Thursday, May 16, 2013

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Magic Mongo (1977)

For season 2 of the Krofft Supershow, veteran voice actor (and sometimes producer/writer) Len Weinrib stepped in front of the cameras to essay the title role as Magic Mongo, which would've been the worst part of the show, except that they kept season 1's worst, Wonderbug, around to continue to pollute the joint.

The premise borrows from I Dream of Jeannie, except that Mongo winds up a fish out of water with a group of teens. He means well, but his magic is clumsy and awkward. One of the teens is played by Helaine Lembeck (ex-Welcome Back, Kotter), sister to Kaptain Kool himself (Michael Lembeck). Father Harvey was a producer on the show, which explains the extended nepotism.

Viewers, though, saw right through the obvious Jeannie rip-off, coming 4 years after Hanna-Barbera & CBS had tried to reboot the latter series with the genie as a teenager herself (and that failed, despite having Mark Hamill starring and singing the theme song). Some things are just better off left alone.

Here's the open:

Rating: D.


magicdog said...

Scary but I do remember this show!

I didn't realize Lennie Weinrib was the genie though!

Talk about ripoffs - even the bottle was shaped like Jeannie's!

In addition to the main cast there was a pair of guys who were kinda sorta antagonists. The tropes page refers to them as "Those Two Guys".

hobbyfan said...

Lack of creativity? Nothing new there. I guess the Kroffts figured, we cancelled our Batman ripoff, so let's rip off another classic from the 60's. What a waste.