The Power Records Podcast 30 – Plastic Man/Metamorpho!

Chris and Rob discuss the audio adventures "The Invasion of the Plastic Men" starring Plastic Man and "Fumo, The Fire Giant" starring Metamorpho!

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Opening and closing themes courtesy Peter Pan Records.

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16 responses to “The Power Records Podcast 30 – Plastic Man/Metamorpho!

  1. I had the “Justice League” version of this LP as a kid, but I mostly listened to the Plastic Man and Metamorpho stories. Those two theme songs pop up in my brain on a loop every so often. Since I can’t remember any theme song for Flash, Aquaman or Wonder Woman, I’ll have to assume, as you alluded to, they didn’t have any.

    Would you believe there are at least a dozen songs on Spotify titled “Plastic Man” yet none of them talk about bouncing the moon like a basketball!? The Temptations “Plastic Man” song from the 70s that I stumbled across in my brief search is really cool and funky!

    Nothing on Spotify matches “Metamorpho” except a zillion songs called Metamorphosis. The Philip Glass song with that name is good for my work playlist because it has no lyrics, little dynamic range, very repetitive and almost mesmerizing. But that probably describes nearly every Philip Glass song.

    And the only thing that comes up for “Power Records” is some podcast hosted by two guys … I think their names are Robert and Christopher. I’ll have to check it out one day. It sounds like a podcast I’d really enjoy!

  2. Love the album cover for this record! At first glance it looks like Plastic Man and Metamorpho have swapped heads. I mostly knew Plastic Man from his Saturday morning cartoon and his appearances in All-Star Squadron. He was so different in attitude from all the other superheroes. I enjoyed the way he just walked into the police chief’s office despite being wanted for being a one man crime wave. Usually when a hero is framed for a crime, they do everything to avoid the police and fellow superheroes and go o out of their way to appear more guilty of the crime.
    I always forget how popular Metamorpho was in the Silver Age. He somehow evaded my attention until the late Bronze Age when he joined Batman and the Outsiders. It blows my mind that he headlined an audio adventure.
    Thanks for bringing us another fun Sunday morning podcast release.

  3. I had the JL version of these stories and played that record to death along with my Disney Robin Hood book and record and The Hobbit. It was, I think, my first exposure to Metamorpho. Rob, I definitely remember wracking my brain to figure out what Mason said at the end of that story. QED, indeed! It would be twenty years or more before I had Latin in grad school.

    Lots of fun and creepy maniacal laughter from the villains here with Fumo and especially Dr. Steel. The Wonder Woman and The Flash stories on that disc were also memorable as they faced off against Brunhilda and Mr. Big respectively. Sorry, Rob, I don’t remember anything about the Aquaman story.

    Of course, the most memorable aspect of the record was the songs. I have gone around singing “Met-a-morph-o! Met-a-mor-pho!” and “Plastic Ma–ee-yaan!” at odd times for close to 45 years now. No wonder my wife thinks I have a problem. Not to mention “Call the roll” song for the JL featuring what had to be a man imitating a woman’s voice for Wonder Woman and Batman sounding vaguely like Bugs Bunny on steroids. If anyone ever needed evidence that Gotham City is in New Jersey ….

    And The Terrifics by Gene Luen Yang is a great pick. He is my favorite comic book writer of recent years and that book was a whole lot of fun.

  4. Seems like forever since the last power records podcast went live. I’ll enjoy this one at lunchtime today. My favorite podcast on the site and I’ve been very patient waiting for the latest episode. Thanks Chris and RòbYour efforts are appreciated and always enjoyable.

  5. It goes a bit further from the 1966 LP from Peter Pan’s Tifton label: the Plastic Man and Metamorpho songs and stories were first released as part of a series of 7″ 45’s with the die-cut covers (including Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Superman, Thor, Hulk, Captain America and four “Batman” characters plus the Batmobile) that same year by Peter Pan’s original parent, S.P.C (Synthetic Plastics Company). The majority of the materials were written by Arthur Korb, whereas the Batman songs were done by Tony Eira.

  6. Great episode, guys. Am I crazy, or when Metamorpho explains the chemical process by which he defeated Fumo, doesn’t he give off serious Walter White vibes? (Both the sound of the actor’s voice and his phrasing.) Prepare for the DC Black Label miniseries in which a financially destitute Metamorpho discovers he’s body is breaking down into its constituent elements, and he spends his final days using his powers to synthesize a particularly potent strain of methamphetamine.

    They’ve been trying to reboot “The Six Million Dollar Man” for ages—a film adaptation has been in development hell for at least 25 years, retitled “The Six Billion Dollar Man,” naturally. As I recall, both Mark Wahlberg and Jim Carrey (the latter giving it a comedy treatment) have been attached at varying points.

    If you’re looking for more Plastic Man songs, listen to “How I Wrote Elastic Man” by the Fall. It very much sounds like lead singer Mark E. Smith is saying “Plastic Man” rather than “Elastic Man” throughout, and many people have theorized that the song is about Jack Cole. (The narrator is depressed, and we all know what ultimately happened to Cole.)

  7. Hooray for Power Records coming back! Like all good things, they come to us who wait and I’m glad to see another episode is here.

    I would like to +1 the recommendation of the The Terrifics. Thanks was such a fun comic!

    While I enjoyed these audio adventures, they seemed quicker than others? The Plastic Man one ended with Steel just yelling? Weird. Well, it still doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of hearing everyone talk about this record. Well done, everyone!

