Saturday, March 31, 2018

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Lone Ranger vs. the Silver Man (1966)

The Lone Ranger (Michael Rye) goes undercover to capture the Silver Man. One commentator on YouTube suggested the villain's voice belonged to an uncredited Denver Pyle, then better known for his recurring gig on The Andy Griffith Show as Roscoe Darling. However, it could very well have been Shep Menken, since Tonto doesn't appear in this episode, or Marvin Miller.

Edit, 1/8/20: The video has been deleted.

Excuse the video quality, plus the fact that the video freezes at the 6:10 mark.

Rating: B.

Toonfomercial: Remember Operation Cork? (1978)

To be honest, I hadn't seen this one until I ran across it on YouTube the other day.

Anyway, Lee Mendelson & Bill Melendez, the guys behind those Peanuts specials from the 60's onward, were commissioned to produce this ad to promote Operation Cork, a program designed to inform viewers about alcohol abuse. I think, though, this might've been a regional thing, since I never saw it when it first came out.

Edit, 4/20/21: The video was deleted by YouTube. There is very little else available.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Toons After Dark: Scoobynatural (2018)

Scooby-Doo returns to broadcast primetime television for the first time in 15 years, as he & the Mystery Inc. team guest star on Supernatural.

The plot: The episode is bookended with live-action sequences involving the show's leads, Sam & Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki & Jensen Ackles), who get sucked into a season 1 episode of Scooby-Doo Where Are You?, "A Night of Fright is no Delight". We reviewed the original episode last night, so let's jump to the here and now.

The animation, of course, is a radical improvement on the original, but then, WB has stepped up their game with Scooby for the last 20 years. For the purposes of the story, the ghost that the shady lawyer is posing as is rebooted pro tempore into a real ghost. That leads to an awkward meta sequence where the Winchesters have to explain to Scooby and the gang that the monsters they fight are, in fact, real. Daphne (Grey Griffin) looked like she was on the verge of tears, or having a nervous breakdown. Dean is crushing on Daph, representing every red blooded teenage boy since 1969, and thus is jealous of Fred (Frank Welker).

The live-action sequences tie together with the animated portion, as Castiel, the Winchesters' angel pal (Mischa Collins) ultimately joins them. The real bad guy is in the real world. I'm not so sure we'd get a sequel to this one, though.

Here's a morsel, courtesy of TV Line:



I don't usually follow Supernatural, so I don't know if Dean has ever scored with the ladies.

Rating for this episode: B+. We'll take a closer look at Supernatural over at The Land of Whatever another time.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Toon Legends: Scooby-Doo in A Night of Fright is no Delight (1970)

"A Night of Fright is no Delight" was the pentultimate episode of season 1 of Scooby-Doo Where Are You?, first shown in January 1970. The Mystery Inc. team heads for a mansion on a remote island, where an eccentric millionaire's will is being read. Scooby (Don Messick) stands to inherit a share of the fortune if he & the gang can stay the night.

Edit, 5/6/21: The video has been deleted. In its place is the title card:


This episode was loosely adapted for tonight's episode of Supernatural on CW. Casey Kasem (Shaggy) can be heard in this one also as Col. Beauregard Sanders and, predictably, a police detective. The current cast (Frank Welker, Grey Griffin, Matt Lilliard, Kate Micucci), plus Dee Bradley Baker, are the guests on Supernatural. We'll review "Scoobynatural" tomorrow.

Rating: A-.

Alphabetic Toons: Unscrambling words with Pebbles (1980)

From The Flintstone Comedy Show (2nd series):

Pebbles (Russi Taylor), dressed as a cheerleader, offers a lesson in unscrambling a word.



