Monday, January 1, 2018

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The first episode of the Adventures of Gulliver (1968)

Our Famous First for January 2018 is the series premiere of The Adventures of Gulliver.

Set seemingly in more modern times, our story begins with Thomas Gulliver (John Stephenson), son Gary (Jerry Dexter), and their dog, Tagg, on a sailing trip in search of an island that has buried treasure. Captain Leech (Stephenson) wants the treasure for himself, and is pursuing the elder Gulliver to get a map.

As it happens, in the midst of a thunder & lightning storm that runs their ship aground, Thomas sends Gary & Tagg off to safety, entrusting the map to Tagg. Leech comes after the map, but is himself knocked overboard. Of course, you know that Gary & Tagg end up on Lilliput, where the understandable fear of giant visitors upsets King Pomp (Stephenson yet again), but his daughter, Flirtacia (Ginny Tyler, ex-Space Ghost), predictably, has the hots for Gary.

Gary wins them over, and the adventure begins with "Dangerous Journey".

The series turns 50 this year. After a couple of live-action retellings of Jonathan Swift's original tale in the last decade, the last a feature film with Jack Black, would WB or anyone else want to chance bringing this back?

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

I always liked this series. When it turned up on Boomerang a few years back, I caught every episode.

I was never quite sure what the era was for the show, because it looked like it could have fit any era between the turn of the last century and the 60s. Gulliver's and Leech's wardrobes looked like they could fit the period, although Gulliver's dad's outfit was borderline - perhaps from the 1930s - 1960s.

I also give props for the show to address Flirtacia's crush on Gulliver. Even though they didn't go into the more obvious reasons why they couldn't be a couple, he politely explained to her that his primary duty at that point to to find his dad.

I was and still am bummed that a proper ending was never made for Gulliver, as it deserved a finish. I had created an ending in my mind that Gulliver at some point figured out the map's location, found the treasure (and his Dad- since cartoons from this era usually had happy upbeat outcomes for the good guys). Leech follows and interrupts the reunion. There's a final fight of some sort, and Leech ends up falling off a cliff (a bottomless pit perhaps) to his doom (the treasure may or may not go over the edge with him). Gulliver, his dad and the Lilliputians build a new craft and Father and son sail for home. They soon discover a few of their little friends tagged along on the journey. It seems King Pomp is looking to establish relations with [the US] and sent them along as emissaries!

hobbyfan said...

Now, that would be sweet.