Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tooniversary: The True King (1968)

Time for another Three Musketeers adventure from The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.

"The True King" is, in a way, a loose adaptation of another Alexandre Dumas novel oft adapted, The Man in The Iron Mask, configured to fit into a nearly 10 minute window. Something's amiss when the King of France suddenly discharges the Musketeers without warning nor reason.

Edit: 9/13/17: The video has been deleted.

Don Messick performs triple duty (at least) as Aramis, the King, and the imposter. Not much difference to the voices, is there? Could've done without Tooly (Ted Eccles) for this one, no?

Rating: B.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas Night (1933)

Earlier this year, we presented some items from the Van Beuren studio off the "Cartoons That Time Forgot" DVD collection. Here's another one to start our annual "Countdown to Christmas".

Soglow's The Little King stars in "Christmas Night", in which the titular monarch invites two hobos to spend Christmas with him at the palace.



This was not one of the better entries in the set. Part of the gimmick to the Little King strip was that he rarely, if ever, spoke. A little more dialogue would've gone a long way in this one, just to be an exception to the rule.

Rating: C-.

Animated World of DC Comics: Knights of Tomorrow (2010)

From Batman: The Brave & the Bold comes an interesting fable.

Based in part on a story in the original Brave & the Bold comic book, "Knights of Tomorrow" sees a future imagined by Alfred in which Bruce Wayne (Diedrich Bader) marries Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, and has a son, Damian, while Dick Grayson inherits the mantle of the Batman. With the Joker believed dead, however, a "son" emerges to, he claims, take the place of the Clown Prince of Crime (Jeff Bennett voices both Jokers), but as it turns out, there's more to this than meets the eye..........

The original video was deleted, so all we can do is this modest little sample:



Rating: A.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

On the Air: Uncle Grandpa (2013)

At first glance, Uncle Grandpa looks harmless enough. At least until you get to know him.

This Cartoon Network freshman series is about an eccentric, but well meaning, fellow and the wacky world around him. Like, a sentient slice of pizza? The series aspires to reach the heights of whimsical fantasy achieved by fellow frosh Steven Universe and the 3 year old Adventure Time, but at a more domestic level. Part sitcom, part satire.

Uncle Grandpa himself looks like series creator Pete Browngardt might've been inspired by the work of long time Mad Magazine cartoonist Don Martin and/or Mr. Potato Head. Like, UG is an amalgam of Potato Head and any generic Martin character, known for the elongated chin. Then again, the head is shaped like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle. Like, wack, man.

To demonstrate the satire of this show, we give you a mock commercial parodying the zillions of infomercials that are out there on the airwaves 24/7/365. Compliments of CN's own YouTube channel:



A talking slice of pizza. Well, there's worse. Like, a sentient wad of feces (South Park's infamous Mr. Hankey). How much lower could you go? Luckily, I don't think Uncle Grandpa has the answer.

Rating: B-.

Saturday School: A 4 minute primer in an ant colony (1968)

A litte science lesson is in order, courtesy of a Micro Ventures short from The Banana Splits Adventure Hour. Here, our family is "Exploring an Ant Colony":



Consider that these cartoons were 4-4 1/2 minutes in length, compared to the show's other animated features, which were double in size, averaging 8-10 minutes. And now they want to educate our next generation? Where was this movement 45 years ago?

Rating: A.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving Toons: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

Hard to believe it's been 40 years since A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving premiered on CBS. It'll air on Thanksgiving night on ABC, but why wait?

If you've ever wondered how not to improvise a Thanksgiving dinner, pay attention to luckless Charlie and friends. At least they have the decency to say grace (led by Linus).



Rating: A.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Hong Kong Phooey vs. Iron Head & the Cotton Pickin' Pocket Picker (1974)

Hong Kong Phooey (Scatman Crothers, ex-Harlem Globetrotters) has two cases to solve in this episode. First, it's a safe-snatching robot and his safecracker master, and then, the "Cotton Pickin' Pocket Picker". The sparse backgrounds in the open and some scenes were what passed for normal at Hanna-Barbera at the time, at least for their comedy cartoons.