Taylor became the 4th actress to essay the voice of teen Pebbles, after Sally Struthers, Mickey Stevens (who replaced Struthers on Flintstone Comedy Hour in 1972), and Pamela Anderson, but not the best of the lot. On this print, her voice sounds a little sped up.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Looney TV: Duck Dodgers sings! (Not!) (2004)

To win a talent contest, Duck Dodgers (Joe Alaskey) swaps voices with special guest star Tom Jones. That would be just like the late-period Daffy Duck to pull a stunt like that. Duck/Jones performs "It's Not Unusual" (Duck w/Jones' voice, and vice versa), but the Martian Queen (Tia Carrere) steals the show with "Blues in The Night" in "Talent Show A-Go-Go".

Then, Duck unwittingly helps a midget thief (Dick Beals).





Hey, how easy was that for the Queen of Mars? Too bad she wasn't a winner, though she should've been.

Rating: B.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Toon Rock: Old McDonald Had a Farm, Flintstone style (1964)

From season 3 of The Flintstones:

The Flintstones & Rubbles are on a camping vacation when Fred (Alan Reed) & Barney (Mel Blanc) happen across a global Cave Scout Jamboree. The climax has the boys leading the scouts on a rendition of "Old McDonald Had a Farm", with the lyrics done multi-lingually. There's really a question of whether or not the producers actually got the French, Dutch, German, Italian, & Japanese translations right, though.



This is the only part of the episode I remember seeing. We'll have the full episode up another day.

Toon Legends: Yogi The Easter Bear (1994)

Yogi Bear returned in the 1994 syndicated special, Yogi The Easter Bear.

It's typical Yogi nonsense with an Easter theme, and also the final time that Don Messick would voice Ranger Smith (Yogi & Boo Boo would return in Scooby's Arabian Nights five months later, for Messick's swan song).

Jellystone Park is holding an Easter jamboree, which brings the Supreme Commissioner (Gregg Berger), and as if Smith wasn't on edge before, worried about Yogi spoiling the party, he's got even more reason. Worse, he entrusts a legally blind ranger, Mortimer (Jonathan Winters) to guard the Easter candy. Uh-oh.......

Edit, 9/20/19: The video has been deleted by Dailymotion. If/when it returns, we'll bring it back.

If Hanna-Barbera was hoping to revive interest in Yogi after bombing with Yo, Yogi! three years earlier, well, I don't think it worked out. Some of the schtick is predictable, and the real villain, a crooked, greedy businessman (Charlie Adler), seemed to come out of the generic villain catalogue.

With Easter being next week, this can serve as an appetizer.

Rating: B-.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Looney TV: Two Tone Town (Tiny Toon Adventures, 1992)

The producers of Tiny Toon Adventures paid homage to the earliest Merrie Melodies & Looney Tunes characters in the season 3 episode, "Two Tone Town".

Concerned about his status, Buster (Charlie Adler) sees an ad promoting auditions for a new WB show, Acme Oop, prior to a movie date with Babs. Old school star Foxy (Rob Paulsen) not only stars in "The Big Buzz of 1932", but is working the box office. We're also (re)introduced to Roxy (guest star Desiree Goyette, ex-The New You Asked For It) and Goopy Gear (guest star Robert Morse).

Foxy & Roxy, it happens, became prototypes for the Warner sibs from Animaniacs, which premiered a year later.

Edit, 6/22/19: The episode has been deleted. In its place is a Fox network promo for the episode.



Speaking of You Asked For It, the producers used that as the title, or variants thereof, of three season 1 episodes.

Rating: A.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Daytime Heroes: Gargoyles (1994)

While Disney satirized Batman with Darkwing Duck, they also tried to emulate the toon noir style that had been popularized by Batman: The Animated Series with a fantasy-crime drama that deserved a better fate.

Gargoyles started with a 5 episode miniseries in 1994. In all, 13 episodes were produced for the first season, and 52 more in season 2 for an industry standard 65 episode order for syndicated weekday programming.

Keith David ("They Live") headed an all star cast as Goliath, the leader of what would become known as the Manhattan Clan, a group of gargoyles brought to life at night after being transported from their ancestral home in Scotland.

