Enjoy 1983’s Superman In The Flying Firefighter!

Friends, last week over at the SHOW ‘N TELL PICTURESOUND VIEWER CLUB on Facebook, a member shared a link to Superman in The Flying Firefighter for the iconic GE Show ‘N Tell phono viewer. Just one in a series of DC Super Heroes film strip and 33 1/3 record combos produced by CBS Toys back in 1983, along with other DC characters such as Batman, Wonder Woman, and even the Justice League.

I have talked about the awesomeness that was the GE Show ‘N Tell phono viewer in a previous article, in which I was able to share some of the other stories produced for the combination filmstrip viewer/projector and record player. A ‘toy’ that lasted a remarkably long time, first being produced by General Electric in ’64 and lasting until the early ’80s, being released under a few brand names. And while I was never fortunate enough to obtain a GE Show ‘N Tell phono viewer for myself, I certainly enjoyed the model that was in the kindergarten class of my youth.

Besides the likes of DC Super Heroes, other ‘Picturesound programs’ included Marvel Super Heroes, Sesame Street, The Shirt Tales, Hello Kitty, The Berenstain Bears, and even adaptations of popular Disney films and animated shorts.

Of course the 33 1/3 records provided in the Picturesound programs meant the stories were generally kept to under 4 minutes in length, with the B side of the record offering music or in the case of Superman in The Flying Firefighter, something entitled Aerobic Adventures: Sailing Through Space.

The synopsis for Superman in The Flying Firefighter is by necessity pretty simple. While receiving an award for reporter of the year, Clark Kent must excuse himself and respond to the threat of a massive fire. On the scene, he learns of a small boy who is still within the burning building, the child was scared by the firefighters in their gas masks and gear. It is up to Superman to save the day and pass along some words of wisdom in the process!

VIDEO AND ARTICLE IMAGE PROVIDED BY PRSRECORDS.

Who’s Who: Abnegazar Rath And Ghast

The three entities known as Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast who are collectively known as The Demons Three are the second entry in the well regarded Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, which was originally published back in 1985. Over 26 issues were produced and thanks to the likes of Marv Wolfman, Robert Greenberger, and Len Wein – many of us comic book fans became aficionados of the vast history of the then current DC Universe. The sometimes exhaustive Who’s Who were quick to shine the spotlight on the big names such as Batman and Superman but were also quite willing to give the likes of lesser known characters such as Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast a chance in the light too. As the recent Justice League Action animated series frequently did – beginning with the very first episode when it introduced Abnegazr, Rath and Ghast as part of the demonic Brothers Djinn.

VIDEO PROVIDED BY Cartoon Network.

Abenegazar, Rath and Ghast were created by none other than Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky for Justice League of America #10 – which saw publication in March of 1962. Gardner Fox in particular had a hand in the creation of not just the Justice League of America but before that in 1940 he managed to create another legendary team of super heroes, the first gathering of heroes in comic books in fact, The Justice Society of America. In addition it is believed that Fox might have worked under many different pseudonyms and had a hand in the co-creation of The Sandman, The Flash (Jay Garrick), as well as Hawkman (Carter Hall).

Mike Sekowsky might best be known for being the artist and co-creator of the Justice League of America beginning with their appearance in The Brave and the Bold #28. Mike would pencil 63 issues of the Justice League of America comic book – in addition to acting as writer, artist and even editor on Wonder Woman beginning in September of 1968. Although Fox and Sekowsky didn’t just create the Demons Three in that issue of Justice League, they also came up with the magically maniacal Felix Faust but we will talk about him more in his own entry.

IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ROCKFORD JAY COLLECTION.

The art chores for Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast’s entry in the Who’s Who is courtesy of both Craig Hamilton as well as Dick Giordano. Interestingly enough it appears that it was around this time that Hamilton got his start at DC – you might know his work better from the extremely popular and quite fantastic Fables series. Giordano was an absolute icon in the sequential arts scene, having worked as an artist and editor for DC Comics among others, and he had a hand in creating the likes of Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt, Peacemaker, The Human Target, and Batman’s underworld identity of Matches Malone to name just a few.

The entry for Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast in the first volume of the Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe list this personal data:

Alter Ego: Inapplicable

Occupation: Inapplicable (Although I would have listed troublemakers as their occupation)

Marital Status: Inapplicable

Known Relatives: None

Group Affiliation: None

Base of Operations: 20th Century Earth

First Appearance: Justice League of America #10

Height: Inconsistent

Weight: Inconsistent

Eyes: All Black

Hair: Black (Ghast), none (Abnegazar, Rath)

The Demons Three existed over a billion years ago, lording it over the pre-human species with their magical powers. An intergalactic group of wanderers known as the Timeless Ones, whose job it is to keep cosmic balance, became aware of Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast running rampant – so they imprisoned the trio. But the Demons Three while not as powerful as these Timeless Ones were at the very least more clever as they crafted three mystical talismans that anchored their physical beings to the Earth. The Silver Wheel of Nyorlath, the Green Bell of Uthool, and the Red Jar of Calythos. Even the power of the cosmic Timeless Ones were unable to destroy said artifacts or even remove them from the Earth, so they did their level best to hide them, Ghast was imprisoned beneath the waves in the South Atlantic, Abnegazar is hidden under the desert sands of Sin-Kiang in Western China, and Rath is locked under the ice of the Arctic. It is the villainous Felix Faust with aid from the trapped demons who attempts to use the Justice League to free the trio.

Abnegazar, Rath and Ghast as is pointed out in their entry for the Who’s Who are able to fly through space and even time travel if need be, conjure destructive force bolts, craft various matter, and even bring to life inanimate objects. Shortly after their entry was published it appears that Abnegazar got a little too mouthy with Dr. Fate who slew the demon for his insolence – granted over the years he has apparently managed to cheat death and rejoin his brothers once again.

Besides the Justice League Action animated series the trio showed up in the 1985 The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians in an episode entitled “The Case of the Stolen Super Powers”, which is just a retelling of their and Faust’s first appearance. The Demons Three also made an appearance in the Justice League Unlimited series in an episode called “The Balance”, where Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl take Abnegazar hostage, forcing him to reveal the location of Felix Faust!