Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rein-toon-ation: Tom & Jerry Kids (1990)

Tom & Jerry Kids was the 3rd of Hanna-Barbera's 4 series that rebooted classic characters as youths. The madcap, slapstick chase is on again, and Jerry has his red bowtie back from the 1975 Tom & Jerry series. However, we won't be seeing Jerry in this sample, as "Wild World of Bowling" is, for all intents & purposes, a Tom solo story, in which he takes on a different mouse, one that, according to narrator Gary Owens (ex-Space Ghost), was raised by wolves.

Uploaded by buytheoriginal to YouTube:



At one point, the series aired 6 days a week, as Fox wanted to maximize the availability of all of their children's shows, so the schedules were flexed out. Good thing.

Rating: A.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Celebrity Toons: Gilligan's Planet (1982)

It will go down in history as the last series produced by Filmation for CBS or any other network before the studio began concentrating on syndicated fare. In truth, Gilligan's Planet was simply a rehash of the 1974 New Adventures of Gilligan series, but this time, Dawn Wells (Mary Ann) was along for the ride, pulling double duty, as both Mary Ann & Ginger. Filmation's long time stalwart starlet, Jane Webb, handled both roles in the previous series, but had, for all intents & purposes, retired by the end of the 70's.

Even the theme song was a reboot from the earlier show, as you'll be able to tell.......



Unlike New Adventures, however, Gilligan's Planet lasted just one season. Never saw the show, so I can't give a fair rating.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

From Comics to Toons: Garfield & Friends (1988)

In the late 80's, CBS rebuilt their Saturday lineup, looking for an additional tentpole series to go with Jim Henson's Muppet Babies. They actually got two of them, both sprung from the comics. One of these days, we'll take a closer look at Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but today's subject is Jim Davis' ever-hungry feline, Garfield.

After a series of primetime specials produced high ratings for CBS, Davis was persuaded to license Garfield for a weekly series, which launched in 1988. Part of the deal allowed for Davis' other strip, U. S. Acres, to be the backup feature. In time, and most of you probably remember this, Garfield & Friends was expanded from a half-hour to an hour, airing 2 back-to-back episodes. The late Lorenzo Music (ex-Rhoda) moved over from Real Ghostbusters to work on the series full-time, voicing Garfield.

Here's the intro. Gary Owens is the announcer.



I should note that Desiree Goyette, who composed and performed some of the music on the show, originally had appeared on the revival of You Asked For It, with Rich Little, a few years prior, as a reporter. Who knew?

Rating: B.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Toon Legends: Tom & Jerry (1965)

CBS added some star power to its Saturday morning lineup in 1965 by picking up the classic Tom & Jerry shorts, with new, made-for-TV title cards created for the show, a practice that would be repeated a year later with the acquisition of The Road Runner, and subsequently, The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Hour when Bugs arrived at CBS in 1968.

The newer material used on the show was created by legendary animator Chuck Jones, who was producing the Tom & Jerry theatrical shorts for MGM at the time, and had also produced the first two Dr. Seuss specials for the studio (How the Grinch Stole Christmas & Horton Hears a Who) & CBS. After two years, however, CBS moved Tom & Jerry to Sundays, where it would remain for the final five seasons of its run, ending in 1972.

As we all know, Tom & Jerry would subsequently return four more times. First, they were reunited with creators William Hanna & Joe Barbera for 2 seasons at ABC (1975-77), but as best buds instead of enemies due to non-violence sanctions imposed during their first network go-round, which would explain why they were moved to Sundays. The duo then returned to CBS for 2 more years, this time under Filmation's auspices, but with MGM co-producing, and back to the traditional chase format (1980-82). Then, H-B got the pair back, and, with Turner co-producing served up Tom & Jerry Kids, which aired as much as six days a week on Fox (1990-94), spawning a spin-off series for Droopy. Finally, the last series, Tom & Jerry Tales, aired on Kids' WB! on the CW network (2006-08). Over the next few days, we'll be reviewing the individual shows.

