Thursday, November 30, 2017

Krofftverse: My Fair Robot (The Lost Saucer, 1975)

In memory of Jim Nabors, who passed away earlier today, we present an episode of The Lost Saucer. Here's "My Fair Robot":



No rating, as we'll pass on one this time. Rest in peace, Jim.

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Midge, Barbie's pal? (1963)

In 1963, Mattel decided to expand Barbie's circle of friends by introducing Midge (not to be confused with Big Moose's gal from Archie Comics), who would ultimately get a boyfriend of her own in Alan, but in this introductory ad, Midge is happy, it seems, being the 3rd wheel with Barbie & Ken.

Hanna-Barbera's grand dame of voices, Janet Waldo, narrates.



I don't think Midge & Alan lasted too long, because they didn't appear in ads for the Barbie line during the 70's & 80's and beyond.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Looney TV: The Daffy Duck Show (1978)

After years of playing second fiddle to Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck moved to NBC in 1978. That was the good news. The bad? Rather than have his series air opposite The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Show on CBS and a loaded lineup on ABC, NBC placed Daffy at 12 noon (ET).

As the opening montage would imply, most of the cartoons either feature Daffy alone or with either Porky Pig or Speedy Gonzales, the latter of whom would later merit co-headlining status of his own a couple of years later.

Here's the 1st season intro, with narration by Casey Kasem.



Nearly 20 years later, Daffy would get another solo series, this time on Kids' WB!, but it lasted maybe a year, tops.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Little Wizards (1987)

Marvel Productions sold a grand total of 2 series to ABC, both in 1987. Both Little Clowns of Happytown and Little Wizards ended up cancelled after just 1 season, likely because they couldn't hold The Real Ghostbusters' audience.

Little Wizards uses a familiar trope of a young prince ousted from his kingdom by an evil tyrant, and now cobbles together a band to retake the throne. Unfortunately, since this show seems to be played mostly for laughs, viewers weren't interested.

Most episodes are available in foreign languages and thus cannot be used here. Thankfully, this intro is in English.



I cannot be certain of this, but ABC may have programmed this show opposite Marvel stablemate Fraggle Rock over on NBC, and that may have had a hand in the series' demise.

No rating.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Tooniversary: Pandamonium (1982)

Pandamonium should've been adapted into a Marvel comic book, but it wasn't.

Marvel Productions' 1st sale to CBS (along with Meatballs & Spaghetti, reviewed yesterday), Pandamonium lasted just 1 season, though its premise seemed familiar.

An evil wizard, Mondraggor (Bill Woodson), loses control of a magic pyramid, which shatters into several pieces when it hits Earth. Part of it falls into the hands of a trio of pandas, Chesty (Jesse White), Timothy, & Algernon, who are joined by a pair of human siblings to try to locate the rest of the pieces and thwart Mandraggor's evil schemes. Unfortunately, 13 episodes was all there were.

Here's the intro:



Additional voice talent included Janet Waldo, Walker Edmiston, and Alan Dinehart. Michael Rye was heard narrating the intro above.

No rating.

Toon Rock: Money For Nothing (1985)

Dire Straits' 1985 CD, "Brothers In Arms", produced several hits. The first of these was "Money For Nothing", a largely CGI video, with some live-action concert footage of the band. Sting, formerly of the Police, is also heard as a backing vocalist.



Four years later, "Weird" Al Yankovic would parody "Money", with references to The Beverly Hillbillies, for the soundtrack to his film, "UHF". Nothing beats the original, though.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Tooniversary: Meatballs & Spaghetti (1982)

In 1982, Marvel Productions (formerly DePatie-Freleng) and Fred Silverman's Intermedia Entertainment joined forces to sell a pair of animated series to CBS. Given that DFE had only sold 2 series and a handful of Dr. Seuss specials to the network in the 70's, this was a step forward.

Unfortunately, few people actually got to see Meatballs & Spaghetti, about a husband & wife rock duo, traveling on the road. I cannot recall if the show aired on the CBS affiliate here or if it was blacked out, along with stablemate Pandamonium. What I do know is that both series were cancelled after 1 season. Marvel would replace them with Dungeons & Dragons the next year, and that turned out to be a better fit for the network in the long term.