Edit: 7/12/14: The video has been deleted due to copyright issues.

With HKP marking his 40th anniversary next year, I wouldn't count on the dunderheads at WB or Cartoon Network doing anything to mark the occasion. After all, the series is on DVD, and that seems to disqualify it from ever airing on Boomerang again.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Nights on Broadway (1975)

It's been a while since we pulled something from The Midnight Special, so let's take a trip back to the days before disco took over the airwaves, and scope out a tasty Bee Gees treat, "Nights on Broadway", with intro by hostess du jour Natalie Cole.

Thanksgiving Toons: The Turkey Caper (1985)

Who remembers the Chucklewood Critters?

In the 80's, there were a series of specials, and later, a weekly series, centering on two woodland families. A family of bears and a family of foxes. The children in these families, Buttons & Rusty, were the stars of these shows.

The characters were created by former Hanna-Barbera animators Bill Hutten & Tony Love, and debuted in the 1983 special, The Christmas Tree Train, which we'll feature next month. The second special came 2 years later, as Buttons & Rusty star in The Turkey Caper.



Rating: B.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Toons: Pilgrim Popeye (1951)

Popeye spins a yarn that supposedly had him as a Pilgrim to keep his nephews from taking the family turkey and making Thanksgiving dinner out of it in "Pilgrim Popeye". This 1951 short is an example of just how far Paramount would go to stretch the boundaries of imagination with Popeye, as it didn't quite connect the way the Fleischers did a decade earlier. See for yourself.



Y'think maybe they should've gone to market to buy a frozen turkey?

Rating: C. Not one of Popeye's better outings.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Mickey Mouse Week: Yodelberg (2013)

Today's new crop of Mickey Mouse shorts, commissioned for the Disney Channel, have a very retro feel to them, taking us all the way back to the beginning, if you will. Today's offering, "Yodelberg", is just one such example, and borrows the plot from some old MGM shorts (i.e. Droopy) from back in the day.

Uploaded by Disney Shorts:



I realize 3 minutes & change is hardly enough time for a plot to develop and close, but I guess they think their audience still has a sound byte mentality. Their loss.

Rating: A.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Daytime Heroes: The Hardy Boys (1956)

Following the success of the first Spin & Marty serial on The Mickey Mouse Club, Disney secured a license with Grosset & Dunlap & the Strathmeyer Syndicate to adapt The Hardy Boys into a serial. Two were produced, one each in seasons 2 & 3.

Tim Considine (Spin & Marty) & Tommy Kirk starred as juvenile detectives Frank & Joe Hardy in what would be the first of five TV incarnations of the long running franchise. Disney de-aged the sleuths slightly to pre-teens to keep in line with the pre-teen Mouseketeer roster, I would guess.

The first serial, "The Mystery of Applegate's Treasure", was adapted from the first book in the series, The Tower Treasure. Jackson Gillis, later a producer on Perry Mason, wrote the script, and followed with a completely new tale the next season. Here's the open:



Tim Considine would later join the cast of My Three Sons, and Tommy Kirk went on to make a few movies for Disney, including the original "Shaggy Dog".

No rating. Never saw it, even during the rerun period in the 70's.

Thanksgiving Toons: Mouse on the Mayflower (1968)

I initially reviewed this next item at my other blog, The Land of Whatever, 3 years ago. Now, though, is the time for a fresh perspective.

Rankin-Bass, then known under the Videocraft label, tried to expand their holiday roster beyond Christmas with the Thanksgiving special, Mouse on the Mayflower, which premiered on NBC. Today, it doesn't air much anymore, as few cablers are willing to pick it up for a once-a-year broadcast. They'd want to play it into the ground, as ABC Family has done with several Rankin-Bass Christmas specials produced in the 70's for ABC, CBS, & NBC.

