Sunday, December 31, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes; The Mighty Heroes vs. The Drifter (1966)

We've seen how villains will use entire cities as a means of making fast money. "The Drifter" uses a gravity ray to uproot the city of Good Haven, and decides he wants $10 million dollars for the city's safe return to earth. Enter the Mighty Heroes, and the predictable, ensuing chaos.



In some cases, such as this one, the episodes were split into two segments, at 5 and 3 minutes, respectively, on weeks when Mighty Mouse was the backup feature. This ensured that both features would have equal billing, a lesson Hanna-Barbera ignored with their split-feature series (i.e. Space Ghost & Dino Boy) that same season.

Rating: B-.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

From Comics to Toons; Snuffy's Fair Lady (1963)

It's time to back to the woods with Snuffy Smith & Barney Google.

When a charm school opens, Louweeza decides to sign up in order to improve her appearance. Well, it's clear she's not an Eliza Doolittle type, and instead of a Henry Higgins for an instructor, the teacher (Paul Frees, who also voices Barney & Snuffy) is a ballet instructor. Didn't we see something like this with Popeye & Olive Oyl, too?

Here's "Snuffy's Fair Lady".



I'd think they'd have gone for the obvious and done the parody of the movie, just to see if they could poke fun at "My Fair Lady"....

Rating: B-.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Monkeemen (1966)

Yes, even The Monkees got into the act when it came to superhero satires. Their Monkeemen personas only appeared about twice in the course of their 2 season run (1966-8).

Those personas come into play briefly in the episode, "I've Got a Little Song Here". Mike Nesmith gets swindled by a con man (Phil Leeds), and when their initial foray into crimefighting actually goes for naught, the guys come up with a better plan. Out-conning the con man.



As we all know, Micky Dolenz would later dip into the world of cartoon heroes (Wonder Wheels in particular), and Davy Jones paid a call on Scooby-Doo and his friends.

Rating: B.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Harley's Holiday (1994)

From The Adventures of Batman & Robin (formerly Batman: The Animated Series):

Harley Quinn (Arleen Sorkin) has been declared sane and released from Arkham Asylum. However, attempting to go shopping with her pet hyenas in tow leads to nothing but chaos.

Marilu Henner (ex-Taxi) and Franklin Cover (ex-The Jeffersons) guest star in "Harley's Holiday".



Now, if WB can get Harley's creator, Paul Dini, back from Marvel, maybe a Harley solo series is in order......

Rating: A.

From Primetime to Daytime: Monkees in a Ghost Town (1966)

As the title of this episode implies, The Monkees, with their car out of gas, pull into a ghost town, unaware that it's also a hideout for some bank robbers. Lon Chaney, Jr. & Rose Marie guest star in "Monkees in a Ghost Town":



Rose Marie would return in "Monkee Mother", her 2nd & final appearance on the show. This episode is dedicated in her memory, as the actress passed away Thursday at 94.

No rating.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Zorro in The Tyrant (1981)

Zorro with a sidekick? Yep.

In Filmation's 1981 adaptation, Zorro (Henry Darrow) often rode with a servant, Miguel, wearing brighter colors and a reddish mask, an excuse for the studio to redraw certain shots from The Lone Ranger.

In "The Tyrant", Zorro & Miguel must expose a visiting general for the greedy outlaw he really is.



It's a pity this lasted just the 1 season, as it deserved a better fate.

Rating: B+.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Mind of the Master (Fantastic Voyage, 1968)

From Fantastic Voyage:

Guru (Marvin Miller) falls into a coma when he is attacked by an unknown assailant. He telepathically contacts Jonathan Kidd (Ted Knight) in the middle of the night to alert him and the rest of the CMDF team to his whereabouts.

From there, "The Mind of the Master" becomes the closest thing to an actual adaptation of the original novel upon which the 1966 movie was based. Oh, by the way, the common misconception with the movie was that Isaac Asimov's novelization of said film is mistakenly assumed to be the original source material.



