Monday, July 4, 2022

Getting Schooled: Liberty's Kids (2002)

 We had this up some time back, but it was taken down by YouTube and Dailymotion due to copyright issues and/or user rights being terminated. Now, however, it's back.

Liberty's Kids was produced by DIC, initially for PBS, but the 40 episodes were later reissued for syndication. It's a star studded cast that leads young viewers through the early days of the US. The series turns 30 this year, making this return even more special.

DIC was able to bring together an array of talent including CBS news legend Walter Cronkite, and actors Michael Douglas, Ben Stiller, Annette Benning, Billy Crystal, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Gulf War hero General Norman Schwarzkopf made his acting debut in the series.

We're skipping past the two part series opener, and going to "United We Stand", with guest stars Crystal (as John Adams), Benning (Abagail Adams), and Douglas (Patrick Henry). 

The inestimable Cronkite won a Daytime Emmy for his work as Ben Franklin.

Rating: A.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Getting Schooled: The world's youngest songwriter---ELMO! (2009)

 The other day, the staff of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert dubbed over an old Sesame Street skit to poke fun at Texas Senator Ted Cruz after Cruz picked another losing battle on Twitter with perpetual 3 year old Elmo over his COVID vaccination.

Well, we've found the original footage, dating back as far as 2009. Here's "Elmo's Song":

Friday, July 1, 2022

Tooniversary: Fat Albert meets the Prankster (1972)

 Fat Albert & The Cosby Kids marks its 50th anniversary, as far as being a series goes, in September. In this episode, Albert and the gang meet Otis, a prankster whose idea of tomfoolery can and will backfire.

Didn't see this the first time. No rating.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Game time: Remember when Atari was all about home video games? (1978)

 In the 70's & 80's, Atari was a big name in video games. Both in arcades and home video.

To promote an early iteration of their video entertainment system, Atari recruited baseball star Pete Rose, then with Cincinnati, and TV icon Don Knotts, playing a convict.

Of course, Atari's long since left the playing field for Nintendo and Sony Playstation.

Getting Schooled: Elmo takes the vaccine (2022)

 Seven, nearly eight, months after Big Bird was shown getting the COVID vaccine, another Sesame Street character has followed.

Now that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which joined forces with Sesame Workshop to produce the following PSA, has authorized vaccines for younger children, the long running series, seen on PBS, HBO, HBO Max, & PBS Kids, used Elmo, a Muppet character nearing his 40th anniversary (debuted in 1984), to illustrate not only how safe the vaccine is for preschoolers, but also having his father, Louie, express his concerns when Elmo is off camera.

Unfortunately, Texas Senator Raphael "Ted" Cruz (we call him Timex Cruz over at The Land of Whatever) had a cow over this, and took to Twitter to whine about it, just like he did in November after Big Bird got his shot. Cruz doesn't get it, doesn't want to get it, and doesn't want to let any other Muppet characters (i.e. Ernie) get a shot without him getting his two cents in, if you will. Once again, Cruz is piggybacking off Sesame Street doing the right thing.

Well, I've got a solution. I'd like to see Sesame Workshop invite Cruz and a few other Republican peabrains (if you follow The Land of Whatever, you know who I mean) to appear on Sesame Street to get formally schooled with the rest of us. On the other hand, when is Cruz going to learn to stop picking fights on Twitter he can't win? That may be a harder question to answer than how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Summertainment: Bear de Guerre (The Inspector, 1968)

 The Inspector goes hunting, solo, in the pentultimate short in the series, "Bear de Guerre". He goes into a forest area that clearly is prohibiting hunting, but his single minded pursuit has him running over a ranger, and running afoul of a talking bear.

Pat Harrington, Jr. (Journey to The Center of The Earth) and Marvin Miller (Aquaman) were the only actors in this short, and would work together on Fantastic Voyage that fall. The Inspector's incompetence in the forest, we must note, makes Elmer Fudd look like a genius by comparison.

Rating: B-. They were clearly out of ideas.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Summertainment: Dune Bug (Ant & The Aardvark, 1969)

 All Charlie Ant (John Byner) wants to do is enjoy a day at the beach, like anyone else. The Aardvark (Byner) has other ideas. Unfortunately, he also has to get around a lifeguard who thinks the blue furred antagonist is a dog.

