Thursday, July 30, 2015

Toons After Dark: Two Space Ghosts for the price of one (Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast,1998)

If there was one big drawback to Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast, it was the dumbing down of the Phantom of the Spaceways as he transitioned to being a (fake) talk show host.

This is evident in the 1998 episode, "Warren", in which Space Ghost (George Lowe), Moltar, & Zorak watch an episode of The Warren Show, in which the host interviews.......Space Ghost (Gary Owens)!

Owens would subsequently appear as himself to be interviewed, but this was just an example of the subversive, so-called humor used on this show. I didn't see this episode the first time, so there's no rating, but we will be featuring some more episodes with pop culture ties down the line.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Looney TV: Daffy Duck in Drip-Along Daffy (1951)

Chuck Jones made use of Daffy Duck & Porky Pig in a swank parody of Western cliches, 1951's "Drip-Along Daffy", which marks the debut of Nasty Canasta, who would resurface periodically, as recently as Daffy's 2003 Duck Dodgers series.

All this did was reinforce the notion that Daffy wasn't hero material, but Porky, the more resourceful type, was.

Rating: A-.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Toons You Might've Missed: Gabby in All's Well (1941)

Gabby was spun off from Max & Dave Fleischer's adaptation of Gulliver's Travels into a short-lived series of shorts for Paramount in the early 40's. To be honest with you, Gabby (Pinto Colvig) was one of the reasons I didn't like "Gulliver". Did we really need Jonathan Swift's novel to be adapted into a musical? Not really, but that's what the Fleischers decided to do. Paramount took a bath with "Gulliver", and eventually, the Fleischers left within a couple of years.

Away from Lilliput, Gabby's just another guy dealing with the usual tropes. In the case of "All's Well", from 1941, Gabby sees a crying baby, left all alone. Thinking the child needs his diaper changed, Gabby sets out to address the issue........

When the title song plays as an instrumental later in the film, it sounds like it was also used as the theme for Dennis The Menace more than a decade later. Of course, I may be wrong, but......!

Rating: C.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Toonfomercial: Fred & Barney shill Flintstones vitamins (1971)

Internet Archive serves up another long lost animated ad.

The other day, we reminded some of you of the defunct Bugs Bunny brand of vitamins produced by Miles Laboratories (now Bayer). The Flintstones had been marketed in vitamin form beginning in 1968, thanks to a licensing agreement between Miles & Hanna-Barbera, continued to this day by Bayer & Warner Bros..

In this spot, which, admittedly, I hadn't seen until today, Fred & Barney (Alan Reed & Mel Blanc) are in a race to retrieve some alphabetic ingredients that Dino has swiped. This ad was produced either before or after the launch of Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm on CBS.

Literary Toons: Curious George (1980)

H. A. & Margaret Rey's Curious George first appeared on TV in 1980, although one would suspect that some of the books might've been read on the air before then by, say for example, Captain Kangaroo. Nickelodeon had the rights to this series of short cartoons, which now are lost to the mists of time. The cartoons were ultimately adapted into a new set of books. There is no real animation, so this would be similar to Nick's Video Comics (previously discussed) in that respect.

Obviously, when Universal adapted Curious George into an animated feature film in 2006, leading to the current PBS series, it was a large scale upgrade.

Right now, let's take a look at a sample episode from the 80's, "Curious George Walks the Pets".

I do remember seeing one or two of these back in the day after Nick was moved from a premium service to basic cable. I'll have to explain how that happened another time, but suffice to say, as I wasn't the target audience, I wondered why they couldn't afford to actually animate these stories.

Rating: B--.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Looney TV: Super Rabbit (1943)

On Monday, Bugs Bunny turns 75. To mark the occasion, let's turn back in time to the Golden Age, 1943 in particular, when Bugs was headlining in a satire of a certain superhero in "Super Rabbit":

70+ years later, Bugs would revisit "Super Rabbit" in the series finale of The Looney Tunes Show, with his "alter-ego"'s origin updated. Too bad it was never adapted into a comic book.

Rating: A.

You Know the Voice: John Stephenson (1955)

The other night, I reviewed the short-lived series, The Whistler, over at The Land of Whatever. We're reaching back into that old well this time, as the late John Stephenson appears in the episode, "Cancelled Flight", starring Richard Arlen.

John appears at the 8:45 mark of the video, playing a mechanic. Arlen's character has just killed a man he thought was his business partner, whom he decided to double-cross. Have to tell you, this plays better than the episode I posted the other night.

After John passed away, I pulled up and printed out his IMDB file. Whew! Talk about an extensive resume. There's plenty more where this came from, believe me.