Sunday, October 31, 2021

Sunday Funnies: What if you could take the Devil to court? (Saturday Night Live, 1986)

 Our final "Spooktober" entry for the year comes from Saturday Night Live, and it is a doozy.

In a spoof on the original People's Court, the Devil (Jon Lovitz, later of The Critic) finds himself in a very unusual position, being sued. How they never thought of this sooner, I'll never known.

Phil Hartman (who'd later add The Simpsons to his resume) plays Judge Joseph Wapner, with Kevin Nealon as Doug Llewellyn. 

Just a public service. Happy Halloween.

Spooktober: Hellraiser (1991-2021)

 Ozzy Osbourne's "Hellraiser" was a FM album track off his 1991 CD, "No More Tears", and a duet with Motorhead bassist-vocalist Lemmy Kilmister, one of two cuts co-written by the two. "Hellraiser" was co-written with Zakk Wylde.

To mark the 30th anniversary of "No More Tears" comes an animated video for "Hellraiser", which has Lemmy & Ozzy playing a namesake video game before literally, all hell breaks loose. I think that flaming sword Ozzy wields might've been inspired by the Voltron cartoons.

Like, devilishly crazy, man.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Rare Treats: Hi, Mom (1957)

 New York was a hotbed for children's show hosts in the 50's, 60's, & 70's. Most discussions center around guys like Chuck McCann (WPIX), Soupy Sales, Sandy Becker, & Sonny Fox (WNEW), but have a tendency to forget there was also a woman in the mix.

That would be Shari Lewis.

By 1957, Shari was a fixture at WRCA (now WNBC), where she was brought in a few years earlier to take over the Kartoon Klub, which later was renamed The Shari Lewis Show, then Shariland until it ended in 1956. Seems show business was in Shari's blood, as her father was a magician who was deemed the "official magician" of New York by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia more than 20 years earlier, during the Great Depression.

After a guest appearance on CBS' Captain Kangaroo introduced America to Lamb Chop, Shari returned to WRCA to co-host Hi, Mom, which ran for a couple of years (1957-9). 

The following, nearly seven minute video is the extent of footage available to YouTube:

Yeah, I know. The audio is down too low for some of you. The Paley Center in New York may have at least one full episode, but I don't know for sure.

No rating. Just a public service.

Friday, October 29, 2021

You Know The Voice: Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. (aka David Seville) (1958)

 There was a time when Ross Bagdasarian, the creator of Alvin & The Chipmunks, actually appeared on camera as his alter-ego, David Seville. He had a small part in Alfred Hitchcock's classic suspense thriller, "Rear Window", and landed on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958 in support of his pre-Chipmunk hit, "Witch Doctor". Sullivan does the intro:

Of course, Alvin arrived on the scene a while later, and appeared in puppet form on the show before getting his own series.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Toon Legends: Popeye in Skyscraper Capers (1960)

 I'm told that today is Navy Day. What better way to mark this occasion than with the most famous comic strip sailor of them all...Popeye.

In "Skyscraper Capers", Popeye (Jack Mercer) takes a job on a high rise, with Brutus (Jackson Beck) as the foreman. The usual chaos follows.

Most of the open was edited off for copyright reasons.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Spooktober: Sesame Street presents A Magical Halloween Adventure (2004)

 In 2004, Sesame Workshop collaborated with Sony Wonder to produce a Halloween themed Sesame Street video that the kiddo's could play any time.

Mumford the Magician gets lost on the Street, then brings Elmo and friends to a party hosted by Gilda the Good Witch (special guest star Caroline Rhea, a year removed from Sabrina, The Teenage Witch). We're just rolling this out for today's kids. No rating.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Isis in Scuba Duba (1975)

 From season 1 of The Secrets of Isis:

A careless student gets himself in trouble more than once, the second time using unchecked scuba diving gear. Of course, Isis (Joanna Cameron) comes to his aid. Meanwhile, Isis, as science teacher Andrea Thomas, also has to give fellow teacher Rick Mason a few pointers in humility. Here's "Scuba Duba":

This one is in memory of Joanna Cameron, 70, who passed away on October 15. In addition to Secrets of Isis, Joanna appeared in movies, commercials, and made guest appearances on Daniel Boone, Switch, Marcus Welby, MD, and The Bold Ones: The New Doctors. After retiring from acting, Joanna took up nursing, emboldened, perhaps, by having played a nurse on Welby, then went into a new career in marketing.

