Sunday, May 31, 2015

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Hunter in The Stolen Spoon Saga (1963)

The Hunter (Kenny Delmar, who also narrated) leaves an African safari to return to the States and chase down his nemesis, the Fox, who has taken to stealing----would you believe?----spoons.

As silly as it sounds. No rating.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Toon Legends: Minnie Mouse in Clogged (2014)

Minnie Mouse finally gets to star in her own solo cartoon. No sign of Mickey, and Donald Duck makes a brief cameo in "Clogged".

Minnie (Russi Taylor) takes a page from Mickey's playbook when she obsesses over one of her flowers, to the point where she has to improvise a way to water the plant----with disastrous results.

Mickey would and should be proud of her, don't you think?

Rating: A.

Friday, May 29, 2015

From Primetime to Daytime: Space Cases (1996)

Lost in Space meets Space Academy. That's about the best way to describe Nickelodeon's Space Cases, which bowed in March 1996, airing first as part of the Saturday night SNICK block, then repeats would the following Saturday morning at 8 (ET), 12 hours before the next episode would air.

Space Cases came from the pens and imaginations of two sci-fi veterans. Author Peter David had written a number of paperback novels based on Star Trek, as well as the short-lived 80's series, Photon. Actor-singer Bill Mumy (Babylon 5, ex-Lost in Space) collaborated with David in developing the Canadian-produced series, and both made guest appearances on the show. In David's case, I believe that would be his acting debut, but I could be wrong. Speaking of Star Trek, George Takei appeared frequently as the series' primary villain over the course of two seasons.

Walter Jones came over from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to play arrogant, overconfident Harlan Band, the de-facto team leader. Unfortunately, it'd also be Jones' last series gig.

Did Space Cases end too soon? I think so. Nick pulled the plug after 10 months, as the series ended in January 1997.

Scope out the opener.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Verb! (That's What's Happening!) (1973)

From Schoolhouse Rock!:

Time to learn some grammar with a funky, boppin' beat! Here comes "Verb! (That's What's Happening!)":

Thursday, May 28, 2015

You Know the Voice: Diedrich Bader (1993)

As we've talked about here in the past, when Diedrich Bader was hired to voice the Batman on Batman: The Brave & the Bold, his rendering of the Caped Crusader was almost a perfect mimic of Kevin Conroy's definitive portrayal of the World's Greatest Detective. Seems as though Bader had had some practice.

In 1993, Bader was a relative unknown when he was cast in The Searcher, 1/2 of Fox's short-lived Danger Theatre anthology series, which lasted 2 months. Listen very carefully to Bader as the Searcher.

Robert Vaughn (ex-The Man From U. N. C. L. E, The A-Team) was the narrator. We'll have more on Danger Theatre over at The Land of Whatever another time.

Toons After Dark: Three sidekicks walk into an elevator, and......! (Robot Chicken, 2011)

Props to the Star twins over at Twin Factor for tipping me to this next Robot Chicken entry.

Perhaps inspired by the now-legendary "Sidekicks" house ad Cartoon Network produced some 15 or so years earlier, we find Orko (He-Man & the Masters of the Universe) sharing an elevator with Snarf (Thundercats), and soon joined by Gleek, for once traveling on his own, away from the Wonder Twins. Co-creator/co-executive producer Seth Green (Family Guy) voices Orko & Gleek.

Edit, 9/2/2020: The video has been privatized and is no longer available. Until we find another copy, that is.

Rating: B-.

Game Time: Turn It Up (1990)

After MTV decided to terminate the hugely popular Remote Control, they opted to create another music-themed game show. Unfortunately, Turn It Up didn't quite make it to New Year's Eve.

Like Control, Turn was a standard quiz game, but also had a full-on house band, Zombo Combo, fronted by series announcer Stuffy Shmitt. Comedian Jordan Brady served as host. As you'll see in this sample episode, Jordan was often out of breath by the time he ran from his dressing room to the stage, and that affected his performance.......

After Turn was cancelled in December 1990, Brady resurfaced as one of the hosts of NBC's Name Your Adventure, but these days, his attention is on the other side of the camera, as he's swapped game shows and stand-up comedy for directing.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Looney TV: Porky Pig takes up bullfighting (The Timid Toreador, 1940)

Porky Pig is a tamale vendor in Mexico in "The Timid Toreador". Things really get hot under the collar when Porky wanders into the arena, and.........

