Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rare Treats: Some Wacky Racers come to life (2014)

A friend of mine tipped me to this next item.

A European car company obtained a license to use some Wacky Races characters for an advertising campaign last year. The hook? It's not a cartoon.

Peter Perfect, Dick Dastardly & Muttley, Penelope Pitstop, Red Max, the Slag Bros., the Ant Hill Mob, the Creepy Coupe, and the Army Surplus Special end up crashing around a civilian driving a Peugeot. Scope it!




Insofar as I know, YouTube may be the only place in the US where you can see this ad.

Animated World of DC Comics: You call this serious? (Teen Titans Go!, 2015)

Teen Titans Go! writer-producers Aaron Horvath & Michael Jelenic think they're being funny and clever with the lead feature on Thursday's episode. Apparently, they've forgotten what constitutes funny and clever.

"Let's Get Serious" has nothing to do with the Jermaine Jackson song of the same name, which came out during the Titans' comic book revival period of the 80's. Instead, it's a backhanded swipe at the haters on the internet who've ripped into the series from day one, especially since TTG! replaced Young Justice. Horvath & Jelenic decided to use Aqualad, Ms. Martian, & Superboy from the latter series for a brief appearance, indicting the Titans as a disgrace and an embarrassment.

Sadly, the producers also went el scrimpo, refusing to call in actors Nolan North (Superboy) and Danica McKellar (Ms. Martian) for this episode. Khary Payton pulls double duty as Cyborg & Aqualad, but it wasn't enough. DC Entertainment provides us with a small sample.




Did WB hire some of the animators from Mad for this? Sure looks like it. Funny, it ain't. Not even close. Oh, sure, there are a few folks who think this was fun, but I'd equate that with spending a week in solitary confinement with a dead cockroach.

Rating: D-.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Celebrity Toons: The Enterprise takes a trip to Yesteryear (Star Trek, 1973)

From Star Trek: The Animated Series:

Spock travels back in time to save his younger self. Mark Lenard reprises as Sarek in "Yesteryear". Only the following sample is available at present.

"Yesteryear" is dedicated to the memory of Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock), who passed away today at 83.



Rating: A.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Whatever happened to Where's Huddles?

A while back, I posted an episode of Where's Huddles, only to have to take it down when the video was booted off YouTube due to copyright concerns.

At the time, I had pitched the idea of rebooting the series as a multi-generational comedy-drama, which would bring the initial storylines forward from the 1970 series to the present day. The difference being, of course, that Ed Huddles and BFF/teammate Bubba McCoy would be retired, and their children would take up the family business of playing football. It's either that, or reboot it completely, with Ed & Bubba as active players. Regular correspondent Magicdog noted that Huddles, voiced by Cliff Norton in the 1970 series, bore a resemblance to another actor, Walter Matthau.

To refresh everyone's memory, here's the intro to that 1970 series, courtesy of CartoonsIntros:



My vision for a rebooted Huddles has two options.

1. The series moves forward into the present, with Ed & Bubba playing for the Rhinos, who would be an analogue for a current NFL team. My guess would be the Rams, who are rumored to be headed back to LA after more than 2 decades in St. Louis. I say the Rams because sportscaster Dick Enberg, who was heard in the series, was at one time the voice of the Rams. Ed would still be the quarterback, but he'd take on more of a younger appearance, as would Bubba and the rest of the team. This would allow for current NFL stars such as JJ Watt, Cam Newton, Tony Romo, and Eli & Peyton Manning, all of whom have appeared on Nickelodeon's Rush Zone, to make guest appearances. The players' wives, Marge & Penny, would also look a little younger.

Casting:

Ed & Marge Huddles, as 20-somethings, would be voiced by Drake Bell (currently on Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors) and Amy Poehler, who just finished up Parks & Recreation. I'd reunite Will Friedle & Christy Carlson Romano (ex-Kim Possible) to play Bubba & Penny. Yeah, I know. Friedle was just cast for Guardians of the Galaxy, but he can do comedy, too. Claude Pertwee, the fussy neighbor, could be either Thomas Lennon (Odd Couple) or Neil Patrick Harris.