Mouse tells the story of Willum, who was aboard the Mayflower when it made its voyage to America, as narrated by a then-present day descendant (Tennessee Ernie Ford). The familiar Rankin-Bass casting formula is in place, with singers John Gary & Joanie Sommers joining veteran voice actors Paul Frees & June Foray and Green Acres star Eddie Albert in the cast. Albert voices Capt. Miles Standish, and Gary is John Alden. As William reminds, most of us know the story, but Romeo Muller's idea of telling the story from a mouse's point of view is meant to attract the kiddo's, a gimmick that would be duplicated six years later in 'Twas The Night Before Christmas for CBS.

Kevin Burns posted Mouse on the Mayflower:



Rating: A-.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

From Comics to Toons: Iron Man vs. The Mole Man (1966)

Comics fans know the Mole Man is more closely associated with the Fantastic Four. However, he beat the FF to television by one year, when The Marvel Superheroes Show adapted his battle with Iron Man from an issue of Tales of Suspense. Unfortunately, the producers erred by spelling the villain's name as one word.

Uploaded by The Armor Gallery.



Yes, the Mole Man would eventually appear on the FF's show the next year, but insofar as I know, he never menaced Iron Man again.

Rating: C.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mickey Mouse Week: Mickey's Fire Brigade (1935)

If memory serves me, this vintage Mickey Mouse  short appeared on The Mickey Mouse Club in the 50's and during its syndicated repeat run in the 70's.

Mickey, Goofy, & Donald Duck are firefighters in "Mickey's Fire Brigade". Again, I didn't see this one before, or, if I actually did on Mickey Mouse Club, I don't remember, so there's no rating.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: She's The Right One (1969)

Here's another musical entry from Cattanooga Cats. "She's The Right One" sees Kitty Jo as the object of her bandmates' affections (what a shock).



With the resources Warner Bros. has, you'd think they'd take a chance on reviving the Cats, this time as a country band, in time for their 45th anniversary next year. Then again......

Mickey Mouse Week: Mickey Mouse Works (1999)

Mickey Mouse Works marked the Saturday morning debut of Disney's iconic rodent in all new adventures designed to capture the magic of the old shorts. However, the series was cancelled halfway through season 2, replaced by Disney's House of Mouse, but still occupying the same lunch hour berth on ABC.

In fact, the shorts were recycled and used on House, intros included, which makes one wonder what went into the thought process. After House was cancelled, ABC filled the space first with Kim Possible, then the short-lived W.I.T.C.H.. Aside from current shorts being produced for the Disney Channel, Mickey now appears every day on Disney Channel and its sister network, Disney Junior, on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, a CGI animated series that is aimed at preschoolers mostly.

Here's at least 1 intro:



No rating.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Toon Legends: Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!

In honor of Mickey Mouse's 85th birthday, we're going to be saluting Mickey all this week.

First up: From Season 3 of Disney's House of Mouse comes a 2001 short that made its network television premiere on the show: "Mickey's Airplane Kit". Mickey's totally forgotten his date with Minnie, and has to improvise his way out of possible trouble.

Mickey & Minnie have been one of toondom's most enduring couples, much like Popeye and Olive Oyl. While Olive & Popeye made it to the altar in a 1-shot comic book special some 15 or so years ago, Mickey & Minnie haven't yet said "I do!", and maybe that's part of the charm.

Now, here's "Mickey's Airplane Kit":



Earlier this year, Disney began producing new shorts for television, one of which was reviewed in this space previously. Figure on more during the week.

No rating for "Mickey's Airplane Trip", as I didn't see it when it first came out.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Funnies: Inspector Gadget's Field Trip (1996)

In 1996, the History Channel took a chance on a weekend educational program that seemed to fit right into their programming millieu. It also marked the return of an 80's icon.

Inspector Gadget's Field Trip found Gadget (Don Adams) going it alone. No sign of his niece, Penny, nor Brain, their dog. In fact, Gadget was the only animated character, superimposed on live-action backgrounds via computer technology. The idea was to lure in the kiddo's who otherwise wouldn't give the network a first or second look. Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work, as I think the show was cancelled after 1 season.

