Friday, February 28, 2020

Toons You Might've Missed: Tooth Defenders (2012)

Roughly 30 years after Procter & Gamble commissioned a series of animated commercials to promote Crest toothpaste, rival Colgate Palmolive finally got in on the action with a promotional video geared for schools.

The Tooth Defenders haven't been seen on TV, and that's a shame, because you'd think they'd buy air time on Disney Channel, Freeform, et al, to get their message across. Anyway, parents, ask your little ones if they've seen this 16, nearly 17 minute video:

No rating. Just a public service.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Rein-Toon-Ation: Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan (1972)

This much we knew about Earl Derr Biggers' legendary sleuth, Charlie Chan, prior to 1972, was that he was also a husband and a father, and had two or three of his sons, and a daughter, assist him on cases in the movies.

When Hanna-Barbera acquired a license to adapt the Chan novels into a Saturday morning cartoon, The Amazing Chan & The Chan Clan, they decided he had 10 children. There was the predictable pet to attract the wee ones. Keye Luke, who played Lee Chan opposite Warner Oland in the movies, and appeared as Lee in a Mr. Moto movie with Peter Lorre, was cast as Charlie Chan, the first Asian-American actor to be accorded such an opportunity. Luke had done some voice work for Hanna-Barbera in the late 60's (i.e. Space Ghost--he was the original voice of Brak), and would begin work on the original Kung Fu after recording the first season's episodes of Chan Clan.

However, some Asian-American children originally cast as Chan's children were replaced with American actors, including Gene Andrusco (also heard the same season on NBC's The Barkleys), Lisa Gerritsen (ex-My World & Welcome to It), and future Oscar winner Jodie Foster. Jamie Farr (M*A*S*H) was a writer on the show, but it's hard to tell which episodes he contributed to.

Warnerarchive offers up the familiar intro, complete with funky theme:

Yes, there was a 2nd season, largely forgotten.

The tricked out Chan Van was later reincarnated with Hong Kong Phooey using a hand-held gong to change his car into whatever he needed.

Unfortunately, the nimrods at [adult swim] rebooted the kids' band into a Japanese band, Shoyou Weenie, for an episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law, 30 years later, stripping them of their ability to speak English, but using the same character designs from the 70's. Said episode has previously been reviewed.

Rating: A-.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Rein-Toon-Ation: Beyond The Farthest Star (Star Trek, 1973)

"Beyond The Farthest Star", written by TV veteran Samuel A. Peeples, is the series premiere of the animated Star Trek, as the franchise returns to NBC after a 4 year absence.

While the title is derived from the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, it has nothing to do with a faraway land. Instead, a disembodied entity hijacks the Enterprise.

Complete episodes are not available online at present. Following is an excerpt:

It turns out that while this aired as scheduled in September 1973, it was delayed three months in California due to George Takei (Sulu) making a bid for public office, and this fell under equal time regulations.

Peeples also wrote a classic episode of the original Trek, giving him a rare daily double. His resume also includes working on shows such as Lancer & Custer at 20th Century Fox.

Rating: A-.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Saturtainment: Quackula (1979)

I had this up before, but the video that had been up had been deleted, so down it went.

Quackula was the 3rd part of The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle when it premiered in 1979. However, cartoonist Scott Shaw! filed suit, claiming it bore too much resemblance to his 1976 creation, Duckula (not to be confused with the British Count Duckula, who came along later). The suit was settled out of court, and Quackula was abruptly cancelled, while the show was cut in half to a half hour, and would continue in reruns until 1981.

Here's the pentultimate episode, "Magic Duck". Co-producer Norm Prescott voices Theodore the bear, Quackula's landlord. Frank Welker does everything else.

Rating: C.

Getting Schooled: Sara's Summer of The Swans (1974)

Betsy Byars' Sara's Summer of The Swans was adapted for television as the 3rd season premiere of the ABC Afterschool Special.

A teenager learns some hard lessons caring for her younger brother (Reed Diamond), who is developmentally disabled. Christopher Knight & Eve Plumb, in their first post-Brady Bunch roles, and Doney Oatman (The Odd Couple) are among the co-stars.

Reed Diamond was making his television debut, and would later resurface in primetime on Homicide: Life on The Street, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, & Franklin & Bash, among other series. It would be a few years before Knight & Plumb would work together again, as Plumb wisely skipped the ill-fated Brady Bunch Variety Hour three years later. As we've previously seen, Knight would later guest on Bigfoot & Wildboy.

No rating.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Turn Me Loose (1980-1)

So, like, Canada gave us a few fresh bands in the 80's, eh? Starting with Loverboy, eh?

