Thursday, May 30, 2019

Toonfomercial: Roger Rabbit shills for Diet Coke (1988)

If you've ever seen "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" (and if you didn't, shame on you), you'd get the gist of this short spot.

Roger (Charles Fleischer, ex-Welcome Back, Kotter, Wacko, Aloha Paradise) sneaks into a nightclub to see wife Jessica perform. Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) is also interested.....

There would be some shorts with Roger after the movie was released, but no full-on series, even 31 years later. Hmmm.......

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Toonfomercial: Cornelius Rooster meets a dinosaur (1966)

Here's another Hanna-Barbera ad for Kellogg's Corn Flakes. As before, Andy Devine is the voice of Cornelius Rooster. While the blond boy is real, his voice is dubbed over by Dick Beals.

Seems they used some backgrounds from Dino Boy in The Lost Valley.

Game Time: The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990)

With the syndicated Super Mario Bros. Super Show out of production, DIC & Nintendo moved on, moving Mario & Luigi to NBC, where they would ultimately join Captain N: The Game Master in a hour-long block.

The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, however, was a 1 season wonder as well. The roles of Mario & Luigi were recast, with Captain Lou Albano (Mario) replaced by a relative unknown named Walker Boone, and Tony Rosato (ex-Saturday Night Live, SCTV) replacing Danny Wells as Luigi. The rest of the cast remained pretty much the same, and so did the basic concept of the cartoons, as the brothers helped Princess Toadstool protect her kingdom from evil King Koopa (Harvey Akin).

In time, DIC & Nintendo replaced the series with Super Mario World, which was more of the same.

In this sampler, Koopa and the Princess run in an election, and then, Koopa decides to go straight, or so he'd like everyone to think.

Yes, a lot of the plots were cliched and borrowed from elsewhere. Boone tried to imitate Albano's vocal inflections as Mario, but it just wasn't the same.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Tooniversary: The Great Grump Crunch (1969)

DePatie-Freleng's Here Comes The Grump turns 50 this year. Part of the reason this hasn't even been considered for a revival is because the titular villain (Rip Taylor) is derivative of Yosemite Sam, who rode a dragon in Friz Freleng's "Knighty Knight Bugs' several years earlier.

In "The Great Grump Crunch", Princess Dawn & Terry are chased into a kingdom of glass......

I wonder. Did Dawn lose her shoes along the way? Seems she's being doing all this running without shoes to complement her red tights.

You'd think after all this time that they'd write a coda to the series, with Terry & Dawn getting married.......

Rating: B.

Getting Schooled: Fat Albert investigates shoplifters (Easy Pickin's, 1980)

From season 2 of The New Fat Albert Show:

Albert (Bill Cosby) becomes suspicious of twins Steve & Claudia, who are selling valuable items, such as an AM-FM radio, to the gang and other local kids. Turns out the twins are profiting off the ol' five-finger discount......

At least Fat Albert retains the lessons learned from Brown Hornet. Dude should've grown up to be a detective......

Rating: B.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Isis in Spots of The Leopard (1975)

From season 1 of The Secrets of Isis:

One of the oldest tropes in television surfaces here. An ex-con, looking to go straight, is being fingered for a series of robberies, while the insurance investigator who sent him to prison, is the one pointing the finger of accusation.

Debralee Scott (Welcome Back, Kotter) guest stars in "Spots of The Leopard":

You've probably noticed that the show-closing moral messages from Isis (Joanna Cameron) have been deleted from all the episodes we've found to this point. Likely cut for time in syndication.

Rating: B.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Toonfomercial: Remember Kid Power sneakers? (1980)

Kid Power sneakers tried to pose a threat to, say for example, Keds, back in 1980. To help sell the product, they gained a license from Marvel to use the Incredible Hulk, who was no stranger to commercial endorsements.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

From Comics to Toons: The Adventures of Tintin (1991)

Herge's The Adventures of Tintin made its American television debut on HBO in 1991, and given the pay cable icon's scheduling patterns, the show could air any time, morning, noon, or night. 39 episodes were produced over three "seasons", spanning a year and change (1991-2), before the series was shipped off to Nickelodeon. Currently, a remastered version is available on Netflix.

Tintin (Colin O'Meara) is an investigative reporter, often accompanied by his dog, Snowy, and his adventures take him here, there, and everywhere. Ellipse & Nelvana, the show's producers, took creative liberties with many of the episodes, including the series finale, "Tintin in America", which takes Tintin to Chicago and a showdown with no less than Al Capone.......

