Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Green River (1969)

Here's a black & white clip from American Bandstand, going back to when VH1 had rerun rights. Dick Clark introduces, then interviews, Creedence Clearwater Revival. In between is a performance of their #1 hit, "Green River":




Monday, March 27, 2017

Tooniversary: Letterman stops a traffic jam (1972)

The Adventures of Letterman turns 45 this year. Let's turn back the clock to a time when our hero had to stop a magically created traffic jam, all because Spellbinder (Zero Mostel) turned a family's car into a jar for his own amusement. Here's "A Jarring Experience".



Sixty shorts were produced over the course of five seasons (seasons 2-6 of The Electric Company). Much like, say for example, Scooby-Doo, Letterman fell into a pattern that was almost never broken.

Rating: B.

Animated World of DC Comics: Batman vs. Simon the Pieman, round 2 (1968)

Batman has his hands full when Simon the Pieman (Ted Knight) returns, bent on stealing some Turkish coins, for starters. Unfortunately, this would be Simon's last appearance, as when Filmation gained a new license for DC in the mid-70's, they created new villains for The New Adventures of Batman, despite the fact that by the time that series launched in February 1977, the original 1968 cartoons were in syndication. Here's "A Perfidious Pieman is Simon".



One thing bugs me. How did Simon/Mother Goose know the Mayor would send Barbara to pay a visit?

Rating: B-.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Looney TV: Naughty Neighbors (1939-92)

The Hatfields & McCoys' famous feud is skewered in Bob Clampett's 1939 Porky Pig opus, "Naughty Neighbors". Here, the Hatfields have been rechristened the Martins, with Petunia (an uncredited Bernice Hansen) and Porky as the leaders of the families.

Unfortunately, the original black & white version is unavailable, so all we have is a 1992 colorized print, as shown on Cartoon Network (the colorized version first aired on Nickelodeon). The music you hear at the start is performed by the Sons of the Pioneers.



If you look close, you might catch Daffy Duck making a cameo appearance, just because.

Rating: B.

Retro Toy Chest: Living Barbie (1970)

Barbie has been one of Mattel's biggest franchises, her look & style evolving over the course of time.

In 1970, Mattel experimented with a "living" Barbie doll whose movements are meant to approximate that of real young women. Actress Maureen McCormick (The Brady Bunch) stars in this ad.



Maureen had been doing Barbie ads for Mattel before signing on for Brady Bunch. Gee, y'think maybe this is where they found her?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Johnny Smoke? (1960's)

The American Heart Association didn't intend to scare kids away from smoking with this next spot, but the message was as clear as it could be.

The AHA and the Ad Council chose a Western theme because there were so many Westerns on television at the time. That said, it would've made sense to have a star of any TV Western, be it Lorne Greene (Bonanza) or James Arness (Gunsmoke) or even Richard Boone (Have Gun..Will Travel). Instead, a then-unknown Broadway star, soon to become a Hollywood icon, was chosen to narrate this ad.

James Earl Jones tells the tale of Johnny Smoke:



Personal note: my late father began smoking in his teens, but never tried to convince me to follow his lead. He knew I'd seen all of those anti-smoking ads. Also, I'd seen a few older kids lighting up while I was in grade school. Not my scene.

Saturtainment: An episode of the Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show (1974)

There is at least one episode of The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show available on YouTube, and here it is. However, it isn't a first-run episode. A network promo narrated by Danny Dark (Super Friends) plugs the 1975-6 season, with the addition of Far Out Space Nuts, Ghost Busters, & Isis. The Hudsons were moved to Sundays for the '75-76 season, which would end the series' run.

Keep an eye open for announcer-series regular Peter Cullen. If you've ever wondered what the future voice of Optimus Prime and other classic 80's characters actually looked like back in the day, well.....! Also, if you wonder why NBC & ESPN have used the "coaches' clicker" so much, it's actually a gimmick that began with Andy Williams' primetime show back in the day, which, like the Hudsons' shows (primetime and daytime) were produced by Chris Bearde.



To think that this series came about because the network wanted to keep the Hudsons around after their summer 1974 series had run its course, having ended 10 days before Razzle Dazzle premiered.

Rating: B.