Another piece of our childhood is gone. Rest in peace & power, Joanna.

Toon Rock: Mr. Blue Sky (1977-2019)

 42 years after its initial release, Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr. Blue Sky" got a 2nd video issued, this one an animated clip. Not much is known about the animation on this one, but before you scope out the newly released cover by the Muppets' Dr. Teeth & The Electric Mayhem (and that's something to check out), get down and boogie with the original boppin' beat from Jeff Lynne & company.

Retro Toy Chest: Dr. Drill 'n' Fill (1979)

 After Kenner absorbed Rainbow Crafts, the makers of Play-Doh, in 1971, the toy giant began experimenting with expanding the Play-Doh line.

In 1979, they must've thought there were enough kids that wanted to get into dentistry. So, they came out with Dr. Drill 'n' Fill, per this commercial:

A couple of years later, Kenner was the one being absorbed, first by Tonka, then, in 1991, Hasbro, which still markets Play-Doh today, but Dr. Drill 'n' Fill is long gone.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Tooniversary: The Hunter in Statue of Liberty Play (1961)

 The Hunter (Kenny Delmar) does his patriotic duty to hunt down The Fox and retrieve a stolen monument in "Statue of Liberty Play", first shown in March 1961.

Rating: B-.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

When clowns were cool: Bozo's Big Top, aka The Bozo Show (1959)

 A year after launching a series of animated shorts, Larry Harmon brought Bozo The Clown to live-action. As with Bert Claster's Romper Room, Bozo was licensed to several stations across the country. To my knowledge, the 518 was not one of the markets.

In 1965, Harmon decided to take the show national. It went by the title, The Bozo Show, just for that season, but was changed to Bozo's Big Top the next year. The shorts, with Paul Frees' intro edited off for time, were included, one per episode. A future icon in Carroll Spinney, then billed as Ed Spinney, was part of Harmon's repertory company on Big Top, which was taped in Boston, home to Frank Avruch. Keep in mind this was three years before Spinney left for New York and Sesame Street.

Following is a sample episode.

Good, clean fun. Now, maybe this would be a good time for Bozo to be revived, to erase the stigma created since he left of clowns being bad (largely because of Batman's enemy, the Joker).

No rating. Just a public service.

Friday, October 22, 2021

NBC's 1978-9 Saturday morning schedule (partial), courtesy of Marvel

 We're bringing the Saturday morning time machine forward to 1978, and a NBC ad appearing in Marvel Comics.


The Krofft Superstar Hour and The Fabulous Funnies. NBC decided to stress the action and adventure of the three shows advertised (Fantastic Four, Yogi's Space Race, Godzilla Power Hour). Baggy Pants & The Nitwits was moved to 12:30 pm (ET) to make room for Fabulous Funnies, but was gone a month later, as NBC shuffled the lineup.

As we've previously discussed, Krofft Superstar Hour was sliced in half, and re-titled The Bay City Rollers Show, which only prolonged the inevitable. NBC then acquired reruns of Jonny Quest, Doug Wildey's most famous creation, resulting in the Power Hour being rebooted as Godzilla Super 90, while Hanna-Barbera split up Yogi's Space Race into three separate components, with Galaxy Goof-Ups and Buford & The Galloping Ghost being splintered off.

We've also noted that here in the 518, Fantastic Four could only be seen on an alternate affiliate for NBC, WKTV, out of Utica, as WRGB, then the NBC affiliate (they'd flip with WNYT a couple of years later), refused to carry the show, opting for syndicated fare or local production. However, WKTV was removed from local cable systems a few years later due to repetition.

