Friday, August 30, 2019

Toonfomercial: The only meeting of Bullwinkle & Dudley Do-Right (1963)

Bullwinkle & Dudley Do-Right never shared a full adventure together during the course of their series' runs. Undaunted, General Mills, which sponsored virtually all of Jay Ward's programs, commissioned this ad, which incorporates a Bullwinkle's Corner, introduced by Rocket J. Squirrel (June Foray). Of course, Bill Scott voices both Bullwinkle & Dudley:

At one point, Dudley shilled for Lucky Charms. We'll have to find that ad sometime.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Animated World of DC Comics: Harlequinade (Batman: The Animated Series, 1994)

When the Joker (Mark Hamill) decides to steal a bomb from a mob auction, Batman turns to the Clown Prince of Crime's on-again, off-again honey, Harley Quinn (Arleen Sorkin, Days of Our Lives), to try to stop the plot.

"Harlequinade" is the episode in which Harley sings "Say We're Sweethearts Again", which we've shown on its own previously.

Edit, 5/22/2020: The video has been deleted. We'll sub in this title card:

Harlequinade Title Card

Paul Dini's script includes a nod to The Honeymooners. See if you can find it.

Rating: A.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Game Time: Video Power (1990)

Video Power ran for 2 seasons (1990-2), but was really a tale of two different shows.

The first season, as you'll see, has host Johnny Arcade (actor Stivi Paskoski) sharing info on the hottest video games on the market. The centerpiece was the DIC-produced action series, The Power Team, a collection of video game heroes whose games were marketed by Acclaim. DIC, of course, was the go-to for most video game marketers for adaptations, as they also were responsible for Nintendo's Super Mario Bros & Captain N The Game Master over on NBC.

However, in season 2, Johnny Arcade became a game show host, and the cartoons were discarded. Cancellation soon followed. This wasn't the 2nd coming of Starcade, but don't fault them for trying.

Here's the series opener. We'll see if we can find a season 2 episode.

No rating.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Toonfomercial: Look who's stalking the Energizer Bunny! (1995)

Yesterday, we served up a Hershey's Kisses commercial with Rocky & Bullwinkle. This time, arch-foes Boris Badenov (Keith Scott) and Natasha Fatale (June Foray, of course) are pursuing the Energizer Bunny. Frank Welker voices Bullwinkle, while Corey Burton fills in for William Conrad as the narrator:

There's a reason Boris & Natasha didn't land another endorsement deal......

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Lone Ranger in The Day The West Stood Still (1967)

We had this next item up before, but it was taken down by YouTube, so Cartoon Jam had a copy we could use.

Some crooks have a gas that seemingly turns people to stone. Here's "The Day The West Stood Still":

Rating: B.

Toonfomercial: Rocky & Bullwinkle shill for Hershey's (1986)

Hokey smoke! Wait 'til you see what Bullwinkle (Bill Scott) pulls from his magic hat this time!

This would be perfect date night food, but apparently, Hershey's couldn't get a license to have Popeye & Olive Oyl do the ad........

Friday, August 23, 2019

Summertainment: Tom of THUMB in Drop That Ocean, Feller (1966)

Tom of T.H.U.M.B. and his sidekick, Swinging Jack, are headed for the beach for some R & R, but someone's spoiling the fun by stealing the ocean. Here's "Drop That Ocean, Feller":

Tom was clearly meant to be a satire not only of the spy genre, but perhaps also Get Smart, which was in its 2nd season on NBC at the time. ABC, apparently, just couldn't resist, but the six minute time frame doesn't do this story justice.

Rating: B--.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Game Time: The return of the Storybook Squares (1976)

The Fun & Games Channel has unearthed a 1976 Storybook Squares installment of The Hollywood Squares. Until now, only 1 1969 episode of the original Storybook series and a couple of 1977 episodes had been available.

Unlike the 1969 series, this version has three generations of families playing. Here we go.

Edit, 5/28/23: Had to change the video again. This version features a completely different cast, including Big Bird, Pat Harrington as Leonardo Da Vinci, and Paul Lynde as the Monster of Frankenstein.

