Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Friday, January 9, 2009

[apparatus] Like a moth to the Flam (& a Francophone challenge)

For my birthday a couple of years ago, Otis hit me with a superhero-themed surprise party. To help set the appropriate mood, she downloaded a bunch of superhero-themed music. Among the usual suspects (John Williams' Superman theme, the Wonder Woman TV show theme, Jim Infantino's Ballad of Barry Allen, Crash Test Dummies' Superman's Song, &c.) was a peppy little number we couldn't identify.

The song was in French, and other than a repeated "Capitaine" we couldn't suss out the words at all, but it had laser noise in the background and was clearly heroic-anthemy. We were playing the CD again last night, and this song came on, catching the attention and piquing the curiosity of pals Dingo and the linguistical Wheylona. A little intarweb research later, we had an answer: it was the theme music for the French edition of a 1970s Japanese animated version of the adventures of a 1940s American pulp science hero, Captain Future. But you gotta check out the music yourself:



Cool, innit? One of the sources said it hit the pop charts in France, contributing to the relative success of the show there. There was apparently an American condensed "movie" version, but the TV series itself was popular across the globe.

Italy:



Germany:



The Arab world:



I don't think any of those other themes have the hook that the French version does, though.

I haven't had a Francophone pal be able to keep up with the lyrics on any given listen to offer a decent translation, so here's a transcription I found on the web. Post in the comments your best and most poetical translation to win some sort of prize, or at least the esteem of your peeps.



Capitaine Flam! A new hero for a new era!


Footnote department: Wheylona did guess that the French version became "Captain Flame" because the best sense of "future" in French is captured by "avenir" and that sort of conflicts with the big ol' F on the Captain's belt buckle.

5 comments:

Yojimbo_5 said...

One thing you haven't mentioned--a name in the credits of the creator: Edmond Hamilton, writer of many DC Comics and the Superman TV show. He was married to Leigh Brackett, who was also a science fiction writer, but also wrote "The Big Sleep," "Rio Bravo," "The Long Goodbye," and "The Empire Strikes Back."

Walaka said...

I knew I recognized Hamilton's name, but had not made the connection. I did not know he was married to Brackett, or that she wrote those movies! Thanks, LNTAM-man!

fruitstand said...

Captain Flam, you’re not
from our galaxy
but from the depths of night.
As far as infinity
you come down here
to rescue all.

Captain Flam, you’re not
from our Milky Way,
but you crossed
a hundred thousand million years
to save by your power (lit. arm)
the people of Megara.

In your Cyberlab
and in your Cosmolem
is your little friend Ken
and there you also see
your sweet friend Joanne
Fregolo and Mala
who do not forsake you.

Captain Flam, you’re not
from our galaxy
but from the depths of night.
As far as infinity
you come down here
to rescue all.

Captain Flam, you’re not
from our Milky Way,
but you crossed
a hundred thousand million years
to save by your power
the people of Megara.

Captain Flam, yes, it is you.
One day you will save all those
of Megaraaaaaaa.

caro said...

Cool! It totally reminded me of my childhood! I used to love Capitaine Flam! :) Carole

RAB said...

Captain Future was apparently a co-creation of Hamilton and none other than Mort Weisinger -- formerly his literary agent, and later to be Hamilton's editor on all those Superman family stories, including the Legion of Super-Heroes. Weisinger pitched the name and basic concept, and Hamilton did all of what writers call the heavy manual labor.

So I'm guessing you didn't know my contribution to Teenagers from the Future was an essay covering Edmond Hamilton's tenure as writer of the LSH, with a couple of prominent mentions of Captain Future. No, no, that's okay, I don't mind...excuse me...I have something in my eye... (runs away sobbing)

(P.S. to Yojimbo_5: my manuscript for the essay included a lengthy digression about Leigh Brackett and speculation about whether she may have influenced Hamilton's depiction of Saturn Girl, but that section was deleted by a jealous editor.)