Dr. Pelagian's War is the fifth episode of the first season of the Super Friends series. Like most season one stories, the villain of the episode was a man of good intentions, but went to extreme means to meet his intended goal. This villain, named Doctor Pelagian, invented a computer for his submarine that could control the weather. He created a tidal wave and a number of other storms in an attempt to attack three businessmen.
The story involved the war against pollution, a common problem in the real world and often the subject of multiple science fiction stories. In the story, Pelagian does attempt to combat pollution, but in a way that is considered basically the same as acts of terrorism. It's up to the Super Friends to teach him the right way to help stop the pollution problem, in a more peaceful manner.
Due to its' anti-pollution theme, the story was intended to send a positive message to kids regarding pollution. Whether it was received as such is debatable, as one might also argue that the episode may have been trying to get children to believe that humanity was actually winning the war against pollution in real life, but in reality that's not necessarily true, as even in the 21st century mankind still continues to pollute the Earth, which actually makes Doctor Pelagian's words describing man as "the plague" seem quite true. In any case, whatever the intended message to the viewer was, it was stated in the episode by Wilcox that there are people in the world doing what they can to stop pollution. That much is true, so one might not accuse the show of lying.
There was also one scene in the Fenwick Tower that shows the board of directors smoking. Typically this wasn't shown in '70s cartoon shows because of the broadcasting standards, although it was common in the '60s Filmation shows. It should be noted though, that although they are shown smoking, it is presented in a negative light, when Luther Fenwick said there was nothing wrong with "a little smoke," in reference to the smoke that was polluting the atmosphere. Immediately after saying that however, he and the board begins coughing, due to a smoke attack by Pelagian.
Marvin, Wendy and Wonder Dog are enjoying their time at the Fun House at the Seaside Amusement Park. That is, all but Wonder Dog, because he is not so much enjoying himself, especially after being launched from the Fun House and landing in a toy wagon, which rolls him into a pond full of ducks. A fish somehow ends up in his mouth and he spits it out. And one of the ducks bites Wonder Dog on the nose. After getting him out of the pond, they go to have a picnic at a picnic table next to a tree with a squirrel in it. Wendy bandages up Wonder Dog's nose and tells him that nasty duck had no right to bite him on the nose. Marvin then gives Wonder Dog a hot dog with mustard and onions. Heavy with mustard and onions, just like Wonder Dog likes it. Marvin then looks in the sky and notices a seagull, and he wonders why it's flying in circles. Just then, the squirrel runs over and grabs Wonder Dog's hot dog. The dog chases the other animal to the Ferris Wheel, and Marvin and Wendy take off after them. They both know that once Wonder Dog gets on a Ferris Wheel, he never gets off. Just then, a large tidal wave is seen about to strike the coast, but it dissipates just before reaching the shore and doing major damage. Just then, a loud voice is heard coming from the flying seagull, and he identifies himself as Doctor Pelagian, who informs the people in the area to stop polluting the seas, or the seas will fight back. The seagull then flies off.
Back in the Hall of Justice League, Marvin and Wendy tell the Superfriends how the tidal wave almost struck some shoreline factories. Robin mentions how cool it would have been if he could have hung ten on that wave. Just then, Wonder Dog is trying to get the Super Friends attention, and Robin utters: "Convulsive canines!" Wonder Dog flaps his paws to try and tell them about the seagull, and they remembered to tell them that the message came from a talking seagull, the biggest one they had ever seen. But Aquaman tells them if it was a giant bird then it couldn't have been a seagull, and then Batman tells them it must have been an albatross one of the biggest of all of the seabirds. Aquaman tells them they are hardly ever seen this far north, and Superman goes on to say that they do "very little talking." Just then, the TroubAlert informs the Justice League that the talking albatross was spotted over Puget Sound, the San Francisco waterfront and San Diego. The Justice League Computer then prints out a photo of the albatross. They blow up the image with the Blow Up Viewer, and see that the bird has some sort of miniature electronic cluster attached to it. Superman realizes that Pelagian, or whatever his name is, has got to be a genius. Wonder Woman tells the kids that Pelagian is probably not his real name, since it is a word that means: "Inhabitant of the open sea." Just then, the CDQ beeps, and Colonel Wilcox is seen on the monitor. And he tells them that the government is concerned about Pelagian's threats. The Super Friends discuss how this Pelagian character is a fanatic, and he seems to think he's the only man on Earth fighting pollution. Wilcox tells them that couldn't be further from the truth, as industrialists from around the world held an emergency meeting on that very subject with the goal in mind of eliminating the problem of pollution. Wendy then excitedly says: "Democracy in action!" But Wilcox goes on to say that of those industrialists, there were three holdouts, and he believes that Pelagian would carry his threats on those three industrialists personally. Wilcox gives them the names of the three tycoons: J. Mortimer Hutchinson, Luther Fenwick and Agatha Prentiss Caraway. Superman goes off to meet Fenwick and Wonder Woman goes off to meet Miss Caraway, and they agree to meet up later at Mr. Hutchinson's place.
