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Western Animation / The Atom Ant Show

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Up and at 'em, Atom Ant!
Up and at 'em, it's Atom Ant!
His strength, his might
His speed, his flight!
He's Atom Ant, that tiny ant and his atomic power
Has what it takes and always makes the vilest villain cower!
He's rough, he's tough
And bad guys yell "ENOUGH!"
When he is up and at 'em, Atom Ant!
Hanna-Barbera created this cartoon in 1965 as a companion for Secret Squirrel. Atom Ant is a very strong Funny Animal style ant who fights crime. He's usually seen foiling the schemes of Mad Scientist types. For his backing segments see Precious Pupp and The Hillbilly Bears.

Up and at 'em! This cartoon provides examples of:

  • Achilles' Heel: Being an ant, Atom Ant can't resist the lure of a picnic basket. Seen in "The Big Gimmick" and employed by villain Professor Von Gimmick.
  • Alliterative Name: Both Atom Ant and his villainous rival Ferocious Flea have first and last names starting with the same letter.
  • Animal Superhero: The hero is an anthropomorphic crime-fighting ant.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: When the insect superhero is away on a Mexican vacation in "Bully for Atom Ant," he helps a cowardly man named Chicken Enchilada win a bullfight, thereby allowing him to gain the hand of his beloved Concita.
  • Black Knight: In "Knight Fight," Atom Ant heads back to the Middle Ages and fights an evil knight.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S":
    • Atom Ant wears an "A" on the front of his sweater.
    • Ferocious Flea has an "F" on the front of his sweater.
  • Character Catchphrase: The hero is fond of saying "Up and at 'em, Atom Ant!"
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Played with. Atom Ant gets his powers from lifting weights — in much the same way that Popeye gets his powers from spinach. Three reps with his giant (to him) barbells is enough to replenish his superpowers for the rest of the day.
  • Clear My Name: The episode “Mistaken Identity” features Ferocious Flea committing crimes while disguised as Atom Ant.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: In a comic book story, the police chief asks for Atom Ant's help because "a super-villain is stealing all sweets from the doughnut shop".
    Police Chief: If the city's doughnut supply disappears, the entire police force will collapse!
  • Evil Counterpart: Ferocious Flea is Atom Ant's insect nemesis and shares some similar characteristics, such as possessing super strength and wearing a sweater with the initial "F" on the front.
  • Flying Brick: Atom Ant is incredibly strong and capable of flight.
  • Fossil Revival:
    • "Dina-Sore" sees Atom Ant take on a museum dinosaur that gets reanimated by a bolt of lightning.
    • Atom Ant is summoned to subdue a prehistoric bird brought to life by a scientist in "Pteraducktyl Soup."
  • Four-Legged Insect: Atom Ant has two arms and two legs.
  • Funny Animal: Despite having a few traits typical of his species, the show's hero is pretty much the equivalent to a tiny human. While he lives in an anthill, he's a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal, walks bipedally (and has four appendages instead of six), can speak to humans, holds down a job as a superhero, and owns human possessions such as barbells.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal:
    • Atom Ant wears a helmet and long-sleeved sweater, but no pants or shoes.
    • Ferocious Flea wears a long-sleeved sweater, but no pants, shoes, or headgear.
  • Killer Gorilla: Atom Ant encounters no end of trouble battling the giant ape Kink Konk in "Killer Diller Gorilla."
  • Mad Scientist: Some of Atom Ant's foes are scientists gone rogue, such as Professor Von Gimmick ("The Big Gimmick," "Amusement Park Amazement," "Termighty Mean"), Dr. Crankenshaft ("Crankenshaft's Monster"), and J. Dastardly Deeds ("Nine Strikes You're Out").
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: The tiny Atom Ant hands out poundings by grabbing his much larger enemies by an extremity and slamming them repeatedly to the ground.
  • Mythology Gag: A group of motorcycling ants in the episode "Wild Wild Ants" are named the Ant Hill Mob. That name would be applied to the Runyan-esque gangsters who appeared later on Wacky Races and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Atom Ant may be small, but he packs quite a punch. He’s currently the main trope image.
  • Police Are Useless: When two bank robbers hire a female ant to distract Atom Ant during a robbery, the police chief had only two officers to send, and he was one of them. Their patrol car was so bad that they were in no condition to stop the robbers.
  • Protagonist Title: The show is named after the title character.
  • Punny Name: "Atom Ant" is a play on "adamant".
  • Ring Around the Collar: Like most Hanna-Barbera characters from this time, the top of Atom Ant's sweater covers his neck to facilitate animation shortcuts.
  • Species Surname: The last names of both Atom Ant and Ferocious Flea are their animal type.
  • Strong Ants: Probably not in the way you'd expect from the trope.
  • Three Shorts: Atom Ant leads off the show as the A short, B is Precious Pupp and C is The Hillbilly Bears.
  • The Wild West: Atom Ant is summoned by the sheriff of an Old West town to help battle an outlaw named Rowdy Dowdy in "Fastest Ant in the West."