Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Toonfomercial: Remember Supermom? (1996)

 Coca-Cola decided to get back into the hero business in 1996 with the debut of Supermom, and ordinary housewife by day, heroine by night, if ya will. Her debut ad appeared during the Super Bowl, and, two years later, she was back, fighting aliens, then bringing one home to share Coke with the kiddo's...!

Edit, 10/16/20: The ad with the aliens has been privatized. Here's the original:

Too bad they ended the campaign, as folks want to see Supermom return.....

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: I Am Woman (1972-3)

 Australia's Helen Reddy hit #1 on the charts with the empowerment anthem, "I Am Woman", in 1972, and that landed Helen her first booking on The Midnight Special a year later.

In memory of Reddy, 78, who passed away overnight after a five year struggle with dementia.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Monday, September 28, 2020

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Real Kids (1982)

 Ya might say "Messy Marvin" cleaned up.

Peter Billingsley, who played Marvin in those Hershey's chocolate syrup commercials, parlayed those ads into a recurring gig as a junior contributor to Real People, which, in turn, led to a 2-week miniseries, Real Kids, in 1982. We're assuming these specials aired on Sunday nights, as the familiar bumper, "We'll return after these messages", is being used on this show.

Peter serves as co-host and announcer, and is the only one of the group still active today. Legendary Mad Magazine artist Sergio Aragones, who would later contribute to TV's Bloopers & Practical Jokes, is on site doing some illustrations.

The following clip is the only existing one from the series, and comes from co-host Karissa Noel's YouTube channel. People co-host Sarah Purcell introduces the show.

No rating. Didn't see either episode.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Rock & Roll Music (1968)

 It'll never be confused with the song of the same name that was a hit for Chuck Berry and the Beatles, but the Archies' "Rock & Roll Music" sounds more like a soft ballad in contrast to the lame "Dance of The Week", "The Grundy", as demonstrated by Jughead.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Toon Legends: Popeye in It's The Natural Thing to do (1939)

By 1939, Jack Mercer was well entrenched as the voice of Popeye, although there would be the periodic stand-ins. 

Not so the case for Olive & Bluto, as the trio are the only principal characters in "It's The Natural Thing To Do". Pinto Colvig, better known as the original voice of Disney's Goofy, voices Bluto here, and Margie Hines is Olive.


Never has Popeye's penchant for fracturing the simplest of words been more apparent than here, although the tuxedos the guys choose to spring for were a little too much.

Rating: A-.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Saturtainment: Lunch With Soupy Sales (1953)

Lunch With Soupy Sales began as a regional entry, airing as much as six days a week, in Detroit, in 1953. Two years later, the series went national on Saturdays, picked up by ABC, and gaining sponsorship, as you'll see, from Jell-O, which also sponsored Jack Benny's radio program.

The show format is a familiar one if you've seen later iterations from the 60's (WNEW) and 70's (syndicated). Soupy, some puppets (all voiced by Clyde Adler until Soupy left for New York in 1965), and lots of pies.

ABC pulled the plug on Soupy in the spring of 1961, but would welcome him back 15 years later as host of the short-lived Junior Almost Anything Goes.

Following is a sample episode from 1959. Mind the video quality.

No rating.

Game Time: Donkey Kong in New Wave Ape (1984)

From season 2 of Saturday Supercade:

Donkey Kong (Soupy Sales) gets into the music business to help a band win a contest, and that forces Mario (Peter Cullen) to stew. Here's "New Wave Ape":

In the 2nd season open, watch how Kong puts his hands to his ears to taunt Mario. That's actually a call-back to Soupy's novelty hit from the 60's, "The Mouse".

No rating.

Friday, September 25, 2020

You Know The Voices: Olan Soule & Bob Hastings (1963)

From season 1 of McHale's Navy:

As F-Troop had the Hekawi's during its 2 year run (1965-7), this series had McHale (Ernest Borgnine) and the crew of the PT-73 often making deals with the local native tribe on the island of Taratupa, which often caused headaches for McHale's commanding officer, Captain Binghamton (Joe Flynn).

Near the end of the season, Chief Urulu (Jacques Aubuchon) and his tribe learn a lesson in democracy from McHale & Ensign Parker (Tim Conway), which leads to an election. Olan Soule plays Moloko, a rare role where he doesn't have his glasses. Nearly unrecognizable with the wig.

A little Bat-trivia: Aubuchon made some appearances on the live-action Batman, usually as a henchman. Of course, we know Soule's & Bob Hastings' contributions to the Bat-franchise....

