In the spring of 1978, Linda Clifford had released a disco version of "If My Friends Could See Me Now", originally recorded 12 years earlier for the Broadway production of "Sweet Charity" by Gwen Verdon, with Shirley MacLaine doing so in the film version a few years later.
While it's likely that Clifford would turn up on, say, Soul Train, to perform & promote the record, which peaked just below the Top 40 on the pop chart, actress Melissa Gilbert (Little House on the Prairie) performed a cover version on American Bandstand. The sad part is that this wasn't released as a single for the then-teen star (Melissa was 14 at the time).
Captain Cold somehow makes contact with the planet Venus and a bizarre race of three headed beings agree to aid the Legion of Doom. Ah, but the Legion should know that there really isn't as much honor among thieves outside of Earth as there is on it.
Here's "Invasion of the Fearians":
You know what they say about a man's grasp exceeding his reach? The Legion has learned and forgotten that lesson more times than anyone cares to count.
You don't remember ever seeing Ivanhoe. I know I didn't. However, it was a British-American co-production, produced in England for what would become ITC, and distributed here in the US by Screen Gems, and was meant to air here as well as in the UK.
Ivanhoe, the first TV series to adapt Sir Walter Scott's classic tale (there've been two others since), lasted just 1 season of 39 episodes. Star Roger Moore returned to Hollywood to make movies before returning to the UK in 1962 to begin work on The Saint, and, of course, we know the rest of his story, don't we?
ATV, the forerunner to ITC, was doing a series of shows aimed at younger viewers that doubled as teaching tools regarding legendary heroes such as Robin Hood in the 50's, before moving on to science fiction (Gerry Anderson's super-marionation line) and, for adults, spies and variety shows in the 60's and early 70's.
In memory of Moore, who passed away at 89, here's the episode, "Counterfeit":
After Tex Avery left MGM, William Hanna & Joseph Barbera were tasked with producing some Droopy entries. Michael Lah, who would go on to work for H-B, directed "Blackboard Jumble", a parody of the movie, "Blackboard Jungle".
Droopy only speaks when his title card appears at the start. Otherwise, there are a trio of clones who don't speak, leaving the beatnik wolf (Daws Butler) to carry the action by himself. The wolf takes over a 1 room schoolhouse when another teacher (Butler) flees, having been driven insane by the Droopy triplets. Some gags were recycled from "Three Little Pups", among other previous efforts.
You'd think this would've been a backdoor pilot to spin the wolf off into his own series, but nope.
Super President, regarded as one of the worst cartoons of all time, regardless of genre, turns 50 this year. In "The Great Vegetable Disintegrator", Super President (Paul Frees) must rescue his aide, Jerry Sayles (Shep Menken, The Lone Ranger) from Professor DeCordo (Frees again), who wants the money the government has allocated for a space project.
Still can't figure why DeCordo and his aide have green skin. No one ever said they were really aliens, did they?
Sylvester actually plays a supporting role in our next entry. He's a fall guy--or fall cat, in this case---for newcomers Spike & Chester (Mel Blanc & Stan Freberg) in "Tree For Two".
Lost amidst the chaos is an escaped panther hiding out in the same area where Sylvester is. Egged on by Chester, Spike goes after Sylvester, but gets taken down by the panther. It's kind of like Syl's encounters with Hippety Hopper, only worse.
This short aired earlier this morning on Boomerang. Spike & Chester would only appear in one more short, only with Spike obtaining a British accent and being rechristened Alfie. WB was trying to create new stars at this point, such as Hippety, Spike & Chester, and Dodsworth, whom we'll see in a future entry.
When Woody Woodpecker made his network debut in 1957, Kellogg's was his sponsor for ABC. However, the series was cancelled after 1 year, and Walter Lantz & Universal opted for a syndication deal that lasted for several years before Woody returned to Saturday morning television.
In 1967, Kellogg's called on Woody again, this time to do a brand new spot for Rice Krispies, which Woody (Grace Stafford Lantz) had sung the praises of 10 years earlier. This time, Woody teaches a valuable lesson to nephew Knothead (June Foray) in out-conning Buzz Buzzard (Dallas McKennon, Daniel Boone).
Five years later, as Lantz's studio was closing down, Kellogg's asked for Woody again, this time for Sugar Pops (now Corn Pops). We'll serve that one up another time.
When a rival team's lineman moonlights as a musician, Ed Huddles (Cliff Norton) & Bubba McCoy (Mel Blanc) dust off their own act, much to the consternation of their wives (Jean VanderPyl & Marie Wilson) and Claude Pertwee (Paul Lynde), whose cousin is the rival player's agent.
Here's episode 4 of Where's Huddles?, "The Offensives". The episode card was edited off.
