Sunday, July 31, 2016

Animated World of DC Comics: The Justice League returns to Cartoon Network

The rumors you've probably heard are true. The Justice League is returning to Cartoon Network this fall after a lengthy absence with an all-new series that promises plenty of action, coupled with some lighter moments.

From what we know about Justice League Action, some familiar voices will be heard, including Kevin Conroy (Batman), Mark Hamill (The Joker), Gilbert Gottfried (reprising as Mr. Mxyzptlk from Superman: The Animated Series), and Josh Keaton (Green Lantern Hal Jordan). Also, there will be some characters relatively new to the DCAU 2.0, including the Space Cabby (Patton Oswalt, ex-The King of Queens). No firm launch date has been announced as yet, although the following trailer premiered at the San Diego Comic-Con last weekend:



The plan is for 2 11 minute episodes to fill a half-hour. Knowing CN as we do, they'll play this into the ground as quickly as possible, but they'd be well served to keep this on the air leading into the live-action "Justice League" movie coming next year. Then again, knowing CN........!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Tooniversary: The Lone Ranger in A Time To Die (1966)

A greedy land baron schemes to take over his state by force. Particularly, by using time bombs to kill local politicos opposing him for governor. The Lone Ranger takes up the investigation in "A Time To Die":



Had it been made today, it would've taken three times as much time to properly tell the story.

Rating: B+.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Animated World of DC Comics: Plastic Man vs. Dr. Irwin & Mr. Meteor (1979)

Seems the Super Friends weren't the only DC heroes doing loose literary adaptations during the 1979-80 season. So was Plastic Man.

Take for example the case of "Dr. Irwin & Mr. Meteor", a clear parody of Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. Meek Dr. Irwin Feldspar (Alan Young) runs across a meteor fragment that has crashed to Earth. Contact with the fragment turns him into a metal maniac. Now, how do you suppose Plastic Man (Michael Bell) and friends can stop this schizoid crook?



None of Plas' Rogues Gallery from the books appeared on the show, as DC wasn't using them, either, so Ruby-Spears created a new set of villains that were even more bizarre, some of which were actually parodies, such as Mr. Meteor.

Rating: A-.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Personal Favorites: Duck! Rabbit, Duck! (1953)

"Duck! Rabbit, Duck!" is the conclusion of Chuck Jones' trilogy of hunting shorts with Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny, & Daffy Duck, released in 1953. It's set in the winter, unlike the first two parts of the trilogy, "Rabbit Fire" & "Rabbit Seasoning". Regardless of the season, Daffy is still gullible enough to fall for Bugs' tricks. Then again, so is Elmer.



This might explain why Daffy was later portrayed as being dumber than a bag of hammers around Bugs.

Rating: A++.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Herculoids in The Return of Torrak (1967)

Rare was the time when The Herculoids had a rematch with a villain, but such is the case here in "The Return of Torrak". You'd think this evil scientist would've learned the first time around......



Rating: B.

Saturtainment: Mayhem (2010)

By now, you've seen dozens of spots like this one.



Hard to believe, but Mayhem (Dean Winters) has been around for six years. In that time, Winters has parlayed the gig into a brief primetime run (Battle Creek, which was a summer series last year), and it's the first steady gig he's had that we know of. As long as Allstate doesn't run out of topics to use Mayhem, he's going to be appearing during sporting events for a while to come.

Rating for the series: A.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Summertainment: Tom & Jerry duel with a Beach Bully (1975)

The one drawback fans have about Tom & Jerry's 1st run at Hanna-Barbera (1975-78) is that the chases had ended, and the cat & the mouse were BFF's. Anti-violence statutes put into effect while the classic shorts aired on CBS in the 60's put Tom & Jerry in a difficult spot.

In "Beach Bully", Tom & Jerry spend a relaxing day on the beach, but have to deal with a disrespectful feline, finding some assistance from a bulldog and some waves crashing onto the beach.



