Monday, January 22, 2018

Daytime Heroes: Captain Video & His Video Rangers (1949)

It is Ed Norton's favorite show, as revealed in the series premiere of The Honeymooners. By that point, Captain Video & His Video Rangers had to have been in syndication after six seasons on DuMont. In the early days of television, a small budget wasn't the deterrent to success that it would be now. A small bag of used shoestrings would be equal to DuMont's production budget for Captain Video.

Richard Coogan was the first Captain, but the one everyone remembers, Al Hodge, came from radio's Green Hornet in 1951 to take over for the final four years. The one constant was the Video Ranger (Don Hastings), ever faithful, and always available.

Of course, Captain Video was well before my time, and out of syndication by the end of the 60's, if not sooner. Hence, no rating. We'll leave you with an intro from the Hodge era, when it was sponsored by Post cereals.

Don Hastings would later latch onto another long-running series, joining the cast of As The World Turns. Captain Video was the extent of his involvement in children's programming, unlike brother Bob, who returned to toons in the 90's (Batman) after a lengthy stint on General Hospital.

Toonfomercial: Mr. Magoo shills for NutraSweet (1994)

Five years after Jim Backus had passed on, Mr. Magoo was brought back to life, licensed to the folks who make NutraSweet to promote their product. Have no clue who's doing the voice here.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Toons You Might've Missed: Goopy Geer (1932)

Goopy Geer didn't have a long career at Warner Bros. as part of the Merrie Melodies roster. In his initial, self-titled outing from April 1932, Goopy is starring in a nightclub act.

After Hugh Harman & Rudolf Ising left for MGM, WB didn't make much use of Goopy. I think we can see why.

Rating: C.

Tooniversary: The Lone Ranger in Spectre of Death (1968)

"Spectre of Death" was one of the last Lone Ranger cartoons produced for CBS during the series' 1966-8 run. The Masked Man (Michael Rye) and Tonto (Shep Menken) pursue Sutro Helm (Menken in a dual role), thought dead when an attempted jailbreak resulted in the explosion of the jailhouse.

Rating: B.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Play That Funky Music (1976)

Wild Cherry may have only had one big hit, but they've gotten quite a bit of mileage out of 1976's "Play That Funky Music". Helen Reddy introduces the band in this clip from The Midnight Special:

So, they're from Steubenville, Ohio. Its most famous citizen happens to be iconic entertainer Dean Martin, who obviously never taught these guys anything about staying power on the charts.....

Getting Schooled: Lamb Chop's Play Along (1992)

Emmy & Peabody Award winner Shari Lewis returned to television in 1992 with PBS' Lamb Chop's Play Along. The ventriloquist, who launched her career 40 years earlier on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, entertained children with this weekday series for 5 seasons (1992-7).

In a way, Shari & PBS were meant for each other. Shari's family-friendly act, with puppets Lamb Chop, Hush Puppy, Charlie Horse, et al, had been a staple of variety shows for many years, and so it seemed so right that she would be right at home on the same network that is also home to Sesame Street.

So why just 5 seasons? I'm not sure, but Shari would return with one more series, Charlie Horse's Music Pizza, before her passing. Daughter Mallory has inherited Lamb Chop and the rest of the gang, and, who knows, maybe they'll be back someday.

Leave us not forget that Shari was also the voice of Princess Nida of the Arabian Knights (Banana Splits, 1968-70), among her many acting credits.

Here's a sample episode.

Aw, wasn't she a doll?

No rating. It was on when I was at work during the day, so I never saw the show.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Toon Rock: Mambo #5, Bob The Builder style (2001-2)

In 1999, Lou Bega scored a 1-hit wonder with a remake of Perez Prado's "Mambo #5". Bega's still trading off that song today.

A couple of years later, the producers of the British children's show, Bob The Builder, which has been seen here in the US on PBS & Nickelodeon, decided to retool the lyrics (pun intended), substituting the names of the women in the lyrics for various tools.

So let's scope out a construction worker's boppin' anthem.....

Yes, I found this hysterical. We'll have a full review on Bob The Builder and some other modern British toons another day. Anyway, this "Mambo" hit #1 in England, and also found the top 10 in Ireland & Australia.