2. The other option is to make this a follow-up series. Ed & Bubba would be retired with sons of their own following in their footsteps. This would allow for a Married With Children reunion, casting Ed O'Neill (Modern Family) as Ed, with Katey Sagal (late of Sons of Anarchy) as Marge, Jason Alexander (ex-Seinfeld) as Bubba, Tina Fey (ex-30 Rock) as Penny, with Bell & Friedle as the next generation footballers.

Granted, the original series only lasted 10 weeks, so a TV-movie would be in order to reintroduce the cast. Contemporary announcers such as Jim Nantz (CBS) or Rich Eisen (NFL Network) would fill Enberg's spot at the mic.

What do you guys think?

You Know the Voice: Bud Collyer (1956)

In addition to hosting To Tell The Truth, Bud Collyer also served as MC for another classic game show, Beat the Clock, which premiered in 1950. By then, Collyer had ended his run doing Superman radio dramas, and would not be, ah, reunited with the Man of Steel for another 16 years.

To give you some idea of Beat the Clock, we present this episode from 1956.



Today's audience is familiar with a spiritual descendant to Clock, that being Minute to Win It. It just ain't the same.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Sport Billy (1980)

Sport Billy has the distinction of being the last Filmation series sold to NBC, but in fact it was imported, as Filmation had produced it initially for European markets.

Billy (Lane Scheimer, ex-The Brady Kids, Lassie's Rescue Rangers) carries with him an Omni-sack, a size changing gym bag that can be made small enough to carry in Billy's pocket for when he needs it, which seems to be in every episode. He's joined by Lilly (Joyce Bulifant, ex-The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and a dog, Willy (Frank Welker) in his adventures. Since this was meant for European consumption, the primary sport is their version of football----what we call soccer. 26 episodes were produced and aired during one calendar year. NBC aired it initially as a summer replacement, then would bring it back again the following year.

Here's the intro:




What hurt Sport Billy here was where NBC scheduled it---at lunch time. If memory serves, it was in place of either Drawing Power or The Daffy Duck Show, I'm not sure which. As I've oft noted, if it's booked to air at 12, unless it's Fat Albert, it ain't gonna last long. Sadly, the series has not resurfaced on cable in the 30+ years since its debut.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Toons After Dark: I Am Weasel (1997)

Amidst the stupidity of Cow & Chicken was a backup feature that was actually better than the lead, enough to earn its own series. But, since this is Cartoon Network we're dealing with, I Am Weasel didn't fare quite as well on its own.

I. M. Weasel (Michael Dorn, ex-Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine) is not your ordinary, stereotypical weasel. He's a philanthropic do-gooder, apparently college educated, and a hero to the masses. I. R. Baboon (Charlie Adler) is, well, dumber than a bag of hammers, yet jealous of Weasel's success. So, each of the shorts depicts Baboon trying to one-up Weasel, and, more often than not, failing in epic style.

When Weasel was granted his own series, creator David Feiss proved to be just as dim as Baboon by inserting the Red Guy (Adler), his personifcation of the Devil, as an unnecessary agent provocateur. The Red Guy was the square peg that didn't belong in the round hole of this show, and all by himself is the reason I Am Weasel ended up a failure.

Unfortunately, none of the shorts are available on YouTube. We just have the intro:




Ok, so Weasel was meant to be a funny animal MacGyver. Then Feiss screwed up. And he hasn't had a hit since.

Rating: B-.

Toonfomercial: Remember Erin Esurance?

It's been 5 years since Esurance "retired" their animated "mascot", if ya will, sexy Erin Esurance, discontinuing the ad campaign because Erin was being used, without the company's permission, mind, for some, ah, mature artistic ventures.

