Thursday, January 31, 2019

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Skedoodle? (1969)

Practically every child in the 60's & 70's had Ohio Art's Etch-a-Sketch. I know I did. What you may not know is that Hasbro, now the kingpin of toys, created their answer to the iconic product 50 years ago.

Skedoodle only lasted a few years. and, aside from ads like the one you're about to see, I have zero memory of ever seeing this in stores as a teenager.

This spot, reportedly, is from 1982.

Like, if you remember this product, drop me a line.

Teenage Toons: Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids meet a Little Tough Guy (1975)

I know from first hand experience it's never a good idea to exclude someone just because they're handicapped.

See, years ago, I was involved with a local charity, and played on their co-ed softball team. Most of the players had either physical or psychological disabilities, or, in at least one case, both. The team played their hearts out, and won a league title in 1987. I wasn't on the championship team, taking a hiatus from it for three years.

Anyway, in the season 3 finale of Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids, the gang meets Dwayne, whose foot injury provides an object lesson.......

Rating: B.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

You Know The Voice: Sid Raymond (1960's)

To cartoon fans, Sid Raymond was the voice of Baby Huey, and, at one time, Heckle & Jeckle. Sid also put some time in as a face actor as well, in movies and commercials.

Here, Sid is in an ad for Purina's now-defunct Tender Vittles cat food. Look quick, and you'll also see Judy Graubart (The Electric Company) in a brief cameo.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Clap For The Wolfman (1974)

Midnight Special announcer Wolfman Jack moved front & center in this clip from March 1974. Why? Canada's Guess Who immortalized him in song with "Clap For The Wolfman". Jack intro's and provides commentary.

Like, radical, man!

Friday, January 25, 2019

You Know The Voices: Paul Winchell, Shari Lewis, & Scatman Crothers (1969)

From season 1 of Love, American Style:

Ventriloquists Paul Winchell & Shari Lewis star in "Love & The Dummies". Two lovelorn amateur ventriloquists find common ground while waiting to audition for a talent show. One ironic part comes early, when Paul's character shares that he'd "never been on television before", when Paul had been a TV vet for nearly 2 decades!

Scatman plays a 1-man band in a scene. We knew he could sing, but what else could he do? Anyway, our focus starts at the 20 minute mark.

Let's think about this for a second. 1969, and Shari is SO hot.

Right toward the end, you'll see Bill Calloway (Cattanooga Cats), who was part of the series' repertory company, along with 70's icon Stuart Margolin (later of The Rockford Files), brother of writer-producer Arnold Margolin. If you've ever wondered what Bill looked like, well.....

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Retro Toy Chest: Remember the Close 'n' Play phonograph? (1967)

I'd always wanted this next item, but never got it.

In 1967, Kenner came out with the Close 'n' Play phonograph. The gimmick here was that the battery operated player would only work by closing the lid over the record. If you opened the lid, you couldn't hear the music.

The following commercial is self-explanatory. 

Edit, 8/10/2020: Had to change the video. This one starts with the tail end of a Frankenstein, Jr. & The Impossibles bumper:

Monday, January 21, 2019

Saturtainment: Tennessee Tuxedo in Giant Clam (1963)

Tennessee Tuxedo (Don Adams) hunts for a "Giant Clam" when he hears that zookeeper Stanley Livingston wants the clam.

In memory of Bradley Bolke (Chumley), who passed away last week at 93.

Rating: B.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

From Comics to Toons: Krazy Kat in Network Nitwit (1963)

This Krazy Kat short is more about Ignatz Mouse (Paul Frees), and his obsession with bricks. Here's "Network Nitwit":

Edit, 9/4/2020: We had to change the video, with three more shorts added: "Collector's Item", "Mt. Never-Rest", and "Krazy's Krismas".

Rating: B--.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Lone Ranger in Kingdom of Terror (1967)

From season 2 of the 1966 series:

The Lone Ranger must shut down a "Kingdom of Terror" created by an exiled Spanish prince who has captured Tonto.

Rating: B.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Toon Rock: The Human Race (1970)

DePatie-Freleng had an idea about adapting classic children's tales for television, with some A-list celebrities as the stars.

However, the pilot project, if ya will, a musical adaptation of Goldilocks & The Three Bears, shortened to simply Goldilocks, was a ratings flop for NBC in March 1970, despite the star power of actor-singer Bing Crosby and his family.

Bing, wife Kathryn, son Nathaniel, and daughter Mary (later of Dallas & Star Trek: The Next Generation) appear in live action segments, and voice the bears & Goldilocks, respectively. We're going to see if we can find the complete special for a review down the road, as the cast also includes Avery Schreiber (ex-My Mother The Car) and Paul Winchell, who served as narrator, and voiced Bobcat, who was originally intended to be played by Bing's brother, bandleader Bob Crosby, who had to back out due to conflicting commitments.

