Classic Cartoons

The History of the Cartoon Atom Ant

Atom Ant broke the monotony of what could be the longstanding standards in projecting a superhero. Instead of portraying a masculine-figure superhero, Hannah-Barbera chose a tiny ant to be the next protector of the planet

Kids in the 60s would surely include the tiny cartoon superhero Atom Ant in their memories of classic cartoons. This popular cartoon was first aired on NBC in 1965 alongside with The Hillbilly Bears and Precious Pupp in syndication.

Atom Ant quickly rose to fame and caught the attention of viewers across different age brackets. But what made Atom Ant extra special? Why was Atom Ant is favored by kids and even by the mature viewers? To know the answers, we need to travel back in time.

Atom Ant’s Humble Beginnings

Joseph Barbera and William Hanna created Atom Ant in 1965. Atom Ant aired in NBC from October 2, 1965- October 01, 1966.Hannah-Barbera decided to develop this character as a unique offering to the viewers who were used to seeing masculine and over-sized superheroes. Not all would think that an ant could become a superhero, right?

On September 12, 1965, Atom Ant first appeared on NBC under the label ‘The World of Secret Squirrel and Atom Ant.’

Atom Ant finally got its first self-titled series on October 2, 1965. The first episode of Atom Ant was the ‘Up and Atom.’ The storyline is about a mad criminal named Big Fats Dynamo who successfully carried out a prison break. However, he cannot run for so long with the speedy Atom Ant. The tiny ant put an exclamation to Big Fats Dynamo’s face by throwing a powerful punch.

On the other hand, the final episode of this hit series was the ‘Mouse-Rouser/ A Friend in Need/ Chipper Chirper.’ The concluding episode was about a mouse that has been trapped by a voracious cat. But no matter how clever the cat was, it was still of no match with the quick and strong Atom Ant.

What made Atom Ant different from the other cartoon shows was its contract to other superhero type cartoons. Nobody would think that a tiny creature like an ant is capable of becoming a superhero.

But while it is true that Atom Ant is just a small ant, his determination to fight villains is extraordinary. He even does a regular workout to keep his body fit. Atom Ant, however, does not make rounds in the city to look for evil. Instead, he spends his time in the depth of his anthill waiting for police officers to ask for help. He knows immediately if someone is badly in need of help with his advanced mainframe computer.

At first glance, Atom Ant is nothing but a tiny superhero trying to help sustain the peace and stability of the world. But this classic cartoon has a deeper meaning. Atom Ant has exposed the reality that the police, during the 60s, were in many cases extremely underfunded. The cartoon even amplified the hardships of the police by showing rusty and defective police mobiles on some of its episodes.

Since the law enforcers are so disadvantaged, the tiny ant has to step up. And this holds another meaning to the viewers. This scenario only proves that whatever your status in society is, as long as you are determined to help, you can definitely help save the planet. And this what Atom Ant exactly did. He may be small, but his heart to help the needy is immeasurable.

Another unique characteristic of Atom Ant is his incredible positivity in life. No matter how heavily-armed the criminals are, he never forgets to yell his signature ‘Up and At’em, Atom Ant!’ rant. The viewers perceived this mindset of Atom Ant as an inspiration, suggesting that they can overcome any trials as long as they keep fighting.

With its 26 episodes, the Ant Man was definitely another successful masterpiece of Hanna-Barbera. Indeed, Atom Ant is not your typical superhero!

Atom Ant’s Powerful Production Team

Atom Ant’s success was just a testament to the great minds working on this exceptional cartoon show.

  • Creators. Of course, the legendary tandem of Joseph Barbera and William Hanna conceived of the show. They collaborated in creating Atom Ant in the fall of 1965. Hanna and Barbera were also the producers of this show.
  • Writers: Tony Benedict, Dalton Sandifer, Warren Foster, and Michael Maltese combined forces to create the storylines for Atom Ant.
  • Musical Scoring.  Ted Nichols was in charge of the sound effects in the entire stint of the series.
  • Voice: During the first set of episodes, Howard Morris voiced the Ant Man, but on the later episodes, Don Messick took charge.
  • Animation: Charles A. Nichols was the person responsible for setting for the show’s animation sequences.

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