Friday, July 22, 2016

Toon Sports: For Whom The Bulls Toil (1953)

A while back, we reviewed Disney's syndicated Mouse Factory series, and picked an episode that featured clips from our next entry.

"For Whom The Bulls Toil" finds Goofy (Pinto Colvig) in Mexico, where, quite by accident, he's, ah, conscripted into becoming a matador, at least for the duration of his visit.

Introduction by Leonard Maltin, which means this comes from a DVD or a television special.....

Rating: A-.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Maltese Monkey (Ghost Busters, 1975)

Halloween's 3 months away, but let's get a head start with the series premiere of Ghost Busters from 1975.

Jake Kong (Forrest Tucker) and Eddie Spenser (Larry Storch) have to stop a pair of gangsters from summoning the ghost of their former boss and at the same time capture "The Maltese Monkey". Billy Barty, fresh from Sigmund & the Sea Monsters, and Johnny Brown (Good Times) guest star.

As we've talked about before, series creator Marc Richards misfired in a few spots. While this clearly was a parody of Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon----and Brown does try to pass as an African American Sydney Greenstreet---the sitcom format defeats the idea that this could've been better done as a 2-parter, complete with cliffhanger. Fortunately, Richards and Filmation would correct that oversight with the animated sequel 11 years later.

Rating: B-.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Animated World of DC Comics: The Wonder Twins try to stop a runaway Roller Coaster (1983)

One recurring trope in Wonder Twins shorts, both in 1977 and from 1980-3, was the use of teenagers bullying other, weaker teens into some dangerous stunts that are more dangerous than they realized.

Case in point is "Roller Coaster". The one quibble here is that the abandoned amusement park is right across the road from the movie theatre the Twins are exiting, presumably after seeing a certain movie franchise. The cliched first changes could've been left out for clarity's sake. Voice director Wally Burr voices Atom.

This is one of those cases where, instead of the twins being together for what otherwise could've been a movie date, Jayna (Louise Williams) could've been out with Robin. A missed opportunity if there ever was one.

Rating: A-.

You Know The Voice: Bill Woodson (1966)

Bill Woodson made his 2nd, and most prominent, appearance as the Secretary of War during season 1 of F-Troop in the episode, "Don't Ever Speak To Me Again".

A minor disagreement between O'Rourke (Forrest Tucker) & Agarn (Larry Storch) spirals out of control, as other members of the troop are suddenly having disagreements, even Parmenter (Ken Berry) and his lady, Wrangler Jane (Melody Patterson), and among the Hekawis, too.

This particular trope has been used in other sitcoms, but not like this.

Rating: A-.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Getting Schooled: Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote on the Electric Company (1971)

When the Children's Television Workshop launched Sesame Street in 1969, they partnered with Filmation to produce a select handful of short bits with Batman and, from The Archie Show, Jughead.

In 1971, CTW (now Sesame Workshop) turned to Warner Bros. and legendary animator Chuck Jones for a series of shorts featuring the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote.

In this sample, the Road Runner and Coyote are ready to race, but.......!

It does look like Jones used a ream from "Duck Amuck", doesn't it?

Rating: A.

Literary Toons: Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1976)

From season 1 of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle comes a slightly altered adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan & the Golden Lion, which explains the origin of the great golden lion, Jadbalja, who was raised & trained by Tarzan himself (Robert Ridgely). Burroughs' original story also included Tarzan's wife, Jane, who would not appear in the cartoon until the final season, and son Korak, who Filmation never used at all.

Rating: A-.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Looney TV: Adventures of the Road Runner (1962)

This next Road Runner item is rare in that the traditional opening is not used. Instead, Adventures of the Road Runner was actually a pilot for a television series that was pitched in 1962. Of course, the Road Runner wouldn't land the weekly series until 4 years later when CBS took a chance.

Subsequently, the 25 minute film was split into three shorts, released over a 3 year period, with the first, "To Beep or Not To Beep", released in 1963. The others were packaged by DePatie-Freleng in 1965.

Funny thing. The commercial that the two children are watching pitches "Acme Batman outfits". More than a decade later, Warner Communications, now Time-Warner, would acquire Batman's publisher, DC Comics. Animator Paul Julian is credited as the announcer, although you would have assumed it was actually Dick Tufeld, as I'd long assumed.

WB really missed the boat by not giving Wile E. Coyote (Mel Blanc) a solo series. Just sayin'.

Rating: A.