Saturday, December 16, 2017

Game Time: A Christmas episode of I'm Telling! (1987)

With Christmas a little more than a week away, let's serve up a slice of the DIC/Saban co-production, I'm Telling!. Host Laurie Faso dons a certain red suit near the end of the show.....



Didn't see this one the first time, so we'll forego a rating in the name of making this a public service.

Daytime Heroes: She-Ra and the Sea Hawk (1985)

I should've mentioned this when I posted the He-Man/She-Ra Christmas special the other day, but the news from Netflix is that Dreamworks Classic, the current rights holder to the Filmation library, is bringing back She-Ra in 2018, where it'll air on Netflix. For devotees of the Princess of Power, you can say, it's about time, since She-Ra was not included in the 2 He-Man revivals (1989 & 2002), although there were, supposedly, plans to bring her back in the 2002 series had Cartoon Network not decided to cancel it.

Anyway, let's go back to 1985 once again, and She-Ra's first encounter with the Sea Hawk, who'd be a prospective boyfriend for Princess Adora........



Rating: B+.

Friday, December 15, 2017

From Comics to Toons: Popeye in Fashion Fotography (1960)

Olive Oyl (Mae Questel) wants to have her picture in a fashion magazine, but things ain't working out. She tries to take her own picture. That fails. Popeye offers to take the picture, but that doesn't work. Same for Brutus. See who gets the last laugh in "Fashion Fotography".



A rare case where Popeye & Brutus end up on the same side. But it isn't good when Olive looks bad as a result.

Rating: B--.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Tooniversary: The Lone Ranger vs. the Border Rats (1967)

Here's a rarity from the 1966-8 Lone Ranger series. The Ranger (Michael Rye) goes it alone against "The Border Rats", outlaws who've managed to evade the law on both sides of the border, but they're not that clever....



Rating: A-.

Saturtainment: The Patchwork Family (1972)

Back in the day, WCBS in New York was home to a locally produced program that aired ahead of CBS' Saturday morning block. Problem was, The Patchwork Family actually had just 1 season of first-run episodes (1972-3), and would remain in eternal rerun until 1989.

Former WPIX hostess Carol Corbett served as hostess here, partnered with a puppet named Rags (Cary Antebi, The Magic Garden). Now, I'm at a loss to figure out how WCBS could've given up on this show so quickly. The series reportedly was in national syndication as well, with those reruns continuing for a whopping 16 years.

Seeing as how I live in upstate NY, and no local station picked up the show, I can't fairly rate it. So, as a public service, we offer this sample clip.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special (1985)

For all intents & purposes, the season finale of She-Ra: Princess of Power in 1985 was "A Christmas Special". Of course, She-Ra's twin brother, He-Man, had top billing. His series was in reruns after production had ended a year earlier.

Man-at-Arms (Alan Oppenheimer) & Prince Adam (John Erwin) have finished a brand new transport vehicle intended for use against Skeletor (Oppenheimer). However, Orko (Lou Scheimer) has snuck aboard, and accidentally launches the Sky Spy. An attempt at landing the Sky Spy by magic takes Orko to Earth, and......!



It turns out She-Ra was renewed for a 2nd season, but became a weekly series because Filmation couldn't have 2 daily series at the same time anymore (Ghostbusters was launched in 1986). He-Man's adventures continued as he joined the cast of his sister's show. Unfortunately, when He-Man was relaunched a couple of years later, She-Ra wasn't included.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Tusk the elephant? (1973)

Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies has gone through a number of mascot characters over the last 60 years. Currently, Snap, Crackle, & Pop appear on boxes of both Rice & Cocoa Krispies, the latter on their 2nd tour of duty.

Around the end of 1973, Kellogg's and their advertising agency replaced Ogg the Caveman with Tusk, an elephant who wore glasses, which in turn is unusual in and of itself. The redoubtable Paul Winchell is the voice of Tusk and sings the jingle du jour.



Tusk departed in 1982, replaced for a time by Snap, Crackle, & Pop. It's a shame.

Retro Toy Chest: Tuesday Taylor (1976)

In the 70's, Mattel's iconic Barbie was facing, ah, stiff competition from other toymakers.

Kenner (now part of Hasbro) tried with Dusty, but she didn't survive the decade. Then again, neither did our next subject.

Ideal, out of Hollis, Queens (Run-DMC's home turf), introduced Tuesday Taylor, originally known as Tiffany Taylor, around 1976. Her gimmick was that her hair could switch from blonde to brunette and back again at her owner's whim. You'll see in the ad montage. One poster on YouTube commented that the name change might've been because of an adult film star named Tiffany Taylor, and Ideal didn't want to be associated with adult movies, understandably.

One of the later ads features, supposedly, a very young, pre-fame Brooke Shields.

The following montage was posted by Ira Gallen (TVdays):



The name change brought with it a cooler ad campaign, but, as noted, Tuesday Taylor's not around anymore.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Even Christmas trees need love, too (1980)

This next item comes from Kellogg's during their "It's going to be a great day" ad campaign in the 80's.

Tony the Tiger (Thurl Ravenscroft) and the gang find a tiny tree in the snow, too small to be considered for Christmas in most folks' eyes, but not Tony's.....



Tusk (the elephant with glasses) was the mascot for Cocoa Krispies at the time, but didn't last long.

You Know The Voice(s): Jackie Joseph, Marvin Kaplan, & Olan Soule (1968)

From Gomer Pyle, USMC:

Gomer (Jim Nabors) gets a baby carriage by mistake, but his efforts to do the right thing and return the carriage lead to nothing but trouble, especially when the store detective thinks Gomer's a shoplifter.

Jackie Joseph is a clerk at the returns department. Olan Soule is a manager, and Marvin Kaplan? Well, he's the featured guest star in "The Carriage Waits":



This episode aired yesterday on Decades as part of a weekend-long binge block of Gomer Pyle. No rating, as I didn't see the whole show, not knowing about it until too late.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Freedom Fighters: The Ray (2017)

CW Seed's latest animated DC offering is Freedom Fighters: The Ray, which focuses on a modern-era itineration of the Golden Age hero, who was introduced to viewers during Crisis on Earth-X 2 weeks ago.

Russell Tovey (ex-Being Human) reprises as Ray Terrell, aka The Ray, as this series is a prequel to the recent live-action 4-parter. On Earth-1, Terrell is just an ordinary dude who just lost his job due to corporate downsizing, after a fashion. When his Earth-X counterpart arrives on Earth-1, well, as the series shows, we'll see how Earth-1 Ray ends up joining the Freedom Fighters.

Jack C. Harris, a long time writer-editor at DC, and Joe Quesada, now at Marvel, were credited with creating the modern Ray, ignoring the character's Golden Age history. Meh. Sometime after that late 90's miniseries ran its course, Terrell was rebooted as gay, I think, by a different set of creators. Harris & Quesada had teased a hookup between Ray & Black Canary in their book, as I recall.

Anyway, the first 6 episodes were released on Friday, with more to follow to complete the bridge to Crisis on Earth-X. Melissa Benoist (Supergirl) reprises as Overgirl. However, Stephen Amell & Grant Gustin (Arrow & The Flash, respectively) chose not to play their evil counterparts, although The Flash co-stars Carlos Valdes & Danielle Panabaker are heard here, as is Iddo Goldberg, who reprises as the voice of Red Tornado from an earlier appearance on Supergirl.

Let's scope out a sample clip.



I'm guessing the remaining episodes won't be out until after the holidays, although I could be wrong about that. What we have now is totally slammin'.

Rating: A.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas Rules (2012)

From season 2 of The Looney Tunes Show:

At the tail end of the Christmas episode, the cast joins together for an in-episode tune, "Christmas Rules".



Proving once again just how badly miscast Daffy was in this series, this song makes him sound even more like an imbecile.

Dog chow: Rude Dog & the Dweebs (1989)

Rude Dog & The Dweebs has the distinction of being the last series Marvel sold to CBS, back in 1989. Ever hear of going out with a bang? I'd say Marvel's last CBS entry went in and out with a whimper.

Rude Dog (Rob Paulsen) shares an apartment with the 7 Dweebs, and regularly has to deal with an evil cat named Seymour. Hey, I don't make this stuff up. Additional talent includes Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, and Dave Coulier (The Real Ghostbusters, Full House).

If Marvel was aiming at a canine-driven clone of Hanna-Barbera's Top Cat, which also ran for 1 1st run season, it failed. Badly. Rude Dog was designed largely to promote a clothing line, not toys, which might have made things a little too upscale for the target demographic.

Here's the intro, narrated in character by Paulsen.



Episodes are available on YouTube, but not in full-screen for obvious reasons. From what we could see, this show should never have gotten out of the kennel.

Rating: C.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Toons After Dark: Beavis & Butt-Head in The Great Cornholio (1994)

Mike Judge must've known that he needed to spice things up for Beavis & Butt-Head, so he created a wacky alter-ego for Beavis in "The Great Cornholio".

The fun begins when the boys visit Mrs. Stevenson to deliver Stewart's homework to school since Stewart is sick and can't go. However, Beavis raids the cupboard and gets a severe sugar high......



Cornholio was last seen in the short-lived 2011 revival of the series, which might be just as well. You can only go so far with this gimmick.

Rating: B-.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Sharpie the Parrot? (1950's)

Today, Gillette is a component of Procter & Gamble, and their slogan is "The best a man can get" when it comes to their shaving products.

