Friday, August 30, 2013

Saturtainment: Hashimoto-San (1959)

Terrytoons animator Bob Kuwahara, a Japanese-American, paid tribute to his homeland with Hashimoto-San, who starred in a series of shorts for the studio from 1959-63. Today, these cartoons are considered politically incorrect because it depicts the title character, a Japanese mouse who is also a judo instructor, as speaking pidgin English, though the dialogue more closely resembles that of Earl Derr Biggers' Hawaiian-based Chinese sleuth, Charlie Chan.

After production ended on the shorts, Hashimoto-San was included as a backup feature on The Hector Heathcote Show, which spent 2 seasons on NBC (1963-5). However, the shorts were not included when Hector moved to syndication in the 70's. In truth, Hector was included as part of a syndicated package with Heckle & Jeckle, as I recall. Actor John Myhers voiced Hector & Hashimoto.

CineGraphic uploaded a sample short, "So Sorry, Pussycat". I don't think cats were meant to run like horses, though........



Would there be a revival today? Maybe, since Hashimoto was the first Japanese character to be depicted in a positive light. The speech would change, of course, as Chan's did when Hanna-Barbera adapted him for TV in 1972.

Rating: B+.

Saturday School: Flying Rhino Junior High (1998)

Canada's Nelvana studios felt it was time to take viewers back to school toward the end of the 20th century. However, what they had in mind wasn't exactly targeted at improving minds or imaginations.

Flying Rhino Junior High, which spent 2 seasons on CBS (1998-2000) is centered on a disgraced student, Earl, who hides in the school's basement, creating a super computer which he uses to alter reality, or at least try to. Considering that it was airing opposite some live-action high school comedy on NBC (i.e. Saved By The Bell: The New Class), I think viewers were gradually turning away once they saw how hokey this was. If ya don't believe me, scope the open:



Never saw the show, so no fair rating can be given here.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Looney TV: Loonatics vs......Fuzz Balls? (2005)

Ah, Loonatics Unleashed. Warner Bros.' attempt at creating a funny animal version of the Justice League, using futuristic descendants of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, et al. It lasted two seasons, but had engendered quite a bit of backlash even before the show launched, as we've previously documented.

The following episode pays homage to Joe Dante's irreverent 80's film, "Gremlins" and its sequel, as the Loonatics investigate the emergence of some bizarre monsters, resulting from the trendy pet du jour, the fuzz balls, ingesting chocolate. Hmmmm, sounds like a call for healthier eating may be the subliminal message within, eh?



To think Cartoon Network refuses to pony up the cheddar to bring this show back from limbo? As Sylvester, Jr. used to say, back in the day, "Oh, the shame of it all!".

Rating: A.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Toons You Might've Missed: Wacky Races Forever (2006)

After Duck Dodgers bit the dust, producers Spike Brandt & Tony Cervone turned their attention to another cartoon icon in 2006----Wacky Races.

With the series' 40th anniversary two years away, Brandt & Cervone developed Wacky Races Forever, which brought back Dick Dastardly (now voiced by Jim Cummings) and Muttley, who were now working for the duplicitous Mr. Viceroy, who was also the lawyer for former racer Peter Perfect (Jeff Bennett), who had, in the interim, married Penelope Pitstop (Kath Soucie), and the couple have two grown children, son Parker (James A. Taylor) & daughter Piper (Soucie in a dual role), competing in their parents' cars. The fact that Viceroy is secretly plotting a hostile takeover recalls Penelope's 1969 solo series, only Viceroy isn't resorting to wearing a costume, not when he has Dastardly around to do his dirty work. Naturally, Dastardly proves to be dumber than a bag of hammers, as usual.

Amazingly, Cartoon Network passed on the project, but, as we all know, Brandt & Cervone moved on to two other projects, both of which have been completed--Scooby-Doo: Mystery, Incorporated, which stretched two extended seasons over three years, and The Looney Tunes Show, which is wrapping its broadcast run on CN as we speak.

Now, let's check out what might've been.



Maybe another, better administration at CN can take another look at this before it gets shopped elsewhere, like to the Hub, which has made a habit of picking up WB properties that CN gives up on.

Rating: A-.

Rein-Toon-Ation: Quack Pack (1996)

Disney didn't quite revive their late 80's adventure series, DuckTales, but they did bring Donald Duck back to daytime television, along with his now-teenage nephews, Huey, Dewey, & Louie, in Quack Pack, which was added to the Disney Afternoon block in 1996. That was the good news. The bad? The show lasted one season only.