TV vet Ron Masak (ex-Love Thy Neighbor, later of Murder, She Wrote) voices Meatballs in what may be his first cartoon gig. The only other recognizable names in the cast include Frank Welker and Ronnie Schell.

Here's a sample episode.



Believe it or else, I've never even seen this on a VHS tape. Was it that bad?

No rating.

Countdown To Christmas: A Christmas Carol (1971)

Charles Dickens' classic has been adapted, accurately and/or loosely, many times over the years. In 1971, Richard Williams & Chuck Jones took A Christmas Carol and turned it into a half-hour ABC special. One of the best animated adaptations of the story. Ever.



Rating: A.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Toon Sports: Hockey Homicide (1945)

Goofy is literally all over the ice, as every character in 1945's "Hockey Homicide" is Goofy. Doodles Weaver is the narrator.



There are also clips mixed in from earlier Goofy shorts, including "How To Play Baseball" & "Victory Through Air Power", as things get completely wack.

Rating: A-.

Retro Toy Chest: Barbie talks! (1969)

Once upon a time, Mattel experimented with a talking Barbie doll, and, in addition to Barbie's British friend, Stacey, you can imagine they tried this experiment with the rest of the line. Mattel had the talking See & Say toys out at the time, which may have led to this experiment.

Eve Plumb (The Brady Bunch) stars in this ad.



Sadly, the talking dolls are off the market, nearly 50 years later, but are probably on collectors' wish lists.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Daytime Heroes: Thundercats in The Doomgaze (1985)

Let's take a trip to 3rd Earth, home of the Thundercats.

Mumm-Ra forges a deal with a human sorceress in order to trap the Thundercats in "The Doomgaze".



In memory of Earle Hyman (Panthro), who passed away earlier this week.

Rating: B.

Saturday School: Betcha Don't Know (1981)

Before NBC launched the One To Grow On PSA series in the mid-80's, they partnered with the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) for a short-lived series of PSA interstitals. Betcha Don't Know featured a number of NBC stars, of course, including Erik Estrada (CHiPs), and in this two-set, Kim Fields (The Facts of Life), who's joined by James Harder, who was Big Fig when shilling for Fig Newtons in the 70's.



At least now I have a name to go with the familiar face that did a lot of commercials in the 70's & 80's (Harder).

Rating: A.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Toonfomercial: Look who's shilling for AT&T! (1987)

During Super Bowl XXI, AT&T debuted this spot, featuring Clark Kent (who doesn't change to Superman) and Lois Lane. Margot Kidder and the late Christopher Reeve, a few months away from their final movie together, "Superman IV: The Quest For Peace", provide the voices for Lois & Clark.



This looks like this might've been a Hanna-Barbera production, a year before Ruby-Spears' attempt at bringing the Man of Steel back to Saturday mornings.

Retro Toy Chest: Barbie Super 'Vette (1979)

Here's another addition to Mattel's Barbie line of products, and it's probably the closest the toy giant ever got to crossing Barbie over with Hot Wheels.

Barbie Super 'Vette was introduced in 1979. Future TV star Kim Fields (later of The Facts of Life) is featured in the ad. Michael Bell (Plastic Man, Super Friends, etc.) is the announcer.

Saturtainment: Introducing The Lockers (Soul Train, 1975)

The Lockers were a dance troupe that got their start as individual dancers on Soul Train when the series went national in 1971. Four years later, after the troupe was founded, the Lockers returned to perform for the first time as a group on the show. Don Cornelius does the intro and a subsequent interview.



At least three members of the group went on to bigger things.

Fred Berry (Mr. Penguin) is better known for his role as Rerun on What's Happening! and its sequel, What's Happening Now!. Berry left the Lockers in 1976, and I think that was when he was cast for What's Happening!.

Adolpho "Shabba-Doo" Quinones was later featured with Sister Sledge, if I recall correctly, in a video for their song, "He's The Greatest Dancer".

Toni Basil also left the Lockers in 1976, becoming a choreographer, and hit the top of the pop charts in 1981 with "Mickey".

