Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Valentoons: We Are In Love (2011)

From The Looney Tunes Show:

We're kicking off our 2017 Valentoons playlist with "We Are In Love", a declaration from Lola (Kristen Wiig) to Bugs Bunny (Jeff Bergman), who would eventually come around long after this video.......

Monday, January 30, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember Buffalo Bee? (1954)

When I was growing up, the only cereals bearing Nabisco's famous triangular logo were Team Flakes and Shredded Wheat. Wheat and Rice Honeys weren't readily available in my neck of the woods in the 60's and early 70's.

Wheat and Rice Honeys were introduced in the 30's as Ranger Joe's Wheat Honnies & Ranger Joe's Rice Honnies. Nabisco acquired the products in 1954, and rechristened them as Wheat Honeys and Rice Honeys, adding an animated mascot, Buffalo Bee, to promote the cereal for the kids.

Per Ira Gallen, whose TVdays YouTube channel served up this next item, Buffalo Bee made his television debut in 1959. A cowboy bee? Yep, but Buffalo Bee's voice has a certain feminine lilt to it, thanks to actress Mae Questel. Listen carefully, and you may just pick up some of Mae's vocal inflections as Olive Oyl.

Unfortunately, Buffalo Bee became a distant memory well before my mom first took me shopping. The Honeys were gone by the mid-70's after a couple of attempted makeovers failed to raise sales, including a licensing deal to have Winnie the Pooh appear on the box.

Rein-Toon-Ation: Robin Hood (Festival of Family Classics, 1973)

You've heard of saving the best for last? Not in this case.

Festival of Family Classics closed its 1 season run in the spring of 1973 with a loose, very loose adaptation of Robin Hood. Bearing in mind that Hanna-Barbera & Disney had done funny animal adaptations roughly around the same time, this tale gets a severe case of the cutes. Meaning, of course, adding a boy and his dog to keep the kiddo's interested. Mushi Studios' anime of the period isn't helping.

Pass the cheese!

Rating: C.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Daytime Heroes (?): The Mighty B! (2008)

Consider this for a moment.

A girl scout believes that if she collects all of the required badges, she'll become a superhero. Maybe that's the result of reading too many comic books while selling cookies, but that is neither here nor there at the moment.

The Mighty B! had just 40 episodes, spread over 2 seasons (2008-10), and played into the ground on Nickelodeon as a weekday entry. It sprang from the mind of actress-comedienne Amy Poehler (ex-Saturday Night Live, Parks & Recreation), who had created the character of Bessie in her standup act with the Upright Citizens Brigade and Second City. Poehler also voiced Bessie (naturally). The series launched on a Saturday, but I don't think it was part of the regular Saturday lineup.

Never saw it, since I work during the week, so we'll settle for the intro:

No rating.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Toonfomercial: Remember the Honeycomb Kid? (1965)

Post Cereals introduced Honey-Comb in 1965, adding to a line of cereals that had gained national attention thanks to an ad campaign, and, subsequently, the Linus the Lionhearted cartoons.

Honey-Comb's mascot originally was the Honeycomb Kid, a cowboy hero who could ride on two of any animal, be it horses, buffalo, polar bears, or dolphins. Not sure if Ed Graham's team worked on these ads, though I'd not be surprised if some of the same voice talent that worked on Linus also did these ads.

Here's a sample:

As you could probably guess, Post and its advertising agency were riffing on Jimmie Rodgers' 1957 hit, "Honeycomb". Unfortunately, the Kid rode off into the sunset well before the end of the 60's, as, to tell you the truth, this marks the first time I've actually seen more than one of these ads.

Toons You Might've Missed: Possible Possum (1965)

Possible Possum gets his catchphrase, "It's possible, it's possible", from Deputy Dawg's frenemy, Muskie Muskrat, and one must assume that the folks at Terrytoons had Muskie in mind for a spinoff series.

