Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: I Can Make You Happy (1972)

Of all the musical guests that appeared on The New Scooby-Doo Movies, only two of them actually sang on the show. We have a clip of Jerry Reed's appearance already available here in the Archives, and now, we present Davy Jones, performing "I Can Make You Happy", from the episode, "The Haunted Horseman of Hagglethorn Hall".

This clip, posted by TheScoobyDooNetwork, is in memory of Jones, who passed away today at 66.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Literary Toons: The Berenstain Bears (1985)

The most famous family of bears since, well, "The Three Bears" of Goldilocks fame, The Berenstain Bears made the first transition from print to screen in a series of primetime specials during the 70's. In 1985, Hanna-Barbera and its Australian subsidiary, Southern Star, adapted the popular children's book series into a weekly Saturday morning series for CBS which lasted 18 months from September 1985-March 1987. In 2003, the Bears returned in an all-new series produced by Canada's Nelvana for PBS, which might still be on the air on some PBS stations (check listings).

Following is a sample episode, "Too Much Birthday":



It's the best way I can think of to honor the memory of co-creator Jan Berenstain, who passed away over the weekend at 88 from a stroke.

Rating: A.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Daytime Heroes: Jayce & the Wheeled Warriors (1985)

One of the more underrated and underappreciated syndicated series of the mid-80's was Jayce & the Wheeled Warriors, a DIC entry that launched in 1985, but lasted just one season, and this was despite 1) a compelling storyline and 2) a kick-ass theme song, composed by house tunesmiths Shuki Levy & Haim Saban.

It was one of those shows where the hero is looking for a missing father, and that had been done before on Saturdays in the past (i.e. Jana of the Jungle & New Adventures of Gulliver). In this case, Jayce had all these marvelous vehicles and his friends to support him against the mutant Sawboss and his Monster Minds. Long-time ABC studio announcer Ernie Anderson paints the word picture in the open, uploaded by JediJuggernaut:



Bear in mind, this was back when DIC had cool shows with awesome animation. The quality of the animation would deteriorate around the early 90's. Small wonder, then, that DIC is no longer around, having been absorbed by Canada's Cookie Jar Entertainment within the last two years. Could Jayce make a comeback? Only if someone had the bucks to get the rights and the imagination to finish the story.

Rating: A.

Saturday School: Clyde Crashcup (1961)

Yesterday, we reviewed The Alvin Show, but now it's time to give some equal time to wacky scientist Clyde Crashcup.

Crashcup, voiced by Shepard Menken, tried to take credit for a number of different things, including "The Wife" and the country of Egypt. I wouldn't wish this guy on my worst enemy as a science tutor, however.

Here's the opener: "Clyde Crashcup Invents The Time Machine":



As noted previously, it took 30 years before Clyde would return, guesting in an episode of Chipmunks Go To The Movies in a sendup of the "Back to the Future" films. As a role model for children, like his experiments, Clyde was a failure. I'll bet you can't sit through one of his cartoons without facepalming yourself.

Rating: C.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Animated World of DC Comics: Batman & Robin: "Partners in Peril" (1968)

In the 1966 "Batman" feature film, The Joker, the Penguin, & the Riddler joined forces with the Catwoman. 2 years later, Filmation brings the fiendish four together again in "Partners in Peril". Ever wonder if Ted Knight & Casey Kasem were getting paid extra for all the vocal gymnastics they had to do in this one?



The cliffhanger format used on the live-action show was employed for 2/3 of the 30 minute cartoon each week, and after the conclusion of the longer episode, there'd be a short to close the show. "Partners", however, would make a good test case for a full-length episode, the format favored in the 1977 New Adventures series, as it would make the plot a little more sensible.

Rating: B.

From Primetime to Daytime: The Alvin Show (1961)

In the late 50's, Ross Bagdasarian, recording under the stage name David Seville, released the novelty single, "Witch Doctor". That went over pretty big, such that for his next trick, Bagdasarian took advantage of the oddball sounds used on that track and created Alvin & the Chipmunks, who debuted with the holiday single, "The Chipmunk Song", in 1958.