Rating: A-.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Toons After Dark: JBVO (2000)

At the dawn of the 21st century, Cartoon Network was, well, celebrating stupidity with some of their shows. For example, Ed, Edd, & Eddy, while a left handed homage to Our Gang and the Three Stooges, to an extent, made it clear that the three protagonists' collective IQ was well below 100 on average.

And, then, there's Johnny Bravo. The blond Elvis impersonator was one of the network's most popular stars of the period, such that Johnny (Jeff Bennett) was entrusted to host a Sunday night series, JBVO, in which the network would use viewer requests to program a half-hour's worth of cartoons. With certain exceptions, actual half-hour cartoons, such as Dragon Ball Z, would not be eligible, although DBZ was used one night, with Johnny fast-forwarding with commentary that belonged on Mystery Science Theatre 3000, to emphasize the point.

In a way, it was a parody of MTV's Total Request Live, with the idea being that Johnny, no smarter than a broken brick, was a parody of Carson Daly as well as Elvis Presley.

Following is a sample clip, since full episodes aren't likely to be available any time soon.

I felt sorry for the kids that called in. Makes you wish TV Pixx was still on the air.

Rating: C.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Looney TV: Bugs & Elmer for Alpha Bits (1960?)

Long before Post Cereals commissioned their own animated pitchmen for their line of cereals, they contracted the likes of Bugs Bunny and pals.

Here, Bugs is eating out of a box of Alpha-Bits and singing the jingle. Elmer Fudd claims he's been robbed of the same cereal.

Courtesy of Internet Archive:

From Comics to Toons: The Avengers vs. Baron Zemo (1966)

Thor & Iron Man join forces with Captain America to battle Baron Zemo in this Marvel Superheroes episode. Yeah, I know. I should've done this at the start of the month, but, hey.......

Rating: B-.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Super Chicken vs. The Laundry Man (1967)

It's been a while since we looked in on Super Chicken.

This time around, Super Chicken tangles with the Laundry Man, a Chinese laundry owner whose operation is a front for----wait for it----laundering money. Talk about the sledgehammer of plot, assuming you had your parents in the room with you when you watched.

Definitely not the product of an ancient Chinese secret.

Rating: B-.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Animated World of DC Comics: DC Super Friends (2015)

They're baaaaaaaaaack!

A few years ago, DC revived the Super Friends franchise for a series of children's books, and, eventually, a short-lived comic book spun from those hardcover books. The characters are drawn in a style not so dissimilar to the more recent DC animated fare from Warner Bros., but I do have a problem with some of the designs, particularly that of Robin (Johnny Yong Bosch, ex-Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), whose gloves look a little too big and a little too manga for my taste.

This new set of online shorts debuted earlier this month, and introduced the DC Kids channel on YouTube. Each short runs a wee bit shy of four minutes, but don't look for these to air on Cartoon Network any time soon. To them, if it ain't funny, they don't want it. If you're an older fan familiar with the franchise from its glory days of the 70's, you can show your kids these shorts, then, if you've got 'em, bust out the DVDs of the old series, and the accompanying comic books.

Anyway, here's the 1st short, "The Cape & the Clown":

Seems to me Robin needs to cut down on his sugar intake. He's even more hyper than usual.

Rating: C.

Saturtainment: The Go Go Gophers meet the Cleveland Indians (1966?)

Now, here's a curiosity. We've previously noted that the Go Go Gophers were a back-up segment on Underdog before being spun off into an all-rerun show of their own in 1968. But, as you'll see in the next video, common sources might be a wee bit off, since the copyright date for this episode is 1962, predating the Gophers' supposed debut by 4 years!

Anyway, Col. Kit Coyote (Kenny Delmar) sees a newspaper headline and thinks the people of Cleveland would accept Running Board & Ruffled Feather, despite Sgt. Okey Homa (Sandy Becker) warning that Cleveland's Indians are a baseball team.

This was the beauty of the silliness. The series was set in the Old West, well before the game of baseball was invented, but, being a cartoon, they could stretch the boundaries of imagination as much as possible. Heh, it could've been worse. They could've sent the Gophers to Washington, and.......!

You may note, too, that the theme song has additional lyrics than what we heard in the syndicated version. Apparently, due to anti-violence regulations, they edited the theme.

Rating: B.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bad TV: God, the Devil, & Bob (2000)

In the late 70's, George Burns was cast as the Almighty in "Oh, God", which was a smash hit, co-starring singer John Denver. There'd be a sequel, and that was it.