However, in 1965, it was Possible who was the first spinoff from Deputy Dawg. Problem is, Possible's shorts, produced between 1965-8, aren't in general circulation, unlike a lot of other Terrytoons characters. Lionel Wilson performed all the voices, including the Don Messick-esque laugh of the bull, the villain of the piece in this 1966 short, "Harm Sweet Home":

As you could by the name of Macon Mouse, these shorts were set in Georgia, while Deputy Dawg & pals were further down south in Florida. Dandy Deal, unfortunately, deleted the closing credits.

Rating: B.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Retro Toy Chest: Post Archies toys (1969)

We all know that Filmation's adaptation of The Archies took off like a runaway rocket in 1968. General Foods, then the parent of Post Cereals, picked up a license to produce Archie-related toys as inserts in some of their cereals. They also had cardboard 45's on the backs of Honey Comb, Alpha-Bits, and, later, Super Sugar Crisp.

Let's check out the toys.

Dig the mod fashions, although Veronica accessorizing her red dress with gold polka dot tights suggests a fashion mistake.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Lone Ranger vs. the Paddlewheel Pirates (1966)

The Lone Ranger & Tonto take to the sea to take down Capt. Scavenger and "The Paddlewheel Pirates":

You could see the ending of this one a mile away.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

From Comics to Toons: More with Archie and friends (1968)

This will be the last Archie cartoon to be posted before the premiere of Riverdale tomorrow on CW.

"Dilton's Folly": Dilton Doiley (Howard Morris) creates monster costumes for himself, Archie (Dal McKennon), Betty, & Veronica (both Jane Webb) to promote a horror movie triple feature at the theatre. Reggie (John Erwin) & Jughead (Morris) think it's something else altogether.

"Lodge's Department Store": Veronica's wealthy dad gives the gang jobs at his store. The usual chaos follows.

A blue frog? A red kangaroo? The writers weren't trying to fool us into being color blind, were they? Nah.

Rating: B.

You Know the Voice: Norman Alden (1977)

The late Norman Alden kept himself quite busy during the 70's. In addition to voicing Aquaman on Super Friends (1973-8) and co-starring in Electra Woman & DynaGirl (1976), plus a bazillion other gigs, Norm spent 7 years as Lou, a mechanic for AC Delco in a series of ads that usually ran during ABC's Pro Bowlers Tour during the winter months.

Here's a 1977 ad as Lou is asked by a circus strongman to affect some repairs.......

Sounds like Michael Bell is the voice-over announcer at the end, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Teenage Toons: The Archies visit a farm, and Veronica goes undercover (1968)

Time for another round of The Archie Show:

First, Jughead (Howard Morris) invites the gang to his grandparents' farm, and danged if grandma (Jane Webb) and grandpa look suspiciously like the Jugster himself. Must be a family trait. Then, after the usual dance lesson and "Kissin'", Veronica (Webb) poses as an exchange student named Cleo when Archie (Dal McKennon) & Reggie (John Erwin) both begin squiring Betty.

This ended up being the series finale, as Filmation & CBS rebooted the next season with The Archie Comedy Hour. I remember seeing this in syndication a few years later. All the simple contrivances now seem tame compared to what the CW and producer Greg Berlanti (Supergirl, The Flash, etc.) and Archie Comics creative director Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa have planned in Riverdale, starting Thursday night.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me (1973)

From The Midnight Special:

Singer-songwriter Mac Davis, who penned "In The Ghetto" for Elvis Presley, among others, began climbing the charts himself in the early 70's, and scored a huge AM radio hit with "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me".

I don't think a lot of young guys today would follow that advice....

Monday, January 23, 2017

Daytime Heroes: Mighty Mouse vs. the Catnip Gang (1949)

Mighty Mouse doesn't really play a big role in 1949's "The Catnip Gang", which is actually a parody of the long running radio drama, Gang Busters, which would later transition to television.