For now, it's just the Crosby family in this clip, as it segues into an animated segment. Papa Bear was designed to resemble Bing, right down to the fisherman's cap. Here's "The Human Race".

The special was later encored, and the ratings were even worse. Go figure.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Toons You Might've Missed: Hollywood Picnic (1937)

Columbia took a swing at some of Hollywood's biggest stars in 1937's "Hollywood Picnic". And you thought WB had the market cornered on such satire.

WB did do it better.

Rating: B-.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Best of My Love (1977)

The Emotions' "Best of My Love" will never be confused with the Eagles' song of the same name, which came around the same time frame in the late 70's. However, this bouncy classic landed the Emotions on Soul Train. Earth, Wind, & Fire's Maurice White wrote & produced "Best of My Love":

From Comics to Toons: Richie Rich vs. The Collector (1982)

Richie Rich (Sparky Marcus, ex-The Bad News Bears) must reclaim his robot maid/bodyguard, Irona (Joan Gerber), after she is brainwashed by "The Collector" (Robert Ridgely, ex-Thundarr, The Barbarian, Flash Gordon, Uncle Croc's Block, Tarzan, Lord of The Jungle). Added to the mix is Suavo (Frank Welker), Irona's beau.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour (1981)

To say that the back of CBS' Saturday lineup in 1981 was loaded would be an understatement.

During that final part of the schedule, CBS had The New Fat Albert Show, The Popeye & Olive Show, & The Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour. It would be the last season for Popeye & Tarzan at CBS, after four and six years, respectively. We've previously talked about how Popeye's show had been reduced to a half-hour format.

To fit all three legendary heroes in a hour long anthology, CBS edited down the Tarzan repeats, deciding that only The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Show merited being 90 minutes.

Anyway, here's the intro, narrated by Lou Scheimer:

CBS moved the Ranger & Zorro to Sundays the following season, and that would be it. They would've been better off leaving the Tarzan reruns intact, and dry-docking Popeye, seeing as how Olive Oyl's Army shorts were so bad.

Rating: A.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Game Time: Candlepin For Kids (2004)

We've previously shown you some vintage candlepin bowling from Massachusetts. Today, the New England Sports Network (NESN) has a Saturday morning show, Candlepin For Kids, a weekly series that showcases the junior bowling program in New England.

Oh, I am begging someone to open a candlepin center in upstate New York. Anyway, check this out from 2013.

Now, ye scribe has some experience with "regular" ten pin bowling. I was in junior & adult leagues for about 40 years before I retired from league competition a few years ago. The junior programs here don't get the weekly TV deal that NESN has granted these talented kids. In fact, there isn't a weekly program for local bowlers here in New York anymore due to financial constraints.

If, however, someone has the cajones and the cash to start candlepin bowling here in the home district, I'm game.

Rating: A+.

Animated World of DC Comics: The Demons of Exor (1978)

The Super Friends travel to the Wonder Twins' home planet of Exor (spelled with 2 x's in the title, which was incorrect) to battle a would-be dictator in "The Demons of Exor":

The team would soon return to Exor in the pages of the DC Comics version of the series, in a tale that would resolve the issue of the twins' departure from the space carnival they were touring with before venturing to Earth, something never addressed on television.

Let me remind that Zan & Jayna will get their own book, albeit a six part miniseries, debuting February 13 from DC. Looks promising.

Rating; A-.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Torn Between Two Lovers (1976-7)

Mary MacGregor's 1-hit wonder, "Torn Between Two Lovers", hit #1 in February 1977. Somewhere along the way, MacGregor appeared on The Midnight Special to perform live.

The hit song was co-written & co-produced by folk legend Peter Yarrow (Peter, Paul, & Mary). Like, who knew?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Tooniversary: Skittles makes its debut (1974)

Skittles were introduced initially in the UK in 1974 by Galaxy Candy, which imported the product to the US five years later.

Several years later, Mars acquired Skittles, and, after acquiring Wrigley's, reassigned the Skittles brand to Wrigley's. However, the ad campaigns have gotten hokier in recent years.

This initial ad started it all.

Friday, January 11, 2019

You Know The Voices: Bob Hastings & Ted Knight (1964)

From season 3 of McHale's Navy:

Ted Knight guest stars as Admiral "Go-Go" Granger, and shows up about halfway through the episode, "The Fountain of Youth". Captain Binghamton (Joe Flynn, later the voice of King Vitaman) commandeers the PT-73 on maneuvers, and ends up unwittingly destroying the crew's secret still, which leads to chaos.