The only regret is that Erin didn't wind up starring in her own TV show, but then, some might suggest she'd be a grown-up version of Disney's teen crime stopper, Kim Possible, save for the fact that Erin had pink hair, as opposed to Kim's auburn.

In this sample clip, Erin is playing hockey.........




In 2011, Esurance was acquired by Allstate. Now, all we need is to bring Erin to life and have her battle Mayhem (Dean Winters). That's got money all over it!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Funnies: The Baby Huey Show (1994)

Harvey Comics' Baby Huey was granted his own series in 1994, more than 40 years after he'd made his debut in a series of shorts that Famous Studios (Paramount) produced after obtaining a license from Harvey.

2 seasons of 13 episodes were produced, but it was a mixed bag. In the first season, Sid Raymond, who'd voiced Huey in the 50's, was brought back. Classic shorts from the 50's featuring Huey, as well as Herman & Katnip, rounded out the half-hour. In season 2, Film Roman took over producing the series. Raymond was cut in favor of a younger actor, Joe Alaskey (Tiny Toon Adventures), and 1st season shorts replaced the classics. Plus, Richie Rich was added to the mix, leading to the "World's Richest Boy" getting a 2nd shot at his own series.

Here's the 1st season intro:



I remember reading a few Baby Huey comics as a kid. I tried watching the show, and, well, something got lost in the translation.

Rating: C.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Sheena (2000)

I had never seen Irish McCalla's Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, a 50's adventure series that had left syndication while I was but a wee lad. However, at the turn of the century, Sheena would return, with a total makeover.

Gena Lee Nolin (ex-Baywatch) landed the title role in this version, which went a few steps further than McCalla's, in that Sheena spoke perfect English, and, having been raised by a female shaman, was also given shapeshifting powers that came in handy when needing to escape the bad guys or confront them. Not only that, but Sheena also had an alter-ego, as "The Drak'ona", a magical being who roamed at night. To effect this disguise, Sheena would bathe in dark, liquid mud. I ain't making this up. The way Nolin was photographed in these scenes suggested that the dark mud hid something else entirely----the prospect of Sheena-as-Drak'ona being nude. Don't hold me to that, though.

Anyway, there was another Baywatch link. Doug Schwartz, whose last series, Thunder in Paradise with Hulk Hogan & Chris Lemmon, also lasted two seasons, was the show-runner here, with Sony handling distribution. In all, 35 episodes were produced, and can be had online via Sony's Crackle service or on Hulu. Nolin became an executive producer herself around the 2nd season.

Right now, let's scope out "The Children of the Lamistas":




I'm begging Sony, or whomever has the rights now, to do an animated version, with either Nolin or another actress in the title role, but with her powers from the last series intact. You know there's an audience for that.

Rating: B+.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Toonfomercial: J. Wellington Wimpy sells hamburgers (2014)

One of the world's biggest moochers, Popeye's pal J. Wellington Wimpy, is the star of a Carl's Jr. ad that collects footage from various shorts from the 60's, and maybe the 50's, for all we know. It's too bad they couldn't produce new material.

Carl's Jr. is based on the West Coast, and is linked to the Hardee's chain of restaurants.



Personally, I'd have preferred someone younger. You know, like Jughead Jones, from Archie. Meh.

On The Air: Penn Zero, Part Time Hero (2014-5)

One of DisneyXD's newest entries looks like it was meant to be a video game, or inspired by one. It wouldn't be a shock to learn that, inevitably, there will be a game based on Penn Zero, Part Time Hero.

Penn lives with his aunt Rose (Rosie Perez) and uncle Chuck while his parents are off saving the world and/or the universe. However, that doesn't mean Penn will stand idly by when danger threatens.

Penn's heroic persona changes from one episode to the next, and he learns about being a hero as he goes along.

Here's the intro:



Penn Zero is airing in primetime as well as on Saturday mornings, but DXD would be wise not to burn this out too quickly, the way other shows have, by overairing it, but network executives these days seem to have brains made out of cream cheese, if you get my drift.

Rating: B-.