Funny that Claude should name check Ted Mack, whose show was running on CBS at the time.
Our next "You Know the Voice" subject is probably not quite as well known as many of his peers, but has chalked up quite the resume regardless.
George S. Irving made his fame on Broadway before being hired by Total Television in the 60's. His TTV credits include Go Go Gophers and, of course, narrating Underdog. After TTV folded, Irving landed the role of his career as the Heat Miser in Rankin-Bass' The Year Without a Santa Claus. He'd return for the sequel in 2008.
Irving passed away last year at 94, but what you might not know is that he also did some commercials that put him in front of the camera. His film & TV resume is rather small otherwise, particularly a guest shot on All in the Family and a supporting role in the short-lived The Dumplings.
In 1978, Irving was cast as a salesman who tried to get customers to try cheaper razor blades over Gillette's Trac II brand.
Irving also shilled for White Owl cigars, and maybe other sponsors, too. I'll have to take a closer look. At least some of you now have a face to match his voice.
Diver Dan was not your normal weekday afternoon entry.
A mix of puppets and 2 actors composed this series, produced for syndication and distributed by England's ITC Entertainment. Diver Dan (Frank Freda) roamed the sea in search of adventure. If it was being teased that Minerva, the mermaid, was meant to be Dan's love interest, she certainly seemed as though she wanted to play hard to get.
Allen Swift narrated and voiced virtually all of the puppets. Producer Louis Kellman might be better known for his work with NFL Films, rather than this short-lived series. I must confess that I had not seen this before today. I guess now you know why they didn't try this type of show again.
The first four episodes are blocked together in the following clip:
Swift was the most experienced performer on the show, but there wasn't much he could do to save this from being consigned to oblivion, as this was off the air by the time I was ready to watch television as a toddler.
Now, here's an unsold pilot that didn't come from any of the known animation studios in the 60's.
Black, Kloke, & Dagga was a spy spoof that sprang from the mind of actor-comic Morey Amsterdam (ex-The Dick Van Dyke Show), who had done some voice work for UPA earlier in the 60's (i.e. "Gay Purr-ee" w/Judy Garland and Robert Goulet). The animators for this pilot weren't credited (JKL Productions was Amsterdam's production company; the name has been co-opted by another party in more recent times for reality television), but certainly had a familiar look, as if it was from either Rankin-Bass or Jay Ward.
Amsterdam voices Dagga, the smaller of the two spies. His partner, Kloke, tall and simple minded, is played by Stan Irwin (The Abbott & Costello Cartoon Show). Zsa Zsa Gabor voices the villain, Madame Black.
Many thanks to Mike Kazaleh for unearthing this lost toon. Kazaleh posted this to YouTube about a year or so ago.
Amsterdam would later try again as a producer, this time involved with Four Star's short-lived revival of Can You Top This?, just three years later. He's clearly mocking the fading Man From U.N.C.L.E. with Kloke, given the setting. He'd have been better served getting help from Jay Ward with this one. The spirit is there, but the script is weak.
Cauliflower Cabby was another Total Television pilot that wasn't made into a series. As with Gene Hattree, Cabby was inserted into the Underdog syndicated package, which is how he finally made it to air.
Arnold Stang narrated and was the voice of Cabby and his alter-ego, "The Champion". Cabby tricked out his hack to effect the change from mild mannered to heroic. I think part of the reason it didn't sell was because unlike the rest of TTV's output, Cauliflower Cabby had an all-human cast, yet was formatted similarly to Underdog. Judge for yourselves, peeps.
Total Television was looking for another hit series. Somewhere in between Underdog and The Beagles, TTV had tried at least three pilots, two of which would later be integrated into the Underdog syndication package in the 70's. Suffice to say, after Beagles was cancelled by CBS after 1 season, that was the end of TTV.
Gene Hattree was a parody of all those singing cowboy westerns, wrapped in a six minute package. Hattree himself (Sandy Becker) was a send-up of Gene Autry, except that he couldn't really sing that well. Becker used a voice similar to that of Sgt. Okey Homa (Go Go Gophers), and didn't really appreciate his deputy, Rabbit Foot (Herb Nelson), trying to help, since Rabbit's efforts ended up in failure, in true slapstick fashion.
In "The Trap", Hattree goes after Tortilla Fats (Jackson Beck) and his henchmen.
Like, you could see the ending coming a mile away, once Rabbit set up the 2nd trap.
We haven't done an installment of Peabody's Improbable History in a long time, so it's off to the WABAC machine with Peabody (Bill Scott) and Sherman (Walter Tetley) to Canada, circa 1869 to prevent the dissolution of the "Royal Mounted Police".
