Saturday, August 5, 2017

Tooniversary: An episode of Baggy Pants & The Nitwits (1977)

Baggy Pants, the feline Charlie Chaplin-wannabe, is finally on YouTube.

An enterprising poster mixed and matched episodes of 1977's Baggy Pants & The Nitwits, the last original series that DePatie-Freleng sold to NBC. I say mixed & matched because a quick check of the episode guide reveals that the two shorts you're about to see were not originally presented together.

There are bumpers, but no closing credits.

"Baggy Pants & Forgetful Freddy": What DFE was hoping for was not only a homage to Chaplin, but another pantomime cat in the tradition of The Pink Panther, who was in his final season at NBC. Here, Baggy gets mixed up with a wealthy gentleman who becomes angry when a bell rings.

"Rustle Hustle": The Nitwits---Tyrone & Gladys (Arte Johnson & Ruth Buzzi) head West to catch some cattle rustlers. I don't think enough kids got the idea that this was a parody of superheroes, and back then, the Saturday schedule was front-loaded with them, as this series aired around lunch time.

The open and the first few minutes of the Baggy Pants short are replayed to fill time. Don't ask.

Rating: B-.


Silverstar said...

This was without a doubt one of the stranger concepts to come from the Saturday Morning idea bin. "Hey, let's do an out-of-nowhere homage to Charlie Chaplin, and also he's a cat, and pair that off with animated versions of Gladys and Tyrone from Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (the frumpy old woman and the dirty old man who tries unsuccessfully to hit on her) and make them a married couple, and also Tyrone's a superhero with a magic living cane!" "I love it! Give me 13 more!"

Sometimes you've gotta wonder what those execs were using to stir their coffee.

hobbyfan said...

Arte Johnson (Tyrone) had been with DFE since Super Six (1966), and apparently had created the Tyrone character himself. Enough time had passed since Laugh-In had ended such that it could be imagined that Tyrone had broken down Gladys' defenses to the point of getting married. This was intended to be campy, much like Super Six, in an effort to clean up Tyrone's image for the daytime crowd.

As it happened, this was Johnson's last project for DFE, and, as noted, the last series DFE sold to NBC, which cancelled both Baggy Pants-Nitwits and Pink Panther, with the latter moving to ABC the next season.