All the voices are performed by Dayton Allen.

Yes, that is Dimwit, the foil for Heckle & Jeckle, making a cameo appearance at the end as Mighty Mouse is showered with gifts.

Rating: A.

Toonfomercial: An early Snickers ad (1960's)

Snickers candy bars have been around for over 85 years, and, like their M & M/Mars brethren, there've been some animated spots to promote the product.

This little piece comes from sometime in the 60's. The only thing I'm sure of is that the voice of the talking candy bar is that of Paul Frees (who else?).

Of course, the singular packaging has shrunk over the last 50-odd years, and over the course of that time, there's been an expansion of Snickers into a whole line of candies. When Mars decided to revive the Marathon bar a few years back, it was rebooted as an energy bar, and added to the Snickers family. Curiously, Snickers was known as Marathon for many years in the UK. Unfortunately, it appears that Snickers Marathon is no more.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

From Comics to Toons: Attack of the Killer Spuds (Archie's Weird Mysteries, 1999)

From Archie's Weird Mysteries:

"Attack of the Killer Spuds" is a satire of the 50's sci-fi film, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". Didn't see this the first time, so we'll forego a rating, and offer it for your perusal.

Toon Legends: Droopy in Thanks a Latte (1999)

As part of their Shorties series at the end of the 90's, Cartoon Network brought back Droopy for a 1-shot micro-short that recalls some of his earliest adventures.

"Thanks a Latte" revisits some Tex Avery classics like "Northwest Hounded Police", compacted into nearly 3 minutes of mirth & mayhem.

The animation isn't quite as crisp, but the inspiration and spirit of those classics were there.

Rating: B+.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Superman vs. Merlin's Magic Marbles (1966)

Growing up, most of us knew from reading comics or watching Superman on TV that the Man of Steel was vulnerable to Kryptonite. Somewhere along the way, perhaps after The New Adventures of Superman had ended, DC Comics editors decided that the Metropolis Marvel was also vulnerable to magic. Why else add a made-for-TV villain like the Warlock to Superman's Rogues Gallery?

Or, in this case, having Merlin, the mage of King Arthur's court, be a villain, recruited by Lex Luthor. Here's "Merlin's Magic Marbles":

As it happened, Merlin did not return, and has more often than not been presented as a heroic character since.

Rating: B.

Tooniversary: Saber Rider & The Star Sheriffs (1987)

Following the success of Voltron, Peter Keefe's World Events Productions imported the 1984 series, Star Musketeer Bismarck, from Japan, and repackaged it for US consumption as Saber Rider & the Star Sheriffs. Arriving as it did the same year as Filmation's final series, Bravestarr, some might think that, despite it being three years older, Saber Rider was a sort-of ripoff. It wasn't.

I never got to see the show, so there isn't going to be a rating. Let's serve up the first episode.

With the full face-covering helmets on the Star Sheriffs, I think you can see where the folks behind the Power Rangers got the idea for their costumes, and Saban, which imported the Rangers to the US, would duplicate it in mishandling Marvel's Avengers more than a decade later.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Teenage Toons: A complete episode of the Archie Show (1968)

If you think President Trump comes across as just plain wack, just in concept alone, well, nearly 50 years ago, the folks at Filmation thought it might be a neat idea to let Archie Andrews be Mayor of Riverdale for a day.

Then, after the Archies perform "Hide & Seek", Jughead takes one of Dilton Doiley's liquid inventions and gains super strength, just enough to give Reggie a little payback for his bullying.

Rating: B.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Daytime Heroes: Mighty Mouse in The Cat's Tale (1951)

As some of you probably know, Mighty Mouse was originally known as Super Mouse, an out and out parody of Superman. Nearly a decade after his debut the "Mouse of Tomorrow" gets an origin----sort of.

