Birdman follows the typical Hanna-Barbera conventions of a costumed hero who flies into conflict with baddies and quickly dispatches them with energy beams that shoot out from his hands. Except for brief moments of capture, the only suspense is created in ubiquitous scenes where the good and evil energy beams compete for dominance. Pretty simple fair to accompany those spoonfuls of Cheerios and Cap'n Crunch.
What makes Birdman especially fun for Spy Vibers, however, is its use of conventions that were at their height during the 1960s spy boom. Birdman indeed has a lair hidden inside a volcano (ala You Only Live Twice/1967). The opening sequence shows an aerial view, but we get an even cooler perspective when our hero flies up through a thick glass hatch to exit the secret base. Birdman receives his orders from Falcon 7, the eye-patch wearing leader of Inter-Nation Security -who bears a striking resemblance to Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. (spy debut in Strange Tales #135/1965). Falcon 7 was voiced by Don Messick, the man behind such famous characters as Scooby-Doo, Astro (Jetsons), Muttley (Whacky Races/Dick Dastardly), Papa Smurf, and Dr. Quest (Jonny Quest). Production model sheet below.
Birdman fights a host of villains, but Spy Vibers will especially enjoy his battles with enemy agents. In the sample clip below from Murro the Murader, a mysterious baddie named Murko (not Murro) harnesses the shadow world to steal a briefcase containing vital secrets and then positions himself to become head of F.E.A.R. There are wonderful moments, including the dispatch of an evil underling who learns the bitter cost of failure (ala Spectre). Like Space Ghost, Birdman always sings out his name when he goes into action. Did Hanna-Barbera think there were young opera fans out there in TV land? Funny! Enjoy! DVD set on Amazon here.
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