After a 30 year break from television, that enigmatic, stuffed toy, superhero SuperTed is making a comeback. What was it about this wonderful little teddy bear that endeared him to readers and watchers alike? How was it, that an ordinary teddy bear, a toy shop production line reject, suddenly became the all-powerful superhero that captivated kids with his adventures, both on Earth and in space.
SuperTed’s creator was a guy named Mike Young. He originally created the character for his son who was afraid of the dark and found it difficult to go to sleep. From this simple beginning, about 100 books were written.
Who or What is He?
A toy factory rejected the teddy bear as it came off the production line. It was defective and thrown onto the rubbish dump. But like something from the Terminator movie, a strange creature from outer space, going by the obvious name of Spotty, finds the discarded teddy. Luckily, Spotty comes from
a far more advanced race than humans and has in his possession a supposedly legal substance called ‘Cosmic Dust,’ which he sprinkles on the teddy bear to bring it to life.
Enter Mother Nature
The Cosmic Dust gives SuperTed some awesome Powers and with the help of Mother Nature, he can call on those powers with just some magic words and fight evil forces. If you thought a teddy bear’s fur outer covering was a permanent fixture, wrong! SuperTed can unzip his boring old coat and underneath he has this very cool red suit that he can fly around in courtesy of the unique flying cape. This is the closest he gets to being like Superman.
Once he utters the magic words given to him by Mother Nature, SuperTed can fly at speeds faster than sound, and he has super strength. Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s SuperTed. Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.
As well as being the main subject of 100 books, SuperTed appeared on Welsh TV in an animated show, a cartoon. Now as you know, Welsh is a language of its own, so the program had to be dubbed in English. These Superhero shows still won a number of awards and then a big American company called Hanna-Barbera made a second series called the Further Adventures of SuperTed, but this was completely different with a new cast and production staff.
Spotty – Apart from that amazing teddy bear, in the SuperTed series there are a number of regular characters. Spotty, the alien is Superted’s sidekick and helps him in all his adventures. This character knows his way around the universe, a bit like having the Hitchhiker’s Guide tagging along with you. He comes from the planet called SPOT, not sure how many suns, moons or the atmosphere there.
Texas Pete – he’s the ever-present bad guy trying to upset Superted’s mission to help others. Like all Texans, he wants world domination, wants to kill the teddy bear and wants a lot of money.
Skeleton – he was created as a very ‘camp’ character and is both semi-harmless and evil. How could anybody be dangerous and be wearing pink slippers over his bony feet?! He has the enviable ability of being able to be put together when smashed to smithereens. A sort of walking bone reconstruction.
Bulk – he has the strength to pulverize but only enough brain power to do as he is told. Non-imaginative and grossly overweight (not fat), Bulk gets to be the dumbo of the villain characters.
The first episode was called SuperTed and the Inca Treasure. In this pilot episode, our superhero and Spotty try to find the lost Inca treasure. Of course, Texas Pete and his gang try their hardest to beat them to it.
Over the first dozen episodes, SuperTed gets to check out the Elephants’ Graveyard, stops a train robbery in the Swiss Alps, and tries to find a young girl’s missing dad in an Eastern European castle. It just so happens that Texas Pete and his gang are holed up there as well. Bad luck! Amazing coincidence! These first series of SuperTed were released in 1983.
The second series was in 1984 – 1985 and was made up of 13 episodes. SuperTed and Spotty traveled all over the universe to do their good deeds. They have adventures in Texas and the Arctic as well as strike some problems in space. They meet Red Indians, Father Christmas, Lumberjacks, The Great Horrendo, and some gun smugglers. It’s all in a year of great fun and excitement when you follow SuperTed and Spotty.
The government even called on SuperTed, Spotty, and his sister Blotch, as part of life lessons, to show children how to safely cross the road. It seems Spotty was almost run over crossing a road in a hurry on his own planet, Spot. So SuperTed showed him the correct and safest way to cross. It was used as an educational tool for road safety.
There is a movement to bring SuperTed back to the entertainment scene, which is scheduled for the end of 2016. The problems facing the creator, Mike Young, is to change the dialogue and some politically incorrect terms used in describing Skeleton and Bulk, for example. For reasons known only to an over-protective government, the words ‘fat’ and ‘camp’ can no longer be used.
Other aspects of the original storylines will need to be modernized only to be able to attract the new generation of kids. That won’t be easy. The wholesomeness of SuperTed may be a difficult concept to sell to an audience that is fed daily with smartphones, iPads, Youtube and the internet, none of which existed when SuperTed first flew through the air.