Monday, December 31, 2018

Getting Schooled: Girl Talk (1989)

No, this wasn't a kids' version of the old Virginia Graham chat-fest from the 60's. This Girl Talk was spun from a board game put out by Whitman back in 1989 or so. Bohbot Entertainment, better known for syndicating animated fare, experimented with this short-lived series, whose selling points, nearly 30 years later, are co-hosts Soleil Moon Frye (ex-Punky Brewster) and Sarah Michelle Gellar (later of, of course, Buffy, The Vampire Slayer). This was aimed at teenagers, not just girls, but boys, too. However, when I say it was da bomb, it's not in a good way. Scope!

As they used to say back in the day, gag me with a spoon. This had awkward written all over it.

Rating: D.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Getting Schooled: The Stolen Smile (Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, 1994)

As Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? approaches its 25th anniversary in February, word comes that a new Carmen Sandiego cartoon is headed to Netflix next month, with Gina Rodriguez (Jane The Virgin) voicing the title role.

While we're waiting, let's scope the series premiere of Where on Earth, "The Stolen Smile":

I was never thrilled with a disembodied head for the Chief (Roger Bumpass). Ham & cheese city, yo.

Rating: A-.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits (Revisited): Midnight Confessions (1968-75)

By the mid-70's, the Grass Roots had undergone several personnel changes, leading to some fresh faces joining Rob Grill on stage when the band made its 19th appearance on American Bandstand, revisiting their 1968 top 5 hit, "Midnight Confessions". Of course, there's also the obligatory interview with host Dick Clark:

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Saturday School: Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids get a primer on sex education (Soft Core, 1979)

Oh, the irony of this Fat Albert episode.

Rudy (Eric Suter) brings his friend, Dustin, around, and Dustin introduces the gang to "Soft Core" pornography. Considering what has happened to series creator-star-executive producer Bill Cosby in recent years, maybe he should've heeded the advice given in Bill Danch's script.......

Now, don't ya think Cosby could've been persuaded to spin Brown Hornet off into his own series? These features disrupt the flow of the main story, even though the object lessons do factor into said plot.

Rating: B.

Toon Rock: You Make The Rain Fall (2010)

R & B singer Kevin Rudolf composed "You Make The Rain Fall" for WWE's NXT, back when it was a reality-show-style competition, in the fall of 2010. The animation here resembles what often is used on scoreboards at sporting events. Flo Rida helps with some rap in the middle.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Overthinking Grover and the F Bomb

The following commentary is being sponsored by Murine and their ear wax removal kit. Well, actually, it should be.

Anyway, in what is probably an inevitable by-product of Sesame Street now running first-run episodes on HBO before they air on PBS, there is much debate over whether or not Grover had actually used an F bomb on the show recently.

The controversial clip in question isn't available on YouTube without someone posting a commentary to frame the clip, depending on what they believe Grover actually said. You figure, well, even when it airs on PBS, as it eventually will, the network censors would scrub out the offending word anyway. No big deal, you think.

In this writer's opinion, it's just another case of someone making a mountain out of a video molehill. HBO has run family-oriented, family-friendly original programming without controversy for years.

Before I go on, here's a clip of Grover in his heroic guise as Super Grover, from season 34 (2002-03):

Apparently, the controversy stems from how one perceives the scene in question, be it through a cell phone or filtered with headphones while watching online. Some people just have nothing better to do than stir up a whole mess of nothing.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Toonfomercial: Peter Pan & Tinkerbell for Peter Pan peanut butter (1956)

Here's another ad for Peter Pan peanut butter, this time with its namesake, Peter himself, coming to the aid of fair Tinker Bell, a prisoner of Captain Hook. Bill Thompson, who voiced Smee in the movie, is the narrator this time.

Today, Derby Foods is no more, and ConAgra holds the rights to Peter Pan peanut butter.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

You Know The Voice: Mel Blanc (1955)

Now, here's an obscurity.

We all know Mel Blanc was a regular contributor to Jack Benny's radio & television shows. Today, I've discovered a short-lived night-time game show that Mel appeared on regularly.

Musical Chairs won't be confused with the 1975 series of the same name that aired on CBS in the daytime, as it's got more in common with the radio show, Information Please. The lack of scoring would be adopted years later in the comedy game, Whose Line is it Anyway?, both in the UK & US. Mel joins host Bill Leyden, and fellow panelists Rose Marie, Johnny Mercer, and Bobby Troup, whose jazz band composed the show's music. Those of you accustomed to seeing Troup with grey hair from his later work on Emergency! in the 70's will be interested in seeing him with dark hair.

Also, Troup performs his composition, "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66".

We'll talk more about this one over at The Land of Whatever soon.

Toonfomercial: Giant markers? (1974)

As memory serves, Paper-Mate, at one time, was a division of Gillette, which itself is now aligned with Procter & Gamble (go figure). Back in the 70's, Paper-Mate's line of pens & markers were doing big business. There was the Write Bros. line of ball point pens, and then, there's this:

The YouTube poster's date is incorrect. The giant's voice is done by actor-singer Thurl Ravenscroft, but the Flair Fi Fo Fum pens didn't survive the decade of the 70's.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Warped holidays: Billy & Mandy Save Christmas (2005)

From The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:

"Billy & Mandy Save Christmas" closes out our Countdown to Christmas for 2018. The kids (Richard Horvitz, Grey DeLisle) and the Grim Reaper (Greg Eagles) head for the North Pole to help Santa (special guest star Gilbert Gottfried) with a most unusal problem, at least for him. Malcolm McDowell and Carol Kane are the other guest stars.

Edit, 2/12/21: The video has been deleted. In its place is the title card:

Series creator-executive producer Maxwell Atoms' art staff appears to have gotten some influence from John Kricfalusi's Ren & Stimpy. Billy's certainly no smarter than Stimpy........

Rating: C.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Retro Toy Chest: The Tuneyville Choo-Choo (1978)

40 years ago, Tomy made a big splash here in the US with the Tuneyville Choo-Choo. I remember seeing this in heavy rotation not only on Saturday mornings, but also during weekday syndicated blocks. Sterling Holloway, the original voice of Winnie The Pooh, is the narrator.

Countdown to Christmas: The Christmas Wish (Little Einsteins, 2005)

From season 1 of Little Einsteins:

The kids set out to locate a "Christmas Wish" box belonging to one of them. The producers adapted the music of Beethoven and used some Van Gogh artwork for the backgrounds for this flash animated entry.

Your pre-schoolers will love it.

Rating for the pre-schoolers: A.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Toon Legends: Barney's Luck (The New Fred & Barney Show, 1979)

It's one of the oldest tropes in sitcoms. Someone finds a magic talisman, then hits a run of good fortune, before the talisman runs out of power.

Such happens to one Barney Rubble (Mel Blanc), who finds a coin that brings him nothing but good luck in the season 1 finale of The New Fred & Barney Show, which launched as a mid-season replacement on NBC in February 1979. Here's "Barney's Luck":

No rating.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: A Flintstone Family Christmas (1993)

After a series of primetime specials brought The Flintstones back to ABC, Hanna-Barbera, perhaps, pun intended, caving to pressure from certain advertisers, would retcon out the wedding of Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm, and the subsequent introduction of their children, and revert the duo to their toddler state.

Their last appearance as adults was in 1993's A Flintstone Family Christmas, in which Wilma and a reluctant Fred adopt a homeless boy after he's been caught stealing. Unfortunately, Stoney, the adoptee, would also be retconned out.

Edit, 12/15/2020: The video was deleted by Dailymotion. YouTube has a sample clip, courtesy of Warner Archive's channel:


 No rating.

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Barbie & Ken Little Theatre? (1964)

Mattel decided to experiment with their Barbie line by adding the Barbie & Ken Little Theatre, first released in 1964. I think it was out of circulation by the time I started watching TV regularly.

Sounds like Olan Soule is the narrator.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: The Christmas Song (2018)

The Monkees have finally released a Christmas album. "Christmas Party" includes a couple of posthumously released tracks with vocals by the late Davy Jones.

However, what we're focusing on is this animated clip for the band's cover of "The Christmas Song". While Mike Nesmith is on lead, son Jonathan, who did the animation, drew his father and Micky Dolenz as they looked in the glory years of the 60's.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Shake Your Groove Thing (1978)

I know there are some of you out there jonesin' for some disco from the 70's. Well, here we go, back to 1978 and American Bandstand (courtesy of VH1). Here's Peaches & Herb with "Shake Your Groove Thing".

