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?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Flash vs. The Chemo-Creature (1967)

In the first of his three 1967 shorts, The Flash tangles with an otherwise harmless ant who, due to an errant scientific experiment, has turned into "The Chemo-Creature".

Contrary to the screen capture above, Kid Flash doesn't appear in this one.

Rating: B.

Sunday Funnies: Son of Football Follies (1976)

The NFL does have a sense of humor, after all.

Nearly 50 years ago, the league's TV arm began producing blooper reels, which initially aired on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The response was such that the first official Football Follies special aired a year later.

In 1976, NFL Films produced Son of Football Follies. You've probably seen this more recently on NFL Network. To spice things up, the special was narrated by a number of Looney Tunes characters, all voiced by the legendary Mel Blanc. Yes, including Elmer Fudd.

Fifteen minutes and change are shown here, to give you an idea.

I remember Porky Pig's famous bit very well, as this video awakened some old memories. Blanc would return 13 years later, in one of his final jobs, for Super Duper Football Follies, which we'll serve up another time.

Rating: A.

Spooktober: The Ghost Busters vs. the Phantom of Vaudeville (1975)

Around the time Ghost Busters was on the air, there was a syndicated series that celebrated vaudeville. Unfortunately, both lasted just one season.

In "The Dummy's Revenge", Kong (Forrest Tucker) & Spencer (Larry Storch) deal with a ghostly ventriloquist (Tim Herbert) and his dummy, who mistake our heroes for some old rivals. Scope out the team's attempt at doing some song & dance. Plus, Spencer decides to take up ventriloquism himself.

One of the sillier entries in the series.

Rating: B.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Daytime Heroes: Batfink vs. Stupidman (1966)

Batfink has to do what the police chief can't and capture "Stupidman". Turns out the crook is the chief's brother-in-law. Some family.

Kind of an abrupt ending, don't you think?

Rating: B--.

Game Time: This Week in Pro Football (1967)

Way back in the day, before the bloated pre-game shows we have now, NFL Films recapped the previous week's action in a tidy, hour-long syndicated package, one of three syndicated programs that came from the NFL in those days.

This Week in Pro Football bowed in 1967, but lasted just 9 seasons (1967-75) before being cancelled. Tom Brookshier & Pat Summerall, then with CBS, were the hosts. John Fascenda and Harry Kalas narrated the highlight reels.

As memory serves, this series aired not on the then-CBS affiliate, but on the then-NBC affiliate in my market, which, coincidentally, is the CBS affiliate today. Got all that? Let's take a trip back to 1970......

Back in those days, there were 14 games on the schedule. They didn't go to the 16 game schedule until 1977.

Rating: A.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember the Sugar Crisp Bears? (1949)

Before the Sugar Bear we know and love became Sugar Crisp's mascot (the product is now Golden Crisp), Post used three little bears.

Handy, Dandy, & Candy made their debut in 1949, and would appear on Sugar Crisp boxes until 1964, I think, when Linus the Lionhearted, featuring Sugar Bear, premiered on CBS. Handy, Dandy, & Candy would also appear with Roy Rogers and Mighty Mouse, as Post sponsored their shows.

Sugar Crisp was promoted as a "three-way treat", used for breakfast, or as a snack you could eat out of the bowl or the box.

Handy, Dandy, & Candy were retired to make room for Sugar Bear, but don't ya think, since their 70th anniversary is 2 years away, that Post would bring them back??

Spooktober: Samantha meets......Witchiepoo? (Actually, no)(Bewitched, 1971)

Billie Hayes (H. R. Pufnstuf, Lidsville) guest stars as the witch from the children's story, Hansel & Gretel, during the final season of Bewitched in 1971. Coincidentally, before the season was over ABC began running repeats of the series on Saturdays to bolster their weak lineup.

In this climatic scene, after Tabitha (Erin Murphy) has managed to put herself in the pages of Hansel & Gretel, Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) follows and confronts the witch, giving her a taste of her own medicine......

As you probably know, Hayes did reprise as Witchiepoo in a 1-shot on Lidsville, and then, seven years later, on The Krofft Superstar Hour.

No rating.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Spooktober: The Cattanooga Cats in Witch Whacky (1969)

The Cattanooga Cats enter a magical forest, and Kitty Jo (Julie Bennett) is targeted to replace the aging Forest Witch (guest star Jean VanderPyl, recycling her Winsome Witch voice). Here's "Witch Whacky".

I think we've seen variations on this plot elsewhere.

Rating: B.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember W. C. Fritos? (1973)

After pressure from certain corners forced Frito-Lay's advertising agency to retire the Frito Bandito (Mel Blanc) in 1971,  the snack giant found a short-term answer in 1973 in W. C. Fritos, modeled after actor-comedian W. C. Fields. I'd not be surprised to learn Paul Frees was hired to do the voice......

Ah, yas, yas indeed. If anyone can confirm that it was Frees or another impressionist that voiced W. C. Fritos, please share.

You Know The Voices: Don Messick & Frank Welker (1984)

After working together on Scooby-Doo, Smurfs, and other projects for 15 years, Don Messick & Frank Welker shared the screen together in an episode of Don's NBC primetime series, The Duck Factory.

In "The Duck Stops Here", Wally Wooster (Messick) is afraid he's lost the voice of Dippy Duck. Worse, the studio brings in another actor (Welker) as a potential successor. Ironically, 18 years later, Welker was finally given the green light to be the voice of Scooby, 5 years after Messick had passed away.

Frank arrives about halfway through.

Keep an ear for Don's dramatic turn as he recites some Shakespeare, to the surprise of his co-workers, Skip & Brooks (Jim Carrey & Jack Gilford).

To be perfectly honest, I think Don wanted Frank to take over as Scooby all along if anything happened to him, but WB didn't get the message, which is why it took 5 years before the torch was passed.

Spooktober: The Littles' Halloween (1984)

From season 2 of The Littles comes this Halloween treat. Now, I have no memory of seeing this episode, so we're presenting this as a public service (no rating).

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Spooktober: The Witches Are Out (Bewitched, 1964)

Before I begin, I will remind one and all that at the end of its primetime run on ABC, Bewitched began airing daytime repeats six days a week, Monday-Saturday, as it was added to the network's Saturday lineup since they didn't have enough 1st run children's programming at the time.

And, so, we'll include this 1st season episode of the series as part of Spooktober 2017. Bear in mind that this is the colorized version, not the original black & white print.