The producers reportedly used Donald's solo shorts as an inspiration for the new series, rather than as a sort-of continuation of DuckTales, which is why you don't see Uncle Scrooge or any other supporting characterf from that series. There was a villain to be dealt with from time to time, particularly, The Claw (Frank Welker), though we won't see him in the following video.

I never saw the show, so I can't honestly rate it. Anyway, here's the series opener:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Saturtainment: Dance Fever (1979)

A more comprehensive review of this subject appears on my other blog, The Land of Whatever.

Dance Fever sprang from the mind of entertainer Merv Griffin, whose production company produced the original version from 1979-87. ABC Family latched onto the remake, which lasted a few weeks in 2003. Denny Terrio remains closely associated with the series, but some folks might not realize that he wasn't around when the series ended its 1st run in 1987, having been replaced by actor Adrian Zmed (T. J. Hooker) with season 8.

Here's a sample clip:



Rating: C.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Teenage Toons: You've heard about a dog following you home from school? What about an ape? (1968)

From The Archie Show comes this piece of silliness, uploaded by Joramma20. It's a variation on the old saw about a stray dog that follows a boy home. Only in this case, an ape steals Jughead's sandwich at the zoo, then decides to follow Jug back to Riverdale High, hoping for more free food. Chaos, of course, ensues!

I don't recall seeing this one before, so we'll pass on the rating this time. Here's "A Chimp Off The Old Block".

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Krofftverse: The Bugaloos (1970)

Sid & Marty Krofft's 2nd series for NBC was The Bugaloos, which bowed in 1970, and was, like H. R. Pufnstuf before it, co-produced by TV vet Si Rose (ex-McHale's Navy), whom I believe left the Kroffts' employ not long after.

The Bugaloos were not only the guardians of a magical forest, but also a pop group, as there would be musical numbers included with virtually every episode. Billy Barty began his long association with the Kroffts, landing a featured role as Sparky, the firefly, who eventually becomes the band's mascot-sidekick. Martha Raye, however, was featured as Benita Bizarre, a vain veteran performer who was jealous and envious of the younger musicians.

Unfortunately, the series merited only 1 season's worth of episodes, and, after a brief rerun cycle in syndication in the 80's, hasn't been seen in years.

KingGhidorah38 uploaded the series premiere, "Firefly, Light My Fire":



Norman Gimbel & Charles Fox, who composed the music, would later work on Garry Marshall's family of sitcoms for Paramount & ABC. Like, whodathunk?

Rating: B-.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Space Ghost vs. The Ruler of the Rock Robots (1966)

Space Ghost and his young wards, Jan & Jace, meet the "Ruler of the Rock Robots" in this 1966 short, uploaded by Isabela Vitoria. The Ruler sounds like the same actor who voiced Zorak---exact same voice inflections, as if viewers wouldn't know the difference, and back then, they didn't seem to care---but was a 1-shot villain.

Edit: 1/28/16: Had to replace the video, and now we have an extra episode, "The Challenge":



Rating: B.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

You call this a tribute?: The Wacky World of Tex Avery (1997)

Brody Dowdler isn't that well known in animation. However, in 1997, Dowdler attempted to create a series that would serve as a homage to the works of legendary animator-director Fred "Tex" Avery. Unfortunately, the fact that Dowdler hasn't been heard from again speaks volumes about how well The Wacky World of Tex Avery wasn't received by critics and viewers alike.

Wacky World lasted 65 episodes, exactly 1 season, but they should've quit after the first week, because this was beyond awful. Since the rights to Avery's actual creations laid elsewhere, Dowdler had to create new characters, including a cowboy named---wait for it----Tex Avery, but loosely based on the title character of a WB cartoon that starred Bugs Bunny, Red Hot Ryder, and that was some 50-odd years earlier! Billy West (Futurama) voiced the animated Avery and assorted other characters, joined by stalwarts such as Maurice LaMarche & Cree Summer.

Robochao21 uploaded the series opener. Judge for yourself how stupidly bad this is:



More recently, the series aired on This TV, but that was 3 years ago. And ya wonder why there ain't a DVD release to be had?

