Thursday, March 22, 2018

From Out of the Recycling Bin: Fred Flintstone & Friends (1977)

Hanna-Barbera, spurred by the success WPIX in New York was having with a checkerboard Fun World weekday block (previously reviewed) that put some of their less successful series in a nice package decided to do the same themselves with Fred Flintstone & Friends, which aired in the Big Apple not on WPIX, but WNEW (now WNYW) weekday mornings.

Unfortunately, the intro we know is not available. There is a slightly altered one on YouTube, but that's not of use to us. We do know the lineup, though, and each of the component series have also been reviewed previously.

For starters, there would be Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm (1971), with Sally Struthers (All in The Family) as Pebbles, and Jay North (ex-Dennis The Menace, Here Comes The Grump, Maya) as Bamm-Bamm.

For what it's worth, comedienne Mitzi McCall was cast as Penny, who looked like she could've been a distant relative of Bamm-Bamm's adoptive mother, Betty Rubble.

From the freshman class of 1974, we have Partridge Family 2200 A. D., which lost Susan Dey (Laurie) after just 2 weeks, replaced by Sherry Alberoni (Super Friends, ex- Josie & The Pussycats, Mickey Mouse Club). Danny Bonaduce, Brian Forster, and Suzanne Crough had previously been, along with Dey, on Goober & The Ghost Chasers.

Well, here's the Partridges:

And Goober:

Rounding out the rotation were two more series from the class of 1973. First, there's Yogi's Gang:

And, then, there's Jeannie, which isn't really a prequel to I Dream of Jeannie, though Sony currently owns the rights. Impressionist Julie McWhirter voices Jeannie, whose master in this series is teenager Cory Anders (Mark Hamill, who also sings the title song).

Each series' episodes were split into two parts to fit the half hour format. This was also the last series in which Alan Reed was the voice of Fred Flintstone, who served as the series host, before his passing. It's widely believed that Henry Corden officially took over with a Flintstone holiday special three months after the anthology block launched.

Unfortunately, Fred Flintstone & Friends didn't have any extra staying power than its components, as it lasted about a year or two in this form before the component series were all consigned to limbo for a few years. Watching this gave me a chance---finally---to see the shows that had been blacked out in the home market initially (i.e. Jeannie) due to affiliate disinterest.

Rating: B+.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tooniversary: The Arabian Knights find a Spy in their midst (1968)

The Arabian Knights are part of the class of 1968, turning 50 this year. So, let's go back to ancient Baghdad, as Turhan (Jay North, ex-Dennis The Menace) and his team discover one of their number's been replaced by a spy who has the same powers as Bez.....

Rating: A-.

Toon Rock: Yabba-Dabba-Dabba-Dabba-Doo (1961)

The Flintstones began its sophomore season in 1961 in grand style. Legendary composer Hoagy Carmichael guest stars when Fred (Alan Reed) and Barney (Daws Butler, subbing for the then-injured Mel Blanc) get mixed up with a con artist in a plagiarism scheme involving one of Carmichael's most famous songs, "Stardust".

Near the end of the show, the Flintstones & Rubbles and Carmichael are in the audience for a stone age version of another ABC series, The Lawrence Welk Show (I believe this might have also been Butler doing his best Welk mimic, though I could be wrong), when Carmichael is called up to the stage. Henry Corden provides Fred's singing voice as the cast joins Carmichael for "Yabba-Dabba-Dabba-Dabba-Doo":

This clip has been used for promotional purposes on Cartoon Network/Boomerang in recent years. Too bad no one thought of releasing a soundtrack album covering the entire series (1960-6) and all the musical guests (i.e. Carmichael, Ann-Margaret, James Darren).

Monday, March 19, 2018

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Dynomutt vs. Red Vulture (1976)

Dynomutt (Frank Welker) and Blue Falcon (Gary Owens) take to the skies to capture the Red Vulture (John Stephenson). I guess the color adjective is meant to ensure Marvel Comics, which would eventually give Dyno his comics debut a year or so later, didn't file a lawsuit over copyrights, what with the Vulture being one of Spider-Man's foes.....

This is significant because in May, Dyno teams with DC's Super Sons when Blue Falcon goes rogue, and the Red Vulture may be responsible. Somehow, I see this as oil, water, and jelly coming together.....

Rating: B.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Toonfomercial: Donald Duck meets the Cheerios Kid (1955)

I have to imagine this next item aired during Mickey Mouse Club episodes on weekdays as well as during Heckle & Jeckle and other Saturday morning shows.

Donald Duck (Clarence Nash) needs help from the Cheerios Kid (Dick Beals) when Donald ignores his nephews' warning as he swims into shark infested waters.

Don't know how many of these were made. There's at least one more on YouTube.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Fangface vs. Ironmask (1979)

Fangface turns 40 this year. However, this time around, we've got a 2nd season offering also including Fangpuss.

The werewolves and their human friends end up in colonial times to thwart a modern-day pirate, Ironmask (John Stephenson), who intends to loot the past. Hmmm, that sounds familiar....

The time machine has a familiar look, because the producers recycled a design for a similar device used on The Scooby-Doo Show a couple of years prior. Of course, Joe Ruby & Ken Spears created both Fangface & Scooby-Doo.

Bart Braverman (later of Vega$) & Frank Welker modeled the characterizations of Puggsy & Sherman "Fangs" Fangsworth after Leo Gorcey & Huntz Hall of the Bowery Boys, which would explain why Fangs comes off as being dumber than a bag of hammers, though I think the language mangling was exclusive to Fangs & Puggsy.

Rating: B.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Looney TV: Wearing of The Grin (1950-1)

Begorrah! 'Tis St. Patrick's Day, so why not take a trip to the Emerald Isle, Ireland, of course, with Porky Pig in Chuck Jones' "Wearing of The Grin".

This was one of the first shorts where Eugene Poddany, who worked with Jones on quite a few Tom & Jerry shorts and some specials for MGM, composed the score, here, as you can see, working with Milt Franklyn. Unfortunately, Poddany didn't last long at WB.

Rating: A.