Toon Legends: The Mansion Cat (2000)

Tom & Jerry entered the 21st century with an all-new short, commissioned by Cartoon Network.

"The Mansion Cat" marks the end of an era, as it was the last T & J short that co-creator Joseph Barbera had a hand in, not to mention a voice. Barbera was the lone voice actor in the cast, playing Tom's owner, and doubled as story consultant, which gave this a nostalgic feel.




The artwork isn't as lush and rich as the golden years of the 40's, but this is Tom & Jerry at their best.

Rating: B+.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Animated World of DC Comics: What happens when the Super Friends are forced to fight each other? (1978)

The Super Friends are thrust into a totally untenable situation in this 1978 offering.

Mr. Mxyzptlk (Frank Welker) fancies himself a filmmaker all of a sudden, and decides to write and direct "The Rise & Fall of the Super Friends". However, and predictably, the heroes find a way out of this mess.



We know Superman is vulnerable to magic, and so Mxyzptlk's spell works especially on him, just not enough to make him a ham actor. Bear in mind, too, this was made to capitalize on the live-action "Superman" feature film that came out earlier that year.

Rating: B.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Out of Jimmy's Head (2007)

In 2006, Cartoon Network produced a live-action/animated hybrid TV-movie, Re-Animated, and while that didn't exactly remind folks of something a little more cerebral, like, say, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?", which CN has aired in the past, it did prompt a spin-off.

However, Out of Jimmy's Head fell victim to the writer's strike in 2008, and ended up cancelled after its one and only season. Give CN credit for trying something different, and going with a relatively unknown cast, with the only "name" belonging to former ESPN anchor turned actor/game show host Bil Dwyer, whose previous gig was the short lived game, Dirty Rotten Cheaters. Insert your own jokes if needed. Anyway, Jimmy's Head belonged on TBS, not CN, but then, the Turner networks don't know anything about common sense programming.

Here's the intro:




Today, it's safely tucked away in the Turner/WB vaults.

No rating.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

On The Air: American Dad (2005)

On Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane introduced us to a father figure who's about as sharp as a broken thumbtack. 10 years ago, aided by co-creators Mike Barker & Matt Weitzman, MacFarlane gave us another dad who's dumber than a bag of hammers. The difference is, he works for the CIA.

American Dad landed the plum post-Super Bowl slot when the big game aired on Fox in 2005. The 1st season resumed in the spring, and it's been off and running ever since. Another big difference is that MacFarlane, aside from voicing Stan Smith (the Dad in the title) and his alien boarder, Roger, isn't as creatively involved. In other words, this is as different from Family Guy in as many ways as you could imagine. The humor isn't quite so in your face and insulting. Stan's exaggerated jaw is enough.

After 10 seasons, the series has changed addresses, from Fox to TBS, whose sister network, [adult swim], already had repurposing rights. Fox aired the first 3 episodes of the new season, but the rest are on TBS/[as]. Fox decided to do away with their all-animated Sunday lineup, and are again trying out live-action comedies mixed with Family Guy, The Simpsons, & Bob's Burgers.

I think the success of this show may have inspired Sprint's recent promotion involving a bizarre nuclear family, for lack of better description. That's just my opinion, though.

Following is a remixed collection of intros featuring Stan & Roger from seasons 4-8:




I've tried watching this show. It makes my brain hurt.

Rating: C-.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Daytime Heroes: Popeye vs......Swee'pea? (A Mite of Trouble, 1961)

King Features Syndicate divided the production of their run of Popeye shorts between the remnants of Famous Studios, Gene Deitch's Rembrandt Studios, and Larry Harmon (with Filmation co-founders Lou Scheimer & Hal Sutherland), in addition to Jack Kinney's staff, during the 60's. Longtime Famous writer-director Seymour Kneitel is at the helm for "A Mite of Trouble", co-written by Jack Mercer (Popeye). The Sea Hag arranges for Swee'pea to be subbed out for a cigar chomping midget double, creating a real headache for Popeye.