Well, at least that's one advantage Soul Train had over American Bandstand......

Thursday, November 23, 2017

On The Air: Wild Kratts (2011)

I had this next entry up before, but the episodes I was using were getting deleted, so I took it down, figuring to bring it back again another day. Today being Thanksgiving, this is the perfect time.

Chris & Martin Kratt have been a part of PBS' children's programming for several years now, starting with Kratts' Creatures. Their current series, the 1/2-live action, 1/2-animated Wild Kratts, has just begun its 5th season, spread out over a 6 year period.

The brothers voice their own animated selves, and also write and/or direct episodes. If they're thinking of being a pair of modern day Marlin Perkins clones, they're fooling themselves.

Anyway, the gimmick here is that the brothers use some special suits to mimic the abilities of certain animals. Kind of like DC Comics' Vixen, but nowhere near close to her level. There is a recurring villain, too, a gourmet chef who serves as a parody of real life celebrity chefs (i.e. Justin Wilson).

Fittingly, for Thanksgiving, we present "Happy Turkey Day":



Parents, you might want to give your kids some Wild Kingdom DVD's, if they want to learn more in depth about the animal kingdom, rather than buy into these clowns' lessons as gospel.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Toons: Garfield's Thanksgiving (1989)

By all rights, Thanksgiving should be Garfield's favorite holiday, since he'd probably have license to gorge on turkey, mashed potatoes, etc., leaving little in the way of leftovers.

However, as this primetime special shows, Garfield (Lorenzo Music) is not exactly making a first impression on Jon's new girlfriend......



Of course, Garfield's whole schtick is being lazy and interested only in eating. Today, that wouldn't be so well received.

Rating: B.

You Know The Voice: Nancy Cartwright (1992)

The Simpsons was in between seasons 3 & 4 when Nancy Cartwright (Bart, Nelson, etc.) appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1992. Of course, Arsenio has some voice acting experience on his resume, too (ex-Real Ghostbusters)......



As The Simpsons actually marks 30 years this year (having debuted on The Tracey Ullman Show), maybe it's time to pay tribute before the series itself lights 30 candles in 2019.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Daytime Heroes: Terrahawks (1983)

British producer Gerry Anderson, after spending the 70's developing live action series (i.e. UFO, Space 1999) went back to his puppets with 1983's Terrahawks. Three 13-episode series were produced in England between 1983-6, and at least one season was shown here in the US that I can remember. However, it's been a very long time since Terrahawks has seen the light of day on American television.

As with most of Anderson's sci-fi series, the show is set in the future, in this case, in the year 2020. The episode, "From Here to Infinity", sneaks in a call-back to an earlier Anderson entry. Can you guess which one?



Terrahawks was not only the first puppet series that wasn't produced for ITC, but Anderson's last puppet show as well. The series was co-produced with London Weekend Television.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Legend of Cherokee Smith (The Lone Ranger, 1967)

The Lone Ranger (Michael Rye) & Tonto (Shepard Menken) discover a once lawless town is now Peaceable Corners, thanks to "The Legend of Cherokee Smith". A shopkeeper explains to our heroes how Cherokee Smith (Menken in a dual role) tamed the former Cutthroat Corners. And, well........



Could Smith be related to Tonto? Unfortunately, Cherokee never returned.

Rating: A.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Justice League Week: Batman, Robin, & Rima tackle a forest fire (1977)

Justice League week concludes with a Super Friends short from 1977.

Batman (Olan Soule), Robin (Casey Kasem), and guest star Rima (Shannon Farnon) take on the challenge of a forest "Fire". Soule is also heard as a fire marshal, Kasem as an escaped convict.

Plus: A craft lesson with Wonder Woman, and a safety tip from Superman.



Not sure if Rima had been created as a female version of Tarzan, but that's where she gets the ability to communicate with animals.

Rating: A-.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Missing the Mark (2017)

Now, here's a real one-man show.

You probably know that in addition to a weekly 15 minute berth on Chumptoon Network, Justice League Action is also available in smaller increments on your cable system's On Demand service or online on the DC Kids website. That's where you'll find this next nugget of joy.

