Friday, June 23, 2017

On The Air: Cyberchase (2002)

Cyberchase is one of PBS' longest-running animated series, with the first 10 seasons spread out over a 13 year period (2002-15). Season 11 is set to air later this year.

The plot: Three Earth kids are transported into another dimension to help Motherboard thwart the machinations of Hacker (Christopher Lloyd, ex-Taxi, "Back To The Future"). Gilbert Gottfried (ex-Aladdin, Saturday Night Live) co-stars as Digit and his kid brother, Widget, a pair of cyborg birds that are Motherboard's aides.

To tell you the truth, I had this up before, but it got taken down when YouTube dumped it due to copyright issues. Hopefully, this won't be the case this time. I thought the series had actually ended a while ago, but nowadays, the production time on some cartoons takes longer than it did back in the day.

Let's look at a more recent sample:

The series was originally produced by Canada's Nelvana Studios, which has since turned over the show to an American studio. Don't ask why.

Rating: B.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Superman in War of the Bee Battalion (1967)

An age old trope plays into this next offering, from season 2 of The New Adventures of Superman.

Supes (Bud Collyer, To Tell The Truth) has to deal with a pair of common, garden variety crooks who force a scientist to use his experimental formula to enlarge a hive of common bees to keep the Man of Steel distracted while the thieves loot Metropolis. Oh, if it only were that simple......

As you can see, the serum wears off after a while. Today, this same story would be extended, since this ends so quickly.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Toonformercial: The Pink Panther shills for Owens-Corning (1979)

It's been nearly 40 years since The Pink Panther was licensed to Owens-Corning Fiberglas to promote their insulation products.

In this spot, Inspector Clouseau joins the Panther. John Bartholomew Tucker is the voice-over announcer.

I have no clue who voiced Clouseau in these spots.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tooniversary: Spider-Man in Diet of Destruction (1967)

Spider-Man tangles with a metal eating monster that seemingly can't be stopped. The odd thing is that this monster doesn't have a human controlling it. No rhyme or reason to this "Diet of Destruction":

Rating: B.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Toons After Dark: Alice in Wonderland (Or, What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This? (1966)

A few years after Disney had released their own adaptation, Hanna-Barbera took a stab at Lewis Carroll's classic tale, but opted for an all-star musical.

Alice in Wonderland (Or, What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?) aired on ABC, and has rarely been rerun in 51 years since. The story moves forward to present-day, as you'd expect. Alice (Janet Waldo) enters Wonderland through a very unusual portal---her TV, thanks to her dog, Fluff (Don Messick, of course).

The late comedian Bill Dana wrote the adaptation, which turned the Mad Hatter into a woman (gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, who passed away weeks before the show aired), and turned the Cheshire Cat into a hep cat with the voice of---who else?---Sammy Davis, Jr. (Billed as simply Sammy Davis). Fred Flintstone & Barney Rubble (Alan Reed & Mel Blanc) are reincarnated as a two-headed caterpillar. You get the idea, I think. For what it's worth, Henry Corden took over as Fred when he had to sing.

When it was decided to release this on record, a number of cast changes were made, partially due to contractual conflicts. For example, Davis was signed to Reprise, along with Rat Pack pals Dean Martin & Frank Sinatra, so Scatman Crothers took over as the Cheshire Cat on the album. Veteran H-B scribe Charles Shows adapted Dana's adaptation. I can only imagine.

I never got to see this in its entirety, if at all, so there's no rating. In memory of Dana, who passed away over the weekend, we present this as a public service.

Getting Schooled: The Magical Mystery Trip Through Little Red's Head (1974)

Timer, now voiced by Len Weinrib, returns to the ABC Afterschool Special in "The Magical Mystery Trip Through Little Red's Head", first shown in May 1974.

This time, the episode is all animated (another DePatie-Freleng production, don'tcha know), as Timer leads two kids through the title character's cranium.

Unfortunately, the complete episode is not available on YouTube. We'll settle for this sample clip.

As we know, Timer would get his own series of interstitals that aired on Saturdays for the next couple of decades, but his two Afterschool Specials haven't seen the light of day since their last broadcasts. You might say, that Time For Timer was the first Saturday morning series DFE would sell to ABC, but they'd only be able to sell three more after that (The Oddball Couple, The New Pink Panther Show, & Spider-Woman, all between 1975-9).

No rating.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

From Comics to Toons: Popeye's Junior Headache (1960)

Since Popeye is a sort of father figure to Swee'pea, as well as Olive's niece, Deezil, we'll close our Father's Day salute with "Popeye's Junior Headache", which apparently introduced Deezil. Seems Popeye's been burning the midnight oil, and......!

And you thought Popeye had trouble with his own nephews......

Rating: B.

Getting Schooled: Schoolboy Father (ABC Afterschool Special, 1980)

It's Father's Day. To mark the occasion, we're bringing out an ABC Afterschool Special from 1980 that addresses the issue of teenage pregnancy and subsequent parenting.

In "Schoolboy Father", Rob Lowe stars as a teen father who decides to raise his newborn over the objections of his girlfriend (Dana Plato, Diff'rent Strokes), who wants to give up the child for adoption. Nancy McKeon (The Facts of Life) co-stars.

Producer Martin Tahse made a ton of these teen dramas for the Afterschool Special as well as the Saturday Weekend Special, but hasn't been heard from since ABC discontinued both anthologies.

No rating.

Toonformercial: Tinker Bell for Peter Pan peanut butter (1950's)

Don't know exactly when this next ad bowed, likely during some Disney programming on ABC, but back in those days, Tinker Bell didn't talk all that much. That leaves it for the future voice of Winnie the Pooh, Sterling Holloway, to narrate this spot for Peter Pan peanut butter.

Awww, Tink is soooooooooo cute. One wonders why she was silent in the first place (not so now). Maybe they were afraid of the inevitable coupling of Tinker & Peter (which Steven Spielberg envisioned in 1991's "Hook").

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Looney TV: I Am Slamacus (Loonatics Unleashed, 2006)

From season 2 of Loonatics Unleashed:

Slam Tasmanian is recruited by a humanoid analogue for Pepe LePew, who happens to be running an underground fight club. Danger Duck decides to be Slam's manager, with predictable results. It all starts when the Loonatics try to retrieve some prehistoric creatures from a retro zoo, who've escaped. Pierre Le Pew (Maurice LaMarche) has eyes for Lexi Bunny, who doesn't return the affection (what a shock).

