Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Saturday School: The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine (1974)

Two years had passed after their cartoon series had been cancelled, and they were making annual appearances on ABC's Wide World of Sports, but the Harlem Globetrotters returned to CBS in 1974 to host a half hour variety show from the producers of Hee Haw.

The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine lasted just the one season, unfortunately, and that can be blamed on its time slot, airing as it did at 11 am (ET). In those days, it was common for local stations to black out selected programs in favor of syndicated shows that would bring the affiliates some added revenue. The Trotters were joined by child star Rodney Allen Rippy, who otherwise was known for a series of ads for Jack In The Box restaurants, and actor-comedian Avery Schreiber (ex-My Mother The Car), whose regular comedy partner, Jack Burns (ex-The Andy Griffith Show) was one of the show's writers. Schreiber was cast as the colorfully costumed Mr. Evil, acting as a foil for Rippy & the Trotters.

Sadly, the following video, uploaded by 70sKidVid, is in black & white, as apparently all the color prints no longer exist. Yeah, the announcer's the same guy who had the gig on Hee Haw, which was in syndication by this time, and doing pretty well.

This was the 2nd of 3 Saturday go-rounds for the Globetrotters. They would return to animated form, and to Hanna-Barbera, in 1979, a move that I think they might regret, although the players didn't have any real input in the cartoon.......

Rating: A.


R.A.M.'67 said...

Someone writing at IMDb says CBS/Paramount holds the rights to Popcorn Machine; it's likely the original video masters are stored somewhere in their vaults. The YouTube video clip is sourced from a kinescope, like the one b&w episode of The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show that used to circulate in bootleg form before the series got reissued on DVD.

Always liked this HG series the best, especially "Marques Haynes, to show you how!", and man, did he ever!

hobbyfan said...

Haynes was an artist when it came to dribbling the basketball. Non-pareil, with no current players even laerning from his examples, I think.

CBS/Paramount owns the rights to both Popcorn Machine and the 1970 Trotters toon, but I imagine the rights to the 1979 Super Globetrotters were given to WB out of embarassment for how bad it was.