Back in the early years of television, however, Gillette had a mascot for their razor blades.

Sharpie the parrot was introduced to television audiences in 1952, appearing on Gillette's Cavalcade of Sports and the Saturday baseball Game of the Week. In the latter instance, an animated Sharpie would appear on the screen, and the jingle would play in between innings while the cameras were still on the field.

This spot, with a very British fellow, is narrated by baseball legend Mel Allen.



I wish I could tell you who did the speaking and/or singing voices of Sharpie, but that info is unavailable at the moment.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: A Snow White Christmas (1980)

Rare was the occasion when Filmation produced a primetime special. The first came in 1969, Archie & His New Pals. 11 years later, they produced what would be their last, and, like Archie, aired on CBS.

A Snow White Christmas was billed as a sequel to the classic tale. Snow White is now the queen, and Prince Charming is now King Charming. Their daughter, also named Snow White, is the protagonist here, voiced by Erika Scheimer (ex-Brady Kids, Mission: Magic). The Wicked Queen returns to extract revenge, but instead of 7 Dwarves, there are 7 Giants, most, if not all, voiced by Arte Johnson, in what may have been his only job for Filmation, as he did most of his voice work at DePatie-Freleng (i.e. Misterjaw, The Nitwits, The Super Six). In fact, one of the giants does sound a little like Tyrone, doesn't he?

Unfortunately, this hasn't seen the light of day on TV in years, ignored by cable. Scope!



The poster had the date wrong, and as you watch the video, you'll see why, as the copyright date looks a little smudged.

No rating. I didn't watch this the first time, so this is more or less a public service.

Krofftverse: Show Biz Witch (H. R. Pufnstuf, 1969)

H. R. Pufnstuf, as well as some of the other early Krofft entries, had a laugh track, which at the time was rare on Saturday mornings. Had NBC really had any faith in the show, they could've repurposed it as a primetime replacement, which wouldn't have ensured renewal, but....!

Anyway, Lennie Weinrib, the voice of Pufnstuf and some other characters, co-wrote "Show Biz Witch", in which Witchiepoo (Billie Hayes) tries to get into show business in another vain effort to steal Freddy the flute.



Hard to believe that a few years later, Witchiepoo actually got better material to work with (Krofft Superstar Hour), but by then most viewers figured her 15 minutes were up.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Fred Flintstone as Santa Claus (Christmas Flintstone, 1964)

From season 4 of The Flintstones:

Fred (Alan Reed) must substitute for Santa Claus when the jolly old elf takes ill. Here's "Christmas Flintstone":



12 years later, in the primetime special, A Flintstone Christmas, Fred didn't believe in Santa, but that changed by the end of the show.

This should, regardless of what Cartoon Network/Boomerang suits think to the contrary, bump regular programming Christmas weekend.

Rating: A-.

Retro Toy Chest: Twist 'n' Turn Barbie w/Maureen McCormick (1967)

Previously, we've seen Maureen McCormick shilling for Mattel's Living Barbie while she was working on The Brady Bunch. This next item predates Brady by a couple of years.

In 1967, Mattel introduced the Twist 'n' Turn Barbie. While Maureen shows up halfway through the ad, it sure sounds like game show icon Wink Martindale is the announcer in this one. Check it, and let me know if that's the case.



Funny how Mattel (or anyone else for that matter) never obtained a license for Brady Bunch toys during its 5 year run (1969-74)........

Monday, December 4, 2017

Rein-Toon-Ation: The Popeye & Olive Comedy Show (1981)

Let's assume that Popeye's ratings at CBS were in decline by 1981. That doesn't really justify the network's bone-headed decision to trim The All-New Popeye Hour in half, giving Olive Oyl co-star billing in the process. No, someone at CBS noticed that Hanna-Barbera, which had a license with Paramount to adapt ABC's Laverne & Shirley by sending them to the Army, then asked H-B to do the same with Olive and Alice the Goon.

The Popeye & Olive Comedy Show had three segments each week. Gone were familiar favorites like Popeye's Treasure Hunt, which should've been given new episodes in the wake of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" that summer. In its place was a segment that had Popeye, Olive, & Bluto as cave people.

Here's the open, followed by the intro to a Private Olive Oyl short.



Airing as it did in the lunch hour zone on CBS, it was blacked out in the home district. Hence, no rating. We've already critiqued Private Olive Oyl.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas With The Joker (1992)

Christmas is right around the corner, and the Joker (Mark Hamill) wants to celebrate as only he can. Unfortunately, it's with mirth & malice instead of goodwill toward men. That means Batman has to spoil "Christmas With The Joker".



I do get the joke with Joker wearing a red sweater and a green pullover. A warped Perry Como, but it was the start of a fashion makeover "Mistah J" is still undergoing 25 years later.

Rating: A+.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Lone Ranger vs. Destructo (The Day The West Stood Still, 1967)

"The Day The West Stood Still" pits the Lone Ranger (Michael Rye) and Tonto (Shep Menken) against a vengeance-seeking Dr. Destructo, who wants to take control of an unnamed state by freezing the citizens of the state capital with a temporary nerve gas. Not exactly Medusa, but....



The fact that the gas was temporary gave away the ending, didn't it?

Rating: B.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Tooniversary: Barbie & the Rockers (1987)

Mattel was rebooting Barbie in 1987, this time positing the iconic doll as a would-be rock star in answer to Hasbro's Jem & The Holograms. However, a proposed series went no further than a 2-part miniseries that saw the name of Barbie's band change in mid-stream.

Barbie & The Rockers was given plenty of hype as far as the toy line was concerned. Meanwhile, Mattel had issued a license to DIC and Saban, the latter owned at the time by Mattel, to adapt the toy line into a cartoon.

Actress Sharon Lewis was the voice of Barbie, and posted her appreciation for the following video being posted to YouTube about 2 years ago. In this episode, Barbie/Sharon covers the Dave Clark Five's "Catch Us If You Can", among other tracks.



DIC & Mattel couldn't come to an agreement on an ongoing series. Part 2 of the miniseries saw the band be rechristened as the Sensations without any explanation, though this might've been a hint that things were falling apart. The following season, DIC rebooted and landed a licensing deal with Hasbro for Maxie's World, which we've previously covered.

No rating. Never saw this before today.

Saturtainment: Our Gang in Shrimps For a Day (1934)

Spanky and the Our Gang kids are in an orphanage run by the crooked, corrupt Mr. Crutch (Clarence Wilson), but when a wealthy patron's daughter wishes she & her boyfriend could be kids again after finding a magic lamp, a la "Aladdin", their wish enables them to go undercover to expose Crutch's scheme.

George & Olive Brasno ("Charlie Chan at the Circus") join in the fun in "Shrimps For a Day":



Leonard Kilbrick (Leonard) is the brother of Sidney "Woim" Kilbrick, the sidekick of neighborhood bully Butch (Tommy Bond) in later shorts.

Rating: B.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Snuffy, the Elf Who Saved Christmas (1991)

This next item hasn't made the rounds in years, flying under the radar not because it wasn't any good--I wouldn't know because I'm seeing this for the first time---but rather because there wasn't enough promotion that I can remember.

Snuffy, The Elf Who Saved Christmas was an independently produced holiday treat in 1991 that featured singer-songwriter Bobby Goldsboro ("Honey", "Watching Scotty Grow"), who's been doing a lot of work on children's programs in recent years. Bobby voices the title character, as well as the Sandman, who serves as narrator.



Independent productions like this don't get the same kind of love that recognized brands (i.e. Peanuts, Smurfs, Bugs Bunny, etc.) get. It's a shame.

Rating: B.

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Sindy? (1978)

Louis Marx and Company, the original  makers of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots and Big Wheel, struck a deal with England's Pedigree Toys to import & introduce Sindy to American children. Sindy had already been around for 15 years in England, and only lasted three years (1978-81) here in the US.

The ad agency working with Marx figured it might make sense to find someone who could sell the toys, and the most famous "Cindy" in show business could do the job. Enter Susan Olsen (ex-The Brady Bunch, Brady Kids), well into her teens when this ad was shot in 1978.



Sindy's still around, having been relaunched by Vivid back in 1999, but isn't available here in the States anymore.

Marvel Productions: Marvel's 1st TV arm's history (1981-93)

You all know that Marvel acquired DePatie-Freleng Productions in the early 80's, rechristening the company as Marvel Productions. Whereas DFE was a Saturday morning fixture for nearly 15 years (1966-80), Marvel Productions didn't match it in terms of longevity before being itself absorbed by New World Television in 1993 after 12 seasons. In a later post, we'll look at the New World-Fox era, but for now we'll take a look at those first 12 years. 15 series total between ABC, CBS, Fox, & NBC, and we won't include syndicated specials or daily and weekend series during this period. Keep in mind most of these programs have previously been reviewed.

ABC:

Little Clowns of Happytown & Little Wizards (1987): The only two series Marvel sold to ABC after acquiring DFE, and neither fared very well for a number of reasons. ABC was looking for something to complement The Real Ghostbusters, but these two weren't the answer.

Fox:

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes was a sort-of follow-up to the cult movie of the same name, and ran for 2 seasons. John Astin reprised his role from the movie, but there were some minor tweaks. Next came Little Shop, a loose adaptation of Roger Corman's original "Little Shop Of Horrors", which had been revived on Broadway. Fox would not receive another Marvel series until after the sale of the studio to New World and the eventual partnership with Saban.

