Sunday, October 3, 2010

Spooktober: Fangface (1978)

Fangface was the first series to come from Joe Ruby & Ken Spears' own production company, sold to ABC in 1978. Ruby & Spears, who helped develop Scooby-Doo into a Saturday morning icon nearly a decade earlier, tweaked the familiar formula by making the title hero a werewolf.

At first glance, given the chemistry between Sherman Fangsworth (aka Fangface) and best pal Puggsy, you'd assume that Ruby & Spears molded them in the images of "Bowery Boys" stars Huntz Hall & Leo Gorcey, respectively. However, that would be giving them too much credit. Here's the open, courtesy of Hewey1972 and YouTube:

Even in his Fangface ID, Sherm wasn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. Borrowing also from the original "Wolf Man", Sherm has no memory of what he did as Fangface once he reverts to human form. There was never any real explanation for why Fangface had an unsatiated obsession with eating Puggsy, which kind of ruined the show.

Fangface lasted just one season as a stand-alone series, and was incorporated into the Plastic Man Comedy-Adventure Show the next year as one of three backup features. However, the series jumped the shark by adding a nephew for Sherm, Fangpuss. It was the same year that Hanna-Barbera had introduced Scrappy-Doo to the world, a year after Godzooky was inserted into the studio's adaptation of Godzilla. Sometimes, these ideas work, but this was one that didn't. Fangface was laid to rest after 2 seasons, and reruns air periodically on Boomerang.

Rating: B-.

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