Instant lessons: One Minute Bible Stories (1985)

 Ventriloquist-actress Shari Lewis turned author, and published a pair of books for Doubleday which condensed classic tales from the Bible into two volumes under the title, One Minute Bible Stories. Volume 1, the Old Testament, takes readers on a speed course from Adam & Eve and Noah's Ark to Queen Esther. We'll cover volume 2, the New Testament, another time, but for right now, here's Volume 1:

One quibble. The Bible tells us that Eve met the serpent alone, and later gave an apple to Adam. That Adam & Eve are shown together is part of the condensation of the story.

To my knowledge, the videos were never shown on television.

Rating: A.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Saturtainment: A Halloween episode of the Lawrence Welk Show, revisited (1978-2005)

 Are you ready for some Halloween-themed musical treats, a la Lawrence Welk?

After The Lawrence Welk Show was cancelled by ABC in 1971, the series continued for another 11 years in syndication before Welk retired in 1982 at age 79. Five years later, episodes from the final 15 seasons (1967-82) were acquired by the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority to air on PBS.

This particular episode aired on PBS in 2005.

My late mother was a huge Welk fan, and spent many a Saturday afternoon during the PBS era watching the repackaged reruns.

No rating. Just a public service.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Spooktober: A Morkville Horror (Mork & Mindy, 1979)

 From season 2 of Mork & Mindy:

It's easy to forget that Robin Williams had studied acting at Julliard alongside his good friend, Christopher Reeve. In "A Morkville Horror", Mork becomes a psychic conduit when he & Mindy (Pam Dawber) investigate whether or not Mindy's childhood home has become haunted. Both leads should've been nominated for Emmys just on the strength of this episode alone.

Nearly 20 years later, after a handful of nominations, Williams finally copped an Oscar, for Best Supporting Actor, for "Good Will Hunting".

Rating: A+.

CBS' Saturday schedule for 1968-9, as presented by DC Comics

 Last week, we presented a CBS Saturday morning ad from 1969. This time, we're moving back up a bit to 1968. This comes from The Atom & Hawkman #39.

Those stock Looney Tunes poses have been used in advertising for years. As we know, Go-Go Gophers was cancelled after the season, and so was Wacky Races, replaced by its two spinoffs, Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines & The Perils of Penelope Pitstop.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Toonfomercial: A Honey Comb spaceship? (1978)

 With science fiction making a big comeback on the screen in the late 70's (i.e "Star Wars", Mork & Mindy), Post Cereals, then a brand of General Foods, decided to promote Honey Comb cereal with a commercial that has a spaceship shaped like a, well, honey comb. Jackson Beck narrates.

Looks like the same animation studio that did the Crest Team spots for Procter & Gamble, also narrated by Beck.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Spooktober: Underdog vs. Batty Man (1967)

 Underdog (Wally Cox) faces off against "Batty Man" in the pentultimate episode of the series. This vampire is more interested in stealing gold from Fort Knox than drinking blood.

I should point out that Mad Magazine had used a "Batty Man" as a parody of Batman roughly around the same time.

This video, taken by a camera phone from a Boomerang broadcast, comes from NBC's 2nd run with the series, no later than 1972-3.

Who'd ever heard of a vampire on a cruise liner in broad daylight, before "Hotel Transylvania"?

One of the weaker entries in the series.

Rating: C.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Toonfomercial: You have to buy the cereal for the resolution of this cliffhanger (1964)

 In reviewing Underdog a while back, I mistakenly assumed the series began on CBS. It didn't. The series aired on CBS in between NBC runs, ending in 1973.

Anyway, during the 1964-5 season, sponsor General Mills tried a unique promotion tying the series to Cheerios cereal.

Here, Simon Bar Sinister (Allen Swift) invents another goofy gun that takes the holes out of Cheerios. Underdog (Wally Cox) is convienently eating the cereal as he watches Sweet Polly's newscast. Polly (Norma McMillan) is heard advising viewers to buy Cheerios for the conclusion of this tale.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

CBS' weekend schedule for 1969-70, as seen in DC Comics

 Ah, the days of our youth, when networks would happily promote their Saturday (and Sunday) fare by taking out ad space in comic books.