In 1951's "The Cat's Tale", we find that a witch (we only see a green-skinned hand) leaves the future hero with a kindly mouse couple living in a tree. A cat, scared to the point where he's dragging on three cigarettes at once, tells this odd tale. The origin, again, suggests a send-up of Superman.

Rating: A-.

Getting Schooled: Jim Henson's Animal Show (1994)

After Dog City had been cancelled by Fox, the Jim Henson Company developed one more series for the network, and this one lasted a wee bit longer.

Jim Henson's Animal Show With Stinky & Jake (to use the full title) ran for three seasons (1994-7), but you wouldn't know where to find it on the schedule, since Fox didn't go out of its way to promote it, in this writer's estimation. Stinky the Skunk and Jake, a polar bear, serve as the hosts for this series, co-produced with Survival Anglia, Ltd., which is better known for, ah, tooting its own horn, if you will, with World of Survival back in the 70's.

As you'll see, Stinky's none too bright, as he spends most of this episode digging a burrow for Jake, who doesn't need one.

65 episodes were produced across the 3 seasons. 26 each in seasons 1 & 3, 13 in season 2. Try figuring out the logic in that decision making process if you can. Sam the Eagle, formerly of The Muppet Show, appeared for a 1-shot in season 3, presumably to promote Muppets Tonight, which was airing on ABC at the time. With 65 episodes, Fox could strip the show and run it as much as six days a week during the final season if they wanted to.

As talk show parodies go, and this was one, to an extent, this had legs, but Fox saw how the ratings were dropping that final season, and pulled the plug. Don't know if this is on DVD. If it is, get it, as it would serve as a teaching tool even today for the wee ones.

No rating.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Super Friends in Planet of the Neanderthals (1977)

The All-New Super Friends Hour marks its 40th anniversary this September, so let's take a step back in time----literally.

A mad scientist named Varko (guest star Mike Road) has used technology to convert 20th century Earth to a "Planet of the Neanderthals". How he did it is a mystery the Super Friends have to uncover.

As I'm sure you could tell, Casey Kasem (Robin) & Danny Dark (Superman) doubled as cavemen. The same likely for the rest of the regulars. Road had previously worked with Shannon Farnon (Wonder Woman) on Valley of the Dinosaurs three years earlier, but would shift to DePatie-Freleng for The New Fantastic Four a year after this episode aired.

Rating: A-.

Edit, 7/3/18: We've had to replace the video. We now have the complete episode. You'll also see:

Wonder Woman & Aquaman vs. "The Enforcer".

Wonder Twins in "Shark".

Aquaman & Green Lantern in "Flood of Diamonds".

Monday, January 16, 2017

Toons You Might've Missed: Slick Sleuths (1926)

Mutt & Jeff had seen their circulation base dwindle by the time I was able to read, such that I don't recall ever seeing the strip in any newspapers growing up.

Bud Fisher's legendary duo were first introduced early in the 20th century, with Mutt debuting as a solo act in 1907. Nearly a decade later, the duo began appearing in a series of silent short cartoons, some of which are now available on YouTube.

Take, for example, "Slick Sleuths", from 1926, in which we find the boys as would-be detectives.....

The Phantom, the villain of the piece may have the same kind of abilities as Mickey Mouse's later nemesis, the Phantom Blot, but that's about it. This Phantom came across as non-descript, and as interesting as watching paint dry.

Rating: C-.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Skating's Such Fun to Do (1964)

Here's a Sing-a-Long Family micro-short that's seasonally appropriate. "Skating's Such Fun to Do" would sound good airing on Boomerang right about now, assuming Da Boom can get the rights.....

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Family Toons: The Barkleys in Half-Pint Hero (1972)

Joe Ruby & Ken Spears, in their initial effort for DePatie-Freleng, clearly mined the Flintstones for plot & story ideas for The Barkleys. Case in point is the episode, "Half-Pint Hero".