Fantastic Voyage turns 50 in 2018. Anyone think a remake is in order for this series? Fox, are you paying attention?

Rating: B.

Retro Toy Chest: Strolling Bowling (1979)

Japan's Tomy introduced Strolling Bowling back in 1979 for the kiddo's to learn how to bowl. It's a 3 piece set consisting of a wind-up bowling ball with feet and a two-part lane. Unfortunately, after a quick check of Tomy's Wikipedia page, it's not around anymore.

Scope the ad.



This wasn't the only bowling game on the market at the time. Ideal had come out with Snap Bowling a few years earlier, and I actually owned one of those. Strolling Bowling was for a younger target demo.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Toon Sports: Popeye in Fantastic Gymnastics (1979)

In season 2 of The All-New Popeye Hour, Popeye's Treasure Hunt was replaced with the short-lived Popeye's Sports Parade. Short-lived because only six of these shorts were made. Apparently, Hanna-Barbera didn't feel comfortable attempting to adapt some sports-themed shorts that the Fleischers had previously made under this particular banner.

In "Fantastic Gymnastics", Popeye (Jack Mercer) is a pizza shop owner/delivery man, specializing in--wait for it---spinach pizza. Olive (Marilyn Schreffler) is a gymnast, being coached by Wimpy (Daws Butler). Bluto (Allan Melvin) is a rival coach, and naturally is looking for any illegal advantage he can get, including copping some of those same spinach pizzas that are being fed to Olive's team.

The climax of Popeye & Bluto improvising away from the arena is worth the price of admission alone in a tribute to those old classics.



Notice how Butler gave Wimpy a W. C. Fields-esque voice, nothing like previous characterizations (which had been done by Mercer, among others). The gimmick, otherwise, remained the same.

Rating: B+.

Game Time: H. R. Pufnstuf on the Dating Game (1972)

Christmas was yesterday, but I couldn't pass this up until next year. In fact, I meant to use it during Countdown to Christmas, but forgot.

Anyway, the year is 1972. H. R. Pufnstuf had moved from NBC to ABC, still rerunning the same episodes first produced 3 years earlier, and the last time that Pufnstuf had appeared in a first-run episode was a guest shot on Lidsville in 1971. With Pufnstuf entrenched on Sunday mornings on ABC, as opposed to Saturdays, but not getting enough eyeballs (due to affiliates blacking the show out for local or syndicated programming), ABC brokered a deal between the Kroffts and Chuck Barris to have Pufnstuf (voiced as usual by Len Weinrib) to appear on a Christmas Day edition of The Dating Game with Jim Lange. As Lange notes in introducing Pufnstuf, the mayor of the Magic Island was appearing at Knotts Berry Farm at the time.

This is from a broadcast that aired on Game Show Network (GSN).



Don't ya think they could've located Jack Wild for this spot?

Rating: B.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Toons After Dark: A Chipmunk Christmas (1981)

Alvin & the Chipmunks began their association with NBC in 1981, two years before they landed a berth on the network's Saturday morning lineup.

A Chipmunk Christmas was the first Chipmunk special, and the first project without creator Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., as Ross, Jr. took over voicing Alvin and Dave Seville. He also enlisted the aid of toon legend Chuck Jones to put this one together, which is why it looks miles better than the series produced by Ruby-Spears and later DIC with Bagdasarian Productions, first for NBC, then Fox.

Alvin gives up his harmonica in order to cheer up a young, ailing boy,  but has to scramble for a new one when he & his brothers land an important gig. This was a rerun shown around 1986 (Alf's 1st year), while Kidd Video was still on the air.



Rating: A.

Merry Christmas, everyone. We'll be back tomorrow.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: Christmas with Dennis The Menace (1960)

From season 2 of Dennis The Menace (also available at The Land of Whatever):

Dennis (Jay North) wants a horse for Christmas, but his parents (Herbert Anderson & Gloria Henry) got him a phonograph, or, record player, instead. Undaunted, Dennis searches for the horse. Of course, chaos follows.....