We previously had discussed the series' 3rd & final season, when it went to a weekly format and shifted to ABC, where it was sub-titled, The Goliath Chronicles, after its main protagonist. Network meddling, particularly the need to adhere to FCC guidelines as it relates to Saturday programming (moral messages, etc.), led to the series demise. Repeats of the first two seasons continued, as memory serves, and when ABC pulled the plug, Disney put the whole shebang in the vaults.

The supporting cast had a strong Star Trek flavor, starting with Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: The Next Generation) as corrupt businessman David Xanatos, who starts as an enemy of the Gargoyles, their answer to Superman's nemesis, Lex Luthor. Somewhere along the way, probably after Xanatos got married and started a family, he turned into an ally of the Gargoyles. Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, & Michael Dorn (Next Generation), Kate Mulgrew (later of Star Trek: Voyager), and Nichelle Nichols (the original Trek) were also heard, as were Ed Asner (who also worked on Batman & Spider-Man for Fox) and Bill Fagerbakke (Coach).

The episode, "Deadly Force", comes from season 1, and was subsequently banned from future broadcasts. The easily impressionable Broadway (Fagerbakke) makes a near fatal mistake....



As I noted before, I didn't watch much of the 3rd season, but it's largely been condemned for catering to network suits. There is an episode in season 2 where detective Eliza Maza briefly becomes a Gargoyle herself, confused about the state of her budding relationship with Goliath.

Rating: A.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

From Out of the Recycling Bin: Fred Flintstone & Friends (1977)

Hanna-Barbera, spurred by the success WPIX in New York was having with a checkerboard Fun World weekday block (previously reviewed) that put some of their less successful series in a nice package decided to do the same themselves with Fred Flintstone & Friends, which aired in the Big Apple not on WPIX, but WNEW (now WNYW) weekday mornings.

Unfortunately, the intro we know is not available. There is a slightly altered one on YouTube, but that's not of use to us. We do know the lineup, though, and each of the component series have also been reviewed previously.

For starters, there would be Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm (1971), with Sally Struthers (All in The Family) as Pebbles, and Jay North (ex-Dennis The Menace, Here Comes The Grump, Maya) as Bamm-Bamm.



For what it's worth, comedienne Mitzi McCall was cast as Penny, who looked like she could've been a distant relative of Bamm-Bamm's adoptive mother, Betty Rubble.

From the freshman class of 1974, we have Partridge Family 2200 A. D., which lost Susan Dey (Laurie) after just 2 weeks, replaced by Sherry Alberoni (Super Friends, ex- Josie & The Pussycats, Mickey Mouse Club). Danny Bonaduce, Brian Forster, and Suzanne Crough had previously been, along with Dey, on Goober & The Ghost Chasers.

Well, here's the Partridges:



And Goober:



Rounding out the rotation were two more series from the class of 1973. First, there's Yogi's Gang:



And, then, there's Jeannie, which isn't really a prequel to I Dream of Jeannie, though Sony currently owns the rights. Impressionist Julie McWhirter voices Jeannie, whose master in this series is teenager Cory Anders (Mark Hamill, who also sings the title song).



Each series' episodes were split into two parts to fit the half hour format. This was also the last series in which Alan Reed was the voice of Fred Flintstone, who served as the series host, before his passing. It's widely believed that Henry Corden officially took over with a Flintstone holiday special three months after the anthology block launched.

Unfortunately, Fred Flintstone & Friends didn't have any extra staying power than its components, as it lasted about a year or two in this form before the component series were all consigned to limbo for a few years. Watching this gave me a chance---finally---to see the shows that had been blacked out in the home market initially (i.e. Jeannie) due to affiliate disinterest.

Rating: B+.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Toon Rock: Yabba-Dabba-Dabba-Dabba-Doo (1961)

The Flintstones began its sophomore season in 1961 in grand style. Legendary composer Hoagy Carmichael guest stars when Fred (Alan Reed) and Barney (Daws Butler, subbing for the then-injured Mel Blanc) get mixed up with a con artist in a plagiarism scheme involving one of Carmichael's most famous songs, "Stardust".