CBS:

Marvel Productions partnered with Fred Silverman's Intermedia Entertainment to produce Meatballs & Spaghetti & Pandamonium (both reviewed earlier this week) in 1982. As noted previously, both series bombed, partially due to airing in tough time slots, as NBC owned Saturdays by this point.

But, things began to change when Marvel acquired a license to adapt the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons, which lasted 3 seasons (1983-6), and boasted a star-laden cast that included Donny Most (Happy Days, ex-Fonz & the Happy Days Gang) and Eight is Enough siblings Adam Rich & Willie Aames, in addition to some of the usual suspects (Frank Welker, Peter Cullen). Jim Henson's Muppet Babies, which would be Marvel's most successful series, running for 8 seasons (1984-91), and winning 7 Daytime Emmy Awards. Disney now owns the series, along with the Henson Company & Marvel, and will relaunch the series next year for Disney Junior.

Happy with the success of Muppet Babies, CBS ordered a 2nd Muppet series in 1985, Little Muppet Monsters, expanding the Muppet block to an hour. Unfortunately, only three out of 13 episodes made it to air before the series was given a quick heave-ho. As our Famous First for December, here's the 1st episode:



In short, the show was a victim of Muppet Babies' success. Since the other 10 episodes weren't completed by the start of the season, so production was terminated, and CBS went with a full hour of Muppet Babies, starting a trend that continues today, mostly in syndicated live action programming.

No rating for Little Muppet Monsters, since I never saw the show.

Marvel's final entry for CBS was Rude Dog & The Dweebs in 1989, which didn't play in the home market due to affiliate blackout. Viewer and/or affiliate indifference led to cancellation after 1 season.

NBC:

Marvel got the ball rolling at the Peacock Network with Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, which ran for 3 seasons (1981-4) before moving into syndication. The web-head's syndicated solo series bowed the same year, but didn't get into as many homes (didn't air in the home district that I can recall). It was posited as NBC's answer to ABC's long-running Super Friends franchise, but slotted near the bottom of the lineup for most of its run. The Incredible Hulk, fresh from a primetime run on CBS, moved to NBC, but lasted 1 season of 1st run episodes (2 overall), as Marvel ultimately suffered from Filmation syndrome at NBC. That is to say, subsequent sales to the network would all bomb out after 1 year. In addition to Hulk, this list includes:

Fraggle Rock (1987). '87 was a bad year for Marvel TV, as all of their freshman entries were cancelled after 1 season (see the ABC entries above).

Kid 'n' Play (1990): Fictionalized adventures of the real-life rappers, with future Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell as Play. Co-produced with DIC.

Space Cats (1991) Marvel teamed with Saban and Alf creator Paul Fusco for this 1/2-puppet, 1/2-cartoon comedy adventure series, featuring Charles Nelson Reilly, who couldn't buy a break on Saturday mornings, having previously bombed with Lidsville and Uncle Croc's Block. Between this and The Flintstone Comedy Show (2nd series), it marked the end of Reilly's SatAM career.

We'll look at the New World-Fox era another time.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Krofftverse: My Fair Robot (The Lost Saucer, 1975)

In memory of Jim Nabors, who passed away earlier today, we present an episode of The Lost Saucer. Here's "My Fair Robot":



No rating, as we'll pass on one this time. Rest in peace, Jim.

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Midge, Barbie's pal? (1963)

In 1963, Mattel decided to expand Barbie's circle of friends by introducing Midge (not to be confused with Big Moose's gal from Archie Comics), who would ultimately get a boyfriend of her own in Alan, but in this introductory ad, Midge is happy, it seems, being the 3rd wheel with Barbie & Ken.

Hanna-Barbera's grand dame of voices, Janet Waldo, narrates.



I don't think Midge & Alan lasted too long, because they didn't appear in ads for the Barbie line during the 70's & 80's and beyond.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Looney TV: The Daffy Duck Show (1978)

After years of playing second fiddle to Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck moved to NBC in 1978. That was the good news. The bad? Rather than have his series air opposite The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Show on CBS and a loaded lineup on ABC, NBC placed Daffy at 12 noon (ET).

As the opening montage would imply, most of the cartoons either feature Daffy alone or with either Porky Pig or Speedy Gonzales, the latter of whom would later merit co-headlining status of his own a couple of years later.

Here's the 1st season intro, with narration by Casey Kasem.



Nearly 20 years later, Daffy would get another solo series, this time on Kids' WB!, but it lasted maybe a year, tops.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Little Wizards (1987)

Marvel Productions sold a grand total of 2 series to ABC, both in 1987. Both Little Clowns of Happytown and Little Wizards ended up cancelled after just 1 season, likely because they couldn't hold The Real Ghostbusters' audience.

Little Wizards uses a familiar trope of a young prince ousted from his kingdom by an evil tyrant, and now cobbles together a band to retake the throne. Unfortunately, since this show seems to be played mostly for laughs, viewers weren't interested.

Most episodes are available in foreign languages and thus cannot be used here. Thankfully, this intro is in English.



I cannot be certain of this, but ABC may have programmed this show opposite Marvel stablemate Fraggle Rock over on NBC, and that may have had a hand in the series' demise.

No rating.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tooniversary: Pandamonium (1982)

Pandamonium should've been adapted into a Marvel comic book, but it wasn't.

Marvel Productions' 1st sale to CBS (along with Meatballs & Spaghetti, reviewed yesterday), Pandamonium lasted just 1 season, though its premise seemed familiar.

An evil wizard, Mondraggor (Bill Woodson), loses control of a magic pyramid, which shatters into several pieces when it hits Earth. Part of it falls into the hands of a trio of pandas, Chesty (Jesse White), Timothy, & Algernon, who are joined by a pair of human siblings to try to locate the rest of the pieces and thwart Mandraggor's evil schemes. Unfortunately, 13 episodes was all there were.

Here's the intro:



Additional voice talent included Janet Waldo, Walker Edmiston, and Alan Dinehart. Michael Rye was heard narrating the intro above.

No rating.

Toon Rock: Money For Nothing (1985)

Dire Straits' 1985 CD, "Brothers In Arms", produced several hits. The first of these was "Money For Nothing", a largely CGI video, with some live-action concert footage of the band. Sting, formerly of the Police, is also heard as a backing vocalist.



Four years later, "Weird" Al Yankovic would parody "Money", with references to The Beverly Hillbillies, for the soundtrack to his film, "UHF". Nothing beats the original, though.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Tooniversary: Meatballs & Spaghetti (1982)

In 1982, Marvel Productions (formerly DePatie-Freleng) and Fred Silverman's Intermedia Entertainment joined forces to sell a pair of animated series to CBS. Given that DFE had only sold 2 series and a handful of Dr. Seuss specials to the network in the 70's, this was a step forward.

Unfortunately, few people actually got to see Meatballs & Spaghetti, about a husband & wife rock duo, traveling on the road. I cannot recall if the show aired on the CBS affiliate here or if it was blacked out, along with stablemate Pandamonium. What I do know is that both series were cancelled after 1 season. Marvel would replace them with Dungeons & Dragons the next year, and that turned out to be a better fit for the network in the long term.

TV vet Ron Masak (ex-Love Thy Neighbor, later of Murder, She Wrote) voices Meatballs in what may be his first cartoon gig. The only other recognizable names in the cast include Frank Welker and Ronnie Schell.

Here's a sample episode.



Believe it or else, I've never even seen this on a VHS tape. Was it that bad?

No rating.

Countdown To Christmas: A Christmas Carol (1971)

Charles Dickens' classic has been adapted, accurately and/or loosely, many times over the years. In 1971, Richard Williams & Chuck Jones took A Christmas Carol and turned it into a half-hour ABC special. One of the best animated adaptations of the story. Ever.



Rating: A.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Toon Sports: Hockey Homicide (1945)

Goofy is literally all over the ice, as every character in 1945's "Hockey Homicide" is Goofy. Doodles Weaver is the narrator.



There are also clips mixed in from earlier Goofy shorts, including "How To Play Baseball" & "Victory Through Air Power", as things get completely wack.

Rating: A-.

Retro Toy Chest: Barbie talks! (1969)

Once upon a time, Mattel experimented with a talking Barbie doll, and, in addition to Barbie's British friend, Stacey, you can imagine they tried this experiment with the rest of the line. Mattel had the talking See & Say toys out at the time, which may have led to this experiment.

Eve Plumb (The Brady Bunch) stars in this ad.



Sadly, the talking dolls are off the market, nearly 50 years later, but are probably on collectors' wish lists.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Daytime Heroes: Thundercats in The Doomgaze (1985)

Let's take a trip to 3rd Earth, home of the Thundercats.

Mumm-Ra forges a deal with a human sorceress in order to trap the Thundercats in "The Doomgaze".



In memory of Earle Hyman (Panthro), who passed away earlier this week.

Rating: B.

Saturday School: Betcha Don't Know (1981)

Before NBC launched the One To Grow On PSA series in the mid-80's, they partnered with the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) for a short-lived series of PSA interstitals. Betcha Don't Know featured a number of NBC stars, of course, including Erik Estrada (CHiPs), and in this two-set, Kim Fields (The Facts of Life), who's joined by James Harder, who was Big Fig when shilling for Fig Newtons in the 70's.