Here's "Dune Bug":

Rating: A.

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Game Time: Meet the original Harlem Globetrotters (What's My Line?, 1956)

We've previously shown you an installment of To Tell The Truth which featured the early Harlem Globetrotters. Now, let's take you to December 1956, right before New Year's Eve, when the team, as a whole, including coach-owner Abe Saperstein, appeared on What's My Line?. The 'Trotters are in the 1st game.

The 'Trotters were also the subject of a feature film, "Go, Man, Go", starring Dane Clark, before becoming an annual fixture on ABC's Wide World of Sports and landing their first animated series (CBS, 1970).

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Toons After Dark: The Flintstones celebrate 25 years.......on CBS (1986)

 The Flintstones' 25th anniversary had already come & gone by the time CBS landed a primetime special in 1986 to mark the occasion.

And there are the few of you who dare ask, "why CBS"? 

Easy answer: 15 years earlier, CBS landed the 1st spinoff of the series, Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm, which morphed into the 1st Flintstone Comedy Show the next season. Tim Conway hosts this retrospective, which features his good buddy, Harvey Korman (Great Gazoo, season 6), plus guest appearances from a host of celebrities, including Wheel of Fortune's Vanna White. When they get around to the song, "Teammates", Korman & Conway pick up for the original vocal track from the series (Mel Blanc and, we must assume, Henry Corden, one of two musical voice doubles for Alan Reed during the series' run before inheriting Reed's role as Fred in 1977).

Mind the video quality, which is not the greatest.

Conway opening with an Indiana Jones parody is typical Conway, but was an hour really enough? I'd like to think ABC, the original home of The Flintstones, had been offered the special, and would pick up the prequel, The Flintstone Kids, in the fall of '86.

No rating.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Retro Toy Chest: Remember Mr. Magnet Man? (1970)

 Take one look at the following ad for Romper Room's Mr. Magnet Man, and you'll see why it's not on the shelves anymore:

You see, the concept hewed too close to Hasbro's Mr. Potato Head, who'd been around a few years before Mr. Magnet Man showed up. Romper Room, the toy company, was absorbed into first Playskool, then, along with Playskool's parent, Milton Bradley, merged with----wait for it----Hasbro. Methinks Mr. Magnet Man didn't last more than a year. Today was the first time I'd seen the commercial, by the way.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Toon Rock: And She Was (1985)

 "And She Was" was a single off Talking Heads' 1985 CD, "Little Creatures". Director Jim Blashfield took his cues from comedian-turned-filmmaker Terry Gilliam (ex-Monty Python's Flying Circus) in creating the general look of the video.

Pulled from lead singer David Byrne's YouTube channel.

Blashfield seems to have been forgotten in the wake of Stephen R. Johnson's work the next year with Peter Gabriel ("Sledgehammer", "Big Time"), which led to Johnson helming Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

You Know The Voice: Michael Bell (1979)

 I've been waiting for this one for a while.

From season 1 of Benson:

Michael Bell plays a Russian diplomat tasked to guard a chess prodigy (Meeno Peluce, The Bad News Bears), who hides out at the governor's mansion with Katie (Missy Gold). Michael first appears around the 2 minute mark, chatting with Marcy (Caroline McWilliams).

Toonfomercial: Kellogg's employed other animals to plug Frosted Flakes (1953)

 In 1953, Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes (now simply, Frosted Flakes) was relatively new on the market, and aside from Tony The Tiger, there were other spokesanimals in the Kellogg's zoo.

In this ad, you'll meet Katy the Kangaroo and George the Giraffe, the latter voiced by Dallas McKennon.

Nearly 70 years later, Tony's still around, but the others are long gone.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

You Know The Voices: Henry Corden & Jean VanderPyl (1990)

 In 1990, Hanna-Barbera decided to make Fred Flintstone the face of the company, if ya will, retiring the swirling star logo after 11 years for a simpler graphic using Fred to mark The Flintstones' 30th anniversary.

