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

Retro Toy Chest: Disney Talking Phones (1966-7)

In the 60's, Disney entered into a licensing agreement with Hasbro for various products. Among these were the Talking Phones, which featured Mickey Mouse, Snow White, and characters from the studio's adaptation of The Jungle Book.

The copyright says 1966, and the poster said this ad came out in 1967. We'll split the difference.

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.