Monday, April 24, 2017

Rare Treats: Duffy's Dozen (1971)

Hanna-Barbera had attempted to get back into primetime well before the short-lived Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour made a cameo appearance on NBC in the late 70's. Unfortunately, their family-centric cartoon, Duffy's Dozen, never got past the pilot stage.

The clip opens with Bill Hanna & Joe Barbera, appearing in sketch form on the screen while the execs do the talking, making their pitch. 12 adopted children and a sheepdog create a very big family for the parents (Janet Waldo & John Stephenson). Duffy's Dozen didn't sell, but Hanna-Barbera, undaunted, went with a big family the next year, by adapting the adventures of a certain Hawaiian detective. Yep, subtract two kids, turn the sheepdog into a smaller breed, subtract the mother, and you have The Amazing Chan & the Chan Clan.

Casey Kasem not only voices one of the boys, Alan, but is also the park ranger and the end-of-pitch announcer.

I think you can see why this didn't work out.

Rating: B--.


Silverstar said...

Never heard of this one. Not surprisingly, since it never went beyond the pilot. Remembering Chan Clan now, one can definitely see where Bill and Joe adapted some of the concepts from Duffy's Dozen for the latter; right down to the RV with the James Bond package. (Though I personally kind of think Duffy was the more original concept, as HB was already doing a slew of kid sleuth shows at the time. Perhaps they could've just adapted Duffy's Dozen for Saturday morning; after all, they had already done the Addams Family traveling the country on a motor tour, the road trip angle could've been used in a E/I fashion.)

From a more modern viewpoint, this sounds like a meshing of Nickelodeon's The Loud House and Nick @ Nite's Glenn Martin, DSS, only safe for work.

Goldstar said...

Interesting. I don't know how well Duffy's Dozen would have gone over on prime time, had it been made into a series, but the travelogue idea was somewhat reminiscent of H-B's first animated adaptation of The Addams Family (1973) where the family traveled the countryside in a spooky RV.

I did like how the Duffy's adopted kids were an ethnically diverse mix. Very progressive for it's time. However, trying to give equal amounts of screen time to that many characters would have been a fairly tall order. The average short focuses on one, two, three, or at the most four or five central characters, but in the case of Duffy's Dozen, that would have been fifteen central characters (counting the dog) to begin with. Not to mention any guest characters that might appear. That could have quickly have become a writing problem.

hobbyfan said...

With a large family like that, yeah, it'd be difficult to get it all done in 30 minutes. Making it an hour would've been risky, but H-B went to the hour format for Scooby-Doo the next year.

Thanks for reminding me about the '73 Addams series with the road show format. Should've thought of that when I wrote the review.

rnigma said...

In one of the Charlie Chan movies with Warner Oland (probably "Charlie Chan at the Circus"), Chan had 13 kids!