Saturday, December 25, 2010

Literary Toons: The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo (1964)

The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo originally aired in prime time on NBC as a Saturday night entry in 1964, sponsored, no doubt, by General Electric, for whom Magoo (Jim Backus, Gilligan's Island) was a spokesman in commercials for a number of years. I include this series in the Archives because some stations, like WRGB in Schenectady, aired the show after their network Saturday morning lineup for a time in the 70's. Here's a sample of Magoo's portrayal of Captain Kidd:

A while back, I purchased a trio of VHS tapes of the series, released under the title, Mr. Magoo's Literary Classics.. Paramount issued the tapes in 1984, but Classic Media currently owns the rights to the series. I had adaptations of "Robin Hood", "The Three Musketeers", & "Don Quixote", the latter of which seemed more in line with Magoo himself, as the adaptation by writer True Boardman played up Magoo's near-sighted vision in line with Quixote's delusions of grandeur. However, this episode is actually an exception, rather than the rule, because Magoo's visual disability is ignored for most of the series, except for the skits at the beginning of each episode, as demonstrated in the clip above. Regrettably, Famous Adventures lasted just one season, and followed the earlier theatrical shorts into syndication soon after.

Rating: B.

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