Producers Marcy Carsey & Tom Werner (Roseanne, 3rd Rock From the Sun, Cosby Show, etc.) decided to have a little fun with the concept in 2000. They were tasked to produce an animated sitcom for NBC which had God and Lucifer, aka the Devil, actually socializing. In what amounts to a satire on the Old Testament book of Job, God, the Devil, & Bob purports God to have the physical appearance of the late Grateful Dead frontman, Jerry Garcia. You can figure out that joke, I'm sure.

God (James Garner, ex-The Rockford Files) and Lucifer (Alan Cumming) make a bet. An ordinary schlub, one Bob Allman (French Stewart, 3rd Rock From the Sun), is chosen as God's new messenger. Unfortunately, he makes John Denver's character in the "Oh, God" movies look even more like a Boy Scout, as Bob is into porn and booze.

A combination of low ratings and pressure from religious watchdog groups forced the show off the air after a month. [adult swim] picked up the series and ran the remaining 9 episodes. Oh, unsurprisingly, it's popular overseas, but not here.

As the opening episode, "In the Beginning", begins, we find God and the Devil meeting at a place where most folks probably think the Devil has a vested interest----a used car lot.

Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne) and Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons) co-star. Can't say for sure if either one wants to remember this even happened.

Rating: D.

From Comics to Toons: The Captain & the Kids shill for Pepto-Bismol (1968)

After a dispute with the Hearst Corporation, Rudolph Dirks left behind the Katzenjammer Kids, who stayed at Hearst and were now under the direction of Harold Knerr, and cloned them as The Captain & the Kids. After a series of shorts for MGM in the late 30's, this version of Hans & Fritz, with Mama, the Captain, & the Inspector, resurfaced in a 1-shot ad for Pepto-Bismol in 1968.

I have to guess, then, that this ad helped Filmation decide to use Captain & the Kids on Archie's TV Funnies (1971), and The Fabulous Funnies (1978).

Monday, May 18, 2015

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Space Cats (1991)

From the warped imagination of Paul Fusco (ALF) comes a largely forgotten adventure series that mixed puppets with traditional line animation and special effects. Regrettably, Space Cats is largely forgotten because it aired on NBC for its lone season in 1991.

The series is a send-up of science fiction tropes, among other things. The Cats came to Earth from Triglyceride-7, and get their assignments from a disembodied human head (Charles Nelson Reilly). Fusco voiced Capt. Catgut, whose vocal mannerisms were similar to that of ALF himself. Space Cats was a co-production with Marvel Productions, and thus goes down as Marvel's last sale to NBC.

Following is the intro:

Ever notice that each of the Saturday morning shows Reilly worked on lasted just 1 season? Uncle Croc's Block & Lidsville were the same, though Lidsville was kept alive in reruns for an extra 2 years. Reilly also took over as Frankenstone for the 2nd Flinstone Comedy Show, and, yep, that also was dumped after 1 season.

Rating: C.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

You Know the Voice: Michael Bell (1973)

Character actor Michael Bell had logged plenty of hours doing primetime work before turning to cartoons, which ultimately extended his career. In addition to being cast in Speed Buggy in 1973, Bell guest-stars in the short-lived NBC sitcom, Diana, starring Diana Rigg (ex-The Avengers), and, realistically, is one of the best things about the following episode, "The G(u)ilt Complex". Some of his best live-action work, it seems, was in comedies, having also done Benson, M*A*S*H, Three's Company, & The Monkees in his career.....

This also appears over at The Land of Whatever.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

From out of the Recycling Bin: Popeye in Big Bad Sindbad (1952)

The writers at Paramount/Famous Studios must've been running out of ideas in the 50's.

How else to explain this Popeye offering, "Big Bad Sindbad", from 1952? Popeye (Jack Mercer) has 3 of his nephews with him on a trip to the Nautical Museum, where the kids start goofing around, making Popeye concerned that the four of them could get thrown out. He finally sits them down to recount his adventure with Sindbad (that's how they spelled it, likely for copyright reasons), which had originally been told nearly 20 years earlier by the Fleischers.

Courtesy of the Internet Archive. The print, by the way, is an AAP (Associated Artists Productions) reissue, fairly common in syndication in the 70's.

This wasn't the first time they recycled material, and wouldn't be the last.

Rating: B.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Tooniversary: The Romance of Betty Boop (1985)

One of the few non-Peanuts specials produced by the team of Lee Mendelson & Bill Melendez reintroduced viewers to a legend from the Golden Age.

