bserum

Name: B. Serum

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    September 6, 2010 2:12 am

    CORRECTION: Human Torch vs. HERBIE.

    The worried-that-kids-would-set-themselves-on-fire explanation is a common misconception, and one that outpaces the truth. In "Was Superman a Spy?" Brian Cronin (of Comic Book Legends Revealed) writes:

    The Fantastic Four have appeared on television in a variety of animated forms, but probably the strangest take on the concept was their 1978 animated series, produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises for the NBC television network. The series starred Mr. Fantastic, The Thing, Invisible Girl and H.E.R.B.I.E. the robot?! Yes, this series did not feature the Human Torch, but instead placed a robot as the fourth member of the team (the robot was co-created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, at least – the last time the two men worked together on a project). H.E.R.B.I.E. stood for Humanoid Experimental Robot, B-Type, Integrated Electronics.

    Most viewers guessed that the reason for the exclusion of the Human Torch was that the producers of the show feared children might attempt to emulate him by lighting themselves on fire ... The truth was much simpler. After the success of The Incredible Hulk, Marvel licensed out a number of other heroes to Universal Studios for possible television series or made-for-television movies. One of these heroes was the Human Torch. The project went as far as to have a script written, but nothing was ever filmed (most likely due to the extreme difficulties of depicting a man on fire in the 1970s – it is difficult today, even with the aid of computer graphic effects, so it was incredibly difficult back then). Universal was not involved in the cartoon, and it would not make a deal to allow the Torch to be used, so he was omitted from the series.