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Isis in Class Clown (1976)

From season 2 of The Secrets of Isis:

Isis (Joanna Cameron) has to help a transfer student, who's also a bit of a "Class Clown":

No rating.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: When You're Young & in Love (1975)

Janet Jackson wasn't the only singer on Good Times.

Before Ms. Jackson joined the cast of the CBS sitcom, Broadway star Ralph Carter was cast as Michael Evans on the show, and was doing musical numbers in selected episodes, including a duet with Janet after she joined the cast, a cover of Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr.'s "You Don't Have to be a Star".

Ralph turned up on Soul Train in 1975 to do one of those Good Times numbers, "When You're Young & in Love". He released an album around that time, and the Train appearance was more about the album than the show.....

Rare Treats: Tales of The Tinkerdee (1962)

After Sam & Friends ended its run, Jim Henson and his staff began producing commercials for various advertisers, such as General Mills and Frito-Lay. They also found the time to travel to Atlanta in 1962 to produce an unaired, unsold pilot for a medieval fantasy series, Tales of The Tinkerdee. Kermit the Frog carried over from Sam & Friends, now cast as a minstrel, narrating the story in song while strumming a lute.

The gag with all the doors & gates closing behind Kermit at the end of the show would be reused on Get Smart throughout its 5 year run (1965-70).

A 2nd pilot was shot two years later, and also went unsold.

No rating. Just a public service.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Remembering Road Warrior Animal (Joseph Laurinaitis) (1960-2020)

 If you were growing up watching wrestling in the 80's & 90's, this will hurt.

The Road Warriors, Hawk & Animal (Michael Hegstrand & Joseph Laurinaitis), burst on the scene in the NWA's Mid-Atlantic (Georgia) territory in the early 80's. Animal arrived first, originally known simply as The Road Warrior, before Hawk joined him and manager Paul Ellering. At first, they were part of a stable known as the Legion of Doom, which also included at various times, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, King Kong Bundy, The Spoiler (Don Jardine), and others, before Ellering and/or Georgia Championship matchmakers trimmed it down to just Ellering and the Warriors. The Legion of Doom name was derived from the 1978 Challenge of The Super Friends series, and an all-star collection of villains assembled on the show.

Billed as the Legion of Doom, Hawk & Animal jumped to the then-World Wrestling Federation in 1990, and would have three tours of duty with what is now WWE, the last coming in 2003, before Hegstrand's passing. As noted, Laurinaitis would return, winning one last tag title with Jon Heidenreich in 2005, then a short-lived solo run in 2006-7. The Road Warriors were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.

Today, it has been reported that Laurinaitis has passed away at 60. Cause unknown as of press time. His son, James, was an All-American linebacker at Ohio State before being drafted by the then-St. Louis Rams in 2009.

Let's step back in time, to see the Road Warriors in their prime, albeit in a early evening squash on TBS' World Championship Wrestling:

In all probability, WWE will post a tribute graphic as early as tonight. Rest in peace, Animal.

Retro Toy Chest: Remember the Easy Bake Oven? (1963)

Kenner (now part of Hasbro) introduced the Easy Bake Oven in 1963 as a teaching tool for kids, particularly little girls, to learn how to cook. It's gone under a number of modifications over the years, including switching from incandescent light to natural heating units to heat up the cake and pies.

In 1968, a year before Sesame Street made him a cultural icon, Jim Henson was commissioned to create a Muppet version of Kenner's Gooney Bird mascot, which appears in the following ad with actress Barbara Price:

The Muppet Gooney Bird was repackaged as Little Bird, which joined the cast of Sesame Street. Henson also did ads for Frito-Lay (Munchos) and General Mills, particularly in Canada. We'll have those ads up soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Saturtainment: The American Adventure (1971)

 The 70's brought an assortment of syndicated programming. Eddie Einhorn, at the time the owner of the Chicago White Sox, had launched a network that produced track & field events and college basketball games.

Meanwhile, MGM landed a deal with an independent producer for a weekly docuseries, The American Adventure, not to be confused with one of the attractions at Disney World. Even with sponsorship from Jeep (then a part of American Motors, now part of Chrysler), the series lasted just 1 season, but would remain available for stations into the mid-80's.

Actor Gary Merrill was host-narrator. I do recall seeing this on a local station, but not enough to merit giving this a rating.