Arnie (Henry Corden) thinks that his youngest son, Chester (Gene Andrusco, Amazing Chan & the Chan Clan), could make him a millionaire, just because another boy, having grown to 7 feet tall, has earned a pro basketball contract. It's get-rich-quick schemes like this, which have their roots in, of course, The Honeymooners, that were part of the reason The Barkleys failed. Viewers had seen enough similar plots from the Flintstones and other shows, and, by voting with their remotes, deemed The Barkleys as inferior and unworthy of their attention.

Of course, Arnie didn't have a best friend to be an analogue for Barney Rubble or Ed Norton, and that didn't help.....!

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning Ringside: The WWF debut of Jimmy Snuka (1982)

News has come across the wires of the passing of WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka at 73. In his memory, we present Snuka's first appearance on the then-WWF's Championship Wrestling:

Rest in peace, Jimmy.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: DinoZaurs (2000)

In the 90's, up until Fox turned over their Saturday morning block to 4Kids Entertainment, Saban was the primary packager for the network's children's shows, from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, a franchise continuing to this day, to their atrocious mishandling of Marvel's Avengers and Spider-Man Unlimited.

In 2000, this next item slipped under the radar, given the network's penchant for sudden schedule shuffling without warning.

DinoZaurs was yet another import from Japan, this one a mix of traditional Japanese anime and CGI imagery. 26 episodes were produced, but it isn't clear if Fox aired them all. I know this much, though. I'm only discovering this for the first time, and thus, there won't be a rating.

As near as I can figure, this can be construed, even with the toy line that was released around the same time, as a Japanese reworking of an American series from the late 80's, Dinosaucers, which aired in syndication for one season (1987-8).

The first episode will introduce you to the concept of the series. Scope it out, and let me know if there are any comparisons to Dinosaucers.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Dynomutt vs. Madame Ape-Face (1977)

Dynomutt (Frank Welker) and Blue Falcon (Gary Owens) have their hands full with a vain villain, "Madame Ape-Face". Her M. O. (Method of Operation) would be copied in Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark several years later.

Now, doesn't the design of the Big City Center Theatre look familiar? It sure does. Y'think maybe some of the staff were stumping for a crossover with the Super Friends?

Rating: B.

Game Time: Sense & Nonsense (1954)

The DuMont network was a distant memory by the time ye scribe entered the world in 1963, its most famous alumnus being The Honeymooners, which moved, along with series creator/star Jackie Gleason, to CBS after it ended its run on DuMont.

In 1951, a New York DuMont affiliate, WABD, debuted a three-times-a-week early evening game show for the whole family. Sense & Nonsense ran for three years (1951-4), but only one episode still exists, from February 1954:

Leonard Frey, who was a contestant on this show, is better remembered for his career as a character actor (i.e. Best of the West). This may in fact have been one of his earliest television appearances, if not the first.

Would Sense work now? Hard to tell.

No rating.

Friday, January 13, 2017

From Comics to Toons: Barney Google & Snuffy Smith in Pie in the Sky (1963)

The thing about comic characters looking for that elusive fast buck is that no matter how hard they try, every idea they come up with ends up an epic fail.

We've seen it in live action form (Sgt. Bilko, The Honeymooners, F-Troop, etc.) and in animation (The Flintstones). Count Barney Google & Snuffy Smith in the latter category. In 1963's "Pie in the Sky", Barney (Paul Frees) convinces Loweezy to help him enter a pie contest. Well, it sure ain't the Pillsbury Bake-Off.....

Cliched and predictable. Didn't see this one the first time, so no rating.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Super Friends vs. Mirror Master (Reflections in Crime, 1984)

If there was a disturbing trend to the Super Friends shorts between 1977-85, it was the fact that in some cases, villains were used, but not against their canonical nemesis. For example, the Gentleman Ghost, closely associated with Hawkman, became one of the first DCU villains to appear, but the Winged Wonder was nowhere to be seen.