From Comics to Toons: Popeye in W.O.I.L. (1980)

From season 3 of The All-New Popeye Hour:

In the final short of the series, Olive (Marilyn Schreffler) & Bluto (Allan Melvin) are neighboring radio station owners and competitors. Popeye (Jack Mercer) is doing traffic reports in a helicopter, but when Bluto decides he needs to be the only jock on the block, well......!

Here's "W.O.I.L.":

Generic plot, different setting, rinse & repeat.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Toonfomercial: Remember Carnation's Chocolate Mountain? (1967?)

I'm not entirely sure on the year on this next item. What I do know is that Carnation (now a part of Nestle) commissioned Hanna-Barbera to produce this ad. Gary Owens (Space Ghost, Green Hornet) is the narrator.

If anyone's got more information on this one, pass it along.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Toonfomercial: (Phone) time is money (1979)

Back when our phone company was known simply as the Bell System, there was this modest little ad to promote how the company could save its consumers money. Michael Bell narrates.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: We Wish You a Merry Christmas (2009)

A classic carol gets a 21st century spin, courtesy of Phineas & Ferb. From the episode "Phineas & Ferb Christmas Vacation", here's their version of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas":

Sunday Funnies: Superhero Huey (The Baby Huey Show, 1995)

Baby Huey decides he wants to fight crime like his TV idol, Buff Duck. Chaos, of course, ensues in the comic book spoof, "Superhero Huey":

Co-author Steve Lotor also worked on shows as diverse as Ren & Stimpy and, later, Disney's Brandy & Mr. Whiskers. Some of the artwork here has a Ren & Stimpy feel to it, don't ya think?

Rating: C.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Toon Legends: Heckle & Jeckle visit King Tut's Tomb (1950)

They say you should never wake up the dead. Heckle & Jeckle are treasure hunters who do just that in 1950's "King Tut's Tomb".

Rating: B.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Tooniversary: The Survivor (Star Trek, 1973)

A shapeshifter assumes the identity of a missing Earth man and is brought aboard the Enterprise. Trouble, of course, follows in the Star Trek episode, "The Survivor". Ted Knight (Lassie's Rescue Rangers, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Super Friends) guest stars.

Following is a short mid-episode sampler.

It happens that CBS has commissioned an all-new animated Trek, likely for its All Access streaming service. The creators of [adult swim]'s hit series, Rick & Morty, are attached. Stay tuned for more details.

"The Survivor" gets an A.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sunday Funnies: Baby Huey meets The Boogeyman (1994)

"The Boogeyman" is about ready to retire, but not before he has an encounter with Baby Huey....

The absurdity of it all is seeing Huey leave his crib and flatten the ghostly Boogeyman as if he were flesh & blood. Continuity error much?

Rating: C.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: A Smurfs' Christmas (1982)

During season 2, The Smurfs were granted their first primetime special by NBC. It would take five years before the next one.

A Smurfs' Christmas sees a human family become separated in a snowstorm. The kids make the innocent mistake of inquiring assistance from Gargamel (Paul Winchell), and of course the Smurfs have to intercede at their own risk......

Rating: A

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: The Fat Albert Christmas Special (1977)

Fat Albert (Bill Cosby) and the gang help a homeless family, and at the same time, in a nod to a certain Dickens story or two, teach a tyrannical landlord about the spirit of Christmas. 1977's Fat Albert Christmas Special could've just as easily been mixed in with the regular Saturday show, the only difference being there are no live-action bumpers with Cosby. Ty Henderson (Space Academy) guest stars.

Rating: A-.

Toons After Dark: The Shivering Truth (2018)

Give the folks at [adult swim] credit for always looking for something new.

Cartoon Network's nuttier half is so high on a new puppet-driven anthology series, The Shivering Truth, that they're previewing it online before it debuts at midnight (ET) on December 9. Shivering Truth comes from the mind of comic Vernon Chatman (ex-Louie), who has done some voice work for [adult swim] in the past. The anthology format allows plenty of room for guest stars, including Janeane Garafolo, Jonah Hill, and South Park co-creator Trey Parker.

Following is the trailer.

To me, it seems like Chatman drew some inspiration from horror anthologies of the past, such as Rod Serling's legendary Twilight Zone, as the bizarre imagery above recalls some of Serling's wilder entries in that series.

Rating: B.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Toonfomercial: The first Keebler elf (1969)

A ways back, we introduced you to Ollie Keebler, a singing, golfing elf who was a forerunner to Keebler's long time spokeself, Ernie.

Well, before Ollie, there was JJ Keebler, the head elf. Hanna-Barbera produced this spot, as they also did Ollie's debut. Alan Reed, two years away from reprising as Fred Flintstone on Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm, is the voice of JJ. John Erwin (Archie Comedy Hour) does some narration, but the closing spiel is by long time Keebler announcer Danny Dark.

A recent article I read reveals that Keebler, now a subsidiary of Kellogg's, is the new home of Girl Scout Cookies, which for a number of years were made by Quaker.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Rein-Toon-Ation: Woody Woodpecker returns (2018)

Yesterday, we presented a piece of the new Popeye's Island Adventures. That flash-animated series is chump change next to our next subject.

Woody Woodpecker is back as well, and it looks like, for once, Woody is winning.

Eric Bauza reprises his voice role from last year's feature film, which I don't think made it to multiplexes here in the US, released first in Brazil. In the opener, Woody deals with "The Invasion of The Birdy Snatchers". Tom Kenny voices the two-headed alien.

10 shorts were released on Monday, including this one. It looks like the writers are making it clear Woody was always meant to be Walter Lantz & Universal's answer to WB's Bugs Bunny, moreso than Daffy Duck. Woody has his own YouTube channel, where all 10 shorts are available. Bring on the awesome!

Rating: A.

It Should've Been on a Saturday: The family that plays together......(Password, 1964)

Here's a nice little treat we're also going to share over at The Land of Whatever before the end of the month.

In 1964, Lucille Ball and 2nd husband Gary Morton appeared on Password, and played a round with Lucy's two children with Desi Arnaz, Desi, Jr. & Lucie. Oh, this is delish.

Four years later, Lucie & Desi, Jr. would join their mom in co-starring on Here's Lucy. At the same time, Desi, Jr. was also part of the pop trio, Dino, Desi, & Billy.

If ya ask me, CBS & Goodson-Todman missed the boat by not attempting a junior version of Password. G-T also blew it after moving the franchise to ABC. I'll see if I can find the complete episode.......

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Alan, Ken's friend? (1964)

In 1964, Mattel made an effort to expand their Barbie line beyond Barbie, Ken, & Skipper. Midge became Barbie's other BFF, and now, Midge has a boyfriend. Meet Alan.

I believe it is Janet Waldo as the narrator.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Rein-Toon-Ation: Popeye returns in an all-new series

Well, blow me down!

In celebration of his 90th anniversary in 2019, King Features has commissioned a series of flash-animated micro-shorts, each about 2 minutes and change in length, to premiere on the official Popeye YouTube channel. That's the good news.

The bad? Not much in the way of dialogue. Popeye doesn't speak, and in the following sampler, neither does Olive or Bluto, who's had his beard & mustache shaved off. Sounds to me like they went el scrimpo on the casting.

Popeye's Island Adventures recasts the classic characters as being younger. King Features won't say how much younger, but ye scribe will go out on a limb and suggest they're all going to be in their late 20's to early-to-mid 30's. Popeye, as you can see, also has a tuft of blond hair, which is new as well. To keep with the health-conscious society we live in, that trademark pipe has been replaced with a whistle.

If you're a long time fan like me, you'll avoid this like the plague. The organic spinach is the only other good idea they came up with.

Rating: D.

Toon Legends: Fat Albert in Free Ride (1979)

From The New Fat Albert Show:

The gang's ace skateboarding friend, Lawanda (an uncredited Erika Scheimer), rescues Rudy from a fool's errand when he tries to do an Evel Knievel stunt with a skateboard. But then, we also learn how Lawanda gets around.......

Fast forward past Brown Hornet if you feel the need.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Popeye vs. Coldfinger (1979)

From Popeye's Treasure Hunt in season 1 of The All-New Popeye Hour:

Popeye and Olive Oyl are secret agents summoned by the President (John Stephenson) to retrieve a stolen satellite from "Coldfinger". Bluto, of course, decides to throw in with Coldfinger, which tells us he left his brains at home on this one.