One of the better entries in the series.

Rating: A.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Saturtainment: Cattanooga Cats in Zoo's Who (1969)

The Cattanooga Cats take a trip to the zoo, where the predictable shenanigans erupt. Can't figure how Country (Bill Calloway) hadn't been to the zoo before this. Here's "Zoo's Who":



Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Dancing Machine (1974)

Time to get back on board the Soul Train with what would be one of the last Jackson 5ive hits before the group shortened the name to simply, The Jacksons. From the winter of 1974, here's "Dancing Machine":


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Toonfomercial: A 21st century cat & mouse game (2012)

Viewers in my home state of New York are used to seeing the CGI-driven ads for Catseye Pest Control. However, what they're accustomed to seeing is an abridged version of the ad we're going to show you shortly.

Caddie, Catseye's mascot, is the 3rd most famous orange cat, after comic strip felines Garfield and Heathcliff, of course, but probably isn't as well known outside of New York. What I had intended to do was locate a 2-part bit where Caddie comes out of the bullpen, signaling Catseye's sponsorship of the "Call to the Bullpen" during Mets & Yankees games shown in upstate New York. This bit has also been used by the Tri-City Valleycats at their home games, but not so far this season.

Finding the longer version of a now-4-year-old ad, though, was a pleasant, surprising, second choice.



For what it's worth, the other two costumed cats with Caddie are known as Brainy & Brawny, and don't appear as often. Now, if Catseye were to go national.......!

Animated World of DC Comics: Superman vs. the Parasite (1966)

Superman battles "The Pernicious Parasite" in this next item.

Unlike in the comics, where Parasite has been a recurring villain since his debut in the Silver Age, this Parasite, one I. C. Harris, was a 1-shot villain, for reasons that are made clear in the course of this story. Harris never appeared in the comics. Apparently, writer Oscar Bensol wasn't satisfied with the Parasite that had appeared in the books at the time.



In the 1996 Superman series, a later incarnation of Parasite made his television debut. We'll see him another time.

Rating: B.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Action Man (1995)

DIC & Bohbot collaborated on a licensed adaptation of Hasbro's Action Man in 1995. The syndicated series ran for 2 seasons, airing on cable on Nickelodeon, or so Wikipedia claims. Don't recall seeing it on Nick, to tell you the truth.

I didn't pay much attention to the show, so there's not to be a rating. Let's look at the open:



Curiously, Action Man returned in 2000, but this time, Alex Mann (Action Man) is an extreme sports enthusiast in a CGI series that aired on Fox, and was produced by Canada's Mainframe Entertainment. We'll look at that another time.

Toon Rock: The Cat Above & The Mouse Below (1964)

Tom & Jerry do opera in this Chuck Jones production from 1964.

"The Cat Above & The Mouse Below" finds Jerry living under the floor boards of an opera house where Tom is performing. Operatic baritone Terence Monk provides Tom's singing voice.



Chaos, as per usual, but slightly inferior to operatic outings with Bugs Bunny.

Rating: B-.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Toon Sports: For Whom The Bulls Toil (1953)

A while back, we reviewed Disney's syndicated Mouse Factory series, and picked an episode that featured clips from our next entry.

"For Whom The Bulls Toil" finds Goofy (Pinto Colvig) in Mexico, where, quite by accident, he's, ah, conscripted into becoming a matador, at least for the duration of his visit.

Introduction by Leonard Maltin, which means this comes from a DVD or a television special.....



Rating: A-.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Maltese Monkey (Ghost Busters, 1975)

Halloween's 3 months away, but let's get a head start with the series premiere of Ghost Busters from 1975.

Jake Kong (Forrest Tucker) and Eddie Spenser (Larry Storch) have to stop a pair of gangsters from summoning the ghost of their former boss and at the same time capture "The Maltese Monkey". Billy Barty, fresh from Sigmund & the Sea Monsters, and Johnny Brown (Good Times) guest star.