Edit: 7/9/14: "Rock 'N' Rodent", which was originally included, was deleted by YouTube. We'll repost it separately. Meantime, Cartoonsintros has the opening montage, partially edited:




Rating: A+.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

You Know The Voice: What if "Wilma" were "Archie"'s mom? (1964)

Try this one on for size.

In 1964, Screen Gems (Sony Pictures Television today) produced a pilot for a proposed primetime sitcom based on the Archie newspaper strip & comic books. Producer Harry Ackerman, the head of the comedy department at Screen Gems, felt it was necessary to make this Archie into a clone of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, but Dobie never resorted to using Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions.

The hook here is the presence of Jean VanderPyl (The Flintstones) as Mary Andrews, Archie's mom. We'll see her in the opening scene with William Schallert (The Patty Duke Show) as Archie's father, Fred. They're not the only familiar names in the cast, for that matter.

Also appearing are Roland Winters, who was the last man to play Charlie Chan in the movies back in the late 40's, as Mr. Weatherbee, and Mary Grace Canfield (later of Green Acres) as Miss Grundy. John Simpson, a relative unknown, was cast as Archie, and the evidence of this being a Dobie Gillis clone is clear from the go, as Simpson appears to forego Archie's traditional red-headed look in favor of being a blond.



I first ran across this in a VHS compilation a few years back that also included failed pilots for The Phantom (with Lon Chaney, Jr.) & The Shadow (worse than the movies with Rod LaRocque). I just wasn't down with the whole Archie-as-Dobie vibe. It felt too forced. As we all know, Archie would bounce back 4 years later in animated form, and the rest is history.

Rating for the pilot: C.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Celebrity Toons: The New Three Stooges (1965)

The Three Stooges' classic shorts were in television syndication in the early 60's when the famed comedy team began making feature films. Joe DeRita became the latest, and last, Stooge to team with Moe Howard & Larry Fine in films such as "Have Rocket, Will Travel" & "The Outlaws is Coming", the latter with a pre-Batman Adam West.

It was this same configuration of Stooges that in 1965 produced a series of animated cartoons under the title, The New Three Stooges, with each cartoon sandwiched by a two-part live-action sketch. Clearly, the years were catching up to Moe & Larry, especially Moe. Depending on where you lived, the films were shown either intact, or with the live-action skit edited out for time considerations. As you'll see, Moe subtly breaks the fourth wall to segue into the cartoon.

I've also discovered that the cartoons may have been meant to be part of a bigger Stooges TV project, which didn't get past the pilot stage. DeRita didn't have the charisma of either Curly or Shemp, but in this writer's opinion, he was an improvement over Joe Besser, who'd moved on to work with Abbott & Costello on their sitcom, among other projects.

Here's a sample of the animated Stooges, "The Noisy Silent Movie":



Cambria Studios was the same one that gave us the infamous Synchro-Vox method used on Clutch Cargo & Space Angel, but opted against it for the Stooges, which was the wisest move.

As we've previously discussed, the Stooges would later return, with Hanna-Barbera acquiring a license to use the likenesses of Moe, Larry, & Curly, first in a pair of episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, and later as bionic comedy superheroes on The Skatebirds. The Robonic Stooges would be the last television incarnation of the fabled team, with Paul Winchell & Frank Welker voicing Moe & Curly, respectively. Clearly, animation weakened the Stooges' charm, instead of strengthening it.

Rating: B-.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Game Time: Great Pretenders (1999)

For all intents & purposes, the Fox Family music game show, Great Pretenders, was really a revival of an earlier, similarly formatted game show that aired in syndication over a decade earlier, Puttin' On The Hits. Both series had contestants lip-synching to their favorite songs (and you wonder why that has become common practice for a lot of current pop acts these days), and judged on talent & presentation.