Following is an episode on "Surfing", which was rebroadcast in the 80's on WCBS in New York.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Toonfomercial: Remember Mr. Opportunity? (2004)

Honda had a great advertising campaign from 2004-11 with the animated Mr. Opportunity (Rob Paulsen). I guess the advertisers believe that "all good things must end", but not in this case.

Here's a sample ad from 2004:

You Know The Voice: June Foray

Following is a compilation of some of the best of the late, legendary June Foray, during her illustrious career. Much of her work for WB & Disney went uncredited, the former due to Mel Blanc's contract stipulating only he would be credited for his work, with the exception of later WB entries like Duck Dodgers & The Looney Tunes Show. June also went uncredited for her guest shots on The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?. The interview segment, also featuring Bill Scott, was recorded some years back, and we have a separate excerpt elsewhere.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Toon Rock: I'm an Amendment-to-be (The Simpsons, 1996)

From season 7 of The Simpsons:

As part of an episode detailing the origins of the show-within-a-show, The Itchy & Scratchy Show, the writers came up with a parody of a Schoolhouse Rock! classic.

Jack Sheldon, who sang "I'm Just a Bill" nearly 25 years earlier, returns for "I'm an Amendment-to-be".

Friday, September 18, 2020

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Good Times (1979-80)

Chic had initially released "Good Times" as a single in 1979 off the album, "Risque". It wasn't until February 1980 that the group appeared on Soul Train, even though "Good Times" was off the charts by then.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Retro Toy Chest: Remember when slime was marketed as a toy? (Slime Worms, 1978)

 Way before Nickelodeon made slime a thing via Canada's You Can't Do That on Television, Mattel was marketing slime for various products, including a board game and, in this next entry, Slime Worms, which were introduced in 1978.

Unfortunately, the worms didn't last very long. This ad will illustrate exactly why. Jack Dodson (Happy Days, ex-The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry RFD) is the mailman.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Coming Attractions: Good Times goes animated

To think that it all started when coronavirus forced the producers of the 21st century remake of One Day at a Time to produce an animated episode earlier this year. The series, originally on Netflix, is now on the Pop Network (formerly TV Guide Channel), and soon to be bound for CBS, home of the original One Day, as filler for the fall.

One Day co-creator Alan Mannings also worked on another of Norman Lear's classic sitcoms of the 70's, Good Times, and now, that series is being rebooted as an animated series, also for Netflix.

The ageless Lear, well into his 90's, has seen Good Times get a 21st century revival via the Live in Front of a Studio Audience specials he's curated with late night host Jimmy Kimmel for ABC. This time, Lear is partnering with NBA star and producer Steph Curry (Holey Moley) and pop culture geek Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad, etc.) to develop a new, animated spin on the Evans family. To remind one and all of the source material, here's a sample open/close from the 70's:

The animated Good Times is due next year. Ya wonder if Jimmie Walker is looking for work, or maybe Curry can reach out to former cast member turned pop icon Janet Jackson to help with the soundtrack.......

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Coming Attractions: The Animaniacs return!

They're ba-a-a-a--a-ck!

The Warner siblings---Yakko, Wakko, & Dot---return in Hulu's revival of Animaniacs, which will drop just in time for Thanksgiving on November 20. Pinky & The Brain, which was spun off from the original series, returns as well in its former role as a backup feature.

This video takes you behind the scenes with cast members Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille, and Maurice LaMarche.

Thought this was bound for Netflix, but Hulu gets it instead. I wonder if they reaize Napster ain't a thing anymore......

From Comics to Toons: Archie encounters a Ship of Ghouls (Archie's Weird Mysteries, 1999)

From Archie's Weird Mysteries:

Archie and the gang are enjoying a day of sailing, but it turns into a night of adventure when Archie finds a gold coin that was part of a pirate's treasure years earlier. Here's "Ship of Ghouls":

Rating: B.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Literary Toons: Ivanhoe (1975)

From Famous Classic Tales comes an adaptation of Sir Walter Scott's medevial novel, Ivanhoe, the first adaptation to be presented in the US in nearly 20 years. Produced by Air Programs International.

Yes, it trods the same ground to an extent as Robin Hood, and inspired later reinterpretations of that classic tale.

No rating.

On The Air: Our Cartoon President (2018)

Showtime's Our Cartoon President is a spin-off from CBS' The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. I think the reason it's on Showtime, a premium service, instead of, say, Comedy Central, which might eventually get broadcast rights, is due to the option of using coarse language. Colbert serves as executive producer and occasional performer.