Like, don't ya think they could've gotten someone to approximate Jimmy Carter's voice, instead of going with a generic President?

Rating: B.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Toonfomercial: Ernie Keebler meets Albert Einstein? (1989)

To introduce their Magic Middles cookies, Keebler (now part of Kellogg's) came up with the idea of an eccentric professor who bears a bit of a resemblance to Albert Einstein. The Professor thinks he's got an idea for a new cookie, but Ernie (Parley Baer, ex-The Andy Griffith Show) already has one.....!

Voiceover at the end by Danny Dark.

Sunday Funnies: Is This Fort Really Necessary? (F-Troop, 1967)

"Is This Fort Really Necessary?" is the series finale of F-Troop, which first aired in April 1967. In memory of Ken Berry (Capt. Parmenter), who passed away Saturday at 85.

No rating, out of respect.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree (1979)

Our Famous First for December is the television debut of the Berenstain Bears.

Veteran producer Joseph Cates, better known for his work in producing and/or directing awards shows, reached a deal with the husband & wife team of Stan & Jan Berenstain and animator Buzz Potamkin's Perpetual Motion Pictures (now Buzzco) to bring the Berenstains' family of bruins to life.

"The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree" sets the tone for what would soon follow, and was first broadcast on NBC in 1979.

The Berenstains shared the same publisher as Dr. Seuss, as their books were all published by Random House. Now, you'd think Random House would've helped the Berenstains land a TV deal, but we don't know all the details.

No rating.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: A Pinky & The Brain Christmas (1995)

Pinky & The Brain were granted a primetime berth, airing on Sundays on WB, halfway through the 1995-6 season, as the network was having trouble finding suitable programming to fill the night.

Their Christmas show was the first primetime episode, but it's the usual nonsense from the malevolent mice (Rob Paulsen & Maurice LaMarche). You know what to expect. They want world domination (highly unlikely), but Pinky's no smarter than a broken Christmas ornament, so of course their plans always fail.....

Edit, 12/8/2020: The video has been deleted. In its place, we give you a screencap of a VHS release.

If you've seen one episode in this series, chances are you've seen them all.....

Rating: C.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: The Twelve Lies of Christmas (2000)

While this Woody Woodpecker episode was produced in 2000, Fox held it until a year or two later for their own selfish reasons (i.e. ratings, which Woody wasn't delivering against Kids' WB!).

"The Twelve Lies of Christmas" starts now:

No rating.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Literary Toons: The Chipmunks do Sherlock Holmes (1988)

In 1988, Alvin & The Chipmunks changed animation houses, leaving Ruby-Spears after five seasons, and the episodes were split between DIC and Murakami-Wolf-Swenson.

The title of the NBC series was shortened to simply, The Chipmunks, and in this episode, Simon plays Sherlock Holmes, Theodore is Dr. Watson, and Alvin is the nefarious Professor Moriarty.

Edit, 12/27/19: The video has been deleted.

This would ultimately lead to the shift to Fox and another title change, to Chipmunks Go to The Movies, which owes its lineage, when you think about it, to 1964's Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo, which also aired on NBC.

Rating: A.

Countdown to Christmas: The Very First Christmas to Me (2000)

Here's a goofy holiday treat from SpongeBob SquarePants and friends:

"The Very First Christmas to Me" was included in the episode, "Christmas Who?" in 2000.

Yes, it was uploaded off a phone, but what can you do?

Dedicated in memory of series creator Stephen Hillenburg, who passed away at 57.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Ring Raiders (1989)

Who among you remembers Ring Raiders?

Those Characters From Cleveland decided to get into the action figure business in the late 80's, but the fact that, nearly 30 years later, the Ring Raiders line has been all but forgotten tells us how badly they were received.

In 1989, DIC obtained a license to adapt the toys into a 5 part weekly miniseries. Voice talent included Dan Gilvezan (ex-Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends), Roscoe Lee Browne, Chuck McCann, and Ike Eisenmann (ex-Fantastic Journey), whose surname was misspelled in the credits to the opener, which was a bad sign.

Here's the intro:

The series was not given a full season order after the miniseries, and both it & the toy line that inspired it bombed. Badly.

Rating: B-. Standard fare of the period.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Saturtainment: A complete episode of The All-New Pink Panther Show (1978-9)

An enterprising soul on YouTube has managed to post a complete episode of The All-New Pink Panther Show, from its first season on ABC.

"Doctor Pink" (previously reviewed): The Panther answers an ad for a hospital janitor, and chaos ensues.

Crazylegs Crane in "Bug Off": Crazylegs (Larry D. Mann) has his usual issues.

"Pink Pictures": The Panther takes up wildlife photography.

The Panther franchise is now on Light TV, so you're bound to find these cartoons there soon, if not already.

Steve DePatie, son of co-executive producer David DePatie, took over the musical director's job, which explains the disco score at the end of the show.

Rating: B.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Laughter in The Rain (1974)

Singer-songwriter Neil Sedaka was making a modest comeback in the mid-70's, and scored a big hit with 1974's "Laughter in The Rain". Here's a live performance of "Laughter" from The Midnight Special:

Friday, November 23, 2018

Countdown to Christmas: Santa's Workshop (1932-2006)

Christmas is 4 1/2 weeks away, so let's take a look at Walt Disney's vision of what "Santa's Workshop" looked like.

"Workshop" was initially released through United Artists in 1932. Disney reissued it in 2006, remastered with new colors.

Animator Jack Kinney later left Disney and produced & directed several Popeye shorts for King Features' TV arm in 1960.

Rating: B.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Would you buy a car from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? (2018)

Cowabunga! As part of Honda's annual holiday promotion, Seth Green, Matthew Senrich, and the gang at Robot Chicken have crafted some new ads using old toys for 2018. Over at The Land of Whatever, we screened a spot featuring a Kenner action figure of The Six Million Dollar Man (Lee Majors), for example.

Here, though, are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, circa late 80's, with the original voices of the Turtles (Rob Paulsen, Barry Gordon, Townsend Coleman, Cam Clarke) back together.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. We'll be back on Black Friday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

You Know The Voice: Michael Bell (1976)

In the mid-70's, Michael Bell was still in demand for character roles in primetime. His resume included The Streets of San Francisco and M*A*S*H during this period. In 1976, Michael was hired by the ad agency for Ralston Purina to help with a contest promotion for Chuck Wagon dog food.

How he never landed a gig as a game show host, I'll never know. He looks the part.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Toonfomercial: How do you hire a mascot? (2017)

As M & M's continues to expand its line of candies, new mascots go along with them.

Last year, caramel became the latest flavor. To introduce the new product, a caramel cube (voiced by David Cross) meets with the rest of the gang. There are two versions, the second of which edits out the female mascots, Green (Cree Summer) and Ms. Brown (Vanessa Williams).

Monday, November 19, 2018

Toonfomercial: Doug Funnie debuted in a commercial (1989)

An enterprising soul on YouTube uncovered this piece of joy.

Doug creator Jim Jinkins introduced his not yet named Everykid in this 1989 commercial for Florida grapefruit juice, 2 years before Doug debuted on Nickelodeon. Scope!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday Funnies: Son of Rumplestiltskin (1961-2)

It's been a while since we looked at a Fractured Fairy Tale.

Jay Ward's wacky crew had already adapted Rumplestiltskin in season 1, so in season 3, they conjured the "sequel", suggesting Rumpy had a kid. Basically the same story with a different twist.

Before the season began, the series moved from ABC to NBC, and changed its title to the one most folks know, The Bullwinkle Show. After it ended in 1964, reruns would move back to ABC for the balance of the 60's, and would not return to NBC until the early 80's.

Rating: B.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Space Ghost in Attack of The Space Sharks (1981)

From Space Stars:

Space Ghost (Gary Owens) encounters an odd phenomenon in "Attack of The Space Sharks".

There are full episodes of Space Stars finally available on YouTube, as you already know. We will be filling some empty spaces with them to replace episodes previously pulled by YouTube or Dailymotion.

Rating: B.

Saturtainment: Fansville (2018)

Dr. Pepper came up with a new ad campaign this season, retiring the character of vendor Larry Culpepper, who had the delusion that he "invented" the College Football Playoff, after 4 seasons.

Instead, viewers are transported to a small town where everything revolves around college football, and, of course, Dr. Pepper.

The cast includes former LSU coach Les Miles as a general store clerk, and former players Brian Bosworth (as the sheriff) and Eddie George. At least "The Boz" has some acting experience.......