Loverboy's debut album netted a pair of hit singles, "The Kid is Hot Tonight" and this next item from American Bandstand, "Turn Me Loose",  which garnered a ton of airplay throughout the 80's on album rock FM channels.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Tooniversary: Moby Duck (1965)

No whales were involved in the creation of 1965's "Moby Duck", which pairs Daffy Duck with Speedy Gonzales. The title is a riff on the Herman Melville classic, Moby Dick, and has no connection to Disney's Moby Duck, who'd star in a series of comic books at Gold Key in the 70's.

Anyway, Daffy & Speedy are on a deserted island, hungry & lonely. When a large box of canned goods arrives, Daffy wants it all for himself, leading to the predictable chaos....

Elements of this short were lifted from others, a sign they were running out of ideas. Film editor Treg Brown left WB after this one, apparently retiring.

Rating: B.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

On The Air: ThunderCats Roar (2020)

This is not how you mark the 35th anniversary of a legend.

We've known this was coming for a while. Chumptoon Network's latest reboot is ThunderCats Roar, which premiered today after being delayed for several months. Two 15 minute episodes fill a half hour. The animation falls somewhere between Steven Universe and Teen Titans Go!, the latter of which's producer, Michael Jelenic, is also attached to this series as a consultant, along with Jules Bass, who, with Arthur Rankin, Jr., of course, shepherded the original ThunderCats in 1985.

Some critics like the comedy. However, the character designs are nowhere near even the 2011 series, which crashed & burned because Chumptoon Network suits became obsessed with comedy at that point.

New York radio legend Larry Kenney, the original voice of Lion-O, and the voice of Jaga in the 2011 series, reprises the latter role here, and thus is the only cast member to have been a part of all three iterations.

Following is a network promo:

I'm sorry. I am partial to the earlier, dramatic iterations. The designs are horrible, worse than, say for example, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo. It is seven levels of suck.

Rating: D.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Toons You Might've Missed: The Dover Boys at Pimento University or, The Rivals at Rocquefort Hall (1942)

Chuck Jones' Dover Boys were a parody of the popular juvenile literature heroes of the 20's, The Rover Boys. In 1942, the Dovers, Tom, Dick, & Larry, are enrolled at Pimento University (ol' PU), and all three are enamored of one Dora Standpipe (Bea Benaderet). Voice talent also includes Mel Blanc (uncredited for a change), author Tedd Pierce, and the Sportsmen (The Jack Benny Program, which Blanc & Benaderet also contributed to).

The Dovers would make a comeback some 50 years later on Animaniacs, with Rob Paulsen, Jeff Bennett, & Jon Bauman voicing the brothers. We'll see if we can find something with the Dovers & Slappy Squirrel from that era.

Rating: B.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Bad TV: Dingbat & The Creeps (1980)

Ruby-Spears had seen their first supernatural series, Fangface, cancelled after two seasons, the second as part of the Plastic Man anthology series. Unfortunately, another monster-centric cartoon, this one a slapstick comedy, was DOA.

Dingbat & The Creeps was the original backup feature to Heathcliff during the comic strip icon's first season on ABC. A skeleton, a vampire dog, and a pumpkin with a baseball cap & sneakers were meant to be a parody of comedy teams like the Three Stooges, but even the Stooges had sense enough not to try some of the nuttier stunts the Creeps attempted.

Frank Welker voices Dingbat. Don Messick is Nobody (the Pumpkin) and Spare Rib (the skeleton), the voice of the latter similar to Messick's characterization of Scrappy-Doo, while Welker tweaked his Dynomutt voice for Dingbat.

To illustrate the nonsense, the monsters are let loose in a gym in "Health Nuts":

Edit, 9/11/2020: The video has been deleted. In its place is a title card, acquired from our friends at Twinsanity:

Edit, 9/8/21: One year later, we've found a compilation that leads off with "Health Nuts", followed by Heathcliff in "Doggone Dogcatcher", then, the Creeps in "UFOafs", and Heathcliff closes with "Feline Fugitive":


Rating: C-.

Rating for the complete show: B.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Saturtainment: Kid vs. Kat (2008)

Like, here's a Canadian cartoon, eh? One that didn't land at Cartoon Network, eh?

Kid vs. Kat aired in the US on DisneyXD, and told the story of an ordinary human boy matching wits with an alien feline who would ultimately make the usual pledge of world domination. Mostly slapstick comedy. It won't make viewers long for a mid-70's Disney movie, "The Cat From Outer Space", which had an alien cat as a heroic protagonist.

Following is a sample episode:

The upside is that it didn't come from the same Canadian studios that gave us the Total Drama family of series or the remake of George of The Jungle. That's about all I can say, eh?

