-a respectful nod to the men of Mount Rushmore-
Battle Of The Planets (1978-1980), like a lot of 1970s television of all genres, was a little casual about editing continuity or attention to detail. After all, it was only at the very end of 1976 that the VHS was essentially born. The idea that our favorite shows and films would actually make it to the home market or even be seen again seemed fairly unlikely to many. Rewinding, pausing, looking at the details simply wasn't considered. Gerry Anderson of Thunderbirds, UFO and Space: 1999 acclaim made this very point on the subject in the book What Made Thunderbirds Go! The Authorized Biography Of Gerry Anderson. So, there are some significant editing snafus from the era that simply weren't a huge concern. An American-edited children’s cartoon called Battle Of The Planets, sourced from Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, is no exception.
One particular editing snafu seems to forget the rescuee. After the character of Amelia is saved at one point Amelia then suddenly appears to no longer be with the team. Okay, maybe she was sent back to the Phoenix. Okay we can go with that. But then suddenly she is back with the team in Spectra’s lair and Tiny abruptly goes missing. Okay perhaps Mark has sent Tiny to get the Phoenix. Yes, that appears to be it as it is then confirmed visually that Tiny is in the cockpit. Oh no, but when the Phoenix arrives to pick up Mark, Princess, Jason and Keyop along with Amelia, Amelia is once again no longer there. Poor girl. When the team jumps up and into the Phoenix Tiny is surprisingly back with the team on the ground. My gosh what is happening? Always five acting as one apparently. But a serious question then, who the hell is flying the Phoenix? At some point I will have to check out the Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (1972-1974) original (The Magma Giant, Emperor Of Hell) on this one. Either the Americans sliced and diced the original to shreds reconfiguring it all out of order for Battle Of The Planets or simply extracted the errors from a poorly edited Japanese original. Alas we would one day have VHS, DVD and more to completely dissect these inconsistencies for a good bit of fun. Despite the imperfections in these productions they are truly magnificent and made lovingly by hand. As kids we were far more forgiving. Those were the days.
As simple as these productions are it was always the animation and out of this world design work that would seize and win the day for this writer and they have kept me coming back for more nearing 50 years later.
As such I've provided plenty of images of the wonderful moments included in the entry spotlighting the many vehicles used by the team in the form of the Summit or Sonic Jet, Space Mobile, Space Buggy and Sonic Cycle.
A respectful homage is paid to the men of Mount Rushmore in monument mountain as the team dispatches to Space Island.
It’s ironic the American translation of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman for Battle of The Planets felt the need to supplant alleged violent images from the Japanese original with footage of 7-Zark-7. This is noted as I watch Battle Of The Planets, Episode 22, The Fiery Lava Giant, only to be reminded how often the writers of this American version felt the compulsion to script dialogue for the robot in the form of his fosdick. The sexual innuendos fly often between Zark and his faceless female love Susan. Apparently these writers were clearly horn dogs and felt compelled to incorporate some adult humor in place of the violence. It’s amusing, but the original animation is an irreplaceable and flawless work.
Despite the occasionally disappointing choices for the American adaptation there is incredible emotional power in the US series and all of it is brought to fruition by way of its talented, compelling American voice cast.
*Footnote: This writer and fan of the series continues to examine each and every Battle Of The Planets episode by matching the English-adapted equivalent in corresponding order to the Science Ninja Team Gatchaman release. There are missing adaptations from that original series. So there are gaps. But episode 22 here corresponds with the next episode of the Japanese original in chronological order.
Science Ninja Team Gatchaman title: The Magma Giant, Emperor Of Hell.
Up next: The Bat Ray Bombers.