Professor Goodfellow's G.E.E.C. is the third episode of the first season of the Super Friends series. It featured the first appearance of Plastic Man, the famous elastic superhero that originally came from Quality Comics. His appearance here is very brief, and he doesn't show up until close to the end of the episode. Nevertheless, the popularity of his character lead to a spin-off series six years later from Ruby-Spears called The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show. In this series, Norman Alden provided the voice of the character, whereas in his own series, he was voiced by Michael Bell.
A number of characters from the real world are seen or referenced in this episode, such as Willie Mays, Joe Namath, Abraham Lincoln, Christopher Columbus and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, just to name a few. We also see the school that Marvin White and Wendy Harris attend for the first time. We also are introduced to the neighbor of Marvin White, Slim Smith, who also owns a local gas station.
This episode is the classic "machines are turning mankind lazy" story. It dealt with a supercomputer that was capable of doing all physical work, allowing humans to do nothing but rest and be entertained. It also shown the consequences, and the undesired traits that manifest in people who allowed themselves to become lazy due to being serviced by the computer. For example, "Slim" Smith had became overweight, due to a lack of physical activity, and Wendy hated riding in row boats that she couldn't row, because there was no fun in it. The computer was called G.E.E.C., which was invented by Professor Goodfellow, who is not a real villain, in fact, the real antagonist of the story could be laziness itself. In the end though, when the G.E.E.C. begins to malfunction, the real problems begin.
Goodfellow, despite being a man of good intentions, ended up nearly causing some of the biggest disasters the world ever seen, multiple plane crashes and stuff like that. But thanks to the Super Friends, such disasters were thwarted and Goodfellow is able to learn his lesson, that mankind was meant to work and that no machine can truly replace a man. This is a classic theme in science fiction, and this theme was even used for the eighth feature film of Star Trek, which told a similar story except it shown a world where machines were used at a minimum, and one of the characters pointed out that if you build a machine to do the work of a man, "you take something away from the man."
Another thing referenced in this episode was that Robin used to be a part of a circus act. Although not referred to by name, fans of the comics know that Robin was a member of the Flying Graysons, before he became Batman's sidekick. One other thing that was a bit interesting, was the inclusion of an original song, which was a country music song about a railroad gang, which told a humorous story about a railway worker that smashes his toe with a hammer!
A well intentioned professor creates a computer that operates machines globally (cars, planes, TV, etc), so that people don’t have to work anymore. But soon trouble starts and the SuperFriends have a global problem to deal with.
At an air force base, they are about to test a new experimental plane, the XP. Just before the appointed captain was about to enter the plane, it mysteriously takes off on its own. The captain and his colonel see the plane perform all the test maneuvers. When it lands they are amazed to see no one inside.
Back at the Hall of the Justice League, Marvin, Wendy, Wonder Dog and Mr. Huggins observe, via the TroubAlert; all around the world, there are strange occurrences involving machines operating by themselves.
Mr. Huggins, who is the special assistant to the president of the United States, is there to speak to the Justice League directly about these strange occurrences, and informs them that the government wants their help. The SuperFriends split up taking different sectors. Batman invites Mr. Huggins to join him. As they leave, Batman tells the kids to stay out of trouble.
Batman heads toward the factory to speak with the foreman about their runaway forklifts. On the way, Batman is unable to control the Batmobile; it appears to be driving itself. He calls Superman, who arrives moment later. Rather than stop the car, Superman wants to see where it is going. It arrives at the G.E.E.C. Factory. There, they ask the ominous robotic guard to open the gate. The gate opens and they enter.
Back at the Hall of the Justice League, Wendy, Marvin and Wonder dog are outside. A van pulls up with no driver and asks them to get in and ‘take a ride’. They ask where they would be going and it informs them that they would be going to Professor Goodfellow’s laboratory. The van also informs them that the SuperFriends are present and that the professor wants the opinion of young people as he reveals an incredible invention. Reluctantly they agree, however they follow on their bicycles.
They arrive at Professor Goodfellow’s laboratory. Together with Mr. Huggins, Batman, Robin and Superman, they wait. Within moments, the floor in the room they are in begins to lower like an elevator. When it stops, they find Professor Goodfellow who greets them and begins explaining about the G.E.E.C. computer. He tells them that it is the world’s biggest computer and that he wants to donate it to the government. It is Goodfellow’s belief that the G.E.E.C. could perform every job that is performed by men and women. His purpose is to free mankind of physical labor and responsibility.
The SuperFirends are skeptical, believing that the G.E.E.C. will remove all purposes in life. Mr. Huggins agrees and on behalf of the government refuses to accept project G.E.E.C. Angrily , the professor announces that he will offer it to the public for free. Since it is not against the law the government and the SuperFriends can’t do anything to stop it. They warn him that the G.E.E.C. has no moral compass and if it malfunctions it won’t know anything is wrong.
A month later, the world has changed. Marvin and Wendy no longer attend school. Aquaman is patrolling harbors on his faithful sea-horse and is not happy. Superman is patrolling the skies, and sees no disasters happening . A short time later, Professor Goodfellow contacts the SuperFriends. Although there have been no complaints, the SuperFriends still express concern about possible tampering with the G.E.E.C. The professor laughs and tells them that would be impossible. He invites them to come to his lab so he can explain why. Before giving the tour of the amazing security system, he makes himself a sandwich. While giving the tour, he inadvertently leaves the sandwich unattended. A mouse quickly finds the sandwich, takes it and scurries inside the G.E.E.C. The SuperFriends leave, not realizing anything is wrong.