Nice idea, wrong network, really. If DIC really wanted to make this show work, they'd have been better off selling it to one of the broadcast networks, or have it set up where one of them, say, for example, CBS, could partner with History Channel. Oh, sure, History is hot stuff now, after their adaptation of The Bible racked up beaucoup ratings a few months back, and they're talking about reimagining Alex Haley's Emmy winning Roots, which I think is either next year or 2015. In 1996, though, they were looking to improve their standing. Not with an animated comedy act.

Following is a sample clip, complete with the show open:



Rating: C.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Toons After Dark: The Flintstones Meet Rockula & Frankenstone (1979)

Spooktober ended two weeks ago, but I just couldn't pass this up.

The Flintstones had returned to the air with The New Fred & Barney Show, which then was rechristened Fred & Barney Meet The Thing in the fall of 1979. Two months in, The New Shmoo was shoehorned into the mix to expand the series to 90 minutes, for all the good that did, and we've covered that before.

However, NBC decided to take a chance and bring the Flintstones & Rubbles back to their primetime roots with The Flintstones Meet Rockula & Frankenstone, a 1 hour special that was never shown on Saturday mornings, though NBC, if they wanted, could have done so to spare us further embarrassment for the Thing.

Fred (Henry Corden) & Wilma (Jean VanderPyl) and Barney (Mel Blanc) & Betty attend a taping of Make a Deal or Don't, a Stone Age parody of Let's Make a Deal, hosted by Monty Marble (guest star Casey Kasem). Next thing you know, they're off on one of their strangest adventures yet.

When the Saturday morning show was tweaked again the following season, the Frankenstones were added as new neighbors, with Charles Nelson Reilly (Match Game, ex-Lidsville, Uncle Croc's Block) as the domesticated monster for comedy relief. However, after the series was cancelled, the Frankenstone family was retconned out of existence.

I didn't see the episode per se. However, the NBC affiliate could be picked up on the radio, and so I listened to the broadcast, as if it were a radio play. As I noted, it was never rebroadcast, which tells you how well it didn't do in the ratings.

Now, scope out a sample of The Flintstones Meet Rockula & Frankenstone:



Rating: B.

Literary Toons: The Trouble With Miss Switch (1979)

From the ABC Weekend Special comes this Ruby-Spears adaptation of Barbara Brooks Wallace's The Trouble With Miss Switch. Originally shown in two parts, it was eventually released on home video by the network's video arm, as you'll see.

Miss Switch (Janet Waldo) is a substitute teacher as well as a practicing witch whose coven has fallen into the hands of the evil Saturna (June Foray). Two students are recruited to help Miss Switch stop Saturna. There would, unsurprisingly, be a sequel, Miss Switch To The Rescue, which Ruby-Spears would produce for ABC the next year. I never saw this, so there isn't going to be a rating. I meant to post this during Spooktober, but I kept finding other things that got my attention.

Uploaded by ClintGThaShowstoppa:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Rein-Toon-Ation: The Little Mermaid (1992)

3 years after Disney had produced a loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's original story for the big screen, the studio brought back The Little Mermaid for a weekly series run on CBS, leading off the network's Saturday morning lineup. Ariel (Jodi Benson) would only be around for a couple of years, however, due to declining ratings and changing viewer tastes.

Oh, I regret never seeing the show the first time around, and I hadn't seen the movie.You can bet, though, that there were plenty of teenage boys watching with their kid brothers and swooning over Ariel. Sebastian the crab (Samuel E. Wright, ex-Enos) was there mostly as comedy relief, in my opinion. Disney has this habit of populating their adaptations with cute characters that weren't part of the original stories. In this day and age, that means they're there to sell toys. To that, I say, meh, whatever. Let's move on.

Here's the intro:



Jodi Benson would also be heard, but not seen, lending her voice to a floating computer that aided Robin Williams in "Flubber", a reimagining of "The Absent-Minded Professor" that didn't go over very well with audiences, though I actually found it amusing.

Rating: None.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Teenage Toons: Maxie's World (1989)

DIC & Hasbro introduced an enterprising teenager to television in 1989. Unfortunately, Maxie's World was found wanting.