To help promote the occasion, co-creators William Hanna & Joe Barbera, and actors Henry Corden & Jean (misidentified as "Jan") VanderPyl, were interviewed on Entertainment Tonight. A shorter clip with just Corden & VanderPyl has floated around for years, but this nearly 4 minute piece is a better fit.

Visually, Corden looks the same as he did when he guest starred on Hogan's Heroes, Dragnet, and had a recurring gig on The Monkees in the mid-60's.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Toonfomercial: The Pink Panther for Safeco (1982)

 Those of you who also follow my other blogs know I work for an insurance agency during the day. Safeco, now a part of Liberty Mutual, gained a license to use the Pink Panther in this short piece, which may have been produced by Marvel's animation division of the era.

To be honest, this was the first time I've seen this spot.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Summertainment: Father's Weekend (1953)

 Goofy (Pinto Colvig), in the role of George Geef, reluctantly takes his son out for a day at the beach in 1953's "Father's Weekend". June Foray voices both Mrs. Geef and Junior.

Ah, the paradox of Goofy having a human wife.

Director Jack Kinney produced & directed several Popeye cartoons in the 60's.

Rating: B.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits (revisited): I Want You Back (1972)

 The Jackson 5ive made their first Soul Train appearance in 1972. After an interview with host-executive producer Don Cornelius, the brothers perform "I Want You Back". Prefaced with an Afro Sheen commercial.

Saturday School: Randall's Friends (Recess, 1999)

 From season 4 of Recess:

Professional brown-noser Randall Weems has no friends because of his being a tattletale, even if he makes up a large percentage of his reports. However, life at home isn't so easy, either, as he lies to his parents about having friends, and, then, discovers that pops will visit him at school......

I've always felt Randall was a tattletale because of his own insecurities. He & his father's designs were, from what I've gathered, based on bartender Moe from The Simpsons. Which is still on the air.

No rating.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Toons After Dark: Pig Amok (Duckman, 1996)

 From season 3 of Duckman:

Cornfed (Gregg Burger) learns he has a strange genetic disorder that requires him to lose his virginity in 24 hours, or he dies. Enter Bernice (Nancy Travis).

In memory of series creator Everett Peck, who has passed away. No rating.

Animated World of DC Comics: The Rise & Fall of The Super Friends (1978)

 From Challenge of The Super Friends:

Mr. Mxyzptlk (Frank Welker) decides to torment our heroes by forcing them into a movie of his own making, using 5th dimensional magic. He'd try this again three years later in "Mxyzptlk's Flick", a shorter piece.

Here's "The Rise & Fall of The Super Friends":

A few months after this episode aired, the team met a less threatening, but just as delusional, filmmaker, Frowning Fritz Frazzle, in the Super Friends comic book.

Rating: B.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Celebrity Toons: Kelp! (Fonz & The Happy Days Gang, 1981)

 From season 2 of Fonz & The Happy Days Gang:

The gang winds up in an undersea kingdom in the far future. Standard stuff. Greedy villain wants the domed city, and meets resistance. Here's "Kelp!":

I don't think anyone's ever explained how Fonzie's finger snapping can break prisons, turn on jukeboxes, etc.. It just is.

Rating: B.

Monday, June 13, 2022

You Know The Voices: Bob Hastings, Gary Owens, Bill Calloway, and Gregg Burger (1982)

 From the series finale of the short-lived No Soap, Radio:

This wacky sketch-driven sitcom lasted just five weeks, but provided opportunities for the likes of Bill Calloway (ex-Love, American Style) and Gary Owens (ex-Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Space Ghost, Dynomutt, etc.) to return in front of the cameras. Owens was doing a few guest shots here and there, anyway, and was mostly working in radio other than his cartoon work, his 2nd stint as Space Ghost having ended.

Bob Hastings was on General Hospital at the time, and lightened his hair for his appearance here. Gregg Burger? Well, if you didn't know what one of the more prolific voice actors of the 80's & 90's looks like, here's your chance.

Full review in The Land of Whatever:

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Retro Toy Chest: Remember the Incredible Super Stamper? (1976)

 Hasbro introduced the Incredible Super Stamper in 1976. Unfortunately, it didn't last, though this ad did.