As we've talked about before, series creator Marc Richards misfired in a few spots. While this clearly was a parody of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon----and Brown does try to pass as an African American Sydney Greenstreet---the sitcom format defeats the idea that this could've been better done as a 2-parter, complete with cliffhanger. Fortunately, Richards and Filmation would correct that oversight with the animated sequel 11 years later.

Rating: B-.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Animated World of DC Comics: The Wonder Twins try to stop a runaway Roller Coaster (1983)

One recurring trope in Wonder Twins shorts, both in 1977 and from 1980-3, was the use of teenagers bullying other, weaker teens into some dangerous stunts that are more dangerous than they realized.

Case in point is "Roller Coaster". The one quibble here is that the abandoned amusement park is right across the road from the movie theatre the Twins are exiting, presumably after seeing a certain movie franchise. The cliched first changes could've been left out for clarity's sake. Voice director Wally Burr voices Atom.



This is one of those cases where, instead of the twins being together for what otherwise could've been a movie date, Jayna (Louise Williams) could've been out with Robin. A missed opportunity if there ever was one.

Rating: A-.

You Know The Voice: Bill Woodson (1966)

Bill Woodson made his final, and most prominent, appearance as the Secretary of War during season 1 of F-Troop in the episode, "Don't Ever Speak To Me Again".

A minor disagreement between O'Rourke (Forrest Tucker) & Agarn (Larry Storch) spirals out of control, as other members of the troop are suddenly having disagreements, even Parmenter (Ken Berry) and his lady, Wrangler Jane (Melody Patterson), and among the Hekawis, too.



This particular trope has been used in other sitcoms, but not like this.

Rating: A-.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Getting Schooled: Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote on the Electric Company (1971)

When the Children's Television Workshop launched Sesame Street in 1969, they partnered with Filmation to produce a select handful of short bits with Batman and, from The Archie Show, Jughead.

In 1971, CTW (now Sesame Workshop) turned to Warner Bros. and legendary animator Chuck Jones for a series of shorts featuring the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.

In this sample, the Road Runner and Coyote are ready to race, but.......!



It does look like Jones used a ream from "Duck Amuck", doesn't it?

Rating: A.

Literary Toons: Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1976)

From season 1 of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle comes a slightly altered adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan & the Golden Lion, which explains the origin of the great golden lion, Jadbalja, who was raised & trained by Tarzan himself (Robert Ridgely). Burroughs' original story also included Tarzan's wife, Jane, who would not appear in the cartoon until the final season, and son Korak, who Filmation never used at all.



Rating: A-.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Looney TV: Adventures of the Road Runner (1962)

This next Road Runner item is rare in that the traditional opening is not used. Instead, Adventures of the Road Runner was actually a pilot for a television series that was pitched in 1962. Of course, the Road Runner wouldn't land the weekly series until 4 years later when CBS took a chance.

Subsequently, the 25 minute film was split into three shorts, released over a 3 year period, with the first, "To Beep or Not To Beep", released in 1963. The others were packaged by DePatie-Freleng in 1965.

Funny thing. The commercial that the two children are watching pitches "Acme Batman outfits". More than a decade later, Warner Communications, now Time-Warner, would acquire Batman's publisher, DC Comics. Animator Paul Julian is credited as the announcer, although you would have assumed it was actually Dick Tufeld, as I'd long assumed.



WB really missed the boat by not giving Wile E. Coyote (Mel Blanc) a solo series. Just sayin'.

Rating: A.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Rare Treats: Bananaman (1983)

Time to go across the pond and scope out a long forgotten British hero. Well, forgotten insofar as the US is concerned, that is.

Bananaman began life as a comic book character in England in 1980. Three years later, the BBC commissioned an animated series, with cast members of the comedy series, The Goodies, providing the voices.

Here in the US, Bananaman aired on Nickelodeon, usually as filler for fellow Brit Danger Mouse. As you'll see in the following video, the character designs were taken directly from the comic books themselves.

