Thursday, April 17, 2014

Saturday School: Tennesse Tuxedo & His Tales (1963)

Tennessee Tuxedo (Don Adams) might be considered the prototype for Hanna-Barbera's 1971 series, Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch! in that both shows are set in a city zoo, and the title protagonist(s) always leaves in an effort to better himself, but always ends up back in the zoo anyway.

Tennessee, a penguin, and his walrus sidekick, Chumley, get into one scrape after another, often involving a human antagonist, gangster Rocky Maninoff (Jackson Beck impersonating Humphrey Bogart), who figures into the series opener, "Mixed Up Mechanics". The closing tag comes from Jay Ward's Fractured Fairy Tales, due largely to the fact that in syndication, the Ward and Total Television shows were mixed together, which didn't make all that much sense at the time.

When Tennessee & Chumley visit Phineas J. Whoopee (Larry Storch), they're learning things right along with the viewers at home, which makes this show qualify for the E/I certification from the FCC if someone ever thinks of reviving the series.

PublicDomain25 uploaded "Mixed Up Mechanics":

To think Tennessee turned 50 last year, and few bothered to notice.

Rating: B.


magicdog said...

I remember watching the syndicated version way back when!

Even then I learned a lot from the sessions with P.J. Whoopee! Looking at the series with adult eyes, I can also appreciate Tennessee's desire to better himself. That's the American way after all!

I was also already familiar with Don Adams from "Get Smart", so it was also funny for me to see his voice coming out of an animated penguin!

hobbyfan said...

And, bear in mind, this was 2 years before "Smart". Adams had been on the Bill Dana Show before "Tennessee". Of the cast, only Adams & Larry Storch would end up on TV again.