Sea Hag, until 1960, hadn't been used in the shorts, but proved to be a persistent pain in the butt.

Rating: B.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Toonfomercial: Popeye pitches Start orange drink

Remember Start? It was an orange flavored breakfast drink which debuted in the 60's, but was gone within a few years. General Foods, apparently, felt the need to create a companion for the more well known Tang, another orange flavored breakfast drink, and launched Start around 1967. The company then contracted with King Features Syndicate to license Popeye (Jack Mercer) to promote the product.




When you consider that General Foods also made Kool-Aid, it seemed they really were hot for orange drinks. They expanded Tang to market it in other flavors, while Start went the way of a lot of failed products, into obscurity. Today, Mondelez International owns the rights to Tang and either Mondelez or Kraft owns Kool-Aid. Start? Nah, it's finished.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentoons: Sabrina plays Fairy Godmother (1969)

It turns out that Sabrina's adventures began appearing as part of the Archie Comedy Hour in 1969, and thus she and the Groovie Goolies were spun off into their own show the following year, then split up the next.

Anyway, in the opener, Sabrina (Jane Webb) helps two classmates, Spencer & Ophelia, created for the show, as they never appeared in the comics, come together for a school dance in "Fairy Godmother". Next, Sabrina's powers go awry thanks to a strange case of "Hiccups".



Y'know, I like Salem better as an orange cat, rather than his being rebooted as a black cat as of the 1996 live-action series. Also, I'm not sure if Filmation was responsible for creating two additional dogs, Hot Dog, Jr. & Chili Dog, as supporting characters, since they didn't appear in the books, either.

My memory is hazy on whether or not I've actually seen this one, so we'll again pass on a rating. Happy Valentine's Day!

Tooniversary: Roger Ramjet vs. Dr. Ivan Evilkisser (1965)

Roger Ramjet marks his 50th anniversary this year, and so we'll commemorate the occasion with the very first episode, as Roger meets Dr. Ivan Evilkisser.




Dedicated to the memory of Gary Owens (Roger), who passed away at 80. A full obituary on Gary will appear over at The Land of Whatever.

No rating.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Candy Kisses (1970)

From Archie's Funhouse comes a track that might be confused with an old record from the 50's, methinks. Here's "Candy Kisses", prefaced by a comedy skit with Archie (Dallas McKennon) & Jughead (Howard Morris):




Y'know, at the time, we must've thought Archie was the luckiest guy on the planet, except that, much like Dobie Gillis, for example, he had commitment issues. Archie Comics, meanwhile, tried to do something about that last year, planning to send Betty & Veronica out of town as exchange students. However, the next installment in that story has been delayed until this April. Gee, I wonder why......

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Toons After Dark: The Cleveland Show (2009).

At the end of the last decade, Fox spun The Cleveland Show off from Family Guy. Unfortunately, the misadventures of Cleveland Brown (Mike Henry) and his family lasted just 4 seasons, just enough to get the show into syndication and [adult swim].

As shown in the following trailer, Cleveland reconnects with his high school sweetheart, Donna, when he registers his son at the same high school he attended growing up in Virginia. Silliness ensues.




All it really is, frankly, is more of the same dumber-than-a-doorknob comedy from co-executive producer Seth MacFarlane, who now has only Family Guy on Fox, while American Dad shifted over to TBS this season, just so Fox could try out a new live-action comedy, Mullaney, which apparently bombed. I tried watching this show a few times, and all I could get was Cleveland being no smarter than his friends from Family Guy, and that ain't saying much.

Rating: C.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Wonder Wheels & the Snowmen (1977)

Wonder Wheels hits the slopes in this seasonally appropriate adventure, trying to track down "The Snowmen".

If anything, Hanna-Barbera could've claimed that Wonder Wheels might've been derived from 2 past toon vehicles---Pat Pending's Converticar (Wacky Races, 1968) or the Chan Van (Amazing Chan & the Chan Clan, 1972). Unfortunately, it's but a memory now.