Betty Boop's classic shorts weren't airing in a lot of places by 1985. As it happened, Mendelson & Melendez obtained the rights to use Betty for a primetime special. "The Romance of Betty Boop" only aired once, that I know of, and there was a sequel, but produced by another studio. Have to check on that.

Actress-singer Desiree Goyette (ex-You Asked For It), who was composing songs for the Garfield specials, was cast as Betty. The inestimable John Stephenson narrates.

Prior to this, Betty had only appeared in color once, a 1934 short where the Fleischers decided Betty was actually a redhead. That, apparently, didn't fly, so Betty has her traditional black hair.

No rating. Never saw this one.

Game Time: Beat The Geeks (2001)

Comedy Central had a good thing going at the start of the 21st century, then let it slip away, largely because they, like their Viacom brethren, couldn't program it right.

Beat the Geeks ran for 2 "seasons" between 2001-2, and had just as many hosts. There would be three regular "geeks", chosen for their expertise in movies, music, and television. The TV Geek, Paul Goebel, was already known from having won TV Land's Ultimate Fan Search in season 2, and hosting the accompanying Ultimate Fan Hour. Unfortunately, the Ultimate shows were cancelled after Goebel's run ended.

At its peak, Beat The Geeks aired 5-6 days a week, and was for Comedy Central what Remote Control was to MTV a few years earlier. Comfort food for the couch potatoes. Regrettably, reruns are now locked in the Viacom vaults, other than what's available on YouTube.

Here's a sample episode with original host J. Keith Van Straaten:

Do us a favor, Comedy Central. Bring the show back, even if it's just on the website.

Rating: A.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Toons You Might've Missed: Little Audrey (1947)

I first became acquainted with Playful Little Audrey in Harvey Comics in the 70's, but her history extends well beyond her comics debut.

Audrey, you see, came out of folklore many years earlier, and had been licensed by Paramount's Famous Studios division in 1947 for a series of animated shorts. Ever reliable Mae Questel, the voice of Olive Oyl & Betty Boop, added Audrey to her repertoire. Audrey's adventures were often far more whimsical than that of Betty Boop, or even Olive's better known beau, Popeye.

Audrey made her comics debut in 1948 at St. John publishing, and was acquired by Harvey some time later. U. M. & M., which picked up the rights to Betty Boop, also acquired some pre-1950 Audrey cartoons as well. However, this is the original Paramount-Famous print of "Tarts & Flowers", from 1950.

Ever since Harvey discontinued its comics in the early 80's, Audrey has been kept in limbo. With cable networks looking for some girl-centric cartoons, maybe it's time Audrey made a comeback?

No rating.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Toon Rock: Drives Us Bats (2010)

One of the more popular episodes of Batman: The Brave & The Bold featured Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, ex-Spider-Man) as the vile, wicked Music Meister, in the first musical episode of the series. Frustrated over his inability to defeat the Caped Crusader (Diedrich Bader, ex-The Drew Carey Show, The Zeta Project), Music Meister bursts into song. Here's "Drives Us Bats":

This fall, Harris will attempt to revive the variety show, albeit in a short-term format, with NBC's Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris. At least it'll be better than those Heineken ads Harris has been doing lately.

Getting Schooled: Sunrise/Summer Semester (1957-1982)

This one's for the college kids.

Sunrise Semester aired for 25 years on CBS (1957-82), a half hour course on various subjects, as if the viewers were taking a college level home study course. The closest analogue to Semester now would be Regents Review, which airs on the local PBS station here, and has been for the last few years leading up to end-of-season Regents' exams.

Here's a sample episode:

During the summer months, the series shifted to Summer Semester, enabling CBS to air the series year-round. The network's priorities shifted toward getting into the morning news race, resulting in Semester being cancelled after 25 years. Semester's been parodied on SCTV, and maybe we'll take a look at that over at The Land of Whatever down the road.

No rating.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Lone Ranger vs. Mephisto (1966)

The Lone Ranger (Michael Rye) and Tonto (Shepard Menkin) deal with a devilish foe in "Mephisto". The titular villain (guest star Hans Conreid) uses a carnival act to pull his robberies, but the Ranger doesn't need magic to capture this outlaw. Or does he?

Aside from working with Warner Bros. on some of their shorts, Lone Ranger would end up being the last series produced by Format Films.

Rating: B.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Toon Rock: Monster Shindig (1965-2001)

"Monster Shindig" was originally recorded for Hanna-Barbera's short-lived record label in 1965. Nearly 40 years later, Cartoon Network stitched together a compilation video of clips from The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Magilla Gorilla, & Snooper & Blabber, among others.