There's rumors going around that Miles may be back on a sideline as early as next year, filling one of the inevitable coaching vacancies, and if that happens, that may preclude him returning for a second season of Fansville, which is delightfully silly. I wonder if Dr. Pepper could be persuaded to release a DVD......

Rating: B.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Saturtainment: The Ant & The Aardvark in Isle of Caprice (1969)

Friz Freleng and his staff at DePatie-Freleng couldn't resist borrowing some old Bugs Bunny gags for this Ant & The Aardvark entry, "Isle of Caprice". Sub Charlie Ant (John Byner) for Bugs, and the Aardvark (Byner) for Yosemite Sam, and you'll get the idea.

Bugs did it better.

Rating: B.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Rare Treats: Sam & Friends (1955)

We all know that classic Muppet characters such as Rowlf the dog and Kermit the frog had been in the public consciousness well before Sesame Street. Rowlf, in fact, had appeared with actor-singer Jimmy Dean on his variety show.

Kermit, meanwhile, got his start on a regionally produced, 5 minute comedy show, Sam & Friends, which ran for six years (1955-61) on the NBC affiliate in Washington, DC. At the time, however, as you'll see in the video, Kermit wasn't a frog, but an ordinary lizard. Creator Jim Henson made some changes by the time Kermit landed on Sesame Street in 1969.

Let's check out this sample clip:

Sam is the bald Muppet alongside Kermit. Henson later created Sam the Eagle for The Muppet Show as a call-back to one of his earliest stars.

No rating.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Toon Rock: Musical Moments From Chopin (1946)

Warner Bros. had Bugs Bunny hobnobbing with an orchestra. MGM did the same with Tom & Jerry. Universal & Walter Lantz answered with Woody Woodpecker & Andy Panda in "Musical Moments From Chopin". There's no dialogue, just Woody & Andy on pianos.

Rating: A.

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Matchbox's Fighting Furies? (1975)

Matchbox tried to be about more than toy cars for a while in the 70's. The company branched out and introduced the Fighting Furies line of action figures and play sets.

This wasn't my jam, as the kids say. I was more into board games in those days, and until I ran across this next item, I didn't even know this product existed.

Juvenile pitchman Mason Reese, better known for having shilled for Underwood deviled ham spread around the same time, is doing the shilling here.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

You Know The Voice: Olan Soule (1969)

Normally, on Dragnet, Olan Soule would be found playing forensic scientist Ray Murray. Not in this case.

From the final season:

Soule plays a judge trying an auto theft case. What I hadn't previously noticed, having seen this episode already in progress on a number of occasions, is that Judge Donohue entered the courtroom on crutches, suggesting a knee injury. Character actor Stacy Harris, a frequent player on the show, plays the defense attorney, after having played crooks on several occasions. Harris had also been part of Jack Webb's radio repertory company.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Tooniversary: Snuffy Smith enters a Turkey Shoot (1963)

Snuffy Smith (Paul Frees) owns up to illiteracy and doesn't want glasses to help his eyesight. But, then, he's entering a "Turkey Shoot", despite his handicaps......

Rating : B.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Thanksgiving Toons: What-a-Mess: The Thanksgiving Turkey (1995)

Frank Muir's What-a-Mess gets himself in trouble after gobbling the family's Thanksgiving turkey. Of course you know he'll try to redeem himself.

No rating.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Toon Legends: Popeye With Poopdeck Pappy (1940)

Popeye's cranky, nearly century old pop, "Poopdeck Pappy", who made his screen debut in 1938's "Goonland", is bound and determined to go partying, and that makes it a long night for Popeye in this 1940 tale.

Ya wonder who taught who all those escape tricks, Poopdeck, or Houdini?

Rating: B.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Toon Rock: The Three Caballeros (1944)

The following clip was culled from a Disney video compilation and posted to YouTube.

Donald Duck (Clarence Nash) starred in the live-action-animation hybrid, "The Three Caballeros", in 1944. The film wasn't released in the US until February 1945 after a pre-Christmas premiere in Mexico. Donald is joined by Jose Carioca, who debuted in "Saludos Amigos" a couple of years earlier, and their new friend, Panchito Pistoles. What otherwise would a duck, a parrot, and a rooster have in common? Not much.

I remember seeing this next clip on The Wonderful World of Disney, as the Caballeros sing their theme song.

Today, of course, the word "gay" has different connotations, and so the lyrics would have to change.

Why bring this up? Because Jose & Panchito are set to guest star in a forthcoming episode of DuckTales. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Retro Toy Chest: Remember KISS action figures? (1978)

Mego Toys had licenses with DC Comics for their line of superhero action figures in the late 70's, but that wasn't all. The company also worked a deal with metal legends KISS to create figures in the images of the band. Remember this ad?

At the time, KISS was everywhere. A TV-movie produced by Hanna-Barbera for NBC. Their first comic book appearances were for Marvel. They did the Paul Lynde Halloween Special two years before the action figures came out. As 2019 begins, the band will embark on what will be their farewell tour.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Captain Caveman in The Kooky Case of The Kryptic Keys (1977)

Our Famous First for November takes us back to 1977, and the debut of Captain Caveman & The Teen Angels. Imagine if DC Comics were able to gain a license to adapt Charlie's Angels, which was entering its 2nd season on ABC at the time, and pair the Angels with Superman for a miniseries or somesuch, this would be a parody of that combination.

Anyway, first up for Team Cavey is "The Kooky Case of the Kryptic Keys". 

Edit, 11/18/2020: Dailymotion has deleted most, but not all, of the episodes. We are subbing in a series title card:

Vernee Watson (Dee Dee) was also on Carter Country at the time, coming over as she did from Welcome Back, Kotter. Too bad the Angels were never seen again after this series was cancelled.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Spooktober: A Monsterous Holiday: An Experiment Gone Wrong (2013)

Sinclair Broadcasting's Kids' Click block today includes the 2013 DTV, A Monsterous Holiday: An Experiment Gone Wrong, which features the voices of Drake Bell (ex-Ultimate Spider-Man, Drake & Josh), Sean Astin, Matthew Lillard ("Scooby-Doo", etc.), Kyle Chandler, & Brooke Shields.

It's also our final Spooktober entry this year. Scope.

This puppy flew under the radar, because until today, I didn't even know it existed.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Spooktober: Archie meets Scarlet Night (1999)

From Archie's Weird Mysteries:

The producers introduced a teenage vampire named Scarlet in a three part arc near the end of the series' run. We've given you the last two chapters in reverse order, so, having done that, here's Scarlet's debut, "Scarlet Night":

I've mentioned that Scarlet did appear in a couple of issues of the comics version of the series, which made one think that Archie Comics was looking to expand its roster. In chapter 2, Veronica was turned into a vampire for only that episode, and, earlier this year, Archie Comics decided to do a series with Ronnie as Vampironica, in a completely different continuity to other Archie titles.

Unfortunately, Scarlet, after being written out of the series, was never heard from again, as there wouldn't be a spin-off book, but who knows? Maybe editor Alex Segura has plans for her after all.....

No rating.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Tooniversary: XJ-9 becomes a Raggedy Android (My Life as a Teenage Robot, 2003)

Jenny Wakeman, aka XJ-9, wants to blend in with the other kids and go to the county fair. Her creator designs a patchwork human costume, but when trouble hits the fair, Jenny has to give up being a "Raggedy Android" to save the day.

From season 1 of My Life as a Teenage Robot:

Jenny would don a fresh humanoid suit in a later episode.

Rating: B.

Toon Rock: Remains of The Day (2005)

Posted this over at The Land of Whatever last night, but it belongs here, too. From "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride", Danny Elfman, as Bonejangles, performs "Remains of The Day":

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Here he comes again: The New Howdy Doody Show (1976)

Game show producers E. Roger Muir & Nick Nicholson got their start in television working on the original Howdy Doody. In 1976, Muir & Nicholson acquired the rights to the franchise from NBC, which ended the original series in 1960. While that was a wise move, they made a fundamental mistake that hurt the revival.

The New Howdy Doody Show was taped in Florida, rather than in New York, as the original was. 26 weeks of episodes (130 total) were produced, with no repeats, but the series was cancelled after one season. Prior to the relaunch, Buffalo Bob Smith had guest-starred on Happy Days, which was set during the era of the original series. Apparently, that sparked viewer interest, but Nicholson & Muir opted to syndicate the revival. Gone were the days when networks would commit to daily after-school programming, and first run syndication was, at that time, a rare bird which wouldn't take full flight for another couple of years.