Superman heads toward the Olympia Polo Club, to meet the millionaire sportsman and tycoon Luther Fenwick. There, he is leading his wealthy teammates in play for the coveted Fenimore Cup. Superman then intercepts the ball and what could have probably been a goal, and this angers the polo player. Superman tells him he needs to come to a meeting, and he asks him to get off his horse. The tycoon refuses, and so Superman tells him that the horse can come along to the meeting too.
Meanwhile, at the Caraway Mansion, Caraway's secretary informs the multimillionaire about her schedule for the day. But just then, the sound of a jet engine is heard outside of Caraway's mansion. The secretary tells her that she sees nothing outside, but she could have sworn she heard an airplane. The old woman is in disbelief and she tells her "next you'll be telling me it landed in the rose garden!" Wonder Woman then walks in through the front door and tells her she landed the plane next to the rose garden. The woman then asks her how dare she burst in like that, and Wonder Woman tells her she doesn't want to be late for the meeting. She tells her she isn't setting foot outside of her house. Then Wonder Woman tells her that she can just let Fenwick and Hutchinson find someone else to push around. The old woman stops her and asks what she means. Wonder Woman tells her that they feel superior to her. This frustrates the old woman even further, and she tells the secretary to get her hat. She gets in the invisible jet with Wonder Woman and they head off to...
...the estate of Hutchinson, wealthy financier and proud father of his daughter Amanda Hutchinson, who is engaged to a handsome young man. And just then, Superman and Wonder Woman arrive with the other two tycoons and Fenwick's horse. They then tell them that there is to be a meeting to discuss Pelagian's threat, that he is to carry out at 12 o' clock noon. But the tycoons aren't taking the man seriously. Just then, the bell tolls, and the clock strikes twelve. Just then, a rain storm begins, a very oily spring shower. Just then, the albatross is seen in the sky once again, and Pelagian's voice is heard over the electronic device: "Oil pollution, back to the polluters of the sea. And let the other two merchants of smog and pollution be warned: the sea will strike back at them too!" Wonder Woman then decides to follow the bird, and Superman says good-bye to everyone at the meeting.
Hours later in the Hall of Justice, the Super Friends wait for Wonder Woman's return, and it had been three hours since she began following the bird. Aquaman tells the others that he thinks he knows who Dr. Pelagian really is. He tells them it is most likely Professor Ansel Hillbrand, the most brilliant marine biologist and engineer he has ever met. Batman tells him he remembers him, and that he was the leading authority on the albatross.
Later, the kids go to the Justice League Computer to get a printout on Professor Hillbrand, and according to the printout, Hillbrand is dead, he died in a deep-sea diving accident off Point Gander. But the report also indicates that his body was never recovered. Just then, Wonder Woman reports in, but her signal is weak since she's flying through a blizzard. She reports that her position is at the North Pole, and Superman tells her she must have been lead on a "wild-albatross chase." Aquaman decides to go swimming at Point Gander, to see if he can find any leads.
Batman and Robin, in the Batcopter, take Aquaman to Point Gander, where he dives into the saltwater. He dives down, deeper and deeper. His incredible super-durability allows him to withstand the incredible pressures of the deep blue sea. Just then, an underwater volcano erupts, boiling the surrounding water into superheated steam. Despite the intense heat, Aquaman does have a slight advantage, as the flames provide light, in the dark watery deep. Aquaman then locates the Deep-sea diving gear that the professor used five years previously.
