Sunday, July 31, 2005

Shape of ... a smoking gun!

Well, after this, it will be impossible to convince anyone that I don't have too much time on my hands. Just a warning: this is probably the geekiest thing you'll read today.

I recently mentioned that the Wonder Twins didn't use rings and how I'm such a dork that it bugs me when people said they did.

I figured that maybe people were thinking of the uber-lame Thing cartoon in which teen Benjy Grimm touched his rings together and said "Thing Ring, do your thing!" to change into the Thing.

But then as my wife pointed out, "Who in the world remembers that but you?"

Elsewhere, someone suggested that it was the Shazam cartoon. Billy Batson only needed to utter the magic word "Shazam" to turn into Captain Marvel.

But there was a cartoon called "Shazzan," which, like "Superfriends," was a Hanna-Harbera production. It was about two teenagers, Chuck and Nancy, and a genie named Shazzan.

Here's the opening narration, courtesy of

Inside a cave off the coast of Maine, Chuck and Nancy find a mysterious chest containing the halves of a strange ring. When joined the ring forms the word Shazzan, and with this magical command, they are transported back to the fabled land of the Arabian Knights! Here they meet their genie, Shazzan. Shazzan presents them Kaboobie, a magical flying camel, and gives Chuck a magic belt and rope. Shazzan will serve them whenever they call, but he cannot return them home until they deliver the ring to its rightful owner. And thus begins their incredible journey!

So then it's just a quick hop and a jump through the Yahoo Image Search before I find this picture of the kids joining their ring.

Now compare this to the familiar Wonder Twins transformation scene.

Pretty eerie, huh?

The half-hour show popped up in syndication from time to time, along with just about everything else Hanna-Barbera made, so if you grew up when I did, there's a good chance that you might have seen it.

Another thing that would tie this all together is that Zan and Jayna were featured in short cartoons on the Superfriends shows in which they would help teens in trouble. This usually amounted to saving them from the perils of joyriding, hitchhiking, or being blamed for a tiger escaping from the zoo.

The kicker is that the kids would contact them via the Teen Trouble Alert, which appeared on the wrists of the Wonder Twins for the few seconds they used them. I seem to recall that once or twice, they might have been drawn as ring communicators as opposed to wrist communicators.

"Superfriends" wasn't exactly known for animation consistency.

So maybe all this stuff got lumped in together in everyone's collective memories to the point that Wonder Twins = rings. Just like after this, me = dork.

I knew that reading all those "Encyclopedia Brown" books would pay off someday...


  1. That wasn't the geekiest thing I've read today. It was the geekiest thing I've read all year! ;)

    I do remember those cartoons, although I wasn't into them as much as He-Man & She-Ra. As kids, it was probably the only thing my brother and I had in common.

    Encyclopedia Brown rocks. My daughter recently discovered them, but gets peeved that I remember most of the solutions.

    Keep geekin' on.

  2. Encyclopedia Brown was my geek hero. To this day, I can't hear "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" without thinking of him, which makes the song a lot funnier.

    Especially the image of EB being "badder than old King Kong."

  3. Ha! My DH has an uncle who's a preacher named Leroy Brown. That's always who I think of when I hear that song! They'd have to change the lyrics to "The softest hands in the whole damn town" to suit him though.

  4. You want geeky? I actually knew that the Wonder Twins didn't use the rings. Plus I also know that they are actually part of DC continuity because they appeared in Extreme Justice and JLA/Avengers.

    Although the monkey never made it into the dc universe.

    Anyone else remeber the kids that were on Superfriends before Zan and Zayna?

  5. Yes, Marvin and... I forget. The guy wore a white sweatshirt and a green cape, if I'm not mistaken... Lemme look it up...
    «After looking it up»
    Yup! Wendy and Marvin...