Smith's human sidekick, if you will, was Happy Harmony (Marilyn Patch), who was clearly eye candy for the teenage boys that might be tuning in. Today, Marilyn is a college professor, a long ways away from her show biz career. Come to think of it, one wonders if a more experienced actress like Judy Strangis could've landed the role. As we know, Strangis (ex-Room 222) landed another one season wonder-turned-cult-favorite, Electra Woman & DynaGirl, that same season.

Anyway, let's check out a sample episode, the first of a five part arc that lasted the entire week:

There would be a 40th anniversary salute to Howdy a few years later, but that didn't do anything to erase a stigma Howdy didn't deserve. Wrestler Bob Backlund, during his time as World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) champion was derided as "Howdy Doody" because of his goody-two-shoes image and look.

Rating: B-.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Clue Club goes to the circus (1976)

Even Dottie gets in on the act this time, as the Clue Club goes to the circus to solve the disappearance of a fan favorite trapeze artist who isn't exactly popular with the troupe. Meanwhile, Wimper makes Woofer look like a prize chump. Here's "The Circus Caper":

Hanna-Barbera wanted to try something fresh with this series, such that it wouldn't truly be a clone of Scooby-Doo, which Clue Club replaced on the CBS schedule. The whodunit format, which WB would later use with What's New Scooby-Doo?, in truth, enabled Clue Club to find common ground with studio stablemate Super Friends over on ABC.

Rating: B.

Spooktober: Mina & The Count (1995)

Originally developed as part of Cartoon Network's What a Cartoon! series for Hanna-Barbera, Mina & The Count made its debut in 1995 with the short, "Interlude With a Vampire":

Apparently, this didn't pass muster with CN suits, so creator Rob Renzetti took it with him to Nickelodeon three years later, and produced another handful of shorts over the next year. Unfortunately, Mina & The Count never got past the shorts stage and into a full fledged series.

It had been proven that vampires could be used for laughs, but CN would later come up with something similar, swapping out the vampire for the personification of death in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. Unfortunately, that series mostly celebrated stupidity on the part of Billy and his dad. The fact that Mina was able to later pass off Count Vlad (Mark Hamill) as a music teacher and a giant sized doll on her unsuspecting dad (Michael Bell) was similar to the subtle humor of similar scenarios enacted on Beetlejuice a few years earlier. Ashley Johnson (ex-Growing Pains) voiced Mina here, but Tara Strong took over the part when the project moved to Nick.

Rating: B-.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

You Know The Voice: Henry Corden (1969)

He may not sound like Fred Flintstone this time around, but Henry Corden turns up in an episode of Dragnet during the final season of its NBC run. Henry plays apartment manager Ned Jeffries, a former classical violinist.

Also, Vic Perrin, the announcer of the original Outer Limits, who also worked on the 1967 Fantastic Four series, makes an appearance, as he was a frequent guest on Dragnet during this period.

Spooktober: Trick or Treat (1952)

Donald Duck decides to prank his nephews, Huey, Dewey, & Louie (all four voiced by Clarence Nash) on Halloween night, spoiling the boys' "Trick or Treat" excursion. A kindly witch (June Foray---who else?) intercedes on the boys' behalf, and so the fun begins.

Curiously, the witch is named Hazel, the same as the one June Foray voiced in a few Looney Tunes cartoons a few years later.

Apparently, the boys' collective allowance didn't allow for full costumes.....

Rating: A-.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Spooktober: Spider-Man in Halloween Moon (2017)

Together again for the first time would be the cliche attached to the Incredible Hulk's appearance on Marvel's Spider-Man one year ago.

The Green Goliath (Fred Tatasciore, reprising his role from other Marvel cartoons) is drained of his powers thanks to a crystal around the neck of the Man-Wolf. Don't ask, just watch.

Updated, 3/21/19: The video was deleted. In its place is a short trailer:

As the series picks up where "Spider-Man: Homecoming" leaves off, it's not quite as insulting to long time fans, unlike its predecessor, Ultimate Spider-Man, although they do play fast & loose with some characters, like Man-Wolf, for example, as his powers don't come from gamma energy, according to the books.

Rating: B.

Rare Treats: An early pilot of Good Morning, Miss Bliss (1987)

Most of you know that Good Morning, Miss Bliss was the original title for what would ultimately become Saved by The Bell. Reruns from Miss Bliss were included in the Bell syndication package, with new intros by Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Zack).

But, did you know NBC originally was interested in putting the show on the air?

Before Miss Bliss was farmed out to Disney Channel, NBC burned off a pilot in July 1987. The only link is Hayley Mills, who played the title character. Future stars Brian Austin Green (later of Beverly Hills 90210), Jonathan Brandis (later of SeaQuest DSV), and Jaleel White (ex-Charlie & Company, later, of course, of Family Matters) are in the cast.

When Miss Bliss went to series, Bliss' husband was written out, and in the transition from Disney Channel to NBC, Mills departed, leaving behind the familiar gang we'd all remember.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

You Know The Voice: Maurice LaMarche (1987)

If you've ever wondered what impressionist-voice actor Maurice LaMarche looks like, well, look no further than this installment of the NBC game show, Wordplay, hosted by venerable Tom Kennedy. Maurice gets in a plug for what would be Popeye & Son, which bowed the following fall, but not mentioned is the fact he was in his 2nd season on Real Ghostbusters.

However, Maurice misspoke when mentioning he was the 2nd actor to essay the role of Popeye. Jack Mercer wasn't the original voice, either, as that has been documented here and elsewhere. Most folks associate Mercer with Popeye, and that leads to a lot of confusion and misinformation.

Phyllis Diller, of course, had appeared on The New Scooby-Doo Movies, and acted in the movie, "Mad Monster Party".

We'll take a closer look at Wordplay over at The Land of Whatever another time.

Spooktober: A complete episode of Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (1969)

On Friday, Netflix viewers will see Greg Berlanti & Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's adaptation of the latter's dark, disturbing reboot of Sabrina.

Those of us of a certain age, however, like our teenage witch better as a platinum blonde hottie, comics & cartoons' answer to Samantha Stephens (Elizabeth Montgomery) on ABC's Bewitched (1964-72).

This episode offers a heavy dose of Della, the head witch. In "Generation Flap", Della holds a meeting while Sabrina entertains Archie and his friends. Then, Della drops off her nephew, Hexter, forcing Sabrina to bring him to school. Reggie will soon wish he hadn't started picking on Sabrina.....

Rating: B.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Saturtainment: The Smurfs in S-Shivering Smurfs (1982)

We are in the middle of autumn, but as the Smurfs soon discover, the weather patterns can change quickly and without warning. In their village, fall turns to winter too quickly for them to make appropriate adjustments.

Let's look in on some "S-Shivering Smurfs".

An object lesson for the kiddo's if there ever was one.

Rating: B.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

On The Air: Marvel Rising: Initiation (2018)

Yesterday, we talked about the current TV-movie, Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors, airing on Disney Channel & Disney XD. Now comes the prequel miniseries of shorts.

Marvel Rising: Initiation focuses on Ghost Spider, aka Gwen Stacy from an alternate reality (Dove Cameron, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ex-Liv & Maddie, reprising her role from a guest shot on Ultimate Spider-Man vs. The Sinister Six), who has been accused of a crime she didn't commit,  but, rather, she tried to prevent. The victim was her childhood friend.

The six minisodes set up an apparently planned ongoing series down the road. Ghost Spider gets caught in the crosshairs of not only the police, under the direction of her father, Captain George Stacy, but also S.H.I.E.L.D. and the team of Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl. Oh, what a tangled web.......!

Here's the first chapter:

The Americanized anime kicks in during certain scenes with Squirrel Girl (Milana Vayntrub), but this would've been better served in CGI, in this writer's opinion.

To better understand Ghost Spider, formerly known as Spider-Gwen in the books, this miniseries is a loose adaptation of the storyline from the books in which the Peter Parker of Gwen's world was killed, and, yup, she got blamed for it. For obvious reasons, they couldn't use Peter here, figuring some unenlightened souls might get confused.

Rating: B--.

Spooktober: Truth or Scare (2001)

Discovery Kids (now Discovery Family) took aim at Nickelodeon with their own Saturday night block in the early '00's, but, unfortunately, it didn't quite work out.