Back at the Hall of Justice, the Justice League of America are examining the deep sea diving gear that had been on the ocean floor for the past five years. Aquaman removes the helmet, and Robin says: "Holy spumoni! Calling the Missing Persons Bureau!" He wasn't inside the diving suit. And they assumed that he never was, and he wanted everyone to think he is dead. So now they are determined to find a way to get the three tycoons to cooperate. Batman tells the kids to run along while the superheroes puts on his thinking caps.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the countryside, Marvin, Wendy and Wonder Dog are going bike riding on their bicycles. Marvin notices that Wendy has an idea by the look on her face, and she tells him that Superman was right, they need to find a solution to the problem. Just then, Marvin wrecks his bike into a fence and Marvin and Wonder Dog are both thrown off the bike, and land hard on the other side of the fence. Wendy stops her bike and runs back to the crash site, and asks Wonder Dog if he's okay, and Marvin tells her not to bother worrying about him, because the worst that could have happened was that he may have been killed. She then lectures him about looking where he's going while riding his bike. She then asks what he thinks about them trying to convince the tycoons to come up with a solution. Marvin tells her the idea is crazy, because if they wouldn't listen to the Super Friends, what chance would they listen to a couple of kids. Then Wendy tells Marvin that it's the generation gap that will make them comply, because all grown-ups feel they have to do something to close the gap. So they'll listen to them. So she then takes some cards, making a card game out of it, that have the three tycoons names on them, and holds them up facing her so that he can't see it, and tells him to "Pick a tycoon...any tycoon." He picked the Caraway card, and Wendy ended up with Fenwick.
At the Fenwick Tower, the world headquarters of Fenwick Corporation, in a room with a model ship, Fenwick is in a meeting with his board of directors. He notices an albatross flying around outside the window. Fenwick's secretary then calls Fenwick on the intercom and tells him a girl named Wendy is here to see him and she says it's important. He is angered and he tells her he doesn't care how important it is, but nevertheless Wendy comes in, claiming she accidentally pushed the button that controlled the door. She then talks to him about Dr. Pelagian, and he then tells her he's not going to knuckle under to blackmail. She tells him that the doctor feels very strongly about pollution, and he says that they all do, but she tells them that his factories are polluting right now, because the chimneys are blasting smoke. He tells her a little smoke never hurt anything, but just then, he notices that there's a lot of smoke filling up the room, and the electronic door is jammed shut, and the voice of Pelagian is heard once again, saying that there's no harm in a little smoke, as long as breathing isn't something that is important.
While at the Hall, the JLA are having a meeting of their own, when suddenly the TroubAlert sounds, informing the Justice League that Wendy is in trouble. Superman tells the other JLAers to meet him there, but he's going on ahead. He then flies off toward the Fenwick Tower.
Superman arrives at the tower, where Gotham City Fire Department are responding to the emergency, believing it to be a fire, even though it's just smoke. The Fire chief asks Superman if he can help, because the ladder on the Firetruck cannot reach the window where the smoke is coming from. Superman tells him he will help, and he pulls the ladder from the firetruck and flies it up to the window. Wendy is glad to see Superman and he tells her no one was ever in any real danger, it was just another one of Pelagian's "demonstrations." He asks her where Marvin is, and she tells him he went to see Caraway. Superman tells her he's probably in no danger, because Pelagian only seems to be interested in frightening people, not hurting them. But all the same, they try to head Marvin off at the pass.
While at the Caraway Mansion, the spinster tycoon is industrially studying the ups and downs of the stock market. Her secretary then tells her Marvin is there to see her. Marvin then barges in and tells her about pollution, and how she has an energy generating plant, which she is the president of. He then tells her about Pelagian, and then she tells him to stop, and not mention that man's name to her. So he then tells her that some people say that pollution gets dumped into the ocean. She is in disbelief, but just then, the ticker tape starts to lose control and spit out paper everywhere. She is then tangled in the paper, and the stock ticker then explodes. Just then, the voice of Dr. Pelagian is heard from the speaker on the albatross, flying overhead. He tells her that this was just a harmless demonstration, unlike the pollution of her factories. Superman tells the others it's likely no use to try and find it, as it would probably lead them to the South Pole.