Rating: B.

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Krusher? (1979)

Back in the late 70's, Kenner had one of the hottest toys on the market with the elastic Stretch Armstrong. So, Mattel decided they wanted a piece of that action.

Unfortunately, the following ad for Krusher represents the first time I've ever seen or heard of this product. Yes, it's a knockoff of Stretch's enemy, Stretch Monster, and maybe that's why it failed.

Personal note: My family moved to downtown Troy in 1979. I'm still living in the same apartment nearly 40 years later, and there used to be a toy store in the neighborhood. It's long since closed, replaced by a coffee house/restaurant. I remember going there a few times, and I never once caught sight of Krusher. Then again, teenage me was more interested in board games.......

Cartoon icon Gary Owens narrates the ad.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: The Polar Express (2004)

Chris Van Allsburg's holiday tale is brought to life via motion capture/CGI/3D animation in 2004's "The Polar Express".

A young boy (Daryl Sabara) sees the titular train pause for a stop in front of his house. Curious, he ventures out, wearing only his PJ's, slippers, & jacket. The Conductor (Tom Hanks) invites him on board, and the adventure begins.

The supporting cast includes Eddie Deezen (ex-Dexter's Laboratory), Frank Welker, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, Nona Gaye (Marvin's daughter), and Peter Scolari, working with Hanks for the first time, I think, since their days on Bosom Buddies in the early 80's. Josh Groban's hit, "Believe", was the big hit off the soundtrack.

Here's the trailer:



Visually striking, as this was one of the first animated films to employ motion capture technology. Hanks performs a couple of numbers on the soundtrack, a long ways away from his attempts at rapping in "Dragnet" back in 1987. If it airs this weekend, go out of your way to see it, if you haven't already.

Rating: A.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Tonto vs. Snow Creature (1966)

From season 1 of The Lone Ranger:

Tonto (Shep Menken) rescues a trapper from a "Snow Creature", then discovers that the beast is under the control of....well, that would be telling, now, wouldn't it?



Forgive the video quality provided by DandyDeal.

Rating: B.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: An episode of the New Woody Woodpecker Show (1999)

Here's a complete, sans opening & closing credits, episode of Fox's revival of Woody Woodpecker.

How Woody managed three seasons on Fox, I'll never know, given how Fox tended to shuffle programs off the schedule on whims, especially in an obsessive quest to counter-program Pokemon on WB.

"A Very Woody Christmas": Woody (Billy West), stuck for a gift for Knothead & Splinter, falls for a scam being run by Buzz Buzzard (Mark Hamill). To borrow from another famous icon, of course you know this means war.

"It's a Chilly Christmas After All". The usual Chilly Willy story, variation #10310.

"Yule Get Yours": Woody tries to impress Santa.



Rating: B.

Game Time: The Battle of the Dodgers (Sports Challenge, 1972)

The beauty of Sports Challenge was the prospect of two generations of the same team coming together to play against each other.

Such was the case in this 1972 meeting pitting Dodger greats from Brooklyn (Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson) and Los Angeles (Wes Parker, Maury Wills, Frank Robinson).

Posted in memory of host Dick Enberg, who has passed away at 82 from a heart attack. More on Enberg in The Land of Whatever. For this reason, we will forego our rating, especially considering we reviewed Sports Challenge some time back.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Toon Legends: Tom & Jerry in Solid Serenade (1946)

Here's a rare treat. A Tom & Jerry short in which Tom talks.

The hook to "Solid Serenade" is Tom wooing an attractive female. He gets around the guard dog by using his stand-up bass as a pogo stick, then launches into "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby", made famous by Louis Jordan. Ira "Buck" Woods is the vocalist. Otherwise, Tom's dialogue is spoken by toon veteran Billy Blecher, who otherwise had worked for WB and the Fleischers.