The pop group Wild Orchid, which featured former Kids Incorporated cast members Renee Sandstrom & Stacy Ferguson (Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas), served as hosts for the series, which aired from 1999-2001. Following is a sample video uploaded by and featuring a contestant who appeared on the show.....



As is typical of cable networks, Great Pretenders fell victim to changing viewer interests, and Wild Orchid began to fade from the scene. Could this series be tried again? Maybe, albeit under another name (again), and even a regional version might be do-able, as a means of getting up-and-coming talents some exposure before hitting the big time.

Rating: B-.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Tom of T.H.U.M.B. (1966)

If you've ever wondered where Hanna-Barbera got at least an inspiration for their 1973 series, Inch High Private Eye, look no further than Videocraft (Rankin-Bass), which came up with the spy spoof, Tom of T.H.U.M.B. as a backup feature on King Kong in 1966. In fact, Tom may be meant to sound like a parody of Maxwell Smart (Get Smart), although the actor doesn't quite have Don Adams' vocal inflections down pat. The animosity between Tom and his boss is similar to that of Inch and his exasperated boss, Mr. Finkerton, 7 years later.

Dandydeal uploaded the following episode, which also includes a King Kong interstital leading to the Kong adventure that would follow.....



To these jaded eyes, most spy parodies now seem all the same.

Rating: B.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Saturtainment: All That! (1994)

It was designed as a tween version of Saturday Night Live, and, like SNL, has served as a launching pad for a number of current talents.

All That! was originally part of Nickelodeon's Snick Saturday night block when it launched in 1994. Of course, when the series took off and became a big hit, Nick began airing reruns in the Saturday AM block. Nothing new there, but suffice to say, it got more attention from ye scribe airing in the daytime.

All That!'s very recognizable theme song is performed by the R & B trio, TLC, with lead vocal by Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. Its distinguished alumni include current SNL star Kenan Thompson, Amanda Bynes, Gabriel Iglesias, Lori Beth Denberg (later of The Steve Harvey Show), Nick Cannon (America's Got Talent), & Jamie Lynn Spears. Of this group, Thompson, Bynes, Cannon, & Spears were all spun off into other series on Nick or its sister networks within the MTV Networks family. That particularly applies to Cannon, who, in addition to being presently married to singer Mariah Carey, is also a NYC radio DJ these days, keeping busy in between seasons of Talent, and was hosting at least a couple of series on MTV before moving to NBC. Bynes famously announced her "retirement" from show business after her CW sitcom, What I Like About You, was cancelled.

The series' pedigree can be traced back to an 80's sitcom, Head of the Class. Co-stars Brian Robbins & Dan Schneider were among the show's producers, and a 3rd Class alumnus, Dan Frischman, would begin appearing on Kenan & Kel, the first spin-off series produced, particularly in the "Good Burger" skits that carried over from That!. I cannot recall whether or not he'd appeared on All That! prior to that point.

Following is a fan-made video that collects most of the cast members over the course of the series' 10 year run. Bear in mind that it actually encompasses 11 years, as there was a 1 year hiatus from 2001-02.



It's just too bad that Nick decided to end the series, when it has served as a proving ground for young talent. Then again, once early fan favorites like Thompson, Denberg, & Bynes began leaving, the wellspring was running dry, and Nick resorted to turning the series into more of a blatant SNL clone, with weekly guest stars in order to boost sagging ratings. Reruns have resurfaced on TeenNick as part of a late night block dedicated to classic Nick programming from the 90's.

Rating: B.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Electra Woman & DynaGirl (1976)

I previously have talked up, in brief, Electra Woman & DynaGirl, when discussing its parent series, The Krofft Supershow. Now, it's time to give it a little more depth.

From the start, it was obvious that Electra Woman was a distaff knock-off of Batman, which was quite the phenomenon 10 years earlier, right down to the diagonal camera angles, campy villains, and cliffhanger storylines. Appropriately, this also aired on the same network that was home to Batman, ABC.