Three years later, Alvin, Simon, Theodore, and Seville came to television in The Alvin Show, CBS' latest entry in the primetime animation sweepstakes. The network had experimented with nighttime toons before, mostly with Terrytoons characters not named Mighty Mouse or Heckle & Jeckle, who were reserved for their Saturday morning block. Unfortunately, like Top Cat over on ABC, The Alvin Show lasted just one season, then went into syndication, where the title was changed to Alvin & the Chipmunks. In 1979, NBC picked up the show as a mid-season replacement for one of their flops, and that's where I first discovered the show.

There were 4 segments squeezed into a half-hour. One Alvin short, two musical numbers, and a short featuring pseudo-scientist Clyde Crashcup, who tried to take credit for inventing certain things that were already established, with disastrous results.

Edit: 3/27/15: After previous videos have been deleted by YouTube, we're hoping this trailer for a DVD release of the series will survive.



In the 90's, after the 1983 revival had ended, The Alvin Show resurfaced on Nickelodeon, with the network logo splashed all over the open, just for the sake of the network's corporate ego. After a year, it was incorporated into the variety-anthology series, Weinerville, and when that series was cancelled, Alvin faded from view, and this series hasn't been back since, not even on DVD.

Clyde Crashcup would not return until Alvin had moved from NBC to Fox in the early 90's, appearing in a parody of "Back To The Future". You can guess the role he played. Suffice to say, that was the last anyone has seen of ol' Clyde. Of course, Alvin has carried on, with a series of animated DTV movies, and, since 2007, a series of CGI/live-action movies with Jason Lee (ex-My Name Is Earl) as Seville. For the record, CBS did move the series to Saturdays after the primetime run ended, but apparently it didn't work out too well there, either.

Rating: B.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Spiderversary: Spider-Man vs. Dr. Magneto (1967)

Here's another Spider-Man adventure from 1967, with a 1-shot villain named, Dr. Magneto, not to be confused with the more familiar X-Men nemesis (and current ally in the comics), Magneto.



If a real newspaper editor-publisher were to run his paper like Jonah Jameson, he'd be out of business in less than a year!

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) (1979)

There was a time, well before he became the biggest concert attraction on the planet, when Michael Jackson would appear on American Bandstand, with or without his brothers. By the time they appeared on Bandstand on February 10, 1979, the group was simply, The Jacksons, having shed the "Five" sometime after their animated series had ended its run.

This clip, taken from the "Best of" package that aired on VH1 a few years back, features the Jacksons performing "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)".



Just a few months later, Michael Jackson would release "Off The Wall", and the rest, as they say, is history.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Winsome Witch (1965)

In the 60's, it was being proven time and again that witches, ghosts, & goblins could actually be presented as friendly beings. Casper, after all, was appearing on ABC with his Harvey Comics pals, including Wendy, the "Good Little Witch".

In prime time, ABC also had Bewitched, a sitcom about a witch who married a mortal. Surely, there was room for one more good witch?

NBC & Hanna-Barbera decided to take a chance in 1965. H-B, at the time a sister company to Screen Gems, the producers of Bewitched, introduced one Winsome Witch as one of the backup segments on Secret Squirrel. Winsome W. Witch (Jean VanderPyl, The Flintstones) rode around on a broom and dressed as witches traditionally did, save for Wendy (who wore a red hooded jumpsuit), and of course, Samantha Stephens (Elizabeth Montgomery, Bewitched). While her adventures were meant to be for comedy, like her fellow witches, Winsome was also a sort-of heroine whose well-meaning good deeds were tempered with clumsy, nervous bumbling.

Muttley16 uploaded this long missing bumper:



It's a pity Winsome never met her co-stars, Secret Squirrel and Squiddly Diddly, but back in those days, each story was self-contained, and there wasn't a need for a cross-over. Today would be a different story......

Rating: A.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Legion of Light (Skeleton Warriors, 1994)

Skeleton Warriors was the last part of a 90 minute block on CBS known as the "Action Zone", coupled with adaptations of the comic books Wild.C.A.T.S. & Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the latter the veteran of the three, having been a mainstay of CBS' lineup for a few years.

The series told the story of a war between Baron Dark & his Skeleton Warriors (rare for the title characters to be villains) and Prince Lightstar and his Legion of Light. Unfortunately, despite the predictable toy tie-in and subsequent comics adaptation (Marvel picked up the license), the series was cancelled after 1 season. In my market, Skeleton Warriors wound up, along with WildC.A.T.S., blacked out because the local affiliate chose to air syndicated programming instead. King81 uploaded this extended open:



Landmark Entertainment produced the series, but were unsuccessful in landing other shows on the networks after cancellation.