Near the end of the show, the Flintstones & Rubbles and Carmichael are in the audience for a stone age version of another ABC series, The Lawrence Welk Show (I believe this might have also been Butler doing his best Welk mimic, though I could be wrong), when Carmichael is called up to the stage. Henry Corden provides Fred's singing voice as the cast joins Carmichael for "Yabba-Dabba-Dabba-Dabba-Doo":



This clip has been used for promotional purposes on Cartoon Network/Boomerang in recent years. Too bad no one thought of releasing a soundtrack album covering the entire series (1960-6) and all the musical guests (i.e. Carmichael, Ann-Margaret, James Darren).

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Toonfomercial: Donald Duck meets the Cheerios Kid (1955)

I have to imagine this next item aired during Mickey Mouse Club episodes on weekdays as well as during Heckle & Jeckle and other Saturday morning shows.

Donald Duck (Clarence Nash) needs help from the Cheerios Kid (Dick Beals) when Donald ignores his nephews' warning as he follows a trail into a bear cave.



Don't know how many of these were made. There's at least one more on YouTube.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Getting Schooled: Fifteen, aka Hillside (1991)

John Binkley had an idea for a teen soap opera. No, nothing like the current Riverdale, which aspires to be a post-modern hybrid of Peyton Place, Twin Peaks, & Saved by The Bell. In fact, Fifteen, known by the alternate title, Hillside, after the show's high school setting, in Canada, was safe and non-toxic entertainment for teenagers. I would guess middle school age and up.

As Fifteen, the series aired on Nickelodeon, but was originally ticketed for the Disney Channel, but the Mouse House wasn't interested. Their loss, it seems. Four seasons, totaling 65 episodes, aired between 1991-3, and introduced viewers to future film star Ryan Reynolds (Billy).

The Peter Rodgers Organization, which has acquired popular primetime shows of the 50's & 60's, such as The Rifleman & I Spy, also acquired Fifteen, making it available on their YouTube channel.



Curiously, Wikipedia's Hillside page says CBS owns the show. Hmmm.........

No rating.

Scooby-Doo returns to primetime for one night only

With the NCAA basketball tournaments underway, CW is putting their Thursday & Friday schedules on hold for 2 weeks. That said, when Supernatural returns March 29, it'll have its most famous guest star yet. Scooby-Doo.

Ruh-roh.

Supernatural, in its 13th season, has done animation before, but it was a while ago. As far as casting goes, so far, only Matthew Lilliard (Shaggy) is confirmed. The rest of the crew (Frank Welker, Kate Micucci, Grey Griffin), though, haven't been confirmed. We'll know for sure in 2 weeks, but this promo for the episode should tie you over until then.



We'll have a full review when the episode airs.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Muppets in high school? (Will Rogers Institute PSA, 2006)

During 2005-6, the Muppets appeared in a series of PSA's for the Will Rogers Institute. These spots were shown at AMC Theatres across the country, meaning they didn't get played in theatres in the home district.

In this piece, Ms. Piggy, Gonzo, & Fozzie hassle a teenage girl with reminders about school functions and so on, and she writes notes on her arm so she can remember. Now, of course, that's wrong, because she should've had a note pad. Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives, ex-Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) appears at the end, along with Kermit, and Statler & Waldorf.



There would be more spots, featuring Wayne Brady, Tommy Lee Jones, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. I'll see if I can find those for future use. Since this involves teens, I'd think this could've gotten some play on network or syndicated television, too.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Rein-Toon-Ation: Lassie (2013)

Forty years after Lassie's Rescue Rangers, Lassie, after two live-action follow-ups to her original TV series, returned to animation, this time in a Canadian produced series.