Bob Hastings (Lt. Elroy Carpenter) appears at the start of the show. He & Knight would work together on the Superboy shorts a couple of years later.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Teenage Toons: Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids get language lessons (Habla Espanol, 1981)

From The New Fat Albert Show (syndicated print):

Fat Albert (Bill Cosby) and the gang help a Latina student (an uncredited Ericka Scheimer) become acquainted with her class after Rudy makes the mistake of belittling her.

Brown Hornet, as usual, provides a comic object lesson that ties into the main plot.

It's a pity that due to Cosby's off-screen issues, it's going to be a while before Fat Albert turns up anywhere again, other than DVD.

Rating: A.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Retro Toy Chest: Toss Across (1969)

Even when Tic Tac Dough & Hollywood Squares were on the air, people still played ordinary Tic-Tac-Toe with a pen & paper.

Ideal Toys changed all that 50 years ago with Toss Across, in which you used bean bags to complete the tic-tac-toe vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Today, with Ideal long out of business, Mattel owns the rights.

This ad dates back to at least the early 70's, and is narrated by actor Mason Adams.

Rating: A.

Tooniversary: Monster Force (1994)

Universal & Lacewood Studios paired up to serve up Monster Force as 1/2 of a Sunday syndicated package with ExoSquad 25 years ago. Unfortunately, it seems no one was interested, and the show was cancelled after 1 season.

The series makes use of the "Universal Monsters", with Dracula leading the "Creatures of The Night", the villains on the show. The Monster of Frankenstein, however, is part of the Monster Force in opposition to Dracula.

The Bride of Frankenstein figures into this sample episode.....

By using the grandson of Larry Talbot, the "Wolf Man", instead of Larry himself, it seems the producers unwittingly pulled a bait & switch with viewers, which may have had a lot to do with the show's demise.

No rating.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: It Only Takes a Minute (1975)

From Soul Train comes this choice classic from 1975. Tavares became the next big R & B vocal group with "It Only Takes a Minute":

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Merlin? (1978)

In the late 70's, electronic games were becoming all the rage. Milton Bradley, as we know, introduced Simon. Mattel was experimenting with sports games. Parker Brothers, which, like Milton Bradley, was later absorbed by Hasbro, came up with Merlin, which, like the Mattel games, was a hand-held device. Like Simon, Merlin has been in and out of the marketplace in the 40 years since. Parker Brothers brought it back in 1995, and then, after Hasbro's mergers, the company shifted Merlin to the Milton Bradley brand.

This 1978 spot is narrated by Paul Frees.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Literary Toons: The Hounds of The Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes in The 22nd Century, 1999)

Sherlock Holmes' ancient nemesis, professor James Moriarty, didn't figure in the original Hound of The Baskervilles, but his clone, the central villain of Sherlock Holmes in The 22nd Century, is another story altogether. Like the original Moriarty, this devious scoundrel is interested in world domination, but with the moon as his base. Hmmm. Wasn't that the plot to "Moonraker"?

Anyway, here's "Hounds of The Baskervilles". The open & close have been edited out.

DIC & Fox dropped the ball on this show for sure.

Rating: A.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Toon Legends: Popeye in Assault & Flattery (1956)

"Assault & Flattery" is a Popeye clip piece framed around a court case in which Bluto (Jackson Beck) is apparently suing Popeye (Jack Mercer). But, of course, we know better, don't we kids? I'm sure you'll recognize the earlier shorts excerpted here.

Rating: A-.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits (?): Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo (1987)

When the then-World Wrestling Federation (now WWE) decided to produce a followup to its 1985-6 "Wrestling Album", they asked singer-songwriter-producer Rick Derringer to resurrect his 1970 composition, "Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo", which he'd written for Johnny Winter before recording it himself three years later. As a lark, announcer Gene Okerlund joins Derringer this time around.

In memory of Okerlund, who has passed away at 76.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Famous Firsts: The debut of Sherlock Holmes in The 22nd Century (1999)

Having lost Batman to Kids' WB! two years earlier, Fox acquired from DIC & Scottish Television a futuristic series with one of the Dark Knight's role models.

Sherlock Holmes in The 22nd Century was scheduled erratically on purpose due to Fox's obsessive need to counter-program their rivals. Only 26 episodes were produced, in all, and its mix of 3D & 2D animation gave the show some artistic depth that DIC had been lacking for a few years.

As the series marks its 20th anniversary in 2019, it's our Famous First for January. Here's the series premiere, based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Final Problem:

I'd say Kids Click would take a shot at this, but it's a little too deep for their target demographic.

Rating: A.