Seven years later, Mirror Master, one of Flash's Rogues, made his animated debut in "Reflections of Crime", but where is the Scarlet Speedster? Not in this story. Instead, Mirror Master tangles with Superman & Samurai.

For those of you scoring at home, Jack Angel was the voice of both Samurai and Flash during this period.

Typical of the late period of the franchise.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Freedom Force in Pegasus' Odyssey (1978)

Time we took a trip to the Valley of Time for another Freedom Force adventure.

Morgana, an ex-lover of Hercules, lures away Pegasus with a means to gain revenge on Hercules. Here's "Pegasus' Odyssey":

The fact that Morgana is a sorceress would suggest she was an analogue for Merlin's ancient foe, Morgaine (or Morgana) Le Fey. Too bad there were only 5 of these shorts, as this merited a sequel and some further backstory. Worse, production ceased after the first season on Tarzan & The Super Seven.

Rating: B.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tooniversary: Dog City (1992)

While Batman was the crown jewel of Fox's 1992 freshman class for obvious reasons, another world famous name slipped under the radar.

Jim Henson.

The founding father of the Muppets returned to Saturday mornings, aligned with Canada's Nelvana Studios this time, with Dog City, which, in a way, was spun off from the short-lived 1989 NBC series, The Jim Henson Hour, where it had made its debut as a short film.

Blending puppetry with animation had been tried before on Saturday mornings. However, ALF creator Paul Fusco's Spacecats was a gigantic flop for NBC, which, by 1992, had gotten out of the cartoon business, favoring an all-live-action lineup, mostly teen comedies. Fox & Henson felt they had a winning formula, including a show-within-a-show, if you will, that allowed the animated hero, Ace Hart, to interact with his creator, Elliot (Kevin Clash).

Dog City ran for three seasons. As memory serves, it was in and out of Fox's lineup during that span, as they began the practice of shuttling shows in and out to keep things fresh, but never having the courtesy to let viewers know when changes were coming. It would only get worse by the end of the decade. The last original episode rolled out in November 1994, so declining ratings finally did Ace, Elliot, and the gang in.

Let's take a look at a sample episode.

The animation wasn't the best by Nelvana standards. Come to think of it, it did look a little flatter than usual, and these were the same folks who collaborated with WB on Beetlejuice.

No rating. A small sample wasn't enough for a rating.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Looney TV: Hare-Way to the Stars (1958)

Bugs Bunny crosses paths with Marvin the Martian in Chuck Jones' 1958 space farce, "Hare-Way to the Stars". The "instant Martians", though, appear to have been relocated, if you will, since the prototype had appeared in 1955's "Jumping Jupiter", as a denizen of that planet.

This wouldn't be the last time Bugs & Marvin would meet, of course, but this was their best.

Rating: A-.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Peter Pan & the Pirates (1990)

Fox was looking for a signature series to draw viewers to their Saturday morning lineup. It seemed as though they found it when they acquired Peter Pan & the Pirates in 1990.

Unfortunately, this incarnation of J. M. Barrie's eternally youthful protagonist lasted just 1 season of original material, but remained in reruns for an extra year. It would then be brought back for weekday repeats before being shunted off to Fox Family (now Freeform).

The basic story had Peter (James Marsden) squaring off with his ancient nemesis, Captain James Hook (Tim Curry), who had gray hair in this series, as opposed to the traditional dark hair of other itinerations.

Here's the series opener, "Coldest Cut of All":

Even though this episode aired in September, it does seem appropriate for viewing in the midst of winter.

No rating.

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Lie Detector? (1960)

Lie Detector was Mattel's answer to Parker Brothers' Clue, but with one big difference. Mattel added some electronics to their game, something Parker/Hasbro has never tried with Clue.

Scope out this commercial. I believe the voice over is Dick Wesson, the announcer for The Untouchables, and later, Quinn Martin's New Breed, The Fugitive, & The Invaders, or Marvin Miller (The Millionaire).