Believe it or else, the singer on this track would go on to a more lucrative career on the pop charts just 4 years later. Danny Hutton would later form Three Dog Night.

Hutton wasn't the only famous name recording for H-B. Laurie Johnson, better known as the composer of the theme from England's The Avengers, also recorded for H-B.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

On DVD: Popeye & Friends (1978-2008)

In 2008, Warner Home Video released a series of DVD compilatons collecting episodes from The All-New Popeye Hour. Turns out the subtle change in the title, from "Hour" to "Show", was for the UK audience, and is used on the DVD release. 8 episodes, encompassing a shade over an hour of silliness.

We've run some Popeye shorts from this era before. I'd acquired this first volume for mere chump change at a Family Dollar on Friday, and thought I'd check it out. Happy as I am that the Hanna-Barbera era is now on DVD, I can see that some of the writing wasn't all that great. Jack Mercer (Popeye) did some directing as well, but back then, you couldn't tell which episodes he helmed.

As we've previously noted, newcomer Marilyn Schreffler was cast as Olive & Swee'pea, replacing the then-still-active Mae Questel, with Allan Melvin (ex-The Brady Bunch, All In The Family, etc.) as Bluto. Daws Butler is heard as Wimpy, giving everyone's favorite moocher a WC Fields flava to his voice. Mercer & Schreffler share the duties with Popeye's quadruplet nephews, who will be heard from in a future entry.

Some stories were reimaginings of old plots from the Fleischer era in the Golden Age, and didn't quite translate so well. H-B decided that Bluto had no redeeming value that would allow him to socialize with Popeye without them breaking into a brawl. He had to be the villain, and in true H-B fashion, a perpetual loser.

One such case is "I Wouldn't Take That Mare to the Fair on a Dare", from season 1 (1978). On the DVD, the King Features open/close is included, along with the Hearst Entertainment logo of the period.

Yes, they turned Bluto into a bigger, dumber Dick Dastardly. Whodathunk?

Of the 8 cartoons, only one came from after the first season, "Abject Flying Object". We'll see that another time as well.

You can say Popeye & Bluto were neutered by the anti-violence restrictions of the period, but bad writing often did them in, too.

Rating: C-.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Toonfomercial: Well, what did you expect a viking to endorse? (1989)

Dik Browne's Hagar the Horrible became the first cartoon character since the Flintstones in the 60's to endorse beer. It happened in 1989 when a British ad agency was granted license to use Hagar and his sidekick, Lucky Eddie, to promote Skol, a lager beer. The ads were dubbed over here in the US for another brand.

Well, what did you expect?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Tooniversary: Ace Ventura, Pet Detective (1995)

One year after the first film, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective transitioned into an animated series that spent 2 seasons (so they say) on CBS before moving to Nickelodeon in 1999.

As with animated adaptations of Jim Carrey's other 1994 hit movies, The Mask & Dumb & Dumber, Carrey, coming off "Batman Forever", wasn't asked to reprise as Ventura, the unorthodox sleuth who was a cross between Dr. Doolittle (minus the talking to animals) and Inspector Cleuseau. So WB and Nelvana hired a Canadian actor, Michael Daingerfield (billed as Michael Hall on the show), to play Ventura. Of course, Carrey would finally do some animation work a few years later in feature films.

Oddly, Ventura wrapped its run on CBS with a 2-part cross-over with The Mask, marking the only time that Stanley Ipkiss (The Mask, voiced by Rob Paulsen) and Ventura would cross paths. Unfortunately, that episode isn't available at the moment.

"The Big Stink" is, though:

No rating.

Toonfomercial: an animated dog food ad (1977)

Back in the day, Ralston Purina was one of the leading producers of pet food. Not only was there Purina Cat Chow and Dog Chow, but for a while, there was also Purina Puppy Chow.

Today, Purina has long since become part of Nestle, while the Ralston half has apparently retired or faded into total obscurity. Heh, in fact, Nestle is using the Purina name for a former competitor's brand of cat food, Friskies (originally made by Carnation, which was also acquired by Nestle).

I digress. We're scoping a 1977 animated spot for Puppy Chow, narrated by the original voice of Winnie the Pooh, Sterling Holloway, who also croons the jingle du jour:

This is where simplified animation works best.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Jukebox (Don't Put Another Dime)(1982-3)

Pre-fabricated rock was still thriving in the early years of MTV.

