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Beginning in 1988, Ruby-Spears (later acquired by Hanna-Barbera) produced an all new "Superman - The Animated Series" to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Superman character. 13 episodes, along with the critically praised Superman Family Album segments aired for just one season on the CBS television network.  

 

Although praised by comic-book purists ( The Characters were designed by DC Comics legend Gil Kane, and the story editor was DC great Marv Wolfson),   the network scheduled the series in an early morning time slot more appropriate for "Muppet Babies" and not an action adventure classic, so it disappeared after less than stellar ratings. 

 

The trade press suggested that the real blunder was not naming the show "The All New Superman Adventures" or something similar.  The generic name suggested an older cartoon, or perhaps even a rerun of the George Reeves live action show from the fifties. Inexplicably the series received almost no promotional support from CBS. 

 

Beau Weaver played the dual roles of Clark Kent/Superman. Series Director Ginny McSwain, CSA, did double duty as the voice of Lois Lane. Jimmy Olsen was played by Mark L. Taylor, Perry White was portrayed by Stanley Ralph Ross, and animation great Michael Bell voiced the villainous Lex Luthor.  The early episodes were located in North Hollywood, later moving to Hanna Barbera's legendary Universal City location after they acquired Ruby-Spears Productions.

 

The role was the thrill of a lifetime for Weaver, an avid Action Comics collector since boyhood.  He even got a Superman suit for Christmas when he was six years old, and learned the hard way that the warning printed on the shirt-tale of the suit wasn't lying;  alas, the suit does not give you the ability to fly.

 

"Superman - The Animated Series" premiered on CBS television on Saturday, September 17, 1988 and ran through September 12, 1989. The Series is now available on DVD.

Beginning in the summer of 1994 Beau Weaver got to tackle the role of Dr. Reed Richards, a.k.a. "Mr. Fantastic," leader of The Fantastic Four. This 1994-995 Series aired in syndication as part of the  Marvel Action Hour. Legendary Marvel  creator Stan Lee himself was around for many of the recording sessions, and, of course, did a cameo role as himself!  Sue "The Invisible Woman" Storm was voiced by Lori Alan.  Johnny Storm, "The Human Torch," was played by 90210 Star Brian Austin Green in early episodes, later replaced by Quinton Flynn for the second season. Benjamin J. Grim, the ever lovin' "Thing" was performed by the inimitable Chuck McCann. Guest Stars included Mark Hamill, Gary Owens, Dick Clark, and Kathy Ireland. The voice actors were recorded at Pacific Ocean Post in Santa Monica.  Both seasons are available on DVD.

Our fearless leader, Stan Lee.

One of Beau’s first animation roles was in the original TRANSFORMERS series in 1987, playing the role of the triple changer “OCTANE,” a sometimes cowardly, mean spirited bully, whose battle cry was “he who has fuel has power.” These were long, grueling “throat ripper” sessions in the sweltering North Hollywood studio of director Wally Burr, where Beau got to watch and learn from seasoned animation pros like Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Jack Angel, Michael Bell, Jim Cummings, Corey Burton, Neil Ross, Charlie Adler, Alan Oppenheimer, Dick Gautilier, Rob Paulson, Townsend Coleman, Susan Blu, Rege Cordic, Linda Gary, Hal Rayle, Dan Gilvezan, John Stephenson, Phillip Clarke and so many, many more.

CBS assigned Ralph Bakshi to produce Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures  for 1986-1987.  They had no idea what they were signing up for!  Bakshi is primarily a painter known for a Tom Waits-like disdain for convention.   

 

His animated feature films include the R rated Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic, and Cool World, among others.  So, it's not like CBS wasn't warned!  Bakshi and his gozo crew produced a Dada Mighty Mouse, with a post-modernist bite, that paved the way for cutting edge cartoons that came along a few years later, like, The Simpsons and Ren and Stimpy (In fact, many of the Characters were drawn by John  Kricfalusi, of R&S fame; his style is unmistakable).  

 

The humor was decidedly adult, with one episode skewering Alvin and the Chipmunks, insinuating that the David Seville-like character (played by Beau) might be, er, abusing the singing animals. Seville and Bakshi had a long running feud. Perhaps to deflect legal action, this episode was not rerun, and was eliminated from the DVD release.  Another episode had Mighty Mouse appearing to "snort" some dried flowers in what seemed very much like the way some adults ingest a certain controlled substance.  Family Values advocates were not thrilled.    

 

The recording sessions were free-for-alls, with Bakshi rewriting on the fly, and sometimes asking the voice talent if they had any ideas about how to end the story. Other times Ralph would throw the voice actors out of the studio, while he went in and re-voiced the part himself, in flagrant violation of union rules.  Working with Ralph was not for the faint of heart; but "The New Adventures" was nonetheless a groundbreaking and stylish re-telling of the Mighty Mouse Saga.

 

The voice actor cast included Patrick Pinney as Mighty Mouse, Maggie Roswell as Pearl Pureheart, Scrappy Mouse was played by the late Dana Hill, and the series introduced a new character: Bat-Bat, with the great Charlie Adler in the role. Beau Weaver voiced the Fractured Narrator, and many incidental characters in the series.   The series is now available on DVD.

Ralph Bakshi

Animation aficionados frequently list THE VISIONARIES: KNIGHTS OF THE MAGICAL LIGHT as one of the best, albeit largely unknown animated series of the 1980s.  The animation was fluid, the acting far above average, and the stores went far beyond the usual black and white, good-versus-evil.  Why, sometimes characters would actually die.   And, yes, of course, the syndicated series produced complaint letters to local stations by the religious right, who objected to the magical philosophical underpinnings of the stories.

The cast included: Neil Ross, Michael McConnohie, Jim Cummings, Hal Rayle, Beau Weaver, Susan Blu, the late Jonathan Harris, the late Roscoe Lee Brown, the late Chris Latta, Jennifer Darling and Bernard Erhard.  Voice actors directed by Wally Burr.  
 
Premise: The Age of Science has ended, and the Second Age of Magic has begun. The world of Prysmos is now inhabited by magical creatures and wizards. The dark age for civilization has resulted in feudal societies being formed which wage war upon one another. Yet thanks to the great wizard Merklynn, 14 Knights have gained magicalpowers of transformation. The group is divided between the good Spectral Knights and the evil Darkling Lords. Now they battle for supremacy and Merklynn's favor.  Beau Weaver played the role of Feryl, pictured below.  The series is available on DVD.

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Miscellaneous Animation Roles

1986 Flintstone Kids, Hanna-Barbera Productions “Brick Bricker”

Rockin’ with Judy Jetson full length film Hanna-Barbera Productions “Intergalactic Dee Jay”

 

Duckman: Klasky-Csupo / Paramount 1990 “Voice of the Supreme Being”

 

Little Nemo Adventures in Slumberland feature film “Cop” incidental characters