Getting Schooled: Watson teaches on Sesame Street (2016)

I saw this commercial for the first time today during the Raiders-Texans playoff game on ESPN.

IBM's Watson finds some kindred spirits, if you will, in visiting with Big Bird, Grover, Elmo, Cookie Monster, and other residents of Sesame Street. The ad was initially posted by IBM's YouTube channel out of Australia & New Zealand back in October.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Toon Legends: Tom & Jerry in Mammoth Manhunt (1975)

Tom & Jerry are watching TV when they discover that a wooly mammoth was not only found in Alaska, but is homesick. The mammoth shows up at their door, asking for help.

John Stephenson voices the big game hunter who found the mammoth, using the same voice, modeled after Joe Flynn, that he used for Peevly (Help! It's the Hair Bear Bunch!), and would recycle said voice again and again before the end of the decade. The rest of the voices are done by Don Messick.

Here's "Mammoth Manhunt":

No rating.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tooniversary: Will The Real Charlie Chan Please Stand Up? (Amazing Chan & the Chan Clan, 1972)

The Amazing Chan & the Chan Clan are in a real jam this time, when Charlie (Keye Luke) is framed for a robbery by a seemingly clever crook posing as the famous detective.

Here's "Will the Real Charlie Chan Please Stand Up?".

Now, you'd think 10 kids could figure out that their dad's being framed and catch the bad guy a lot easier than the convoluted script suggested.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Toon Sports: Popeye in Out to Punch (1956)

Popeye steps into the ring for a boxing match with Bluto, but it's anything but a fair fight in "Out to Punch".

This was a remake of the Fleischers' "Let's You & Him Fight", which Famous Studios/Paramount had remade as "Punch & Judo" in 1951. Seems as though at this point they were running out of ideas.

Rating: B-.

Toonfomercial: Remember Bucky Beaver? (1950's)

I remember watching a cable broadcast of "Grease" (1978) and there's a scene where the Pink Ladies are watching TV, and a commercial comes on promoting Ipana toothpaste, featuring Bucky Beaver. I'm like, how come I've never heard of Ipana? At the time, the only toothpastes I knew came from Colgate, Proctor & Gamble (Crest), and Lever Brothers (now Unilever), which at that time put out Aim, Pepsodent, and Close-Up, all of whom have since been sold to other entities.

The same can be said of Ipana, which was a product of Bristol-Myers, better known now as a pharmaceutical retailer that no longer has any marketable items on the shelves. They divested their wide range of products, including Ipana, Bufferin, Excedrin, et al, several years back. In fact, you can't find Ipana anywhere in the US, because it's not made for American consumption anymore. It's made and sold overseas.

Digression over. Let's take a look at a sample Ipana commercial with Bucky Beaver.

Actor-singer Jimmie Dodd (The Mickey Mouse Club) was the voice behind Bucky. Like, who knew?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Animated World of DC Comics: Super Friends vs. The Enforcer (1977)

From The All-New Super Friends Hour, marking its 40th anniversary this year:

Wonder Woman & Aquaman help the leader of a hidden civilization, Garth-1 (Bill Woodson, who also narrates and voices an island official), from the machinations of "The Enforcer". Not to be confused with the Clint Eastwood movie of the same name.

Plot fail: Going undercover by wearing an armored uniform procured from one of the Enforcer's guards, Wonder Woman could've easily been caught since her hair was a dead giveaway.

Rating: B-.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Family Toons: The series premiere of Clue Club (1976)

Beginning today, we will use the first of the month to screen the first episode of a series.

To start 2017, we're going with Clue Club, which launched in August 1976, a few weeks ahead of the other cartoons, due to the US Open tennis tournament. Here's "The Paper Shaper Caper":

It might not have been fair for Dottie, the youngest of the 4 siblings, to be left in the team's garage HQ, but it was, after all, for her own protection in the long term. A remake today might change that.

Rating: A.