In "The Witches Are Out", Aunt Clara (Marion Lorne) makes her debut. Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) is entertaining two older witches who aren't exactly thrilled that she's made such an adjustment to mortal life. Anyway, Darrin (Dick York) has a client (guest star Shelley Berman) who wants to use a stereotypical "ugly" witch for an ad campaign. Darrin, knowing that Samantha will object, opts for a younger, more glamorous model, perhaps using his wife as inspiration, but this compromise costs Darrin his job, only he'd get it back before the episode was over, a trope that was used on The Flintstones and The Jetsons much more often (at the time, Hanna-Barbera, which produced the animated intro, was a sister company to Screen Gems).

Madge Blake, later of Batman, and Reta Shaw, who'd later turn up on The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, are the other guest stars of note.

This episode began an annual tradition of Halloween-themed episodes for Bewitched, which included a tie-in with UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Educational Fund).

Rating: A-.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tooniversary: The Country Mouse & City Mouse Adventures (1997)

The Country Mouse & City Mouse Adventures appeared for a brief time a few years back on CBS, but before that, the series aired on HBO Family for 3 seasons, spread over the course of a year and a half.

The titular rodents are a pair of cousins who travel the world in search of adventure, helping humans and mice alike. The series has also aired on This TV and has been streaming on Netflix.

In "The Case of the Disappearing Diamond, Emily & Alexander, the two cousins, are in England for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, and have to recover a missing diamond from the queen's crown........

Now, I'm not sure if this was even inspired by Disney's "The Rescuers", but it wouldn't be a surprise if it was.

Rating: A.

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Mattel's Rock Flowers? (1971)

I was doing a search on a short-lived pop group, the Rock Flowers, and happened across an ad for a set of Mattel action figures by the same name, which predates the band---I think.

Anyway, actress Geri Reischel, later of the Brady Bunch Variety Hour, is featured in this minute-long spot, narrated by Mr. Top 40 himself, Casey Kasem.

The "other" Rock Flowers that I was researching was the last band actress-singer Debra Clinger had been with before being cast for Kaptain Kool & the Kongs and the Krofft Supershow a few years after this commercial. Mattel's Rock Flowers didn't last long, only three years, and then, gone. Hmmmm.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Spooktober: Which Witch is Which? (1984)

Bill Hutton & Tony Love's Chucklewood Critters, or, more specifically, Buttons & Rusty, returned in their 2nd special in 1984. "Which Witch is Which" has the boys dealing with a local witch, then getting framed for robbery.

The voice talent among the adults includes William Boyett (ex-Adam-12) and Alvy Moore (The Littles, ex-Green Acres).

After a grand total of 8 specials, the Chucklewood Critters were finally given a weekly, syndicated series, which lasted 2 seasons. We'll look at that down the road.

No rating. Didn't see this the first time.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Saturtainment: The Krofft Superstar Hour (1978)

After 2 seasons, ABC cancelled the Krofft Supershow. Undaunted, Sid & Marty Krofft, who'd also lost Donny & Marie to the Osmond family's own production company, and flopped with a Brady Bunch variety show, moved back to NBC with The Krofft Superstar Hour in 1978.

The Supershow's pre-fab house band, Kaptain Kool & the Kongs, had split up, with Michael Lembeck (Kaptain Kool) and Debra Clinger (Superchick) landing primetime gigs on CBS. Lembeck joined the cast of One Day at a Time, while Clinger flopped in the drama, The American Girls. That left the other half of the Kongs, Turkey (Mickey McMeel) and Nashville (Louise DuArt), still in their season 2 outfits, to be part of the Krofft Superstar Hour repertory company, supporting the new house band, the Bay City Rollers, who were trading off their hit, "Saturday Night". However, the quality of the support segments took a dive, as we've shown in recent days.

Lost Island was a mishmash featuring H. R. Pufnstuf, Weenie the Genie (Billie Hayes) from Lidsville, and characters from Land of the Lost, plus Sigmund (Billy Barty). Barty essayed a dual role as Otto, the assistant to evil Dr. Deathray (Jay Robinson), who was a retooled Dr. Shrinker, but, as we noted yesterday, Robinson ate way more scenery the second time around, which may have hastened NBC's decision to trim the fat and cut the series to a half-hour 2 months into the season.

Horror Hotel had Hayes reprising her other role as Witchiepoo (from H. R. Pufnstuf), now the proprietor of the hotel, whose only regular tenant was HooDoo (from Lidsville). Paul Gale took over for Charles Nelson Reilly (Match Game), who apparently was scared off returning to his first Saturday gig after Uncle Croc's Block flopped three years earlier.

The Kongs passed the torch to the Rollers by guesting on the opener, but a video I had acquired turned out to be devoid of sound, so that's been deleted, and we're starting anew with this show.

The following clip offers a medley of 50's hits. To wit:

"Rock & Roll is Here to Stay" (Rollers). Sha Na Na did a better cover on their show and in the movie, "Grease", earlier that year.

"My Special Angel". CHiPs star Erik Estrada made his singing debut covering the Bobby Helms classic.

"Born to Hand Jive". Scott Baio, at the time appearing on another NBC series, Who's Watching The Kids?, was out of place and tune on this track, which Sha Na Na covered in "Grease" as well.

"Be Bop-a-Lula". Billy Barty teams with ex-Mouseketeer Sharon Baird, for once able to appear as herself, after playing various characters on other Krofft shows, to cover Gene Vincent's classic. Baird had not done any musical numbers since her Mickey Mouse Club days, but she & Barty made quite a cute couple.

The medley finishes with a chorus of "Rock & Roll is Here to Stay".

Barty had done some numbers on Donny & Marie, one of which is up over at The Land of Whatever, and, as I've found out, had done some cabaret shows, too. Who knew?

Rating (based on what I've seen): C-.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Spooktober: The Skeleton Dance (1929)

Now, this will make your skin crawl.

Walt Disney's "The Skeleton Dance" was the initial entry in the Silly Symphonies series, and the biggest surprise, perhaps, is that acclaimed composer Carl Stalling, better known for his work at WB, not only composed most of the music for this short, but came up with the basic idea! Scope!

Elements of "Skeleton Dance" would later be reused in the Mickey Mouse short, "Haunted House", which apparently was also released in 1929. Hmmm.

Rating: A.

