Saturday, April 28, 2012

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Sally Sargent (1968)

After Mighty Mouse & the Mighty Heroes was cancelled in 1967, Terrytoons was unable to sell another series to CBS or anywhere else. Oh, Heckle & Jeckle would later return in rerun form as a mid-season replacement on NBC in the early 70's before settling into syndication, as would Deputy Dawg, but the studio was pretty much done.

Undaunted, producer Bill Weiss forged ahead, and continued to move away from the funny animal characters that were Terrytoons' trademark. Capitalizing on the spy boom of the period, Weiss, aided by animators Fred Calvert and Iwao Takamoto, among others, tried selling a pilot featuring teenage secret agent Sally Sargent.

With Ralph Bakshi having left Terrytoons (he was working on Spider-Man at the time), the end result was a decidedly un-Terrytoons look that more closely resembled Hanna-Barbera's adventure output of the period, especially considering Takamoto was working there at the time, too. Gary Owens (Space Ghost, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In) narrates and doubles as agent Blake Jameson. Janet Waldo voices Sally, and I believe her boyfriend's voice belongs to Tim Matheson (Space Ghost, Jonny Quest, Young Samson). Cartoon historian and expert Jerry Beck, through Cartoon Brew, uploaded Sally Sargent to YouTube:

Nearly 35 years later, there would be a female secret agent appearing on Saturday mornings---Kim Possible. I don't think Kim would've gotten very far if her creators hadn't been aware of the existence of Sally Sargent.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

An interesting pilot.

I think it didn't sell due to the fact that the anti-violence groups were forcing animation studios to tone it down and Sally & Keelo wouldn't have been able to land their karate chops on the bad guys.

Iwao Takamoto's work is very evident here, especially in the design for Bartok. He looks very much like Scooby Doo villians, "The Creeper" and "Elias Kingston".

At least the concept of teen spies didn't disappear completely, since Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kids came along a few years later.

This really could have been a decent series if times had been different.

hobbyfan said...

I've always figured Butch and his team were a little closer to 20, actually, but Sally would've been the first female lead, a distinction that went to Penelope Pitstop the very next year.