At least now I have a name to go with the familiar face that did a lot of commercials in the 70's & 80's (Harder).

Rating: A.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Toonfomercial: Look who's shilling for AT&T! (1987)

During Super Bowl XXI, AT&T debuted this spot, featuring Clark Kent (who doesn't change to Superman) and Lois Lane. Margot Kidder and the late Christopher Reeve, a few months away from their final movie together, "Superman IV: The Quest For Peace", provide the voices for Lois & Clark.



This looks like this might've been a Hanna-Barbera production, a year before Ruby-Spears' attempt at bringing the Man of Steel back to Saturday mornings.

Retro Toy Chest: Barbie Super 'Vette (1979)

Here's another addition to Mattel's Barbie line of products, and it's probably the closest the toy giant ever got to crossing Barbie over with Hot Wheels.

Barbie Super 'Vette was introduced in 1979. Future TV star Kim Fields (later of The Facts of Life) is featured in the ad. Michael Bell (Plastic Man, Super Friends, etc.) is the announcer.

Saturtainment: Introducing The Lockers (Soul Train, 1975)

The Lockers were a dance troupe that got their start as individual dancers on Soul Train when the series went national in 1971. Four years later, after the troupe was founded, the Lockers returned to perform for the first time as a group on the show. Don Cornelius does the intro and a subsequent interview.



At least three members of the group went on to bigger things.

Fred Berry (Mr. Penguin) is better known for his role as Rerun on What's Happening! and its sequel, What's Happening Now!. Berry left the Lockers in 1976, and I think that was when he was cast for What's Happening!.

Adolpho "Shabba-Doo" Quinones was later featured with Sister Sledge, if I recall correctly, in a video for their song, "He's The Greatest Dancer".

Toni Basil also left the Lockers in 1976, becoming a choreographer, and hit the top of the pop charts in 1981 with "Mickey".

Well, at least that's one advantage Soul Train had over American Bandstand......

Thursday, November 23, 2017

On The Air: Wild Kratts (2011)

I had this next entry up before, but the episodes I was using were getting deleted, so I took it down, figuring to bring it back again another day. Today being Thanksgiving, this is the perfect time.

Chris & Martin Kratt have been a part of PBS' children's programming for several years now, starting with Kratts' Creatures. Their current series, the 1/2-live action, 1/2-animated Wild Kratts, has just begun its 5th season, spread out over a 6 year period.

The brothers voice their own animated selves, and also write and/or direct episodes. If they're thinking of being a pair of modern day Marlin Perkins clones, they're fooling themselves.

Anyway, the gimmick here is that the brothers use some special suits to mimic the abilities of certain animals. Kind of like DC Comics' Vixen, but nowhere near close to her level. There is a recurring villain, too, a gourmet chef who serves as a parody of real life celebrity chefs (i.e. Justin Wilson).

Fittingly, for Thanksgiving, we present "Happy Turkey Day":



Parents, you might want to give your kids some Wild Kingdom DVD's, if they want to learn more in depth about the animal kingdom, rather than buy into these clowns' lessons as gospel.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Toons: Garfield's Thanksgiving (1989)

By all rights, Thanksgiving should be Garfield's favorite holiday, since he'd probably have license to gorge on turkey, mashed potatoes, etc., leaving little in the way of leftovers.

However, as this primetime special shows, Garfield (Lorenzo Music) is not exactly making a first impression on Jon's new girlfriend......



Of course, Garfield's whole schtick is being lazy and interested only in eating. Today, that wouldn't be so well received.

Rating: B.

You Know The Voice: Nancy Cartwright (1992)

The Simpsons was in between seasons 3 & 4 when Nancy Cartwright (Bart, Nelson, etc.) appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1992. Of course, Arsenio has some voice acting experience on his resume, too (ex-Real Ghostbusters)......



As The Simpsons actually marks 30 years this year (having debuted on The Tracey Ullman Show), maybe it's time to pay tribute before the series itself lights 30 candles in 2019.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Daytime Heroes: Terrahawks (1983)

British producer Gerry Anderson, after spending the 70's developing live action series (i.e. UFO, Space 1999) went back to his puppets with 1983's Terrahawks. Three 13-episode series were produced in England between 1983-6, and at least one season was shown here in the US that I can remember. However, it's been a very long time since Terrahawks has seen the light of day on American television.

As with most of Anderson's sci-fi series, the show is set in the future, in this case, in the year 2020. The episode, "From Here to Infinity", sneaks in a call-back to an earlier Anderson entry. Can you guess which one?



Terrahawks was not only the first puppet series that wasn't produced for ITC, but Anderson's last puppet show as well. The series was co-produced with London Weekend Television.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Legend of Cherokee Smith (The Lone Ranger, 1967)

The Lone Ranger (Michael Rye) & Tonto (Shepard Menken) discover a once lawless town is now Peaceable Corners, thanks to "The Legend of Cherokee Smith". A shopkeeper explains to our heroes how Cherokee Smith (Menken in a dual role) tamed the former Cutthroat Corners. And, well........



Could Smith be related to Tonto? Unfortunately, Cherokee never returned.

Rating: A.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Justice League Week: Batman, Robin, & Rima tackle a forest fire (1977)

Justice League week concludes with a Super Friends short from 1977.

Batman (Olan Soule), Robin (Casey Kasem), and guest star Rima (Shannon Farnon) take on the challenge of a forest "Fire". Soule is also heard as a fire marshal, Kasem as an escaped convict.

Plus: A craft lesson with Wonder Woman, and a safety tip from Superman.



Not sure if Rima had been created as a female version of Tarzan, but that's where she gets the ability to communicate with animals.

Rating: A-.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Missing the Mark (2017)

Now, here's a real one-man show.

You probably know that in addition to a weekly 15 minute berth on Chumptoon Network, Justice League Action is also available in smaller increments on your cable system's On Demand service or online on the DC Kids website. That's where you'll find this next nugget of joy.

"Missing The Mark" is all about Mark Hamill, who not only voices Joker, Trickster, & Swamp Thing, but his own animated self.



It's easy to forget that Hamill got his first break in cartoons (Jeannie, 1973) before movies like "Corvette Summer" and "Star Wars" put him over the top and into icon status. Oh, this was fun.

Rating: A.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Justice League Week: Superman vs. The Hunter (1988)

Superman (Beau Weaver) is faced with an indirect threat from the Phantom Zone, as General Zod (Rene Alberjonois, Smurfs, ex-Benson, later of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) creates an unliving Hunter (Peter Cullen, Transformers, etc.) to track down the Man of Steel.........



To me, this is exhibit A in why they blew it. Were it not for the Family Album back-up feature forced on Ruby-Spears by CBS exec Judy Price for educational reasons, this could've been a full-length tale that would've given Clark more time to spend with his adoptive parents.

Rating: B.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

You Know The Voice: Louise "Liberty" Williams & Cliff Norton (1976)

From the 1st season of Alice:

Alice Hyatt (Linda Lavin) is mistaken for a prostitute and arrested at a nightclub where she was hired as a singer for a night. Cliff Norton (ex-Where's Huddles), Caren Kaye (later of The Betty White Show & Who's Watching The Kids?), Gordon Jump (pre-WKRP in Cincinnati) and Louise (billed as Liberty) Williams guest star in "Pay The Fifty Dollars". Caren & Liberty play a pair of hookers themselves, and this wouldn't be the last time Louise would play a saucier character (her 2 appearances on Three's Company came later).



As we've previously seen, Cliff & Louise would work together again a year later with Andy Kaufman in an unsold pilot (Stick Around). Lest I forget, co-executive producers William P. D'Angelo, Harvey Bullock, & Ray Allen also produced NBC's Monster Squad, and would later contribute scripts for The Love Boat after getting out of the Saturday morning arena.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Saturday Night (1976)

From The Midnight Special:

The Bay City Rollers took the US by storm with "Saturday Night", released initially in the fall of 1975, and it hit #1 early in 1976. This was actually the 2nd version of the song to be recorded, as the first failed to hit the British charts a couple of years earlier. This, though, is the version everyone remembers.



2 years later, as we all know, NBC and the Kroffts took a chance on the Rollers by giving them their own Saturday show, but it failed, and limped through the 1978-9 season.

Justice League Week: Batman in Perilous Playthings (1968)

Catwoman (Jane Webb) hijacks the set of a movie, and lures Batman into a trap in "Perilous Playthings".



Way too short to suit, and if Oscar Bensol had thought of it, this could've been a crossover with Superman that would've allowed the Toyman into the mix. If they rewrote it today, nearly 50 years later, I'm sure someone would think of that.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Morning Funnies cereal? (1988)

Ralston Purina entered into a licensing agreement with King Features Syndicate and other comic strip publishers in 1988 to produce Morning Funnies, a fruit-based cereal that landed on shelves for about a year or two, but no more. In the ad, you'll see Dennis The Menace, Hagar the Horrible, and so much more.



Some of the strips, like Hagar, Dennis, & The Family Circus, are still with us. Others, like Tiger? Not so much.

Justice League Week: Legends of the Superheroes (1979)

Sometimes, you have to take the good with the bad.