Krofftverse: The Lost Island (1978)

The other day, we presented one of the two regular features from the short-lived Krofft Superstar Hour, that being Horror Hotel. Now, here's the other feature, which was equally short-lived, The Lost Island.

H. R. Pufnstuf (voiced by Len Weinrib), Weenie the Genie (Billie Hayes, reprising from Lidsville), and Sigmund, far, far away from his sea monster family (Billy Barty, voice by Walker Edmiston) are stuck on the island, which also serves as a gateway to the Land of the Lost, as the stop motion footage looks like it may have been recycled from that series, which had only ended a year earlier, only to return in the 90's.

And, then, there is Dr. Deathray, formerly known as Dr. Shrinker (Jay Robinson). Similarly, Shrinker's assistant, Hugo (Barty) has been rechristened Otto. You'll notice that in this episode, Otto & Sigmund are never in the same scene together, else another actor would be wearing the Sigmund costume.

Anyway, Robinson chews up even more scenery than he did on Krofft Supershow two years earlier. Not good.

The plot to this episode: Pufnstuf is ill, and Weenie, along with Barbie (Louise DuArt), must find a cure. To do it, the ladies have to travel to the "City of the Doomed" (Land of the Lost),. where they meet the Sleestak king, Enik (voiced by Walker Edmiston). Unfortunately, Deathray is headed in the same direction, but on a completely different quest.......

Robinson must've had Rudy Vallee as a voice coach, they sound so similar. Seems as though the Kroffts picked the characters at random to use here, but viewers saw right through the disjointed format, which is why the series was trimmed to a half-hour after about a month or two, leaving the Bay City Rollers and the Horror Hotel skits.

Rating: D.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Krofftverse: The Lost Saucer crashes in Beautfiul Downtown Atlantis (1975)

Should it surprise anyone that the Kroffts would have their take on Atlantis? Of course not.

In this episode of The Lost Saucer, Fi (Ruth Buzzi) & Fum (Jim Nabors) have another malfunction that sends the saucer splashing into the underwater city.

Now, I'm not entirely sure if guest star Bob Quarry is the same guy who headlined a couple of horror movies as Count Yorga.........

We noted this before, but it bears repeating. Tommy Oliver, who arranged the theme song that was composed and sung by Michael Lloyd (ex-Cattanooga Cats), is better known for his own stints as a musical director for Name That Tune and Face The Music. Like, who knew?

Rating: B.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: A Ricochet Rabbit 4-pack (1964-5)

Following is a 4-episode block of Ricochet Rabbit, taken from a VHS release.

"Space Sheriff" (1965): Ricochet (Don Messick) & Droop-a-Long (Mel Blanc) travel to outer space to catch a monster of an outlaw.

"Cactus Ruckus" (1964): Droop's nephew, Tag-a-Long, drops by, so Ricochet tells him a tall tale about an earlier adventure.

"Big Town Show Down" (1964): A big city police chief (John Stephenson) sends for Ricochet to catch the Creep (Stephenson again) and his two simian bodyguards.

"West Pest" (1965): Ricochet squares off against Rocky Rattler.

Plus, a trivia segment.

Blanc voiced some of the outlaws by recycling his Yosemite Sam voice.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Toons You Might've Missed: Li'l Abner in Kickapoo Juice (1944)

Al Capp's backwoods hero, Li'l Abner, appeared in only 5 animated shorts, all produced by Columbia during Screen Gems' 1st go-round as a theatrical brand, and all in 1944. The first, "Kickapoo Juice", offers the origins of the oddball moonshine, which apparently was created by Hairless Joe and the Native American Lonesome Polecat.

Unfortunately, the black & white print is all that's available right now. Too bad no one's willing to take a chance today.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Spooktober: The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper (1996)

In the wake of the live action/CGI adaptation of Casper that starred Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci a year earlier, the Friendly Ghost returned to television after 16 years away in a mid-season replacement series that aired on Fox (and later, Fox Family).

As established in the movie, Casper's full name is Casper McFadden (voiced by Malachi Pearson), who died of pneumonia as a youth, and it seems he's smitten with young Kathleen "Kat" Harvey (Kath Soucie), whose father is a scientist. As we'll see in the first short, "Paranormal Press", Casper's school schedule isn't quite the same as Kat's, enabling him to join Kat at Friendship Junior High against her wishes, though she finds that he can be quite helpful.

I cannot recall if Spooky's girlfriend, Pearl, or, Poil, as Spooky always calls her, had appeared in the 1963 series. Here, though, she's presented as being a bit of an absent-minded airhead, contrary to her comic book portrayal as a domineering type. Spooky is established as being Casper's cousin, which I'm not sure might be the case in the books.

Kat has her share of struggles dealing with the mean girls in school, as we'll also see. The supporting cast also includes Dan Castellaneta (The Simpsons, Aladdin) taking over for Bill Pullman as Dr. Harvey, and Ben Stein, one year before getting his Comedy Central game show, is heard as a teacher. Since this was a Universal-Harvey-Amblin co-production, some of the Amblin crew (i.e. Sherri Stoner) came over from Tiny Toon Adventures, Pinky & The Brain, & Animaniacs.

The lineup:

"Paranormal Press": Casper helps Kat start her journalism career at Friendship Jr. High, with predictable results.

"Another Spooky & Poil Moment": Spooky tries to impress his teacher, but Poil seems to be uncharacteristically fouling things up. Weak point of the show.

"Deadstock": Casper takes up the bagpipes, annoying Kat, but it leads to a concert....

I like the idea of Casper actually wearing clothes in this series as he tries to fit in. Fox farmed the show out to Fox Family (now Freeform as a Disney cabler) after ratings began to decline.

Rating: B (down from my original review).

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Mighty Man vs. Big Mouse & Magnetman (1979)

Mighty Man (Peter Cullen) was Ruby-Spears' answer to DC Comics' Atom, who was appearing occasionally over on Super Friends. Unfortunately, this mighty mite was not a scientist, but rather another Bruce Wayne knockoff, Brandon Brewster, whose best friend, his dog, Yukk (Frank Welker, using a variant on his Dynomutt voice) was the world's ugliest dog, such that he had a toy dog house cloaking his face.

Let's take a look at the duo's first two adventures from 1979. "Big Mouse, the Bad Mouse", and "Magnetman".

Pedestrian. Seems R-S were parodying themselves, since they created Dynomutt and Blue Falcon 3 years earlier.

