Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fall Preview Week: ABC Pac Preview Party (1982)

Let's move back just a wee bit in the timestream, shall we? Time to take a look, at least in part, at ABC's 1982 Saturday preview special, which headlined Pac-Man. Dick Clark (American Bandstand) is your host, and, presumably, also produced the show for his production company. Dick Tufeld, who was a staff announcer for Ruby-Spears at the time, after moving from DePatie-Freleng, and would later work for Hanna-Barbera, is the announcer.

What you'll see in this clip, though, is a treat unto itself. The audience is treated to an in-studio demonstration of recording for Laverne & Shirley in the Army, season 2, as Henry Winkler (Fonzie, of course) and Frank Welker (Mr. Cool) move over from Fonz & the Happy Days Gang. As we've documented before, there was never any closure to the latter series, and, depending on the timeframe of the animated Laverne, you had to figure Fonzie and the gang did come home.

What we won't see, because the show was split into 5 parts, is an appearance by actor-turned-agent Marty Ingels, the voice of Pac-Man. Marty offered the kiddo's a primer on how to say, "Wocka-Wocka", the sound Pac-Man supposedly makes in the video game. Heh, they could've learned that from Fozzie Bear! (The Muppet Show)

Willie Tyler & Lester were the hosts of Weekend Special at the time, in case anyone wonders. Too bad they couldn't get a better gig.

Rating: B-.


Goldstar said...

Hanna-Barbera's "Little Rascals" cartoon series debuted that same season, as did "The Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour". Unfortunately for "Little Rascals", that series in particular was overshadowed by the massive amount of hype that ABC was devoting to "Pac Man".

While L&S and the Fonz cartoons were produced by H-B, the Mork & Mindy cartoons were produced by Ruby-Spears. This would also be the last season(s) for Fonzie and L&S and the only season for "Mork & Mindy: TAS". "Little Rascals", however, would remain on ABC's lineup for the following season.

hobbyfan said...

The Rascals, as memory serves, lasted just the two seasons. I knew about Mork & Mindy being outsourced to Ruby-Spears right from the go.

Silverstar said...

'Mork & Mindy' was 1 of 2 Hanna-Barbera/Ruby-Spears co-productions on ABC that season, with 'The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy Hour' being the other. Like the Rascals' animated series, these shows kind of got lost in the din of ABC's hyping of the 'Pac-Man' cartoon. ABC was so sure that Pac-Man would pile them in that they named the day of their SatAM premieres 'Pac-Man Day'. The show clearly did well enough, seeing as how it prompted neighbor CBS to launch their own video game based cartoon series, "Saturday Supercade", the following year.

hobbyfan said...

Pairing Scooby & Scrappy with the Puppy's Adventures was a mistake, IMPO. That was really just a case of two sibling studios working together at the behest of the network, which felt Puppy couldn't gain viewers on its own. Mork & Mindy was implausible from the go, attempting to create a "prequel" to the just-concluded sitcom. That said to me that someone at ABC couldn't let go of M & M after the series proper ended. A Mork solo series would've been a more logical prequel.

NBC, seeing that mistake, scored with an Alf cartoon 5 years later that was a prequel to their sitcom.