Here's "Bananaman vs. Dr. Gloom", with a plot that I'm sure looks familiar to some of you.



Reportedly, they've been working on a movie and/or a stage production based on the comics over in England. Something I doubt we'll see here.

Rating: C.

Daytime Heroes: Popeye as Robin Hood (Robin Hood-Winked, 1948)

Popeye steps into a loose adaptation of a well known tale in 1948's "Robin Hood-Winked".

Robin/Popeye is accompanied by Little John, who looks suspiciously like a distant relative of a minor Fleischer star, Gabby. Olive is the owner of a local pub. Bluto is the bullying tax collector (Is there any other kind in these cartoons?). You can guess the rest.



10 years later, Tom & Jerry would do a similar story, with the same title, except that there was no hyphen in "Hoodwinked".

Rating: B-.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Saturtainment: Punkin' Puss & Mushmouse (1964)

When Bill Hanna & Joseph Barbera formed their studio in 1957, they couldn't bring Tom & Jerry with them right away. MGM was still churning out shorts of the Oscar winning cat & mouse team, and it would be nearly 20 years before Tom & Jerry would be reunited with their creators.

In need of a backup feature for 1964's Magilla Gorilla Show, Hanna & Barbera came up with a Southern twist on the concept. Cross Tom & Jerry with the Hatfields & McCoys, and you get Punkin' Puss & Mushmouse.

Mushmouse (Howard Morris) and Punkin' Puss (Allan Melvin) live in a cabin situated in a very unlikely place--on the edge of a cliff on what's likely a dead end road, somewhere in the South. By 1964, they felt there was a need to have the characters talk, rather than continue the pantomime that made Tom & Jerry so successful.

In "Short Change", Mushmouse tries a witch's brew, but the results are the exact opposite of what he had in mind, as Punkin' Puss discovers.......



Allan Melvin would recycle his Punkin' Puss voice for Drooper of The Banana Splits, but without the Southern accent, 4 years later. H-B would revisit the concept, this time in the big city, with Motormouse & Autocat as part of the Cattanooga Cats in 1969.

Rating: B.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Saturtainment: Precious Pupp in Precious' Bone (1965)

It's way past time we checked in with Precious Pupp, don't you think?

Every dog has a bone they'd love to hang on to. Precious (Don Messick) is no exception, as we'll see in "Precious' Bone".



No rating. Have no memory of seeing this one.

You Know The Voice: John Stephenson (1959)

The following video also appears at The Land of Whatever:

As Hanna-Barbera was getting off the ground, John Stephenson, who would go on to become one of their most reliable actors, was getting steady work in front of the camera. Case in point is a 1959 episode of Mackenzie's Raiders.

Stephenson plays Jack Taylor in "The Hawk", in which Mackenzie (Richard Carlson) must deal with a renegade he once court-martialed (a pre-Star Trek DeForest Kelley). A twist is that the Hawk is also looking to reunite with his son, now with his mother and stepfather (Stephenson).

Friday, July 15, 2016

Animated World of DC Comics: How Many Herring in a Wheelbarrow? (1968)

The Joker has planned some bizarre capers before, but this 1968 offering may be among the craziest.

The Clown Prince of Crime steals minute items, or so it would seem, from a series of manufacturing plants in and around Gotham City. Batman has his hands full trying to figure out the point behind "How Many Herring in a Wheelbarrow?".



The Joker may classify as insane, but there is a brilliant mind in there, after all.

Rating: A-.

Daytime Heroes: Popeye in Hits & Missiles (1960)

Popeye takes a trip to the moon, along with Olive & Wimpy, in 1960's "Hits & Missiles". Portions of this short were excerpted when Jack Mercer (Popeye, Wimpy) appeared several years later on To Tell The Truth.



I believe this was intended to be released through Paramount, but they had closed their cartoon studio, and a handful of unfinished shorts were completed and released as part of King Features' TV package.