This also affords announcer Kenny Williams some rare on screen time. I honestly wish they could release this on DVD, but that isn't likely.

Rating: A.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Saturtainment: The Marvelous, Magical Burger King (1976)

After years of the animated Kurger Bing, Burger King decided to switch and introduced their namesake, who was a magician by trade (played by actor Dick Gjonola), who would represent the restaurant chain for 13 years (1976-89).

By the end of the 80's, the magical Burger King was phased out in favor of the Kids' Club, only for a new incarnation to appear years later, a new actor in a mask resembling Gjonola's look, but silent.

In this spot from 1978, the Burger King introduces kids to Sir Shake-a-Lot:

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Toon Rock: A Veritable Smorgasbord (1973)

We have previously discussed Hanna-Barbera's 1973 adaptation of E. B. White's legendary Charlotte's Web. There is a scene in the movie, and in the book, too, where Templeton (Paul Lynde, The Hollywood Squares, ex-Bewitched, Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Where's Huddles) is alone at the fair after it's closed for the night. Acting on a tip from the goose (Agnes Moorehead, another Bewitched alumnus), Templeton finds "A Veritable Smorgasbord".

If you didn't know, Lynde was a Broadway star before hitting television & movies. And to think that he almost didn't get the part of Templeton. Seems Joe Barbera had originally called on Tony Randall (The Odd Couple) to play Templeton (only because Paramount, which packaged the movie for Hanna-Barbera, was also home to Odd Couple), but Randall, it turned out, wasn't a match after all.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Toonfomercial: Remember Coco Wheats? (1960's?)

Coco Wheats was a hot cereal that was introduced all the way back in 1930. If it's still around, it's not available in all markets, so this is the first time I've heard of it.

Anyway, this modestly animated ad surfaced either in the 50's or 60's. Mel Blanc voices Pepper the parrot and the cuckoo clock. Not so sure about Perry.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

You Know The Voice: Barney Phillips (1952)

Dragnet had barely started its TV run in the 1951-2 season when Barton Yarborough, who made the transition from the radio series, had passed away. Character actor Barney Phillips was signed to take his place, creating the new character of Ed Jacobs.

In the season 1 finale, "The Big Lamp", Jacobs and Sgt. Joe Friday (Jack Webb) get a second chance to put away a burglar (Eddie Firestone) who was set free previously by a disinterested jury. Keep an eye open, too, for Parley Baer, later the voice of Ernie Keebler, as the Assistant District Attorney.

Friday, August 16, 2019

You Know The Voice: Paul Winchell vs. Jerry Mahoney, round 2 (1979)

A long time ago, we posted a commercial Paul Winchell made with Jerry Mahoney for Life cereal.

12 years after that Winchell switched brands to rival Kellogg's, as he & Jerry extol the virtues of Frosted Mini-Wheats. On-again, off-again CBS studio announcer Danny Dark (Super Friends) is the announcer here.

Edit, 4/25/22: Had to change the above video and some of the text upon learning the exact year this ad first appeared.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Celebrity Toons: The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley (1988)

The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley has its roots in the debut of Grimley (Martin Short), first on SCTV, then on Saturday Night Live. Short doubles as co-executive producer for this short-lived Hanna-Barbera entry for NBC.

I could never really get into the Grimley act, largely because there's too much expository dialogue from Ed all by himself. His fandom of Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak could be construed by first-time viewers as being derivative of Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman) similarly obsessing over The People's Court (under Judge Joseph Wapner) in "Rain Man", which came out the same year that Grimley hit the air. However, Short had developed Grimley into an evolving act while with the Second City troupe, bringing it fully formed to SNL a couple of years later.

It's easy to forget that Short had flopped in a pair of live-action sitcoms for ABC (The Associates & I'm a Big Girl Now) before joining Second City. After Grimley was cancelled after 1 season, Short didn't do another animated series until PBS' The Cat in The Hat Knows a Lot About That, and that was much more successful.

Here's the series opener:

The Count Floyd backup feature was recycled by Cartoon Network a few years later for Cartoon Planet.