"Missing The Mark" is all about Mark Hamill, who not only voices Joker, Trickster, & Swamp Thing, but his own animated self.



It's easy to forget that Hamill got his first break in cartoons (Jeannie, 1973) before movies like "Corvette Summer" and "Star Wars" put him over the top and into icon status. Oh, this was fun.

Rating: A.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Justice League Week: Superman vs. The Hunter (1988)

Superman (Beau Weaver) is faced with an indirect threat from the Phantom Zone, as General Zod (Rene Alberjonois, Smurfs, ex-Benson, later of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) creates an unliving Hunter (Peter Cullen, Transformers, etc.) to track down the Man of Steel.........



To me, this is exhibit A in why they blew it. Were it not for the Family Album back-up feature forced on Ruby-Spears by CBS exec Judy Price for educational reasons, this could've been a full-length tale that would've given Clark more time to spend with his adoptive parents.

Rating: B.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

You Know The Voice: Louise "Liberty" Williams & Cliff Norton (1976)

From the 1st season of Alice:

Alice Hyatt (Linda Lavin) is mistaken for a prostitute and arrested at a nightclub where she was hired as a singer for a night. Cliff Norton (ex-Where's Huddles), Caren Kaye (later of The Betty White Show & Who's Watching The Kids?), Gordon Jump (pre-WKRP in Cincinnati) and Louise (billed as Liberty) Williams guest star in "Pay The Fifty Dollars". Caren & Liberty play a pair of hookers themselves, and this wouldn't be the last time Louise would play a saucier character (her 2 appearances on Three's Company came later).



As we've previously seen, Cliff & Louise would work together again a year later with Andy Kaufman in an unsold pilot (Stick Around). Lest I forget, co-executive producers William P. D'Angelo, Harvey Bullock, & Ray Allen also produced NBC's Monster Squad, and would later contribute scripts for The Love Boat after getting out of the Saturday morning arena.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Saturday Night (1976)

From The Midnight Special:

The Bay City Rollers took the US by storm with "Saturday Night", released initially in the fall of 1975, and it hit #1 early in 1976. This was actually the 2nd version of the song to be recorded, as the first failed to hit the British charts a couple of years earlier. This, though, is the version everyone remembers.



2 years later, as we all know, NBC and the Kroffts took a chance on the Rollers by giving them their own Saturday show, but it failed, and limped through the 1978-9 season.

Justice League Week: Batman in Perilous Playthings (1968)

Catwoman (Jane Webb) hijacks the set of a movie, and lures Batman into a trap in "Perilous Playthings".



Way too short to suit, and if Oscar Bensol had thought of it, this could've been a crossover with Superman that would've allowed the Toyman into the mix. If they rewrote it today, nearly 50 years later, I'm sure someone would think of that.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Morning Funnies cereal? (1988)

Ralston Purina entered into a licensing agreement with King Features Syndicate and other comic strip publishers in 1988 to produce Morning Funnies, a fruit-based cereal that landed on shelves for about a year or two, but no more. In the ad, you'll see Dennis The Menace, Hagar the Horrible, and so much more.



Some of the strips, like Hagar, Dennis, & The Family Circus, are still with us. Others, like Tiger? Not so much.

Justice League Week: Legends of the Superheroes (1979)

Sometimes, you have to take the good with the bad.

A few years ago, I was able to acquire a VHS tape that collected both halves of a 2-part miniseries, Legends of the Superheroes, which, for some strange reason, ended up on then-moribound NBC, instead of ABC, home of Super Friends. The biggest lure was the reunion of Batman co-stars Adam West & Burt Ward in live-action (they'd initially reunited in The New Adventures of Batman 2 years earlier) and Emmy winner Frank Gorshin, reprising as Riddler for the first time in 11 years.