As far as I know, YouTube and maybe other online streaming services are the only way to see this show here in the US, unless Universal Kids has picked up the series. NBC-Universal-Comcast owns the rights to the Lassie franchise now, so maybe it's there.

Anyway, one huge difference between this show and Rescue Rangers is the fact that Lassie and the other dogs, and, we must assume, other animals, can talk. Like, you knew that was inevitable, didn't you?

Otherwise, it's the same old Lassie, under the care of another human family, and caring for them in return. Here's a sample episode, "Gold Rush!":



Keep an eye for this if Universal Kids did pick it up, or it could be available on your cable system's On Demand channel.

Rating: A.

Shillin' with the Peanuts kids: Pigpen for Regina vacuum cleaners (1994)

The messiest member of the Peanuts gang, Pigpen, went solo for a 1994 ad for Regina vacuum cleaners. At least now we get a better look at him without all that dirt & grime.....



Probably the only kid, real or fictional, that "respects" dirt. Oh, please.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

A message from Captain Kangaroo that's still relevant today (1983)

Throughout his run, Captain Kangaroo was all about teaching children, whether it was through reading books, having guests discussing fire & home safety, or, during the 80's, exercise with Slim Goodbody (we'll see him down the road if I can find some videos).

In 1983, the Captain (Bob Keeshan) cut this PSA about healthy breakfasts....



This, I think, was one of several regional PSA's produced. The same message would air across the country, but for education offices in each state.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Tooniversary: Lassie and the Rescue Rangers try to head off a Tidal Wave (1973)

Lassie's Rescue Rangers turns 45 this year. The series marked Ted Knight's return to Filmation after a four year absence (production on the DC cartoons ended after the 1968-9 season), during which time, of course, he landed his Emmy winning role as news anchor Ted Baxter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

As Ben Turner, Sr., the leader of the Forest Force, the human half of the Rescue Rangers, Knight uses his natural speaking voice, as he did as Ted. You might say, though, that this was a role he actually would've been happy with, since it was a rare dramatic part.

Most sources credit Filmation's grand dame of voices, Jane Webb, as Laura, Ben, Sr.'s wife, with co-producer Lou Scheimer's daughter, Erika, as daughter Susan. I think it may be the other way around, since Susan, while modeled after Marcia Brady (whom Erika was now playing on The Brady Kids), sounded like there was a bit of Webb's Betty Cooper/Barbara Gordon/Erica Lane voice. Erika's brother, Lane, and Keith Sutherland, who also joined the Brady Kids cast, are also heard here.

Also, listen to some of the incidental background music. It's also used on Star Trek and Brady Kids, and would be recycled for Tarzan and The New Adventures of Batman.

"Tidal Wave" was the next to last episode of the series, premiering 11 days before Christmas in December 1973. The Turners, with Lassie, Toothless (a mountain lion), and Musty (a skunk), head for Florida to help with emergency evacuation.

Edit, 1/8/20: The video has been deleted.

Bear in mind, too, that NBC had spun off a similar series based on their own hit series, Emergency!, the same year, and had the same lifespan as Rescue Rangers.

Rating: A.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Toon Rock: Particle Man (1990-1)

From season 1 of Tiny Toon Adventures:

They Might Be Giants' "Particle Man" never had a formal music video made to accompany it when it was released on TMBG's 1990 CD, "Flood". WB & Amblin Entertainment filled the void with this comic romp. Hamton lip-syncs John Linnell's vocals while Plucky Duck plays the role of "Particle Man".



Yep, Da Crusher makes an appearance. Another TMBG hit, "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)", also was converted into a TTA music video with Hamton & Plucky, and we'll show that one, a parody of "The Maltese Falcon", another day.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Tell Me Something Good (1974)

Time to bring some funk to prep for the weekend. From 1974 and Soul Train, here's Rufus, with lead singer Chaka Khan, and their monster hit, "Tell Me Something Good":



"Tell Me Something Good" peaked at #3 on the Billboard pop chart, and hit the top of Cashbox's chart.