One of Hanna & Barbera's best efforts for MGM.



Rating: A.

Countdown to Christmas: Santa Claus shares breakfast with Fred & Barney (1988)

Here's a Pebbles cereal ad that's been around for nearly 30 years.



For once, Barney is foiled. This would be one of the last times Mel Blanc voiced Barney, as we lost Mel a year later.

In the 90's, they had Jim Cummings dub over Santa's lines, but otherwise it was the same commercial. Don't ask why.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Celebrity Toons: The Three Stooges in Super Everybody (1966)

The Three Stooges took their turn at skewering superheroes in 1966's "Super Everybody".  A conk on the head has Larry dreaming that Moe & Curly Joe have become superheroes. Then again, just about everyone has.....



The basic design of the Super Curly & Moe-Man costumes would later be used by Hanna-Barbera for The Robonic Stooges, which came out in 1977 as more of a 3-way parody of The Six Million Dollar Man.

Not one of the better entries, as the plot felt like it was driven home by a sledgehammer.

Rating: C.

Countdown to Christmas: A Scooby-Doo Christmas (2002)

A Scooby-Doo Christmas was the first of 2 primetime specials during the What's New Scooby-Doo era (2002-5) on Kids' WB!, but today you'd be hard pressed to find it on Cartoon Network and/or Boomerang, 15 years after its initial airing.

In a twist on a classic Halloween tale, Scooby and the gang try to unmask the Headless Snowman. James Belushi, Mark Hamill, Kathy Kinney (The Drew Carey Show), and Peter Scolari are among the guest stars.



Reportedly, CN is commissioning a new Scooby series after Be Cool, Scooby-Doo was considered a flop, but considering that 1) there was a great deal of viewer apathy over the show and 2) it was relegated to Boomerang because of network programmers' obsession with a certain superhero comedy that shan't be mentioned by name here, Be Cool was doomed right from the start.

Rating for A Scooby-Doo Christmas: A.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Toons You Might've Missed: Little Lulu in Chick & Double Chick (1946)

Marjorie Buell's Little Lulu was meant to be a distaff complement to Popeye at Famous Studios, since Paramount had retired Betty Boop. However, the series didn't last very long. Just a small handful of shorts, beginning in 1943.

A few years ago, I acquired a DVD that purportedly collected, according to the text, material from HBO's attempt at reviving Lulu for a new generation, with British comedienne-singer Tracey Ullman attached. Maybe I read the text wrong, because the DVD didn't have anything from the HBO series, just 8 shorts, including this next item, 1946's "Chick & Double Chick", in which Lulu (Cecil Roy) has to ensure her pet dog doesn't disrupt the hatching of some eggs.....



I found it entertaining just the same, but good luck finding Lulu on TV.

Rating: A.

Toon Legends: Scooby-Doo in Whatta Shocking Ghost (1976)

Winter's right around the corner (starts Thursday), and because of early snowfalls in some parts of the Northeast, ski resorts have gotten a headstart on the season. No better time, then, for a winter-themed episode of The Scooby-Doo Show from Scooby's 1st season on ABC.

The gang's all-weather Mystery Machine runs out of gas in the town of Winterhaven, suddenly deserted thanks to the 10,000 Volt Ghost. Watch for a key clue early in the episode that actually gives away one of the villains....



In memory of Heather North Kenney (Daphne), who passed away over the weekend at 71.

Rating: B.

Looney TV: The cereal that didn't make it (1968)

What we have here, folks, is a "test cartoon" shown to focus groups to see if they'd be interested in what would be the last collaboration between Warner Bros. & Post Cereals.

In 1968, Post & WB thought it might be a great idea to produce a cereal featuring the Road Runner. Beep Beep cereal, however, didn't get past this stage, even with the inestimable William Conrad narrating the ad. Once Bugs Bunny and friends stopped shilling for Post and other General Foods brands like Tang and Kool-Aid, the cereal maker forged a licensing deal with Hanna-Barbera, and, well, you know how that has gone.....