This was the intro to the first half, "The Challenge":



Sure, the special effects were cheesy, and while Hanna-Barbera had dabbled in live action over the previous five years (i.e. Korg: 70,000 B. C.), their SFX were Krofft-level bad. The supporting cast included Charlie Callas (ex-Switch) as Sinestro, William Schallert as the Scarlet Cyclone, aka Retired Man, posited perhaps as an analogue for the Golden Age Flash, and Jeff Altman as Weather Wizard. Alfie Wise (ex-Uncle Croc's Block) turned up in "The Roast" as Atom. Character actor Mickey Morton had the thankless task of portraying Solomon Grundy as being about as intelligent as the Incredible Hulk, which at the time wasn't much.

Not long ago, Warner Bros. decided to release this on DVD, probably through their MOD (Manufactured on Demand) service. You'd only want to taunt your friends. I'm surprised this hasn't shown up on [adult swim] after all this time......

Rating: D.

Sunday Funnies: Since when do babies play golf? (2009)

E-Trade's most popular ad campaign, at least in this writer's view, featured a very smart little baby.

The idea was the the company wanted to use a toddler (voiced by comedian Pete Holmes) to extol the virtues of their services. This 2009 spot is probably the most popular of them all, putting a new word in the lexicon: Shankopotamus!



There would soon be more little kids joining the party, but that might've been the jump the shark moment for this series, as E-Trade has moved on....

Monday, November 13, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Fillmore in Code Name: Electric Haircut (2003)

From season 2 of Fillmore:

Fillmore (Orlando Brown, That's So Raven) and Ingrid (Tara Strong) try to find a missing classmate and stop a computer virus, all at the same time. Raven-Symone, Vincent Pastore (The Sopranos) and a pre-Heroes Hayden Panettiere guest star in "Code Name: Electric Haircut":



I'm begging Disney to release this on DVD, preferably yesterday.

Rating: A.

Animated World of DC Comics: Super Friends vs. the Fantastic Frerps (1973)

All this week, we're showcasing some classic animated adventures of the Justice League, including some choice Super Friends episodes. First up: From 1973, King Plasto (Norman Alden) schemes to start his own country with some weird plastic compound. Frank Welker (Marvin/Wonder Dog) is also heard as Styro, Plasto's assistant, in "The Fantastic Frerps":



Typical of the period. Long range goal, but the dishonest plan doesn't really have a chance of succeeding at the end.

Rating: B.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Morning Train (9 to 5)(1981)

Scotland's Sheena Easton scored her only American #1 hit in 1981, and earned a Grammy as Best New Artist, with "Morning Train (9 to 5)". The "Morning Train" title was added in the US & Canada to avoid confusion with a certain Dolly Parton crossover hit that came out a year earlier. Dick Clark explains all this to introduce Sheena on American Bandstand.



The second single, "Modern Girl", was actually released first in the UK, but failed to crack their top 40. Of course, Sheena would finish the year with the theme from the James Bond movie, "For Your Eyes Only", but how that failed to reach #1, I don't know.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Toons After Dark: TV Funhouse (2000)

Spun off from Saturday Night Live, Robert Smigel's TV Funhouse landed at Comedy Central as a mid-week primetime series. At the time, CC was looking for something to provide a bridge on Wednesday nights between South Park and The Daily Show.

Unfortunately, Smigel's brand of subversive humor wasn't on the same level as, say, South Park, and viewers turned away in droves, knocking the show off the air after 2 months.

The animated segments were framed around live-action segments with host Doug Dale and the Anipal puppets. While I never saw the show during its initial run, I happened across this particular clip. Here is a parody of a long running series of commercials promoting a certain brand of bug spray......



I think we can see why this show ultimately failed its audience. This joke was beaten into the ground rather quickly.

Rating: C.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Lone Ranger vs. Quicksilver (1967)

The Lone Ranger (Michael Rye) goes it alone against a greedy foe who literally wastes his life away. Here's Jack Wrather & Format Films' version of "Quicksilver".



Not to be confused with Marvel Comics' Quicksilver, of course, but our villain found out the hard way that there was a side effect to the untested formula he'd stolen to start his crime wave.

Rating: A-.

You Know The Voice: Lennie Weinrib (1973)

In addition to landing the lead in Inch High, Private Eye in 1973, Len Weinrib was signed to play Mr. Pringle, the short-lived spokesman for Pringle's potato chips (later rechristened as potato crisps---don't ask). Until today, I hadn't seen this ad. Ever.