Rating: C.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Spooktober: Drak Pack in Color Me Dredful (1980)

"Those who fail to remember history are doomed to repeat it."--George Santayana

Four years after Bill D'Angelo and his partners had tried out the concept of classic movie monsters being reposited as superheroes, Hanna-Barbera tried the same tack with Drak Pack, produced through their Australian studio.

In the opener, "Color Me Dredful", Dr. Dred (Hans Conreid) decides to strip the world of much of its color. That idea alone illustrates the lack of thought that went into this series.

Don Messick did his best Peter Lorre impersonation to effect the characterization of Toad, presented here as a lovable bumbler that you hoped would turn on Dred and change his ways. Didn't happen.

Well, at least this offered an example of why this show failed.

Rating: C--.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Spooktober: Horror Hotel (Krofft Superstar Hour, 1978)

Let's take a trip to one of the regular skits from the Krofft Superstar Hour, Horror Hotel.

Billie Hayes reprised as Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo from H. R. Pufnstuf, but instead of continuing her feud with Pufnstuf, she now ran the hotel, aided by her hench-monsters from Pufnstuf, plus Pufnstuf's pal, Dr. Blinky. Len Weinrib & Walker Edmiston voiced the characters. The hotel had one regular tenant, Horatio HooDoo (from Lidsville), with Paul Gale doing his best to mimic Charles Nelson Reilly (Match Game), who was the original HooDoo. Seems Witchiepoo is trying to make a go of it running a legit business. Pufnstuf would surface in the series' other regular feature, Lost Island, which we'll look at another time (Hayes reprised her Lidsville role as Weenie the Genie, in Lost Island).

In this skit, HooDoo brings in organist  Egor Strange (Jay Robinson) to provide entertainment at the hotel. When that doesn't work, the Bay City Rollers take over....

You'll notice that as HooDoo, Gale has the same kind of eye makeup that Witchiepoo has, largely because it compensates for the fact that he doesn't wear glasses, as Reilly did.

Robinson was also part of Lost Island, but his Krofft Supershow character of Dr. Shrinker was renamed Dr. Deathray, and Hugo (Billy Barty) was renamed Otto. Did they really think that by changing networks, they'd fool viewers?

Rating: B-.

Toon Sports: Popeye in Let's You & Him Fight (1934)

Popeye and Bluto battle again, this time in a boxing ring at Yank'em Stadium (a parody of the original Yankee Stadium). The fight game will never be the same again after "Let's You & Him Fight".

Rating: B.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Looney TV: Daffy Duck For President (2004)

20 years ago, noted animator Chuck Jones wrote and illustrated Daffy Duck For President, a cautionary tale, if you will, of Daffy's short-sighted aspirations to eliminate best frenemy Bugs Bunny, mostly to put an end to duck hunting season.

Seven years later, and two after Jones' passing, WB adapted the book into the following short subject, with the late Joe Alaskey (ex-Out of This World) as both Bugs & Daffy.

Apparently, Daffy didn't completely understand the Constitution, just like a certain sitting President........!

Rating: A.

Krofftverse: Magic Mongo in Musical Magic (1977)

The Kroffts must've known that they had a bad egg on their hands with Magic Mongo during season 2 of the Krofft Supershow, such that they had one of the Kongs, Nashville (Louise DuArt) cross over in the episode, "Musical Magic".

Mongo (Lennie Weinrib) catches a cold, and loses his powers when he passes the cold germs onto the visiting Nashville. Bart Braverman guest stars, along with Larry Larsen (the Dorse from Lost Saucer).

I don't think Kaptain Kool or the rest of the Kongs were similarly used in crossovers within the Supershow. I may be wrong, though.

Rating: C-.

Daytime Heroes: Mighty Hercules in Return of the Mask (1963)

Not long ago, we introduced you to Murtis, aka The Mask, sworn enemy of The Mighty Hercules. Well, he's back, this time after an ancient goblet that Newton & Helena have uncovered. As long as Murtis has the Mask of Vulcan, he's invincible, so how does Herc beat him this time? Watch and see.

Not as good as the first time, and I don't think Murtis was seen again.

Rating: C.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Krofftverse: Bigfoot & Wildboy battle alien invaders (1977)

Bigfoot & Wildboy marks its 40th anniversary this season. Developed by Joe Ruby & Ken Spears as a replacement for Electra Woman & Dyna Girl on The Krofft Supershow, the series was filmed instead of taped, although, as you'll see in the episode, "UFO", the flying saucer was the product of some videotape "magic".

Ned Romero (ex-Dan August) co-stars as Ranger Lucas, whose daughter, Susie (Monicka Ramirez) often aids our heroes (Ray Young & Joseph Butcher).

After Supershow was cancelled by ABC, Bigfoot returned as a summer replacement series in June 1979, but was not renewed. Some people probably wish it was, as long as a certain dog was bumped off the schedule........

Rating: B.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

You Know The Voice: Olan Soule (1967)

When Jack Webb brought Dragnet to NBC as a mid-season replacement in 1967, he brought along character actor Olan Soule (ex-Captain Midnight), who had a recurring gig on the original Dragnet in the 50's. The role was the same, but the name was changed. Soule still played a forensic scientist, Ray Murray, who was originally known as Ray Pinker in the 50's version.

In a rare case of Murray being on-site for an investigation, "The Big Explosion" has Murray joining Joe Friday (Webb) and Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan) in locating some stolen gelatin dynamite. As you'll see, the trail leads to.....well, that would be tellling!

The experience of working on both Dragnet series and Captain Midnight would ultimately lead Olan to be cast as Batman in Filmation's 1st animated incarnation more than 18 months later.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Spooktober: The Ghost Busters meet viking ghosts (1975)

The Ghost Busters encounter the ghosts of Erik The Red (special guest star Jim Backus) and Brunhilde (Lisa Todd, Hee Haw), who are looking for a flag that can prove the Vikings discovered America, or so they claim, before someone named Lothar the Hun, or even Columbus, for that matter.

As before the audio is a bit ahead of the video due to poor sync.

Seems Spencer (Larry Storch) was desperate to make money, hence turning the office into first a music, then, at the end of the show, dance studio. Just a silly subplot that only had a minor link to the main story.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Toon Sports: The Wrong Lumber Race (Wacky Races, 1968)

Like, the Wacky Races crosses the border through lumber country in Canada en route to Oregon, eh? Dick Dastardly (Paul Winchell) and his latest schemes are doomed to fail, eh? Like, of course, eh, so let's take off for the "Wrong Lumber Race".