Here's "I Am Slamacus":

While funk legend Bootsy Collins sang the theme song for season 2. He didn't write it. Musical director Thomas Chase Jones did, so blame him if you think it was lousy. It's actually the 2nd worst theme song revision in toon history. The all-time champ came more than a decade earlier, with Fred Schneider's horrid rap theme to The New Adventures of Captain Planet.

Rating: A.

Retro Toy Chest: Electronic Detective (1979)

After spending most of the 70's as a pitchman for Aurora's Skittle line of games, 60's icon Don Adams (Get Smart, Tennessee Tuxedo) landed an endorsement deal with Ideal to shill for Electronic Detective, which sought to siphon off some of the market for Milton Bradley's Simon or other electronic games of the period. The deal was such that Adams' picture was on the game box.

As you can see in this ad, Adams was actually still trading off Smart, as he only thinks he's solved the case. Joey Forman, who'd appeared on Smart as a Charlie Chan parody, Harry Hoo, and did a lot of TV in the 60's & 70's, co-stars.

Had I known about this game when it came out in 1979, I would've badgered the parents to put it under the Christmas tree. After flopping a few years earlier in The Partners, Adams would return to cartoons and gumshoes as Inspector Gadget four years after this was released.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Atom Ant in Super Blooper (1965)

Atom Ant is just as much a fan of other heroes as you or I would be. This much is gleaned in our next episode.

In "Super Blooper", Atom helps an actor (Allan Melvin) who plays Atom's hero, Super Guy, when the actor comes to town on a promo tour, and has to impress some kids. Atom's only too happy to help.....

I think by this point in the series, Don Messick had taken over as the voice of Atom, replacing Howard Morris. Don't know why.

Anyway, they don't do these kind of promotions anymore, since too much information is out in the public purview.

Rating: B.

Daytime Heroes: Sgt. Thursday of Sesame Street (1973)

One of the coolest things about Sesame Street that will attract viewers of all ages is their clever parody sketches.

Take for example this 1973 offering. Can't say for sure if this is from season 4 or 5. Anyway, Dragnet gets the parody treatement, as we're introduced to Sgt. Thursday (Jerry Nelson), who's searching for the letter W, but, as we'll see, it's not as easy as you'd think......

We get the joke.

Rating: A.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Superman gets a soap bottle (1963)

Well, it's not really just the Man of Steel,  but also Tennessee Tuxedo (Don Adams) in this spot for the Soaky soap bottles, made by Colgate-Palmolive. Dick Beals is the voice of the Soaky Kid. By the way, that's not Bud Collyer (To Tell The Truth) as Superman. I think this might've been Everett Sloane instead.

Bad TV: 3 Dog Band (2009-10)

In 2009, Cartoon Network sought to recapture lightning in a bottle, if you will, by opening the Cartoonstitute as a new forum for creators to introduce new works. Two current CN series, Regular Show & Uncle Grandpa, came out of the Cartoonstitute, and there are various reasons why the others never made it.

3 Dog Band was one of those runts of the litter, so to speak. Created by Paul Rudish, who'd directed episodes of Dexter's Laboratory and the original Powerpuff Girls, this band literally is comprised of three dogs, all of different breeds and musical interests, as well as nationalities.

I know all about the struggles some bands go through to make it big. I've been friends with a small number of local musicians, and I've seen some professional highs & lows. What these pooches go through exaggerates those struggles a wee bit too much. Not only that, but when you have a character named Slime who loses his shape at inopportune moments, that's another joke that goes a little off the page.

Let me just sum up my feelings on this one. Meh.

Rating: C.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Toon Legends: Mr. Magoo in Thin Skinned Divers (1960)

Mr. Magoo (Jim Backus) thinks he's going to a college reunion when he gets in truth an advertisement for a sale. Chaos ensues, of course, in "Thin Skinned Divers":

Seems Magoo is making a comeback, with news of a new set of shorts being released this year. However, the classic look is gone, and Magoo will be given an unwitting arch nemesis he doesn't realize he's offended. Can you say, epic fail?

Rating: B.

Getting Schooled: A different kind of Write Bros. (1973)

Also on The Land of Whatever:

I've never had a camera crew in a classroom, but this would've been a riot, if not also looking like it was filmed on the set of, say, Room 222. Johnny Brown, then on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, and later on Good Times, shills for Paper Mate's Write Bros. pens, which bowed in 1973.

Sad to say, but Room 222 had ended production by '73, if memory serves.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Super Friends vs. the Pied Piper of Space (1978)

A set of UFO's arrive on Earth, and thousands of children----and the Wonder Twins----end up hypnotized by some strange music. The Super Friends must follow the trail to a distant planet to confront "The Pied Piper of Space":

So let's get this straight. A child prodigy from an alien world decides that since his parents exiled him, he needs to take Earth children away from their families? Hokey, convoluted, but also a twist ending that viewers really didn't see coming until the very end.

Rating: B+.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Toon Sports: Boulevardier From The Bronx (1936)

Isadore "Friz" Freleng skewered one of the most popular pitchers of the 30's, Dizzy Dean, turning him into a literally cocky barnstormer in 1936's "Boulevardier From The Bronx".

I remember seeing this back in the day, but only now do I get a better appreciation of the visual gags. 

Rating: B.

From Primetime to Daytime: The Adventures of Pete & Pete (1993)

Nickelodeon's The Adventures of Pete & Pete actually began as a series of short interstitals in 1989. After a handful of specials, it was allowed to graduate to a full fledged series in 1993, and ran for 3 seasons (1993-6).

The titular characters happen to be brothers with the same name. Their mom has a metal plate in her head that can pick up & broadcast radio programs, among other things. In all, it is a surreal world that the Petes and their family live in.

Co-star Michelle Trachtenberg would later resurface on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and, if memory serves, it was Nickelodeon's movie division that gave Michelle her first feature film, "Harriet The Spy".

The rock group Polaris, a spin-off of Miracle Legion, perform the theme song.

Not really my cup of tea, so I didn't watch much, hence no rating.

Here's the intro:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Toons After Dark: Mission Hill (1999)

One of the things WB tried to do was develop some animated series of their own to counterprogram Fox's The Simpsons & King of the Hill. However, despite bringing in two former producers from the former, the network ended up laying an egg.

Mission Hill lasted just 1 season (1999-2000), and not even a rerun cycle on [adult swim] could revive viewer interest, in contrast to [as] reviving interest in Fox's Futurama & Family Guy, the latter of which is still on the air today.

Perhaps the biggest reason why Mission failed was because it was airing on the same night as the Fox toons. Scheduling it on another night might've at least extended its lifespan, but we'll never know for sure.