No rating, as I never saw the show.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Game Time: Lip Service (1992)

In the wake of Remote Control's initial success, MTV thought that any game show they produced would be a major hit. Well, that wasn't always true, and today, their idea of a game show is based in reality-TV and not worth discussing at the moment.

Lip Service was the network's attempt at reviving the 1980's series, Puttin' On The Hits, when it premiered in 1992. Comedian Jay Mohr was the series' original host, but is better known these days for his acting, even doing a dramatic turn on Ghost Whisperer a couple of years back. After a hiatus, the series resumed production the next year, with another comic, John Ales (later of Madman of the People) replacing Mohr. No explanation was ever given for the switch. Rapper Monie Love and DJ Spinderella (from Salt 'N' Pepa) were among the series regulars, along with T-Money, part of the Yo! MTV Raps! weekday crew.

Eddie4youtube uploaded this clip from the Ales-era of Service.



Given that this is MTV we're talking about here, of course the show aired virtually every day, several times a day, burning out episodes way too quickly, meaning it ended way too soon. As we've discussed, they tried a lip-sync game show again a few years later, with Fox Family's Graet Pretenders, which was the last lip-sync game show. That concept has pretty much gone the way of the Edsel, but it was good, clean fun while it lasted.

Rating: A.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Animated World of DC Comics: The Super Friends enter a "Haunted House" (1980)

I've been meaning to post this one for a long time, but couldn't find a copy that I could use an embedding code for, until I found this print.

Anyway, there is one flaw in this short story. I'm sure you'll see it as we go along. Casey Kasem (Robin) has a dual role in this one, as he also voices one of the teens. Come to think of it, that couldn't have been too hard. They could've asked him to use his Shaggy voice from Scooby-Doo.

Here's "Haunted House":



Rating: B.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Animated World of DC Comics: Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show (1984)

If you were to ask me which incarnation of the Super Friends franchise was the worst, I would say, with some hesitation, the 1984 Legendary Super Powers Show. Let's break it down.

Pluses: Firestorm was added to the team, and Jack Kirby's galactic villain from his 1970's New Gods series, Darkseid, along with son Kalibak and chief assistant DeSaad, became the central villain.

Minuses: Despite being featured in the show open, which we'll show in a bit, Aquaman hardly appeared at all. The Wonder Twins were written off the show after 3 appearances. Despite his well-earned rep as a class-A villain, Darkseid was saddled with a questionable gimmick. He had a crush on Wonder Woman. Only 8 new shows were produced, when 13 should've been the order. We won't even discuss the new-look Brainiac, which was introduced in the comics a year earlier, but looked like something out of a cheesy B-movie.

Casting changes: After being the voice of Wonder Woman since the launch of the series in 1973, Shannon Farnon was replaced by newcomer Constance Cawlfield. Coupled with Wonder Woman being courted, if you can call it that, by Darkseid, it was not a good time for the Amazing Amazon. Adam West reprised as Batman, with Olan Soule, who had been voicing the character since 1968, moving over to be the voice of Professor Martin Stein, 1/2 of Firestorm.

Hewey1972 uploaded the open, with the intro spoken by the late Dick Tufeld.



Things would get better the next year, which would be the series' final incarnation. For Darkseid, it could've been worse. They could've done a satire of Love Connection or The Dating Game.

Rating: C.

Saturday School: Untamed World (1967)

ABC's current Saturday morning block will remind some people of the days when shows like Wild Kingdom ruled the airwaves, back in the 60's & 70's. I haven't seen any of those shows as yet, but I can recall when this kind of programming had aired on Saturdays as a youth.

In January of 1969, NBC picked up the Canadian series, Untamed World, as a mid-season replacement to fill out the bottom of their Saturday morning block. As such, it aired after Storybook Squares in the Noon-1 pm (ET) hour, but this diversity of programming proved to be counter-productive. As we documented previously, Storybook, after being cancelled as a stand-alone series, would later be revived for special theme weeks of its parent series, Hollywood Squares. Untamed World wasn't so lucky. It, too, was cancelled after 8 months on the air, and simply continued to air in its native Canada, where it had been launched 2 years prior, and remained on until 1975. It is from around that time that we get this clip of a show close, the only clip available from the show.