Edit, 11/22/15: The video has been deleted due to copyright issues. Another poster has it up, but posted it two times in a row in the same clip.

No rating.

Personal Favorites: Three Little Pups (1953)

Leave it to Tex Avery to put a spin on the classic Three Little Pigs by rebooting it as a Droopy vehicle, "Three Little Pups". Droopy (Bill Thompson) is given two dimwitted brothers, Snoopy & Loopy, and has to help them fend off a dog catcher (Daws Butler). An all-time classic.




Hil-freakin'-arious, man.

Rating: A++.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Valentoons: Beaus Will Be Beaus (1955)

Popeye once again must duel with Bluto for Olive's affections, with the usual results. Here's "Beaus Will Be Beaus":



Yeah, seeing them on the beach should give you a serious case of cabin fever in time for Valentnie's Day.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Rock Your Baby (1974)

From Soul Train comes George McRae's 1-hit wonder, "Rock Your Baby"/




Hey, Valentine's Day is right around the corner.......

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Toons After Dark: The Ambiguously Gay Duo (1996)

Robert Smigel's Ambiguously Gay Duo may be best known for being shown on Saturday Night Live sporadically over 15 seasons (1996-2011), but the superhero parody got its start in primetime.

Smigel had worked with SNL alumnus Dana Carvey on his self-titled ABC show, which ran for 7 weeks in the spring of 1996. The animation was produced by JJ Sedelmaier, who'd later work with Cartoon Network's [adult swim] division in developing some of their shows, including Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law.

The concept was a wink & a tweak at allegations levied in the Golden Age that there were, supposedly, homosexual overtones in some early Batman stories featuring Robin. Dr. Frederic Wertham made those allegations public in the legendary book, Seduction of the Innocent, but those allegations were later debunked and disproven. Still, the idea was ripe for parody.




Ace & Gary's voices were done by two future TV icons---Stephen Colbert (Ace) & Steve Carell (Gary), who were part of Carvey's repertory company. After Carvey ended his show, Smigel took his cartoons to SNL, leading to the development of his TV Funhouse anthology series of skits, which were later spun off into a short-term stint on Comedy Central, while still running on SNL.

No rating.

Toon Sports: Daffy Duck vs. Elmer Fudd----in a boxing match? (To Duck Or Not To Duck, 1943)

Chuck Jones skewers the fight game by pitting Daffy Duck (Mel Blanc) and Elmer Fudd (Arthur Q. Bryan) in a rigged boxing match in 1943's "To Duck or Not to Duck".

See, Elmer is out hunting with his dog, Laramore, and manages to get lucky, grazing Daffy on the tail. Daffy challenges him to "a fair fight", which is anything but.




And this, friends, is where wrestling promoters got the idea of fast counts in some matches. Of course, wrestling would also get the satirical treatment........

Rating: B.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Toon Rock: Conspiracy Theory Rock (1998)

This Robert Smigel entry was produced for Saturday Night Live in 1998, but was subsequently edited off future broadcasts. Why? Simple.

Conspiracy Theory Rock, a send-up of Schoolhouse Rock, complete with the latter's mascot, Schoolhouse Rocky, poked fun at corporate control of media. At the time, NBC was partially owned by General Electric, but now is firmly part of the Universal family.

Executive Producer Lorne Michaels, in having to explain why the segment was edited, claimed it wasn't funny. It was really pressure applied by the corporate parent, but Michaels, who now also serves as executive producer of NBC's Tonight Show & Late Night, didn't want to risk being dismissed for a 2nd time.

Anyway, judge for yourselves.




More of Smigel's TV Funhouse will be coming soon.

Rare Treats: The Frog Prince (1971)

Sesame Street was in its 2nd season when this next item came along.

Jim Henson, right before Sesame launched, had begun producing a series of specials featuring some of his Muppet characters interacting with humans. Hey, Cinderella! was the first of these, produced in Canada in 1969, and landing on ABC a year later, after Sesame took off.