I never saw the show, so there won't be a rating. Instead, this sample is a public service.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Beware the Gray Ghost (1992)

In the early 70's, Batman met pulp legend The Shadow, which served as a back-door pilot for the latter's 1st DC series. 20 years later, the producers of Batman: The Animated Series created a character that was a cross between the two legends.

TV's original Dark Knight, Adam West, guest stars as actor Simon Trent, who, in this continuity brought young Bruce Wayne's childhood hero to life in "Beware The Gray Ghost". Kevin Conroy (Batman) doubles as Thomas Wayne in the flashback segments.

Dedicated to the memory of Adam West, who has passed away at 88. We'll have something over at The Land of Whatever.

Rating: A.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Herculoids in The Thunderbolt (1981)

From Space Stars:

The Herculoids find a friend turned foe when Saiju, a lizard like being not unlike Zok, except that Saiju cannot fly, devours some lightning rocks uncovered during an earthquake on Quasar. Here's "The Thunderbolt":

Unfortunately, Saiju wasn't seen again, as they could've added him to the Herculoids in a pinch.

The abrupt rewinds in the story were simply tape defects, it would appear.

Rating: B.

Friday, June 9, 2017

From Comics to Toons: Casper vs. the Greedy Giants (1963)

"The Greedy Giants" was the first episode of The New Casper Cartoon Show in 1963. Legendary Shamus Culhane handled the animation for this one, directed by Seymour Knietel. In it, Casper (Norma MacMillan) helps a weeping willow grow by locating a special potion. To gain the potion, Casper has to solve a riddle. If the ogre's voice sounds familiar, it belongs to Bradley Bolke, who used a similar voice for Chumley on Tennessee Tuxedo.

This set the tone for the series, as Casper was more heroic than in his theatrical shorts, which were mixed in with 26 made-for-TV shorts. That alone would explain how the series lasted as long as it did. The "Giants" in the title were the older trees, and they were really little more than doubting Thomases who didn't believe Casper would solve the ogre's riddle. This also was a rare case of Casper remolding his body to disguise himself.

Rating: A.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

From Comics to Toons: Spider-Man & Sub-Mariner team up (1981)

Spider-Man gets a visit from Sub-Mariner in this episode from his 1981 solo series.

Namor (Vic Perrin) is concerned when his cousin, Namorita (B. J. Ward) falls ill after encountering some pollution dumped by the Kingpin. Naturally, Namor turns his wrath toward the surface, but not before leaving Namorita in the care of Dr. Donald Blake (Jack Angel), the alter-ego at the time of Thor.

Meanwhile, Kingpin is hosting a summit meeting involving old rivals Hammerhead (William Boyett, ex-Adam-12, but virtually unrecognizable in applying a Brooklyn accent) and Silvermane (Paul Winchell, who also voices one of Kingpin's henchmen). Bill Woodson is heard not only as J. Jonah Jameson, but also Dr. Everett, Kingpin's personal scientist du jour.

Here's "Wrath of the Sub-Mariner":

Marvel missed a golden opportunity to give Namor his own series after this, as this could've been a back-door pilot, especially considering 'Nita was flirting with Dr. Blake. Since this series lasted just 1 season (as opposed to Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, which bowed the same year, getting 3), maybe Marvel decided against it. Their loss.

Rating: A-.

Summertainment: Doug becomes a Hamburger Boy, and deals with Shock Therapy (1993)

From season 3 of Doug's run on Nickelodeon:

Doug visits Mr. Bone in the hospital, and the assistant principal ends up revisiting his own childhood when he gets Doug's skateboard in "Doug's Shock Therapy". Then, Doug gets a summer job in "Doug is Hamburger Boy".

The intros are sped up, but otherwise, the audio is at proper speed & pitch.

No rating.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Mr. T cereal? (1984)

In the mid-80's, life was good for Mr. T. The former Chicago bouncer had not one, but two hit series on the air, as The A-Team was joined by a Saturday morning cartoon that had T as a gymnastics coach and amateur detective. The animated Mr. T was in its 2nd season when the star and Ruby-Spears agreed to a licensing deal with Quaker for breakfast cereal.

I think the artwork on the cereal box also came from Ruby-Spears, but don't hold me to it.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Hong Kong Phooey vs. the Voltage Villain & The Giggler (1974)

On his Bloggy Thing earlier today, Tony Isabella discussed a little known 1974 film, "Black Belt Jones", which starred Jim Kelly and........Scatman Crothers. Seems ol' Scatman was cast as a sensei of a sort, and maybe this is what led to his landing the lead as Hong Kong Phooey.

Anyway, HKP has his hands full with the "Voltage Villain" (Don Messick) and "The Giggler" (Frank Welker, who'd recycle the Giggler voice for one version of the Toyman 4 years later on Challenge of the Super Friends).

The subplot tying the two shorts together has Sgt. Flint (Joe E. Ross) attempting to create some models out of toothpicks, but of course it's bound to fail.

Rating: B.

Sunday Funnies: Donald Trump gets pwned by the Manning brothers (2009)

Seven years before being elected President, Donald Trump was pimping himself out for just about anything, including a ridiculous cookie commercial.

Nabisco's Oreo cookie brand was running a series of spots that had Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Peyton & Eli Manning in something called the Oreo Double Stuf Racing League. They'd beaten Venus & Serena Williams (who'd likely spank the brothers on the tennis court), and now turned their attention to Trump, who spared his sons the embarrassment by calling on comedian Darrell Hammond (Saturday Night Live) to play his, ah, clone.

Watch the future President get pwned, as the kids say.....

Monday, June 5, 2017

Looney TV: Cheese Chasers (1950-1)

Hubie & Bertie aren't as well known as the rest of Chuck Jones' creations for Warner Bros., but over the course of 8 years (1943-51), they had their fair share of amusing adventures.

The finale, "Cheese Chasers", sees Hubie (Mel Blanc) and Bertie (Stan Freberg) looking to end it all after overindulging on cheese one night, touching off a chain reaction.......

Of course, Hubie & Bertie would eventually return, but it'd be a long time before they did.

Rating: B.

Alphabetic Toons: This lesson isn't that E-asy (1969)

From the first season of Sesame Street:

A man (Casey Kasem) can't hang on to the letter 'e', and with good reason....