As we've documented, the series was co-produced by Heatter-Quigley with an eye toward a game show format mixed with the races. Unfortunately, it didn't happen.

In memory of Merrill Heatter, who passed away on Sunday at 90.

Rating: B.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Tooniversary: The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne (1992)

When a prominent judge (guest star Carmen Zapata) is the victim of blackmail, Batman finds the trail leads to Professor Hugo Strange, who discovers that the Dark Knight is in fact Bruce Wayne, and tries to auction that information to the Joker, Two-Face, and the Penguin.

Here's "The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne", adapted from a Steve Englehart story from Detective Comics 15 years earlier.

Mark Hamill (Joker) & Paul Williams (Penguin) double as the blackmailers.

Rating: A.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Spooktober: Popeye in I Don't Scare (1956)

Even though Popeye's 1956 vehicle, "I Don't Scare", is set on Friday the 13th (which comes up this week), it would also fit for Halloween. Jack Mercer (Popeye) also wrote the script.

Of course, in the context of the story, it's not really Friday the 13th. Bluto (Jackson Beck) messed with the calendar to mess with Olive & Popeye.

Rating: B.

Peyton Manning thinks he knows music. NOT! (2017)

Even though he retired after winning the Super Bowl with Denver after the 2015 season, Peyton Manning remains a perpetual presence during NFL telecasts thanks to his endorsement deal with Nationwide insurance. After trying to croon to the beat of the company jingle the last couple of years, Manning now thinks he can teach country star Brad Paisley the right way to do the jingle.

Unlike his bits for DirecTV two years ago, Manning is not the least bit funny here. And Paisley knows something about comedy, as he had the late Andy Griffith appear in one of his videos a few years ago.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Daytime Heroes: Mighty Hercules vs. the Defiant Mask of Vulcan (1963)

The Mighty Hercules descends to Earth from Mount Olympus to battle a new foe, one later identified as Murtis, and possessor of the "Defiant Mask of Vulcan", which, when worn, makes Murtis invincible.

Murtis would return at least once more, but with the same result.

Rating: B-.

Spooktober: The Ghost Busters meet Merlin (1975)

If I didn't know any better, I'd swear Filmation was hoping to sign Carl Ballantine (ex-McHale's Navy) with the intention of getting him a series of his own. Instead, Ballantine guested on not only Uncle Croc's Block, but also in this episode of The Ghost Busters, as "Merlin, the Magician". Ex-Bowery Boy Huntz Hall and Ina Balin are the other guest stars.

Forgive the fact that the audio is not in total sync with the video.

Rating: B.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Looney TV: Falling Hare (1943)

Bugs Bunny gets a rude awakening when, after telling the audience that he seemingly doesn't believe gremlins exist, he meets one bent on destroying a military bomb. Bob Clampett's "Falling Hare" is a WWII comedy with a wacky ending.

Rating: A-.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Spooktober: The Ghostbusters in Paris (Wacky Wax Museum, 1986)

The Ghostbusters are headed to Paris for the unveiling of a set of wax replicas in their honor in "Wacky Wax Museum". However, Prime Evil and the Tooth Scaries may have something to say about that.

Rating: B.

Retro Toy Chest: Pie Face (1968)

One of the goofiest game ideas from Hasbro first emerged on the scene nearly 50 years ago, and is still around today.

Pie Face was introduced in 1968. The only thing that Hasbro couldn't supply was the whipped topping. That was something you had to buy at the store in order to really get the maximum enjoyment out of the game.

Here's a commercial from 1968:

Today, it's known as Pie Face Showdown, still made by Hasbro. I'm not sure if they ever stopped making the game, but there hasn't been any advertising for it in decades.

How do I know this?

Yesterday, the staff at my day job took time out for a late-season company picnic in Colonie, and one of the staff brought along Pie Face Showdown and a can of whipped cream. A couple of them took pictures of the game with their camera phones to have a few yocks this morning. As the kids say these days, this wasn't my jam, man.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Arabian Knights in Isle of Treachery (1968)

Van-gorr (Paul Frees) forces Queen Shahira to write a false note, which warns the Arabian Knights of a trap. Curiously, after being captured, Nida (Shari Lewis, who also voiced the Queen, apparently) was forgotten in "Isle of Treachery".

That one plot hole wasn't enough to ruin this episode, as Raseem carried the action most of the way.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Toons After Dark: Top Cat in The $1,000,000 Derby (1961)

Top Cat (Arnold Stang) isn't digging when his buds land gigs with a street carnival. After they give up the gigs, the boys end up in a jam when a runaway horse that Benny (Maurice Gosfeld) found runs wild through the city. After trying to force the horse out of town, TC changes his tune when he hears about "The $1,000,000 Derby".....

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning Ringside: Just a typical day in Memphis? (1984)

Ah, the territory era in professional wrestling. Every town, just about, would have wrestling on Saturday mornings, afternoons, or evenings, even into the wee small ones, as was the case part of the time in New York on channel 9.

In Memphis, Saturday morning for wrestling fans meant a live broadcast from WMC, Channel 5, usually around 10 am (ET). I don't know when this tradition began, and the reason for the date in the subject header will be made clear shortly. Anyway, station weatherman Dave Brown usually was at the desk, paired with Lance Russell. Sometimes, Brown would step away from the desk to act as ring announcer, as you'll see in the following episode.

This was where musician-turned-manager Jimmy Hart got his start in wrestling. The Memphis native, formerly with the 60's pop group, the Gentrys, was one of the top heel (rulebreaker) managers in the territory until he signed a contract with the World Wrestling Federation in 1985. Hart was the cornerman for actor-comedian Andy Kaufman (Taxi) in the latter's famous feud with local icon Jerry Lawler. It can be said that Kaufman was the one who made Lawler into a national star with their feud, landing them an appearance on Late Night With David Letterman. This was the territory where another manager, Jim Cornette, also began his career, starting as a photographer.

What we have today is a full episode, complete with commercials, from December 1984. Hart's "First Family" stable dominated the entire card, and, as with the then-WWWF of the 70's, Hart couldn't help himself, getting additional heat by getting involved even in jobber matches. Speaking of jobbers, who'd ever believe that Iron Mike Sharpe, the Canadian powerhouse, actually was a champ in Memphis under Hart's tutelage, but was never considered to be in Hart's WWF stables?

Gordon Solie would team with Lance Russell on TBS' NWA programming near the end of the decade.