In 1971, the networks stupidly passed on Henson's next project, an adaptation of The Frog Prince, which ended up airing in syndication in May of that year. I seem to recall that the folks behind My-T-Fine & Royal puddings were the sponsors, but don't hold me to that.

Anyway, Kermit (Henson) serves as narrator and is also part of the cast in this production, which also would mark the American debut of Canadian actor Gordon Thomson, who'd later turn up in the 80's on Dynasty.

The following video was taken from when the special aired several years back on Disney Channel.




Henson would do one more syndicated special, adapting The Town Musicians of Bremen into The Muppet Musicians of Bremen, but then, The Muppet Show came along around 1976, and you know the rest.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Mighty Heroes vs. the Scarecrow (1966)

The Mighty Heroes weren't infringing on any copyrights in this short, although their enemy shares a name with villains associated with Batman and Captain America.

Yes, Terrytoons decided to pit the Heroes against "The Scarecrow", which, in this case, is a magically created creature, not a guy in a suit. Marvel's had 2 Scarecrows. One was a villain who fought Captain America, the other a supernatural being from the 70's. Of course, you all know about Dr. Jonathan Crane, aka DC's Scarecrow.




Typical fare. Suspension of disbelief required.

Rating: C.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tooniversary: The World of David the Gnome (1985)

This year marks the 30th anniversary of a Spanish cartoon imported to the US by Nickelodeon, one that today rests in either Nick's or the Weinstein Brothers' vaults.

The World of David the Gnome only had 26 episodes, which Nick stupidly burned off by airing it weekdays instead of weekly. Christopher Plummer narrated, with Tom Bosley, fresh from Happy Days, voicing David.

Following is the open:



You'd think someone would actually consider picking up this show.

Rating: B.

Getting Schooled: Science International, aka What Will They Think Of Next? (1976)

Here's another series that came & went on Nickelodeon before the network came to my home area. In fact, like a number of other series, it was imported from outside the country, in this case, Canada.

Science International, otherwise known as What Will They Think Of Next?, lasted three years (1976-9) before being imported to the US by Nick in 1980. Actor Joseph Campanella, whose resume includes stints on Batman, Mannix, & The Bold Ones, served as host. Actress Kerrie Keane, who took over as co-host late in the run, had a modest run on American TV in the 80's, probably as a result of this show.

There is no rating, as I never saw the show, so let's just leave you with a sample clip:


Toons You Might've Missed: Max, The 2000 Year Old Mouse (1969)

Canada's Krantz Studios, best known for working with Marvel in the 60's (Spider-Man and The Marvel Superheroes Show), hired noted animator Shamus Culhane to create a series of short subjects in 1969, aimed at educating young viewers. Unfortunately, Max, The 2,000 Year Old Mouse, the star of these shorts, proved to be too much of a distraction.

Max (Paul Soles, the voice of Spider-Man) is inserted at various points in history, while Bernard Cowan narrates. In this case, could you picture Max with Daniel Boone?




What I took away from this was the fact that Daniel's wife, Rebecca (Patricia Blair in the live-action Boone series airing on NBC at the time), was just 15 when she & Daniel were married. I don't think that was ever brought up in the series.

Seven years later, Culhane would return with a new set of shorts, this time featuring a Colonial ghost, Sam Hawkins. Sooner or later, we'll see Sam, provided someone finds some of his shorts to put on YouTube.

Rating: C.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Animated (?) World of DC Comics: Video Comics (1979)

In its infancy, Nickelodeon, at the time owned by Warner-AMEX, launched a series called Video Comics, in which an off-screen narrator would read from an actual DC comic book, which was being shown on the screen. The series lasted two years, and was off the air by the time Nickelodeon was promoted from being a premium channel (don't ask) to basic cable on my system.

The following includes an issue of Len Wein & Berni Wrightson's legendary run on Swamp Thing, three years before the first film.




I never saw the show, so I can't rate it.