Diedre Hall, who was appearing on NBC's Days of Our Lives at the time, and has been on and off that series in the 35 years since, played Electra Woman, with Judy Strangis, better known for commercials and voice-over work (i.e. Wheelie & the Chopper Bunch) as her Robin-esque sidekick, complete with puns. The series has another link to the voice-over biz with Norman Alden (Aquaman on Super Friends) as Frank Heflin, the duo's confidant. Spottymax uploaded the open, which we've shown you before:



10 years ago, the WB Network had commissioned a primetime pilot for a revival of the series. Even though Diedre Hall was still active, the producers opted for Markie Post (ex-Night Court) in the lead role. Subsequently, the pilot was rejected. Electra Woman was decommissioned after one season, so a revival 34 years later was, in fact, a major risk.

Could that be tried again? Maybe, depending on whether or not someone's willing to reset the series in modern times, with age-appropriate actresses.

Rating: B-.

You know the Voice: Ted Knight

During his Emmy Award winning run as knuckleheaded news anchor Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77), Ted Knight found the time to record a comedy album, "Hi, Guys", released in 1975. Better known for a novelty single devoted to TV news legend Barbara Walters, the album also included a cover of Barry Mann's "Who Put the Bomp?". This video was uploaded by njolnir to YouTube:



Yeah, Golden Throat territory, for sure.

Knight got his start in radio, and served in my market as a kid's show host, billed as "Windy" Knight, before going national in the mid-60's. As we all know, Knight is closely associated with the DC family of cartoons produced by Filmation, but also was the narrator/announcer for a short-lived CBS sitcom, Run, Buddy, Run, which lasted a season in 1966. Knight's last cartoon work came in 1973, narrating the original Super Friends for Hanna-Barbera, and returning to Filmation to star in Lassie's Rescue Rangers, both part of ABC's freshman class that year.

Now, here's Ted, as Ted Baxter. It seems his ego has gotten the best of him in this scene from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Little did anyone know that Edward Asner would later begin a second career as a voice actor himself...! Uploaded by LPXI.



The man was taken away from us way too soon, that's all I can say.

Toonformercial: Do you remember this? (1971)

The Ad Council produced many a memorable PSA ad in the 70's. One of the coolest was a feature with a anti-littering superhero, Captain Cleanup. Mrmoore1970 uploaded this 11 second version, taken from the RetroJunk site:



Unfortunately, in the transition, the picture quality isn't as good as it should be.

Edit, 3/1/16: As you can see, we've filled in the blank.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Weinerville (1993)

Comic & puppeteer Marc Weiner created a throwback to the earliest days of children's television with Weinerville, which aired on Nickelodeon from 1993-97, with original episodes produced through 1994.

The basic concept was Weiner serving as host of a combination comedy-variety show that also contained some game show elements and old cartoons that hadn't seen the light of day in years. Weiner also contributed not just his voice but his face to the odd puppets used on the show. Thanks to the magic of videotape, Weiner could interact with some of his puppet alter-egos, including Mayor Dottie and bandleader Cocktail Frank.

Following is a sample clip:



Two seasons were produced, but the series continued in reruns for another three years because it was so popular. When it launched, Weinerville aired four back-to-back episodes on Sundays, but it wasn't long before Nickelodeon realized they had a huge hit on their hands and began airing it weekdays, as well as Saturdays. In hindsight, they gave up on the show way, way too soon. Compared to the product out now, Weinerville would always be welcome.

Rating: A.

Saturtainment: Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island (2005)

A cartoon show about sentient fruit? Yup. Somehow, some way, WB green-lighted Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island, a 1-season wonder that aired on Kids' WB! in 2005. KidsWBontheCW uploaded the open:



When I first heard about this show, the first thing I thought of was that it was a ripoff of Nickelodeon's mega-popular SpongeBob SquarePants, which, oh by the way, is still on the air 6 years later. Well, it'd actually be a rip-off if Fred (Rob Paulsen) and his pals were under the sea, just like SpongeBob. By this point, WB was searching for some innovative programming on Saturdays, and thought this flash-animated show might work out, especially if it was aimed at the right audience. Ultimately, it didn't happen, and the show was cancelled in June 2006 after 9 months on the air.