At the time, Pringle's was part of the Procter & Gamble family of products. Today, it's part of Kellogg's and their expanding line of snacks.

Saturtainment: Go! (1973)

NBC developed a weekly magazine-type program for young people in 1973 with Go!, which ran for 3 seasons in all (1973-6), with the series rechristened Go-USA in the final season to commemorate the bicentennial.

There was no set host. Various NBC personalities, including Emergency! stars Randolph Mantooth & Kevin Tighe and original Jeopardy! host Art Fleming, appeared, serving as tour guides for viewers. In the final season, as Go-USA, the series shifted to a more dramatic bent, almost in the vein of CBS' aborted revival of You Are There, which had been tried 2 years before Go! began.

This promo comes from NBC's 1974 Saturday morning preview, which we've shown before. Dick Tufeld is the narrator.



Didn't see enough of the show to form an opinion, so no rating.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Charlie the Tuna? (1961)

StarKist tuna introduced Charlie the Tuna to television audiences in 1961. While folks were trying to figure out why Charlie wanted to willingly sacrifice himself to be inside a can of StarKist, the ad campaign soldiered on for more than 20 years before the gimmick was retired in the 80's.

Herschel Bernardi (ex-Peter Gunn) began his voice acting career with these ads, and would subsequently be hired by Terrytoons (The Mighty Heroes). There was a period in the 70's & 80's where Charlie would be joined by a smaller fish (Henry Corden), but the campaign stayed the same. In 1999, even though he wasn't appearing in ads anymore, Charlie was brought back as a corporate mascot, a gig he still has today.

Most of the ads in the 60's & 70's were produced by DePatie-Freleng, but I am not sure if Marvel assumed the contract when they purchased DFE in 1981.

Right now, let's take a look at a spot from 1980. Danny Dark (Super Friends) is the announcer.



Today, Charlie appears on all the StarKist packages, but not on TV.

Thanksgiving Toons: The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't (1971)

Hanna-Barbera partnered with Avco-Embassy for a pair of holiday specials in the early 70's. The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't is a loose retelling of the first Thanksgiving, as seen through the eyes of a squirrel.

A modern day family of squirrels are gathering for Thanksgiving, and the father spins the yarn of his great-great-great-great grandfather, who helped rescue a Native American brave and a young Pilgrim when they get lost in the woods.

Voice talent includes Vic Perrin, Don Messick, June Foray, Hal Smith, and long-time H-B music supervisor Paul DeKorte. I'd swear, though, that the chorus includes an uncredited Thurl Ravenscroft.



The copyright says this was from 1971, and that's what we're going with.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Thanksgiving Toons: The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw (1980)

The Berenstain Bears made their television debut in 1979, as NBC acquired the rights to the children's book series, and the end result was a series of 5 primetime specials all produced by Joseph Cates.

In The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw, we're introduced to a Bear Country Thanksgiving legend, which also is a satire on the legendary Bigfoot, who had become a pop culture icon back in those days. Bigpaw would be a regular player in the Berenstain Bears' subsequent series on CBS a few years later.



Scholastic published an adaptation of the special several years later, which may have ultimately led to the subsequent PBS series.

Rating: A.

Toonfomercial: A new generation of roaches won't stop Raid (1988)

In 1988, Johnson Wax's Raid bug killer line tried to inform viewers of how roaches were, well, evolving. What the ad agency did was create what looked like an armored bug bullying the more generic bugs that Raid had been exterminating for years.

Jackson Beck narrates.




Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Thanksgiving Toons: Calvin & The Colonel in Thanksgiving Dinner (1961)

With Thanksgiving 2-plus weeks away as I write, let's take a look back at how Calvin & The Colonel marked the occasion back in 1961.

Seems the Colonel, a year prior, had declared he would host Thanksgiving dinner for 36 relatives the following year, thinking no one would remember. Well.........



Writer-producers Joe Connolly & Bob Mosher (Leave it to Beaver) also worked on Amos & Andy, and adapted some radio scripts for this series. I think this might've been one of them....