If Paul Frees' voice as Constable Willey sounds familiar, it was because it was the same voice used for Inspector Fenwick in Dudley Do-Right and, later on, the Chief in Secret Squirrel.
Sunbeam bread has been around seemingly forever. In the home district, it was, for a number of years, associated with Freihofer's, but that was before Quality Bakers of America ended their association with Freihofer's, which is now part of Bimbo Bakeries, and is under the same umbrella with Entemann's, Wonder Bread, and Hostess pastries.
However, until today, I'd never seen any ads featuring Little Miss Sunbeam, whose image remains on Sunbeam wrappers. Captain Bijou takes us back to 1954 with this animated spot.
Superboy (Bob Hastings) teaches some young bullies a lesson in humility. In truth, the "Terrible Trio" is a misnomer for a title, although they were christened as such by Lana Lang (Janet Waldo)----at the end of the story.
Roy, Vince, & Steve had to learn the hard way, as most bullies often do, that just because you're bigger doesn't make you better.
One of the back-up features to The Pink Panther Show during its NBC run (1969-78) was The Ant & The Aardvark, which, when you think about it, was a variant on MGM's Tom & Jerry franchise.
Impressionist John Byner based the voices of the title characters on mimics of Dean Martin (Ant) and Jackie Mason (Aardvark). For years, I had assumed the Aardvark's voice was modeled after Joey Bishop instead of Mason, but what did I know? Musical director Doug Goodwin assembled a swinging jazz combo that included the likes of Shelly Manne (Daktari, Jambo), among others, that created a terrific mood.
The first installment carries a 1968 copyright.
With the laugh track added, one must guess that this was culled from an NBC broadcast. Still, it is howlingly funny.
Here's a Peanuts cartoon that I don't think has ever aired on television.
Instead, It's Dental Flossophy, Charlie Brown was shown in schools as a teaching tool for elementary school students, produced in 1975. Here, Lucy schools Charlie---as well as an eavesdropping Snoopy & Woodstock---on dental hygeine.
Unfortunately, Snoopy couldn't leave well enough alone and stole Lucy's floss to create a nest for Woodstock. He always seemed to do Lucy wrong no matter what.
Popeye imagines himself as a parody of Johnston McCulley's legendary swashbuckler, Zorro, in 1960's "The Mark of Zero". In this short, we're introduced to Olive's lookalike cousin, Deezil (also voiced by Mae Questel), to whom Popeye spins the tale of Zero.
Yes, the poster tacked on samples of other shorts to fill the time. The story, of course, followed a familiar formula, but give them credit for trying something different for a change.
Lex Luthor (Stan Jones) plots to erase Superman, Wonder Woman, & Green Lantern from existence by going back in time and rewriting their, ah, origins, if ya will. Problem is, as you'll see in "Secret Origins of the Super Friends", even though Superman (Danny Dark) is erased pro tempore, Bizarro, the imperfect duplicate of the Man of Steel, isn't. That mistake kinda kills the vibe, don't ya think?
Comics historians know that Bizarro World wasn't created until well after Bizarro himself had been established as a recurring nemesis of Superman, since it was Luthor who'd created Bizarro in the first place. Logically, once Superman is erased from the timeline, Bizarro should've been gone as well, only to return when the timeline was restored.
The Harlem Globetrotters make the first of three appearances on The New Scooby-Doo Movies, the first two of which came within a month of each other in the first season. Overall, those three appearances would come in the space of a six episode stretch. Here's "The Ghostly Creep From The Deep":
The familiar formula would play out for both teams in each of the three episodes. The middle episode, "The Loch Ness Mess", is coming soon.
The Fender Bender 500 series moves to the Middle East for "The Sheik-to-Sheik 500" (a play on cheek-to-cheek, don'tcha know). Huckleberry Hound quotes Aesop, though he credits his mother, and Dick Dastardly tries out a flying carpet, with disastrous results. Shadoe Stevens is your race announcer.
Poor Dick. So close, yet so far. Some of the gags, I think, were in fact recycled from Wacky Races.
Toward the end of Hanna-Barbera's affiiliation with Screen Gems (now Sony Pictures Television), John Stephenson (The Flintstones, etc.) was cast in the NBC soap opera, Morning Star, which ran from 1965-6. The series lasted less than a full year, and was one of three soaps produced by Screen Gems during that period. The only one remaining is, of course, Days of Our Lives. Morning Star, Days of Our Lives, & Paradise Bay were all from the same creative team, Ted & Betty Corday.
It's a pity, really, that Stephenson didn't land another soap gig after this. He could've fit right in anywhere else, but, as we've seen, he did some more primetime gigs after Morning Star signed off, and Screen Gems brought him back to guest on Temperatures Rising a few years later.
Here's a sample, from May 1966. I believe long time QM announcer Hank Simms has those chores here.