What you'll miss is the body of the episode, narrated by actor Philip Carey (ex-Philip Marlowe, later of One Life To Live). Retrontario uploaded the clip:



I barely remember seeing Untamed World when it first aired, but I am disappointed no other American outlet bothered to obtain rights.

Rating: A.

Daytime Heroes: The Mighty Hercules (1963)

Nearly 30 years before Disney got their hands on him, Hercules made his animated debut in a syndicated series, The Mighty Hercules, which aired in daily syndication for 3 seasons from 1963-66, and was distributed through Trans-Lux Productions, which held the licenses for Felix the Cat & Speed Racer in those days.

In all, 128 5:00 cartoons were produced over the three seasons, which averages out to a little over 40 episodes  per season. Hercules came to Earth interested in fighting crime & injustice, and along the way, picked up a sidekick, Newton, who had a tendency to repeat himself, which was an annoyance, and Helena, an Earth-born girlfriend. Future pop star Johnny Nash recorded the theme song......



What might confuse some folks is that when the series was remastered a few years ago, an anonymous singer was brought in to re-record the theme, erasing Nash's original vocals. Some of those remastered prints may still be airing in syndication here and there, but this Herc hasn't been seen around these parts for a while now.

Rating: C.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Saturtainment: Brandy & Mr. Whiskers (2004)

What happens when a hyperactive rabbit and a dog get lost in the Amazon rainforest? Utter chaos.

Brandy & Mr. Whiskers was a Disney Channel-exclusive series that, while it did air on Saturdays in various day-parts, was not repurposed on ABC, even though the lessons that the child-like Whiskers (Charlie Adler) learned on the show could've enabled it to qualify for the FCC's E/I guidelines. Only 39 episodes were produced over a 2 year period, and, save for airing overnights in the UK, the series now languishes in the vaults.

Brandy (Kaley Cuoco, now on The Big Bang Theory) thought she was a spaniel, but instead, as we'd all learn, she's a mixed breed of unknown origin. She's a mother figure to Whiskers, mostly because all they have is each other, aside from a circle of friends formed in the rainforest.

To give you an idea of what ABC suits missed, here's the episode, "One of a Kind".



The info I obtained says that Whiskers is a 7 year old rabbit. I wonder what that translates to in human years.

Rating: B.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Saturtainment: Lizzie McGuire (2001)

Lizzie McGuire, once upon a time, was the flagship series for Disney Channel, which spread out 65 episodes of the series over a 3-year period (2001-04), and made a star out of its lead, Hilary Duff ("Casper Meets Wendy"). Lizzie was a typical teenager facing the usual sort of issues, which were discussed by an animated personification of Lizzie's ID (also Duff). We have to say she turned out pretty well, considering her father was played by Robert Carradine ("Revenge of the Nerds").

DisneyLizzieMcGuire uploaded this sample:



The series was repurposed on ABC from 2002-04 as part of its Saturday morning block, which by that time was programmed by Disney Channel. The series then went into syndication in 2006, but that lasted just a year before it was pulled.

Rating: B.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

You Know The Voice: Bud Collyer (1967)

I was going to try to come up with some pun for a headline, but, then, that's too easy.

After all, Clayton "Bud" Collyer was the voice of Superman on radio and in the theatrical shorts before he landed a gig in front of the cameras, hosting the game shows Beat The Clock and, more prominently, To Tell The Truth, the latter concurrent with Filmation's New Adventures of Superman by the time the following, rather provocative clip, aired in 1967. Collyer passed away a couple of years later, after New Adventures had ended production.

Philofarnsworth uploaded this piece to YouTube:

Saturtainment: Winky Dink & You (1953)

This was the first interactive television show, and it turns 60 next year.

Winky Dink & You spent 4 seasons on CBS from 1953-57, before it was cancelled over---what else?--parental concerns about children and the "magic screens" they used to draw while the show was on. Plus, there were concerns about the use of X-rays on early television sets and the effects they'd have on the little tykes.

Jack Barry, better known as a game show host & producer, served as emcee for this program, aided, abetted, and often annoyed by Winky (Mae Questel, better known as the voice of Olive Oyl, Popeye's girlfriend) and his antics.