For those of you who only remember Chaka from her big hair days in the 80's, this was her biggest hit to date prior to 1984's "I Feel For You".

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Toons After Dark: The Fantastic Funnies (1980)

In May 1980, CBS and producer-animator Bill Melendez served up a hour-long primetime special, The Fantastic Funnies, not to be confused with Filmation's ill-fated 1978 series for NBC, The Fabulous Funnies, although footage from that series was used in this special.

Loni Anderson (WKRP in Cincinnati) serves as host, and even gets animated for a brief segment at the top of the show, as Melendez transforms her into a figure closely resembling Daisy Mae from Li'l Abner. The hour includes interviews with creators such as Charles Schulz, Morrie Turner, Brad Anderson, Mort Walker, and Mell Lazarus.

The Fabulous Funnies footage includes a long banned bit with Tumbleweeds, and part of a Broom-Hilda short with the voices of June Foray and Lou Scheimer. Garfield makes his debut, leading to the series of specials, then Garfield & Friends. However, Scott Beach is the voice of Garfield here, instead of his better known portrayers, Lorenzo Music and Frank Welker.

The wackiest bit is a WKRP skit with Dr. Johnny Fever (Howard Hesseman) paying homage to NYC mayor Fiorello LaGuardia by reading the funnies during a newspaper strike in Cincinnati. Hesseman even tries doing a Gary Owens mimic for a brief bit.

Scope!



This aired right around the end of season 2 of WKRP, but the footage didn't come from an existing episode, in case anyone wonders. The first Broadway incarnation of "Annie" was still going strong, with Keene Curtis (ex-The Magician), later the narrator of Space Stars, appearing as Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks to do a duet with Annie (Patricia Patts).

Sadly, CBS never saw fit to repeat this show, and should've, even if some of the material dated itself rather quickly.

Rating: A.

You Know The Voice: Paul Winchell (1968)

We've seen before that ventriloquist Paul Winchell could do drama. He guest starred in a 1968 episode of The Virginian. Here, he plays Jingo, a friend of the Virginian (James Drury). In this excerpt, we'll see Paul around the 3 1/2 minute mark.



This came five years before his previously showcased appearance on Circle of Fear, but I get the feeling that, with the resume he put together, doing both comedies and dramas, Paul by all rights should've merited some Emmy consideration, not just for his work hosting children's shows.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Toons After Dark: Blondie & Dagwood (1987)

If you thought Defenders of The Earth was the extent of Marvel's business deal with Hearst Entertainment & King Features, you were wrong.

Marvel also obtained a license to adapt Chic Young's long running comic strip, Blondie, into an animated special. Blondie & Dagwood aired on CBS in 1987, nearly 20 years after the last live-action Blondie series aired on the same network.

The selling point was the casting of Loni Anderson (ex-WKRP in Cincinnati) as Blondie, with Frank Welker (Muppet Babies, Real Ghostbusters, Smurfs, etc.) as Dagwood. As often happens, J. C. Dithers (Alan Oppenheimer) fires Dagwood, forcing Blondie to find a job of her own.....



The supporting cast also includes Ike Eisenmann (ex-The Fantastic Journey) as Alexander.

There would be a follow-up special, also for CBS, and we'll have that up another day.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Dynomutt vs. Shadowman (1977)

Originally presented on Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics, this Dynomutt adventure is the series finale, as the canine cyborg (Frank Welker) and Blue Falcon (Gary Owens) go after Shadowman (John Stephenson).

Edit, 4/5/22: The video has been deleted due to a WB copyright claim.

Only 4 new Dynomutt episodes were produced, all in 2-part format to fit Laff-a-Lympics' 2 hour window, resulting in a grand total of 20 episodes produced over the 2 seasons (1976-8).

It's just too bad that H-B & ABC never considered a crossover that would've had the Falcon & Dyno meeting the Super Friends, but, then again, I felt the same way about them not having Scooby-Doo team with the Justice Leaguers.

