If you’re persistent in wandering around its digital corridors with no apparent purpose, the Internet is sure to give you exactly the thing you were looking for, but just never knew it. Previously I’ve been looking at Marvel’s musical output in the 1960s, sharing its club flex discs and focusing on composer Jack Urbont and his contributions to the Marvel Super Heroes cartoon show in 1966, which saw Urbont create classic short songs for several Marvel characters.
I knew that Spanish language versions of the cartoons existed and they’re easy enough to find on YouTube, but while the episodes are dubbed into Spanish — and Italian even — the theme songs are still in English. I didn’t know that in certain markets the superhero themes had been translated into other languages.
Most surprising to me were these Portuguese versions of the themes recorded for the Brazilian market airings of the show by the broadcast stations TV Record in Sao Paulo and Ulbra TV in Rio Grande do Sul. There were lists of broadcasters in some Marvel Comics at the time — Strange Tales #150 and Amazing Spider-Man #45 were the two I saw mentioned.
There’s the Marvel Superheroes theme itself …
And then there are all the individual superhero themes …
Considering that Urbont himself had recorded the English-language vocals at great pains, traveling to Germany to record the music and then to Canada for the vocals, I do wonder if he was as hands-on with foreign language versions or if the music was sent for someone else to do the work.
The YouTube user who posted the above video was also kind enough to provide Portuguese lyrics for each version:
O Capitão América é um grande lutador
E contra o inimigo é sempre vencedor
É um homem forte
Enfrenta a morte
Com coragem e amor para onde for
O Capitão América é um grande vencedor!
“Homem de Ferro”
Tony Stark, tira a onda
Que é cientista espacial
Mas também é Homem de Ferro
Elétrico, atômico, genial
Dura armadura, Homem de Ferro
E lenha pura, Homem de Ferro
“O Incrível Hulk”
Pobre Bruce Banner
Por lindo cano entrou
Exposto a raios gama
No feio Hulk virou
Verde o monstro
Luta por ser querido
Na fossa vive o Hulk!
Ele é rei dos mares
Meio peixe, meio homem
Também domina os ares
Real Namor, dos mares é Senhor
Onde o arco-íris é ponte
Onde vivem os imortais
Do Trovão é Deus, guarda-mor
O barra limpa, o grande Thor!
And if it is important to you, here is a standalone version of the Sub-Mariner theme.
But it turns out that Portuguese wasn’t the only language the themes were translated into. I found French versions for all the songs, apparently the work of Canadian producers for the Quebec market, as the series has never been broadcast in France. If that’s the case, since Urbont recorded the vocals in Canada, I bet he’s behind these French-language recordings of the themes, though that doesn’t explain why Brazil got a special version of the themes!
But that’s not all for French-language Marvel music! Jack Urbont didn’t write the iconic Spider-Man theme for the cartoon that was broadcast at the same time, but I couldn’t resist sharing this French version of that timeless theme, while we were one the subject.
Plus a bonus for you! The Fantastic Four cartoon being aired in 1966 didn’t even have a catchy theme song — just a jazzy adventure tune — the French language version of the show had a brand new song in French when it was first aired in France in 1980.