Monday, March 2, 2015

Literary Toons: The Lorax (1972)

This next item was originally reviewed over at The Land of Whatever around the time of the feature film remake, but DePatie-Freleng had the first crack at Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, which premiered on CBS in 1972, a year after the book was released.

It was Seuss' commentary on ecology, among other things. Eddie Albert (ex-Green Acres) narrates, but otherwise, the majority of the voices were performed by Bob Holt. Some of the work was edited and reused for a TNT special, In Search of Dr. Seuss, more than 20 years later.

Right now, in honor of Read Across America day, which took place today, here's The Lorax.

Rating: A.

Rein-Toon-Ation: Beethoven (1994)

After the success of a 1992 feature film, which has led to a sequel or three, Beethoven made the transition into a Saturday morning cartoon, airing on CBS. Director Ivan Reitman served as co-executive producer, as was the case on Real Ghostbusters.

Unable to convince Charles Grodin to reprise his role from the movie, Reitman turned to veteran Dean Jones, who played the villain of the piece, and had him take over for Grodin. Nicholle Tom (The Nanny) reprised her role from the film, and I think was the only one to do so.

One big diff was that in this series, Beethoven actually talked, mostly to other dogs and animals. Unfortunately, viewers were turned off by the slobbering St. Bernard's lack of manners, and the series was cancelled after 1 season.

Following is the episode, "The Dog Must Diet":

As of this writing, Universal has no plans to release the series on DVD.

No rating.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tooniversary: Secret Squirrel vs......Robin Hood? (1965)

In "Robin Hood & His Merry Muggs", Secret Squirrel is confounded when the stars of Morocco Mole's favorite TV show turn to crime.

I have no memory of seeing this episode, so no rating.

Saturtainment: The Cramp Twins (2002)

The Cramp Twins might actually be a bit of a misnomer. They're not identical by any stretch, considering that one has blue skin. Don't ask why.

Cartoon Network's European division co-produced the series, which aired first on Fox before moving to CN here in the US. The series launched in the spring of 2002 as a mid-season replacement series, and lasted 4 seasons before being yanked. However, 4Kids, which began programming Fox's Saturday lineup in the fall of '02, brought the show back in 2006 to finish the run.

Aside from the odd pigmentation on Wayne (the blue skinned one), he & Lucien behave the same way most brothers do. They argue, they fight, they prank each other. Typical stuff.

Hulu offers a sample episode.

Cramp Twins has the distinction of being Sunbow Entertainment's last series. What a way to go, eh wot?

Rating: C.

South Park copies Wacky Races

Remember when Family Guy parodied the open to the All-New Super Friends Hour? Well, South Park creators Trey Parker & Matt Stone decided to do something similar, only in this case, it's Wacky Races. Check it.

If anyone can tell me what episode the Wacky Races parody was in, I will add the year this was made.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rare Treats: Some Wacky Racers come to life (2014)

A friend of mine tipped me to this next item.

A European car company obtained a license to use some Wacky Races characters for an advertising campaign last year. The hook? It's not a cartoon.

Peter Perfect, Dick Dastardly & Muttley, Penelope Pitstop, Red Max, the Slag Bros., the Ant Hill Mob, the Creepy Coupe, and the Army Surplus Special end up crashing around a civilian driving a Peugeot. Scope it!

Insofar as I know, YouTube may be the only place in the US where you can see this ad.

Animated World of DC Comics: You call this serious? (Teen Titans Go!, 2015)

Teen Titans Go! writer-producers Aaron Horvath & Michael Jelenic think they're being funny and clever with the lead feature on Thursday's episode. Apparently, they've forgotten what constitutes funny and clever.

"Let's Get Serious" has nothing to do with the Jermaine Jackson song of the same name, which came out during the Titans' comic book revival period of the 80's. Instead, it's a backhanded swipe at the haters on the internet who've ripped into the series from day one, especially since TTG! replaced Young Justice. Horvath & Jelenic decided to use Aqualad, Ms. Martian, & Superboy from the latter series for a brief appearance, indicting the Titans as a disgrace and an embarrassment.

Sadly, the producers also went el scrimpo, refusing to call in actors Nolan North (Superboy) and Danica McKellar (Ms. Martian) for this episode. Khary Payton pulls double duty as Cyborg & Aqualad, but it wasn't enough. DC Entertainment provides us with a small sample.

Did WB hire some of the animators from Mad for this? Sure looks like it. Funny, it ain't. Not even close. Oh, sure, there are a few folks who think this was fun, but I'd equate that with spending a week in solitary confinement with a dead cockroach.

Rating: D-.