Maxie's World centered on the title teen, a high schooler who moonlighted as a talk show host in her after-hours, self-producing her show, likely for public access. I say likely because I never saw the show, and thus can't fairly rate it. The series aired either on Sundays or weekdays, depending on where you lived. Reruns of 1987's Beverly Hills Teens, reviewed earlier this week, and the former NBC series Punky Brewster (the Ruby-Spears animated series, of course), helped pad the Sunday show to a full two hour block. Not that it mattered, because it seemed young girls weren't interested in doing their own talk shows. They wanted to cut past that and deal with the usual high school drama, and there was certainly a fair amount to go around.

Here's the intro:



A modest theme song, not much else. Perhaps it's safe to think this was another ahead-of-its-time cartoon.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Game Time: Jep! (1998)

Bob Bergen is known today as the voice of Porky Pig, most recently on The Looney Tunes Show. In 1998, Bergen was given an opportunity to step in front of the cameras as host of Jep!, a grade school version of Jeopardy! which aired on Game Show Network (GSN) for 2 seasons.

Unfortunately, Sony has chosen to deposit this in the vaults, opting not to even consider reruns to mark the 15th anniversary of the series. Luckily, we were able to find a full episode to present for your edification. This came a year after Sony sold a juvenile clone of Wheel of Fortune, Wheel 2000, to CBS, but it bombed. Meanwhile, Rock & Roll Jeopardy!, which we previously reviewed, aired on VH1 around this time.

Following is a sample clip:



No rating.

From Comics to Toons: Sub Mariner vs. The Thing From Space (1966)

From The Marvel Superheroes Show comes a Sub Mariner serial, "The Thing From Space".

Attuma, the power-coveting warlord of Atlantis, is turned back yet again by Prince Namor, but when a robot from outer space splashes down in Atlantis, Attuma sees a golden opportunity to finally overthrow his nemesis.



In the comics, Attuma's skin was colored blue at least as far back as the late 60's, but was changed to flesh tone for TV, likely so's not to scare the kiddo's.

Rating: B-.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sunday Funnies: The Angry Beavers (1997)

Mitch Schauer is known to comics fans for co-creating (w/writer Mark Evanier) the DNAgents for Eclipse Comics in the 80's. After that series ended, Schauer sought his fortunes in Hollywood as an animator. Showing a talent for comedy as well as adventure, Schauer created The Angry Beavers for Nickelodeon in 1997.

Norbert (Nick Bakay, Sabrina The Teenage Witch) & Daggett were booted from their home after their sisters were born. I guess the parents only had room for two kids at a time. So, the guys try to get on as bachelor beavers, with the usual chaos. The fact that Daggett is a little on the dense side suggests that maybe Schauer sought inspiration from John Steinbeck's Of Mice & Men, but I can't be sure of that.

Anyway, here's the episode, "Bummer of Love", in which the boys scheme to go to a rock music festival:



The boys' twin sisters, Stacy & Chelsea, are voiced by (and named after) Schauer's own daughters. Nice way to keep it in the family, y'know?

Rating: B.

Tooniversary: Archie joins the Circus (1968)

Joramma20 brings another episode from The Archie Show. This time, Archie, Jughead, & Reggie decide to seek part-time jobs when the circus rolls into Riverdale. Personally, this would've worked better if the whole gang got involved. Can you picture Betty & Veronica in those trapeze artist outfits? Of course you can.



Rating: B.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Teenage Toons: Beverly Hills Teens (1987)

In 1987, the watchword at DIC seemed to be, "diversity". The Real Ghostbusters, in its 2nd season on ABC, added a daytime syndicated run, airing locally on the Fox affiliate, which, in a bizarre irony, aired the show opposite ABC's #1 soap opera, General Hospital. You needed to have 2 sets in the house by this point so your kids could watch Real Ghostbusters and you could watch, if you wanted, General Hospital or whatever caught your fancy. DIC also went to the other extreme, celebrating the vapid stereotypes of certain West Coast teenagers.