Rating: D-.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Snooper & Blabber (1959)

Snooper & Blabber was one of the backup segments on Quick Draw McGraw during its 3 year run (1959-62). A cat & mouse team that put the emphasis on team, and not the traditional conflicts between cats & mice, Snooper & Blabber were detectives who took on all sorts of cases & odd jobs.

If you got past Snooper's malaprops, you could find yourself laughing until you dropped. Daws Butler based Snooper's voice on one of the characters from the radio show, Duffy's Tavern, and, after the first few episodes, took on the dual role of Blabber, which explains why Blabber sounds a little like Augie Doggie, with the voice later recycled for Elroy Jetson and Lambsy.

From 1961, here's "Zoom Zoom Blabber", in which Blab takes after a TV hero (Don Messick) in order to convince Snooper the character is "real":




Too bad no one thought to give them a female partner, which H-B later did for Secret Squirrel when his series was revived in 1993.

Rating: B-.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Rein-Toon-Ation: Sabrina's Secret Life (2003)

The follow-up to Sabrina: The Animated Series, Sabrina's Secret Life moves the story forward by about 2 years. That means Sabrina is now 14, but already has her powers. In the live-action movie that launched the sitcom, Sabrina didn't discover her heritage until she turned 16. Would that DIC held to that continuity.

The one thing they did retain is that Sabrina and her aunts live in Greendale, not Riverdale, as would be the case in the comic books. However, with the sitcom having ended, Melissa Joan Hart and her family had ended their association with Sabrina, so an all-new cast was hired, all virtual unknowns.

Here's the open:



Secret Life has bounced around, having aired on CBS and in syndication. Currently, This TV owns the cable rights. Haven't seen the show, so there's no rating.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

You Know The Voice: Gary Owens on the Gong Show (1976)

In addition to voicing the Blue Falcon, Dynomutt's owner-partner, Gary Owens returned to on-camera work in 1976, hired by Chuck Barris to host the nighttime version of Barris' monster hit, The Gong Show. Owens lasted just 1 year on Gong before Barris dismissed him in favor of taking over the show himself, adding to his duties as host-producer on the daytime edition, airing on NBC.

A more comprehensive review appears on my other blog, The Land of Whatever. Now, scope a promo for the 1st nighttime Gong, which has Gary recalling his Laugh-In days........

Rein-Toon-Ation: Mini-Munsters (1973)

It turns out that NBC's Emergency Plus 4 (which we reviewed a while back) wasn't the only collaboration between Universal and independent producer Fred Calvert.

You see, pilgrims, Calvert was also tasked with producing an animated pilot for a proposed series based on the 1964-6 series, The Munsters. The final product, The Mini-Munsters, aired on the ABC Saturday Superstar Movie in October 1973, one of three new episodes produced that year.

What hurt the project was the fact that Calvert was only able to secure one of the original cast for the cartoon. Al Lewis reprised his role as Grandpa. As you'll see in the following video, Herman was drawn with blond hair instead of black, which was another mistake. Fred Gwynne apparently turned it down, but Calvert was able to find someone who sounded enough like Gwynne to play the part. In fact, he'd already worked with the actor on another Superstar Movie project. Richard Long had reprised his role from Nanny & The Professor for a season 1 installment of the Superstar Movie, and wouldn't ya know, kids, the sequel to that film was the series finale.

Sad to say, the full-length version is not yet available on YouTube. What follows now, instead, is a truncated version that surfaced in the 80's, or so the story goes. Henry Gibson (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In) guest-stars.



A car that runs on rock music? Radical. Not enough to make it a series, though. I never saw the show initially, so I can't rate it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Saturday School: Zack of All Trades (1986)

ABC introduced, then quickly cancelled, a new series of PSA's in 1986. No one knows why Zack of All Trades didn't get over with the audience better than it did, but you can't fault the network for trying.

However, what you probably don't know is who supplied the singing voice for Zack. Turns out it was the late R & B star Luther Vandross, before he really hit it big on the Top 40. Yeah, I'm stunned, too, but scope out this sample clip:



Sounds like a riff on "The Name Game" by Shirley Ellis, doesn't it?

Rating: A.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Game Time: TV Pixx (1979)

In 1979, WPIX of New York experimented with an interactive game for their young viewers in between commercials during afternoon drive programming. Unfortunately, this noble idea didn't last.