An all-animated revival of Winky Dink, produced by independent programmer Fred Calvert, aired in syndication in the late 60's without much success. To prove that point, I can't recall if any of the local stations in my market picked up the later version, and, of course, the original was way before I was welcomed into this world.

Mark Mentzler uploaded this episode from the original series:



And, KlandestinosProd has this offering from the revival:



No rating.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday Morning's (Not Yet) Forgotten Heroes: Johnny Test (2005)

Johnny Test was part of Kids' WB!'s class of 2005, and the lone survivor still airing today, having moved over to Cartoon Network, where new episodes continue to air in primetime and various parts of daytime.

Now produced solely by Canada's Cookie Jar (formerly Cinar, they also absorbed DIC recently), Johnny Test focuses on the pre-teen title character, a modern-day Dennis the Menace, except that Dennis didn't have a talking dog or twin sisters who happen to be geniuses and proud of it, or even various enemies outside his home area. Johnny and his dog, Dukey, routinely take part in the twins' experiments, which leads to Johnny adopting a part-time superhero guise, and there have also been the predictable left-handed pokes at the "Men in Black" franchise, if you will.

Tenzinkid uploaded the series opener, "Johnny to the Center of the Earth":



In a way, the sibling relationship is a reverse from Dexter's Laboratory nearly a decade earlier, although Johnny is not quite as much an annoyance as Dexter's sister, Dee Dee. Besides, Johnny would probably hand Dexter a whupping if they fought.......

Rating: B.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rein-Toon-Ation: He-Man & the Masters of the Universe (2002)

Mattel marked the 20th anniversary of its He-Man product line by bringing the champion of Eternia back to television, this time on cable, and on Cartoon Network, which programmed the series to lead off its Saturday night block.

Independent producer Mike Young was tapped to helm the new series, which reimagined some episodes of the original 1983-86 Filmation series, while also producing new material. The new series aired from 2002-05 and currently rests in CN's vaults, as Mattel discontinued the line again when sales plummeted. Here's the first three episodes of the 21st century version of He-Man.



As I noted when reviewing She-Ra not too long ago, He-Man's sis was to return as well, but the show was cancelled before that could happen. The quality of animation, understandably, was much better than the original, but the lone quibble I have was de-aging Prince Adam, He-Man's alter-ego. In the original series, it was assumed that Adam was at least over 21, but this time, he was presented as 16, and, predictably, a wee bit immature. There were no hints of a relationship between He-Man & Teela, either, which was a mistake.

Rating: B.

Saturtainment: Fairly OddParents (1998)

Butch Hartman's Fairly OddParents debuted as a recurring feature on Nickelodeon's Oh Yeah! Cartoons!, which was the network's answer to Cartoon Network's What a Cartoon Show before being granted its own series in 2001.

The premise is rather simple. Timmy Turner is granted a pair of fairy godparents, Wanda and her dumber-than-a-bag-of-hammers husband, Cosmo, to give him whatever he wishes for, which usually results in disaster, until Timmy learns a lesson and wishes for a reversal.

The problem I had with this show, and, mind you, I'm not the target demographic, is that it presents school-age children such as Timmy as ignorant of education and more interested in imaginary things. In truth, learning also is required to help your imagination. I always found Timmy to be slightly higher up the IQ ladder from Cosmo, which isn't saying much, but in the pre-series shorts, Cosmo was actually a little smarter. Why he was dumbed down when he was meant to be a father figure, I'll never understand.

Timmy had two basic enemies. One was his babysitter, Vicki, who bullied him when his parents weren't around, and Mr. Crocker, who was more concerned with revealing the existence of fairies, and thus used Timmy's lack of interest in learning against him. The series' popularity also attracted some celebrity guest stars, such as Adam West, Ben Stein, Gilbert Gottfried, and, perhaps most prominently, Jay Leno. The Tonight Show host was cast as the superhero, The Crimson Chin, to whom Timmy became a part-time sidekick.

Following is the episode, "Spaced Out".



That the series is back in production now is a testimony to the show's popularity, and especially that of its central characters, 14 years after their debut. Nickelodeon, of course, played the show into the ground in its peak years with relentless weekend marathons, but then, that has become standard practice with cablers these days.

