Home 9 Movies & Television 9 Movies/TV Q-U 9 Thundarr the Barbarian (1980-1981) 9 Thundarr the Barbarian: Challenge of the Wizards (S1E8, 1980)

Thundarr the Barbarian

S1E8: Challenge of the Wizards

Thundarr is roped into a race between Wizards to acquire the Helmet or Power.

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Robert Ridgely


Nellie Bellflower

Princess Ariel

Henry Corden

Ookla the Mok / Gemini

Dick Tufeld


Keye Luke

Additional Voices

Stacey Keach Sr.

Additional Voices

Joan Van Ark

Additional Voices

Shep Menken

Additional Voices

Alan Oppenheimer

Additional Voices

Julie McWhirter

Additional Voices

Episode Synopsis

Thundarr, Ookla, and Ariel ride into Las Vegas while Ariel provides background on what Vegas was prior to the apocalypse. It is in ruins now and they only find a deserted village.

Suddenly they are beset by mechanical wizard orbs. The orbs zap them and they fight valiantly, but there are too many of them. The orbs pick them up in tractor beams and take them to a casino-turned-wizard-lair. The villagers are caged outside.

Inside, they meet Sholo, one of the wizards who is vying for the Helmet of Power. Three others are also there: Scorpos, Mazam, and Chom. Thundarr says no and rushes them, but three death machines come into view. One is a scorpion car, another is a spiked wheel, and the third looks like a mechanical manta ray. Sholo lifts the cage up and threatens to drop the villagers if Thundarr does not race for him for the Helmet of Power.

At the race, Sholo tells them that the Helmet of Power is in a monolith at the end of the Canyon of Doom. He shoots a starting blast into the sky and the race is on. The racers in the machines zoom way out ahead. Scorpos bets that Sholo’s team (Thundarr and crew) will not complete half the race. Mazam takes the bet, believing Thundarr to be as stubborn as he is strong. She is a good judge of character, it seems. Sholo ushers them inside to watch the race.

Ariel notes that the other racers are miles ahead, but Thundarr thinks there might be an ambush ahead. The scorpion machine raises up a rock nearby and throws it in their direction. Scorpos comments that his scorpion machine will make mince-meat out of them. Thundarr rides back to attack the scorpion machine. He cuts off one of its blades on the tail, and a hole in the side of it. Ookla shoots the other blade on the tail with an arrow. Ariel zaps the machine with a magical EMP and it stops moving.

Suddenly a Grizzly Snake bursts from the ground near the scorpion machine, wrapping its reptilian body around it. The snake then attacks Thundarr, who holds its mouth open as he grapples with it. Ariel zaps it and it wraps around her while Ookla beats at it ineffectually. Thundarr grabs it and tosses it into the canyon before they continue on.

Thundarr and team stop to let their horses rest and get water. As they are drinking, the wheel machine appears and spins toward them, spikes tearing through the rock. Ariel tries to zap it but it is resistant to magic.

It rolls over a tree which topples and knocks her off of her horse. Thundarr and Ookla ride to her aid. She jumps up on his horse and they ride away from it. Thundarr jumps off and swipes the wheel with his Sunsword. It created a break in the wheel and it bumps and jumps up a rock and into a lake. They ride on, their horses apparently not in need of water now.

Since they have made it half-way, Mazam has won the wager with Scorpo. She decides to let her team take action against Thundarr. The drivers of the manta ray machine use a wand to create a Death Storm. Thundarr and crew ride into an old mine shaft to escape the storm. Acid rain from the Death Storm dissolves the rocks around them.

A blast of lightning hits the mine entrance and triggers a cave in. Ookla grabs a beam and Thundarr cuts some track to help stabilize it so they can escape the mine. Ariel creates a shield to keep the acid rain off of them. More fireballs erupt from the sky and Thundarr swipes them with his Sunsword. One of them careens off into a rock, revealing a buggy not so different from Speed Buggy, except if Speed Buggy were dead and had a cracked headlight. The clouds dissipate. Ookla takes the buggy out of the rocks and Ariel casts a spell to get it working again. Thundarr jumps in the driver seat and zooms off with Ookla holding on for dear life.

The wizards watch as Team Thundarr close in on the other racers. They find the Hoover Dam. The other machines are already there and battling on top of it.

They decide to sneak in and steal the Helmet of Power while they are distracted. The manta machine cuts up the scorpion machine and knocks it off the dam. They enter the dam and see the helmet. Then they are attacked by the manta machine. Thundarr cuts through its wing and it breaks a chain, making a large weight crash down on it. Thundarr gets the Helmet of Power and knows they have to find a way to stop Sholo from killing the villagers.

Obviously unable to come up with a plan, they give Sholo the Helmet in exchange for the humans and he double-crosses them. He zaps them and Thundarr loses his Sunsword. The orbs escort them to the cages on the roof. They fight the orbs and when more arrive, they jump off the building, grabbing onto conveniently-placed vines to swing down to safety. They take refuge in a giant slipper where Thundarr swipes at the orbs and destroys the last of them.

They return to the casino lair and use a rope to hoist the elevator up the outside. Thundarr sees his Sunsword and jumps through the window to get it. Sholo flings stuff around the room at them and Thundarr grabs a bag of silver coins and throws it at Sholo. It hits him and Ariel realizes that the Helmet cannot affect silver. She makes the silver dollars huge and they use them as shields to attack Sholo.

Ookla knocks the Helmet from him and Thundarr swings his Sunsword at it to destroy it. It blasts him away, but is damaged. Sholo puts it on and tries to use it, but it destroys itself and they both disappear. The magic holding the villagers carefully sets them down on the ground. They realize the magic imprisoned Sholo in a slot machine forever.