TV Pixx lasted a year, and the station utilized Mattel's Intellivision video games for the interstital promotion. Children, with permission from the parents, called in and all they had to do was say, "Pixx" to activate the game. While it was fun at first, and it gave lots of kids bragging rights at school, just for the privelege of saying that they got on TV, even if they physically didn't appear on screen.

The following clip comes from WPIX's anniversary special from a few years back.



If my memory is correct, 2 games were played each hour, and with a 2 hour block (3-5 pm), that meant 4 players a day, 20 per week. I may be wrong about that, but I do know that you had to be a pre-teen to play the game. Living in upstate NY as I do, I couldn't risk a long distance bill to play if I wanted to, since I was too old.

Rating: A.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Herculoids vs. The Invisibles (1981)

Eddie Frank brings us a Herculoids adventure from Space Stars. Space Ghost (Gary Owens) makes a timely appearance when Zandor (Mike Road) and his crew encounter a rebel tribe of monkey people who've used a means to become "The Invisibles".



Come to think of it, the writers may have been given some plotlines rejected from Super Friends to use for the Hercs. This should've been totally discarded.

Rating: C-.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Animated World of DC Comics: The Super Friends meet Professor Goodfellow & his GEEC (1973)

What if everything was run by automation? The pros & cons of this idea are explored in this Super Friends adventure.

The Justice Leaguers and their trainees meet Professor Goodfellow (Casey Kasem), whose computer system is meant to allow everything to be operated by computer, which makes Marvin (Frank Welker) happy, since he doesn't have to go to school to learn, but he can take his classes from home. A precursor, if you will, to today's online colleges.

Inevitably, there's a chink in the armor when a tiny mouse gets into the central computer. Chaos follows, and Plastic Man makes his TV debut, with Norman Alden (Aquaman) in a dual role as the Pliable Policeman. It's just a cameo, but Plas would make a bigger impact when he returned 6 years later.

To think that this little fable still resonates today.



The writer must've been a Mets fan to include a faux broadcast of a Mets-Dodgers game in the script. However, Hanna-Barbera couldn't afford to hire the actual announcers. Could you picture Vin Scully calling the game?

Rating: A-.

Toons After Dark: Megas XLR (2004)

Of all of Cartoon Network's original series in the last decade, Megas XLR may in fact be one of the most beloved, if only because it was around for just a short time, and today, fans are craving for its return.

The title robot is a futuristic weapon sent into the past to stay out of the hands of the Glorft. However, the Megas and its then-pilot, Kiva, wind up too far back into the past, then find themselves in the then present in New Jersey, where Kiva meets Coop (David DeLuise), a video game loving slacker, who tricks out Megas, such that now only he can pilot it, with Kiva providing advice from the backseat.

In the course of the series' lone year of existence, it parodied Sailor Moon and, in a pair of separate tales, an amalgamation of Gatchaman & Power Rangers, going so far as to bring in 2 of the American actors from Battle of the Planets, Ronnie Schell & Alan Young, to guest star. I wish that episode, "Bad Guy", was available on YouTube, but it isn't intact right now. Maybe someday.........

Anyway, here's the open:



CN didn't know what a fan favorite they had, and they let it slip away. Typical.

Rating: B+.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Saturday Morning Ringside: Davy Jones, prizefighter? (The Monkees, 1966)

The Monkees take a page from the classic slapstick comedy playbook in the episode, "The Monkees in the Ring".

In the grand tradition of Curly Howard and Porky Pig, Davy Jones finds himself in the ring as a boxer after a chance encounter on the street sees him stun a heavyweight contender. The episode is a sort-of expose on how some fighters are built up for title bouts back in those days.



Too bad no one told the guys to play "Pop Goes the Weasel" during the fight.

Rating: B.

Sunday Funnies: The Adventures of Don Coyote & Sancho Panda (1989)

Hanna-Barbera joined forces with the Italian studio RAI to produce The Adventures of Don Coyote & Sancho Panda, which bowed first in Europe in 1989, then was brought back to the US as part of a revamped Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera a year later.

The series is a funny animal sendup of Miguel de Cervantes' classic tale of Don Quixote, but of course it wasn't the first time the tale of Quixote and his sidekick, Sancho Panza, had been animated in some form. In 1964, it was adapted, almost as loosely, on The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo, with Magoo (Jim Backus) as Quixote. Here, though, the story is definitely played for laughs, and 2 seasons worth of episodes were produced.

Here's the open:



No rating. Never saw the show.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Mighty Mouse in The Great Space Chase (1979)

In formatting their New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle, Filmation found room to include a weekly serial as part of the show.