Rating: C.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Tooniversary: Heathcliff in Gator Go Round (1980)

Hard to believe, but come September, it'll be 40 years since Heathcliff made his Saturday morning debut on ABC.

Here, Heathcliff (Mel Blanc) meets a lost, hungry alligator. Here's "Gator Go Round":

Wiggedy wack.

Rating: A.

You Know The Voices: "Superman" & "Mr. Magoo" meet a Harlem Globetrotter (To Tell The Truth, 1958)

The Harlem Globetrotters, after spinning off from Chicago's Savoy Big Five, began play under the current monicker in 1928. Thirty years later, then captain Clarence Wilson was a contestant on To Tell The Truth, two years after Wilson and a few teammates had appeared on What's My Line?. Jim Backus (Mr. Magoo) is on the panel, moderated, of course, by Bud Collyer. Wilson is in the first game.

12 years later, the 'Trotters would land their first Saturday morning series, on the same network that was home to Truth, CBS. Wilson was no longer with the team by then.

For what it's worth, "Sweet Lou" Dunbar, who was characterized in the 1979 Super Globetrotters series, is now an assistant coach with the current Globetrotters.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Saturday School: The Spy Who Came in From The Playground (Recess, 2000)

The gang at 3rd Street Elementary have a bit of a problem when a new student arrives that isn't what he seems to be. James Marsden guest stars in "The Spy Who Came in From The Playground", a season 4 episode of Recess:

In memory of Jason Davis (Mikey), who passed away over the weekend. No rating.

From Primetime to Daytime: When cosplay goes too far (Dragnet, 1969)

I've seen this episode of Dragnet a few times as a youth, and it aired earlier today on Me-TV.

Today, cosplaying, or, dressing as your favorite comic book/strip character, is a popular activity at comics/fantasy conventions. In the 60's? Not so much.

Consider the case of Stanley Stover (Tim Donnelly, later of Emergency!), an obsessed fan of the comic book hero, Captain Lightning. Donning a homemade costume, Stover decides he just has to have everything related to Captain Lightning.......

The YouTube poster mislabeled the video in a bid to keep the copyright police away. However, he's since matched up the correct titles to other episodes. Mickey Sholdar (ex-The Farmer's Daughter) also appears in this episode. Hmmm, I wonder why Jack Webb didn't mention "The Great Train Robbery" by name.......

Rating: A.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

A new Disney Channel series targeted by a hater

Some people just don't get it.

Monica Cole, the one woman behind the American Family Association spin-off, One Million Moms, is targeting Disney Channel's new series, The Owl House, which premiered last month, because of "demonic" content. Like, what did this loser expect?

For those of you who haven't seen the series yet, here's the opener, courtesy of Disney Channel's YouTube channel:

The series cast includes Wendie Malick (ex-Dream On, Just Shoot Me) and Mae Whitman, whose NBC series, Good Girls, begins its 3rd season tonight.

What Cole is looking to do is extend her 15 minutes of infamy after her laughable protest of Burger King's Impossible Whopper sandwich exposed the truth about OMM late last year. For the 2nd time in less than a year, she's gone after Disney, after the farce of a protest over "Toy Story 4" last summer. She doesn't represent every Christian out there, and I honestly wish she'd give up this scam. Those of us with open minds will see Owl House as it was intended to be, unintimidated by a closed-minded scammer.

We'll have a full review of the show another day.

Toonformercial: Welcome to Campbell's Tomatoland (1950's)

Campbell's famous Campbell Kids made a series of spots in the 50's. This one takes us to a place called Tomatoland:

Friday, February 14, 2020

Valentoons: Fat Albert falls in love (Fat Albert Meets Dan Cupid, 1975)

After a year of nothing but repeats, Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids went back into production in 1975.

Since it is Valentine's Day, we have this little tale about Albert (Bill Cosby) falling in love.......

Now, did ya really think this would last?

Rating: B.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Dick Clark meets Kaptain Kool & The Kongs (American Bandstand, 1976)

While any musical performances from this Kaptain Kool & The Kongs appearance on American Bandstand might be on separate videos, host Dick Clark talks to the band, acknowledging their true identities. I'm thinking Debra Clinger (Super Chick) and Bert Sommer (Flatbush) had been on the show previously, the latter as a solo act, the former with the Clinger Sisters.

As previously documented, Albany product Sommer left the band and Krofft Supershow after one season, which left Clinger and Mickey McMeel (Turkey) as the only actual musicians left in the group. Michael Lembeck (Kaptain Kool) even acknowledges McMeel had been with Three Dog Night a year earlier.

