Thursday, March 19, 2015

Krofftverse: Magic Mongo in The Kissing Bandit (1977)

If you've ever wondered what the late Len Weinrib looked like, well, you got your chance when Weinrib was cast as Magic Mongo in season 2 of the Krofft Supershow. As it turns out, Mongo sprang from the pens of Joe Ruby & Ken Spears, who'd also developed Electra Woman & Dyna Girl in season 1. Ruby & Spears would start their own studio the very next season with Fangface, but Weinrib's on camera career pretty much ended when Mongo did.

Helaine Lembeck (ex-Welcome Back, Kotter), sister of Michael "Kaptain Kool" Lembeck, co-stars in "The Kissing Bandit":

What Ruby & Spears tried to do was recapture the spirit of I Dream of Jeannie, albeit with a male genie and more "masters" than a genie had any right to have. No wonder it bombed.

No rating. I have little memory of seeing this episode.


magicdog said...

Wow! The postings here must be a new record!

Welcome Mr. Schivera! Always glad to have more posters to learn from.

I remember this show when I was little but barely remembered it - only that it was essentially a rip off of I Dream of Jeannie but with extra masters and the funny way Weinrib used to invoke his magic. At the time I didn't realize he was one of those VAs we've heard all along but often didn't see on cam.

Helaine Lembeck I recognized right away - too bad she couldn't stay on WBK. I thought she made a great antagonist there and if there had been more prolific writing on that show, we could have seen more of her character (the closest we got was when she was asked to tutor Barbarino and he actually started to like her). From what I've read, she and her brother Michael run an acting school.

hobbyfan said...

So that's how she stays busy these days.

Magic Mongo was more of a parody of Jeannie than a rip-off, and a bad one, at that.

rnigma said...

Helaine and Michael were the children of Harvey Lembeck, best remembered as Eric von Zipper in the "Beach Party" movies and as Rocco Barbella on "The Phil Silvers Show."

hobbyfan said...

The family connection has been discussed here previously.