Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tooniversary: The Spooky Fog of Juneberry (The New Scooby-Doo Movies, 1972)

Four weeks after "Guess Who's Knott Coming to Dinner", Don Knotts returns to The New Scooby-Doo Movies. This time, Don is closer to his most famous alter ego of Deputy Barney Fife (The Andy Griffith Show) as he helps Scooby and the gang solve the mystery of "The Spooky Fog of Juneberry".



It's just too bad Hanna-Barbera couldn't convince Andy Griffith himself to do the show, and he wasn't the only A-list star that passed up the opportunity. Today, The Andy Griffith Show does air on weekends depending on where you live, as well as weekday syndication and cable. Knotts, of course, had cut his teeth in toons with "The Incredible Mr. Limpet" a few years prior to his two meetings with Scooby.

Rating: B.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Getting Schooled: Time Out (1979)

Time Out was a series of PSA's produced by NBC Sports (!) during the 1979-80 season. I at first thought these were used on Saturday mornings, and maybe they were, but these seem to have been more prevalent during, of course, sports programming.

With summer a couple of months away, Kim Richards, at the time appearing on Hello, Larry, helps explain what a lifeguard does.



The poster on YouTube got the date wrong, as the copyright, albeit somewhat fuzzy, shows this is from 1980.

I don't know how many of these were made, but they are hard to find.

Rating: A.

Rare Treats: Duffy's Dozen (1971)

Hanna-Barbera had attempted to get back into primetime well before the short-lived Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour made a cameo appearance on NBC in the late 70's. Unfortunately, their family-centric cartoon, Duffy's Dozen, never got past the pilot stage.

The clip opens with Bill Hanna & Joe Barbera, appearing in sketch form on the screen while the execs do the talking, making their pitch. 12 adopted children and a sheepdog create a very big family for the parents (Janet Waldo & John Stephenson). Duffy's Dozen didn't sell, but Hanna-Barbera, undaunted, went with a big family the next year, by adapting the adventures of a certain Hawaiian detective. Yep, subtract two kids, turn the sheepdog into a smaller breed, subtract the mother, and you have The Amazing Chan & the Chan Clan.

Casey Kasem not only voices one of the boys, Alan, but is also the park ranger and the end-of-pitch announcer.



I think you can see why this didn't work out.

Rating: B--.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: The Wonder Twins & Wonder Woman in Cycle Gang (1981)

A young boy & his grandfather run afoul of a "Cycle Gang" in this Super Friends short from 1981. Seems the Highway Angels didn't like the station wagon "kicking dust in their faces" as it passed by. Then again, the grandfather didn't see the bikers. The Wonder Twins & Wonder Woman have to step in to resolve the issue.

As it seemed to happen in almost every Wonder Twins short, Michael Bell (Zan/Gleek) adds an extra role or two, in this case, there's no mistaking him trying to do a younger boy's voice as Bobby. Not sure about any others.



Hanna-Barbera, DC, & ABC must've caught some flak for the Twins' 1977 shorts, which, as one correspondent here noted a ways back, amounted to glorified PSA's, hence adding one of the veteran heroes for the later episodes, usually Wonder Woman or Batman & Robin. Too bad the Highway Angels weren't brought back.

Rating: A-.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Getting Schooled: The Kingdom of Could Be You (1973)

From the same folks who created The Most Important Person comes The Kingdom of Could be You, which, like Most Important Person, aired initially on Captain Kangaroo (1973-6) before moving into syndication.

However, this happens to be my first look at Kingdom, as, understandably, I was in school while Kangaroo was on, and didn't see it in syndication. Insofar as I know, it didn't air on WPIX, WSBK, or WNEW. 'PIX was the NYC home to Most Important Person.

Let's take a look at the opener:



Short, amusing, and in need of a return to the air.

Rating: A.

Saturtainment: Rockumentary, Saved by The Bell style (1991)

Saved by The Bell spoofs pop culture as well as MTV's Rockumentary series (profiled in The Land of Whatever earlier this week) in this season 3 episode. Radio & cartoon legend and former NBC studio announcer Casey Kasem makes his 2nd appearance as himself, this time serving as narrator/guest host, and as the show goes along, takes on a Rod Serling vibe........



The opening theme was slowed down to add time and avoid the copyright police. Meh, whatever.

There is a stand-alone clip of "Friends Forever" on YouTube, so we'll showcase that another time. Conspicious by her absence was Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie), which is curious in and of itself.

Worth noting: In season 4, NBC finally aired some earlier episodes that had been held back for reasons known only to the network, which made things a little bit strange in screwing up what continuity the series had. The episodes set at the Malibu Shores resort with Ernie Sabella (Perfect Strangers) and Leah Remini (later of The King of Queens) were part of season 3 as well. By that point, NBC was double-running Bell for a full hour every Saturday, which continued through the New Class era (1993-2000).

Rating: A. One of the better episodes of the series.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Winsome Witch in the Hansel & Gretel Case (1965)

It's way past time we caught up with Winsome Witch, so let's take a trip into her enchanted forest and meet a couple of kids who try to pass themselves off as a famous pair of literary siblings in "The Hansel & Gretel Case". I think this was one of Dick Beals' first jobs for Hanna-Barbera, although I could be wrong.



Rating: B.