No rating, as I never watched the show.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Celebrity Toons: The Abbott & Costello Cartoon Show (1967)

If you thought that all Hanna-Barbera produced between 1966-68 were superhero cartoons, you'd be wrong. Granted, NBC had the juvenile comedy-adventure Space Kiddettes, but otherwise, the only other non-superhero programs the studio produced over that two year period featured a pair of teams of comedy legends. One was Laurel & Hardy. The other, which we'll focus on here, was Abbott & Costello.

Bud Abbott & Lou Costello were one of the preeminent comedy teams of the 20th century. Like, who hasn't heard or seen their legendary "Who's on First?" routine? They had conquered radio, movies, & television, and the latter medium wanted to welcome them back. One problem. Costello had passed on shortly after their live-action sitcom had ended. Well, that wasn't a problem for H-B, which, after signing Abbott, brought in comic Stan Irwin to stand in for Costello. The result was a one-season syndicated wonder, produced amidst all the super-action shows in 1967.

In concept, this was no different than an earlier venture that featured animated incarnations of Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, and that duo would eventually get to meet Scooby-Doo. There would be 4 short cartoons for each half-hour show, each running about 5 minutes. Bud & Lou would be in one precarious misadventure after another. The lack of continuity allowed for creative flexibility that could put them anywhere at any time.

The real problem was that most stations didn't have a real place to put the show. Sure, it could be used on a Saturday to sub for a network program that the local affiliate didn't feel was a hit, and, for those who still had weekday kids' shows, the episodes could be broken up over the course of a week. I think it may have been that lack of station coverage that led to this show being cancelled after 1 season. I actually got to see some of these cartoons years later on cable, when channel 5 in New York brought the series back for a run.

2reelers uploaded this extended open & close, something rarely seen.



Not only was the animated Abbott & Costello no different than Laurel & Hardy, but you could plug any of H-B's funny animal characters, like, say for example, Huckleberry Hound, in the same situations, and there'd not be much difference.

Rating: B-.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Time Warp Trio (2005)

Based on a series of children's books, the Time Warp Trio joined the NBC/Discovery Kids block in July 2005. Co-produced by PBS affiliate WGBH, the series is a rare entity in that it has never aired on PBS. The producers instead sold the series first to Discovery Communications, and the Trio would ultimately wind up on NBC.

The basic plot is this. One of the trio receives a mystic book from his uncle, a magician. Said uncle departs before he can explain the contents of the book, and that leaves our heroes to fend for themselves. It's not quite like the live-action primetime shows like Time Tunnel or Voyagers!, or even Cartoon Network's Time Squad, which predated the Trio to the air by 4 years. The boys do make it home after each adventure.

Here's the intro:



Unfortunately, Time Warp Trio was cancelled after 14 months on NBC, and continued in reruns on Discovery Kids until it was converted to The Hub last year. The flash animation used on the show is an easy culprit, but it's not at fault. The books on which the series is based weren't that well known to most viewers, and the series was not heavily promoted at all. The Hub hasn't retained very many DK properties since the conversion 13 months ago, but one can hope that if they are shopping the Trio, PBS can finally take a look.

Rating: B-.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saturtainment: Kenny the Shark (2003)

Early in the last decade, NBC decided to end a 10+ year embargo on animated programming on Saturday mornings. Well, there's only so far you can go with an all-live-action lineup aimed at children, as ABC is finding out presently. The Peacock Network entered into a deal with Discovery Kids (now The Hub), enabling the latter channel to repurpose some of their shows on NBC, exposing them to a potentially wider audience.

Kenny the Shark was the first animated shark to happen along since Jabberjaw swam on ABC in 1976. Now, Kenny was a really odd one. He's a tiger shark who wanted to leave the ocean and live on land, making him, literally a proverbial fish out of water. His best friend is a human pre-teen, Katarina "Kat" Cassidy. In this regard, this series is similar in format to another DK/NBC entry, Tutenstein, simply subbing a shark for a mummy.