This is posted in memory of Russell, who passed away today at 91 after complications due to a spill where he broke his hip on September 29.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Spooktober: L'il Chock'lit Shop of Horrors (Archie's Weird Mysteries, 1999)

How many times have we seen it in the movies? A computer designed to serve humankind rebels and decides on its own to take control.

In this episode of Archie's Weird Mysteries, Pop Tate runs the risk of going out of business because of a more up-to-date eatery opening nearby and proving to be more efficient. Unaware that the computer system he just installed is defective, Pop, with help from Dilton Doiley, tries to compete, with devastating consequences......!

"L'il Chock'lit Shop of Horrors", is, of course, a play on Roger Corman's "Little Shop of Horrors".

Rating: B.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Game Time: A complete episode of Saturday Supercade (1983)

Here's a rerun of an episode of Saturday Supercade, complete with commercials, as it aired on WCBS in New York, right before season 2. Among the commercials is a Hot Wheels spot narrated by ABC studio announcer Ernie Anderson.

Frogger: The intrepid amphibian reporter (Bob Sarlatte) and his friends face a Scooby-Doo-esque mystery involving fake aliens in "Spaced Out Frogs", penned by Paul Dini, who also wrote for He-Man back then.

Donkey Kong in "Gorilla My Dreams": The usual nonsense, with Soupy Sales as Kong.

Q-Bert heads for camp, but his serpentine nemesis, Coily, intends to crash the party in "Crazy Camp Creature". Yes, that means there's a monster loose, too.

Donkey Kong, Jr. in "Teddy Bear Scare": Junior (Frank Welker) and his pal, Bones (Bart Braverman, Vega$) are hired for a babysitting job at a carnival that gets a little complicated when they also have to catch a couple of crooks.

Rating: B.

Spooktober: V Is For Vampire (F-Troop, 1967)

The calendar has turned to October, or, as it's known here, Spooktober. To kick things off this year, we start with a season 2 episode of F-Troop.

A Transylvanian count (special guest star Vincent Price) arrives in Fort Courage, on vacation. His appearance, though, creates the predictable reaction from Agarn (Larry Storch), and, well......!

Here's "V Is For Vampire":

Co-stars Forrest Tucker & Larry Storch would encounter a vampire eventually, in an episode of The Ghost Busters.

Rating: A-.

Famous Firsts: The premiere of The Perils of Penelope Pitstop (1969)

CBS decided not to renew Wacky Races after 1 season, especially considering the show was originally meant to be a hybrid with live-action game show elements included, which is why it was co-produced by Heatter-Quigley. The subsequent litigation would prevent Dastardly & Muttley, who merited a spin-off series, to be included in Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics a few years later.

There was no such litigation preventing The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, however. A left-handed homage/satire of cliffhanger melodramas, Perils relocated the titular star (Janet Waldo) and the Ant Hill Mob (Paul Winchell, Don Messick, Mel Blanc) to the roaring 20's, where the Mob must protect heiress Penelope from greedy Sylvester Sneekly, aka the Hooded Claw (Paul Lynde, who opted for no screen credit).

For our Famous First this month, we present the series premiere, "Jungle Jeopardy":

Unfortunately, Perils was also non-renewed after 1 season, continuing in reruns for another season before being pulled from the schedule.

Blanc also voiced the Bully Brothers, twin henchmen of the Claw who spoke in unison, and never seen apart. Blanc would later recycle Yak-Yak's voice, or at least some particular mannerisms, for Heathcliff in 2 series in the 80's.

Rating: B.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Toonfomercial: Look who's shilling for GEICO! (2017)

It's been more than a decade since He-Man's last series ended. However, GEICO commissioned this ad using the original character designs from Filmation's 1983-6 series, done in flash animation, to use as part of their current ad campaign......

Not sure who's voicing He-Man here, or anybody else.

Looney TV: Daffy the Commando (1943)

I remember seeing this next Daffy Duck cartoon on cable back in the day, but good luck trying to find it today.

"Daffy The Commando", directed by Friz Freleng, was released in 1943. Daffy is sent behind enemy lines, and, of course, chaos ensues.

"Daffy the Commando" and other WWII-themed shorts have long since been banned from appearing on television, although it may have aired on Toon Heads. It's not just Daffy and his friends, but stars from other studios also have had their WWII adventures taken off the air, partly due to racial stereotypes used in these films.

Rating: A.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Dino Boy in The Sacrifice (1966)

Ugg (Mike Road) has been captured and set up as "The Sacrifice" to the sun king, which is little more than a false idol. Can Dino Boy find his friend in time?

Standard fare. Nothing more.

Rating: B.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Toons After Dark: Huddles has a fumbling problem (1970)

In the pentultimate episode of Where's Huddles, Ed Huddles (Cliff Norton) develops a case of fumble-itis, and doesn't know why. Maybe it's a sudden case of the yips, but we don't know for sure. Anyway, Bubba (Mel Blanc) creates a homemade super glue to solve the problem, and to keep from getting evicted, the boys let snooty Claude Pertwee (Paul Lynde, The Hollywood Squares, Bewitched) in on the plot.

In case you didn't notice, the 9 squares featuring the core cast at the top of the show is a minor call back to not only Squares, as Lynde was the regular center square by that point, but also The Brady Bunch. Sneaky, eh?

Rating: B-.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: The Super Friends meet Mr. & Mrs. Mole (1973)

A misguided couple think they have a solution to some of their problems, or at least under the surface, by stealing air conditioning units. The Super Friends encounter "The Mysterious Moles".

If there was anything that marked this initial season of the franchise, it was the recurring theme of having well meaning but misguided people causing problems. Remember, Hanna-Barbera couldn't use any of the villains just yet, that would come later, and the anti-violence rules were in effect.

Rating: B.

You Know The Voice: You're in the Cavalry, Charlie Brown! (Not really)(F-Troop, 1966)

Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown in the Peanuts specials, did some "face acting" in the 60's as well. Here, he shows up in a season 2 episode of F-Troop.

In "The Sergeant & The Kid", Robbins is Joey Walker, a 10 year old left to be the man of the house after his father has died. His mother (Pippa Scott) isn't quite as thrilled about her son's dream of being in the Cavalry, so Sgt. O'Rourke (Forrest Tucker) and the gang have to try to convince Joey his place is at home.