A few years ago, I was able to acquire a VHS tape that collected both halves of a 2-part miniseries, Legends of the Superheroes, which, for some strange reason, ended up on then-moribound NBC, instead of ABC, home of Super Friends. The biggest lure was the reunion of Batman co-stars Adam West & Burt Ward in live-action (they'd initially reunited in The New Adventures of Batman 2 years earlier) and Emmy winner Frank Gorshin, reprising as Riddler for the first time in 11 years.

This was the intro to the first half, "The Challenge":



Sure, the special effects were cheesy, and while Hanna-Barbera had dabbled in live action over the previous five years (i.e. Korg: 70,000 B. C.), their SFX were Krofft-level bad. The supporting cast included Charlie Callas (ex-Switch) as Sinestro, William Schallert as the Scarlet Cyclone, aka Retired Man, posited perhaps as an analogue for the Golden Age Flash, and Jeff Altman as Weather Wizard. Alfie Wise (ex-Uncle Croc's Block) turned up in "The Roast" as Atom. Character actor Mickey Morton had the thankless task of portraying Solomon Grundy as being about as intelligent as the Incredible Hulk, which at the time wasn't much.

Not long ago, Warner Bros. decided to release this on DVD, probably through their MOD (Manufactured on Demand) service. You'd only want to taunt your friends. I'm surprised this hasn't shown up on [adult swim] after all this time......

Rating: D.

Sunday Funnies: Since when do babies play golf? (2009)

E-Trade's most popular ad campaign, at least in this writer's view, featured a very smart little baby.

The idea was the the company wanted to use a toddler (voiced by comedian Pete Holmes) to extol the virtues of their services. This 2009 spot is probably the most popular of them all, putting a new word in the lexicon: Shankopotamus!



There would soon be more little kids joining the party, but that might've been the jump the shark moment for this series, as E-Trade has moved on....

Monday, November 13, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Fillmore in Code Name: Electric Haircut (2003)

From season 2 of Fillmore:

Fillmore (Orlando Brown, That's So Raven) and Ingrid (Tara Strong) try to find a missing classmate and stop a computer virus, all at the same time. Raven-Symone, Vincent Pastore (The Sopranos) and a pre-Heroes Hayden Panettiere guest star in "Code Name: Electric Haircut":



I'm begging Disney to release this on DVD, preferably yesterday.

Rating: A.

Animated World of DC Comics: Super Friends vs. the Fantastic Frerps (1973)

All this week, we're showcasing some classic animated adventures of the Justice League, including some choice Super Friends episodes. First up: From 1973, King Plasto (Norman Alden) schemes to start his own country with some weird plastic compound. Frank Welker (Marvin/Wonder Dog) is also heard as Styro, Plasto's assistant, in "The Fantastic Frerps":



Typical of the period. Long range goal, but the dishonest plan doesn't really have a chance of succeeding at the end.

Rating: B.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Morning Train (9 to 5)(1981)

Scotland's Sheena Easton scored her only American #1 hit in 1981, and earned a Grammy as Best New Artist, with "Morning Train (9 to 5)". The "Morning Train" title was added in the US & Canada to avoid confusion with a certain Dolly Parton crossover hit that came out a year earlier. Dick Clark explains all this to introduce Sheena on American Bandstand.



The second single, "Modern Girl", was actually released first in the UK, but failed to crack their top 40. Of course, Sheena would finish the year with the theme from the James Bond movie, "For Your Eyes Only", but how that failed to reach #1, I don't know.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Toons After Dark: TV Funhouse (2000)

Spun off from Saturday Night Live, Robert Smigel's TV Funhouse landed at Comedy Central as a mid-week primetime series. At the time, CC was looking for something to provide a bridge on Wednesday nights between South Park and The Daily Show.

Unfortunately, Smigel's brand of subversive humor wasn't on the same level as, say, South Park, and viewers turned away in droves, knocking the show off the air after 2 months.

The animated segments were framed around live-action segments with host Doug Dale and the Anipal puppets. While I never saw the show during its initial run, I happened across this particular clip. Here is a parody of a long running series of commercials promoting a certain brand of bug spray......



I think we can see why this show ultimately failed its audience. This joke was beaten into the ground rather quickly.

Rating: C.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Lone Ranger vs. Quicksilver (1967)

The Lone Ranger (Michael Rye) goes it alone against a greedy foe who literally wastes his life away. Here's Jack Wrather & Format Films' version of "Quicksilver".



Not to be confused with Marvel Comics' Quicksilver, of course, but our villain found out the hard way that there was a side effect to the untested formula he'd stolen to start his crime wave.

Rating: A-.

You Know The Voice: Lennie Weinrib (1973)

In addition to landing the lead in Inch High, Private Eye in 1973, Len Weinrib was signed to play Mr. Pringle, the short-lived spokesman for Pringle's potato chips (later rechristened as potato crisps---don't ask). Until today, I hadn't seen this ad. Ever.



At the time, Pringle's was part of the Procter & Gamble family of products. Today, it's part of Kellogg's and their expanding line of snacks.

Saturtainment: Go! (1973)

NBC developed a weekly magazine-type program for young people in 1973 with Go!, which ran for 3 seasons in all (1973-6), with the series rechristened Go-USA in the final season to commemorate the bicentennial.

There was no set host. Various NBC personalities, including Emergency! stars Randolph Mantooth & Kevin Tighe and original Jeopardy! host Art Fleming, appeared, serving as tour guides for viewers. In the final season, as Go-USA, the series shifted to a more dramatic bent, almost in the vein of CBS' aborted revival of You Are There, which had been tried 2 years before Go! began.

This promo comes from NBC's 1974 Saturday morning preview, which we've shown before. Dick Tufeld is the narrator.



Didn't see enough of the show to form an opinion, so no rating.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Charlie the Tuna? (1961)

StarKist tuna introduced Charlie the Tuna to television audiences in 1961. While folks were trying to figure out why Charlie wanted to willingly sacrifice himself to be inside a can of StarKist, the ad campaign soldiered on for more than 20 years before the gimmick was retired in the 80's.

Herschel Bernardi (ex-Peter Gunn) began his voice acting career with these ads, and would subsequently be hired by Terrytoons (The Mighty Heroes). There was a period in the 70's & 80's where Charlie would be joined by a smaller fish (Henry Corden), but the campaign stayed the same. In 1999, even though he wasn't appearing in ads anymore, Charlie was brought back as a corporate mascot, a gig he still has today.

Most of the ads in the 60's & 70's were produced by DePatie-Freleng, but I am not sure if Marvel assumed the contract when they purchased DFE in 1981.

Right now, let's take a look at a spot from 1980. Danny Dark (Super Friends) is the announcer.



Today, Charlie appears on all the StarKist packages, but not on TV.

Thanksgiving Toons: The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't (1971)

Hanna-Barbera partnered with Avco-Embassy for a pair of holiday specials in the early 70's. The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't is a loose retelling of the first Thanksgiving, as seen through the eyes of a squirrel.

A modern day family of squirrels are gathering for Thanksgiving, and the father spins the yarn of his great-great-great-great grandfather, who helped rescue a Native American brave and a young Pilgrim when they get lost in the woods.

Voice talent includes Vic Perrin, Don Messick, June Foray, Hal Smith, and long-time H-B music supervisor Paul DeKorte. I'd swear, though, that the chorus includes an uncredited Thurl Ravenscroft.



The copyright says this was from 1971, and that's what we're going with.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thanksgiving Toons: The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw (1980)

The Berenstain Bears made their television debut in 1979, as NBC acquired the rights to the children's book series, and the end result was a series of 5 primetime specials all produced by Joseph Cates.

In The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw, we're introduced to a Bear Country Thanksgiving legend, which also is a satire on the legendary Bigfoot, who had become a pop culture icon back in those days. Bigpaw would be a regular player in the Berenstain Bears' subsequent series on CBS a few years later.



Scholastic published an adaptation of the special several years later, which may have ultimately led to the subsequent PBS series.

Rating: A.

Toonfomercial: A new generation of roaches won't stop Raid (1988)

In 1988, Johnson Wax's Raid bug killer line tried to inform viewers of how roaches were, well, evolving. What the ad agency did was create what looked like an armored bug bullying the more generic bugs that Raid had been exterminating for years.

Jackson Beck narrates.




Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Thanksgiving Toons: Calvin & The Colonel in Thanksgiving Dinner (1961)

With Thanksgiving 2-plus weeks away as I write, let's take a look back at how Calvin & The Colonel marked the occasion back in 1961.

Seems the Colonel, a year prior, had declared he would host Thanksgiving dinner for 36 relatives the following year, thinking no one would remember. Well.........



Writer-producers Joe Connolly & Bob Mosher (Leave it to Beaver) also worked on Amos & Andy, and adapted some radio scripts for this series. I think this might've been one of them....

No rating.

Toonfomercial: Remember Kaboom cereal? (1969)

I tried a lot of breakfast cereals back in the day. General Mills' Kaboom wasn't one of them. Now, I'm more into Cheerios, Golden Grahams, Cocoa Puffs, Corn Flakes, and the like, but Kaboom wasn't my cup of wake-up food.

No, it wasn't because of the clown on the box. Psychologists are still trying to figure out why some people hate on clowns.

Anyway, General Mills had Kaboom on the shelves for 41 years (1969-2010) before retiring the brand in favor of expanding the Cheerios and Chex lines (they acquired Chex, along with Cookie Crisp, from Ralston Purina, a few years ago).

The clown in this ad sounds like a bad WC Fields impersonator. Scope.



