ask them if they ever have heard of nuclear fission, which is the splitting of atoms. They tell them that their blue beam does just that when it extracts quarks from the ground. They then ask the kids if they had ever heard of nuclear fusion, and Marvin and Wendy tells them they learned about it in science class, although they weren't sure exactly what it was. Hank tells them it is the joining of two particles, such as a deuteron and a triton to form helium. They go on to say that their process is just a bit more complicated.
Meanwhile, the Batmobile arrives at UltraTech and they walk inside, and find a secretary sitting at a desk. She tells them they are closed, but they tell her the door was open. They ask who and where the owners of the building are and she tells them that's top secret. They also ask if they had seen two young people come there today, and she also says that's top secret. They then head toward the back, walking through a door that says: "Keep Out," and the secretary tells them they can't look in there. But he already saw that the kids' bikes were in the hangar. They then decide to head back to the seismological bureau.
They then get back to the Batmobile and begin driving back to the bureau. Meanwhile, at an extraction site, Hank and Ben demonstrate how their blue beam works, and how it ruins the gold. The kids tell them that what they are doing is wrong. Hank and Ben then tell them they are doing what is right, and go on to quote a proverb: "Money is the root of all evil." They then tell them they are doing the world a favor by destroying the gold.
Back at the bureau, the getigraph shows the location of the blue jet as being fifty miles southeast of the Pluto uranium mines. Wonder Woman is patrolling in the area in her invisible plane, so Batman calls her to inform her of the jet's location near her. As Wonder Woman enters close proximity of the jet, the Warning Alarm sounds, Ben races to his seat and checks the radar. He sees that an aircraft is approaching from the south heading toward them. They then take off, but Wonder Woman's aircraft is in hot pursuit. She then tries to radio them. She orders them to land, Hank radios her in response asking: "By whose authority?" She then says, "By authority of Colonel Wilcox of the Earth Resources Board. They tell her they don't know him. They refuse to land, and they tell the kids they are about to destroy the last remaining gold hoarder in the world. Ben tells them that the gold is located in underwater caverns off the coast.
Wonder Woman radios the Batmobile to tell them she is following the Blue Jet, and they tell her to proceed with caution, because the kids are on the jet. Superman and Aquaman also aid in the interception of the aircraft. Back aboard the jet, the kids tell them they'll be caught, but they say they'll have their work done first. Ben goes on to say that they have a great responsibility and what they are doing is best for everyone.
Aquaman arrives at the Underwater Caverns, where buoys mark its' location. Aquaman calls upon some fish to standby for his command, while in the sky above, the jet has arrived. The jet blasts the blue beam, but Wonder Woman uses her invisible jet to blast a heat barrier, a special force field made of super heat, which blocks the beam. They then aim the beam at her, claiming to the kids it will only maker her dizzy. It does just that, and she loses control of her jet, and the jet spirals out of range of the beam. Superman tries to block the beam, but it has the same affect on him as well. He then realizes what must be done, and he flies off shoreward after briefly losing his ability to fly due to being dizzy.
At the Mount Palamore Astronomical Observatory, Superman borrows a large telescope mirror from an astronomer there, and he takes off to the skies. Superman then uses the mirror to reflect the blue beam away from him, and he approaches the plane. Aquaman then disassembles his army of underwater helpers. Wonder Woman begins to tow the blue jet with her invisible plane back to UltraTech, while Superman takes the mirror back to the observatory.
Back at UltraTech, the kids are happy to see Batman and Robin after getting out of the Blue Jet in the UltraTech hangar. The Dynamic Duo asks if they are all right, and the villains tell them "of course they are..." and Ben asks if there's anything else they'd like to interfere with. Batman tells him they are to stop ruining the Earth's minerals. Marvin tells them they just wanted to destroy earth's gold. Ben tells them that's because gold is the root of all evil. Batman tells them how it's used is what makes it good or bad. Wendy argues with Batman, telling him that their intentions were good, but Batman tells them their views are narrow, and that idealism is a wonderful thing, as long as it doesn't cloud a man's judgment. Marvin told them they were so busy trying to do what was right, that they couldn't see what they were doing was actually wrong. Just then, the iron ore turns back into gold. Ben then tells Hank that he told him that the quarks might become unstable and revert back to their original form. Every bit of the metals then turned back into gold. Batman then tells them to return the gold to their rightful owners.
Back at the Seismological Bureau building, Wendy tells Marvin that the government is going to make Hank and Ben use the profits the made from their laboratory to pay for all the damage they had caused. Wimple then begins searching for his lunch, which seemed to be missing...again. Marvin tells Wonder Dog to search for it. He then begins sniffing it out. He begins to bring the lunchpail to Wimple, when just then, the room shakes and an explosion can be heard, and they think it's an earthquake, tornado or volcano. They then look out the window and see Superman, who apologizes for landing on the roof to hard. He then tells them it's time for lunch, and they fly out the window, riding on Superman's back. But Wonder Dog forgot to give Wimple his lunchpail back, so Superman turns around, and they drop it down to Wimple, who catches it through the window.
|V o i c e A c t o r||R o l e|
|Shannon Farnon||Wonder Woman|
|Frank Welker||Marvin White|
|Sherry Alberoni||Wendy Harris|
|Frank Welker||Wonder Dog|
|G u e s t C a s t|
|Olan Soule||Director Wimple|
|N/A||Unnamed 1st Lineman|
|N/A||Unnamed 2nd Lineman|
|N/A||Unnamed Gold miner|
|Casey Kasem (?)||Unnamed Oil driller|
Characters Mentioned Only
- Seismological Bureau building (unknown location)
- Underwater Caverns (unknown Location)
- UltraTech perhaps in Gotham City)
- Earth Resources Chemical Laboratory (unknown Location)
- Ninth Avenue, a road outside of the Gotham City Limits
- Mount Palamore
- Transmission tower (unknown Location)
- Oil platform 7 (unknown Location)
- Gold mine (unknown Location)
- United States Seismological Bureau
- Earth Resources Board within the Secret Department of Investigation (mentioned only)
- Teletype machine in the Hall of Justice
- SDI screen in the Hall of Justice
- Spectroscope in Earth Resources Chemical Laboratory
- Getigraph in the Seismological Bureau building
- Electromagnetic-type seismograph in the Seismological Bureau building
- The Dynamic Duo uses the Bat radio
Continuity in Other Media
- References: Gold Field, cable, bouncing shoes, cork, linemen, Downtown Gotham City, seismology, slate, limestone, decomposition, secretary, First Epistle to Timothy, Apostle Paul, Saint Timothy, uranium, colonel, Fort Knox, bronze, silver, astronomy, ray fish, billfish, shark, Mount Palamore and dolphins.
- Some sources give this episode an alternate title; The Ultra Scam, but most sources say otherwise, including the official DVD release.
The Fantastic FRERPs
The Menace of the White Dwarf
|Season 1: SuperFriends (1973)|