Thursday, October 7, 2010

Spooktober: The Groovie Goolies (1970)

In 1970, CBS' Saturday morning lineup was loaded with bubblegum pop-rock. Archie's Funhouse was the 3rd incarnation of the Archie franchise in as many years, and, at the same time, spawned a spin-off, Sabrina & the Groovie Goolies, in which the comic book witch, who'd appeared with the Archies the previous two seasons, now was on her own with her aunts, Hilda & Zelda, and an extended family that included the Goolies, a made-for-TV clan of monsters whose three central characters were inspired by & modeled after Universal movie monsters.

Somehow, though, Dracula (voiced by Larry Storch, ex-F Troop) had lost his fangs, or so it would seem. Along with Frankie & Wolfie (both voiced by Howard Morris, the voice of Jughead), he formed a trio, playing the organ, while Frankie played the bongos, and Wolfie was on guitar. Here's the open to the Goolies' solo series from 1971. Unfortunately, the original open for Sabrina & the Groovie Goolies is at the moment unavailable, lost to the mists of time.

The Groovie Goolies, coupled with Archie's Funhouse & Josie & the Pussycats, plus rock music inserted into Harlem Globetrotters & Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? (in its 2nd season), gave CBS plenty of material to produce a soundtrack album themselves. In fact, songwriter Richard Monda, under the name Daddy Dewdrop, released his own version of a Goolies song, "Chick-A-Boom", as a single in 1972, and had a huge hit.

CBS split Sabrina & the Goolies up in 1971, thinking each could succeed on their own. It didn't happen, and both shows were cancelled. The Goolies, though, moved to ABC, and appeared with Looney Tunes stars Porky Pig & Daffy Duck in an episode of the Saturday Superstar Movie. 3 years later, ABC revived the Goolies as a mid-season replacement for Uncle Croc's Block, marking the end of their association with Filmation after 9 seasons. Filmation then packaged the Goolies in a syndicated anthology series similar to Hanna-Barbera's Fred Flintstone & Friends. Both were released in 1977.

Perhaps the best part of the show wasn't the music, but "Weird Window Time", derived from the live-action Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, but without the risque humor. It's too bad they don't make stuff like this anymore.

Rating: A-.

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