Not the usual quality animation that General Mills ads usually have, which would explain why they stopped promoting the product on TV, because in my experience, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Kix, and Monster Cereals & Cheerios lines got the bulk of the attention during the 70's and 80's.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Toonfomercial: Since when do bears use toilet paper? (The Charmin Bears, 2017)

Someone decided that Charmin toilet tissue needed a new, ah, mascot. The character of shopkeeper George Whipple (Dick Wilson) had been retired from television, and, in 2000, viewers were introduced to an animated bear espousing the virtues of Charmin.

Now, there are two families of bears appearing in these ads, as the product seems to have done more for domesticating bears than a bazillion Yogi Bear cartoons ever could.

Scope out this item from this summer. The red bears are headed off to the beach, and Big Daddy sounds suspiciously familiar.........



Research has uncovered at least two actors as the papa bears. For one family, we'd have Barry Carl, formerly of the a capella vocal group Rockapella (ex-Where in The World is Carmen Sandiego?). For the other, and it certainly seems to be the case here, Big Daddy sounds like Homer Simpson himself, Dan Castelanetta. Hmmmmm.

On The Air: Angry Birds Toons (2013)

Kids Click leads off its weekday lineup with Finland's Angry Birds Toons (check listings), which capitalizes on the popularity of the Angry Birds products which have been out for a while now.

The animated series launched in 2013, and Sony owns the video rights here in the US. The CGI effects are, sorry to say, the best thing about the show, since the characters don't actually talk, but make odd, almost gutteral sounds as a form of communication. Not good for the target audience, let me tell you.

Here at home, you'd need your DVR's to record the show, since in the Albany market, it airs at 5 am (ET), a rather unholy time to start a children's block, don't you think? (It's necessary because the CW affiliate will have news from 6:30-8)

In "Bake On", from last year, we won't see the birds, but rather their arch-rivals, the pigs. Seems the king has a certain preference for baked goods.....



How do you write with no hands? Telekinesis? One more reason the target audience would end up confused.

Rating: C-.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Eruption (Super Friends, 1980)

It's been a while since we looked in on the Super Friends.

From 1980: What starts as some innocent fun spirals into disaster prevention. Jayna (Louise Williams), seeing a hang glider staying aloft for nearly a half hour, decides to change into a pterodactyl and give Zan & Gleek (both voiced by Michael Bell) a lift. The Wonder Twins then encounter a young couple whose glider is out of control, sending them to Mount Metropolis. It only gets worse from there instead of better. Here's "Eruption":



Bell adds a 3rd role as Darryl, and narrator Bill Woodson doubles as a motorist trapped against the raging tide of lava. As for Zan's excessive bragging at the end, that was just an excuse for an obvious joke.

Rating: A-.

Saturtainment: Soup & Me (1978)

If you were a regular viewer of the ABC Afterschool Special and/or Weekend Special, you probably know that the network's ABC Circle Films division had a nice little repertory company of players who appeared in several episodes of both anthologies.

Case in point is our next entry, Soup & Me, adapted from the book of the same name by Robert Newton Peck, the sequel to Peck's 1974 opus, Soup. In all, Peck wrote 14 Soup novels between 1974 and 1995, plus three more for the younger set.

Shane Sinutko & Christian Berrigan have the title roles here. Frank Cady (ex-Green Acres, Petticoat Junction) co-stars.



Sinutko & Berrigan would return in the follow-up, Soup For President, which aired later in 1978, but it would also be the last of Peck's books to be adapted. Sinutko in particular appeared in at least one or two more Weekend Specials, but there isn't much else I can glean.

No rating.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Gaines Multi-Meal? (1962)

Captain Bijou brings us a long lost commercial for Gaines Multi-Meal, which was a polite way of saying that the product was the canine equivalent of the multi-pack cereals that were popular back in the day.

Chuck Jones directed this ad, with voices performed by Paul Frees.



The Gaines brand isn't around anymore, as it was retired a number of years ago. General Foods, long since absorbed by Kraft, which has since merged with Heinz, was a major sponsor for many years, and many of their brands are still active today, even if they're not part of Kraft-Heinz.

Daytime Heroes: Thor in To Kill a Thunder God (1966)

With "Thor: Ragnarok" now in theatres, let's dip into the vaults and pull a complete 3-part story from The Marvel Super Heroes Show.

When Odin takes his annual Odinsleep, Loki tries to take advantage, and cons a mortal into transferring his consciousness into the seemingly indestructible Destroyer to challenge Thor. The Thunder God is out to retrieve the Norn Stones to return them to the Norn Queen.



In those days, Loki had little or no redeeming value.

Rating: B-.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: One in a Million (1984)

The Romantics' "One in a Million" was the 3rd & final single from 1983's "In Heat", and it landed the band on American Bandstand.

Looney TV: Wile E. Coyote on Night Court (1990)

How inept is Wile E. Coyote when it comes to the Road Runner? Not even a judge, particularly Harry Stone (Harry Anderson) gives him any real respect. Wile makes a brief cameo appearance , all of a couple of seconds, on Night Court, in the episode, "Still Another Day In The Life", from April 1990:



Night Court currently airs on Laff (check listings), so this will turn up sometime soon. This wouldn't be the last time WB would slip in a Looney Tunes cameo on one of their live action shows. We've already shown Daffy Duck's appearance on The Drew Carey Show, which came a few years later.

Anyway, WB has already announced that there will be a Scooby-Doo episode of the CW's Supernatural later this season. Hmmmmm.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Toons You Might've Missed: Peter & His Dog (1960's)

Here's an obscurity most of us have probably never seen.

A small, independent company, Fleetwood Films, produced a series of short cartoons in the 60's, starring a little boy named Peter, his sister, Susie, and their dog, Lucifer. Actor Hans Conreid (Hoppity Hooper, Make Room For Daddy, Fractured Flickers) narrated the shorts, which reportedly were produced in Europe somewhere, and dubbed for American audiences.

Unfortunately, information on the series is sparse & scarce, such that we cannot pin down the exact year of these shorts. For now, let's take a look at "Peter & His Dog".



Simple, but effective, and could still work today.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: I Never Knew (1969)

From The Cattanooga Cats:

A recurring theme in some of the Cats' songs seems to be the unrequited love between Country & Kitty Jo, who otherwise were not presented as a romantic couple on the show.

Peggy Clinger of the Clinger Sisters is the vocalist on "I Never Knew".



Now, I have to see if 1) The Clinger Sisters ever appeared on American Bandstand or 2) ABC & Hanna-Barbera managed a crossover that got the Cats on Bandstand. If you guys know something, share it here.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Toon Legends: A Wild Hare (1940)

Our Famous First for November takes us to 1940, and the "official" debut of Bugs Bunny.

You see, a prototype of Bugs had bowed several months earlier in "Porky's Duck Hunt", which also marked the debut of Daffy Duck. However, the definitive version we all know and love appeared in "A Wild Hare", written by Rich Hogan, and directed by Fred "Tex" Avery. Hogan would later become Avery's lead story man at MGM.

Anyway, Elmer Fudd (Arthur Q. Bryan) is out hunting. You can guess the rest.

For what it's worth, this is the 1944 Blue Ribbon reissue, which changed the title to "The Wild Hare".



Elmer's reputation as a hunter has never been that sterling to start with, assuming he had a rep.

Rating: A.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Spooktober: The Headless Horseman (1949)

Our final Spooktober entry is a number from Disney's "The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad", a "package" film split into two parts. The first half adapted Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in The Willows, with Basil Rathbone as narrator. The second half was an adaptation of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, narrated by Bing Crosby, who also gives voice to Ichabod Crane and Brom Bones.

In this scene, Brom regales some revelers, Crane included, with the musical tale of "The Headless Horseman".



A few years later, when Disney decided to do another adaptation of Sleepy Hollow as a book & record, Thurl Ravenscroft recorded his own version, and we'll get that up another time.

You Know The Voice: Robert Ridgely (1971)

I posted this next item over at The Land of Whatever yesterday, and regular contributor Mike Doran pointed out that future cartoon star Robert Ridgely, who, at the time, was known for his work in movies and primetime television, was part of the cast in a 1971 McDonald's ad that got a ton of airplay any day of the week.

Said cast also includes Johnny Haymer (later of M*A*S*H) and John Amos (The Mary Tyler Moore Show and later of Good Times, Roots, & "Coming To America").



Who knew any of these guys could sing?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Flash vs. The Chemo-Creature (1967)

In the first of his three 1967 shorts, The Flash tangles with an otherwise harmless ant who, due to an errant scientific experiment, has turned into "The Chemo-Creature".



Contrary to the screen capture above, Kid Flash doesn't appear in this one.

Rating: B.

Sunday Funnies: Son of Football Follies (1976)

The NFL does have a sense of humor, after all.

Nearly 50 years ago, the league's TV arm began producing blooper reels, which initially aired on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The response was such that the first official Football Follies special aired a year later.

In 1976, NFL Films produced Son of Football Follies. You've probably seen this more recently on NFL Network. To spice things up, the special was narrated by a number of Looney Tunes characters, all voiced by the legendary Mel Blanc. Yes, including Elmer Fudd.

Fifteen minutes and change are shown here, to give you an idea.



I remember Porky Pig's famous bit very well, as this video awakened some old memories. Blanc would return 13 years later, in one of his final jobs, for Super Duper Football Follies, which we'll serve up another time.

