Sunday, March 8, 2015

Reinventing Secret Squirrel: How to celebrate Secret's 50th anniversary

I realize that this is low on WB's list of priorities, but it'd be a nice idea once in a while to throw a bone to older fans. Two of Hanna-Barbera's comedy heroes mark their 50th anniversaries this year. For right now, we'll focus on Secret Squirrel.

I was but a toddler when Secret and his BFF, Morocco Mole, debuted on NBC in 1965, and didn't really catch up until the reruns aired as part of the Banana Splits syndicated package more than a decade later. It wasn't enough that NBC was home to another 1st year spy spoof, Get Smart, and that another, slightly more serious series, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., was in its 2nd year. The network felt they needed something the kiddo's could relate to.

As it happened, Secret lasted two seasons, with the 2nd all reruns. Nearly 30 years later, the series was revived as Super Secret Secret Squirrel, a backup feature on the syndicated 2 Stupid Dogs. This also lasted two years, but was set in an all-animal world where Secret & Morocco no longer answered to a human boss. Too, their arch-foe, Yellow Pinkie, was transformed into something called Goldflipper. It's not that hard to make the connection, really.

The upshot to the remake was the addition of a female squirrel, Penny, who graduated from secretary to field agent during the course of the series. And, dear friends, is where we start considering a 50th anniversary for Secret.

I get what they were trying to convey from 1993-5, that Secret no longer needed to be interacting with humans. However, more people are apt to remember the original series than the remake. Sure, the writing was inconsistent at times in both cases, as the writers would fall off the track. However, if we were able to put together a movie that would recognize the history and pay homage to Secret at the same time, whilst allowing an opportunity to, ah, pass the torch, giving Penny all the weapons, plus the trenchcoat and hat-mask, it would reintroduce the cast to a new audience.

Warner Bros. is simply reluctant to reach into the H-B library to revive anyone not named Jetson, Flintstone, or, of course, Scooby-Doo. With Secret Squirrel, you have a story waiting to be written. Secret retires, Penny assumes his code ID, we learn something about the Pinkie/Goldflipper connection, and, perhaps, something else entirely regarding Secret & Penny.

Archie Comics used the 30th anniversary to have Secret team with Atom Ant in a 1-shot adventure. The ball's been in WB's court for a while, so what are they waiting for? Let me suggest, then, that when the next James Bond movie comes out in about a year or so, Secret should return. Period.

To refresh your memory, here's the intro to the original series:

What do you think?


magicdog said...

I love that theme song! You know I never knew SS had one until the show turned up on Boomerang. It still sounds cool.

I don't think it's necessary to have SS retire and pass the torch to another agent. SS could be revived if they are true to the spirit of the character. Of course he is a product of his era - when the Cold War and spies were all the rage in TV and film.

Back on the TZ reboot thread, there was a great idea to revive several animal characters from the HB stable. They would team up into a crime fighting group of their own - SS (with Morocco Mole), Atom Ant, Touche Turtle, Hong Kong Phooey and Ricochet Rabbit.

That I would love to see!!!

Silverstar said...

It would be nice if WB would show some of the Hanna-Barbera properties besides just Scooby-Doo and Tom & Jerry some love once in a while. Some new DTVs every year or so or some new filler shorts between shows on Boomerang if nothing else. The thought that we're going to have an entire generation growing up not knowing who Yogi Bear or Huckleberry Hound are and thinking Wacky Races was "that thing they did on South Park" is a chilling notion which sticks right in my craw.

hobbyfan said...

Magicdog: That reboot thread may be revisited and soon. I think there were some story ideas not explored in the 1993 series, such as a possible familial link between Secret & Penny.

Silverstar: Whomever is in charge of marketing at WB may not be old enough to know Secret and some of the others, and could be doing a major disservice to older fans by ignoring them.

We all know that the well is pretty deep, but some suits at WB would rather leave it parched. Their loss.

Mr. Sig said...

Here's a suggestion to bring back the characters of Hanna-Barbera:

The credit goes to my friend, Cullen. He's the one who came up with the well-written stories. Go ahead and read them. You won't be disappointed.

hobbyfan said...

I will have to check that out sometime.