Rating: A.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Game Time: Wing Commander Academy (1996)

Wing Commander Academy, a short lived USA Network cartoon series produced by Universal, was spun off from the Wing Commander video game series, but only got one season as part of USA's Action Extreme Team cartoon block, the follow-up to Cartoon Express.

Despite a star-laden cast that included Mark Hamill, Dana Delany, and Malcolm McDowell, Academy was met with viewer indifference, and quickly cancelled after 1 season. I think that was the end of 1st-run animation on the network. The live-action "Wing Commander" movie with Freddie Prinze, Jr. followed a couple of years later.

Didn't see the show, so there won't be a rating. We'll leave you with the series opener.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tooniversary: The Incredible Hulk vs. Boomerang and the Secret Empire (1966)

By now, you're probably aware, especially if you checked my other blog, The Land of Whatever, that Marvel Comics decided to kill off The Incredible Hulk pro tempore. I've said my piece on that subject, so let's take a trip back to 1966, and the Green Goliath's battles with the mysterious Secret Empire and "The Man Called Boomerang".



Rating: B.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

From Primetime to Daytime: A bee-centric episode of Phineas and Ferb (2013)

From the final season of Phineas & Ferb:

It's all about bees. In the opener, "Bee Day", Isabella and her friends are part of a group loosely based on the Campfire Girls more than the Girl Scouts, and have a learning experience about bees. The second half of the show reveals that one of the girls has a dog, Pinky, who is, like Phineas' pet platypus, Perry, a secret agent. In "Bee Story", Phineas turns the girls into bees, even shrinking them down to insect size, when their bee hive is stolen by an adult obsessed with the royal jelly of bees.



Didn't see "Bee Day". "Bee Story" gets an A.

Animated World of DC Comics: Tiny World of Terror (1977)

The Super Friends encounter a "Tiny World of Terror" when a greedy scientist shrinks his partners, and, eventually, the Super Friends, down to a much tinier size.

In a way, "Tiny World" is a revamped version of 1973's "Gulliver's Gigantic Goof", except that the motivations of mad, selfish Professor Strickland are much different than that of Dr. Gulliver 4 years earlier. Olan Soule (Batman) doubles as Professor Wong.



Bear in mind, too, that a year earlier, the Kroffts had Dr. Shrinker, which itself was inspired by the movie, "Dr. Cyclops" three decades earlier, only to see it cancelled after 1 season. This time, they can't accuse Hanna-Barbera of ripping them off.

Rating: B-.

Monday, July 11, 2016

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Space Strikers (1995)

In 1996, UPN went full-bore with a Sunday children's block (Saturdays in some markets), but before that, they had experimented with a CGI animated series that was the first produced for the network exclusively.

Space Strikers came from Haim Saban's production company. Wikipedia claims the show first aired in South Korea, where much of the animation was produced, in 1993, but, to tell you the truth, I hadn't heard of the show until today.

What it was, friends, was a loose adaptation of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, this time set in outer space. The classic tale had been done in animated form before, but never like this. David Coburn, fresh from Captain Planet, voiced the futuristic Capt. Nemo, who now had to deal with an old friend turned enemy, who called himself Captain Phantom.

I think you can tell this was developed with a toy line in mind that never came to fruition. We'll leave you with the open, as there's no rating.

Toon Legends: Spider-Man discovers The Sky is Falling (1967)

If any one Spider-Man villain deserved a better treatment, it was the Vulture.

Originally conceived as an older man given new life, shall we say, as a winged villain, Vulture appears in "The Sky is Falling" as a seemingly younger man, much younger than he'd been portrayed in the books. In later years, Marvel would come up with a younger Vulture, meant to replace the original, but it didn't seem to work....



You'd think Peter Parker (Paul Soles) would've tried to cover the black eye (colored blue for some reason here) from Spidey's fight with the Vulture in the first few seconds of the episode, but in those days, such plot holes were never filled properly.

