Saturday, January 25, 2014

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Robonic Stooges (1977)

After The Three Stooges made a couple of guest appearances on The New Scooby-Doo Movies, Hanna-Barbera welcomed back writers Norman Maurer (son-in-law of Moe Howard) & Jeffrey Scott (Moe's grandson) to the fold. Scott would remain on staff at H-B at least into the 80's. Not so sure about Maurer, who had produced the New Three Stooges shorts in the 60's for his own studio.

In 1977, Moe, Larry, & Curly were reincarnated, if ya will, as cyborg bumblers in The Robonic Stooges, one of two animated segments on The Skatebirds. H-B & CBS figured, if a cyborg dog (Dynomutt) was a hit for ABC, how about taking some comedy legends and giving them bionic parts, too? Predictably, only one season's worth of shorts were produced, and they never once thought about a robotic version of Shemp.

One must assume that Frank Welker had voiced Curly in the Scooby-Doo episodes, since he recycled the voice for the Curly-esque Jabberjaw. So, naturally, Welker was, ah, reunited with the child-like Stooge. Joe Baker (ex-The Rich Little Show) voiced Larry, while the inestimable Paul Winchell voiced Moe. Ross Martin (ex-Sealab 2020, Wild Wild West) was their boss, Agent 000. John Stephenson is the narrator.

Unfortunately, episodes previously posted have been deleted by YouTube and are unavailable at the moment. All that's left is this 11 second intro, narrated by Stephenson:

The episodes tried to mix classic Stooge slapstick with superhero action, but the translation wasn't always there. Of course, it didn't help that studio stablemates were on the other channels and that led to Skatebirds' early demise.

Rating: B-.


magicdog said...

I'm pretty sure Curly on "The New Scooby Doo Movies" was voiced by Daws Butler.

Many people may not know that there's a Vegas connection to The Stooges as well. Jeffrey Scott and Norman Maurer both backed and organized a live action Stooge show at the old MGM Hotel & Casino in the early 90s. It ran for a while, but IIRC, it closed after about 2 years.

hobbyfan said...

Hmm, Daws was a pretty good impressionist himself back then, and Frank Welker may have learned how to do Curly from him.

How that Stooges stage show got under the radar, such that I never knew about it, I don't know.