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Birdman was a Hanna-Barbera-produced action cartoon from the 1960s that aired in a Three Shorts format, seven minutes to a short, with The Galaxy Trio.

Birdman, a superhero in the employ of Inter-Nation Security, would receive assignments from his eye-patched superior Falcon-7 and fly off — invariably bellowing his own name — to battle whatever evil villain had reared their ugly head with the aid of his trusty eagle sidekick, Avenger, and his sun-fueled superpowers, including flight, blasts of energy, and a "solar shield" that saw a great deal of use.

The plots were simple and the animation was limited, but it was noteworthy in that, in a highly unusual move for the time period, the recurring villainous organization FEAR was eventually finished in an unmistakable final battle. (They managed to have an unresolved subplot featuring the rarely-seen Birdboy, independent of FEAR, but even so.)

These days, the show is best-remembered as the source material for the modern Adult Swim spoof and Space Ghost Coast to Coast contemporary Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.


This series includes examples of:

  • Alien Invasion: "The Purple Moss" and "Skon of Space". In the latter case, the villain is only the scout from a larger invasion force, and Birdman manages to convince him that there are millions more like him on Earth before sending him back where he came from.
  • All There in the Manual: The closest the series ever comes to establishing Birdman's origin is when he thanks "Ra, great spirit of the sun" in "Birdman vs. Dr. Freezoids." There are tales online (including on Cartoon Network's website from when they reran the series in the nineties) of a "Ray Randall" and an encounter with Ra that seem to be canonical, but...
  • And I Must Scream: The titular villain in "Professor Nightshade" attempts to use his Solar Box to send Birdman into the fourth dimension (time), where he will be lost forever. Thankfully, it doesn't happen, since the box is powered by the sun and thus gives Birdman energy, but the thought of it is chilling.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: In "The Wings of FEAR", Number One lets fly with "FEEEEEAR!" as he flies into the sky with a diplomat.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy:
    • Birdman when he's hypnotized by Mentok in the episode "Mentok, the Mind-Taker."
    • Birdgirl was another example - she was an aerialist who was brainwashed by Dr. Mentaur and forced to do evil. By the end of the episode, she ends up becoming Birdman's sidekick.
  • Cloning Blues: In what may have been the single most ambitious story of the series, "The Deadly Duplicator" deals with a FEAR-produced device that can create evil duplicates of people, which is all but explicitly stated to have gotten its own inventor killed before Birdman got to him. (In some ways, the episode feels more like an episode of The Galaxy Trio.)
  • Cut Short:
    • Notably for the time period, averted with the episodes "Number One" and the even-more-unambiguous "The Wings of FEAR," in which Birdman goes head-to-head with the sinister Number One and wins.
    • Promptly played straight with the new character of Birdboy and his missing father.
  • Divide and Conquer: A recurring theme in the series was villains (including FEAR) trying to turn nation against nation, sometimes without a clear purpose.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first produced episode of the series, "X the Eliminator," had transitions (sometimes bordering on repetitive) and Birdman saying his name in an... odd, uninterested way. (It's speculated that it was just a placeholder for the actual Birdman yell, which Keith Andes had probably already recorded for the intro sequence, and that they simply forgot to replace it.)
  • Every Episode Ending: "BIIIIIRDMAN!" There are some episodes that don't end with this, however.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: In "The Purple Moss," Birdman gets trapped in a centrifugal device that spins him around.
  • Fun With Acronyms: At least, it's pretty clear that "FEAR" stands for something, but nobody ever actually says what.
  • Humanoid Abomination: As good a description as any for Murko, who, after seven minutes of terrorizing both Inter-Nation Security and FEAR, Birdman can only guess was "the very spirit of darkness itself".
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: "Hannibal the Hunter"
  • Limited Animation
  • Mission Briefing: The very first scene of the series is a villainous example, in which Number One delivers a briefing about who Birdman is.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: FEAR.
  • No One Could Survive That: At the end of "Number One."
  • Say My Name: "BIIIIIIIIRDMAN!"
  • Shrink Ray: The villains in "Birdman Meets Reducto" and "The Ant Ape" own one.
  • Storming the Castle: FEAR turns out to have a convenient mountain base of operations in "The Wings of FEAR", which Birdman and Avenger can thus storm and bring an end to it.
  • Timmy in a Well: Birdman seems to understand what Avenger's screeching cries mean.
  • Three Shorts: With an episode of The Galaxy Trio (which was, on average, slightly more sophisticated) sandwiched in between.
  • United Nations: The Conference of Peaceful Nations, in this case. Incidentally, they're still around in the Galaxy Trio episode "The Duplitrons," where it's implied that the world did finally find peace at some point.
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