Between these shorts, plus working for Hanna-Barbera and Ken Snyder's Pantomime Pictures (Skyhawks & Hot Wheels), I think you can see how Casey gained the financial leverage to launch American Top 40 a year later.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Willy the Hillbilly? (1966)

Mountain Dew has been part of the Pepsi family since 1964. In 1966, Pepsi decided it was time for the product's mascot, Willy the Hillbilly, to appear in television ads for the soft drink. Country-bluegrass singer Grandpa Jones, three years before Hee Haw made him an icon, is the voice of Willy.

The ad campaign lasted just three years, but Willy returned a few years back-----in a video game.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Alphabetic Toons: Joe & the Junebug (Sesame Street, 1969)

Two boys see the letter 'j' and think it's a fish hook. Heh, there's a story with that, but no fries.

Gary Owens (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop) is the "voice of God" that sets up the story of "Joe & the Junebug".

Simple and effective.

Rating: A.

Animated World of DC Comics: The Shamon U (1973)

The Super Friends try to convince a well-meaning scientist, Dr. Shamon (Norman Alden in a dual role) that his experiments are having an adverse effect in the immediate vicinity of his lab on Mystery Mountain, if not also the rest of Earth.

The real absurdity is Marvin (Frank Welker), wearing his home-made "costume" everywhere he goes. Like, other street clothes would be nice for a picnic, dude.

Since Wonder Woman (Shannon Farnon) plays a vital role in the resolution of this case, with "Wonder Woman" opening this weekend, I thought we'd offer this episode up.

Rating: B.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Spiderversary: Spider-Man vs. Mysterio (1967)

Spider-Man takes on one of his more challenging foes in Mysterio, the master of illusion and, in this episode, disguise, in an adaptation of Mysterio's debut appearance.

"The Menace of Mysterio" adapts an issue of the original Amazing Spider-Man book from 1964, right down to framing the web-head for the robbery of a museum.

Canadian actor Paul Soles took his cues from Bud Collyer's portrayal of Superman, adopting a more heroic timbre when Peter Parker changed to Spider-Man. Later actors haven't followed suit.

Rating: B.

Toonfomercial: Remember Donutz cereal? (1980)

General Mills began the 80's by introducing a brand new cereal that trumpeted its arrival with a retro-doo-wop beat.

Donutz cereal didn't last long, a couple of years tops, but in a way, the company rebooted the product when they expanded the Cheerios line further a few years later. In my mind, Chocolate Cheerios is really Chocolate Donutz repackaged , as the "donuts" looked more like cocoa coated Cheerios in the first place.

Now, scope out this sample ad:

And the chocolate variation:

Yes, I tried it. How do you think I know they were "cousins", if ya will, of Cheerios back then?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Famous Firsts: The premiere of George of the Jungle (1967)

Here we are again, first of the month, and our "Famous First" this month is George of the Jungle. Last week, we served up the pilot for George. The pilots for the two supporting features, Tom Slick and Super Chicken, are still to come.

"The Malady Lingers On" (a play on "The Melody Lingers On"): George (Bill Scott) learns that his pet elephant, Shep, is sick, but the doctor isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the drawer.

"Monster Rally": Tom Slick (Scott) enters Prince Monte Carloff's rally. This wouldn't be the last time we'd see monsters at a road race.....

"One of Our States is Missing": An old college classmate of Henry Cabot Henhouse (Scott, recycling his Mr. Peabody voice) steals the entire state of Rhode Island. He's figuring, it's the smallest state, who'd miss it? Super Chicken tries to recover the entire state.

It's said that Paul Frees' voice for Ape is modeled after actor Ronald Colman. A similar voice had been used for Inspector Fenwick (Dudley Do-Right), among others. Scott recycled his Dudley voice for Tom Slick.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: The Darkseid Deception (1985)

Darkseid (Frank Welker) is still pursuing Wonder Woman (now voiced by B. J. Ward, Voltron, etc.), and goes so far as to impersonate the Amazon's true love, Steve Trevor (guest star Darryl Hickman), after turning Trevor into an ape. For the rest of the Super Powers Team, the real issue in "The Darkseid Deception" is figuring out what else the lord of Apokolips is after. The opening & closing are deleted.

Rating: B+.

You Know The Voice: Fernando Escandon (1980)

Before he was hired to be the voice of El Dorado on Super Friends in the early 80's, Fernando Escandon was the spokesman for Frito Lay's Tostitos tortilla chips.

Now, you have a face to match the voice.

In case you wonder, the chef in this ad became pretty famous, too. Rene Enriquez landed a supporting role on NBC's Hill Street Blues, roughly around the same time Escandon turned to cartoons. Oh, by the way, that's Michael Bell as the announcer at the end of the ad. There's no mistaking that voice. Subsequent Tostitos ads would have veteran actor William Schallert doing the voice-over.

Escandon would remain the spokesman for Tostitos for a number of years, and a few years in, did a series of spots that inserted him into some classic TV shows, including The Lone Ranger, The Addams Family, Mr. Ed, and the original Dragnet. We'll have those up soon.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

From Comics to Toons: Snuffy's Turf Luck (1961)

Snuffy Smith has to rely on best bud Barney Google to save his home when Snuffy gambles it away, and the appropriately named Jerky Jockey intends to foreclose. Ah, but he hadn't reckoned without Barney and Spark Plug.

Here's "Snuffy's Turf Luck":

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Manic Monday & If She Knew What She Wants (1986)

American Bandstand was nearing the end of its ABC run in May 1986 when the Bangles appeared on the show to promote their 2nd CD, "Different Light". "Manic Monday", the Prince-penned 1st single, had been up & down the charts by the time the band appeared on the show on Mother's Day weekend. "If She Knew What She Wants", a cover of a Jules Shear track recorded a year earlier, was the current single at the time.

Now, scope out this video. The obligatory Dick Clark interview is sandwiched in between songs.

Bassist Michael Steele has since left the group, leaving just sexy lead singer Susanna Hoffs and the Peterson sisters. I've said for years that if Archie Comics could have licensed Josie & the Pussycats for a late 80's revival, the Bangles would've easily fit in to provide the singing voices.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Celebrity Toons: Fonz & the Happy Days Gang become the Arabian Knights (1980)

Ayyyyyyyyy!!! Boy, did Hanna-Barbera blow a golden opportunity with this episode of Fonz & the Happy Days Gang!

In "Arabian Knights", Fonzie (Henry Winkler), Richie (Ron Howard), Ralph (Donny Most), Cupcake (Didi Conn), and Mr. Cool (Frank Welker) end up in Old Testament-era Babylon to help King Nebuchadnezzar II save the kingdom from a rival ruler.