I first discovered the series during its rerun run on Nickelodeon. Unsurprisingly, Nick ran it as a daily series, meaning the 39 episodes could be burned off every two months.

Rating: A.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Daytime Heroes: Darkwing Duck (1991)

It was two years after "Batman". Disney saw an opportunity to tweak the Dark Knight, and added Darkwing Duck not only to the Disney Afternoon block, but also placed the series on ABC on Saturdays.

Drake Mallard (Jim Cummings) is a single parent trying to be a good father to young Goslyn (Christine Cavanaugh). Mallard, it happens, is a parody not so much of Bruce Wayne, but, rather, Kent Allard, the true alter-ego of The Shadow. The hat Mallard wears as Darkwing Duck references the pulp & radio legend.

Darkwing Duck ran for 2 seasons of 13 episodes on ABC (1991-3), and one season as part of Disney Afternoon (1991-2), and, like The Real Ghostbusters, the network & syndicated episodes were never mixed together, likely until the ABC run ended, though I am not sure.

Here's the intro, complete with bouncy theme music:

Series creator Tad Stones claimed that, despite the presence of Launchpad McQuack from DuckTales as Darkwing's sidekick, there was no connection between the two, even though Darkwing had, essentially, replaced DuckTales, which was out of production by 1991.

Today, however, Darkwing is clearly in the DuckTales universe, and is being primed to be spun off into his own series anew.

Rating: A-.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sunday Funnies: Cartoon Network's NBA All Star Slam (2003)

To complement TNT's coverage of the NBA All-Star Game in 2003, sister network Cartoon Network decided on something a little noble and bizarre at the same time.

NBA All-Star Slam was an afternoon full of NBA players finding their inner children, but subjected to some seriously warped comedy, likely from the same peabrains in charge of [adult swim].

The ratings were such that they did this again the next year, but the promotion was discontinued after that.

Anyway, the pairings included:

Shaquille O'Neal (now a TNT analyst) w/Godzilla.

Jason Kidd, then with the Nets, paired with Jayna, 1/2 of the Wonder Twins. Sounds like either Grey DeLisle, Tress MacNeille, or BJ Ward tried impersonating Jayna's original portrayer, Louise Williams, who was unavailable at the time, as Louise would admit herself in an interview 8 years later. Poor Jason gets to be Zan for a few hours, but these segments were pre-recorded such that everything was back to normal by game time.

For what it was worth, Ward was in town for a matinee concert a week earlier on her "Stand-Up Opera" tour, which I missed.

Richard Jefferson w/Yosemite Sam. Not sure if local product Joe Alaskey voiced Sam here.

The following video has commercials, promos, and some, but not all, of the bumper segments.

As Jayna would say, real spacey. No, I didn't come back for the 2nd edition.

Rating: C for cheesy.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Toon Rock: Variety Speak (1995)

From Animaniacs:

The Warners (Jess Harnell, Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille) explain show biz lingo with "Variety Speak".

Enough said.

Sunday Funnies: Three Stooges in Back From The Front (1943)

The Three Stooges are sailors on a steamer, and run afoul of an undercover Nazi. Eventually, the boys have to deal with a few more of the enemy in "Back From The Front":

Rating: B+.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Arthur witnesses a gay wedding. Of course, it won't play in the Bible Belt (2019)

By now, I'm sure you've read or heard about how Arthur is presenting an episode where one of the title character's teachers came out, and is getting married.

Well, the wedding episode won't play in Alabama, and likely nowhere else in the Bible Belt.

Alabama Public Television made the decision to ban the episode, and, just as predictably, GLAAD raised a stink over the issue, citing, of course, how our society has become more and more inclusive in recent years. Jane Lynch (Hollywood Game Night, ex-Glee) guest stars in the episode.

That doesn't matter in the Bible Belt, where they cling to the core values preached in the Old Testament, more so than in the New Testament.

Fourteen years ago, APT also banned an episode of the Arthur spin-off, Postcards From Buster, in which the title character met a youth who had two mothers. What we don't know is whether or not Marc Brown, Arthur's creator, actively supports LGBT causes, or just wanted to tell a simple story reflecting current society.

Here's the episode:

We know this. It won't play in a certain building in Washington, either.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Isis & Captain Marvel in Funny Gal (1975)

From season 1 of The Secrets of Isis:

A student running for student council takes a joyride on Rick Mason's boat, but Isis (Joanna Cameron) needs the help of Captain Marvel (John Davey) to rescue the teen.

