Friday, October 1, 2010

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Butch Cassidy (1973)

Hanna-Barbera hadn't quite given up on pre-fab bubblegum pop by 1973, even though Josie & the Pussycats in Outer Space was in perpetual rerun for its 2nd & final season on CBS, and the band made a visit to the Scooby-Doo Movies. NBC wanted back in, and H-B served up Butch Cassidy and his band, the Sundance Kids, who doubled as secret agents. Their "boss" was a sentient computer, Mr. Socrates (voiced by H-B regular John Stephenson), who had an odd affliction----an allergic reaction to the band's dog, Elvis. Ex-Monkee Micky Dolenz lent his voice to the band's drummer, Wally (who happened to be Elvis' owner). Butch and the band fought the usual assortment of garden variety would-be dictators and such, just as Josie did 3 years earlier, but unlike the Pussycats, the Sundance Kids drifted into the sunset after 1 season.

Pterixa uploaded this sample from the show to YouTube. In this scene, the Sundance Kids perform "Lookin' For Someone":

A revival of the series would be nice, but this time it'd have to have a harder edge and some much needed continuity in order to appeal to today's audience. Whaddya say, WB?

Rating: B-.


magicdog said...

Even as I kid I thought it odd for a computer to sneeze whenever a dog was present!

Considering the layout of Mr. Socrates' lair, I used to think that one day we'd learn that there was a real man hiding behind a curtain who was the real Mr. Socrates! Perhaps his inventor/programmer who wanted to keep a low profile... and was allergic to dogs.

Chip Hand, who was the voice behind Butch Cassidy (both speaking and singing) was quite an accomplished musician and had a very successful career until his untimely passing in 2009.

If it were to get a reboot, I wouldn't mind but it had better have a strong sensibility about it.

hobbyfan said...

I think a reboot would be to give the band an updated look.

My idea now is to repackage Socrates not as a computer, but as an android programmed by the band's government handlers. That would allow him to travel with the band in disguise if need be. Plus, I'd get rid of the allergy gimmick, which I think killed any suspension of disbelief.