    Also, the power of this network is amazing as I just noticed my FLCS has a Power Records back issue for sale! Demand is sky high! Or, maybe, I just finally noticed it in the glass case. Either way, I might have to spend the $20 (Canadian, which is what, a couple of American nickels?).

    And to follow up on Rob’s question, yes; The Raccoons WAS a show about raccoons, but cartoon, anthropomorphized raccoons that would try to keep their forest safe from the industrialization of….. I want to say it was an ant eater? Any other Canadians know what Syril Sneer was?

    This was lots of fun. Keep up the great work!

  8. So glad to have a new episode from you guys! Can’t wait to listen (just started!).

    I’m not very familiar with these episodes so this will be a fun listen.

    Have been busy myself as I lost my job in Florida and uprooted the family and moved to Michigan. While packing up to move I found my GI Joe book & record sets! Haven’t played them yet but I did flip thru the books.

    Take care guys and I’ll be looking forward to more from this podcast as it is my absolute favorite.

  9. Wow, those are some Power Records adventures that I’d never even knew existed until now, and they are both amazingly bonkers. I esp. loved the dialogue between the sheriff and “Mr. Newspaper Reporter” at the start of the Metamorpho episode. It’s indeed too bad that there were no accompanying comics for these two adventures.
    Otherwise, I have to mention that I, too, recall listening to “The Telltale Heart” dramatization, albeit in high school (Poe wouldn’t have really passed muster with the nuns in my elementary school).
    And since it came up in the listener responses section, I have to acknowledge that I am just old enough to recall watching “Wait Till Your Father Gets Home” during its first network run on my family’s grainy black & white TV (I would have been about 5-6 years old at the time). Yes, Tom Bosley voiced the dad, and Jackie Earle Haley and Willie Ames (Tommy from 8 is Enough) did the voice for the younger son – I only know that latter fact thanks to Wikipedia.

  10. Great episode really enjoyed it . Wonderful characters I just wish these two had a few more audio adventures. I mean plastic man could have had a Christmas special and I don’t know he an bad luck Hulu and his cousin woozy I’m guessing it would based on the cartoon could have rescued Santa from the weed . And maybe Rex could teamed up if the company had lasted longer with lassie to save the day or lets her really Random . What if power records had lasted longer to when hulk hogan the wwf was big . Imagine the macho man adventures or a story where the U.S express and captain lou Albano have to save the day . .

  11. Thanks a lot guys! I’ve had “Doctor Steel, Doctor Steel, May-day, May-day” stuck in my head for DAYS!

    Seriously, though. This was one of the Power Records I had as a kid. They were great. I had forgotten how short the stories were. Thanks for bringing back some good memories.

    “Bow Down! BOW DOWN!!!”

  12. I was pleasantly impressed by the Plastic Man episode. I wasn’t expecting them to actually acknowledge his history as a criminal and (almost touch on) how much harder it would be for him to regain the public trust and how easy it would be for people to write him off as him sliding back on bad habits. I also really loved the word play of “reform” in the theme song. It took me a second but the moment I got it I could just picture a campy theme sequence of everything he reformed into (in the modern day, the things he reformed into would change every theme song as a hint to what the episode would be about).

    I was a bit less impress by Metamorpho. Not because it was bad, just because it was kind of generic. It might be evidence of the content I’m exposed to but I’m used to Metamorpho either being a hugely tragic figure (when he’s transformed) or a kind of earnest one (when he’s been Metamorpho for a while, but I think that’s an Outsiders/Batman the Brave and the Bold characteristic). This version was all business and the “tragedy” parts felt like it was only lip service. (Also, for some reason Metamorpho in this ep gave me Swamp Thing vibes and I have absolutely NO idea why.)

    I’m honestly inclined to think that the reason that these two were packaged together is that they have kind of similar powers. They are both kind of shapeshifters, but Metamorpho is able to change things on a molecular level but is unable to change is appearance. Plastic man is able to change into anything, but he’s always the same plastic base. It’s an interesting difference between the two. And might be a way to play them off each other in a highly unlikely crossover.

  13. I think I have some Plastic Man insight that Max may not have known. In the aftermath of the success of the Batman TV show, hucksters were eager to strike quickly to produce anything associated with costumed superheroes. These recordings had to have been done quickly, and cheaply! The folks who wrote, produced, and performed for these records were very likely men in their 30s and 40s. Perhaps they had read comics in their youth in the 1940s. The composer of the songs, one Arthur Korb, was, according to Wikipedia, born in 1909! Just a few years before Julius Schwartz! Why and how were these heroes chosen? Batman and Superman were unavailable. Flash and Wonder Woman may have had recognizable names. Both Aquaman and Metamorpho were edited by George Kashdan, who, I think, went on to work on the cartoon show the next year. He may have been someone eager to get involved in other media. But Plastic Man? He hadn’t been seen in about ten years. His appearance in Dial H for Hero shows up on the stands in May 1966. Which means it was written and drawn probably in February 1966. Why Plastic Man?
    I contend the answer is the book “The Great Comic Book Heroes” complied, introduced, and annotated by Jules Feiffer and published by Bonanza Books in 1965. This book reprints the first Plastic Man story by Jack Cole. This, of course, is the story where he was a crook, then reformed, and reformed again! This book was also my introduction to Plas, and all the other heroes of that era! ( I was a little confused when I bought Plastic Man #16 off the newsstand and it had this guy Woozy Winks!)It’s very likely that someone at DC, or Tifton records, saw this book, read that story and was inspired to use the character.

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