We're back to our retrospective of Hanna-Barbera's freshman class of 1974, marking its 40th anniversary this year.
H-B sold four series to ABC that season, and we've previously looked at two of them----Devlin & Hong Kong Phooey. The live-action Korg: 70,000 B. C. is the final subject in our series, so we're looking at These Are The Days today.
Inspired by CBS' hit series, The Waltons, Days goes further back in time, to the start of the 20th century in small town America. The studio opted not to use regular repertory performers such as Daws Butler, Don Messick, & Janet Waldo, although the latter two could've fit right in. Instead, they went with a cast comprised mostly of actors familiar to primetime audiences:
Pamelyn Ferdin was already on the H-B payroll, having worked on Roman Holidays two years earlier. Ex-Monkee Micky Dolenz was also co-starring on Devlin, and this was three years after he'd made his cartoon debut in Funky Phantom. Frank Cady was, and still is, remembered as Hooterville's unofficial major domo, Sam Drucker, on Petticoat Junction & Green Acres between 1963-71. Henry Jones made quite a few appearances in guest roles during the 70's, but never had a regular series that I know of. June Lockhart turned H-B down a year earlier when they mounted an animated version of Lost in Space, but was brought in as the mother. Young Jackie Earle Haley was also working on Valley of the Dinosaurs over on CBS, and would later go on to a successful film career.
To refresh your memory, here's the open, courtesy of Muttley16:
So why did it fail, and could Warner Bros., which now owns the rights, be persuaded to bring it back?
Days---and, for that matter, Devlin----failed because they were buried near the bottom of the lineup, prone to frequent pre-emptions for college football late in the fall season, and in the summer for the British Open golf tournament. ABC just didn't believe that a dramatic cartoon could grab the same high ratings as a comedy or adventure show. That pessimistic thinking planted the seed in the viewers' minds, alright.
If WB were to relaunch the series, they'd have to re-set it closer to modern times, either in the 50's or the 60's, and allow the characters to deal with social issues of those periods. A turn of the century series won't work today. That much is certain.
So, what do you think?