Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bad TV: Uncle Croc's Block (1975)

By design, Uncle Croc's Block was a satire on other children's shows, such as Captain Kangaroo, which at one point in its run actually aired on Saturdays. To give you some idea, here's the theme, as performed by series star Charles Nelson Reilly (Match Game), and uploaded to YouTube by Muttley16:

Filmation populated the world of Uncle Croc with parodies based on other shows and concepts. For example, during the "Star Time" segment, Croc would be joined by the likes of Sherlock Domes (Carl Ballantine, ex-McHale's Navy), Junie the Genie (Alice Ghostley as a Jeannie parody), and Steve Exhaustion, the $6.95 Man (Robert Ridgely as a Six Million Dollar Man parody, proving that ABC was willing to poke fun at itself). But as the skits were bombing, director Basil Bitterbottom (Jonathan Harris, ex-Lost In Space) seemed amused by it all.

Unfortunately, viewers were tuning out Uncle Croc, and the show was cancelled about halfway through the season, ending Filmation's association with ABC. It is said that network suits were so unhappy with Uncle Croc, they didn't want any more series from the studio.

The animated segments, Wacky & Packy, Fraidy Cat, & M*U*S*H, the latter a parody of--what else?---M*A*S*H, would later resurface as part of the Groovie Goolies & Friends syndicated package. Wacky has also been released on public domain DVD, the only part of the show out in the open market.

As it turned out, when it came to sending up kids' shows, Weird Al Yankovic did it a little bit better in his 1989 movie, "UHF", when he entrusted a TV station janitor (Michael Richards, Seinfeld) with one, and it became a hit. Too bad the movie itself wasn't. Just like Uncle Croc.

Rating: D.


Samuel Wilson said...

I dimly remember "M*U*S*H*" but not much of the rest of this. I think that's what we call a defense mechanism.

hobbyfan said...

I think you remember "M*U*S*H" because of the Groovie Goolies package, Sammy. I barely remember seeing "Fraidy Cat" myself.