The Great Space Chase was a parody of Flash Gordon, whom Filmation had also acquired in 1979, ahead of the infamous feature film that appeared the following summer. In fact, actors Alan Oppenheimer and Diane Pershing worked on both Flash & Space Chase, which certainly helped.

Three years later, Filmation re-edited the serial into a feature film for theatres, but it failed and was reissued as a matinee-only entry. Sad to say, none of the chapters are available intact on YouTube, and there are no plans to release the serial on DVD anytime soon.

Here's the complete serial:



A noble effort that failed, that's all it really is.

Rating: C+.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Great Grape Ape (1975)

When Hanna-Barbera added Tom & Jerry to their talent roster in 1975, ABC asked the studio to create a new feature that would share a 1 hour block with the legendary cat & mouse team.

The end result was The Great Grape Ape, a 40 ft. tall purple ape whose huckster sidekick, Beagle Beagle (Marty Ingels, ex-Motormouse & Autocat) often got Grape in a pickle with his get-rich-quick schemes. It was either that, or the naivete of both got them into the most unlikely of scenarios, as you'll soon see.

In season 2, ABC & H-B shoehorned their Columbo parody, Mumbly, into the mix for an unwieldy hour long block, but Grape was spun off the following year, and moved to Sundays for reruns, while the giant ape would otherwise be a part of Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics, which, oh by the way, bumped Grape, Mumbly, Tom, & Jerry off the schedule (Mumbly also took part in the Laff-a-Lympics, rebooted as a villain for no other reason than to fill a vacancy created when H-B lost the rights to Mumbly's lookalike relative, Muttley, & Dick Dastardly, in a dispute with Heatter-Quigley, which co-produced Wacky Races. The dispute was settled 8 years later.).

Anyway, here's "That Was No Idol, That Was My Ape", in which Beagle & Grape head to Hawaii.....



Bob Holt made his H-B debut as the voice of Grape, but spent most of his career working for DePatie Freleng. Ingels, of course, would return to H-B to voice Pac-Man for a year.

Rating: B.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Remember Marathon John? (1975)

M & M Mars introduced the Marathon candy in 1975 with an interesting ad campaign starring a hero named Marathon John, portrayed by actor Patrick Wayne. Unfortunately, the product didn't last long, as for all intents & purposes it was Mars' answer to the longer-running, more established Bit O'Honey.

D. Heine serves up Marathon John vs. Quick Claude.



A few years later, Mars would revive the Marathon name, but as an standard size candy bar, billed as an energy bar as part of the Snickers brand. Unfortunately, that, too, did a quick fade. Sometimes, things just ain't meant to be.

Celebrity Toons: Laverne & Shirley in The Army (1981)

Who can figure out network executives?

As Fonz & the Happy Days Gang began its second season, another branch of the Happy Days tree grew a branch of its own, as Laverne & Shirley were spun off into an animated series of their own, which saw the title characters (Penny Marshall & Cindy Williams) enlist in the Army. Curiously, Hanna-Barbera did the same thing with Popeye's girlfriend, Olive Oyl, and Alice the Goon over on CBS the same year, and that particular idea flopped harder than a stack of frozen flapjacks.

While Olive & Alice actually had a human CO (Jo Anne Worley, ex-Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In), Laverne & Shirley were stuck with, of all things, a talking pig, Sgt. Squealy (Ron Palillo, ex-Welcome Back, Kotter), who was always threatening to turn them in to his CO, Sgt. Turnbuckle. Seems Squealy was ten times more annoying than that other pint-size pest in the H-B zoo, Scrappy-Doo.

However, the girls' hitch in the Army lasted longer, because a 2nd season was ordered as a means of adding Fonzie (Henry Winkler) to the mix, after his cartoon had ended. Viewers were forced to assume that he, along with Richie & Ralph, had made it home. After all, his pet pooch, Mr. Cool (Frank Welker), was also brought along. You can pretty much guess how that went.

Anyway, here's the open, and the title card for the series premiere, "Invasion of the Booby Hatchers":



I wanted to give this a chance, but H-B counter-programmed itself, since Smurfs aired at the same hour on NBC. Enough said.

Rating: D.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Daytime Heroes: Codename: Kids Next Door (2002)

Curious Pictures was the production company behind the ill-fated Jay Ward homage, Sheep in The Big City, in 1999 for Cartoon Network. Three years later, the company rebounded with their most successful entry to date.