Rating: A.

Spooktober: The Ghost Busters vs. the Phantom of Vaudeville (1975)

Around the time Ghost Busters was on the air, there was a syndicated series that celebrated vaudeville. Unfortunately, both lasted just one season.

In "The Dummy's Revenge", Kong (Forrest Tucker) & Spencer (Larry Storch) deal with a ghostly ventriloquist (Tim Herbert) and his dummy, who mistake our heroes for some old rivals. Scope out the team's attempt at doing some song & dance. Plus, Spencer decides to take up ventriloquism himself.



One of the sillier entries in the series.

Rating: B.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Daytime Heroes: Batfink vs. Stupidman (1966)

Batfink has to do what the police chief can't and capture "Stupidman". Turns out the crook is the chief's brother-in-law. Some family.



Kind of an abrupt ending, don't you think?

Rating: B--.

Game Time: This Week in Pro Football (1967)

Way back in the day, before the bloated pre-game shows we have now, NFL Films recapped the previous week's action in a tidy, hour-long syndicated package, one of three syndicated programs that came from the NFL in those days.

This Week in Pro Football bowed in 1967, but lasted just 9 seasons (1967-75) before being cancelled. Tom Brookshier & Pat Summerall, then with CBS, were the hosts. John Fascenda and Harry Kalas narrated the highlight reels.

As memory serves, this series aired not on the then-CBS affiliate, but on the then-NBC affiliate in my market, which, coincidentally, is the CBS affiliate today. Got all that? Let's take a trip back to 1970......



Back in those days, there were 14 games on the schedule. They didn't go to the 16 game schedule until 1977.

Rating: A.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember the Sugar Crisp Bears? (1949)

Before the Sugar Bear we know and love became Sugar Crisp's mascot (the product is now Golden Crisp), Post used three little bears.

Handy, Dandy, & Candy made their debut in 1949, and would appear on Sugar Crisp boxes until 1964, I think, when Linus the Lionhearted, featuring Sugar Bear, premiered on CBS. Handy, Dandy, & Candy would also appear with Roy Rogers and Mighty Mouse, as Post sponsored their shows.

Sugar Crisp was promoted as a "three-way treat", used for breakfast, or as a snack you could eat out of the bowl or the box.



Handy, Dandy, & Candy were retired to make room for Sugar Bear, but don't ya think, since their 70th anniversary is 2 years away, that Post would bring them back??

Spooktober: Samantha meets......Witchiepoo? (Actually, no)(Bewitched, 1971)

Billie Hayes (H. R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville) guest stars as the witch from the children's story, Hansel & Gretel, during the final season of Bewitched in 1971. Coincidentally, before the season was over ABC began running repeats of the series on Saturdays to bolster their weak lineup.

In this climatic scene, after Tabitha (Erin Murphy) has managed to put herself in the pages of Hansel & Gretel, Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) follows and confronts the witch, giving her a taste of her own medicine......



As you probably know, Hayes did reprise as Witchiepoo in a 1-shot on Lidsville, and then, seven years later, on The Krofft Superstar Hour.

No rating.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Spooktober: The Cattanooga Cats in Witch Whacky (1969)

The Cattanooga Cats enter a magical forest, and Kitty Jo (Julie Bennett) is targeted to replace the aging Forest Witch (guest star Jean VanderPyl, recycling her Winsome Witch voice). Here's "Witch Whacky".



I think we've seen variations on this plot elsewhere.

Rating: B.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember W. C. Fritos? (1973)

After pressure from certain corners forced Frito-Lay's advertising agency to retire the Frito Bandito (Mel Blanc) in 1971,  the snack giant found a short-term answer in 1973 in W. C. Fritos, modeled after actor-comedian W. C. Fields. I'd not be surprised to learn Paul Frees was hired to do the voice......



Ah, yas, yas indeed. If anyone can confirm that it was Frees or another impressionist that voiced W. C. Fritos, please share.

You Know The Voices: Don Messick & Frank Welker (1984)

After working together on Scooby-Doo, Smurfs, and other projects for 15 years, Don Messick & Frank Welker shared the screen together in an episode of Don's NBC primetime series, The Duck Factory.

In "The Duck Stops Here", Wally Wooster (Messick) is afraid he's lost the voice of Dippy Duck. Worse, the studio brings in another actor (Welker) as a potential successor. Ironically, 18 years later, Welker was finally given the green light to be the voice of Scooby, 5 years after Messick had passed away.

Frank arrives about halfway through.





Keep an ear for Don's dramatic turn as he recites some Shakespeare, to the surprise of his co-workers, Skip & Brooks (Jim Carrey & Jack Gilford).

To be perfectly honest, I think Don wanted Frank to take over as Scooby all along if anything happened to him, but WB didn't get the message, which is why it took 5 years before the torch was passed.

Spooktober: The Littles' Halloween (1984)

From season 2 of The Littles comes this Halloween treat. Now, I have no memory of seeing this episode, so we're presenting this as a public service (no rating).

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Spooktober: The Witches Are Out (Bewitched, 1964)

Before I begin, I will remind one and all that at the end of its primetime run on ABC, Bewitched began airing daytime repeats six days a week, Monday-Saturday, as it was added to the network's Saturday lineup since they didn't have enough 1st run children's programming at the time.

And, so, we'll include this 1st season episode of the series as part of Spooktober 2017. Bear in mind that this is the colorized version, not the original black & white print.

In "The Witches Are Out", Aunt Clara (Marion Lorne) makes her debut. Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) is entertaining two older witches who aren't exactly thrilled that she's made such an adjustment to mortal life. Anyway, Darrin (Dick York) has a client (guest star Shelley Berman) who wants to use a stereotypical "ugly" witch for an ad campaign. Darrin, knowing that Samantha will object, opts for a younger, more glamorous model, perhaps using his wife as inspiration, but this compromise costs Darrin his job, only he'd get it back before the episode was over, a trope that was used on The Flintstones and The Jetsons much more often (at the time, Hanna-Barbera, which produced the animated intro, was a sister company to Screen Gems).

Madge Blake, later of Batman, and Reta Shaw, who'd later turn up on The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, are the other guest stars of note.



This episode began an annual tradition of Halloween-themed episodes for Bewitched, which included a tie-in with UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Educational Fund).

Rating: A-.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tooniversary: The Country Mouse & City Mouse Adventures (1997)

The Country Mouse & City Mouse Adventures appeared for a brief time a few years back on CBS, but before that, the series aired on HBO Family for 3 seasons, spread over the course of a year and a half.

The titular rodents are a pair of cousins who travel the world in search of adventure, helping humans and mice alike. The series has also aired on This TV and has been streaming on Netflix.

In "The Case of the Disappearing Diamond, Emily & Alexander, the two cousins, are in England for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, and have to recover a missing diamond from the queen's crown........



Now, I'm not sure if this was even inspired by Disney's "The Rescuers", but it wouldn't be a surprise if it was.

Rating: A.

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Mattel's Rock Flowers? (1971)

I was doing a search on a short-lived pop group, the Rock Flowers, and happened across an ad for a set of Mattel action figures by the same name, which predates the band---I think.

Anyway, actress Geri Reischel, later of the Brady Bunch Variety Hour, is featured in this minute-long spot, narrated by Mr. Top 40 himself, Casey Kasem.



The "other" Rock Flowers that I was researching was the last band actress-singer Debra Clinger had been with before being cast for Kaptain Kool & the Kongs and the Krofft Supershow a few years after this commercial. Mattel's Rock Flowers didn't last long, only three years, and then, gone. Hmmmm.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Spooktober: Which Witch is Which? (1984)

Bill Hutton & Tony Love's Chucklewood Critters, or, more specifically, Buttons & Rusty, returned in their 2nd special in 1984. "Which Witch is Which" has the boys dealing with a local witch, then getting framed for robbery.

The voice talent among the adults includes William Boyett (ex-Adam-12) and Alvy Moore (The Littles, ex-Green Acres).



After a grand total of 8 specials, the Chucklewood Critters were finally given a weekly, syndicated series, which lasted 2 seasons. We'll look at that down the road.

No rating. Didn't see this the first time.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Saturtainment: The Krofft Superstar Hour (1978)

After 2 seasons, ABC cancelled the Krofft Supershow. Undaunted, Sid & Marty Krofft, who'd also lost Donny & Marie to the Osmond family's own production company, and flopped with a Brady Bunch variety show, moved back to NBC with The Krofft Superstar Hour in 1978.

The Supershow's pre-fab house band, Kaptain Kool & the Kongs, had split up, with Michael Lembeck (Kaptain Kool) and Debra Clinger (Superchick) landing primetime gigs on CBS. Lembeck joined the cast of One Day at a Time, while Clinger flopped in the drama, The American Girls. That left the other half of the Kongs, Turkey (Mickey McMeel) and Nashville (Louise DuArt), still in their season 2 outfits, to be part of the Krofft Superstar Hour repertory company, supporting the new house band, the Bay City Rollers, who were trading off their hit, "Saturday Night". However, the quality of the support segments took a dive, as we've shown in recent days.

