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Galaxy Trio, The


Original Air Date:
Prod. Co.:
Hanna Barbera


Characters & Voices
Vaporman - Don Messick
Meteor Man - Ted Cassidy
Gravity Girl - Virginia Eiler
Gravity Girl! Meteor Man! Vapor Man! The Galaxy Trio respond to trouble anywhere in galactic civilization. The six-minute episodes were originally aired with Birdman. As a part of Hanna-Barbera's superhero boom, Galaxy Trio was in the serious set, along with Space Ghost and The Herculoids, as opposed to having more in common with Frankenstein Jr. or The Impossibles, both of which were "funny."

Much like Space Ghost, the Galaxy Trio responded to distress calls and fought would-be despots as they encountered them. The main difference was that Space Ghost seemed to work in outer territories, The Galaxy Trio seemed to be operating in very densely populated areas. Instead of pirates with aspirations of conquest operating off some barren rock floating in space, they had to put an end to the already successful conquerors and restore peace to beleaguered people.

Using their special powers (which, in the case of Vapor Man at least, were natural attributes of people from his home planet according to episode #6, "The Galaxy Trio and the Cave Men of Primevia"), the preserved peace throughout the galaxy. Gravity Girl had the power to control an individual's gravitational field. Vapor Man could become any kind of gas he could think of, and Meteor Man had the power to cause his entire body or any single part of it to grow to an astounding size (get your minds out of the gutters, please -- he mostly just made his hands big).

The shortest-lived of the HB superhero lineup (except for Dino Boy), Galaxy Trio only had 20 episodes. It lacked important superhero elements, chief among them the origin story. The first episode, "Revolt of the Robots," jumps right into their adventures like a Nero Wolfe novel, without any kind of exposition (or even narration -- which was strangely common among the HB serious superheroes). This was not likely the downfall of the show, as Space Ghost and The Herculoids both started and ended without one whit of information about how the characters got where they were (they did have narration, but don't try to tell me that THAT was what turned people off) and they both lasted considerably longer.

Critical Review:
They were also short a comic relief sidekick (Space Ghost had Blip, Dino Boy had his pet dinosaur, etc.), which Hanna-Barbera seemed convinced was integral to any superhero story. They must have, or Super Friends would never have been fouled by the presence of Gleek or Dog Wonder. One of the great mysteries of human existence is this: Why did the shows that tried to succeed based on the merits of their cool superhero characters never last as long as the ones that fell back on the horribly unfunny comic relief characters? Gleek's rapport with the Justice League computer never solicited a single chuckle. Blip's little idiosyncrasies did nothing but ensure that every single Space Ghost episode ended on a clumsy punchline.

As cool superheroes go, Galaxy Trio was pretty high on the list of them. Sure, they had stilted dialogue (My first memory of the GT is of hearing Gravity Girl, say "Oh, oh" phonetically instead of the more traditional pronounciation "Uh-oh" -- I've been hooked ever since), unskilled animation (Hannah-Barbara was founded on the premise that cartoons could be put on TV if you cut the animation budget a bit) and everything had to be wrapped up in 6 minutes so they could get to the next episode of Birdman -- which was, in their defense, a good incentive).

They never took a teen sidekick, never learned any valuable lessons about morality, and they could bring the entire universe back from the brink of destruction in the time it takes you to go to the bathroom. While you're at work, doing not a lick of good for galactic peace, the Galaxy Trio may have saved the universe as much as 80 times.

In the last several years, Williams St. Productions has brought us comedic updates of Space Ghost (Space Ghost Coast 2 Coast, Cartoon Planet, The Brak Show, etc.), Birdman (Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law) and Sealab 2020 (Sealab 2021). If an update is in the cards for Galaxy Trio, they deserve for it to be serious. There were a lot of potential stories that were never explored. There were a lot of ways the characters could have matured and learned to use their powers more effectively (Meteor Man's main trick was to make his hands big -- very handy for a perspective-challenged cartoonist, of which I suspect at least one had a regular job on the show -- and Gravity Girl never did anything but pick people up and fly. Meteor Man's powers have endless uses that were never explored, and Gravity Girl would be capable of some of the coolest tricks ever, like giving a guy an increased personal gravity so that objects flew at him. Can you tell I read comic books?). These characters could be hard science-fiction, given the right creative team. Sure, it would be weird, having the Galaxy Trio still saving the universe while Birdman is trying to get Papa Smurf aquitted on charges of polygamy and Brak the space pirate trying to hide his report card from his mom, but that's ok.

As of this writing, Galaxy Trio can be seen on Cartoon Network's Boomerang channel, and at 3:30 AM Central on Cartoon Network. It's worth going out of your way for.

Mike Albright
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