Later, the Super Friends pay visit to the the location of Mr. Hutchinson. Wendy grabs hold of the knocker on his front door, which resembles a lion, and she knocks. Just then Hutchinson's butler answers the door and the Super Friends tell him they'd like to see Hutchinson. He goes to get him, and Hutchinson tells them to come in, and he shows them a dome that is made of plexiglass. He shows them that nothing will rain on his daughter's engagement party this time. Superman tells them they are there on very important business. They tell them that it's important that he arrange an arbitration with Dr. Pelagian. He tells them no. And just when he is about to start his engagement party again, the dome is pounded by a powerful wind. As the storm clears up and the sun comes out, Pelagian's voice is heard again.
Back at the Hall of Justice, the Justice League is talking to Colonel Wilcox over the CDQ, who is discussing all the things that they know about Dr. Pelagian. Wonder Woman told him that the team has made several attempts to gain the cooperation of the three holdouts but they had failed. Because of this failure, they all agree that the only way to stop further incidents, is to locate Pelagian himself.
At the Seaside Amusement Park, Marvin, Wendy and Wonder Dog pay a visit there. Wendy asks Marvin why he insisted they come here at a time like this, instead of helping the Super Friends. But he tells her he's already thought of that, and that he is trying to help the Super Friends. She tells him he's being a bit obscure, and he tells her that people like Sherlock Holmes and all the other professional detectives always re-enact the circumstances surrounding the crime. So what they do, is everything that they did the first time they saw the albatross, and in theory, it could lead them to Dr. Pelagian. They start out by buying a hot dog from Joe at Joe's Hot-Dogs. Wendy then asks what's next? He tells her: "That's next on our agenda, Watson." And they head toward the ferris wheel, but they tell Wonder Dog to go to the beach, since he likes it too much. While on the ferris wheel, Marvin uses his binoculars to look around, and he sees that Wonder Dog is taking a nap at the beach, and a fly is buzzing around his nose, and just then a penguin walks up to him. Wendy is shocked by what she hears Marvin say, and she looks through the binoculars herself to see that there really is a penguin there. Marvin tells her that this bird is way off course.
The two of them rush down to the beach and find Wonder Dog trying to attach the penguin. Wendy tells him not to hurt him and they chase him onto what they think is a beachside rock, but as it starts moving, Marvin believes it's a whale. The whale then stops and a submarine surfaces. A door opens and out comes Pelagian. He invites them to come aboard his sub and they accept the invitation. He tells them his submarine is named the Sprite and that there is no crew, because it is completely automated. He introduces them to his three pet birds, Maurice, Hector and Helen, the only people aside from them aboard the sub. He explains to them that Helen and Hector were his messengers who carried his voice to the three holdouts. He tells them that the whale's name is Rex. He tells them that the whales are his special friends, as are the squids, seahorses and all the other citizens of the deep. He tells them that the sea is their domain, and that he has learned to play, work and even talk to them. Marvin tells him Aquaman can do that as well. He tells them that he possesses some kind of mental telepathy, which is similar to Aquaman's aquatic telepathy. He then demonstrates his power to them, by showing them that he can make the fish scatter. He told them once he learned he could communicate with them, that they were peaceful creatures intent on living their lives without having to deal with the "plague," which is man. He tells them that even though the oceans make up a third of the Earth, they are not limitless. And eventually, the ocean will suffer from the pollution that man is causing. He then shows the kids a model of the Sprite. And tells them that he left in it five years ago, vowing he'd never return to land again. That was after he had faked the accident off Point Gander. He told them that he didn't want anyone to know who Pelagian was, and with Hillbrand believed dead, they would never suspect it to be him. Just then, a special news report comes in over the television...
And at the Hall of Justice, the Super Friends to are watching the news report, which shows Hutchinson making a public announcement that neither he, nor Caraway and Fenwick will submit to Pelagian's blackmail. Superman realizes that this is bad news...because this will only mean more big trouble for those three tycoons. While at the sub, the doctor decides to teach the three tycoons a lesson. He goes onto explain to the kids that he found a way to tap into the energy of underwater volcanoes, and with this ability, he can create hurricanes and tidal waves. And at 5 o' clock, he plans to do just that. The two kids are scared, and they are trying to think of a way they could reach the Superfriends, but they have no idea how they are going to do that.
