Thursday, July 20, 2017

Teenage Toons: To Thing Or Not To Thing (1979)

After our last Thing entry, regular correspondent Goldstar noted that there was a reason why the self-proclaimed idol of millions (Joe Baker) used a ring to switch from teenager Benjy Grimm (Wayne Morton) and back again.

"To Thing Or Not To Thing" offers some insight. By some unknown means, Ben was de-aged into a teenager, and stripped of his strength, which he could only access with the use of the two-part Thing Ring---which vanishes in the course of this particular fable.

After being advised by Professor Harkness (John Stephenson) to stay in the lab for 8 hours after an experiment meant to restore his adult self to full-time status, Benjy is goaded into going on a ski trip with snooty Ronald Radford (John Erwin). Chaos follows, of course.

Kelly had to hold back the tears, but that would be the first hint that there were signs of affection toward Benjy. The full origin in this continuity was never established, it would appear.

Rating: C.


Goldstar said...

As previously stated, I missed this episode when it originally aired on NBC; I discovered it second hand when it was rerun on Cartoon Network.

Kelly was super cute, in a little sister kind of way, but the fact that adult Ben Grimm was still inside Benjy somewhere pretty much eliminated any thoughts of a possible romance between the two of them. What would Alicia Masters say?

Silverstar said...

Like you guys, before I saw this episode I just figured that this took place in an alternative universe where Ben was a teenager. I'm guessing the reason no other Marvel characters appeared nor was there ever any mention of Thing being on a team was due to ownership or copyrights.

Trivia Time: Noelle North, who voiced Kelly, would go on to voice Ohno on ABC's Mighty Orbots and later Cubbi on Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears.

hobbyfan said...

Was Noelle any relation to Heather (Daphne II) North, who "moonlighted" on Scooby-Doo while also doing Days of Our Lives?

Anyway, they didn't really go into full detail to explain why Ben was now Benjy. H-B had gotten a fresh license for Ben after DePatie-Freleng had done a Fantastic Four show a year earlier, but just didn't have the interest to try the FF again. Small wonder, then, that this flopped hard.