Codename: Kids Next Door was the result of a CN viewer poll, and launched in 2002, beginning a 6 year run. As is typical practice for CN and competitors Nickelodeon & Disney Channel (and their attendant sister networks), the series was shown on weekdays even though not enough episodes initially were made to warrant a regular weekday schedule. It did air on Saturdays for a while on Kids' WB! as a temporary replacement series, but the programmers there didn't promote it appropriately enough to warrant keeping it there long-term.

The concept is simple. The Kids Next Door is a worldwide organization of pre-teens who battle teenagers and adults. In a sense, it's a satire of typical police or spy dramas, and it works because it brings children's imaginations, particularly the game of Cops & Robbers, to life.

The core team in the series operates out of Sector V in an unnamed city. The 5 members are a culturally diverse crew--2 Americans, 1 Japanese, 1 Australian, and 1 Englishman. Their most recurring foes are the Delightful Children From Down The Lane, a quintet who speak entirely in unison, whose father figure is presented as a personification of the Devil (and voiced by Maurice LaMarche using his Orson Welles/Brain voice), but is secretly the uncle of Numbuh 1. Go figure.

Here's the open:



Of late, CN has brought the series back as part of its rebooted & revamped Cartoon Planet anthology package.

Rating: A-.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Impossibles vs. the Puzzler (1966)

You've heard of the phrase "fans disguised as empty seats"? This sets up a visual gag early in this Impossibles adventure when the band plays a gig for the benefit of the Secret Service. However, the party is spoiled by a villain known as "The Puzzler" (not to be confused with another villain by that name, played by the distinguished Maurice Evans, who was a 1-shot opponent for Batman around the same time). Rally-ho!



If ya wanted a serious menace on Saturdays, ya had to watch Superman or Space Ghost. This was twice as campy as Batman, sometimes not in a good way.

Rating: C.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tooniversary: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Popeye (1978)

ClassicVHSArchive offers up another segment from The All-New Popeye Hour.

Popeye (Jack Mercer) takes a crack at the famous Boston Marathon, even though Bluto (Allan Melvin) tries to sabotage his efforts. Not the smartest of ideas, since Popeye is one of a few thousand contestants. Take a look at "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Popeye":



Rating: None. Until today, I had not seen this cartoon, so I cannot fairly rate it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rein-Toon-Ation: Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes (2006)

A decade after their last animated series, the Fantastic Four returned to television, this time in the series, World's Greatest Heroes. However, this was far removed from previous animated incarnations of the franchise, and came out a year after the first live action film hit theatres.

Moonscoop, a French studio, teamed with Marvel & Cartoon Network to produce the series, but, apparently, CN suits weren't happy with the final product, and put the series on hiatus not once, but twice, before pulling the plug altogether after the 2nd film, "Rise of the Silver Surfer", was released. Nicktoons then picked up the series and aired the episodes that CN refused to run.

Ya know what that means, pilgrims. Moonscoop may be in for more of the same if their takes on Archie Comics' Sabrina and Archie himself don't pass muster.

Here's the intro:



No rating. Never saw the show.

Archie's headed back to TV, but not in a way you'd think

Word came across the news wires earlier this week that Moonscoop, the French studio that produced the last Fantastic Four animated series a few years back, and has the CGI-powered Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch due to debut on The Hub later this year (pushed back from its initial summer launch), has also acquired a license to bring Archie back to television.

However, there's a problem.

The proposed It's Archie! is being shopped at the Cannes Film Festival, and there are those on message boards who believe the series will find an American home, either on The Hub, since it already has Sabrina, or Disney Channel/DisneyXD. Cartoon Network, you might recall, was home to Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes, then let that series find another home after it was cancelled, and one would think the studio's approach to the classic characters had something to do with it. Anyway, It's Archie!, according to reports, is another attempt at a pre-teen version of Archie and pals, which Archie Comics & DIC last tried with The New Archies back in the late 80's. But this time, the concept also recalls the last Archie series, 1999's Archie's Weird Mysteries, also produced by DIC, which was a cross between The X-Files & Scooby-Doo. The character designs look like the artists were influenced by Antonio Prohias, the writer-artist who created Spy Vs. Spy for Mad Magazine way back in the day, and don't have the "look" that would get the Archie Comics seal of approval. That's not a good sign.