Rating: B-.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Animated World of DC Comics: Superman vs. The Toyman's Super-Toy (1967)

From season 2 of The New Adventures of Superman:

The Toyman squares off with the Man of Steel once more, this time using giant robot bugs, including one laced with Kryptonite. Here's "The Toyman's Super-Toy":



In later years, this Toyman (Winslow Schott) was rebooted in the books as being a psychotic sociopath with some pedophilic issues. Hasn't been used in quite a while, save for an appearance on Supergirl this past season (played by Henry Czerny).

Rating: B.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

On DVD: Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, season 1 (1976)

5 1/2 years ago, I first reviewed Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, which marks its 40th anniversary this year. The DVD release of the 1st season is timed to coincide with the release last week of the current live action film, "The Legend of Tarzan", beating the movie by a few days.

Robert Ridgely (ex-Uncle Croc's Block) voices Tarzan, and Filmation adapted a fair number of Edgar Rice Burroughs' novels for television. As a result, the series is faithful to the books. By that, I mean Tarzan speaks perfect English, not the fractured speech of some of the early movies. Johnny Weismuller's famous battle cry is dubbed in, used throughout the series. For those that inquire about Jane, Tarzan's wife, she only appears in a season 4 episode with her father. Much like Disney's later Legend of Tarzan, Tarzan & Jane are not married. Seasons 2-4 are not yet available on DVD, but if sales warrant, WB may just bring them out in due course.

The series opens with "Tarzan & The Lost City of Gold", which would lead to a pair of sequels. Ted Cassidy, in his only job for Filmation, guest starred, but due to commitments to other projects, was replaced with Alan Oppenheimer (ex-The Six Million Dollar Man) in subsequent sequels. Oppenheimer began a long association with Filmation by voicing a number of guest roles in this series.

For now, we'll give you the open, narrated in character by Ridgely.



Where WB failed with the DVD release is the quality of the prints of each episode. Various degrees of age are clearly visible, and WB could've spent more money remastering the prints for better quality.

Rating for the DVD: B+.

Friday, July 8, 2016

From Comics to Toons: Snuffy Smith & Barney Google in The Shipwreckers (1963)

Seems Snuffy Smith's never been on a ship before. So Barney Google arranges for Snuffy and Loweezie to take a boat ride on one of his uncle's ships. Unfortunately, being a fish out of water will only get Snuffy in trouble.

Here's "The Shipwreckers":



Paul Frees (Barney & Snuffy) recycled his Inspector Fenwick voice for the ship's captain, and would do so again for the Chief on Secret Squirrel 2 years after this short aired.

Rating: B.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Animated World of DC Comics: Aquaman & Green Lantern in South Africa (Flood of Diamonds, 1977)

South Africa's apartheid policies were a real thing in the 70's, but it wasn't an issue in this Super Friends cartoon. Aquaman (Norman Alden, ex-Electra Woman & DynaGirl) and Green Lantern (Michael Rye) travel to South Africa when some miners are trapped amidst a "Flood of Diamonds".....



Of course, there's an added bonus with Wonder Woman teaching magic. Now, don't ya think they could've brought in Zatanna for something like that?

Rating: B+.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Freedom Force vs. The Plant Soldiers (1978)

The Freedom Force are victimized by a mysterious thief which broke into the Hall of Treasures while Isis (Diane Pershing) and Toshi are---get this---playing Hide & Seek.



Isis creating duplicates of herself was something new, not used in her live-action series, which suggests that writer Tom Swale---who'd later work for Hanna-Barbera---thought expanding the scope of Isis' powers might make her more interesting. Meh.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Daytime Heroes: Stamp Day For Superman (1954)

After season 2 of Adventures of Superman had wrapped, the producers were contacted by the Treasury Department to produce a shorter-than-normal episode of the series.