CBS, for example, would take out 2 page ads appearing in DC & Archie comics, just in time for the start of the new season. This practice, however, would come to an end sometime in the 80's.

For now, here's a 2 page spread for CBS' 1969-70 Saturday block, pulled from From Beyond The Unknown #1:

Yes, we were in year 2 of CBS having rerun rights to The Monkees, and The Jetsons, originally on ABC, and eventually landing at NBC, led off the block, with Tom & Jerry & Batman making up a hour-long Sunday block. CBS discontinued the Sunday reruns first, sometime in the late 70's. From time to time, we'll be pulling those old ads, just for fun.

Spooktober: Fraidy Cat in Not so Nice Mice (1975)

 Fraidy Cat (Alan Oppenheimer, in one of his first jobs for Filmation) runs into a section of town run by some "Not so Nice Mice". Len Weinrib voices all the ghosts of Fraidy's past 8 lives.

Gangster mice? Yep. To think that this was the series opener, too.

Rating: B--.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Toons You Might've Missed: Hoot Kloot (1973)

 In a way, DePatie-Freleng's short-lived Hoot Kloot series was an attempt to replicate the success of The Inspector nearly a decade earlier, only with the setting changed from France to the American West.

Hoot himself (Bob Holt) was a send-up of Dodge's on-screen sheriff (Joe Higgins, ex-The Rifleman), who was starring in a series of ads that would later land him a gig on Hee Haw. His talking horse, Fester, was a knock-off of Gunsmoke deputies Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver, McCloud) and Festus Haggin (Ken Curtis), the latter of whom was still on duty by this point.

John W. Dunn wrote all 17 shorts, released between 1973-4, and sources say these shorts eventually turned up as part of NBC's Pink Panther package, though I can't recall ever seeing them until years later.

"As The Tumbleweed Turns", released in April 1974, has Hoot being asked by a railroad to evict a familiar looking widow. Hazel Shermet is credited as the widow, doing a mimic of June Foray's Granny from the Sylvester & Tweety shorts. Holt does all the other voices.


Rating: C.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Tooniversary: Remember when Baggies had an alligator for a mascot? (1976)

 Today, the Baggies line of sandwich bags are under the same corporate roof with Reynolds Wrap, since a Reynolds subsidiary acquired Baggies, along with Hefty garbage bags, a few years back.

Back in 1976, Baggies, if memory serves me correctly, might've been part of Colgate-Palmolive, or, at least, that's what I remember. Anyway, the ad agency they used decided to create an animated mascot, in this case, an alligator:

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Dueling over lollipops? (1970)

 This next commercial aired for several years, after Charms, now part of the Tootsie Roll company, introduced their Big Pop in 1970.

The absurdity of an adult dueling a child over the Big Pops never got old.

Unfortunately, the Big Pops are not around anymore, and were probably gone before Tootsie Roll Industries purchased Charms.

From Primetime to Daytime: A Mark Twain classic gets the Monkee treatment (1967)

 From season 1 of The Monkees:

The Twain classic I was referring to this time is The Prince & The Pauper, in this case with Davy Jones being the "pauper", and essaying a dual role as the prince. Joe Higgins (ex-The Rifleman) and Heather North guest star.

Heather & Davy would work together again 5 years later when Davy guest starred on The New Scooby-Doo Movies.

Rating: B.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Once Upon a Classic (1976)

 45 years ago, PBS affiliate WQED in Pittsburgh, home of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, launched a series of periodic specials for PBS, though some episodes were imported from England.

Once Upon a Classic, by all rights, should've had a primo spot on Saturday mornings, had PBS bothered to create a Saturday block back then. These hour-long dramas would've been a fair complement to CBS' Children's Film Festival, which itself was being de-emphasized as time passed.

Classic ran for four seasons (1976-80), but information about the series remains minimal at best, and PBS hasn't bothered to exhume the series for its PBS Kids channel, so that today's generation can see some of these shows for the first time.

From 1978, an adaptation of Mark Twain's oft-adapted tale of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, starring Paul Rudd (not the same as the "Ant-Man" star), Tovah Feldshuh (Holocaust), Richard Basehart (ex-Voyage to The Bottom of The Sea), and Roscoe Lee Browne. Bill Bixby (by this time starring in The Incredible Hulk) is the series host.

