Monday, August 20, 2018

Teenage Toons: The Golden Voice (Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm, 1971)

If the plot to this Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm episode sounds familiar, well, it does.

"The Golden Voice" is a quasi-remake of a Flintstones episode, "The Flintstone Canaries", from 1964. Seems Bamm-Bamm (Jay North, ex-Arabian Knights, Here Comes The Grump, Dennis The Menace) has inherited his adoptive father Barney's unique singing ability. You'll see what I mean.

The last Pebbles episode I had up was deleted not long after. Here's to hoping that doesn't happen here.

Rating: B.

Getting Schooled: Love of Chair (The Electric Company, 1971)

The Electric Company had plenty of teaching tools over the course of its six seasons (1971-7). One of the odder ones was Love of Chair, which ran mostly during the first season. It was a parody of CBS' long running daytime soap, Love of Life, and employed the latter's announcer, Ken Roberts, in the same capacity in these skits.

As Roberts' narration appears on the screen, the idea is for the young viewers to read along, as if they were reading a book. Most of the content on the show was driven toward that goal, unlike Sesame Street, which taught numbers and the alphabet.

Skip Hinnant appears as The Boy. The skits ended in season 2 when The Boy decides he's had enough, leading to a musical number that was never used again. In the first installment, as Roberts leads us out, a quick jump cut to Bill Cosby punctuates the end of the skit.

Older kids watching the show might dismiss this as a bathroom break. The target audience got the message. However, it did get boring after a while.

Rating: B-.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Real World & Want You (1983)

The Bangles made one of their first appearances on American Bandstand in March 1983. You'll notice that this is not the familiar lineup we all know. Annette Zilliskas was the original bassist, but left the group when they signed with Columbia a year later, and ex-Runaway Michael Steele took her place. It's going to be a bit weird seeing Susanna Hoffs with short hair, but judge for yourselves, as the band performs "Want You" and the title track from their lone EP with Faulty Products, later reissued by its sister label, IRS Records, "Real World".

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Toons After Dark: Beavis & Butt-Head do the Oscars (1997)

Perhaps this was inevitable.

I think that by the time the Academy Awards came around in 1997, "Beavis & Butt-Head do America" was out on video, or soon would be. So, series creator Mike Judge was asked to have his dimwitted creations appear at the Oscars, introduced by host Billy Crystal.

As usual, Butt-Head is the more rational of the two.

Unfortunately, they haven't tried using cartoon characters at the Oscars since.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Lancelot Link in There's No Business Like Snow Business (1970)

We're nearing the end of summer. The northeast has been buffeted with rain for most of the last three weeks while in California, they're dealing with their annual summer menace, wildfires.

We likely won't be seeing snow for another four months at the latest, though with the wacky weather patterns in the northeast, it could be sooner. Anyway, let's take a trip back to 1970 and the series premiere of Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp. Lance (Dayton Allen), Mata Hari (Joan Gerber), and their band, the Evolution Revolution, are playing a gig attended by some prominent CHUMP agents.

"There's No Business Like Snow Business" is the only full-length episode in the series.

Lancelot Link was one of Dayton Allen's last projects, but to date is the only voice work of note for Bernie Kopell, who was better known for his face acting (i.e. Get Smart, That Girl, and, later, When Things Were Rotten & The Love Boat), and for that reason, in all probability, he didn't take on too many more voice-over gigs.

Rating: A-.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Saturtainment: Hair Bear Bunch in Keep Your Keeper (1971)

In 1971, Hanna-Barbera had just 2 freshman entries on CBS. Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm was a spin-off from The Flintstones, five years after the parent series ended its ABC run. Help! It's The Hair Bear Bunch! lasted just 1 season, and deserved a better fate.

Problem was, Hair Bear (Daws Butler reprising his Hokey Wolf voice) and his partners, Square (Bill Calloway, Love, American Style) and Bubi (Paul Winchell), were a 3-bruin knock-off of Top Cat from a decade earlier. While TC and pals didn't have an invisible cycle to ride around in, they had a better rapport with Officer Dibble than Hair did with zookeeper Peevly (John Stephenson, doing a sort-of mimic of Joe Flynn) and his dimwitted aide, Botch (Joe E. Ross, ex-Car 54, Where Are You?).

In a way the Hair Bear Bunch borrowed more from Tennessee Tuxedo in that they left their zoo home frequently.

In "Keep Your Keeper", Hair, Square, & Bubi scheme to take Peevly out of play, with predictable results.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

From Comics to Toons: An episode+ of Heathcliff & Marmaduke (1981)

In 1981, Ruby-Spears, as we indicated yesterday, had been sold by Filmways to Taft Entertainment, making it a sister company to Hanna-Barbera. In reformatting Heathcliff by making Brad Anderson's great dane, Marmaduke, 'Cliff's new co-star (Dingbat & The Creeps was cancelled after 1 season), R-S reached back to the 60's by putting the headline star, Heathcliff, in this case, in the middle feature.

The Dailymotion poster who provided this video added an extra short, to replace the commercials.

1. "Kitty Sitter": Marmaduke rescues four kittens from a condemned building in the midst of demolition. The kitties appear to be orphaned, and thus follow Marmaduke home.

2. "New Kit on The Block": Heathcliff (Mel Blanc)  recalls his first days in the neighborhood.

3.  "Babysitting Shenanigans". The title speaks for itself. I should note the first two Marmaduke shorts are in reverse order.

4. "Barking For Dollars" is a quasi-remake of an old Jetsons cartoon. Seems someone thinks Marmaduke is their dog. I'm sure you'll figure out which Jetsons episode I am thinking of.

Paul Winchell provides Marmaduke's vocal effects, in addition to voicing Phil Winslow.

Unfortunately, the series was cancelled, with Marmaduke another one year wonder. R-S' other freshman entry for ABC, Goldie Gold & Action Jack, which we featured yesterday, met the same fate. Heathcliff, of course, would return two years later at DIC, and you'd think that despite the live-action movie bombing out a few years ago, Marmaduke would be worth bringing back, along with 'Cliff.

Rating: B.