No rating.

Toonfomercial: Remember Kaboom cereal? (1969)

I tried a lot of breakfast cereals back in the day. General Mills' Kaboom wasn't one of them. Now, I'm more into Cheerios, Golden Grahams, Cocoa Puffs, Corn Flakes, and the like, but Kaboom wasn't my cup of wake-up food.

No, it wasn't because of the clown on the box. Psychologists are still trying to figure out why some people hate on clowns.

Anyway, General Mills had Kaboom on the shelves for 41 years (1969-2010) before retiring the brand in favor of expanding the Cheerios and Chex lines (they acquired Chex, along with Cookie Crisp, from Ralston Purina, a few years ago).

The clown in this ad sounds like a bad WC Fields impersonator. Scope.



Not the usual quality animation that General Mills ads usually have, which would explain why they stopped promoting the product on TV, because in my experience, Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Kix, and Monster Cereals & Cheerios lines got the bulk of the attention during the 70's and 80's.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Toonfomercial: Since when do bears use toilet paper? (The Charmin Bears, 2017)

Someone decided that Charmin toilet tissue needed a new, ah, mascot. The character of shopkeeper George Whipple (Dick Wilson) had been retired from television, and, in 2000, viewers were introduced to an animated bear espousing the virtues of Charmin.

Now, there are two families of bears appearing in these ads, as the product seems to have done more for domesticating bears than a bazillion Yogi Bear cartoons ever could.

Scope out this item from this summer. The red bears are headed off to the beach, and Big Daddy sounds suspiciously familiar.........



Research has uncovered at least two actors as the papa bears. For one family, we'd have Barry Carl, formerly of the a capella vocal group Rockapella (ex-Where in The World is Carmen Sandiego?). For the other, and it certainly seems to be the case here, Big Daddy sounds like Homer Simpson himself, Dan Castelanetta. Hmmmmm.

On The Air: Angry Birds Toons (2013)

Kids Click leads off its weekday lineup with Finland's Angry Birds Toons (check listings), which capitalizes on the popularity of the Angry Birds products which have been out for a while now.

The animated series launched in 2013, and Sony owns the video rights here in the US. The CGI effects are, sorry to say, the best thing about the show, since the characters don't actually talk, but make odd, almost gutteral sounds as a form of communication. Not good for the target audience, let me tell you.

Here at home, you'd need your DVR's to record the show, since in the Albany market, it airs at 5 am (ET), a rather unholy time to start a children's block, don't you think? (It's necessary because the CW affiliate will have news from 6:30-8)

In "Bake On", from last year, we won't see the birds, but rather their arch-rivals, the pigs. Seems the king has a certain preference for baked goods.....



How do you write with no hands? Telekinesis? One more reason the target audience would end up confused.

Rating: C-.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Eruption (Super Friends, 1980)

It's been a while since we looked in on the Super Friends.

From 1980: What starts as some innocent fun spirals into disaster prevention. Jayna (Louise Williams), seeing a hang glider staying aloft for nearly a half hour, decides to change into a pterodactyl and give Zan & Gleek (both voiced by Michael Bell) a lift. The Wonder Twins then encounter a young couple whose glider is out of control, sending them to Mount Metropolis. It only gets worse from there instead of better. Here's "Eruption":



Bell adds a 3rd role as Darryl, and narrator Bill Woodson doubles as a motorist trapped against the raging tide of lava. As for Zan's excessive bragging at the end, that was just an excuse for an obvious joke.

Rating: A-.

Saturtainment: Soup & Me (1978)

If you were a regular viewer of the ABC Afterschool Special and/or Weekend Special, you probably know that the network's ABC Circle Films division had a nice little repertory company of players who appeared in several episodes of both anthologies.

Case in point is our next entry, Soup & Me, adapted from the book of the same name by Robert Newton Peck, the sequel to Peck's 1974 opus, Soup. In all, Peck wrote 14 Soup novels between 1974 and 1995, plus three more for the younger set.

Shane Sinutko & Christian Berrigan have the title roles here. Frank Cady (ex-Green Acres, Petticoat Junction) co-stars.