I think the idea here was to at least tease a romantic interest for O'Rourke, to go along with the ongoing romantic subplot between Capt. Parmenter (Ken Berry) and Wrangler Jane (Melody Patterson). However, this ended up being a 1-shot.

Rating: A-.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Atom Ant vs. The Big Gimmick (1965)

Atom Ant (Howard Morris) battles Professor Von Gimmick and his robot, "The Big Gimmick". In this episode, we learn that Atom does have a specific weakness.....

I can't be sure, but I think Von Gimmick may have been voiced by Paul Frees, using his Ludwig Von Drake voice, or it might've been Morris in a dual role.

Rating: A.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Looney TV: The Hasty Hare (1952)

Bugs Bunny might've thought he was done dealing with Martians. Not so fast.

In 1952's "The Hasty Hare", Commander X-2 (more commonly known as Marvin the Martian) is sent to Earth to retrieve a specimen. Guess who he encounters first??

The script gave Mel Blanc (as Bugs) an excuse to use a variation on a Jack Benny Program gag. I'm sure you know which one.

Rating: A.

You Know The Voice: Seth MacFarlane's 1st live-action series (2017)

After his last animated creation, Bordertown, flopped, Family Guy creator and all around geek Seth MacFarlane has decided to shift gears and go to live-action for his next project.

The Orville now airs on Thursdays on Fox, in back of Gotham, but I don't expect that to last very long, not when you factor in shows like Scandal and Arrow, the latter of which begins its new season in 2 weeks. Fox wisely premiered Orville on a Sunday, 2 weeks before CBS' much-hyped launch of Star Trek: Discovery. It happens that the Trek franchise, 51 years strong and counting, is being lampooned here.

A more detailed review of The Orville is over at my other blog, The Land of Whatever. For now, sample this scene, as Admiral Halsey (Legends of Tomorrow's Victor Garber) informs Captain Ed Mercer (MacFarlane) that his ex, Kelly (Adrianne Palicki) is joining his crew......

See, MacFarlane is proving he doesn't have to be typecast as a buffoon......

Monday, September 25, 2017

Toon Sports: Life in the Pink Lane (Pink Panther & Pals, 2010)

Tom & Jerry and Popeye have nothing on the Pink Panther.

In this short from Pink Panther & Pals, the Panther takes up bowling, much to the consternation of a jealous Big Nose (formerly known as the Little Man). The Panther copies Big Nose's approach at first, but when luck goes his way, our pink friend figures out the right way to play....

And, just like Tom 35 years earlier, Big Nose's sabotage efforts went for naught. Gee, I wonder why......

Rating: B.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tooniversary: Abbott & Costello in Pigskin Pickle (1967)

Dandy Deal brings us a sporting Abbott & Costello short.

Bud Abbott is a football coach. Lou Costello (Stan Irwin) is the waterboy, but is pressed into emergency service as their team needs a miracle to get out of a "Pigskin Pickle".

"Clams" Chowder (John Stephenson) was a crook, alright, as if you couldn't tell right from the go. A nearly 6 minute short would probably translate to a full half hour with other characters today.

Rating: B.

Game Time: Capital Region Bowling (2005)

It has been a tradition in the home district through the years, but it went dormant when WRGB terminated TV Tournament Time several years ago. The Capital Region Bowling Proprietors Association (CRBPA) decided to give it a try and mount a new bowling show in 2005, but not on WRGB.

Instead, Fox affiliate WXXA was the new home for local bowlers, although that didn't last long. Thanks to the sponsorship of a prominent local retailer, Huck Finn's Capital Region Bowling restored the Sunday morning tradition, even after switching from WXXA to WNYA a few years back.

Unfortunately, after the 13th season ended in May, it was announced that the series would not return this year, citing financial issues, leaving WNYA with a big hole in their Sunday schedule.

So what was the problem? For bowlers, you have a $20 membership fee for the season, plus charging more than $50 per tournament, which will drain the resources for some bowlers. The member houses aren't exactly swimming in profits, either. As I wrote over in The Land of Whatever a few days ago, the best solution would be to lower the fees to something a little more fiscally feasible. Huck Finn's Warehouse is still underwriting some tournaments, and the high prices are still intact. Not good.

Rich Becker, now calling high school football for Spectrum News, was the first host, followed by veteran newsman John Craig. Craig, a columnist for The Record, was in absentia for the tapings for this episode, airing in April. Executive producer Art Hunsinger fills in, joined by local pro Kenny Hall, owner of a pro shop at Spare Time-Latham.

The hope here is that the series will eventually return, preferably with a more economically friendly budget for everyone concerned.

Rating: A.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Literary Toons: Ferdinand the Bull (1938)

In 1938, Walt Disney acquired the rights to adapt Munro Leaf's children's story, Ferdinand the Bull. This tale of a pacifist bull has aired on The Wonderful World of Disney when NBC reran the annual Christmas episode, "From All of Us to All of You". Radio icon Don Wilson, better known for The Jack Benny Program, narrates.

Nearly 80 years later, Ferdinand returns later this year in a full-length feature film, with WWE & reality star John Cena attached. I wonder how they can stretch out this nearly 8 minute short into a hour-plus feature?

Rating: A.

From Comics to Toons; Josie & the Pussycats in The Jumping Jupiter Affair (1970)

We all know Hanna-Barbera acquired a license for Josie & the Pussycats so they could create another series of young amateur detectives stumbling onto mysteries.

"The Jumping Jupiter Affair" could've easily been a Scooby-Doo plot, with a gang of common Earth crooks posing as costumed aliens from Jupiter in order to loot a poor village in Peru.

Rating: B.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Toon Legends: Popeye's Cool Pool (1960)

Summer's over. Still, our final Summertainment entry for this year features Popeye.

The sailor is shamed by Brutus (Jackson Beck), Olive (Mae Questel), and Swee'pea (Questel again) into building his own pool. Here's "Popeye's Cool Pool":

Rating: B.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: That's The Way I Like It (1975)

Over the course of its run, Soul Train opened its stage to white artists such as David Bowie, Dan Hartman, and our next subject, KC & The Sunshine Band. The Florida-based combo appeared on Train in 1975 in support of their #1 smash, "That's The Way I Like It". Yes, it's lip-synched. So what? That was common on both Train and American Bandstand.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Lancelot Link in Surfin' Spy and The Missing Link (1970)

As summer winds down, let's spend some beach time with Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.