Welker also uses his Fred Jones voice from Scooby-Doo as our announcer, coming out of the first commercial break. The open, narrated by Wolfman Jack (The Midnight Special) has been edited off.

Here's what I mean when I say H-B blew a golden opportunity. What with the use of incidental music from Super Friends being occasionally used here and on other H-B action shows of the period (i.e. Godzilla), it would've been a nice idea to bring some closure to one of the studio's 1960's series by using either the original Arabian Knights (from Banana Splits) and/or Shazzan and his time-tossed charges. Granted, Chuck & Nancy would be returned to 1967, as opposed to 1957, but ya never know.

Rating: B.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Toons You Might've Missed: Sh-h-h-h-h-h-h! (1955)

Legendary cartoon icon Fred "Tex" Avery finished his career at Universal, working for Walter Lantz. His final effort recycled a plot idea from one of his Droopy shorts at MGM, but this time, in "Sh-h-h-h-h-h!", Avery's protagonist, Mr. Twiddle, quits the jazz band he's playing with when his nerves get fried from excessive noise.

It didn't quite have the zip of Avery's earlier works, but it would be 25 years before Avery would return, this time at Hanna-Barbera, as he was partially responsible for the Dino & Cavemouse segment of the Flintstone Comedy Hour (2nd series) and created Kwicky Koala as his final coda.

Rating: B-.

On The Air: P. J. Masks (2015)

In 2002, Disney introduced Teamo Supremo as their initial answer to Cartoon Network's popular Powerpuff Girls. Teamo, however, didn't last, despite the fact that it had a more diverse cast (2 boys, 1 girl) of protagonists. The kids of Teamo Supremo were at least a couple of grades up from the Powerpuffs.

13 years later, Disney acquired P. J. Masks, a CGI series developed in France and England. Like Teamo Supremo, the team consists of two boys & one girl, but the gimmick here is that their pajamas magically convert into their costumes when danger threatens. It's been established that Catboy, Gekko, & Owlette are all 6 years of age, which would mean they're in the first grade. Of course, CN rebooted the Powerpuffs last year, and brought them forward to about the 2nd or 3rd grade, but to an indifferent audience. Y'think maybe that was because of P. J. Masks?

Unlike the Powerpuffs or Teamo Supremo, the kids of P. J. Masks don't answer to adult authority figures, and the vehicles they use are there strictly as product placement to induce parents to buy the toys for their kiddo's. As if a real 6 year old could drive a car or use a hang glider in real life......

Now, you'll have to wait until next year for new episodes, as Disney is cycling the first 52 shorts (26 half-hours in all) ad infinitum until a new batch is ready. Let's take a look at a sample episode:

The first season "finale" aired in February, which tells us there is a great deal of lead time between when the episodes are completed in Europe and brought to Disney Junior/Disney Channel here in the US, as it took roughly 18 months to complete the first season.

Rating: A.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Rare Treats: The pilot for George of the Jungle (1967)

George of the Jungle marks his 50th anniversary this year. A heretofore unseen pilot episode has recently been uncovered, which offers a couple of subtle differences.

First, Hans Conreid is the narrator, instead of Paul Frees. Second, George's mate, Ursula (June Foray), is named Jane, just like Tarzan's wife, in the pilot. Third, George (Bill Scott) is even more of an imbecile than we'd subsequently see. Not only that, but Ape (Frees) is a little more gullible.

Finally, the villains of the piece may not have been seen during the series proper, specifically, a greedy hunter (Frees, impersonating Humphrey Bogart) and his sidekick (Foray). The plot surrounds the fact that Shep, George's pet elephant, trumpets in E-Flat, as opposed to other elephants doing so in F-Sharp, as Conreid explains in the narrative. And, yeah, the iconic theme song is nowhere to be found. Sheldon Allman & Stan Worth would later write the famous theme.

The pilots for the back-up features, Super Chicken & Tom Slick, will be up soon.

Rating: B-.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Alphabetic Toons: A lesson on impoliteness (Sesame Street, 1969?)

Here's a simple teaching tool from the early years of Sesame Street. A man (Gary Owens, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Perils of Penelope Pitstop, etc.) holds up an image of the letter "i", only to be heckled by an unseen party.....

This wouldn't play the same way nearly 50 years later, unfortunately.

Rating: B-.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tooniversary: Deputy Dawg's Nephew (1962)

Deputy Dawg's lookalike nephew shows up, and chaos ensues when Ty Coon & Muskie think that the Deputy has shrunk because of drinking too much of their homemade blackberry juice concoction.

Here's "Deputy Dawg's Nephew":

All it is, really is a variation on an old gag used elsewhere. Not quite as effective in a shorter time frame.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits (?): If My Friends Could See Me Now (1978)

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).

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Looney TV: Shishkabugs (1962)

Yosemite Sam is a chef for a finicky king (modeled after Charles Loughton), who wants a specific meal. Enter Bugs Bunny as the main ingredient. Enter chaos in "Shishkabugs":

Poor Sam. For once, you have to sympathize with him. The plot, however, is similar to an earlier piece, set in Hollywood, but with Elmer Fudd as the browbeaten chef. We'll have that another day.

Rating: B.

Animated World of DC Comics: Invasion of the Fearians (Challenge of the Super Friends, 1978)

From Challenge of the Super Friends:

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.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Ivanhoe (1958)

I know what you're thinking.

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":

No rating.

Getting Schooled: Blackboard Jumble (1957)

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.

Rating: A-.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Super President in The Great Vegetable Disintegrator (1967)

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?

Rating: B-.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Looney TV: Sylvester in Tree For Two (1952)

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.

Rating: B.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Toonfomercial: Woody Woodpecker shills for Rice Krispies (1967)

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.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Toons After Dark: Where's Huddles? On stage! (The Offensives, 1970)

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.

Rating: B.

You Know The Voice: George S. Irving (1978)

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.

Daytime Heroes: Diver Dan (1960)

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.

Rating: C--.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: The Super Friends embark on a Journey Into Blackness (1981)

In this Super Friends short, Superman, Batman, & Samurai must rescue the earth from the pull of a black hole. Here's "Journey Into Blackness".

Today, this same cartoon would take up a full half-hour, which would illustrate the improvements in storytelling for animation.

Rating: B.

Toons You Might've Missed: Black, Kloke, & Dagga (1967)

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.

Rating: B--.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Toons You Might've Missed: Cauliflower Cabby (1964-6?)

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.

Too similar to Underdog, and lacking charisma.

Rating: C.