In a send-up of ABC's Fantasy Island, Velma (Pat Stevens) gets to fulfill her fantasy of working with the legendary Sherlock Holmes when the Mystery Inc. team heads to London to battle "The Night Ghoul of Wonderworld". Super Friends narrator Bill Woodson is heard as a fellow traveler, and Michael Rye as a London bobby (police officer).
Scooby & Scrappy-Doo thought this would be easier, convinced that the first Ghoul they encountered was a robot, but it's never that easy. Before the season was over, another actress, Marla Frumkin, replaced Pat Stevens as Velma.
Marvel & DisneyXD needed to keep fans interested in the Guardians of the Galaxy in between movies ("Vol. 2" opened last night), and so the Guardians were added to DXD's Marvel Universe block, replacing Hulk & the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.. Suffice it to say, it may be an improvement over the show it replaced, but that ain't saying much.
If Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, has a familiar lilt to his voice, that's because it belongs to Will Friedle (ex-Batman Beyond, Kim Possible, Thundercats, Boy Meets World), who's trying to bridge the gap between Terry McGinnis (Batman Beyond) & Ron Stoppable (Kim Possible) in trying to create the right tone for Quill. Here, Peter's less of a jerk than he was in the first film, but then, he's still not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. Hmmm, who does that sound like??
The series began its second season in March, just in time to promote "Vol. 2", which will be reviewed over at The Land of Whatever this weekend. In this clip, we find the Guardians battling the Man-Thing. Go figure.
As with the movie, Rocket is the only one who can translate Groot, who remains an adult in this series as opposed to "Vol. 2". Rocket, oh, by the way, just finished a stint appearing in the Amazing Spider-Man newspaper strip, another means of calling attention to the pending film.
Here's a Super Friends rarity. An episode featuring Batman, minus Robin.
In the comics, Batman & Superman were known as the World's Finest Heroes, having headlined the original World's Finest book for many years. In 1983's "Warpland", the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel are pulled into another dimension, one where their counterparts are all animals.
I'd like to think Hanna-Barbera & DC were testing the waters for possibly adapting another DC property, Captain Carrot, for television, by trying out characters like Super Frog. Needless to say, Captain Carrot never made it to television at that time.
The image of Superman as an eagle references the Metropolis Marvel's never ending battle for "truth, justice, & the American way", don't you think?
After Top Cat ended its network run in 1962, Allen Jenkins (Officer Dibble) went back to work as a character actor. He turns up in an episode of Honey West as a security guard for a client of Honey (Anne Francis), who's on the trail of a modern day Robin Hood (Edd Byrnes, ex-77 Sunset Strip). Allen's scenes bookend the episode, and plays the guard the same way he played Dibble, easily befuddled by Honey and her aide, Sam (John Ericson).
The reason the original Ben 10 is labeled as "On The Air" is because the chumps at Cartoon Network decided to reboot the series last year, a clear case of fixing something that wasn't broken.
Ben 10 had been a profitable franchise for CN, such that the network decided they needed to make live-action movies spun from the series. You have to remember that this was around the time that now-deposed executive "Stupid" Stuart Snyder was in charge, and thought live-action would function as well on CN as it has on rivals Nickelodeon & Disney Channel. What a maroon!
The basics: 10 year old Ben Tennyson finds what he thinks is a fancy watch. What it really is, though, is the Omnitrix, which allows him to access the powers and abilities of 10 alien beings, hence the show's title, Ben 10. The Man of Action studio, which includes writers Joe Kelly & Steven T. Seagle, developed the series, but I am not entirely sure if they've been lured back to CN for the current series, which launched in October.
Ben 10 spawned three sequel series, all of which will be covered in due course. We would also see that Ben's cousin, Gwen, would discover that she herself is not only a sorceress in training, but half-alien as well.
Following is the intro:
The back & forth sniping between the cousins you can dismiss as being natural, the closest thing to sibling rivalry this show has. However, the bickering would give way to the formation of natural teamwork and bonding between Ben & Gwen, almost as if they should've been brother & sister instead of cousins. I haven't seen the new version yet, but that will also be addressed in due time.
Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines, as you know, was one of two spin-offs from Wacky Races (Perils of Penelope Pitstop being the other), out of three freshman series Hanna-Barbera sold to CBS in 1969.
Being that it's the 1st of the month, our Famous First Episode is the series premiere of Dastardly & Muttley. The Vulture Squadron makes its debut in "Fur Out Furlough". Then, after the debut of Wing Dings segment, Magnificent Muttley is "Muttley on the Bounty", but Dick Dastardly (Paul Winchell) isn't exactly Captain Queeg. The finale is "Sappy Birthday". Someone's birthday is about to be spoiled.....