Sunday, May 24, 2015

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Super Chicken vs. The Laundry Man (1967)

It's been a while since we looked in on Super Chicken.

This time around, Super Chicken tangles with the Laundry Man, a Chinese laundry owner whose operation is a front for----wait for it----laundering money. Talk about the sledgehammer of plot, assuming you had your parents in the room with you when you watched.

Definitely not the product of an ancient Chinese secret.

Rating: B-.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Animated World of DC Comics: DC Super Friends (2015)

They're baaaaaaaaaack!

A few years ago, DC revived the Super Friends franchise for a series of children's books, and, eventually, a short-lived comic book spun from those hardcover books. The characters are drawn in a style not so dissimilar to the more recent DC animated fare from Warner Bros., but I do have a problem with some of the designs, particularly that of Robin (Johnny Yong Bosch, ex-Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), whose gloves look a little too big and a little too manga for my taste.

This new set of online shorts debuted earlier this month, and introduced the DC Kids channel on YouTube. Each short runs a wee bit shy of four minutes, but don't look for these to air on Cartoon Network any time soon. To them, if it ain't funny, they don't want it. If you're an older fan familiar with the franchise from its glory days of the 70's, you can show your kids these shorts, then, if you've got 'em, bust out the DVDs of the old series, and the accompanying comic books.

Anyway, here's the 1st short, "The Cape & the Clown":

Seems to me Robin needs to cut down on his sugar intake. He's even more hyper than usual.

Rating: C.

Saturtainment: The Go Go Gophers meet the Cleveland Indians (1966?)

Now, here's a curiosity. We've previously noted that the Go Go Gophers were a back-up segment on Underdog before being spun off into an all-rerun show of their own in 1968. But, as you'll see in the next video, common sources might be a wee bit off, since the copyright date for this episode is 1962, predating the Gophers' supposed debut by 4 years!

Anyway, Col. Kit Coyote (Kenny Delmar) sees a newspaper headline and thinks the people of Cleveland would accept Running Board & Ruffled Feather, despite Sgt. Okey Homa (Sandy Becker) warning that Cleveland's Indians are a baseball team.

This was the beauty of the silliness. The series was set in the Old West, well before the game of baseball was invented, but, being a cartoon, they could stretch the boundaries of imagination as much as possible. Heh, it could've been worse. They could've sent the Gophers to Washington, and.......!

You may note, too, that the theme song has additional lyrics than what we heard in the syndicated version. Apparently, due to anti-violence regulations, they edited the theme.

Rating: B.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bad TV: God, the Devil, & Bob (2000)

In the late 70's, George Burns was cast as the Almighty in "Oh, God", which was a smash hit, co-starring singer John Denver. There'd be a sequel, and that was it.

Producers Marcy Carsey & Tom Werner (Roseanne, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Cosby Show, etc.) decided to have a little fun with the concept in 2000. They were tasked to produce an animated sitcom for NBC which had God and Lucifer, aka the Devil, actually socializing. In what amounts to a satire on the Old Testament book of Job, God, the Devil, & Bob purports God to have the physical appearance of the late Grateful Dead frontman, Jerry Garcia. You can figure out that joke, I'm sure.

God (James Garner, ex-The Rockford Files) and Lucifer (Alan Cumming) make a bet. An ordinary schlub, one Bob Allman (French Stewart, 3rd Rock From the Sun), is chosen as God's new messenger. Unfortunately, he makes John Denver's character in the "Oh, God" movies look even more like a Boy Scout, as Bob is into porn and booze.

A combination of low ratings and pressure from religious watchdog groups forced the show off the air after a month. [adult swim] picked up the series and ran the remaining 9 episodes. Oh, unsurprisingly, it's popular overseas, but not here.

As the opening episode, "In the Beginning" begins, we find God and the Devil meeting at a place where most folks probably think the Devil has a vested interest----a used car lot.

Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne) and Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons) co-star. Can't say for sure if either one wants to remember this even happened.

Rating: D.

From Comics to Toons: The Captain & the Kids shill for Pepto-Bismol (1968)

After a dispute with the Hearst Corporation, Rudolph Dirks left behind the Katzenjammer Kids, who stayed at Hearst and were now under the direction of Harold Knerr, and cloned them as The Captain & the Kids. After a series of shorts for MGM in the late 30's, this version of Hans & Fritz, with Mama, the Captain, & the Inspector, resurfaced in a 1-shot ad for Pepto-Bismol in 1968.

I have to guess, then, that this ad helped Filmation decide to use Captain & the Kids on Archie's TV Funnies (1971), and The Fabulous Funnies (1978).

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Jungle George (1970)

From Archie's Funhouse:

"Jungle George" is a goofier than usual track from the Archies, but Ug the Caveman, from the Sabrina shorts, is used here to represent the title character in the song.

Toonfomercial: Alvin & the Chipmunks sing for Jell-O (1961)

The in-show commercials were gradually fading away in the 60's. One of the last bastions were animated shows such as The Alvin Show, which was sponsored by General Foods, long since absorbed by Kraft.

Here, the boys sing the Jell-O jingle, and all while Alvin is trying to mooch some of the product for himself.

These spots, of course, were edited off when the series shifted to Saturday morning reruns, first on CBS, then NBC, and later, a cable run on Nickelodeon.