In "The Surfin' Spy", Lance (Dayton Allen) and Mata Hairi (Joan Gerber) pose as surfers to uncover a CHUMP smuggling operation. Gerber provided all the female voices on the show. In "The Missing Link", Lance's uncle Mortimer, a British scientist, has been captured by CHUMP.

Aside from narrator Malachi Throne (ex-It Takes a Thief) and vocalist Steve Hoffman, all the male voices were performed by Allen and Bernie Kopell (Get Smart, ex-That Girl, The Doris Day Show).

Oh, I am begging either Me-TV or Antenna TV to pick this show up!

Rating: B.

Retro Toy Chest: Hangman (1976)

I'm sure you've played the game of Hangman with just a pen and paper. Well, Milton Bradley thought it'd be a cool idea to make a board game out of it.

Hangman was first marketed in 1976, the first ad campaign from MB to feature horror icon Vincent Price as a celebrity spokesman.

In this classic spot, Vincent plays a bank teller playing the game with a fellow teller and ignoring the customers...

Price was already familiar to the kiddo's from his appearances on Hilarious House of Frightenstein, and would join the cast of 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo 9 years later.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Daytime Heroes: Bozo the Clown in A Glutten For Mutten (1962)

Time for another Bozo The Clown cartoon. Here, Bozo (Larry Harmon) outwits a sly fox (Paul Frees) trying to pass himself off as a sheepdog in "A Glutten For Mutten". Ignore the year listed on the video. This was actually released in 1962.

The trope of a wolf trying to steal sheep had been done better by Tex Avery with Droopy by a country mile.

Rating: B.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Summertainment: Woody Woodpecker in The Beach Nut (1944)

Summer's almost over. That said, why not one more trip to the beach? This time, Woody Woodpecker makes a day at the beach difficult for one Wally Walrus in "The Beach Nut". Co-author Ben "Bugs" Hardaway is also the voice of Woody in this one.

Directed by James "Shamus" Culhane.

Woody's been locked in the Universal vault ever since his series for Fox ended. Let's bring him back to television, ok?

Rating: A-.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Plastic Man vs. the Spider (The Spider Takes a Bride, 1979)

The Spider decides the easiest way to gain power is to marry a queen. And, so, he covets the hand of Queen Katherine in marriage, but in order to ensure she agrees, the villain turns her aides into flies. That's more than enough to bug Plastic Man in "The Spider Takes a Bride".

I remember seeing this the first time. Not one of the better entries in the series.

Rating: C.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: C. B. Bears search for Disappearing Satellites (1977)

Here's another entry from the freshman class of 1977.

The C. B. Bears are assigned to locate a missing scientist and figure out the mystery of some "Disappearing Satellites":

This plays out more like an episode of Scooby-Doo, come to think of it. Maybe the script was from Scooby's discard pile.

Rating: B--.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Saturday School: Winsome Witch----school teacher? (1965)

Winsome Witch (Jean VanderPyl) ends up becoming "Schoolteacher Winnie" when the teacher at a 1 room school house (also voiced by VanderPyl) quits. Basically a reboot of a Droopy cartoon, "Blackboard Jumble",  from a few years earlier.

Something to think about. Mr. Acme, the owner of the employment agency Winnie otherwise is attached to, is voiced by Henry Corden, who would begin working with VanderPyl on The Flintstones more than a decade later.

Entertaining, isn't it?

Rating: A-.

You Know The Voice: Bud Collyer on What's My Line? (1969)

For the 2nd straight day, we have a You Know The Voice entry taken from What's My Line?, but this time, we have a full episode from the Wally Bruner era. The significance of this one is that this was one of the last appearances of Clayton "Bud" Collyer before his passing later in 1969, and this was 2 years after he'd crossed over from To Tell The Truth, joining with Allen Ludden (Password), Gene Rayburn (Match Game) and Ed McMahon (Snap Judgment), to appear on Line with original moderator John Daly.

Arlene Francis was the only panelist to have appeared in each case. This time, she's joined by Ruta Lee, Soupy Sales, and a pre-M*A*S*H Alan Alda.

Well, that didn't take long. After Soupy brings up Bud's radio work as Superman, Bud puts in a plug for the Saturday series that was running at the time. Arlene can be heard mentioning she didn't know about the Superman radio show.

Some of you will recall that Soupy used to do a series of skits spoofing detectives, but it seems the work he put in as Philo Kvetch actually served him well as a panelist on Line.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Looney TV: Mad as a Mars Hare (1963)

Bugs Bunny clashes with Marvin The Martian once again in Chuck Jones' 1963 farce, "Mad as a Mars Hare". The open & close of this print have been edited off.

Yes, this is a sequel to "Hare-way to The Stars", Bugs' 1st meeting with Marvin. Seems Marv's IQ took a hit after that, don't ya think?

Rating: B.

You Know The Voice: Jim Henson (1974)

It wasn't so long ago that we featured Carroll Spinney, the original voice of Big Bird & Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street, when he appeared on What's My Line?. Well, he wasn't the only Street cast member to appear on the classic game show.

Muppet maestro Jim Henson was a mystery guest in 1974, and, as with Spinney, the late Larry Blyden is the host here. Kermit, of course, is along for the ride.

Animated World of DC Comics: The Wonder Twins in Prejudice (1977)

Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary for the cartoon class of 1977. At the head of the class, of course, is The All-New Super Friends Hour, and from that we get this choice Wonder Twins short, the theme of which is still socially relevant today.

When an African-American couple's car breaks down, two bigoted teens have no interest in helping. Just watch what happens when the shoe's on the other foot.

Face it, gang, racism isn't going away any time soon, as long as a certain executive is fanning the flames.

Rating: A.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Smurf Berry Crunch? (1983)

Somewhere between seasons 2 & 3 of The Smurfs, Post Cereals, then a unit of General Foods, landed a licensing deal to create a cereal based on the series.

Smurf Berry Crunch was one of what seemingly was a number of licensed properties used for cereal by Post and rivals Kellogg's & General Mills back in the day. All this did was add to the workload at Hanna-Barbera, which produced the commercials. Four years later, a 2nd Smurf cereal was added, but it didn't last as long, and the Smurf cereals were off the shelves after the series ended.

Here, Handy explains to Papa Smurf (Don Messick) that he's increased production of the cereal. Chaos follows, of course.

General Foods wasn't the only one to cash in on the Smurfs. Chef Boy-ar-Dee, now part of ConAgra, produced a line of Smurfs pasta products around the same time, and, yup, H-B did the commercials for that, too.