Beverly Hills Teens didn't click as well as it should have, perhaps because of the stereotypes, the big hair, and, well, airheaded writing. The series did merit a toy tie-in (from Mattel, if memory serves), but, if it could be considered a harbinger of things to come, the toys didn't sell all that well, and the ratings weren't there. Being six years removed from high school myself at the time, I couldn't relate to these kids.

Here's the episode, "The Dog Ate My Homework":



If the theme song is the best thing about this show, then you should've known it was in trouble.

Rating: C.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturtainment: Santo Bugito (1995)

Klasky-Csupo, enjoying success on cable with the likes of Rugrats & Duckman, tried to expand to broadcast networks in 1995. Unfortunately, their first entry for CBS, Santo Bugito, fell victim to station disinterest, as it was scheduled during the 2 hour black hole at the end of the block (11 am-1 pm ET) where affiliates opted out in favor of syndicated programming. Locally, Santo Bugito was aired nearly 4 hours earlier than the rest of the country for this reason.

The show's titular location is a small community of insects, well ahead of feature films like "A Bug's Life" & "Antz". Since most kids still thought of bugs & other insects as creepy and not pet-worthy, well, this show had a tough climb become even tougher.

Here's the open:



No rating.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Looney TV: Dumb Patrol (1964)

Boomerang has put Looney Tunes back on the schedule, with a 1 hour block weeknights at 7 (ET). Tonight's set closed with 1964's "Dumb Patrol", starring Bugs Bunny & Yosemite Sam, with a silent, brief cameo by Porky Pig.

The plot: In World War I, Smedley (Porky) draws the assignment of going into a dogfight with the Baron Sam von Spam. However, fearing for his friend's family, Bugs takes Smedley's place. Some of the gags are recycled from past Sam vs. Bugs encounters, as any fan can tell. If I'm not mistaken, this may also be a remake of a 1931 short by the same name, which starred Bosko.

Now, let's take to the skies!:



Rating: B.

Animated World of DC Comics: Super Friends vs. The Weather Maker (1973)

Here's another 1973 episode of Super Friends. Set, one would assume, in the summer, someone's messing around with the weather. One wonders if future vice president Al Gore got the idea for global warming from this episode........



The open & close have been deleted.

Hmmm, maybe WB could be persuaded to reboot this particular tale, but with different characters for today's audience?

Rating: B-.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

On The Air: Steven Universe (2013)

The success Cartoon Network has enjoyed with whimsical comedy cartoons such as Adventure Time & Regular Show suggests that the avant-garde flights of fancy in both shows could and should be a trend to follow. For all the criticism leveled against the network for their shabby treatment of corporate siblings DC & Warner Bros. Animation in recent years, their own in-house creations have been the bright spots in the lineup.

The latest to come along is Steven Universe, which bowed on November 4. Being that it's on CN, it'll get played into the ground with frequent repeats during the week. That's just the way it is, but if you miss out, don't despair. It'll be available On Demand soon enough, if not already.

Steven is the youngest of four siblings, the three sisters being magically powered beings known as the Crystal Gems. Since Steven has a ruby embedded in his belly button, he's destined to join his sisters, but the eager young fellow wants in ASAP. He also plays a ukelele and sings songs (series creator Rebecca Sugar is also a songwriter). You've got to admire the kid's initiative & desire. The character designs fall somewhere between Adventure Time's Golden Age-inspired characters and the look of Codename: Kids Next Door, a CN flavor of the month from a decade ago. Still, it works.

Here's a sample video:



Steven Universe is also striving to convince today's generation that imagination is still a wonderful thing. Life is not always built around social media, and wasn't meant to be.

Rating: A-.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Toon Rock: I Like to Move It (2005)

If you've seen any of the "Madagascar" movies, you're probably familiar with the infectious "I Like to Move It", which has been used in at least the first two, and probably in all three films to date. Wouldn't surprise me if the video has been used on the Nickelodeon spinoff, The Penguins of Madagascar, as well.