Here's "Funny Gal":

Producer-announcer Norm Prescott is heard as the SOS dispatcher.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Daytime Heroes: SpongeBob SquarePants in Back To The Past (2010)

Nickelodeon has had a history of developing heroic characters to complement their comedy shows.

For example, a recurring character on The Ren & Stimpy Show was Powdered Toast Man, which was just an excuse for guest star Gary Owens to parody his iconic 60's hero, Space Ghost.

In the case of SpongeBob SquarePants, there was an Aquaman send-up, Mermaid Man (Ernest Borgnine, ex-Airwolf, McHale's Navy) and his sidekick, Barnacle Boy (Tim Conway).

In "Back to The Past", SpongeBob (Tom Kenny) and Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke, ex-Coach, Gargoyles) help the aging heroes back to their headquarters, and are introduced to a time machine. Patrick, being dumber than a bag of hammers, accidentally sends them back in time to the 50's. The younger versions of Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy are voiced by two more 60's icons, Adam West & Burt Ward. Holy nostalgia!

Edit, 8/5/2020: Unfortunately, the video has been deleted. In its place is a short clip of the episode title credits:

In memory of Tim Conway, who passed away yesterday at 85. No rating, out of respect.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: The Crystal Ship & Light My Fire (1967)

American Bandstand welcomed The Doors in this clip from 1967. "The Crystal Ship" leads off, and after the obligatory interview with Dick Clark, we get "Light My Fire", which was later covered by Jose Feliciano.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Godzilla vs. the Eartheater (1978)

Godzilla (vocal effects by Ted Cassidy) and the crew of the Calico are in San Francisco, but the City by The Bay is evacuating. Why? It may have to do with "The Eartheater":

Fun fact: Hilly Hicks (ex-Roll Out), the voice of Brock, has traded show business for the pulpit. Today, he's an ordained minister.

Rating: B.

Getting Schooled: Fat Albert meets Wheeler (1985)

As we've previously documented, The Adventures of Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids had the longest of the franchise's 13 years on the air. New episodes started in the fall of 1984, and extended all the way into July 1985. 10 months of a mix of reruns & new episodes, thanks mostly to the carryover of the CBS-era (1972-84) episodes, mixed with 65 new episodes.

In "Wheeler", the gang meets the titular newcomer, a wheelchair-bound teen who's also very adept at sports. If you've ever seen news articles on wheelchair sports, well, you'll get an idea in this entry.

Rating: B.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A not-quite complete episode of the Flintstone Comedy Show (1981)

YouTube poster Sloppy Joe serves up the season finale of season 1 of The Flintstone Comedy Show (1980 series). Only 11 episodes were produced for the first season, 7 in the second, due to a writers' strike that delayed the start of the season to November.

The Flintstone Family Adventures: "Take a Hike"--Fred, Wilma, Barney, & Betty join Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm, and the Frankenstone siblings, Freaky & Atrocia, on a camping trip. Atrocia (Zelda Rubenstein) was being posited as H-B's answer to Archie Comics' Sabrina, except she's a wee bit younger, and has mastered her magic powers at a young age.

The Bedrock Cops: "Put up Your Duke"--Fred & Barney, along with the Shmoo (Frank Welker), are assigned to protect a visiting Duke. Len Weinrib voices both the Duke and Sgt. Boulder. Captain Caveman makes a cameo appearance.

Dino & Cavemouse: "Who is What?"--Fred (Henry Corden) buys a costume to become a replica of Dino (Mel Blanc), but Cavemouse convinces Dino to turn the tables on his owner. Chaos ensues.

Pebbles, Dino, & Bamm-Bamm: "Double Trouble With Long John Silverock"--Don't know whose idea it was to reboot Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm's adventures into a Scooby-Doo knockoff, something NBC had not really had, since 1973's Inch High & Butch Cassidy don't really fit the mold. Anyway, the intrepid couple run afoul of a pair of crooked carpenters looking to loot a rich couple's house.

Captain Caveman: "The Mummy's Worse"---Sorry, but Betty (Gay Autterson) & Wilma (Jean VanderPyl) aren't exactly grown-up versions of the Teen Angels, and why H-B didn't pair Cavey with Pebbles & her friends, I don't know, but this is the worst part of the show. Kenneth Mars narrates and voices Lou Granite.

Dino & Cavemouse: "Pow-Pow The Dyno-Mite"--Dino's cousin Pow-Pow visits, looking to help get rid of Cavemouse.

