Thursday, June 21, 2018

Animated World of DC Comics: Super Friends meet the Waternen (1973)

"The Watermen" was the season, and, at the time, series, finale of Super Friends when it aired in 1973.

Aliens from a silicon-needy planet arrive on Earth to steal some silicon. Frank Welker, Sherry Alberoni, Shannon Farnon, & Casey Kasem voice the aliens. Norm Alden doubles as Professor Matey, who joins forces with the Justice Leaguers.

ABC kept bringing Super Friends back as a mid-season replacement the next three seasons. Ratings went up, leading to the reboot that began in 1977.

Rating: B.

Toonfomercial: An early Fritos cartoon ad (1963)

Here's a little short commissioned by Frito-Lay to promote Fritos corn chips back in 1963. Mel Blanc is among the voices heard here.

School's out in upstate NY, but today's kids probably aren't reaching just for Fritos anymore.......

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Leon White, aka Vader (1955-2018)

He hasn't yet been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, but maybe he will be next year, posthumously.

In the course of his wrestling career, Leon White, otherwise known as Vader, or, Big Van Vader, won 3 WCW World titles, 3 IWGP titles in Japan, and 3 Catch Wrestling Association titles in Austria. Not bad for a former Los Angeles Rams offensive lineman whose NFL career was cut short due to injuries in the 80's. White transitioned into wrestling, first with the AWA, which gave him the nicknames "Baby Bull" and "Bull Power", then, to Japan, where his Big Van Vader persona emerged.

As Vader, White returned to the US in 1990, signing with World Championship Wrestling, then aligned with the National Wrestling Alliance. On their syndicated programming, Vader showcased his incredible agility for a man listed at over 400 pounds (announcer Tony Schiavone said it was "well over 300 pounds). In this clip, a handicap squash, you couldn't tell that Vader was meant to be a heel, or rulebreaker......

The helmet and cowled mask gave way to a new mask not long after.

Vader came to the then-World Wrestling Federation later in the 90's, and that led to a recurring gig on ABC's Boy Meets World. In the context of the series, Vader was the father of one of the school bullies, played by Ethan Suplee.

Rest in peace.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Summertainment: Little Lulu (ABC Weekend Special, 1978-91)

With summer right around the corner, thoughts for kids turn from school to summer camp.

Marjorie Buell's Little Lulu is brought to life in this ABC Weekend Special entry, which was first shown in 1978, and last aired, as this video implies, in 1991. We know this based on the commercials, including an ad for the ABC Western, The Young Riders. Capt. O. G. Readmore is no longer a puppet, but strictly an animated character by this point. Neil Ross is heard as Readmore in the open, but a 1984 interstital appears to have Frank Welker, who voiced the puppet version of Readmore, in place of Ross.

Back to Little Lulu. This first offering is set amidst the equal rights movement of the 70's. Lulu and her friends get to join the boys at summer camp for the first time.

Personal note. I spent two seasons at a summer day camp in the hometown. Said camp has long since closed, but back in the day, my brother & I would hike up the hill to get to the camp, then walk home. The camp, like Camp Wackadoo, was co-ed, but at the time, I wasn't interested in finding a girlfriend. That would come later. Much later.

The cast includes Laurie Hendler, Tim Reid (WKRP In Cincinnati), Robbie Rist (ex-Big John-Little John, The Brady Bunch), Beverly Archer (later of Major Dad), and Billy Jacoby, the latter of whom appeared in a few more Weekend Special episodes. The program ends with a promo for the sequel, The Big Hex of Little Lulu, with narration by Dick Tufeld, who was the studio announcer for ABC's Saturday morning shows for a few years.

Here's Little Lulu:

As most fans know, Lulu was a brunette in the comics, but not here. Meh.

Rating: B-.

Saturtainment: Squddly Diddly in Nervous Service (1965)

Squiddly Diddly (Paul Frees) is bored, so he decides to leave the aquarium. As it turns out, a sign promising free travel tricks Squiddly into enlisting in the Navy. Here's "Nervous Service":

Rating: B.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: No More Kings (1975)

With Independence Day 2 weeks away, let's take a trip back in time with Schoolhouse Rock. Lynn Ahrens wrote & sang "No More Kings":

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Animated World of DC Comics: Superboy in Finger of Doom (1967)

Superboy (Bob Hastings) faces off with a scientist (Ted Knight) who was engulfed in cosmic rays while investigating a rogue star. His mind unhinged by the destruction of his lab, Dr. John Bailey becomes a criminal with a "Finger of Doom":

As you can see, this was taken from the Superman-Batman Adventures cable package that aired on USA & Cartoon Network.

Rating: B.