"Stamp Day For Superman" serves as a teaching tool for kids to not only learn about stamps, but also savings bonds.

Dedicated in memory of Noel Neill (Lois Lane), who passed away over the weekend at 95.



Rating: A.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Getting Schooled: The First Fourth of July (Liberty's Kids, 2002)

I can't think of a better way to celebrate the 4th of July than scoping out an episode of Liberty's Kids which tries to explain "The First Fourth of July". Billy Crystal & Ben Stiller are among the guest stars.



Rating: A.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Summertainment: Patriotic Popeye (1957)

Kids will be kids. Popeye is trying to teach his nephews about enjoying a safe July 4th holiday, but the boys want to play with fireworks, regardless of the consequences. "Patriotic Popeye" has some hard lessons to teach.



Riding on the buses yesterday, I couldn't help but notice the increasing number of "safe" fireworks being sold, but "safe" isn't always a guarantee. New York Giants defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul found that out a year ago, and lost part of a finger as a result of an accident.

"Patriotic Popeye" gets an A-.

Daytime Heroes: Wild Bill Hickok (1951)

I first ran across reruns of Wild Bill Hickok when they aired on CBN (now Freeform) in the 80's. Back then, of course, Hickok was airing as much as six days a week, but when the series ended its original run in 1958, it was airing concurrently on 2 networks, ABC & CBS, the former on Friday afternoons.

Guy Madison had the title role as Hickok, aided by comedy relief sidekick Jingles (Andy Devine). Basically, this was a typical Western aimed at younger viewers during the period. Sony owns the rights to the series, as it was originally distributed through Screen Gems.

Even though school's out for the summer, save for summer school, here's "The Lady School Teacher":



You'd think this would be playing somewhere now, like, for example, INSP or Encore Westerns, but as far as I know, it isn't.

Rating: B.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Saturtainment: Remember Kool-Aid Man? (1970's)

A few weeks back, Progressive Insurance's ad agency resurrected the Kool-Aid Man, the sentient pitcher of the long-running fruit flavored drink, now made by Kraft.

However, in the 70's, you couldn't escape him. Commercials featuring the character were as much a part of Saturday morning television as the cartoons themselves. The 80's brought a video game from Atari, and a short-lived comic book series, usually a promotional tie-in, since I never saw it in stores, published first by Marvel, then Archie.

From 1978, Kool-Aid Man is put in a position to be a hero.....



Prior to the Progressive ad, Kool-Aid Man's last appearance was in an episode of Family Guy. Knowing Seth McFarlane, it probably wasn't in good taste.

Animated World of DC Comics: The Jigsaw Jeopardy (1968)

Batman battles the Riddler in "The Jigsaw Jeopardy". Seems the Prince of Puzzlers (Ted Knight, who also narrates) had enough collateral to buy a building to run a puzzle factory in between capers.

Complicating matters is the abduction of Robin (Casey Kasem, who also voices two of Riddler's henchmen), prompting Batgirl (Jane Webb) to go undercover. This video is uncut, unlike broadcasts that have aired on cable in recent years, which edited out the scene in Barbara Gordon's apartment that sets up Batgirl's undercover assignment....



Never did like Ted Knight's speech pattern as Riddler. While Frank Gorshin based his characterization on Richard Widmark, Knight didn't have any notable inspirations that we know of.

Rating: B.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Looney TV: Water, Water, Every Hare (1950-2)

"Water, Water, Every Hare", which has a 1950 copyright date, as you'll see, wasn't released until the spring of 1952. Chuck Jones basically took an earlier short and reworked it, keeping Bugs Bunny and the giant monster later known as Gossamer, but known as Rudolf here, but subbing out one mad scientist for another. This one, modeled after Boris Karloff, needs Bugs' brain for a giant robot.

It just happens that Bugs has been flooded out of his home during a storm........



To see Bugs so oblivious to the fact that he's underwater, at home, was unusual in and of itself, and it set the tone.

Rating: B.