Rating: B.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

You Know The Voice: Olan Soule (1961)

Howdy, pardners. Seems that Olan Soule feller got around Hollywood pretty good in the 60's. Folks saw him on Dennis The Menace, The Andy Griffith Show, Dragnet, and even in a 2-part Batman before he was cast in the first animated series for the Caped Crusader. Back in '61 he got to work with no less a Hollywood legend than Henry Fonda in an episode of The Deputy.

Ok, let me get out of character. Olan plays a traveling dentist who gets shanghaied in his own hotel room by a couple of outlaws, one of whom wants to spring his wacky bro out of the slammer before a hanging.

Co-creators Roland Kibbee and Norman Lear went on to bigger things (i.e. It Takes a Thief, All In The Family, etc.), albeit separately, after The Deputy was sent off to boot hill.

Family Toons: The Partridge Family (2200 AD) meets Cousin Sunspot (1974)

Let's take a trip to 2200 to visit the rebooted Partridge Family.

The Partridges greet their cousin Sunspot (guest star Allan Melvin, recycling his Punkin' Puss/Drooper voice from the 60's), who wants to join their act. Of course, chaos erupts.....



I think this, along with guest appearances on Hong Kong Phooey that same season, marked Melvin's return to H-B. He had an opening on his schedule with the Brady Bunch having ended, even though he had a recurring gig on All in The Family by this point.

Seems Partridge Family 2200 AD was a troubled production from the get-go. Susan Dey lasted just 2 episodes before Sherry Alberoni (Super Friends, ex-Josie & The Pussycats, Mickey Mouse Club) was called in to take her place as Laurie. Reportedly, Shirley Jones was never told by her agent about this series, but would she have taken the project? Then-husband Marty Ingels had done some work for H-B a few years earlier. Chuck McLendon had the thankless task of filling in for David Cassidy as Keith, and was never heard from again. As for the rest of the kids, at least they kept the character designs from the previous season's Goober & the Ghost Chasers. For what it's worth (not much), Danny Bonaduce landed one of his first more grown-up roles, showing a growth spurt, about a year or so later, guesting on Shazam!, also for CBS.

Rating: C.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Toon Legends: Mighty Mouse vs. The Electronic Mouse Trap (1946)

Mighty Mouse continues his never-ending battle against hungry cats in 1946's "The Electronic Mouse Trap". This is a print issued for syndication, if not also CBS. Anyway, a feline scientist develops a fire breathing mouse catcher, but this is as hokey as it gets.



Dare I say it? Cheesy to the max.

Rating: B-.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Rare Treats: A lost Flintstones pilot (1959-60)

Some of you may be aware that The Flintstones could've easily been The Flagstones, but for a twist of fate that I still haven't been able to discern.

Anyway, this 95 second demo reel was produced for network executives and advertisers. Jean VanderPyl (Wilma) is the only regular heard in the pilot. Daws Butler voiced both Fred & Barney, and, as you probably know, filled in for Mel Blanc for a few episodes during the early years. June Foray is Betty, whose look would ultimately change......



Now, that's what I call a rough cut. The scene would eventually be used in the episode, "The Swimming Pool".

Rating: B-.

Animated World of DC Comics: Batman in He Who Swipes The Ice, Goes To The Cooler (1968)

Here in the Northeast, we're getting plastered with snow, less than three weeks before spring. What better time, then, for a look back at Batman's chilly nemesis, Mr. Freeze.

Freeze resorts to kidnapping a visiting dignitary (Casey Kasem) for ransom in "He Who Swipes The Ice, Goes To The Cooler", preceded by "From Catwoman, With Love":

Edit, 4/3/19: The video was deleted due to a copyright claim from an international rights holder.

Anyone care to guess who was trying to mimic Humphrey Bogart as one of Freeze's henchmen?

Rating: A-.