Friday, June 24, 2011

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Mumbly (1976)

What do you get when you cross Droopy with Columbo? You get Mumbly, a canine sleuth who joined ABC's Saturday lineup in 1976 as part of the Tom & Jerry Show.

Lt. Mumbly (Don Messick, of course) was a satire of Columbo, who by then was well established at NBC, and would later move to ABC himself a number of years later. Mumbly's superior officer, Inspector Schnooker (John Stephenson doing his Joe Flynn mimic) was designed as a parody of another popular 70's cop, Kojak, as if you couldn't tell with the color coordinated wardrobe. On his own, chasing a suspect, Mumbly, much like Droopy, would inexplicably appear here, there, & everywhere, frustrating his quarry to the point where he'd inevitably surrender on his own.

It would later be revealed that Mumbly was, in fact, a cousin to Dick Dastardly's sidekick, Muttley. As we've documented previously, a squabble over rights to Dastardly & Muttley between Hanna-Barbera & Heatter-Quigley (which co-produced Wacky Races) led to Dastardly & Muttley being sidelined for a few years, although that didn't stop Marvel from having them meet their kinfolk (Dread Baron being Dastardly's brother) in the pages of a Laff-A-Lympics. This meant Mumbly was recast as a villain for the Laff-a-Lympics series, and he hasn't yet reclaimed his badge, an oversight that has yet to be addressed!

Cartoonsintros provides the open:

As you can tell, they simply altered the lyrics to the theme from the Tom & Jerry Show, from which this was spun off.

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

I remember Mumbly!

I knew he was a good guy but as a kid I constantly wondered why they put him on the Really Rottens team on Laff A Lympics. I know now that it had to do with the unavailability of Dastardly
and Muttley but still....

I think that really soiled his reputation.

hobbyfan said...

Over at ToonZone, I cam eup with a solution to that contiuity kerfuffle a few years ago, as part of an effort to revive and reform Mumbly, suggesting that he was working undercover the entire time he was with Dread Baron.

The more I come up with these ideas, the more I think the idiots at Cartoon Network could be deemed expendable......