Saturtainment: Snagglepuss in Major Operation (1960)

Snagglepuss (Daws Butler) is in the zoo, but Major Minor (Don Messick) needs to capture the pink lion to keep his membership in an exclusive club. Here's "Major Operation":

I'm sure you have heard that DC intends to reboot Snag. I guess their idea is that the phrase, "happy & gay", needs to be taken rather literally, if you get the drift.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Gene Hattree (1964-6?)

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.

Rating: C.

From Primetime to Daytime: Mr. Peabody & Sherman in Royal Mounted Police (1960?)

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.

Rating: B+.

Toonfomercial: Remember Little Miss Sunbeam? (1954)

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.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Superboy vs. the Terrible Trio (1967)

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.

Rating: A.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Personal Favorites: The Ant & The Aardvark (1968-9)

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.

Rating: A+.

Daytime Heroes: Space Angel in Incident of the Loud Planet (1962)

I initially posted this Space Angel serial over at The Land of Whatever when I reviewed the DVD release a few years back. Just had to replace said video after the original copy had been deleted.

Anyway, Scott McCloud and his crew investigate "The Incident of the Loud Planet":

As bad as it sounds.

Rating: D.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Getting Schooled: It's Dental Flossophy, Charlie Brown (1975)

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.

Rating: A.

Tooniversary: Lippy the Lion in Watermelon Felon (1962)

Part of the reason Lippy The Lion was never heard from again after his 1962 series ended was because Daws Butler recycled the voice for Peter Potamus, and Peter lasted at least two seasons on his own.

Anyway, thought I'd share that little nugget before Lippy and his sidekick, Hardy Har Har (Mel Blanc) set out to score some free food in "Watermelon Felon":

I think the trick was you couldn't use Lippy & Peter in the same cartoon, as I don't think Lippy ever appeared on Yogi's Gang, and, as we all know, Peter did.

Rating: B.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Daytime Heroes: Popeye in The Mark of Zero (1960)

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.

Rating: B+.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Secret Origins of the Super Friends (Challenge of the Super Friends, 1978)

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.

That particular flaw hurts the story big time.

Rating: C.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Toon Legends: Scooby-Doo's 1st meeting with the Harlem Globetrotters (1972)

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.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Toon Sports: The Sheik-to-Sheik 500 (1990)

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.

Rating: A-.

You Know The Voice: John Stephenson, soap star (1966)

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.

More on Morning Star at The Land of Whatever.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Looney TV: Porky's Garden (1937)

Porky Pig, with a county fair looming on the horizon, decides to try a little horticulture, with chaotic results, in Tex Avery's "Porky's Garden":

It would be a while before Porky adopted the streamlined look we all know and love, and did the outro himself. Must've gone to the same diet specialist as Elmer Fudd.

Rating: B.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Scooby & Scrappy Doo meet Sherlock Holmes (The Night Ghoul of Wonderworld, 1979)

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.

Rating: B.

Friday, May 5, 2017

On The Air: Guardians of the Galaxy (2015)

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.

Rating: B--.

Cinco de Mayo: The Astroduck (1965)

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we present Speedy Gonzales (naturally) and Daffy Duck in 1965's "The Astroduck". There's a reason for the title, but you'll have to watch and see what it is.

Now, don't you think Daffy would've figured out by now that no matter what he tries, he can't win?

Rating: A.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Batman & Superman in Warpland (1983)

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?

Rating: A-.

You Know The Voice: Allen Jenkins (1966)

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).

From Comics to Toons: The Archies pull a Disappearing Act (1968)

From The Archie Show:

Reggie (John Erwin), envious because he's the least versatile of the gang, plots to eliminate the rest of the gang from the school talent show in "Disappearing Act".

Bonus: Joramma20 added a lesson on the letter J with Jughead (Howard Morris) that was actually produced a year later for Sesame Street, and has already been shown here.

Reggie would pull more lame stunts, and fail, during the course of the series.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Tooniversary: Scooby-Doo vs. the Ghost of the Red Baron (1972)

In Scooby-Doo's 2nd meeting with the Three Stooges, the gang tries to solve the mystery of "The Ghost of the Red Baron".

Admittedly, Daws Butler didn't do a perfect mimic of Curly, instead recycling voice patterns of some of his more generic characters, like Quisp, for example.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Superboy in The Jinxed Circus (1966)

Superboy (Bob Hastings) joins the circus---sort of. Actually, the Boy of Steel and Krypto try to solve the mystery of "The Jinxed Circus".

The trope of the crooked former business partner seeking revenge would be used time and again. You'd think they would figure out that they might be better served opening their own competing business.

Rating: A-.

On The Air: Ben 10 (2005)

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!

Digression over.

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.

Rating for the original Ben 10: A-.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Famous First Episodes: Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines (1969)

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.....

Rating: B-.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

From Comics to Toons: The Fantastic Four meet The Impossible Man (1978)

From 1978's Fantastic Four comes the team's first televised encounter with the shape-changing "Impossible Man". Frank Welker (H.E.R.B.I.E.) doubles as the Impossible Man.

Rating: B.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Atom Ant vs. Fancy Finger Finnegan (Gem-A-Go-Go, 1965)

Atom Ant battles the infamous jewel thief, Fancy Finger Finnegan, in the episode, "Gem-A-Go-Go". Study Finnegan's voice patterns. Sounds like it might be Daws Butler doing a cross-impersonation of Edward G. Robinson and maybe Don Adams, whose Get Smart, was also on NBC at the time.

Too big for the local police? Any excuse to have Atom embarrass an ordinary human thief.

Rating: B.

You Know The Voice: Shepard Menken (1949)

Shepard Menken's resume covers mostly his work in cartoons & movies. However, he did log in some time doing other television as well.

You're about to meet the man behind Clyde Crashcup and a few other notable characters in the 60's, including the Lone Ranger's sidekick, Tonto. Menken guest stars in an episode of the forgotten early television crime drama, The Cases of Eddie Drake. You'll see Shep appear for the first time around the 10 minute mark or so.

Menken, who passed away in 1999, invested his money wisely, it seems. In 1963, he founded Malibu Films, which specialized in educational films for schools. Menken's subsequent work on Lone Ranger, as well as The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo, it would appear, helped keep the company going. He also was the announcer for Western Airlines ads back in the day.

Quisp & Quake have a mutual interest (1965)

Quaker was a sponsor of a number of primetime shows in the 60's, particularly ABC's Bewitched, which was in its 2nd season when Quaker introduced Quisp & Quake to their line of breakfast cereals. You've already seen the first all-animated commercial, but this time Quake (William Conrad) and Quisp (Daws Butler) are formally introduced by Bewitched star Elizabeth Montgomery. Bear in mind that reruns of Bewitched would join the ABC Saturday morning block a few years later.