I hadn't seen this the first time, though I had seen previous adaptations, including one with Bing Crosby.

Rating: B.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Toon Legends: Mr. Magoo in Destination Magoo (1954)

 Mr. Magoo reconnects with an old schoolmate, who's now a respected scientist, and sabotages an experimental rocket meant to go to the moon. "Destination Magoo" was co-written by Jim Backus (Magoo) & Jerry Hausner (Magoo's nephew, Waldo), with a treatment by WB veteran Tedd Pierce.

I believe this might've been a parody of George Pal's "Destination Moon".

Standard Magoo farce of the era.

Rating: B.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Spooktober: Goblins Will Get You (Tennessee Tuxedo, 1965)

 From season 3 of Tennessee Tuxedo & His Tales):

Tennessee (Don Adams, Get Smart, ex-The Bill Dana Show) ignores Chumley's warning about eating too much candy, and has a wicked dream. Here's "Goblins Will Get You":

Kinda weird, isn't it? Chumley actually being smart for a change.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Spooktober: Fangface meets a robot she-wolf (1979)

 Fangface (Frank Welker) falls for a female werewolf, unaware that it's actually a robot being used to lure him into a life of crime.

I should note that by the time Fangpuss arrived on the scene, Marvel's original Werewolf by Night had gained sentience, and was just another wise cracking hero. Fangface, on the other hand, was the classic case of not only being a dim brute, but being dim as a human as well.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Spooktober: Visit to a Ghost Town (Here Comes The Grump, 1969)

 On their journey to locate the Cave of The Whispering Orchids, Princess Dawn & Terry pay a "Visit to a Ghost Town", with the Grump dogging their every step aboard an allergic dragon.....

In a way, the title is a misnomer, since the ghosts seem to have given sentience to the buildings in the town.

Rating: B.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Spooktober: The Flintstones' New Neighbors (1980)

 A year after The Flintstones returned to primetime with "The Flintstones Meet Rockula & Frankenstone", Hanna-Barbera got the idea to reboot Frankenstone as a family man, replacing the Gruesomes as the Flintstones' & Rubbles' new neighbors.

See, in the earlier special, Frankenstone was Rockula's unfinished servant (think "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein"). This time, Frank Frankenstone arrives in Bedrock with his family. The parts were recast when The Flintstone Comedy Show bowed a month later. John Stephenson, the reliable utility player, had voiced Rockula in the previous special, and does Frank here, only to be replaced a month later by Charles Nelson Reilly. In fact, the entire Frankenstone family was recast. Here, Hidea is Frank's daughter (Julie McWhirter-Dees, ex-Jeannie, Casper & The Angels, The Rich Little Show, Wacko!), but in the subsequent series, Hidea is Mrs. Frankenstone (Ruta Lee, ex-High Rollers). 

Try figuring out the continuity while watching our first Spooktober entry of the year.

No rating. Just a public service.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Rare Treats: Remember The Nutty Squirrels Present? (1960)

 The Nutty Squirrels Present was a syndicated anthology series of shorts imported from overseas, which lasted one season (1960-1), then revived for a rerun cycle in the 70's.

This was spun from a novelty band formed by jazzman Don Elliott and TV composer Sascha Burland, who composed the original theme to What's My Line? a decade earlier. The musical Squirrels were clearly a knock-off of Ross Bagdasarian's wildly popular Alvin & The Chipmunks, and the animated iteration beat Alvin to television by a whole year.

The Squirrels only appeared in the open and whatever bumpers were produced for the show, serving as hosts as the title implies.

Following is "Tiger Trouble".

Pedestrian, at best.

Rating: C-.

Friday, October 1, 2021

You Know The Voice: Robert Ridgely (1978)

 I'd imagine this next item aired during sports programming when it was issued in 1978.

Robert Ridgely, at the time the voice of Tarzan, Lord of The Jungle, hams it up as he shills for Schlitz Malt Liquor.