Remember “The Mighty Hercules“?
Hercules lives on Mount Olympus, comes down to Earth on demand to save the good citizens of Caledon from assorted threats with the help of his ring. Said ring gives him his god-like strength on Terra Firma.
He is “assisted” by his faithful Mickey Mouse-voiced centaur friend, Newton, whose arms flail when he’s excited and goo-goo eyes Hercules like he’s Justin Bieber. His most famous attribute? The vocal tic that makes him repeat nearly everything he says.
Great show, right? Wrong?
I used to love “The Mighty Hercules” for its camp value. I still have a soft spot for it, because its low-budget cheesiness still provides a good laugh for each five minute episode.
But I have some questions for the writers of the show. If you’ve seen it, you probably have some yourself.
1) How can time have no meaning? A giant monster is rushing Herc at a high rate of speed. It only appears about 20 feet away, so the trip should be over in a matter of seconds.
Yet in the animation that is repeated ad nauseum, Hercules has time to look down, take his ring out of his belt, put it on his finger, pull it to the right to admire its sparkle, and then hold it up the sky so the thunder of Zeus can ignite it and give Herc his godlike strength (this might be a good time to point out that Hercules wasn’t a god at all in Greek mythology, but a mere mortal).
By the time Herc gets the ring out, the monster should have reached him and torn him apart. Yet time seems to have no place here. Neither does, it appears, logic.
2) Is Newton gay? Okay, that question is a little too obvious. His voice, mannerisms, and obvious crush on Hercules all betray more than a whiff of homosexuality. I mean what’s with that song he sings?
I’m glad…I’m glad…
to have…to have…
a friend…a friend…
like Hercules…like Hercules.
When was the last time you not only wrote a song like that about one of your buddies, but went around singing it in public?
I think he’s supposed to be more innocent and childlike than actually gay. Besides, he also seems to have a similar crush on Helena.
It should be easy to prove to whom he’s more attracted. I mean, he is half-horse and never wears any pants.
3) Why does Daedelus always provide spoliers? Banished from Caledon, Daedelus seems hell-bent on taking the kingdom over for himself. I actually think he’d be a more effective leader than that little whelp Dorian.
He always comes up with some scheme that traps Hercules, gives the obligatory taunt and laugh, and has seemingly won…until he screws it up by saying something like: “The only way to break the spell is to bite from the Apple of Asinine.” Of course, Newton then gallops away to get said apple for Herc, who is then free to bounce Daedelus’ ass to Olympus for some unseen punishment.
Why, oh why, did Daedelus have to open his big mouth? And then make the same mistake in the next episode?
I give him points for perseverance though: no matter how soundly beaten, he’s focused enough to keep coming back.
But please change your robe, Daedelus. It probably stinks with you living in a cave and all.
4) How does one make a Mask of Vulcan? The Mask seems to make these masks (which are, in fact, actually helmets) at will and in great number. By donning this mask/helmet, he becomes (as he CONSTANTLY reminds us) “invincible, and alllll powerful”.
How does he do it? Wouldn’t he have been better off mass-producing them and selling them to the Caledonian army? He could then retire rich to Cyprus, or at least buy a new outfit. He must go to the same tailor as Daedelus.
5) What are those things that The Chameleon Man turn into? Otis, banished from Olympus, has become The Chameleon Man. Now he can change into any form he chooses (as he reminds us EVERY episode). But he changes into the stupidest monsters I’ve ever seen. A creature with an elephant nose, wings, and rabbit legs? I’m surprised Hercules didn’t die of laughter at some of Otis’ transformations.
On that note, I’m also surprised that Otis didn’t spend more time as Hercules and thus gettin’ with Helena, as well as half of the other women in Caldeon. Wait a minute, were there any other women in Caldeon?
6) Is Helena a virgin? Helena is the best drawn character on the show. Where Hercules muscles are all out of proportion (all chest and biceps, no back or triceps), Helena is fiiiiiine. Compare her to any Hanna-Barbera character. She makes Wilma Flintstone look like a teenage boy.
She clearly has a massive crush on Herc. I don’t blame her. All the other men in Caldeon seem pretty weak and cowardly. So Helena pursues Hercules with hugs, kisses, and swoons. But despite all her efforts (and obvious physical attributes), she can’t seem to pin Hercules down.
Why would that be? I’m thinking that it’s because she’s so damn annoying. She causes half the problems that bring Hercules to Earth. “What’s in this dark cave, Newton?” “Oh, let’s walk through the Lernean Forest, Newton.” Invariably, someone or something attacks her, prompting Herc to come and risk his life to save her from her own stupidity.
Still, you’d think Hercules would want a piece of her. “Your ring, Herc! Your ring!” Unless Newton gets jealous easily. That centaur could probably deliver a good kick to the groin.
7) Why does Pegasus always have to be broken? Every time Hercules jumps on the winged steed’s back, he has to break it, wasting precious time (see question one). Funny how it’s trained enough to answer his whistle, but not trained enough to do anything once it arrives.
And it whinnies. And whinnies. And whinnies. From the second he calls it to the end of the episode, the damned horse doesn’t shut up. It’s more annoying than Newton’s vocal tic.
8) What is with the people of Caldeon? I think without Hercules, Caldeon would have been destroyed 100 times over by monsters, invading armies, evil wizards, and natural disasters. King Dorian seems to do nothing but sit on his throne smiling, and when he tries to command his guards, the prepubescent tone in his voice is almost laughable.
And what about said palace guards? They’re hardly ever around. Why? Because they’re always running away. If I were the king I would have fired them. Or executed them. And then taken Helena for myself.
Fortunately, Caledon seems to be under special protection from Zeus, who never seems to send Hercules on a mission anywhere else. Is it because Caldeon is like that weak little kid we always feel compelled to protect?
9) Who voiced this? As far as I can tell, there may have only been three (possibly four) actors who voiced the bulk of there series. The Hercules/Zeus/Dodonis/Palace Guards/Various Citizens/Owl Man actor, the Newton/Daedelus/Mask/Various Citizens actor, and the actress who voiced all the female characters. There may have been a fourth male actor who voiced Timon/Dorian/Various Citizens, but as there are no voice actors provided in the credits, it’s hard to tell.
The ever-changing voices of Zeus, Dorian, and Dodonis notwithstanding, the most dramatic voice changes in the series are those of Hercules and Newton. In the first few episodes they are markedly different than in the rest of the series. They even once changed within the same episode!
And the monsters only seem to make two types of sounds. One is a throaty ROAR and the other is a hissing WHEEE! No matter the shape or size, always one of the two sounds.
Guess it parallels the two types of voices of the typical Caledonian male: pubescent teen or frightened man-boy.
10) Who wrote this? I have to admit, the series must have been fun to write. Five minute episodes, all with the same formula. Something attacks Caledon. Herc confronts the threat. Herc then gets beaten up but after putting on his ring, emerges victorious in battle and runs/flies away yelling “Olympiaaaaaaaaa!”
No time for real character development, deep dialogue, or intricate plots.
Whole season written in a night. Nice.
See you out there…
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Richard Todd is a novelist, screenplay writer, and social media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.