Truth or Scare was a documentary series that produced just 20 episodes over a 2 year period (2001-3), and part of the reason for that might have something to do with its host, actress Michelle Trachtenberg (Buffy, The Vampire Slayer), as the producers worked around her shooting schedule.

With Halloween right around the corner, Michelle takes a look at its origins.....

Michelle's delivery is a little flat, as she's there to teach and educate. Because of content, this wouldn't qualify for the FCC's E/I designation, and I don't think it aired in the daytime.

Rating: B--.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

On The Air: Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors (2018)

You've probably seen the Marvel Rising one-shots in stores this summer. Now, Marvel has produced a TV-movie, airing on Disney Channel, as they may be planning a new TV franchise.

Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors tells the story of how S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Daisy Johnson, aka Quake (Chloe Bennet, reprising her role from Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) came to form a team with a group of young heroes, including the current Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, America Chavez, and Patriot. The final member of the team, Inferno (Tyler Posey, ex-Teen Wolf), is added when the team, aided by Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel of the MCU, rescues him from some Kree nasties.

Former AT&T pitchwoman Milana Vayntrub voices Squirrel Girl, the same role she'll play in New Warriors, debuting next year.

Here's a trailer.

For some reason, Marvel opted for the Americanized anime look that worked for DC's Teen Titans 15 years ago, but not as pronounced. The Initiation prequel shorts have a similar look, and we'll look at that another time.

Rating: B--.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Game Time: Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? (1996)

PBS served up a 2nd adaptation of a Carmen Sandiego computer game, but this model didn't have the staying power of its predecessor.

Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego? lasted just 2 seasons (1996-8), with Kevin Shinick taking over as MC, with Lynne Thigpen returning as the Chief. Here's a sample episode, with part of the open missing:

Y'think maybe PBS should find a place for these shows on PBS Kids?

No rating. Didn't see this show.

Spooktober: The Wickedest Witch (1989)

This was posted yesterday over at The Land of Whatever:

Paul Fusco was rolling at NBC. ALF was in its 4th season, and there were two animated spinoffs on Saturday mornings. A 3rd Fusco Saturday entry would come along in the form of Spacecats a year or so after his last primetime special.

The Wickedest Witch, narrated by Burgess Meredith, is a satire of Halloween tropes and cliches, although the underground world governed by Avarissa (Rue McClanahan, The Golden Girls) looks like Fusco ripped off Fraggle Rock, although some of the sets would be reused for the puppet portion of Spacecats. Fusco even uses his Gordon Shumway (ALF) voice for one of the Greevils.

Rating: C-.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Toons After Dark: Clerow Wilson's Great Escape (1974)

Clerow "Flip" Wilson produced a pair of animated specials based on his childhood during the course of his variety show's run on NBC. Clerow Wilson's Great Escape, IIRC, is the second of those specials. Wilson's production company co-produced the show with the network and DePatie-Freleng. Wilson voices his younger self, along with some familiar characters from his variety show--Geraldine Jones, Rev. Leroy, and Ralph, the invisible dog.

Yes, this does come with commercials intact, as this is a rare find. No rating.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Animated World of DC Comics: The Marvel Family vs. Mr. Atom, The Smasher (1981)

From The Kid Super Power Hour w/Shazam!:

One of Captain Marvel's oldest foes, Mr. Atom, makes an appearance. Seems CC Beck had the idea of a sentient android before Marvel Comics came up with Ultron. Meanwhile, Uncle Dudley (Alan Oppenheimer) creates a remote control device that comes in handy.....

Rating: B.

Bad TV: The Scooby-Doo Project (1999)

It was a good idea, but the execution was lacking.

In 1999, Cartoon Network decided to try a parody of the hit film, "The Blair Witch Project". Unfortunately, while The Scooby-Doo Project was heavily promoted, the network didn't do themselves or their viewers any favors with how this turned out. I'll explain after you look at the video.

On one hand, this was a way to mark Scooby's 30th anniversary, using recycled footage, and reuniting the original cast, save for Don Messick (Scooby), who'd passed away a couple of years earlier. Archived footage and dialogue were used and re-edited, it seems.

Unfortunately, Cartoon Network missed one important detail.

To better sell The Scooby-Doo Project to viewers, CN had to completely sell out, and pull reruns of the franchise from the umpteen spots it had on the schedule for the duration of the promotion, which, I thought, would've been better suited to tie into a then-pending network premiere of the 2nd film in the ongoing DTV series, "Scooby-Doo & The Witch's Ghost", which introduced the rock group, the Hex Girls (featuring Jane Weidlin of the Go-Go's), who would go on to appear on Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated years later. If you subbed in, say for example, Funky Phantom, Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan, Clue Club, etc., shows that weren't currently on the schedule and have since been largely ignored by CN, for those Scooby reruns that were already played into the ground by this point, CN could've mined and milked the drama better than they did. Because they didn't, this project laid an egg.

Rating: C--.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Toon Rock: I Just Can't Wait to be King (1994)

From "The Lion King":

Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Home Improvement) doesn't like the idea of his bestie, Mala, eventually becoming his mate, but when Zazu (Rowan Atkinson, Mr. Bean) tries to explain things, Simba breaks into song, and Jason Weaver steps in to perform "I Just Can't Wait to be King":

Spooktober: The Ghost Busters vs. The Red Baron (1975)

Howard Morris returns to Filmation, and, predictably, turns up on Ghost Busters. Morris is cast as the ghost of the Red Baron. This episode, "Only Ghosts Have Wings", reunited Morris with Larry Storch (Spencer), who had worked with Morris on Groovie Goolies five years earlier.

I think Morris recycled the voice he used for the Baron from one of the many characters he had played on Will The Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down?, also in 1970. Seems to me that Robert Easton (Sparks), who has no other known credits to my knowledge, was a stand-in for Daws Butler, since his Southern drawl is pretty close to Huckleberry Hound, in this writer's opinion.

Rating: C. Not one of the better entries, and, as before, the audio is ahead of the video.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Spooktober: The Ghost Busters meet Billy The Kid (1975)

Howdy, pardners! Seems the ghost of Billy The Kid has turned up in a familiar lookin' graveyard, and that means the Ghost Busters are on the case. Marty Ingels (ex-Motormouse & Autocat, I'm Dickens, He's Fenster) guest stars. The purty lookin' filly playin' Belle Starr's ghost? Wal, Brooke Tucker is the daughter of series star Forrest Tucker (Kong).

Wal, this here's one ah missed, so there's not to be a rating.....

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Toon Legends: Tom & Jerry in Guided Mouse-ille (1967)

Let's take a trip nearly 600 years into the future with Tom & Jerry in Chuck Jones' 1967 sci-fi farce, "Guided Mouse-ille (or Science on a Wet Afternoon)":

The fact that this was set in 2565 suggests the short was originally produced in 1965, but it took two years for MGM to release it. No matter what, it is hysterical.

Come to think of it, don't ya think Hanna-Barbera used this as inspiration for the more contemporary Motormouse & Autocat a couple of years later?

Rating: A.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Spooktober: Mister Rogers meets Margaret Hamilton (1975)

By the time this episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood aired in May 1975, special guest Margaret Hamilton might've actually been better known for shilling for Maxwell House coffee than her signature role of the Wicked Witch of The West in 1939's "The Wizard of Oz".

In the interview, the only portion of the episode we have, Margaret explains the witch's motivations, among other things.

Edit, 9/14/2020: The video was deleted. All we have now is a screencap acquired from Me-TV:

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Spooktober: I Was a Teenage Vampire (Archie's Weird Mysteries, 2000)

Archie's Weird Mysteries only ran for one season of 40 episodes, but it goes a long way toward explaining Archie Comics' creative director Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's obsession with creating and curating alternate, horrific worlds where some of the gang have become vampires or zombies or werewolves.

Take for example the episiode, "I Was a Teenage Vampire". It's really the middle part of a trilogy that introduced a female vampire, Scarlet, to the Archie Comics universe (she'd also appear in the comics version of the series). We've previously screened the followup episode, "Halloween Horror", and Scarlet's debut will be coming up soon. Anyway, scope it out, and I'll explain the significance of choosing this episode.

Today, nearly 20 years later, Veronica Lodge is a vampire again, albeit in one of those alternate realities. Vampironica is actually a parody of the long running Vampirella comic that has found a new home at Dynamite Entertainment in recent years. Vampironica, thankfully, is not written by Aguirre-Sacasa, who's spending more of his time in Hollywood & Vancouver, the latter being the site where Riverdale and the rest of Greg Berlanti's series are being shot. Aguirre-Sacasa has refused to continue the books he was writing at Archie or allow other writers to share his visions. In her new book, though, Ronnie's a heroine. Thank God.