Of course, since this was a variant on Kenner's Spirograph, Hasbro did the next best thing. They bought Kenner.

Toonfomercial: Chunky's 80's comeback, done in song (1986)

 Today, Chunky is one of the candies now made by Ferriero, which acquired the brand from Nestle a ways back. In 1986, the thick, square bar was announcing its comeback with a jingle written to the beat of the Angels' one-hit wonder, "My Boyfriend's Back":

Chunky hadn't gotten this kind of attention since the 50's, when Arnold Stang did a series of ads for the product. I think, though, that today, Chunky is in reduced distribution, as not too many retailers carry it.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

Toon Rock: I Got You Babe (1993)

 A few months after the launch of their first series, Beavis & Butt-Head were blessed with a compilation CD, "The Beavis & Butt-Head Experience", in which the Texas Twits (both voiced by Mike Judge) comment on the songs on the album, with 2 exceptions---their own tracks.

"Come to Butt-Head" is a slow jam that plays on Butt-Head's signature come on catchphrase. On the other hand, pop icon Cher joins the boys for a retooling of "I Got You Babe", which was a huge hit for Cher and then-partner Sonny Bono nearly 30 years earlier.

It's a good thing Judge didn't try to have the boys learn how to use musical instruments.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Bad TV: Phantom Investigators (2002)

 If this was Kids' WB!'s idea of summer entertainment in 2002, someone sold them a bill of goods.

Phantom Investigators was, in fact, a summer replacement series that lasted just 13 weeks (May-August), and was a mix of stop motion animation, puppets, and a hint of live-action. The faces were paper cutouts, not too dissimilar to Angela Anaconda, but nowhere near the genius of South Park. Basically, this show, since it was from Columbia-Tri-Star (Sony), aspired to be a junior version of The Real Ghostbusters, but minus the gadgets and boss animation. Epic fail!

Methinks WB intended this for the fall of 2001, but held it to the summer of '02 for reasons only they know. 

"Demon Driver" first aired 20 years ago this month, and is not the series opener, contrary to what was posted.

Small wonder this hasn't seen the light of day since cancellation.

Rating: D-.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

This is why the Super Friends jumped the shark: Super Powers Collection (1983)

 Kenner took over the license from Mego to produce action figures based on the DC comics heroes in 1983.

The resulting Super Powers Collection line of action figures led to some changes for the Super Friends franchise on Saturday mornings the following year. For starters, the series was given the sub-title, The Legendary Super Powers Show, for the 1984-5 season. With just 8 episodes, the Wonder Twins were written out of the series after the series finale. As we know the final season was rechristened, Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, with narrator Bill Woodson all but removed. Unfortunately, the toy tie-ins had an adverse effect, as the series was cancelled, this time for good, after 13 years (1973-86), to be replaced by The Real Ghostbusters in the center of ABC's lineup.

For what it's worth, Zan & Jayna had to wait 23 more years before they got action figures.

Let's take a look at an early commercial for the action figures.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Toons After Dark: Beetle Bailey (1989)

 We had this up before, and then, it was deleted. Now, it's back.

Mort Walker's Beetle Bailey returned to television for the first time in an animated cartoon in several years. Unfortunately, while the special was produced for CBS, the network was undergoing management changes at the time, and backed away.

This show did air overseas, which is why it has been available online off and on. Hank Saroyan (Jim Henson's Muppet Babies) teamed with Walker on the script. The only familiar voices heard here are Henry Corden as Sgt. Snorkel (the part was essayed by Allan Melvin in the 60's), and Frank Welker (Smurfs, Real Ghostbusters, etc.) as Snorkel's canine sidekick, Otto, and dim-witted Zero. Corden's name getting misspelled might've been a bad omen.

No rating.

You Know The Voice: "Superman" meets a hockey legend and the creator of Monopoly (To Tell The Truth, 1957)

 It's been a while since we checked on Bud Collyer and To Tell The Truth.

From November 19, 1957, four days before Thanksgiving, we meet the creator of the long running board game, Monopoly, and, in the first game, hockey legend Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens.

That last game was too easy, wasn't it?