Here's the intro:



Well, at least Kenny had something Jabber never got. Respect.

Rating: B-.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Kirby: Right Back at Ya! (2001)

Kirby: Right Back at Ya! originally debuted in Japan in 2001, and was brought to the US by 4Kids Entertainment and picked up by Fox in 2002. Kirby originally appeared in this country in a video game issued by Nintendo in the 80's, and had been largely forgotten until the launch of this cartoon, which ended production in 2003. I believe Fox managed to air the entire series before sending Kirby on his way.

In this series, Kirby is the protector of Dream Land, which is under the rule of a despotic king. I think that's about all you really need to know, as there are few, if any, video game elements included in the series. PaperMario15 uploaded the episode, "A Princess in Dis-Dress", to YouTube:



The fact that the series lasted only 2 years, total, speaks to the fact that as a largely forgotten video game hero, Kirby was facing an uphill battle in making a comeback.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Toon Rock: HB-TV (1985)

An important but forgotten component of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera anthology block was the interstital feature known as HB-TV. What the producers did was mash together various clips and set them to a specific song.

For example, the following video features clips from Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones, among others, to the beat of "Somebody's Watching Me", by Rockwell & Michael Jackson, the actual video of which was posted over at The Land of Whatever recently. KanandaRhodes uploaded this video to YouTube:



In recent years, Cartoon Network has revived the concept, but instead of using established pop songs du jour, they've used original material or remixed archived music. However, they haven't tried anything like that in about 10 years, another example of the current regime having no clue.

Rating: A.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Daytime Heroes: Rod Rocket (1963)

Most of us have referenced 1966's New Adventures of Superman as the series that put Filmation Associates on the map. However, 3 years earlier, Lou Scheimer & Hal Sutherland co-directed a serial that had episodes running 4-5 minutes per day.

Rod Rocket was developed at True Line, the California studio headed by Scheimer & Sutherland, who'd met while working with Larry Harmon 3 years earlier on his Bozo the Clown & Popeye shorts for syndication. True Line produced Rod Rocket in conjunction with Sib, a Japanese company, and the CBS network, which would pick up Superman and start the Filmation ball rolling. Rocket was included in locally produced packages across the country. I was but an infant when Rod Rocket debuted, and the series was long gone by the time I actually started watching television.

Toontracker uploaded this sample, which unfortunately is in black & white, kicking off one long story arc.



Hal Smith (The Andy Griffith Show) voiced the Professor, but it sounds to me like Sam Edwards (Rod) may have also worked for the Harmon studio. I seem to recall him doing the voice of a talking dog for a Popeye cartoon from that period. Just as unfortunate is the fact that as of now, Rod Rocket is not yet available on DVD, and the above clip is all we have of the show.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning Ringside: Championship Wrestling (1972)

I was introduced to the world of pro wrestling in the 70's. At first, it was airing on Sunday mornings on WRGB for a time. With the advent of cable television, the landscape expanded. The World Wide Wrestling Federation, the forerunner to today's WWE, had two programs in syndication. All-Star Wrestling would evolve into Wrestling Challenge in the mid-80's. At the same time, Championship Wrestling would morph into the 1st incarnation of Superstars of Wrestling (or, as it's now known, WWE Superstars). Vince McMahon himself was at the mic on both shows until the 80's, when he turned over one show to newly retired grappler-turned-commentator Gorilla Monsoon, who turned out to be a much more articulate and enjoyable announcer than McMahon!

Championship Wrestling, thanks to cable, aired on 3 different channels in my market. Locally, it aired on WNYT (then known as WAST for most of the 70's). On cable, it was on WSBK in Boston and WOR in New York. Tapthatt12 uploaded this sample open from 1978, during Bob Backlund's 1st reign as champion, with a station ID tacked on for good measure.