No rating. Didn't see this the first time.

You Know The Voice: Len Weinrib (1965)

Len Weinrib made his 3rd appearance on The Dick Van Dyke Show during season 4, playing a different character than he had in previous go-rounds, including one we've previously seen.

In "The Impractical Joke", Len plays a pal of Buddy (Morey Amsterdam), and the two play a phone prank on Rob (Dick Van Dyke). Buddy gets paranoid thinking Rob will reciprocate.

Van Dyke, of course, would later venture into animation, narrating The Town That Santa Forgot in 1993, and, before that, guest starring on The New Scooby-Doo Movies. This episode also features a pre-Green Acres Alvy Moore, who'd later be the voice of Grandpa on The Littles. As previously documented, Rose Marie (Sally) would later guest on Yogi's Gang while spending several seasons on the original Hollywood Squares.

Phone pranks have become big business since then, but never as funny as this.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Animated World of DC Comics: Young Justice returns

Fans rioted when Chumptoon Network decided to cancel Young Justice in favor of the spammed-into-the-ground Teen Titans Go! six years ago.

Then, rumors started to circulate that the show conceivably would return, and was originally earmarked for Netflix. That is, until DC decided to start their own streaming service, DC Universe.

The third season, subtitled, Outsiders, picks up where season 2 left off. Following is a trailer that includes footage from season 2 (which ye scribe never got to see):

The above trailer premiered in July at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Yesterday, at the NY Comic-Con, it was announced that there would be an accompanying relaunch of the Young Justice comic book, tied into the DC Universe service. Meaning, it's likely digital-only. Oh, and that ain't all. DC is launching a new imprint, Wonder Comics, curated by Brian Michael Bendis. More on that in the next "On The Shelf" column over at The Land of Whatever.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Spooktober: Spooks Run Wild (1941)

There's an interesting backstory behind The East Side Kids, who later became The Bowery Boys. Just the same, their films were packaged in syndication in the 70's & 80's under one roof, if you will.

This all started, actually, with the feature film, "Dead End", and the launch of a series of films starring The Dead End Kids. We'll deal with the Dead End era another day, but most people remember the later eras due to the weekly broadcasts, which, in New York, were on WNEW (now WNYW), Saturday & Sunday afternoons at noon (ET).

Today, we have a 1941 East Side Kids entry, "Spooks Run Wild", co-starring Bela Lugosi. While the gang mistakenly thinks Lugosi's character is the villain of the piece, well......

"Sunshine" Sammy Morrison had previously appeared in the Our Gang comedies, and East Side Kids gave him his last major exposure.

Note, too, that this was over an hour, which meant that it would fill a 90 minute frame on WNEW.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Animated World of DC Comics: A preview of Harley Quinn's new show (2018)

Well, kids, DC Universe is officially online, and the hype machine is rolling for an animated Harley Quinn series (launch date TBA). Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) will voice Harley. Here's a teaser clip with Harl, BFF Poison Ivy, and a certain, ah, friend....

DC & WB have been back & forth on Ivy's skin color in recent years. Sometimes it's green, as in the above clip, sometimes she reverts to her original fleshtones.

And, yeah, that was a cheap shot about FX backing off on a Deadpool cartoon.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Spooktober: The Ghost Busters in Who's Afraid of The Big Bad Wolf? (1975)

This might explain how Len Weinrib eventually landed a series of his own.

Len guest stars in this episode of Ghost Busters as a werewolf, whose human alter-ego, Harry Albert, is meant to be a parody of Lawrence Talbot, made famous by Lon Chaney, Jr. more than 30 years earlier.

Two years later, of course, Len was back in front of the cameras for the Kroffts' Magic Mongo, which, like Ghost Busters, lasted one season.

Normally, werewolves are portrayed as being mindless savages whose human selves can't remember anything. Harry, unfortunately, didn't pass the IQ test of a human, either.

Rating: B.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Spooktober: Beetlejuice (1989)

Beetlejuice became the 2nd spin-off from a Tim Burton movie to reach Saturday mornings when it debuted on ABC in 1989. The other? How do you think Pee-Wee Herman landed his Pee-Wee's Playhouse on CBS, one year after "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure"?

Anyway, Nelvana was tasked with the continuing adventures of Beetlejuice (Stephen Ouimette, attempting to imitate Michael Keaton) and his human BFF, Lydia (Alyson Court). In the series, Beetlejuice was more of a shape-changer in much the same way the Genie would be in Disney's "Aladdin" a few years later, changing appearance for the sake of a quick gag. Lydia was given a special outfit to wear in the Neitherworld, a spider-web patterned poncho over a black bodysuit. It's too bad she was actually underage for Beetlejuice, who tried to marry her in the movie, you'll recall. I can imagine, though, young boys in Lydia's age range tuning in......

Anyway, what better way to kick off Spooktober than the series premiere, also our Famous First for October. Here's "Critter Sitters".

Edit, 8/30/21: Had to change the video as Dailymotion deleted the episode. In this sample, Lydia summons Beetlejuice, and, since this is the opener, we see her Neitherworld attire for the first time:

In all, Beetlejuice ran for a couple of years on ABC, running concurrently on Fox at the end of the ABC run. Four years sounds about right. Unfortunately, no one is willing to pick up the show this time of year. It was a trip, just like the movie.

Rating: A-.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Getting Schooled: The Toothbrush Family (1974)

G'day, mate. Do you remember The Toothbrush Family?

This series of short cartoons was the idea of Marcia Hatfield of Australia, who came up with the idea to convince her son to start brushing his teeth. Billie Richards (Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer) and Len Carlson, known here in the States for his work on the animated Swamp Thing and other cartoons, performed all the voices in these shorts, which made their way to the US in 1979, airing on Captain Kangaroo.

Let's take a look at a sample.

The poster is referring to the period when these shorts ran in the US, as the copyright clearly shows 1974. The series was revived in 1998 in Australia, but those efforts haven't reached our shores.

Rating: B-.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Tooniversary: Popeye in Shark Treatment (1978)

From season 1 of The All-New Popeye Hour, marking its 40th anniversary this year:

Popeye helps his dad, Poopdeck Pappy (both voiced by Jack Mercer) track an old shark nemesis of the old salt. Here's "Shark Treatment":

I think they did a similar storyline some years earlier, and if I can find it, I'll put it up.

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Have You Seen Her? (1971-2)

Not long ago, we served up the Chi-Lites' "Oh Girl", from their appearance on Soul Train. This next entry may be from that same appearance during Soul Train's 1st national season (1971-2).

"Have You Seen Her?" was later covered by MC Hammer, with some new lyrics, in 1990.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Thundarr in City of Evil (1981)

The title speaks for itself. Thundarr The Barbarian (Robert Ridgely, also heard as Tarzan & Flash Gordon on other networks) and friends enter a "City of Evil". Scope.

Edit, 9/25/19: Unfortunately, the video has been deleted.

'Tis a pity ABC pulled the plug after 2 seasons. Reruns were picked up by NBC for the 1983 season when they were short on first-run programming.

Rating: B.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Toonfomercial: ABC made some changes 40 years ago (1978)

ABC clearly didn't have enough new material when the 1978-9 season began, such that they were running vintage reruns of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? (acquired from CBS) at the start of the season. A month in, the network shuffled the deck, and bumped the older Scooby reruns.

As the following ad, narrated by Dick Tufeld, explains, Challenge of the Super Friends was expanded to 90 minutes to include episodes from the previous season's All-New Super Friends Hour. With Scooby's All-Stars (formerly Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics) reduced to 90 minutes from its original 2 hour format, well.....

Maybe I was misremembering things, but I always thought Challenge led off. Anyway, the listed air time (7 am) is for the Central time zone.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Looney TV: Merlin The Magic Mouse in Fistic Mystic (1969)

Time to visit with Merlin The Magic Mouse (Larry Storch, ex-F-Troop) as he & Second Banana wind up a small Old West town in "Fistic Mystic". Storch retained the W. C. Fields-inspired vocals for Merlin, originally developed by Daws Butler two years earlier.

After F-Troop ended, Storch began his voice acting career, splitting time between WB & Filmation over a period of five years (1968-73), and even reprised his characterization of The Joker in a pair of New Scooby-Doo Movies episodes.

