Sunday, September 18, 2016

Summertainment: The Pogo Special Birthday Special (1969)

It should've been good enough to merit annual replays. Unfortunately, not enough viewers, or so it would seem, tuned in to the television debut of Walt Kelly's Pogo in 1969.

Kelly enlisted the aid of animation legend Chuck Jones in getting The Pogo Special Birthday Special on the air. As memory serves, this aired on NBC, which would be the first Jones entry to air on the "Peacock Network", since at that time, he was virtually exclusive to CBS, having produced How The Grinch Stole Christmas for MGM & CBS three years earlier. MGM, by the way, was also responsible for this particular show.

As has been denoted elsewhere in the intervening years, Kelly wasn't happy with the final product, which he happened to have written, directed by Jones and Ben Washam. Jones & Kelly also lent their voices to some of the characters, joined by June Foray and Les Tremayne.

Speaking of birthdays, it's June Foray's birthday today. 99 years young.

Better get your thesaurus and dictionary ready for all the language mangling that Kelly was famous for, because it's time to visit with Pogo, Churchy, Porkypine, Mlle. Hepzibah, and the whole gang.

Reportedly, Jones & Kelly had a falling out over the finished product, else perhaps we could've seen Hepzibah being courted by WB's Pepe LePew down the line......! Ehh, wishful thinking.

Rating: B.


Goldstar said...

If this special never aired on television after 1969, it's no surprise why I haven't seen it. 1969 was the year that I was born.

However, I did see the clay animated Pogo special "I Go Pogo" (1980), which featured original music by Billy Joel.

hobbyfan said...

And that will be along in due course.

I was 6 when this Pogo special aired in 1969, and screening it on YouTube refreshed some memories. Now, though, I do understand why it bombed.