Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Saturtainment: Misterjaw (1976)

The success of the 1975 movie, "Jaws", led to a pair of animated sharks hitting television a year later. Hanna-Barbera welcomed back writers-producers Joe Ruby & Ken Spears, who created Jabberjaw for ABC. DePatie-Freleng, which bade farewell to Ruby & Spears after the failure of Return to the Planet of the Apes, had their own talking shark in Misterjaw, incorporated into the expanding Pink Panther program on NBC.

While Jabberjaw had the personality of Rodney Dangerfield crossed with Curly Howard (and voiced by Frank Welker doing a Curly mimic), Misterjaw was more of a menace, at least to one Harry Halibut, but otherwise was on the harmless side, swimming through the oceans with Catfish by his side. Occasionally, Misterjaw would pop out of the water to scare some humans for the predictably cheap laughs, or he'd be on the run from Fearless Freddy, the Shark Hunter.

Arte Johnson (ex-Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In), who'd been on the DFE payroll since 1966's Super Six, voiced Misterjaw. Arnold Stang (ex-Top Cat) was Catfish, with Paul Winchell as Freddy, who doesn't figure into the following block of quick bumpers, including a cameo by one of Arte's Laugh-In characters, Tyrone, who'd later get his own series! Forgive the fact that the Texas (nee Tijuana) Toads are included in this block as well.

At least Misterjaw had something Jabber wanted but never got. Respect.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

Jaws did start the ball rolling with the killer shark theme didn't it?

I always liked Arte Johnson and he was well suited to play Misterjaw. One thing I liked was that even MJ had a nemisis he had to avoid now and then, as opposed ot being the biggest fish in the proverbial pond.

hobbyfan said...

I think Arte gave Misterjaw the German accent he had perfected on Laugh-In (the Soldier) solely to find a means to use his catchphrase (Verry interesting). Silly stuff, but while it has aired on Boomerang, they don't run the shorts as filler anymore, and that bites.