Rating: C.

Toon Rock: The Name Game (1992)

Shirley Ellis had a 1-hit wonder back in the day with "The Name Game". The writers of Tiny Toon Adventures found a way to bring it back with a slight tweak. Too bad Shirley Loon was MIA in this clip from the episode, "Toon TV". Instead, Elmyra Duff (Cree Summer, A Different World) takes the lead on a cover-parody of "The Name Game":

It might've seemed out of character for Elmyra & Montana Max to be interacting with the rest of the gang in a positive way, but that was the point.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Toonfomercial: Introducing Fisher Nuts (1984)

Fisher Nuts sought to be a rival to Planters. This 1984 ad, featuring Paul Winchell as Sam Fisher, was their introduction. I have no clue who voices the elephant, although it does sound like Len Weinrib.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Strong Kids, Safe Kids (1984)

Child sexual abuse is big news these days, in case you think all the headlines are about bashing the President.

It was also a thing 35 years ago, hence the video, Strong Kids, Safe Kids, which could just as easily have been an ABC Afterschool Special or something.

Henry Winkler serves as host and executive producer, as Strong Kids was one of the first projects for his Fair Dinkum Productions. Winkler appears as himself and, of course, as Fonzie from Happy Days, which had wrapped its 11 season run around the time of the video. Mariette Hartley and John Ritter are the other celebrity guests, plus appearances by the Smurfs, Yogi Bear (voiced by Hal Smith in this case), Scrappy-Doo, and Fred & Pebbles Flintstone.


Had any network decided to run this, a parental discretion advisory would've been mandatory, due to the frank talk about genitalia.

Rating: B+.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Coming Attractions: Me-TV picks up the Flintstones

The Flintstones will be on a cabler not owned by WarnerMedia for a change:

With the series' 60th anniversary more than a year away, this move makes some sense, especially considering Chumptoon Network and Boomerang didn't bother with any major anniversaries in recent years. The series debuts on Me-TV with back-to-back episodes from 6-7 pm (ET) starting September 30, which, it happens, was its debut date in 1960. Stay tuned.

Saturday School: Cap'n O. G. Readmore meets Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1986)

From the ABC Weekend Special:

Cap'n O. G. Readmore (Neil Ross) is pulled into the pages of a famous Robert Louis Stevenson novel when one of his friends is pulled in by a butler, of all things.

"Cap'n O. G. Readmore Meets Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" was the 2nd Readmore episode of five, the last of which would air in 1992 (and was previously reviewed).

Too bad this isn't on DVD, and you'd think Disney would've dealt with that already.

No rating.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Rare Treats: Richard Pryor hosts Soul Train (1975)

We all know that Dick Clark wasn't the original host of American Bandstand. He simply had the longest run as host, and likely missed a few dates due to either vacation or scheduling conflicts (i.e. $10,000 Pyramid).

Here, however, is a case where Don Cornelius cedes the host's podium on Soul Train. From June 1975, Grammy award winning comedian Richard Pryor (making his Saturday morning debut, unless he appeared on The Midnight Special before this point) stands in for Cornelius, who shows up at the end of the broadcast.

Edit, 11/5/2020: The video's been deleted due to copyright issues. In its place, we have a short bumper with Pryor, leading to Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes performing "Somewhere Down The Line":

Nine years later, Pryor signed with the Kroffts, but Pryor's Place lasted just one season on CBS.

Saturtainment: Wacky & Packy end up In The Zoo (1975)

In search of food, Wacky & Packy (both voiced by Allan Melvin) end up "In The Zoo", and that ain't all.

A rare case of veteran writer Len Janson writing without regular partner Chuck Menville, and you can see the difference.

Rating: C.

You Know The Voice: Ted Knight (1963)

From season 1 of McHale's Navy:

Ted Knight appears briefly as Captain Ellis, as Captain Binghamton's latest plot to break up the crew of the P. T. 73 goes awry. Scope. Ted appears around the 20 minute mark:

As we've already seen, Ted returns in a different role later in the series.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Space Cadets: Buzz Lightyear vs. Clone Rangers (2000)

With "Toy Story 4" still in theatres, it's time to revisit Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, which, sadly, lasted just one season on ABC & UPN.