Friday, April 28, 2017

From Comics to Toons: It Came From the Sewers (Archie's Weird Mysteries, 2000)

The Archie's Weird Mysteries episode, "It Came From The Sewers", takes its cues from the horror movie, "Alligator". In this case, the reptile actually is Jughead's pet, which got lost and went into the Riverdale sewer system, where it ran across some toxic chemicals, and, well......

At least no one was killed.

Rating: B.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Frankenstein, Jr. vs. the Incredible Aqua-Monsters (1966)

Frankenstein, Jr. (Ted Cassidy) & Buzz Conroy (Dick Beals) battle Dr. Hook and his "Incredible Aqua-Monsters".

Don Messick is the narrator and the general.

I have to remind you guys to check out DC's Future Quest, the final issue of which will be arriving soon. In it, Buzz & Frankie's origin is finally revealed, but with a twist. We never met Buzz's mom in the 1966 series, but she's in the book, instead of Buzz's father, Professor Ted Conroy, who, according to series writer Jeff Parker, was killed off. I think what Parker was going for was a different perspective for Buzz by switching parental units. In case you haven't checked out the book, H-B's 60's heroes are coming together against a common threat, as F. E. A. R., the H-B answer to Hydra, if ya will, have recruited the services of Jonny Quest's arch-nemesis, Dr. Zin, and Race Bannon's ex-girlfriend and frenemy, Jezebel Jade. 

Rating for "The Incredible Aqua-Monsters": B.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tooniversary: Tonto vs. Queen Bee (1967)

From season 2 of The Lone Ranger cartoon:

Tonto goes it alone to end "The Reign of the Queen Bee". Some question as to the actress voicing Queen Bee. A comment thread on YouTube suggests June Foray. I'd otherwise suspect Agnes Moorhead (Bewitched), who had appeared in two episodes as Black Widow. If anyone knows for sure, feel free to contribute.

Forgive the video quality.

Rating: B.

Looney TV: Bugs & Daffy shill for Tang (1960)

Bugs Bunny is working the carnival, looking to give away some Tang. Naturally, Daffy Duck just has to have some any way he can get it.

The clip, as you can tell from the sponsor tag, is from the primetime Bugs Bunny Show. Dick Tufeld is the show announcer.

One of the rare times that Daffy actually got one over on Bugs.

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.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Toonfomercial: Popeye shills for Chunky Soup (1999)

Wal, blow me down!

Popeye swaps his trusty spinach for a can of Campbell's Chunky Soup for this ad, produced in 1999, with Scott Innes as the voice of the comic strip icon.

Well, let's see. Popeye has shilled for oatmeal, soup, orange drink, video games, and other products, but have you ever seen him actually do a spinach commercial, after all these years? Hmmmm, wellllll....

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Literary Toons: Clifford, the Big Red Dog (2000)

Writer-artist Norman Bridwell's Clifford, the Big Red Dog, was brought to television by Scholastic Productions and independent producer Mike Young in 2000. The series lasted 2 seasons, spread out over 3 years (2000-03), followed by a prequel series, Clifford's Puppy Years.

Clifford (John Ritter) is the family pet of the Howards, and more specifically, is owned by Emily Elizabeth Howard. When not with the family, Clifford is on various misadventures with his canine friends. Ritter's passing in 2003 may have been what put an end to the series, although Scholastic & PBS could've arranged for the British cast to take over if needed. Yes, they had a separate cast for British broadcasts of the series. I just don't get it.

"Welcome to Birdwell Island" explains how the Howards moved from the city to the island.

It does look like a form of flash animation, doesn't it? Taking the original character designs that Bridwell created and transferring them onto a computer to animate them was meant to be the hook for the kids that were reading the original books.

Rating: A.

You Know The Voice: Louise Williams (1982)

Let's try this one again.

Seems every time I post this particular episode of Three's Company, it ultimately gets pulled due to copyright infringement issues. Hopefully, this won't happen again for a while.

Anyway, in "Critic's Choice", Jack (John Ritter) has to impress a food critic (Jay Garner, ex-Buck Rogers in the 25th Century), but at the same time, this primo gig puts Jack in a compromising position as it relates to a date with a stewardess (Louise Williams).......

It does sound like Louise used a little of her Jayna voice with this role, doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tooniversary: The Herculoids vs. Destroyer Ants (1967)

Aside from Atom Ant, who preceded the Herculoids by 2 years, ants were largely regarded as menaces. In the case of the Herculoids, they had to battle an army of three-eyed "Destroyer Ants".

The only other exception that presented ants in a positive light came a year later in a Micro Ventures short. Today, this episode would be a little bit longer with additional expository dialogue to try to explain the motivations of the ants.

Rating: B.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Celebrity Toons: The Enterprise encounters a Practical Joker (Star Trek, 1974)

Passing through an energy cloud has a strange effect on the USS Enterprise. The computer (voice by Majel Barrett) begins playing pranks on the crew, which has to also deal with the Romulans.

From season 2 of the animated Star Trek, here's "Practical Joker", or at least 5 minutes of it, courtesy of CBS,which owns the rights.

Star Trek: The Animated Series airs Sunday nights with 2 back-to-back episodes to kick off Heroes & Icons' block of all six Trek series (the 5 live action series run Sunday-Friday from 8 pm-1 am ET). Check your cable system to see if you have H & I.

Rating: A.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tooniversary: A Family Circus Easter (1982)

Bil Keane's long-running comic strip, The Family Circus, was adapted for television one final time with an Easter special in 1982. The strip continues today, with Jeff Keane as writer-artist, carrying on the family tradition.

There will be no rating for this one, as I'd never seen it prior to today. Keep an ear open for jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie as the voice of the Easter Bunny.

Happy Easter, everyone. We'll see you on Monday.

Saturtainment: Remember Saturday Morning Fever? (1978)

ABC had Funshine Saturday (1973-8) and All-Star Saturday (1978-9). CBS had various umbrella titles for their Saturday blocks in the 60's & 70's, but not on a consistent basis. In 1978, NBC contracted with the folks behind Schoolhouse Rock and the short-lived Metric Marvels to produce a series of quick bits, used to segue into each of their programs for that season's Saturday Morning Fever block. Unfortunately, the disco theme went over like a pair of cement jeans. That's how bad things were at NBC back then.....