The Flirts were a studio creation whose membership was fluid, such that the voices changed on virtually every album. Producer Bobby Orlando wrote all the songs and played all the instruments, then hired relative unknowns to sing and be the "faces" of the Flirts. Unfortunately, they ended up as a 1-hit wonder, as their first single, "Jukebox (Don't Put Another Dime)", peaked at #28 on the pop charts. Just the same, this modern day girl group landed on American Bandstand........

"Jukebox" gained a good amount of airplay on MTV as it climbed the charts, but follow-up singles? Not so much.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Toons You Might've Missed: Sad Cat (1965)

One of Ralph Bakshi's first contributions to Terrytoons was the dour feline, Sad Cat, who made his debut in a supporting role under Gadmouse in 1965's "Dress Reversal", which is Bakshi's twisted take on the classic tale of Cinderella. Bob McFadden (Milton the Monster) narrates and voices all the characters.

Sad Cat stuck around after Bakshi left Terrytoons following the cancellation of Mighty Heroes, but not too long. Once the studio closed in 1968, that was the end for Sad Cat and the rest.

Rating: B-.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Coming Attractions: A new Looney Tunes movie---direct to DVD

At ToonZone, members have been griping about WB not having released a DVD that didn't include either Tom & Jerry or Scooby-Doo of late, not to mention the ongoing DTVs featuring either Batman or the Justice League. Those 4 franchises are making WB a ton of change at the registers, so why rock the boat? Because there are fans of other franchises, such as Looney Tunes, that are being left out. Sure, we've seen WWE superstars such as John Cena and Triple H interact with Scooby and The Flintstones, with a 2nd WWE-Scooby team-up due next year, and it was the first Flintstones DTV. Now, it's time for Bugs Bunny and friends to get some spotlight time.

Due later this year is "Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run". The plot involves an invisibility formula, which somehow gets into the hands of scatterbrained, but cute as a button Lola Bunny. Unfortunately, Kristen Wiig (ex-The Looney Tunes Show) apparently wasn't brought back, unlike the rest of the Looney Tunes Show crew. Not sure if they're starting anew with Bugs (Jeff Bergman) & Lola as a couple, but they do team up.

Collider supplies the trailer, which went live on Friday.

This looks like fun, doesn't it?

Saturday Morning's (Not Yet) Forgotten Heroes: Atomic Betty (2004)

Here's one of Canada's better animated imports.

Atomic Betty is about a 12 year old girl who discovers that she's really an alien, but also a galactic peacekeeper, if you will. Here in the US, the series has aired on Cartoon Network and The Hub (now Discovery Family). Betty is spunky, feisty, every bit the hero she's meant to be. However, she has the same wishes as most girls her age.

To that point, here's the episode, "Cheerleaders of Doom":

Production ceased in 2008, but, given the lack of girl-centric programming on American cable channels, don't you think it's time Atomic Betty went back into action?

Rating: B.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Toons You Might've Missed: James Hound (1966)

Terrytoons had retired Heckle & Jeckle. Mighty Mouse was entering the end of his 1st CBS run in 1966, now paired with Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Heroes. Meanwhile, the studio was still trying to create new stars, and got into the popular trend of spy satires.

But, James Hound was not even close to King Features' Cool McCool, who debuted the same year from the pen of Bob Kane. Hound (Dayton Allen) was a little more clumsier than McCool, but still got his man.

Scope out "Traffic Trouble", for example:

Rating: C.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Daytime Heroes: Denver, the Last Dinosaur (1988)

In the late 80's, dinosaurs were becoming the in thing. It started with Universal's The Land Before Time movie series, followed by Dinosaucers, and finally, Denver, the Last Dinosaur, which turned out to be the most disappointing.

Denver was the first American-produced entry from Peter Keefe's World Events Productions, which previously had imported Voltron, Defender of the Universe and Saber Rider & the Star Sheriffs to the US. Contrary to what was fed to Wikipedia, the series lasted just 1 season. 10 weeks of weekday episodes that cycled through for 2 years running. 50 episodes in all were made, when 65 is usually the benchmark for a weekday series.

As Denver (Pat Fraley) learned about modern life, he in turn helped his human friends learn about his time. While kids were accustomed to "moral lessons" designed to teach at the end of daily cartoons, it seems that they tuned out Denver because it felt like an extra period of school. Just guessing, because I didn't watch the show. Hence, no rating.

Here's the 1 hour series opener: