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.