Sinutko & Berrigan would return in the follow-up, Soup For President, which aired later in 1978, but it would also be the last of Peck's books to be adapted. Sinutko in particular appeared in at least one or two more Weekend Specials, but there isn't much else I can glean.

No rating.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Gaines Multi-Meal? (1962)

Captain Bijou brings us a long lost commercial for Gaines Multi-Meal, which was a polite way of saying that the product was the canine equivalent of the multi-pack cereals that were popular back in the day.

Chuck Jones directed this ad, with voices performed by Paul Frees.



The Gaines brand isn't around anymore, as it was retired a number of years ago. General Foods, long since absorbed by Kraft, which has since merged with Heinz, was a major sponsor for many years, and many of their brands are still active today, even if they're not part of Kraft-Heinz.

Daytime Heroes: Thor in To Kill a Thunder God (1966)

With "Thor: Ragnarok" now in theatres, let's dip into the vaults and pull a complete 3-part story from The Marvel Super Heroes Show.

When Odin takes his annual Odinsleep, Loki tries to take advantage, and cons a mortal into transferring his consciousness into the seemingly indestructible Destroyer to challenge Thor. The Thunder God is out to retrieve the Norn Stones to return them to the Norn Queen.



In those days, Loki had little or no redeeming value.

Rating: B-.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: One in a Million (1984)

The Romantics' "One in a Million" was the 3rd & final single from 1983's "In Heat", and it landed the band on American Bandstand.

Looney TV: Wile E. Coyote on Night Court (1990)

How inept is Wile E. Coyote when it comes to the Road Runner? Not even a judge, particularly Harry Stone (Harry Anderson) gives him any real respect. Wile makes a brief cameo appearance , all of a couple of seconds, on Night Court, in the episode, "Still Another Day In The Life", from April 1990:



Night Court currently airs on Laff (check listings), so this will turn up sometime soon. This wouldn't be the last time WB would slip in a Looney Tunes cameo on one of their live action shows. We've already shown Daffy Duck's appearance on The Drew Carey Show, which came a few years later.

Anyway, WB has already announced that there will be a Scooby-Doo episode of the CW's Supernatural later this season. Hmmmmm.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Toons You Might've Missed: Peter & His Dog (1960's)

Here's an obscurity most of us have probably never seen.

A small, independent company, Fleetwood Films, produced a series of short cartoons in the 60's, starring a little boy named Peter, his sister, Susie, and their dog, Lucifer. Actor Hans Conreid (Hoppity Hooper, Make Room For Daddy, Fractured Flickers) narrated the shorts, which reportedly were produced in Europe somewhere, and dubbed for American audiences.

Unfortunately, information on the series is sparse & scarce, such that we cannot pin down the exact year of these shorts. For now, let's take a look at "Peter & His Dog".



Simple, but effective, and could still work today.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: I Never Knew (1969)

From The Cattanooga Cats:

A recurring theme in some of the Cats' songs seems to be the unrequited love between Country & Kitty Jo, who otherwise were not presented as a romantic couple on the show.

Peggy Clinger of the Clinger Sisters is the vocalist on "I Never Knew".



Now, I have to see if 1) The Clinger Sisters ever appeared on American Bandstand or 2) ABC & Hanna-Barbera managed a crossover that got the Cats on Bandstand. If you guys know something, share it here.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Toon Legends: A Wild Hare (1940)

Our Famous First for November takes us to 1940, and the "official" debut of Bugs Bunny.

You see, a prototype of Bugs had bowed several months earlier in "Porky's Duck Hunt", which also marked the debut of Daffy Duck. However, the definitive version we all know and love appeared in "A Wild Hare", written by Rich Hogan, and directed by Fred "Tex" Avery. Hogan would later become Avery's lead story man at MGM.

Anyway, Elmer Fudd (Arthur Q. Bryan) is out hunting. You can guess the rest.

For what it's worth, this is the 1944 Blue Ribbon reissue, which changed the title to "The Wild Hare".



Elmer's reputation as a hunter has never been that sterling to start with, assuming he had a rep.

Rating: A.