(Also known as Telecomics)

Telecomics, the forerunner of NBC Comics, is generally regarded (along with Crusader Rabbit) as one of the first cartoon series produced for television. The 1949 syndicated fifteen-minute program was just as it's title suggested:  comic-strip panel drawings filmed sequentially, with an occasional animated effect. Under it's original title, the series consisted of four three-minute serialized stories - Brother Goose, Joey and Jug, Rick Rack Secret Agent, and Su Lah.

NBC optioned the property in 1950, repackaging the program and renaming it NBC Comics. Sponsored by Standard Brands, the series made broadcast history as the first made-for-TV network cartoon program. Crusader Rabbit, which was commissioned by NBC two years earlier, was actually turned down by the network and ended up running in syndication on the NBC owned stations. 

NBC added four new characters to the series when they picked it up. The new adventures were:

  • Danny March. March was the orphaned son of a Yale man who was raised by his unprincipled uncle to be one of the toughest kids in Metro City. Danny turned to detective work when he was unable to become a police officer because of his short stature. Building a reputation as a tenacious private eye, he is hired by the Mayor as his personal detective to stop crime in Metro City. 

  • Kid Champion. The story of Eddie Hale, a musician who was urged by his former boxing champ father to become a boxer. When Eddie mistakenly believes that he killed a gas station attendant during a holdup, he teams up with a hard-luck fight manager, Lucky Skinner, changes his identity to Kid Champion and refuses to talk about his past to anyone.

  • Johnny and Mr. Do-Right. The exploits of a young boy and his dog

  • Space Barton. Horace "Space" Barton, Jr., an all-American college football star, was the son of  pilot who enlists in the Army Air Corps during WWII and is chosen to test the first U.S. jet plane. He then blasts off to Mars, with his brother Jackie as a stowaway, in a rocketship built by Professor Dinehart, an astronomer. The adventures have them engaged in a civil war on the red planet, pitted against a faction led by a deranged Earth scientist who had preceded him to Mars.

The series was a Vallee Video Production and ran on NBC-TV from September 18, 1950 through March 30, 1951. Voices included Bob Bruce, Pat McGeeham, Howard McNear, and Lurene Tuttle. The individual adventures were not titled, and after their network run they again entered syndication as Telecomics. It faded from TV screens in the early 1960's, due mainly to the onslaught of the Hanna-Barbera led color cartoons and the fact that the Telecomics had been filmed in black and white.

Check out the Comic Kingdom's Science Fiction on Television in the 1950s: Space Barton web page

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Updated April 5, 2000.


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