Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Toon Sports: Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics (1977)

To say that Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics was the centerpiece of ABC's "All Star Saturday" lineup in 1977 would be a gross understatement.

ABC had only 3 programs between 8 am (ET) & 12 Noon: The All-New Super Friends Hour led off, followed by Laff-a-Lympics, with the returning Krofft Supershow to keep the kids entertained until lunch. Laff-a-Lympics, as the title implies, was a parody of the Olympics, but at the same time, it allowed ABC to poke fun at themselves, having previously presented the short-lived Almost Anything Goes (and its Junior version) and the periodic Battle of the Network Stars specials, which had three-team formats, just as Laff-a-Lympics did.

Much has been made of the controversial decision to transform Mumbly, who'd debuted a year earlier as part of the Tom & Jerry Show, replacing the Great Grape Ape, into a villain as a member of the Really Rottens. The deal was, Hanna-Barbera had lost the rights to former Wacky Races villains Dick Dastardly & Muttley to game show moguls Merrill Heatter & Bob Quigley, who co-produced Races in 1968. Dick & Muttley wouldn't return until the mid-80's, when they appeared on Yogi's Treasure Hunt. To replace the cult favorite bad guys, H-B created the Dread Baron as an analog for Dastardly. Marvel Comics solved the problem in their Laff-a-Lympics comic book by explaining that Dastardly and the Baron were in fact brothers, something that hasn't really been exploited since. It could be said that Mumbly & Muttley might actually be related as well. Given what we know now, it can be assumed that Dastardly & Muttley's animosity toward Yogi Bear was supposed to have originated during the Laff-a-Lympics.

Jeffreyocoburn uploaded the open, which presents Snagglepuss in a yellow blazer similar to what ABC's sportscasters wore in those days, to YouTube:



And, here's another, this one for the complete 2 hour show, narrated by Don Messick:



The series is back on the air, currently running on Boomerang just for this week, something the network snuck onto the schedule with no promotion, and sharing space with the ill-advised 1979
Super Globetrotters series. Da Boom's programmers couldn't be bothered to run any advertising, but then the network is treated as a red-headed stepchild, even by their bosses!

Rating: B+.

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