Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All began life in 1979 as an animated cartoon feature, titled simply Flash Gordon. The film was an attempt by the TV-cartoon factory Filmation to break into Disneylike theatrical respectability. Stories vary as to what happened next: Either Dino De Laurentiis, then producing a live-action Flash Gordon film, moved to legally block Filmation from releasing its picture, or De Laurentiis was so impressed by the animated project that he poured money into it himself and agreed to release it after his own film had made the rounds. Whatever the case, Filmation's Flash Gordon was subsequently cut up into five half-hour episodes and integrated into the studio's Saturday morning cartoon series, The New Adventures of Flash Gordon. The plotline partially adheres to the original continuity of Alex Raymond's comic strip, with World War II elements thrown in. Flash Gordon, an American state department official stationed in 1939 Poland, tries to prevent Ming the Merciless of the planet Mongo from destroying the world. Flash is aided in his efforts by the lovely Dale Arden, the brilliant Dr. Zarkov, and the kindly Prince Barin, rightful ruler of Mongo. This cartoonization of Flash Gordon was acceptable for Saturday mornings (with some interesting "three dimensional" effects in the space battle sequences), but hardly worthy of its original feature length. Be that as it may, the project was restored to its initial two-hour form in 1982 and telecast as an NBC special, Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All.