The whole idea is to tweak President Trump and his administration. The satirical bite recalls Colbert's Comedy Central series, The Colbert Report, and while Colbert still uses animation on Late Show, this show needs a wider audience.

As opposed to the skits on Late Show, Brian Stack is not the voice of President Trump here. Instead, the role is credited to cartoon veteran Jeff Bergman, although he might be unintentionally mimicking Dan Castellaneta's Homer Simpson (The Simpsons) as Trump addresses the current issues...

Get thee to Comedy Central, if it isn't already there.

No rating. This cold open is too small a sample size.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Monster Squad vs. Queen Bee (1976)

Monster Squad was one of the creations of the writing/producing team of William P. D'Angelo, Harvey Bullock, & R. S. Allen for NBC, and replaced the Fugitive-inspired Run, Joe, Run when it debuted in 1976.

In the opener, Dracula (Henry Polic II, ex-When Things Were Rotten), Bruce W. Wolf (Buck Kartalian), Frank N. Stein (Michael Lane), & Walt (Fred Grandy) tangle with Bea, Queen of The Bees, or, to be more royal, Queen Bee (Alice Ghostley, who earned her camp cred with a couple of appearances a year earlier on Uncle Croc's Block).

Buck Kartalian was a character actor who'd done a zillion guest roles in the 60's & early 70's. Writer Richard Bluel was principal writer a decade earlier for The Green Hornet. Stanley Ralph Ross was also working on Wonder Woman concurrently with Squad, then would transition to cartoon work, both as a writer and actor, two years later.

If they'd bothered to relaunch the Superboy cartoons around this time, Grandy (later of The Love Boat) sounded enough like Bob Hastings to take over the part (Hastings was recurring on All in The Family at the time). At least, that's this writer's opinion.

With Spooktober right around the corner, we've got more Monster Squad on the way.

Rating: B-.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Jungle George (1970)

"Jungle George" might as well have been The Archies' answer to, say for example, Ray Stevens' "Guitarzan" when it was released on Archie's Funhouse. The series hits its 50th anniversary this year. Ug the Caveman is posited here as "Jungle George":

First time I'd actually heard this. Not one of their best.

Retro Toy Chest: Hot Wheels does drag racing (1980)

I don't recall ever seeing this ad for Mattel's Hot Wheels Scorchers set, which, quite honestly, is a drag race version of the franchise.

ABC studio announcer Ernie Anderson was also the voice of the Hot Wheels line at this point, and does the narrating here.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

A missing piece of the ThunderCats puzzle (1985)

When the original ThunderCats bowed 35 years ago, we thought each episode was intact. It turns out that there was something missing, which would only surface on VHS compilations. Hasn't yet been released on DVD, thought Warners might want to change that.

Anyway, this short piece was meant to be a means of introducing viewers to the characters....

The challenge is yours, Warner Home Video. How about attaching this to at least the first episode in an updated DVD release?

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Isis in To Find a Friend (1975)

From season 1 of The Secrets of Isis:

Oh, this is too rich for words.

A year removed from the end of The Brady Bunch & The Brady Kids, Mike Lookinland guest stars as a teenager who resorts to some extreme measures for respect. Tommy Norden (ex-Flipper) and Buddy Foster (ex-Mayberry R. F. D) also appear in "To Find a Friend":

There must've been something in the waters with the "Brady" boys in the mid-70's. 2 years later, Christopher Knight was also in a sort-of villainous role on Bigfoot & Wlldboy, and here, Lookinland is SO opposite of Bobby Brady, a role he'd return to a few years later.

No rating.

Coming Attractions: Family Guy gets a new mayor....

The late Adam West voiced his own animated alter-ego as the mayor of Quahog, home of Family Guy, many of the episodes airing after his passing in 2017.

As the Fox series begins its new season this fall, Quahog will have a new mayor, and, danged if he don't sell ya some beer or a truck along the way.

Veteran actor Sam Elliott, a past guest on Guy, joins the series as a recurring regular this season as Wild West West, toon Adam's cousin, who is persuaded by dimwitted Peter Griffin (series creator/executive producer Seth MacFarlane) to make a run for office.

And that ain't all.

Early word is that Guy will take its shots at President Trump when Peter takes a job as a reporter, and, well, that leads to an awkward meeting between Trump and Peter's daughter, Meg (Mila Kunis). Actress-singer Mandy Moore also joins the show this season as the daughter of Peter's best buddy, Glenn Quagmire (MacFarlane). Well, at least we know she knows how to sing....!

Family Guy begins season 17 in November. You've been warned.