Rating: B.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Daytime Heroes: Chip 'N' Dale Rescue Rangers (1989)

Disney's mischief-making chipmunks, Chip 'N' Dale, were given their own series at the end of the 80's. Chip 'N' Dale Rescue Rangers initially previewed on the then-premium Disney Channel in August of 1988, then went to series in March of '89 before going into national syndication 6 months later. The series introduced three new characters as the remainder of the Rangers: Monterey Jack, an Australian mouse; Zipper, a housefly who is also Jack's sidekick; and Gadget Hackwrench, the team's answer to, well, MacGyver, as she's not only the team's pilot, but also an ace inventor, and the object of Chip & Dale's affection, however unrequited.

The producers found a way to tell Chip & Dale apart. Chip is the Indiana Jones clone, complete with a fedora and jacket. Dale opts for the Magnum P. I. look with the Hawaiian shirt, but otherwise can't maintain his focus while on a mission. The series lasted 4 years as part of the Disney Afternoon anthology series, with the final two years being all reruns. The family pop group, The Jets, are credited with performing the show's theme song.

To give you an idea of the concept of the series, we present the episode, "Puffed Rangers", from 1990:



Boom! Studios revived the series for a short-lived comic book that went 8 issues, the last published in June 2011 under their Kaboom! imprint. With Disney now owning Marvel, and if there's enough interest, maybe the Rangers will return.

Rating: A.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Daytime Heroes: Roger Ramjet (1965)

Before Marvel's Captain America was adapted for television, independent producer Ken Snyder introduced viewers to his own flag-waving hero, Roger Ramjet, aided by the 4-person American Eagle Squadron.

Gary Owens, 1 year before Space Ghost, voiced Roger. Dick Beals, long the voice of Alka-Seltzer's Speedy, not only voiced one of the Eagles, but sang the show's theme song, which was composed by Ivan Ditmars (Let's Make a Deal). A year later, Beals would, of course, join Owens at Hanna-Barbera to work on Frankenstein, Jr. while continuing with Ramjet, which lasted well over 125 episodes, more than 4 years worth of material. Snyder would finally make the move to network television in 1969, producing Hot Wheels & Skyhawks for ABC, but by 1970, all three of Snyder's shows were off the air.

RetroHeroes uploaded "Drafted". Dave Ketchum (Camp Runamuck) narrates.



Roger hasn't been seen since brief runs on Cartoon Network & Nickelodeon in the 90's, but don't be too surprised if someone picks him up down the line. We can all use a good laugh once in a while.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Dudley Do-Right (1959)

Dudley Do-Right was one of the backup features on Rocky & His Friends, aka The Bullwinkle Show, which originally aired from 1959-64. Dudley (Bill Scott) was a Canadian Mountie who wasn't exactly the smartest, but, in true Mountie fashion, he always got his man, which was almost always Snidely Whiplash (Hans Conreid).

Dudley, as you could imagine, was designed as a satire on Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, a popular radio & television series of the period. The one difference between Preston & Do-Right, however, was that Dudley had something Preston didn't. A girlfriend, or at the very least, a prospective one, in Nell Fenwick (June Foray), the Inspector's daughter. In turn, however, Nell was more interested in Dudley's horse, who was known simply as, well, Horse. The mind boggles.

William Conrad, speaking in his more natural voice, shared narrating chores with Paul Frees (Inspector Fenwick). Conrad can be heard in the open to the episode, "Elevenworth Prison", which follows the open:



In 1969, Dudley was granted his own series, all reruns, of course, by ABC as a mid-season replacement to fill out the schedule for the rest of the 1968-9 season, then moved to Sundays in the fall. The series has bounced around cable since then, but is not currently available on local systems.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Adult Swim Historama: Babyfying the Galaxy Trio (2002)

Nothing, and I mean, nothing, is sacred to the wackjobs in charge of [adult swim].

Take this example. A Galaxy Trio cartoon, originally produced in 1967, was redubbed with "baby" voices 35 years later to fill some time between shows. Not only that, but it was shortened to about a minute and change. Videojunkrentals uploaded "One's a Crowd".



If those morons think it's funny, maybe they can get jobs writing for WWE. They're not exactly looking for writers who know what they're doing......

Rating: F.

Saturday Morning Ringside: The Three Stooges in "Grips, Grunts, & Groans" (1937)

Has anyone ever stopped to consider that maybe, just maybe, the reason Vince McMahon hires failed Hollywood writers for the WWE, and refuses to teach them the basics of the business, has something to do with The Three Stooges?

