Thursday, December 2, 2010

Celebrity Toons: Harlem Globetrotters (1970)

Hanna-Barbera acquired a license to produce an animated series based on the Harlem Globetrotters in 1970, one of two licensed series the studio sold to CBS (Josie & the Pussycats being the other). Cartoonsintros uploaded the theme song that everyone, I'm sure, remembers (no, it's not "Sweet Georgia Brown", though the whistling intro of that song is included):

H-B got a lot of mileage out of the 'Trotters, moreso than you'd think. However, save for Meadowlark Lemon, who was given screen credit, none of the players actually voiced their own animated alter-egos. After the series had run its course and was cancelled in 1972, the team appeared on the initial episode of the New Scooby-Doo Movies, and would appear again during the series' 2 year run (1972-74). H-B also crafted an animated TV-movie, "The Harlem Globetrotters Meet Snow White", which I'll post at a later date.

Considering his hire as a music supervisor for this series and Josie (and presumably also Scooby-Doo, which adopted a rock soundtrack for season 2), you'd think Don Kirshner, who'd also helmed The Archies and The Monkees (whose reruns also aired on CBS for a time), was also a programmer for CBS, what with all the shows bearing his name in the credits on the schedule. Frequent collaborator Jeff Barry composed the theme song, but the rest of the music was the usual H-B house music composed by Ted Nichols (Hoyt Curtin would return to H-B the next year). Aside from a short run on TV Land 11 years ago, Harlem Globetrotters hasn't turned up anywhere in a long time. CBS-Paramount owns the rights to the show, which is why you haven't seen it on Boomerang (though their team-ups with Scooby-Doo have aired).

Rating: B.

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