Later, Marvin and Wendy are sitting under a tree learning math by watching a G.E.E.C. TV. Amazingly, it malfunctions, so the kids decide to take a cab to the G.E.E.C. factory. Meanwhile, everything begins malfunction and the SuperFriends have global problem to deal with.
Batman cannot contact the professor, so he Robin and Wonder Woman decide to drive out there. The kids have taken a G.E.E.C. cab which is out of control and soon wrecks. At the G.E.E.C. factory, the robotic guards appear to me functioning properly, however they are unable to contact the professor, so they refuse to let the SuperFriends enter. They try to enter the factory by catapulting Wonder Women over the fence. She is caught by a robotic guard and gently placed back over the fence. As they try to find a way to enter the factory, Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog arrive at the youth gate. They are stopped by a force-field. Since they can’t over it, Wonder Dog digs under it. They enter successfully. Meanwhile, Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman are still trying to enter. Wonder Woman, using her Amazonian strength, throws an arrow with a rope attached. It successfully attaches to a building just out of reach of the robotic guards.
They successfully enter the lab and find the professor. They explain what has happened. Aghast, he tells them that the only way to set the safety control switch is go into space to the G.E.E.C. satellite. Batman immediately tries to contact Superman, but the professor warns him that there is kryptonite in the satellite, as the professor didn’t even want Superman to have access to the satellite.
Batman then contacts Superman to let him know what is going on. Superman tells them that he will take care of it and flies into space. When he arrives at the satellite he contacts Aquaman, who is in the ocean. Superman tells Aquaman to await the satellite. Superman uses a meteor rock to knock it out of its orbits. It falls into he ocean where Aquaman is waiting. He has hammer-head sharks break it open. He then reaches in and flips the safety switch.
Later, at the professor’s lab, Superman realizes that things are still out of control and that the G.E.E.C. needs repairing. He uses his X-ray vision and sees a mouse inside. Robin quickly blurts out for Superman to rip open the wall. Wonder Woman reminds him that the want to keep the G.E.E.C. operational. Batman suggests that they contact Plastic Man.
Superman leaves and returns with Plastic Man, and quickly explains the situation to him. Plastic Man says can do it, but can't risk hurting the mouse. He asks Superman to use his x-ray vision so he does not hurt the mouse, and in a matter of seconds, pulls it out successfully. Then Wonder Woman and Superman go into super speed mode and undo all that the mouse had done to the G.E.E.C. computer. They turn it back on, this time for only 10 minutes. The SuperFriends then go out to prevent any impending disasters from G.E.E.C. machines.
Back at the Hall of the Justice League, Professor Goodfellow vows to dismantle the G.E.E.C., realizing that it was causing strife at home, people were bored and starting to get on each others nerves.
Continuity in Other Media
|V o i c e A c t o r||R o l e|
|Shannon Farnon||Wonder Woman|
|Frank Welker||Marvin White|
|Sherry Alberoni||Wendy Harris|
|Frank Welker||Wonder Dog|
|G u e s t H e r o|
|Norman Alden||Plastic Man|
|G u e s t C a s t|
- Plastic Man’s cameo is only 44 seconds. This is the sum total of his 'screen-time' on the SuperFriends TV Show.
- We learn in this episode that the Hall of Justice has a 2nd floor.
- We also see a clear shot of Aquaman on an unnamed sea horse. This sea horse is probably Storm.
- References: U.S. Air Force, Air Force base, Washington, TroubAlert, Forklift, Tractor, United States Government, Dimby, Batmobile, Brigette's, G.E.E.C. Factory, G.E.E.C. Robots, Ironsides, Prof. Goodfellow's Funmobile, Television, Movies, Rock albums, Ice cream, candy, popcorn, pastries, cotton candy, peanuts, Marvin's bicycle, Wendy's bicycle, Prank, brain, G.E.E.C. cart, Farmers, Joe Namath, Football, G.E.E.C. TV, coffee, heart, soul, Daily News, Neptune, Traffic guard, G.E.E.C. Grocery van, Lumber truck, muscles, drive, High School, Mr. Smith's Gas Station, G.E.E.C. Automated Jeep, air, oil, gasoline, Diana Prince White, G.E.E.C. Doghouse, black cat, math, flowers, lawnmower, G.E.E.C. fishing boats, G.E.E.C. Freighter, starfish, S.O.S., ships, Boat Lake Park, rowboat, G.E.E.C. operated rowboat, G.E.E.C. trucks, G.E.E.C. cargo plane, vegetables, plants, vandals, Cheese sandwich, soda, ham, bread, sliced bread, Jello salad, boiled eggs, sauce, Ice cream soda, dog, mice, To A Mouse, Robert Burns, mouse, Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, Gettysburg, United States Declaration of Independence, 1776, History, Christopher Columbus, Midwestern United States, Columbus, Ohio, Hiawatha, The Song of Hiawatha, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, rabbit, deer, Gitche Gumee, Country music, Opera, guitar, cowboy, The Railroad Gang Song, G.E.E.C. taxi, Graham Street, Liney R, crane, New power plant, Toy wagon, vacuum cleaner, North Atlantic, Sydney, waters, whales, hen, pigs, Caped Crusaders, Bud Harrelson, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Willy Mays, baseball, Galileo, Force field, Batrope, tree, Paradise Island, Amazons, robot, ship, train, superbrains, G.E.E.C. Guards, Robin's circus act, Superfriends ring, Kryptonite, G.E.E.C. tractor, hammerhead sharks, X-Ray vision, animal, lightning speed, Lady Justice, and Lunch.
— Source, Superman to Batman
— Source, Aquaman
The Baffles Puzzle
The Weather Maker
|Season 1: SuperFriends (1973)|