Inspiration for Super Friends' Hall of Justice

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The exterior of the Justice League of America's "Hall of Justice," seen on the Super Friends cartoon, was based on Union Terminal, a gorgeous Art Deco railroad station built in 1933 in my hometown of Cincinnati. Hanna-Barbera, creators of Super Friends, was sold in 1967 to Cincinnati-based Taft Broadcasting Co. Apparently, Hanna-Barbera folks would visit the city where they would have seen Union Terminal. From the Cincinnati Enquirer:
When creating "Super Friends," the producers wanted a grand headquarters for their heroes.

The job was given to Al Gmuer, background supervisor for Hanna-Barbera for more than 30 years. Using his knowledge of architecture, he sketched out a building that almost resembled the finished product.

"Mine had more windows," Gmuer said.

The drawing was then given to the network, including Joe Barbera, where it was turned into the Union Terminal look-a-like that's known today, he said.

Gmuer isn't sure why they redesigned his building to look like Union Terminal. He doesn't give the Hall of Justice much thought today.

"In the long run, I hated that building," he said. "The way it's designed, it was not easy to draw. I had nightmares about that damn building."
"Meanwhile, at the Hall of Justice ..." (Thanks, Gil Kaufman!)


  1. The Old Navy on 34th Street in Manhattan (between 6th & 7th) looks just like the Hall of Justice. It’s always cracked me up.

  2. I love taking friends to the Hall of Justice in Cincinnati. Union Terminal is a fantastic building, inside and out, and currently home to three great museums and an Omnimax theatre. One of my favorite things about my hometown.

  3. I’ve taken a train from there. The “station” aspect of it is now just a small room towards the back. The schedule is posted on an old magnet board. To get to a train you have to walk down service corridors and board at the back of the building.

  4. The first and last time I was in Cincinnati, I saw this building and had flashbacks of my youth rushing home from school to watch the Super-Friends. I always wondered if the Hall of Justice was inspired by this building.

  5. I live up on a hill towards the side and every morning I can see this building…the downside is that everything surrounding it is crumbling due to neglect…

  6. I just did my Jury Duty in Camden, NJ at the Hall of Justice.

    I can never get Ted Knight out of my head when I’m walking up to the building.

  7. Every summer vacation we would drive through Cincinnatti on our way to Florida from Toronto and my sister and I couldn’t wait to be the first one to spot “The Hall of Justice”. I guess we were right all along.

  8. A while back I was making my way to Union Terminal to check out some moving robotic dinosaur exhibit, I turned the wrong way and ended up at the warehouse right next to UT. Inside this warehouse was some sort of underground sweater sale, where people of all types were buying boxes of sweaters at a time. The entire place didn’t have a single light on, and it was about a trillion degrees (it was July) inside. I did get a nice v-neck for like four dollars. The Dinosaurs where pretty awesome too.

  9. I love that Cincy makes its way into Boing Boing from time to time.

    Union Terminal is hands-down my kids’ favorite local attraction.

  10. Hard to draw? If H/B was operating efficiently, it would only need to have been drawn once.

  11. They are currently repainting the Warner Bros mural in Burbank. Looking around the plastic covering you can see it’s the Hall of Justice being painted.

    1. jworick,

      You’ve been suspended for blogwhoring. Contact me if you want to reinstate your account.

  12. actually there is a little know museum in union terminal in addition to the children natural and history museum there is a small train museum in a top tower overlooking the train yard

  13. Haven’t been to the UT in Cincy in over 8 years. Time I go back! Beautiful inside, and I remember they had a really awesome scale model of the entire city.

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