Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rein-Toon-Ation: The Jetsons, a la John Kricfalusi (2002)

After flopping with The Ripping Friends on 2 networks, including [adult swim], John Kricfalusi produced a series of shorts for [as], featuring The Jetsons, as well as Yogi Bear. Considering Kricfalusi's own warped imagination, well, this was bound to be a disaster, and it was.

Kricfalusi and his Spumco crew made George Jetson (Jeff Bergman, impersonating George O'Hanlon) and family far more dysfunctional than had been thought possible. This is not a good thing, especially considering it was the disrespectful dullards at [adult swim] who commissioned crap like "The Best Son":

Geez, you'd think the least they'd do is give Jane a pair of shoes. How many pairs of grey hose has she worn out over the course of 50+ years?

Rating: D--.

Saturtainment: Soul Unlimited (1973)

We've previously documented that there was a period in the 70's when American Bandstand was blacked out in my home district. The ABC affiliate at the time (now an NBC affiliate) opted for syndicated sports programming or other fare as a means of getting some extra local ad revenue.

What that meant in 1973, though, was that another Dick Clark entry would never be seen in upstate New York. Soul Unlimited was designed by Clark as his answer to Soul Train, which Don Cornelius took national two years earlier (the Train started as a regional show out of Chicago), perhaps feeling the ratings pinch in certain areas where the two iconic series would air head-to-head. Soul Unlimited would air on alternate weeks to give Clark a little time off the air, since he was also hosting The $10,000 Pyramid at the time.

Buster Jones was tapped as MC for the short-lived series, and because Soul Unlimited didn't air in my area, and perhaps several others, most of us would only become acquainted with Jones' voice 4 years later, as he signed on with Hanna-Barbera. His voice-over resume includes Super Friends (as Black Vulcan), Super Globetrotters, and, in the 80's, for Marvel-Hearst, Defenders of the Earth, and DIC's Real Ghostbusters.

Thus, the following clip is dedicated in Jones' memory, as he passed away recently at 71. Many thanks to fellow blogger Marc Tyler Nobleman for the tip. Marc has a short piece up at Noblemania.

Here's Buster, with the Sylvers.

Rest in peace, Buster. No rating for Soul Unlimited.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Blue (1973)

Pterixa brings a track from Butch Cassidy, with the Sundance Kids performing "Blue". Sadly, since we already have "Looking For Someone" elsewhere on this here blog, that represents the sum total of music from the show available presently on YouTube.

I'm begging WB to at least farm out the reruns to someone that's actually interested in them, since otherwise it sits in the vaults.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Rein-Toon-Ation: Eagle Riders (1996)

The third American adaptation of Japan's popular Gatchaman cartoons fell into the hands of songwriter-producer Haim Saban in 1996. Unfortunately, Eagle Riders, which adapted Gatchaman II & Gatchaman Fighter, failed to catch on here in the US.

While the characters and basic designs remained the same, the names were again changed. 65 episodes were produced, enough for 13 weeks of daily programs, much like the first American adaptation, Battle of the Planets. However, for whatever reason, only 13 episodes aired here, on Saturday mornings in syndication. Wikipedia claims it was a UPN series, but in truth it wasn't. It may have aired on UPN affiliates in different parts of the country (airing on the NBC affiliate here, which was a CBS affiliate when it aired Battle nearly 20 years earlier), but it was definitely not part of the network.

I didn't see much of the show to merit giving it a rating. We'll leave you with the intro. Part of the narrative was cut off by the poster, the cleverly monickered None.

For those who care, actor Bryan Cranston, before hitting it big in primetime with Malcolm in the Middle & Breaking Bad, is one of the voice actors in Eagle Riders. Like, who knew?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Toon Sports: Popeye takes up bowling (1960)

When Al Brodax, head of King Features Syndicate's TV division, began producing Popeye shorts, he in effect watered down the spinach-eating sailor's adventures into sitcom fluff.

Take for example "Strikes, Spares, & Spinach". Popeye (Jack Mercer) & Brutus (Jackson Beck) are frenemies in this one, but the rivalry over Olive Oyl (Mae Questel) remains. This time, the guys are taking turns teaching Olive how to bowl. The American Bowling Congress, thankfully, never considered using this as an instructional video.

During this era, if you've seen one, you've probably seen them all. Rating: B.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Getting Schooled: Joya's Fun School, aka Time For Joya (1970)

I will freely admit I haven't seen any episodes of Joya's Fun School, or, to go by the title used in the following clip, Time For Joya, and by the time cable TV came to upstate NY in the 70's, the series was already out of production.

Joya Sherrill had been a vocalist for jazz legend Duke Ellington, and reinvented herself with this series, which ran for 2 seasons of first-run episodes, airing on WPIX in New York, then continuing as a weekly series in reruns for an additional 10 years before signing off for good in 1982. It aired on Fridays from 1972-82, as Magic Garden ran 4 days a week in the same slot. Both shows moved to afternoons near the end of the run.

In a way, it was WPIX's answer to the more successful, long-running franchise, Romper Room. Let's take a look at an incomplete episode. Incomplete because it looks like the open is missing.

No rating.

Rein-Toon-Ation: The Three Musketeers (1973)

From Shogun1261 and Famous Classic Tales:

Five years after the studio adapted Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers into a component of the Banana Splits, Hanna-Barbera produced a more faithful adaptation of the classic novel. It's just too bad no cable network worth its salt can even be bothered to dust this off. Admittedly, this looks as though the open was edited off.

My memory is vague when it comes to this. I can't recall seeing it, so I can't rate it.