Anyway, "Move" originally was a dance hit for Reel 2 Real in 1994, reaching the top 5 in the UK, but failing to make the Billboard Hot 100 here. Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen recorded the cover heard in the first movie, but for the sequel, will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas recorded his own version. Cohen's version has been used at sporting events, including Tri-City Valleycats games, over the last couple of years as a means of getting the kiddo's into the between innings fun. Not sure if either cover charted, though........!

Anyway, considering that one of Cohen's best known alter-egos is a pseudo-rapper named Ali G, the fact that he can actually sing shouldn't be a surprise.........



How much d'ya wanna bet they play this at Zumba dance classes?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Funnies: The Adventures of T-Rex (1992)

By 1992, DIC co-founder Jean Chalopin had left the company, and was looking for a hit series he could call his own. Lee Gunther had left Marvel Productions, ending a run that began with that company's predecessor, DePatie-Freleng. The two of them had a hand in developing an amusing, but short-lived syndicated series, The Adventures of T-Rex, which lasted just 1 season, airing on Sundays in New York and other cities.

T-Rex was the team name of 5 blues singing dinosaurs, whose sister was part of their stage act, but had no clue about their moonlighting as crimefighters. Bearing in mind that this was right before the first "Jurassic Park" movie, you could say this show was ahead of its time. Others can say that Gunther and friends might've had inspiration from "The Blues Brothers", among other things.

Gunther-Wahl Productions, Lee Gunther's new outfit, produced a number of short-lived series during the early 90's, so give them credit for perseverence. Here's the intro, courtesy of CartoonsIntros:



I made the notation at the start because the person who composed the page on Wikipedia for this series assumed, wrongly, that Chalopin was still with DIC at this point. To my knowledge, he wasn't.

Rating: B.

Rein-Toon-Ation: Dennis The Menace (1986)

In 1986, reruns of the live-action Dennis the Menace  were airing on Nickelodeon's Nick at Nite schedule, and sometimes on Nick itself. Someone at DIC and/or the Program Exchange, which handled the distribution, must've seen the ratings and decided it was way past time for Dennis to return to television, this time in an animated series.

This version of Dennis the Menace lasted a couple of seasons, airing weekdays, but unless you were a fan of the Hank Ketcham comic strip and its accompanying line of comic books, published by Fawcett until the 70's, then revived by Marvel briefly in the 80's, you probably forgot about this, since 1986 to cartoon fans was largely the Year of the Ghostbusters, with two competing series debuting that same year, including one produced by DIC (in conjunction with Sony) based on 1984's "Ghostbusters".

For Dennis, DIC's art staff came up with a faithful adaptation of the strip, right down to the character designs. For what it's worth, DIC brought Dennis back in a weekly series a decade later, airing on CBS on Saturday mornings that lasted about the same length of time. If memory serves me correctly, Dennis replaced Inspector Gadget on DIC's 1st run roster.

Here's the episode, "Dennis' Yard Sale":



One wonders if Ketcham got his inspiration for the strip from Hal Roach's Our Gang, aka The Little Rascals. Dennis was a 1-boy gang by comparison. He meant well, but was just too over-eager.

Rating: B.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Literary Toons: Dr. Seuss on the Loose (1973)

Dr. Seuss On The Loose was the 3rd special based on Seuss' (Ted Geisel) works produced by DePatie-Freleng for CBS, after The Cat in the Hat (1971) & The Lorax (1972). Your host for the evening is the aforementioned Cat (Allan Sherman, in his final performance for DFE), who introduces adaptations of three Seuss short stories:

The Zax, with all the voices performed by Hans Conreid, who starred in a live-action adaptation of Seuss' 5000 Fingers of Dr. T some years earlier; The Sneetches; & Green Eggs & Ham, whose lead character, Sam I Am, is voiced by Paul Winchell. Bob Holt, who starred in The Lorax, handles the rest of the voice work. Green Eggs & Ham was famously parodied by Johnny Bravo in season 1 of his series, in the episode, "Cookie Crisis", 24 years later.

Now, let's scope out Dr. Seuss On The Loose:



Delightfully silly. As you can tell, Universal owns the video rights.

Rating: A+.