Both 3WF shows followed a standard format. Squash matches were the order of the day, with the bigger stars beating a roster of jobbers who've earned their own piece of immortality. People like Frank Williams, Silvano Sousa, & Lee Wong. Once in a while, one of the promotion's titles would be defended on television. Today, the WWE still employs jobbers, but not on the company payroll. Instead, they recruit regional talent to fill some space at their weekly television tapings. With all of their programming now on cable, the days of WWE syndicating their programming are over.

Rating: B.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sunday Funnies: Super Secret Secret Squirrel (1993)

Hanna-Barbera needed a backup feature to support 2 Stupid Dogs when it bowed in 1993, so someone decided to revive Secret Squirrel, two years shy of his 30th anniversary. However, there would be changes.

For one thing, it was now with an all-animal cast. The Chief was now a yak, for example, and Secret's classic arch-nemesis, Yellow Pinky, was now Goldflipper. Most tellingly, there would be a little girl power added to the mix in the form of Penny, the Chief's personal assistant, who also happens to be a squirrel, and perhaps meant to inherit Secret's job down the line.

When Secret Squirrel premiered in 1965, he happened to be on the same network as Get Smart, so it made sense that he'd finally be given his own Agent 99, which made Morocco Mole to be more like Larrabee this time around. Not only that, but, as we'll see, it turns out Morocco isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed if he isn't in the field. Yeah, just like Larrabee.........!

For now, check out Secret & Morocco vs. "Chameleon". Maurice LaMarche is heard doing his Orson Welles impersonation as a museum curator, which happens to be an owl.


Rating: B.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Wimpbusters (1984)

Long before he signed with the WWE as mostly a commentator than a wrestler, Jerry Lawler was a legend in his hometown of Memphis. Oh, sure, he's turned his back on the homies a few times over the years, but would always smooth things over in due course.

WWE fans have Lawler to thank for sending singer-turned-wrestling manager Jimmy Hart into Vince McMahon's employ in the mid-80's. Hart's feud with Lawler had peaked when Hart seconded the late actor-comedian Andy Kaufman in matches vs. "The King", a good chunk of the feud having been documented in the movie, "I'm From Hollywood". In 1984, Lawler ratcheted things up by sending up a certain movie blockbuster of the period, characterizing the former Gentrys vocalist as a wimp, hence, "Wimpbusters", which uses the actual instrumental from the theme to "Ghostbusters", but with new lyrics by Lawler, a former radio personality before turning to the mat game. Lawler succeeded in running Hart out of Memphis and sending him up north, but isn't it a little convienent that by the time Lawler went north himself nearly a decade later, Hart had long since left WWE?

"Wimpbusters", introduced by Lance Russell, was uploaded by rolochoshu to YouTube:

Animated World of DC Comics: A tribute to times past: Batman & Robin team with Scooby-Doo (2011)

One of the cool things about Batman: The Brave & the Bold on Cartoon Network is that the producers have been willing to go the extra mile in terms of fanservice.

One such example comes in the episode, "Batmite Presents: Batman's Strangest Cases", which allows the producers a chance to pay homage to the Caped Crusader's two previous meetings with the teens of Mystery Incorporated on The New Scooby-Doo Movies nearly 40 years ago. In this flashback, Frank Welker pulls triple duty, as he subs for Diedrich Bader as the voice of Batman, in addition to his regular roles as Fred & Scooby. As was the case back in 1972, the Joker & the Penguin provide the opposition, plus, in a total homage to the series proper, song satirist Weird Al Yankovic is added to the mix.

Edit: 4/9/14: Unfortunately, the original video was deleted by YouTube due to copyright concerns. All we have now is a "Weird" Al-less teaser.




Admittedly, I wanted to post this sooner, like, around Halloween, but never got to it in time. Trying to compress a 1 hour drama into 8-9 minutes, though, isn't my cup of tea. Take it however you wish.

Rating: B.