"Grips, Grunts, & Groans", released in 1937, but carrying a copyright date of 1936, might be a primer on how not to script a wrestling match. Uploaded by Swampdonkey1000:



Don't be too surprised, pilgrims, if one day, McMahon really decides to throw folks a curve and induct the Stooges posthumously into the celebrity wing of the WWE's Hall of Fame. Given that his on-camera persona is a few fries short of a Happy Meal, coupled with the fact that he is at retirement age for most normal folks, well, stranger things have happened.

As for "Grips", it's a variant on an earlier short, only this time, Curly is in a wrestling match, instead of boxing, but the results are similar.

Rating: A.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Toonfomercial: A gathering of cartoon stars (2012)

While I didn't really watch the Super Bowl, I have read up on many of the commercials.

For cartoon enthusiasts, MetLife serves up what arguably would be among the best of this year's crop. It's been a while since Peanuts characters other than Snoopy have appeared in a MetLife ad, but oh, did they more than make up for it. Charlie Brown leads the parade that also includes He-Man (riding Battlecat), Voltron, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang, Squiddly Diddly, and so many more.

Uploaded by Remake4water:



My favorite part is Daphne Blake exiting a limo with Richie Rich. You know what they say about money coming to money........

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Spiderversary: Spider-Man vs. Jesse James & Blackbeard (!) (1967)

2012 marks Spider-Man's 50th anniversary. You know Marvel will have something planned aside from the feature film, "The Amazing Spider-Man", starring Andrew Garfield, but they're bound to screw it up somehow. After all, in the "Ultimate" universe, they did the unthinkable and killed off Peter Parker last year, which of course got fans up in arms.

So, what we're doing here in the Archives is we're going to pull up as many of Spidey's animated exploits, as well as a few more of his Electric Company appearances, during the remainder of the year. First up is a 1967 opus, "Night of the Villains".



Now, don't ya think DisneyXD should get in on the action, besides commissioning a new Spider-Man series? They have the classics in the vaults, so what are they waiting for?

Rating: B.

Daytime Heroes: Walter Melon (1998)

Walter Melon isn't, contrary to what some might think, loosely based on James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty". Not even close. Instead, Melon and his assistant, Bitterbug, run a hero-for-hire service, in which they step in for a hero who is either incapacitated due to illness or distress, or is just plain unavailable due to being away for other matters. In truth, the series, based on a French-Belgian comic strip and television series, parodies pop culture & literature in the course of its run. Here in the US, the series aired on Fox Family (now ABC Family), but was cancelled after 1 season.

MrNickelodeon90 uploaded the series opener, with the episodes, "Marzipan The Ape-Man" & "Goldenrod", parodying Tarzan & James Bond, respectively.



I only saw part of an episode, which is how I came to the assumption that this was a modern take on Walter Mitty. However, it was enough to convince me that this series was doomed to failure. A 2nd season was planned, but never aired in the US.

Rating: C.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Celebrity Toons: Little Rosey (1990)

Actress-comedienne, and now, aspiring Presidential candidate, if you can believe it, Roseanne Barr developed this animated series based on her childhood for ABC in 1990. That was the good news, as the show was greenlighted in the wake of the success of her primetime show, Roseanne. The bad news was that ABC buried the show at 12 noon (ET), where most affiliates wouldn't carry the show, using the time for syndicated shows and sports that would bring more ad revenues.

As a result, Little Rosey, produced by Canada's Nelvana studios, lasted just 1 season. Had it been renewed, Barr, who served only as a producer and creative consultant for the series, would've stepped into her first cartoon gig, taking over the title role. One wonders what might've happened if the series had aired in an earlier, more viewer-friendly slot. A case could've been made that Little Rosey did have Bugs Bunny for a lead-in, as he and his new co-star Tweety aired in front of the show, and, had the affiliates gotten on the bandwagon, well........!

IQute uploaded the open:



In May of 1992, Barr and then-husband Tom Arnold produced a 1-shot special, The Rosey & Buddy Show, which was a series of skits that purportedly illustrated the star's displeasure with ABC's meddling with her cartoon.