The Frankenstones: "Sand Doom"--Frank (Charles Nelson Reilly, Match Game) and Hidea (Ruta Lee, ex-High Rollers) win a vacation to a resort. Unfortunately for them, so did Fred & Wilma. The kids tag along, which is the best part.

Edit, 5/14/19: Unfortunately, Sloppy Joe's account has been terminated by YouTube due to copyright violations.

Reilly's vocal tics, evident in every role he's played (i.e. Uncle Croc's Block, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, Lidsville), don't exactly make him a perfect fit as Frank. What they wanted, apparently, was Frank to be as much an exasperated neighbor to Fred as Barney. Obviously, it didn't work in the long run, as the show ended after 18 episodes.

Rating: B.

Tooniversary: Casey Bats Again (1954)

Disney came up with a sort-of sequel to the immortal poem, Casey at The Bat, in 1954's Casey Bats Again. Reportedly, Paul Frees was heard, but not credited, though the narrator's voice sounds like someone else......

Yes, that does sound like Bill Woodson or Gary Owens, long before either achieved fame, as narrator. If anyone can confirm this, I'd appreciate it.

Rating: B.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Dynomutt & Blue Falcon vs. Red Vulture (1976)

Dynomutt, Dog Wonder & Blue Falcon tangle with the Red Vulture in this adventure. You'll be seeing the Falcon & Dyno on the big screen next year. Details after the video.

Edit, 4/5/22: The video has been deleted by Dailymotion.

WB is going to try again with Scooby-Doo on the big screen, but, for the first time, aside from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, someone other than Frank Welker (who will reprise as Scooby) will voice Fred. That would be Zac Efron ("High School Musical"), who, at one time, was attached to a live-action Jonny Quest film that never saw the light of day (thankfully). In fact, none of the regular Scooby-Doo cast will play their usual roles.

Instead, Will Forte (ex-Saturday Night Live) subs for Matthew Lilliard (Good Girls) as Shaggy, and Gina Rodriguez (Jane The Virgin, Carmen Sandiego) subs for Kate Micucci as Velma. Also, Mark Wahlberg voices the Blue Falcon, Ken Jeong (ex-Dr. Ken) subs for Welker as Dynomutt, while Captain Caveman's grunts will be courtesy of DAZN pitchman Tracy Morgan (ex-Saturday Night Live, Scare Tactics). "Scoob" will be out next year.

No rating for this episode. Never saw it the first time.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Can't Live My Life Without You & Go Back (1970)

The short-lived band Crabby Appleton took its name from the villain of Terrytoons' Tom Terrific, although had they climbed the charts under their former name, Stonehenge, there'd be the inevitable references to a certain British locale.

Anyway, "Go Back", the first single from the group's 1970 self-titled debut, peaked at #36 in the spring of that year, and merited the equally inevitable appearance on American Bandstand. Crabby Appleton also performs "Can't Live My Life Without You". Why that wasn't a chart hit, I don't know.

Singer Michael Fennelly has a YouTube channel, from whence we get this choice black & white clip:

Crabby Appleton released only one more album before fading out. The band members have scattered, and are active with other acts. They had a terrific sound, and I don't know if they ever played in the home district. Like, I was 7 at the time this came out.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Animated World of DC Comics: Doom Patrol Go! (????)(2019)

If you've been following DC Universe's relaunch of Young Justice, then you know that Greg Weisman and friends took a good natured poke at Cartoon Network's perpetually spammed into the ground Teen Titans Go!.

In episode 12, Beast Boy (Greg Cipes) tries out a virtual reality helmet developed by a toy company run by Granny Goodness, of all people. The helmet transports Gar into a number of scenarios, including---are you sitting down yet----Doom Patrol Go!.

The remainder of the TTG cast (Scott Menville, Hynden Walch, Tara Strong, Khary Payton) voiced the Patrol members ("Chief" Niles Caulder, Elasti-Girl, Negative Woman (instead of Negative Man), & Robotman). Most of them also have regular roles on Young Justice: Outsiders, so this was an easy do.

All this does is illustrate just how silly Teen Titans Go! really is, and how DC & WB are willing to poke fun at themselves.

For what it's worth, Gar's origin was altered in the context of Young Justice, as his green skin is the result of a blood transfusion from Ms. Martian (Danica McKellar), making him M'Gann's half-brother.

And this is better than TTG by a country mile.

Rating: A.