Later, the doctor is preparing to send letters to the editors of all of the major newspapers in a mailbag. Marvin asks how he will send the mail when he is out in the open sea. He tells them: "By albatross express!" The doctor then leaves the room to fetch his two albatrosses. They use the opportunity to enclose a letter to the Super Friends in the mailbag. They also put Wonder Dog in the mailbag as well, to make certain it arrives.
Later, the mail is sent, and unbeknownst to the doctor, Wonder Dog is in the mailbag. The mail then arrives at the U.S. Post Office in Gotham. Wonder Dog is miles from the Superfriends. But a Garbage truck drives by, and Wonder Dog gives chase to it, and jumps on the back of it and hitches a ride.
While at the Hall of Justice, the Super Friends are trying to think of clues to lead them to the whereabouts of Pelagian. Finally, Wonder Dog arrives, sweating and panting from exhaustion. He hands the letter to the other Super Friends and they learn of their situation and what's going to happen at five o' clock. Now there's only ten minutes left, so the Super Friends race into action.
Meanwhile, in the sub, the doctor starts his device that creates the tidal waves. The first wave is heading for Fenwick's factories. Superman then picks up a train and tosses the train in the path of the wave. He also grabs part of a bridge and a water tower and places them in the path of the wave, which stops it.
While on the sub, Marvin and Wendy plan to sabotage his machinery while he's not looking, but the machines defense systems do not allow them to proceed. He then fires the second tidal wave, this time it's heading for Hutchinson's factories.
Back in the sub, Marvin and Wendy grab some milk and glue to pour onto the computers, but an electronic voice says: "Do not introduce any foreign substances into the interior of the computer." Pelagian then says the next tidal wave will be too powerful for even the Super Friends to stop.
His next target: Caraway's energy-generating plant. Batman and Wonder Woman, in the invisible jet, inform Superman, Aquaman and Robin, who are at the plant, that the third tidal wave is coming, and it is king-sized. The three on the ground use the plant's freon coils to freeze the wave, proving that brainpower is better than brute force. The three tycoons finally emerge and tell the Super Friends they are ready to sit down and talk about the issue of pollution.
Back on the sub, Pelagian's spirits are low, but he isn't giving up. He decides he'll create the biggest sandstorm ever seen, and turn dry land into a wasteland. The kids mock him, telling him "Sure, that's the way to fight pollution, by polluting the whole world!!"
Back in the transparent plane, Superman and Aquaman jump out, and Aquaman uses his sonar to zero in on the location of the sub. They go after it, but the doctor orders two squid to attack them. They use their ink to blind them, and Aquaman is wondering why they aren't responding to his telepathic commands. Just then, three killer whales attack them. The two heroes retreat and they surface, and find a couple of fishing ships. They board one of them, and grab a fishing net and corral the huge whales in the net. They then go back on course to finding the sub.
As Superman and Aquaman dive deeper into the watery deep...ever closer to the sub, the killer whales break free from the net and race after them. Aquaman tells Superman he'll take care of them, and Superman goes on ahead without him. Superman catches up to the sub, thanks to Aquaman's diversion, since he swam away and lead the killer whales after him. Superman grabs the sub and using his super strength, he causes the sub to surface. Superman then gets on top of the sub, and the kids and Pelagian come out of the sub. Aquaman too jumps out of the water and lands on the sub, telling them that the whales are still looking for him somewhere in the Sargasso Sea. Pelagian is upset, his spirits are very low. He believes he has lost the war. But they Super Friends tell him that the three tycoons are now on his side. And maybe, everyone else is as well.
Continuity in Other Media
- References: Space probe, artist, drawing, box truck, tobacco, cigar, tobacco pipe, smoking, Caraway's car, jet, telephone, Obituary, lightning, Root beer, sauerkraut, ketchup, starfish, Icarus, Hector of Troy, Helen of Troy, eyes, ears, truck driver, fatigue, Caraway trucks, Freon coils, Freon gas, ice cube, blue fish, sprite and clock.
The Weather Maker
The Shamon U
|Season 1: SuperFriends (1973)|