Lost Island was a mishmash featuring H. R. Pufnstuf, Weenie the Genie (Billie Hayes) from Lidsville, and characters from Land of the Lost, plus Sigmund (Billy Barty). Barty essayed a dual role as Otto, the assistant to evil Dr. Deathray (Jay Robinson), who was a retooled Dr. Shrinker, but, as we noted yesterday, Robinson ate way more scenery the second time around, which may have hastened NBC's decision to trim the fat and cut the series to a half-hour 2 months into the season.

Horror Hotel had Hayes reprising her other role as Witchiepoo (from H. R. Pufnstuf), now the proprietor of the hotel, whose only regular tenant was HooDoo (from Lidsville). Paul Gale took over for Charles Nelson Reilly (Match Game), who apparently was scared off returning to his first Saturday gig after Uncle Croc's Block flopped three years earlier.

The Kongs passed the torch to the Rollers by guesting on the opener, but a video I had acquired turned out to be devoid of sound, so that's been deleted, and we're starting anew with this show.

The following clip offers a medley of 50's hits. To wit:

"Rock & Roll is Here to Stay" (Rollers). Sha Na Na did a better cover on their show and in the movie, "Grease", earlier that year.

"My Special Angel". CHiPs star Erik Estrada made his singing debut covering the Bobby Helms classic.

"Born to Hand Jive". Scott Baio, at the time appearing on another NBC series, Who's Watching The Kids?, was out of place and tune on this track, which Sha Na Na covered in "Grease" as well.

"Be Bop-a-Lula". Billy Barty teams with ex-Mouseketeer Sharon Baird, for once able to appear as herself, after playing various characters on other Krofft shows, to cover Gene Vincent's classic. Baird had not done any musical numbers since her Mickey Mouse Club days, but she & Barty made quite a cute couple.

The medley finishes with a chorus of "Rock & Roll is Here to Stay".



Barty had done some numbers on Donny & Marie, one of which is up over at The Land of Whatever, and, as I've found out, had done some cabaret shows, too. Who knew?

Rating (based on what I've seen): C-.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Spooktober: The Skeleton Dance (1929)

Now, this will make your skin crawl.

Walt Disney's "The Skeleton Dance" was the initial entry in the Silly Symphonies series, and the biggest surprise, perhaps, is that acclaimed composer Carl Stalling, better known for his work at WB, not only composed most of the music for this short, but came up with the basic idea! Scope!



Elements of "Skeleton Dance" would later be reused in the Mickey Mouse short, "Haunted House", which apparently was also released in 1929. Hmmm.

Rating: A.

Krofftverse: The Lost Island (1978)

The other day, we presented one of the two regular features from the short-lived Krofft Superstar Hour, that being Horror Hotel. Now, here's the other feature, which was equally short-lived, The Lost Island.

H. R. Pufnstuf (voiced by Len Weinrib), Weenie the Genie (Billie Hayes, reprising from Lidsville), and Sigmund, far, far away from his sea monster family (Billy Barty, voice by Walker Edmiston) are stuck on the island, which also serves as a gateway to the Land of the Lost, as the stop motion footage looks like it may have been recycled from that series, which had only ended a year earlier, only to return in the 90's.

And, then, there is Dr. Deathray, formerly known as Dr. Shrinker (Jay Robinson). Similarly, Shrinker's assistant, Hugo (Barty) has been rechristened Otto. You'll notice that in this episode, Otto & Sigmund are never in the same scene together, else another actor would be wearing the Sigmund costume.

Anyway, Robinson chews up even more scenery than he did on Krofft Supershow two years earlier. Not good.

The plot to this episode: Pufnstuf is ill, and Weenie, along with Barbie (Louise DuArt), must find a cure. To do it, the ladies have to travel to the "City of the Doomed" (Land of the Lost),. where they meet the Sleestak king, Enik (voiced by Walker Edmiston). Unfortunately, Deathray is headed in the same direction, but on a completely different quest.......



Robinson must've had Rudy Vallee as a voice coach, they sound so similar. Seems as though the Kroffts picked the characters at random to use here, but viewers saw right through the disjointed format, which is why the series was trimmed to a half-hour after about a month or two, leaving the Bay City Rollers and the Horror Hotel skits.

Rating: D.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Krofftverse: The Lost Saucer crashes in Beautfiul Downtown Atlantis (1975)

Should it surprise anyone that the Kroffts would have their take on Atlantis? Of course not.

In this episode of The Lost Saucer, Fi (Ruth Buzzi) & Fum (Jim Nabors) have another malfunction that sends the saucer splashing into the underwater city.

Now, I'm not entirely sure if guest star Bob Quarry is the same guy who headlined a couple of horror movies as Count Yorga.........



We noted this before, but it bears repeating. Tommy Oliver, who arranged the theme song that was composed and sung by Michael Lloyd (ex-Cattanooga Cats), is better known for his own stints as a musical director for Name That Tune and Face The Music. Like, who knew?

Rating: B.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: A Ricochet Rabbit 4-pack (1964-5)

Following is a 4-episode block of Ricochet Rabbit, taken from a VHS release.

"Space Sheriff" (1965): Ricochet (Don Messick) & Droop-a-Long (Mel Blanc) travel to outer space to catch a monster of an outlaw.

"Cactus Ruckus" (1964): Droop's nephew, Tag-a-Long, drops by, so Ricochet tells him a tall tale about an earlier adventure.

"Big Town Show Down" (1964): A big city police chief (John Stephenson) sends for Ricochet to catch the Creep (Stephenson again) and his two simian bodyguards.

"West Pest" (1965): Ricochet squares off against Rocky Rattler.

Plus, a trivia segment.



Blanc voiced some of the outlaws by recycling his Yosemite Sam voice.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Toons You Might've Missed: Li'l Abner in Kickapoo Juice (1944)

Al Capp's backwoods hero, Li'l Abner, appeared in only 5 animated shorts, all produced by Columbia during Screen Gems' 1st go-round as a theatrical brand, and all in 1944. The first, "Kickapoo Juice", offers the origins of the oddball moonshine, which apparently was created by Hairless Joe and the Native American Lonesome Polecat.



Unfortunately, the black & white print is all that's available right now. Too bad no one's willing to take a chance today.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Spooktober: The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper (1996)

In the wake of the live action/CGI adaptation of Casper that starred Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci a year earlier, the Friendly Ghost returned to television after 16 years away in a mid-season replacement series that aired on Fox (and later, Fox Family).

As established in the movie, Casper's full name is Casper McFadden (voiced by Malachi Pearson), who died of pneumonia as a youth, and it seems he's smitten with young Kathleen "Kat" Harvey (Kath Soucie), whose father is a scientist. As we'll see in the first short, "Paranormal Press", Casper's school schedule isn't quite the same as Kat's, enabling him to join Kat at Friendship Junior High against her wishes, though she finds that he can be quite helpful.

I cannot recall if Spooky's girlfriend, Pearl, or, Poil, as Spooky always calls her, had appeared in the 1963 series. Here, though, she's presented as being a bit of an absent-minded airhead, contrary to her comic book portrayal as a domineering type. Spooky is established as being Casper's cousin, which I'm not sure might be the case in the books.

Kat has her share of struggles dealing with the mean girls in school, as we'll also see. The supporting cast also includes Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons, Aladdin) taking over for Bill Pullman as Dr. Harvey, and Ben Stein, one year before getting his Comedy Central game show, is heard as a teacher. Since this was a Universal-Harvey-Amblin co-production, some of the Amblin crew (i.e. Sherri Stoner) came over from Tiny Toon Adventures, Pinky & The Brain, & Animaniacs.

The lineup:

"Paranormal Press": Casper helps Kat start her journalism career at Friendship Jr. High, with predictable results.

"Another Spooky & Poil Moment": Spooky tries to impress his teacher, but Poil seems to be uncharacteristically fouling things up. Weak point of the show.

"Deadstock": Casper takes up the bagpipes, annoying Kat, but it leads to a concert....



I like the idea of Casper actually wearing clothes in this series as he tries to fit in. Fox farmed the show out to Fox Family (now Freeform as a Disney cabler) after ratings began to decline.

Rating: B (down from my original review).

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Mighty Man vs. Big Mouse & Magnetman (1979)

Mighty Man (Peter Cullen) was Ruby-Spears' answer to DC Comics' Atom, who was appearing occasionally over on Super Friends. Unfortunately, this mighty mite was not a scientist, but rather another Bruce Wayne knockoff, Brandon Brewster, whose best friend, his dog, Yukk (Frank Welker, using a variant on his Dynomutt voice) was the world's ugliest dog, such that he had a toy dog house cloaking his face.

Let's take a look at the duo's first two adventures from 1979. "Big Mouse, the Bad Mouse", and "Magnetman".



Pedestrian. Seems R-S were parodying themselves, since they created Dynomutt and Blue Falcon 3 years earlier.

Rating: C.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Spooktober: Drak Pack in Color Me Dredful (1980)

"Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it."--George Santayana

Four years after Bill D'Angelo and his partners had tried out the concept of classic movie monsters being reposited as superheroes, Hanna-Barbera tried the same tack with Drak Pack, produced through their Australian studio.

In the opener, "Color Me Dredful", Dr. Dred (Hans Conreid) decides to strip the world of much of its color. That idea alone illustrates the lack of thought that went into this series.



Don Messick did his best Peter Lorre impersonation to effect the characterization of Toad, presented here as a lovable bumbler that you hoped would turn on Dred and change his ways. Didn't happen.

Well, at least this offered an example of why this show failed.

Rating: C--.