Rating: B.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Arabian Knights in The Prisoner (1968)

The Arabian Knights turn 50 this year. Unfortunately, with the political climate being what it is, there are no chances of a reboot today. Meh, it can be done, but under the right circumstances.

Anyway, in "The Prisoner", Nida (Shari Lewis) poses as another princess to foil Bakaar's latest plot.

Not sure if it's either Ginny Tyler or Janet Waldo as Tasmine.

Rating: A-.

Summertainment: Mr. Magoo in A Day at The Beach (1960)

Summer's almost over. Here's Mr. Magoo, taking in "A Day at The Beach".

The familiar open was edited off. When Magoo came to CBS in 1977, Charlie didn't come with him, for obvious reasons.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Overthinking Bert & Ernie

Next year, Sesame Street turns 50. That includes two of the series' most beloved characters, BFF's Bert & Ernie, whose long time friendship has come under some unwarranted scrutiny of late after a former writer for Street was quoted in a magazine article the other day as saying he wrote sketches for the two Muppets based on his own relationship with a same-sex partner.

Mark Saltzman joined the Street writing staff in 1984, 15 years after Bert & Ernie debuted. Frank Oz & the late Jim Henson based their characterizations of the roommates on their own long-standing friendship. Sesame Workshop has stated that there are no questions about Bert & Ernie's sexual orientation, other than the fact that they are heterosexual, and always have been. Saltzman, for his part, has walked back his remarks that were published in the heretofore unknown LGBT publication Queerty, according to today's New York Post, stating his remarks were misinterpreted.

Before I go any further, here's a classic Bert & Ernie skit:

If anything else, the legendary Muppets are used as teaching tools for pre-schoolers, Sesame Street's target audience. They're also regarded among the great comedy teams of all time, including the likes of, at least in this writer's opinion, Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy, Bugs Bunny and either Elmer Fudd or Daffy Duck, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo, and Fred Flintstone & Barney Rubble. While we live in an increasingly inclusive, progressive society, taking a piece of our childhood, and remolding it to fit these societal changes, is itself open to interpretation. There've been rumors for years about Bert & Ernie. It's time to put those rumors to rest.

You Know The Voice: Mel Blanc (1986)

In 1986, CBS aired a special 50th anniversary retrospective of the Warner Bros. animation library. At the end of the show, Mel Blanc appears to advise viewers of all ages to check out some books on animation at their local library. Naturally, Bugs Bunny is heard from at the end.

The Read More About It series was attached to a number of CBS specials and made-for-TV movies in those days.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Toons After Dark: Mr. Magoo meets Sherlock Holmes (1964)

From The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo:

Magoo (Jim Backus, Gilligan's Island) is Dr. John Watson, faithful associate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famed sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. Paul Frees is heard as "Holmes", as if you couldn't tell.

Amusing. Too bad the open & close, with Carl Brandt's swinging score, were edited off.

Rating: A.

Daytime Heroes: He-Man meets Visitors From Earth (1984)

From season 2 of He-Man & The Masters of The Universe (Filmation series):

A pair of Earth astronauts go through a spatial warp and end up on Eternia. We find that Queen Marlena was herself an astronaut back on Earth, and the presences of fellow astronauts creates an interesting scenario for her.

Here's "Visitors From Earth":

Rating: B.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Toon Legends: Popeye in Can You Take It? (1934)

In 1934's "Can You Take It", Popeye (William Costello) decides to join a tough guys' club, run by Bluto. The initiation is worth the price of admission alone.

The title comes from the question posed by Bluto and the club. Well, ask a silly question......

Rating: A.

Saturday (Afternoon) Ringside: A Shakespearian fight scene in 2018

In the hometown, they had something called "The Enchanted City" yesterday. It's an annual event, now in its 5th year, which encourages all sorts of cosplay across the timestream. Not just 19th century steampunk, mind, but also, a dash of Shakespeare.

Sam Wilson, the genius in charge of Mondo 70, The Think 3 Institute, & True Pulp Fiction, was there, and recorded this sequence, adapted from the Bard's Merchant of Venice. I am reminded of Daffy Duck & Porky Pig's scene in "Robin Hood Daffy", but this looks like they're auditioning for some Jules Verne film festival......

Sam has his own YouTube channel, so go check it out. You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

On The Air: Ring Warriors (2018)

Former NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) President Howard Brody founded the Ring Warriors promotion a number of years ago, but it seceded from the NWA in 2012, trying to function on its own. Brody closed up shop four years later, but after securing a national television contract with WGN America, Ring Warriors is back.

WGN America has placed the program at 8 am (ET/7 am CT) on Saturday mornings, ahead of a Married..With Children marathon block. Talk about a buzzkiller. Many of the names on the roster will be familiar to fans of TNA-Impact, Ring of Honor, Major League Wrestling, or, in the case of backstage reporter Ken Resnick, either the AWA or the World Wrestling Federation. Resnick worked for both in the 80's, and hasn't been on the national scene since the American Wrestling Federation in the 90's.

Impact's current champion, Austin Aries, is a storyline minority owner of Ring Warriors, and sat in on commentary for the opener. I missed the first 20 minutes of today's show due to other commitments, and missed Aries' promo, which is excerpted in the following trailer....

The show is being filmed, not taped, in Las Vegas at Sam's Town, which has hosted ROH tapings in the past. The other drawback is the early time slot. WGN America is like a number of other cablers, spamming reruns of older acquisitions into the ground when they could find a better spot for their newest series. I recommend an early evening berth that the NWA would be familiar with from back in the day.....

Rating: C.

Friday, September 14, 2018

You Know The Voice: Len Weinrib (1961)

As we've documented, the late Len Weinrib not only was a prominent voice actor for much of the 60's, 70's, & 80's, but also a indie filmmaker, and made some live-action acting appearances as well (i.e. Burke's Law). Keep an eye out for him in this first season installment of The Dick Van Dyke Show, "Buddy, Can You Spare a Job?":

Len never looked so dapper.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Oh, Girl (1972)

The Chi-Lites' "Oh, Girl" was released as a single in March 1972, and it eventually landed them on Soul Train. We'll see a performance, with an intro by the band and Don Cornelius.

"Oh, Girl" was covered by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles later in '72, and hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart for British singer Paul Young in 1990. In between, country singer Con Hunley covered it, backed by the Oak Ridge Boys, in 1982. And that's just a few of the cover versions, because this has been done many times by many artists.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Toons You Might've Missed: Wacky Blackout (1942)

Here's a Looney Tunes wartime short, directed by Bob Clampett, that probably hasn't seen the light of day since Clampett's Cartoon Network show signed off. Mel Blanc narrates "Wacky Blackout".

Kent Rogers did the Red Skelton mimic as the woodpecker, in case ya wonder.

Rating: A-.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Zorro in The Frame (1981)

Zorro (Henry Darrow) is framed for a series of thefts. Anyone that followed The New Adventures of Zorro should have no trouble figuring out the guilty party.

For what it's worth, this was the only time Filmation outsourced the animation on any of their network series, as there is a clear indication that the work was done in Japan. Here's "The Frame":

Standard stuff, and it should've gotten an earlier time slot.

Rating: A.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

You Know The Voice: Alan Reed (1954)

From season 2 of The Danny Thomas Show, aka Make Room For Daddy:

A Hollywood bigwig (Alan Reed) tries convincing Danny to have plastic surgery done on his nose. Yes, that is the future voice of Fred Flintstone with blondish hair.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Coming Attractions: She-Ra returns

More than 30 years after her debut, She-Ra returns in November on Netflix, but there's already some concerns, perhaps unfounded. More after the trailer:

Aimee Carrero (Elena of Avador, ex-Level Up) has been cast as Princess Adora/She-Ra, rebooted as a young orphan, which tells us that there may not be any chance of Adora seeing her twin brother, Prince Adam of Eternia (aka He-Man) in this series, unless Dreamworks & Netflix are in the midst of negotiations to add the rest of the Masters of The Universe line, of which She-Ra is part, to the mix in due course. There are people complaining already about the more PC-friendly costumes to given to Adora in both of her identities, but, hey, it's 2018. We can't have things be the same for certain shows or movies this time around, and the older fanboys who followed the original series haven't grasped this yet.

The designs will strike a chord, or at least that's the intention, with anime fans, but there are going to be those older get-a-lifes who just don't get it, and have little else to do but whine.

She-Ra & The Princesses of Power drops on Netflix on November 16, one week before Thanksgiving. Parents, expect your daughters to be asking for the inevitable action figures.