It didn't help that all the characters used the same generic disco moves. Not much thought was put into this at all. Nearly 40 years later, it still looks bad.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Looney TV: We, The Animals-Squeak! (1941)

Bob Clampett's 1941 Porky Pig entry, "We, The Animals-Squeak!" is a parody of a popular radio show of the period, We, The People. Porky (Mel Blanc) introduces us to Kansas City Kitty (Sara Berner), an Irish house cat, who spins a yarn about rescuing her son from gangster mice. Watch for the twist ending.

I must've seen this a dozen times back in the day on cable. Couldn't get enough.

Rating: A.

Tooniversary: Sonny the cuckoo bird turns 55!

Sonny, the cuckoo bird mascot of General Mills' Cocoa Puffs cereal, turns 55 this year. Following is Sonny's debut ad, even though at the time he didn't have a name. Actor-comedian Chuck McCann, known at the time as a kids' show host in New York, is the voice of Sonny here.

For the last few years, Larry Kenney (ex-Thundercats) has been the voice of Sonny, while McCann eventually returned to voice Gramps when the latter character resurfaced in 2010. And, yes, Sonny still goes cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, at 55.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Daytime Heroes: Popeye & the Polite Dragon (1960)

Popeye (Jack Mercer) spins a yarn for Swee'pea (Mae Questel) about a most unusual creature from back in his great, great grandfather's time in "Popeye & the Polite Dragon":

Sounds to me like a knock-off of The Reluctant Dragon, don't you think?

Rating: B.

You Know The Voice: John Erwin (1974)

John Erwin spent most of his voice acting career at Filmation, but he also did some commercials, too. Rare, though, is the time when he appeared in front of the camera.

John stepped in front of the camera with a group of kids, including a then-unknown Gary Coleman, a few years before Diff'rent Strokes made Coleman an icon, for a Valentine's Day ad for Hallmark. Yeah, Valentine's Day was two months ago, but why wait 'til it comes around again to share this rarity?

This ad reportedly aired during a Hallmark Hall of Fame broadcast on NBC. Today, the Hallmark Hall of Fame lives on, airing on Hallmark Channel. I wonder if they could be persuaded to pull older commercials out of the vaults........

Toons After Dark: Easter Is.... (1970-4)

This was previously reviewed at The Land of Whatever some time back, so I thought I'd share it here:

While the copyright says 1970 in barely legible print at the end of the show, most sources claim it was actually released in 1974. Anyway, this is one of three specials produced by Lutheran Television and featuring a young boy, Benji, and his dog, Waldo. The voice cast includes Les Tremayne and, in a rare role at the time, Darla Hood (ex-Our Gang/The Little Rascals). I don't recall seeing too much of this as a youth, but here it is.

Rating: None. As I said, I barely remember seeing it, if at all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Herculoids in Return of the Ancients (1981)

From Space Stars:

The last descendants of a lost civilization arrive on Quasar, bent on avenging the destruction of their race, but The Herculoids have other ideas. Here's "Return of the Ancients":

Typical of the period, including incidental music from Super Friends, which was also used on Godzilla and, of all places, Fonz & the Happy Days Gang. I kid you not about that last one.

Rating: A-.

You Know The Voice: Allan Melvin (1969)

Allan Melvin was one of the busiest actors in Hollywood in the 60's. In addition to frequent guest appearances on The Andy Griffith Show & The Dick Van Dyke Show, Allan spent a few years at Hanna-Barbera, where his body of work included Magilla Gorilla, The Banana Splits, The Adventures of Gulliver, and guest star gigs on other shows, including Atom Ant.

In 1969, just before being signed for The Brady Bunch, Melvin was shilling for Liquid Plumr, which at the time was relatively new, and will reach its 50th anniversary in a couple of years.

Not sure how long he maintained this gig or how many commercials he made, but this was tailor-made for him as an everyman.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Lone Ranger in Day of the Dragon (1966)

The Lone Ranger (Michael Rye) is called on to protect a small town from a marauding pair of outlaws piloting a metal monster in "Day of the Dragon":

This particular trope would be used in other cartoons through the years, and just as effectively, too.

Rating: A-.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: The Ways I Love You (1970)

From Pterixa and Archie's Funhouse comes "The Ways I Love You", prefaced with a quick joke bit with Betty & Veronica flanking Archie (Dallas McKennon, Daniel Boone):

Veronica's jealous pout would actually be a portent of things to come.

Today, in Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's twisted alternate reality series, Afterlife With Archie, Archie had finally gotten down on bended knee and popped the question. Problem is, whenever the series returns (because it's interminably slow due to the author's Hollywood commitments), both Betty & Veronica have been killed off.

Meanwhile, over on Riverdale, they've teased Betty and......Jughead? OY!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

From Comics To Toons: How did the Spider-Friends come together? (Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, 1983)

Back in the 70's & 80's, if an animated series was renewed for a second season, the order would drop from 13 to 8 episodes, as was the case with, for example, Thundarr The Barbarian. Not so with Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends. Only three new episodes were produced for the 2nd season, covering each hero's origin.

For the 3rd & final season, there would be 8 episodes, for a final total of 24. Included was "The Origin of the Spider-Friends", in which narrator Stan Lee explained how Spidey, Firestar, & Iceman came together as a team, and how Angelica Jones (Kathy Garver) & Bobby Drake (Frank Welker) joined Peter Parker at Empire State University.

If J. Jonah Jameson's voice sounds familiar, it belongs to Super Friends narrator Bill Woodson, who was quite the busy fellow back then.

In fact, in addition to Welker & Woodson, at least three other Super Friends cast members also were guests on Amazing Friends, as Michael Bell, Bill Calloway, & Stan Jones were all heard during the course of the series.

No rating. I have no memory of seeing this episode.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Saturday Morning Ringside: Scooby-Doo takes up wrestling for the first time (A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, 1990)

From A Pup Named Scooby-Doo:

The Scooby-Doo Detective Agency takes on a case of an attempted hostile takeover of their hometown wrestling promotion. If the episode title, "Wrestle Maniacs", looks familiar, it was used more than a decade later on What's New Scooby-Doo, as we've previously discussed.

Some tropes in this series, such as Shaggy & Scooby's childhood heroes, Commander Cool & Mellow Mutt, didn't carry over to What's New, although, of course, they would become well acquainted with superheroes later on in life, as seen in The New Scooby-Doo Movies.

And, for you comics fans, I don't think anyone would ever have considered that this show's cast has two generations of animated Robins (Casey Kasem & Scott Menville). Like, who would've ever known?

No rating.