Buzz (Patrick Warburton, currently shilling for National Car Rental) has his hands full with "Clone Rangers" when Zurg (Wayne Knight, 3rd Rock From The Sun) creates juvenile clones of Buzz, Booster (Stephen Furst, ex-Babylon 5, St. Elsewhere, Delta House), and Mira Nova (Nicole Sullivan, MadTV).

Edit, 4/8/23: The video has been deleted. In its place is the title card:

Producers Bob Schooley & Mark McCorkle would cast Nicole Sullivan & Patrick Warburton in supporting roles on Kim Possible, their most successful series, a couple of years later.

In hindsight, Buzz has a lot in common with Daffy Duck's sci-fi persona of Duck Dodgers, who'd get his own series three years later.

Rating: C.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Game Time: Meet the world's youngest stunt driver (What's My Line?, 1972)

Today, Marc "Sparky" Sipolt is employed by United Air Lines. In 1972, Marc and his two brothers, Mike & Louis, Jr., whose father, Louis, Sr., was a pit crew member for the likes of Mario Andretti and A. J. Foyt, appeared on What's My Line?, though it was Marc who was the center of attention. Allen Ludden (Password) and Gail Sheldon join series regulars Arlene Francis & Soupy Sales and moderator Larry Blyden for this excursion.

All the ads and some portions of the broadcast were edited by Buzzr's YouTube channel.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Toon Rock: Three Little Pigs (1992-3)

Green Jelly, formerly Green Jello until General Foods threatened litigation over a certain brand, peaked in the top 20 in 1993 with "Three Little Pigs", a retelling of the classic tale with a modern spin. The band actually changed the lyrics between 1991, when it was recorded initially, and 1993, when it climbed the charts, due to blatant drug references.

Not for younger viewers:

Friday, August 2, 2019

Getting Schooled: Fat Albert in Double Cross (1981)

Today, there are Holocaust deniers, who for some strange reason believe the history books are wrong about how the Nazis killed millions of Jews during World War II.

Nearly 40 years ago, Bill Cosby used The New Fat Albert Show to tell the story of how modern day neo-Nazis still posed a threat.

When Fat Albert's friend Melinda (Ericka Scheimer) decides to join such a group, she finds out the hard way that they're not "special" after all. Ericka's brother, Lane, voices George, the leader of "Double Cross":

I don't know how many people saw this episode when it premiered on CBS in October 1981, since Fat Albert was kept in the lunch hour death slot. This clip is taken from a syndicated reissue three years later. Get past Rudy's antics at the start, and Brown Hornet, and you will learn something.

Rating: A.

Toonfomercial: Life Savers gets animated (1970's)

In the early 70's, Life Savers candies (now made by the Wrigley division of Mars) were promoted with a series of animated commercials. The ads were inspired by the 1968 Beatles movie, "Yellow Submarine", but the jingle was riffing off the Strangeloves' 1965 1-off, "I Want Candy" (later covered by Bow Wow Wow in the early 80's). You couldn't escape this commercial when it was in heavy rotation.

Life Savers gum, on the other hand, was quietly retired.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Rare Treats: Whoopass Stew: The Whoopass Girls in A Sticky Situation (1992-4)

Our Famous First this month features the Powerpuff Girls before they gained that monicker.

Series creator Craig McCracken originally conceived them as The Whoopass Girls, a few years before a certain wrestler made "whoop-ass" a common catchphrase. "A Sticky Situation" was a college project of McCracken's while at UCLA in 1992, and presented at film festivals two years later. The Professor, of course, would be redesigned for the later Cartoon Network run. Also, Lou Romano voices the Amoeba Boys, whom you saw yesterday in "Crime 101".

The name change was largely because of marketing purposes, and, at that time, it was believed that you couldn't market anything with "ass" in the product name. That, of course, would change with the WWE Attitude Era.....

Rating: B.