Granted, it's a long way off, so there's time to do some retooling. Otherwise, it's doomed to fail. Considering that this year marks the 45th anniversary of Archie's Saturday morning debut on CBS, I can see the point of the project, but going with a tween Archie? No thanks.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Freedom Force vs. Dragon Riders (1978)

Here's a treat from Tarzan & The Super Seven, starring the Freedom Force as they battle "The Dragon Riders". Uploaded by thewizardshazam:



I don't recall seeing this one the first time, so there isn't going to be a rating.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tooniversary: Two Jugheads are better than one! (1968)

Joramma20 brings us another amusing tale from The Archie Show.

Reggie (John Erwin) has been giving Jughead (Howard Morris) a hard time lately for no other reason than his own amusement. However, things get turned around when Jug meets John L. Sullivan Jackson, an exact lookalike who also has the same nickname (our Jug was born Forsythe P. Jones). Jackson (not sure if it's Morris or Erwin or even Dallas McKennon, the voice of Archie) is also a karate expert. Uh-oh! Reggie is SO S-O-L!



"Jughead's Double" merits a B.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Three Musketeers vs. The Evil Falconer (1968)

It's been a while, so let's revisit Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers in this adventure from the Banana Splits Adventure Hour as they battle "The Evil Falconer":

Edit: 5/10/17: The original video was deleted due to copyright issues. In its place is a episode of the syndicated Banana Splits & Friends, which includes "The Evil Falconer":




Generic Hanna-Barbera adventure fare of the period, nothing special.

Rating: B.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Saturtainment: Tijuana (Texas) Toads (1969)

DePatie-Freleng was still producing theatrical shorts while The Pink Panther graduated, for lack of a better description, to television in 1969. That same year, DFE introduced the Tijuana Toads, Toro & Pancho, in a series of shorts. However, by the time the Toads came to television seven years later, they'd fallen victim to political correctness before that even became trendy. To avoid conflicts over Mexican stereotypes, Toro & Pancho were renamed Banjo & Fatso as the Texas Toads. As such, they lasted just one year on TV, appearing on the Panther's expanded NBC show.

From 1970, here's "A Dopey Hacienda". A laugh track was dubbed in at the insistence, presumably, of NBC.



The redubbed shorts that everyone saw in 1976-7 ruined the humor and flavor of the original shorts. I've actually seen at least one or two of the originals at a theatre well after production had ended, but I didn't find them all that amusing.

Rating: C.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Toon Rock: Trap of Love (2010)

During season 1 of Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated, Daphne Blake (Grey DeLisle) joined up with the rock group, The Hex Girls, for a gig. This was really an excuse for Ms. DeLisle, who is a singer-songwriter in her spare time, to show off her other talent. Here, Daphne performs "Trap of Love", a not-so-subtle message to boyfriend Fred (Frank Welker):



Yes, it does fall under "Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits" because Cartoon Network aired SDMI on Saturdays for a while during season 1.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Toons After Dark: Jokebook (1982)

In 1980, Hanna-Barbera got back into producing animated fare for primetime consumption. Naturally, it started with a new set of Flintstones cartoons produced specifically for primetime, this time on NBC, which was home to the Bedrock gang at the time.

The next attempt came as a late-season entry in 1982, but it's one that most of you probably haven't heard of. To tell you the truth, I never saw this show, because it was running during baseball season, and the Mets took precedence at my house. Still, Jokebook lasted about a month, didn't get much fanfare, and the material was such that it could probably pass as time filler today on [adult swim], provided of course the nimrods in charge even bother to find it in the vault.

Muttley16 uploaded the open. The title song is sung by the inimitable Scatman Crothers (ex-Hong Kong Phooey, Chico & The Man), who'd done the same thing for Heathcliff & Marmaduke a year earlier over on ABC.



No rating.

Toon Legends: Homesteader Droopy (1954)

One of Tex Avery's last Droopy shorts sends our hero to the Old West in "Homesteader Droopy", released in the summer of 1954. Here, he's married with a child, who figures prominently in the climax of this tale.......



Rating: A.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Bang-Shang-a-Lang (1968)

From The Archie Show comes "Bang-Shang-A-Lang", coupled with the "Dance of the Week", the Bubblegum, which, in truth, your kids could learn by taking up ballet. I'm serious. Personally, I'd skip past Jughead making a fool of himself and move right to the music.