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.

6 comments:

Goldstar said...

Meatballs & Spaghetti was loosely based on rocker Meat Loaf. I saw a few episodes of it, and it wasn't great. The show basically followed the standard formula of dumb husband gets into trouble, then sensible wife has to bail him out. And as seasoned as that formula is, I've seen it done better elsewhere. The rock star angle was barely utilized here, which was too bad, as that might have made for some interesting material.

hobbyfan said...

Seems Marvel used two different animation styles depending on the genre of program, as this was a straight comedy, and didn't look as smooth as Hulk or Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends over on NBC or the syndicated GI Joe which would follow.....

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Yeah Meat Loaf was the genesis of this idea. This cartoon felt a little like what H-B or even DFE would've done before (I think at this point former H-B staffer Jerry Eisenburg was working for Marvel, he's credited as a supervising producer of this series). Certainly after 1982, that sort of look/comedic approach kinda died out in favor of the action-oriented projects the studio would take.

There's another episode on YouTube, albeit, dubbed in German, that's even more recycled as they used a plot The Jetsons tried two decades earlier, where the guy finds out he doesn't have long to live and begins doing crazy life-threatening stunts to get attention until he's informed he's not going to die.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66ObOdgurYQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWulf25Iwyk

Still, any cartoon where a dog gets to be the drummer doesn't sound that bad to me!

hobbyfan said...

Can do without the German dubbing. Eps are hard to find in English as it is.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Still at least it's some evidence this show existed, and that episode has been up on YouTube for a decade!

hobbyfan said...

Well, it's a start.