Atom Ant TV Poster Image

Atom Ant



Mighty Mouse knock-off hasn't aged well.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As the good guy, Atom Ant always wins out. But secondary accompanying cartoon shorts include characters ("hillbillies," for example) being rewarded for slovenly or lazy behavior, although it rarely works out well for them in the end. Stereotyping of women and minorities is quite distinct.

Violence & scariness

Cartoon violence of the simpler form -- characters tied to railroad tracks, hitting one another in Three Stooges-like frustration, good guys punching bad guys and sending them flying, etc. Occasional use of weapons, but never to fatal effect.

Sexy stuff

Characters sometimes leer suggestively at female characters (or men pretending to be female); female characters may dress in tight/skimpy clothing.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters in some secondary cartoon shorts smoke pipes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this '60s cartoon doesn't just feature the eponymous ant, but another, secondary cartoon as well: the Hillbilly Bears. The ant-focused shorts offer fairly standard animated superhero violence, plus women in peril and (reflecting its original era) stereotypical minority villains. Any kid who watches cartoons has seen plenty of that. But Hillbilly Bears could be an unwelcome introduction to the practice of expecting an entire region -- or nation -- to conform to a certain stereotype.

What's the story?

ATOM ANT is a mid-'60s Hanna-Barbara cartoon about a superstrong, superfast flying ant. Sometimes he works at the behest of the police, stopping, say, gangs of picnic-stealing ants on motorcycles, and sometimes he fights bad guys on his own. The show's includes cartoon shorts featuring the adventures of the Hillbilly Bears, a sort of combination of the Beverly Hillbillies and the Flintstones.

Is it any good?


It's not exactly clear why he's "Atom" Ant; perhaps it's his superpowers making him the futuristic ideal of an ant. Older kids will laugh at his souped-up headquarters -- an anthill featuring a giant computer/telephone a la the Jetsons, along with a large collection of barbells -- but younger ones may well enjoy the flying and the spectacle of an ant lifting cars and the like.

As in Mighty Mouse -- and, really, all the superhero cartoons of the era -- female characters are invariably in peril and stereotypes like Latin lovers abound. While these generally go over the heads of young viewers, older kids will easily spot them for what they are. As for the Hillbilly Bears shorts, there's really very little humor beyond the stereotypes and the pratfalls, but at least it's short.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Atom Ant and his determined ways -- in addition to being heroic, he's rather stubborn: He wants to triumph his way. Is that always a good thing, or are there other ways to get what he wants? Families can also discuss the Hillbilly Bears. Is it mocking stereotypes, or playing into them? How are today's cartoons different from this show? Do you think they've gotten better? Why?

TV details

Cast:Don Messick, Howard Morris
Genre:Kids' Animation
TV rating:TV-Y7

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old June 3, 2009

it's good!!!!

I see that show everyday,even in the computer,it's a good show,it was created by Hanna-Barbara in 1964.The second season came in the mid 1965's,when Secret Squirrel that time,everything was rated in cartoons TV-G,or TV-Y7-FV because shows has to much violence and make-believe things happening then.In the show Atom Ant the 23 minute shows always has in this order:Atom Ant,Precious Pup,and The Hillbilly Bears.
Teen, 13 years old Written byYlndgomez June 29, 2009


What other families should know
Great messages


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