No rating, as I never saw the show. It didn't play in the Albany market.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Saturtainment: That Good Ole Nashville Music (1970)

Time to move into the afternoon again, and this time, we're focusing on one of two syndicated country music series that filled the afternoon daylight hours in most places, including my market, when there wasn't much in the way of sports on the air.

That Good Ole Nashville Music was a half-hour series that featured some of the period's top selling country artists performing some of their current or more popular hits. The latter applies in this 1973 clip with Lynn Anderson, who topped the charts 3 years earlier with "Rose Garden". Uploaded by Allen0955.



Unfortunately, Anderson didn't do much more on the charts after "Garden" peaked, and faded from the scene before the end of the 70's. Rumors say she fell on hard times.

As for That Good Ole Nashville Music, it lasted a grand total of 15 seasons, then faded out. Country singer Dave Dudley ("Six Days on the Road") was the original host, before a variety of guest hosts took it over. I believe RFD-TV, which is a digital premium channel in my market, holds the rights to the series these days. Back then, it was something to hold attention, and did it ever.

Rating: A.

From Comics to Toons: Beetle Bailey (1962)

King Features Syndicate decided to expand upon its line of first-run syndicated cartoons to give Popeye some company. The result was a trio of popular strips making a transition to television, and the most famous of this group was, arguably, Beetle Bailey.

Mort Walker's long running comic strip made its TV debut in 1962, with Howard Morris (The Andy Griffith Show) voicing Beetle, Zero, General Halftrack, and others. If you listen close, Morris would later recycle Beetle & Zero's voices for Jughead & Moose on The Archie Show 6 years later. Allan Melvin (ex-You'll Never Get Rich, aka, Sgt. Bilko) voiced Sgt. Snorkle, Beetle's gruff, often bullying, commanding officer. After the series ran its course, Beetle and friends would return in a 1-shot on Sesame Street. Not sure who animated that piece, but Paramount and an Australian studio shared the workload on the King series.

Here's the episode, "We Love You, Sergeant Snorkle":



It's a pity no one's taken a chance on giving Beetle another shot, with the characters added in the 50 years since the TV cartoons began.

Rating: A.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Animated World of DC Comics: The Wonder Twins speak out (1999) and get punked out (2007)

The last of Cartoon Network's short-lived editorial interstital series features the Wonder Twins, Zan & Jayna, who had to reintroduce themselves to a new generation of viewers. It's too bad that around the time this piece aired in 1999, there was already a website that was poking fun at the Super Friends franchise.

Seanbaby made some snarky, sarcastic remarks not only about the Twins, but their ethnic teammates, such as Apache Chief & Samurai. Wizard: The Guide to Comics jumped in a couple of years later with an equally ridiculous text piece, suggesting that---prepare to lose your lunch----Jayna, while in the form of a dog, had puppies with a stray she supposedly met, among other things. All that tells us is that we have a generation of 20-somethings and up that have next to no respect for the toons the older generations grew up with, unless they're cherished icons like Bugs Bunny or Popeye.

Anyway, here's the editorial, from RickHunter101:



Now, that was tame compared to what would follow a few years later.

As we documented, Zan (Michael Bell) appeared on Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law and in a series of CN interstital spots with the true Birdman, Wonder Woman, and others. Jayna, for some reason, was missing out. CN took care of that issue in 2003, though, by having her appear on their NBA All-Star Jam special, paired with Jason Kidd, then with the New Jersey Nets, now with the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. Jason purportedly was a fan, and got to sub for Zan for a day. Unfortunately, no clips of that special are available on YouTube. Maybe it's just as well, to save Jason and his fellow hoopsters the embarassment.

And, then, [adult swim] got hold of the Twins' initial adventures from 1977, chopped them up, changed endings & dialogue, and ruined the experience for many a fan who grew up with the sibs. One such example is "Makeout Mountain", uploaded by Chad Rushing. Be warned. The ending is B. R. Utal for a reason.



Now, you know the Twins deserved better than that.

All this proves is that Scrappy-Doo is not alone in getting unjustified haterizing from certain corners of the internet. It's too bad the lunatics at [adult swim] are getting a free pass from their superiors, because we old school fans just don't dig.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Friendship Train (1971)

In memory of Soul Train creator Don Cornelius, who passed away at 75, we present Gladys Knight & The Pips performing "Friendship Train". This video, uploaded by soultrain, also appears on my other blog, The Land of Whatever.