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Get Closer (1976)

 Seals & Crofts returned to The Midnight Special for this performance of their 1976 hit, "Get Closer", featuring singer Carolyn Willis (Honey Cone) as the added vocalist.

In memory of Jim Seals, 80, who has passed away, per reports just out this afternoon.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Rare Treats: A SNL skit that hit the cutting room floor (2022)

 When Saturday Night Live ended its season May 21-2, a parody of ESPN's First Take ended up on the cutting room floor, edited for time.

Special guest Natasha Lyonne is made up to look like actor Michael Rappaport. Kenan Thompson gets a fake beard to pose as Kendrick Perkins. Chris Redd's mimic of Stephen A. Smith, though, is the highlight.

Redd has all of Smith's nuances and cadence down. I'd like to see them work with ESPN to do an April Fool's stunt and have Redd sub for the bloviating Smith on First Take.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Toonfomercial: Remember Caravelle? (1970's)

 By 1966, Peter Paul, makers of Almond Joy & Mounds, added Caravelle to their roster, and in short order, also brought along Power House and (Peanut Butter w/) No Jelly. It is not known if Power House actually survived to this day, but No Jelly and Caravelle did not.

Caravelle was the company's answer to Nestle's $100,000 Bar, later rebranded as 100 Grand, and recently sold off, along with the rest of Nestle's candy line.

Check out this ad. Sounds like it might be Lynn Ahrens (Schoolhouse Rock) as the vocalist.

Today, Almond Joy and Mounds are made by Hershey, which acquired Peter Paul and Cadbury some years back. Peter Paul discontinued Caravelle in 1978 after being acquired by Cadbury-Schweppes.

Coming Attractions: Beavis & Butt-Head do outer space, and reruns are heading for streaming

 26 years after their first feature film, Beavis & Butt-Head will star in another movie, this one streaming on Paramount+ later this month.

"Beavis & Butt-Head do The Universe", debuting June 23, sounds like a natural sequel to 1996's "Beavis & Butt-Head do America", as Mike Judge's dimwitted teens wind up in outer space, as seen in the following image supplied to the media.

In addition, Paramount+ will be the home for remastered episodes of the 1993-7 series, with music videos intact. That should appease fans who've seen excerpts of those episodes on YouTube shorn of the videos for copyright reasons. And, yes, the revival that's been in the works the last couple of years will also be heading to Paramount+, which is why the boys were part of the advertising for the streaming service when it launched. Beavis & Butt-Head debuted on Liquid Television in 1991, so their 30th anniversary has passed. The series itself reaches 30 next year.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Toon Sports: The Kindergarten Derby (Recess, 1999)

 From season 3 of Recess:

Ashamed of his own failures in "The Kindergarten Derby" years earlier, Mikey (Jason Davis) refuses to participate in the current event, until a boy named Tubby (Davis in a dual role) persuades him to be his coach.

Mikey did have a point. The kindergarteners were being exploited in an athletic competition not unlike some of the stunts on Nickelodeon's family of game shows back then. However, Tubby brings a happy ending to the event, as we see.

Rating: B.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Is nothing sacred anymore? A Winnie The Pooh horror movie is coming

 Many thanks to correspondent Steven Dolce for the tip (in the comments section of our last entry) on this next item.

Winnie-The-Pooh, to be formal, went into the public domain back in January. Jagged Edge, an independent studio, has capitalized, and finished primary production on a horror movie, "Blood & Honey", in which the beloved bear and his BFF, Piglet, turn into murderous killers after being left to fend for themselves by Christopher Robin.

Courtesy Jagged Edge Productions/Variety.

As you can tell, this was shot in England near the inspiration for AA Milne's famous children's books. Jagged Edge has previously turned the nursery rhyme character, Humpty Dumpty, the same way. It wasn't so long ago that some twisted "genius" decided to use The Banana Splits in a similar vein.

Is nothing sacred anymore?

Not for kids, and likely to wind up on SyFy before the end of the year. Ugh.

Tooniversary: Valley of No Return (CB Bears, 1977)

 The CB Bears travel to the "Valley of No Return" to find out why the animals have left the valley. Seems some greedy fellow is looking for a lost city....

Rating: B.