Perhaps fittingly, Gold Key comics, a sister company to Whitman as part of the Western Publishing group, was producing a comic book featuring our fast feathered friend under the title, Beep! Beep! The Road Runner, which lasted through the mid-70's at least.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Magic Crystal of Kabala (Fantastic Voyage, 1968)

Filmation's loose adaptation of Fantastic Voyage turns 50 next year. It's been a while since we screened an episode.

In "The Magic Crystal of Kabala", the CMDF has to prevent some major disasters by destroying the titular jewel, in the possession of carnival mage Mephisto (Ted Knight, using his Penguin voice, or a variant thereof).



I wonder how many other voices Knight recycled from working on the Batman toons for CBS?

Rating: B.

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Major Matt Mason? (1966)

Mattel, seeing the popularity of Hasbro's original G. I. Joe, decided they needed their own heroic action figure for young boys. So, in 1966, the company introduced Major Matt Mason, an astronaut. However, Mason's lifespan on the shelves wasn't very long. I have no memory of seeing any Mason toys in the stores as a teen, so I'd wager Mason was sent into permanent quarantine sometime in the 70's.

Apparently, the mindset at Mattel was that because Mason wasn't somehow linked to Barbie, his line wasn't selling. Then again, kids preferred Joe to Matt. Period.

Here's a sample ad from 1968. Narrated by Ernie Anderson.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Countdown to Christmas: A Wish For Wings That Work (1991)

Berkeley Breathed's seminal comic strip, Bloom County, was raised from the dead 2 years ago, and now appears whenever possible on the creator's Facebook page. Hey, it happens.

Anyway, Breathed had ended the strip originally in 1989, moving on to another, short-lived strip, Outland. Characters from both strips factored into a 1991 book that was adapted for television by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment & Universal for CBS at the end of that year.

A Wish For Wings That Work centers on fan favorite Opus the penguin (Michael Bell), who asks Santa for the titular wings. If you followed the original Bloom County, rife as it was with political and social satire, you'll love this. Unfortunately, Breathed wasn't thrilled with the finished product, which found its way to DVD 10 years ago. Opus is joined in his quest by Bill the cat, who does manage to fire off one of his infamous hairballs. As Opus explains in his letter to Santa, Bill "had his brains replaced with Tater Tots", which would explain why Bill can't speak.

Other voice talent in the special includes John Byner and the usual suspects (Frank Welker, Joe Alaskey, et al). Scope out A Wish For Wings That Work.



Apparently, CBS shared Breathed's sentiments, as this has not been repeated anywhere since its initial airing.

Rating: A-.

Retro Toy Chest: Stratego (US) (1961)

Stratego celebrated its 75th anniversary this year. Now, you're thinking, wait a minute. 75 years?

It's true. Stratego was developed in the Netherlands back in 1942, and licensed for foreign distribution in 1958. In 1961, Milton Bradley (now part of Hasbro) obtained a license to produce the game for American youth. Today, there is, of course, an electronic version of the game.

Because of its military theme, one would think, without knowing its origins, that Stratego was M-B's answer to Risk, a Parker Brothers game. Of course, Parker Brothers was also absorbed by Hasbro, but I don't think they'd be continuing both products.

Anyway, check out this classic ad.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Lone Ranger in Terror in Toyland (1966)

Here's another Lone Ranger solo story, this one from season 1 of the first animated series.

Tiny Tom (Dick Beals) escapes from prison, but his attempts at avenging himself on the Ranger (Michael Rye) are, amazingly, as futile as the Toyman vs. Superman.

Here's "Terror in Toyland".



I doubt that kids would've noticed that Beals was also the voice of Buzz Conroy, creator and sidekick to Frankenstein, Jr. on the same network (CBS). Tiny Tom was the closest thing the Ranger had to a recurring villain.

Rating: B.

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). Then, there was  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, 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?