I don't know if Clark had been at Woodstock, where Sommer had his first fling with fame. As we know, the glam and makeup were gone a year later, allowing Clinger & Louise DuArt (Nashville) to ditch the wigs and let their natural hair shine.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Dance (1970)

Archie's Funhouse, the third iteration of the franchise under Filmation's stewardship, turns 50 this year. Here's a Giant Jukebox entry, "Dance":

From Primetime to Daytime: Hornet, Save Thyself (Green Hornet, 1967)

In contrast to Batman, William Dozier presented The Green Hornet as a straight-up crime drama, the second such freshman series from 20th Century Fox in 1966. The other, The Felony Squad, outlasted Hornet, as it ran for three seasons to Hornet's one.

That said, this episode, "Hornet, Save Thyself", offers a whodunit that flips the script, if ya will. Britt Reid (Van Williams) is framed for murder at his own birthday party, thanks to an envious business rival (Michael Strong).

I was able to catch up with the series via weekday repeats on FX in its early years, and this, despite the absence of a producer credit for Richard Bluel, was one of the better episodes of the series.

Rating: A-.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Toon Legends: Casper in Fright From Wrong (1956)

Casper's 1956 short, "Fright From Wrong", introduces the Ghostly Trio. Upset that Casper opts to make friends rather than scare, the Trio scheme to change his dynamic. However, it seems Casper is one step ahead of them......!

It is said that when Casper transforms into a "devil ghost", his ectoplasm changing from white to red, it was the inspiration for a future Harvey Comics star----Hot Stuff.

Today, American Mythology Press holds the comics rights to Casper and his friends.

Rating: B.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: I Go Crazy (1978)

The late Paul Davis had just two major hits. The last was "'65 Love Affair" in 1982, but before that, there was the ballad, "I Go Crazy", which charted five years earlier, and landed Davis on The Midnight Special in March 1978. Host du jour Rick Nelson introduces Davis.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Literary Toons: Beware The Hunter (The Littles, 1983)

Here's the series premiere of The Littles from 1983. Dr. Hunter's quest for the Littles begins here with "Beware The Hunter":

Note the last scene before the craft segment. Lucy uses her tail to tickle Henry, or was she one of the first to try twerking? It's clear here, and in the next episode, "The Lost City of The Littles", that she's got a crush on Henry.

Didn't see this the first time, so no rating.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Game Time: Meet the creator of the Lone Ranger (To Tell The Truth, 1960)

I've read that there's been much debate over whether or not Fran Striker solely created The Lone Ranger, as he claimed when he appeared on To Tell The Truth in 1960. He did have a hand in the other 2/3 of WXYZ radio's adventure trilogy (Green Hornet & Sgt. Preston of The Yukon), but it seems George Trendle had claimed he, too, created the Ranger as well.

Host Bud Collyer, six years away from reprising as the voice of Superman, this time for CBS & Filmation, leads a panel of Tom Poston, Kitty Carlisle, Polly Bergen, and Ralph Bellamy, the latter returning to promote the FDR bio, "Sunrise at Campobello". Striker is in the final game.

I've also read "kemo sabe" also means "trusted friend". Hmmmm.

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Electroman? (1977)

Electroman was one of Ideal's last toy products of the 70's. Unfortunately, trying to muscle in on the heroic figures being released by rivals Kenner & Mego didn't work.

Jackson Beck narrates this ad:

Teenage Toons: Sabrina meets her cousin Damina (Alter Ego, 1977)

From The Archie-Sabrina Hour:

Sabrina (Jane Webb) has her hands full with her 4th dimensional cousin, Damina (Webb again), who's to Sabrina what Mr. Mxyzptlk (from the 5th dimension) would be to Superman, an annoyance. Aunts Hilda & Zelda accidentally brought Damina to Riverdale via a botched spell, and now, it's up to Super Witch Sabrina to send her back.

Webb's voice as Damina seems to be sped up, a la Ted Knight as the Riddler 9 years earlier.....

If they paid Webb by the word, and not all the female roles she played, I'd imagine she'd have been rich beyond her wildest dreams.

Rating: B.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Could it be I'm Falling in Love (1972-3)

From The Midnight Special comes the Spinners, performing their hit, "Could it be I'm Falling in Love". With Valentine's Day a week and a half away, this will get plenty of radio requests.....

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Getting Schooled: Mr. Peabody meets the Pony Express (1959)

It's way past time we checked into Peabody's Improbable History.

Mr. Peabody (Bill Scott) & Sherman (Walter Tetley) travel to 1860 for the introduction of "The Pony Express":

What some of you might not know is that Peabody & Sherman sprang from the pen of cartoonist Ted Key, the creator of Hazel, back when Key was working for the Saturday Evening Post. Jay Ward took Key's idea and developed it into the iconic series we know today.

Rating: B.