Saturday, February 25, 2017

From Primetime to Daytime: The Flintstones meet the Wayouts (1965)

In the final season of The Flintstones, the show's writers began skewering pop music more so than in previous seasons. In fact, it was in the season opener that Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm became pop stars in a dream that Fred (Alan Reed) was having. Shindig host Jimmy O'Neill crossed over, along with the Beau Brummels, for one episode.

In the episode, "Masquerade Party", a quartet of aliens land in Bedrock, and their unique look enables a record company executive (Mel Blanc, using his Secret Squirrel voice) to dismiss the Beasties (Beatles parody) and sign a group now known as the Wayouts.

Reed is also heard as Sam Sandstone, a fellow member of the Water Buffalo lodge, who sounds suspiciously like Fred.

It just so happened that Secret Squirrel debuted that same year, albeit over on NBC, which would pick up rerun rights to The Flintstones not long after the series ended.

Rating: B.

Animated World of DC Comics: The Super Friends try to solve The Baffles Puzzle (1973)

It's way past time to go back to the original Super Friends.

Professor Baffles (Casey Kasem in a dual role) is one of those misguided types who thinks he's doing something to benefit mankind by making all kinds of literature disappear. Ah, but there's a lesson to be learned, as Baffles is double-crossed by his henchmen. Here's "The Baffles Puzzle":

Wendy's volunteer job at the library suggests a call-back to Batgirl, aka Barbara Gordon, whose other job was as a librarian, per her earliest appearances in the 60's. Too bad Batgirl never got to appear in this series, as Hanna-Barbera never obtained the rights. 

Rating: B+.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Saturday School: The Tiny Sea (Micro Ventures, 1968)

Only 4 Micro Ventures shorts were produced for the Banana Splits in 1968. Here's "The Tiny Sea".

Bruce Watson (Mike) was also heard, along with Don Messick, in the Three Musketeers segments of the show.

Too bad they can't collect these shorts into a single disc DVD.

Rating: A.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: We Are Family (1979)

Disco Larry has served up Sister Sledge's monster hit of 1979, "We Are Family", from an appearance on American Bandstand. The graphics that pop up during the performance suggest this was recorded on VHS.

The Pittsburgh Pirates adopted "We Are Family" as their theme song en route to a World Series title that fall. Sister Sledge would score again with "He's The Greatest Dancer", but then would slowly fade from the pop and R & B scenes.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Lone Ranger meets Mark Twain (1980)

A Lone Ranger fan channel has turned up on YouTube. The playlist includes episodes of the 1980 Filmation reboot of the series, with William Conrad, fresh from Cannon, as the voice of the Ranger. Conrad, though, was billed as J. Darnoc (Conrad spelled backwards) for some unknown reason. There's no mistaking that distinctive voice, though.

Right now, let's take a look at "The Abduction of Tom Sawyer". It's not what you think, especially considering that Tom's creator, Mark Twain, figures prominently in the story.

Filmation had first acquired a license for The Lone Ranger 8 years earlier when the Ranger, then voiced by John Erwin, made a guest appearance on The Brady Kids. Unlike the 1966 series, 2 seasons were produced, with the second season episodes considerably shorter to make room for Zorro. CBS needed another legendary hero to share an hour with Tarzan after The New Adventures of Batman and the remaining remnants of Tarzan & The Super 7, rechristened Batman & The Super 7, moved to NBC for their final season. The problem was, the Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour was buried near the bottom of the lineup. Adding Zorro the next year didn't help.

Rating: A.

Looney TV: Porky in Wackyland (1938)

Porky Pig goes hunting for what is supposed to be the last of the do-do's, but, as you'll see in "Porky in Wackyland", nothing is what it seems to be.

Keep an eye open for gratuitous use of the WB shield logo and the presence of a 3-headed parody of the Three Stooges.

11 years later, a shorter remake, "Dough For the Do-Do", was released in full color, with some elements of "Wackyland" edited out. We'll pull up "Dough" another time, and you'll see what I mean.

Rating: A.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Toons After Dark: Carlton, Your Doorman (1980)

During the course of Rhoda's run (1974-8), folks wondered if they'd ever get a glimpse of Carlton, the doorman in Rhoda Morganstern's apartment building in Manhattan. No, they wouldn't. Nearly 2 years later, the man who gave voice to Carlton, Lorenzo Music, decided it was time to let everyone see Carlton, albeit in an animated cartoon.

Carlton, Your Doorman has only aired once, in 1980. Why that is, I don't know. It would end up being the last time Music would essay the role, but his future in cartoons was set.

Because it has become a rarity, the show is incomplete online as of right now. All we have is this little sample.

Music not only is the star, but also co-wrote and co-produced the program. After six years of playing Carlton, Music moved on, and you know the rest of his body of work, mostly as Garfield. He also spent the first two seasons of Real Ghostbusters as Dr. Peter Venkman, but left the show to work on Garfield & Friends, with Dave Coulier (Full House) taking over as Peter. And let's not forget those crash dummies ads for the Ad Council.

Co-directors Charles Swenson & Fred Wolf would later join forces with Glen Murakami and produce the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons, among other things.

Rating: None. The poor audio quality of the above sample made this hard to gauge.