Sunday, April 01, 2007
The Other Hercules
Sunday morning, circa 1965-67. I can't sleep even then. Just like this morning, I'm up and the rest of the world is still asleep. But back then I was only three or four. I had learned not to wake everyone else in the house. I would get myself a pop tart, usually cinnamon, creep into the living room and turn on the massive television that took up one corner of the living room. I'd sit close, with the volume on low and turn the channel dial until I found some cartoons. One of the local channels seemed to show a lot of random cartoons. A lot of Popeye. Some strange Warner Brothers stuff. The occasional Terry Toons. And they would show the Mighty Hercules.
He looked sort of like Superman. Black hair and square jaw. He fought monsters and bad guys. He had super strength, and a magic ring that could temporarily make him even stronger. He had a centaur named Newt for a sidekick and a girlfriend named Helena. Newt had a really annoying high pitched voice. "Herc! Herc! Helena's hurt!"
And Herc had a theme song. Oh, that theme song.
Hercules, hero of song and story.
Hercules, winner of ancient glory.
Fighting for the right,
Fighting with his might,
With the strength of ten, ordinary men.
Hercules, people are safe when near him.
Hercules, only the evil fear him.
Softness in his eyes,
Iron in his thighs,
Virtue in his heart,
Fire in every part,
Of the Mighty Hercules.
Not sure what 'iron in his thighs' meant, but that, along with 'Fire in every part' makes me suspect that Helena was a very happy girl. Anyway, the oddest thing when I remember this cartoon is, I could never figure out exactly how Hercules fit into the bible. I went to Sunday School. I went to vacation Bible School. In all the pictures they showed me, everyone dressed kind of like the cast of Hercules. Lots of robes and funny hats. The show was on on Sunday mornings before the broadcasts of various church services began. Obviously Hercules had to be in the bible. I suspected that he and Sampson were buddies. Probably watched football together. Years later, when I learned that Hercules belonged with a different religion, I was terribly disappointed. But for a couple of years there, I thought of Hercules as a member of the gang that included Moses, David, Jonah, and Sampson. Kids.