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Toonfomercial: Kool-Aid in the old west (1959)

 It is said that the legendary Fred "Tex" Avery directed this next spot for Kool-Aid. Here, we have a talking pitcher (Thurl Ravenscroft) telling the story of an Army soldier fending off a Native American attack with a certain drink.......

General Foods also had the Kool-Aid Kids, whom we'll see down the road.

Sunday Funnies: The Three Troubledoers (1946)

 The Three Stooges are in the old west, as a trio of wandering prospectors who end up as "The Three Troubledoers" in trying to help a young woman (Christine McIntyre) find her missing father.

Rating: A-.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Summertainment: Donald Duck in Bee at The Beach (1950)

 Donald Duck ventures out for a day at a very crowded beach. Unfortunately, a bee wants the same space. Chaos follows.

Here's "Bee at The Beach":

Rating: A.

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Toons You Might've Missed: Smoky Joe (1945)

 Terrytoons tried out something new in 1945, hoping to add it to their line of stars.

Smoky Joe is an aged horse who is being forced to retire when a local fire company gets a brand new engine for their truck. Of course, being an underdog story of a sort, you know how this will end.

Rating: B.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Saturday School: Parents Night (Recess, 1998)

 Most of the Recess kids are excited about "Parents Night". All except Spinelli, who first hires an unrelated couple to pose as her mom & dad before the real parents show up. Katey Sagal (ex-Married...With Children, and a year away from Futurama) guest stars.

I can't relate to this, really. Because back then, there was no parents night at the schools I went to. 

No rating.

Daytime Heroes: Batfink in Pink Pearl of Persia (1966)

 William Dozier's adaptation of The Green Hornet was just starting on ABC when producer Hal Seeger (Milton The Monster) signed a syndication deal with Screen Gems to put Batfink on the air. Also a Batman spoof for obvious reasons, the hero (Frank Buxton, Discovery) faced his share of odd villains.

In the opener, Batfink and his aide, Karate (Len Maxwell, also the narrator) are to guard the "Pink Pearl of Persia":

Heywood "Woody" Kling would move to Hanna-Barbera a few years later. Batfink, on the other hand, hasn't been seen since a run on Boomerang several years back.

Rating: B.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

You Know The Voice: Gerald Mohr (1966)

 Fans of 60's superhero cartoons will remember radio & film star Gerald Mohr as the original voice of Reed Richards (Fantastic Four) and Green Lantern, using the same inflection in his voice in both roles. Baby boomers will recall Mohr was also the narrator in early episodes of The Lone Ranger during its live-action run.

In the 60's, before turning to toons, Mohr made the rounds as a character actor in television, with guest appearances on shows like Maverick and, in this case, the short-lived Pistols 'n' Petticoats, in which he plays a card sharp who gets schooled by the Hanks family (Douglas Fowley, Ann Sheridan, & Ruth McDevitt).

Mohr appears around the 20 minute mark in this episode, which also features brief appearances by Lon Chaney, Jr. (ex-Hawkeye & The Last of The Mohicans) and Burt Mustin, himself a legendary character actor who made his fame in the 60's and 70's. You might recall Mustin showing up on tons of other shows, including Dragnet.

Pistols was the last series produced by Kayro Productions for Universal, replacing The Munsters on the CBS schedule.

Getting Schooled: Art Linkletter's House Party (1952)

 As with People Are Funny, Art Linkletter transitioned his House Party television, where it was at the center of CBS' afternoon block for 15 years before moving to mornings----and a name change to The Linkletter Show----to finish its run, which ended in September 1969.

Linkletter was working with producer John Guedel (You Bet Your Life) on both radio & television, and struck a gold mine with talk show segments with kids. This would spin off Kids Say The Darndest Things years later.

This 1958 offering was recorded in San Diego at a military base.

During the 70's & 80's, Linkletter began doing commercials touting life insurance, to keep himself in the public eye until his passing in 2010. 

No rating. Just a public service.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Toonfomercial: If this isn't incentive, what is? (1977)

 Dean Witter was a big name in stocks & investments back in the day. In 1977, the company commissioned this animated spot, narrated by ABC house announcer Ernie Anderson.

This wouldn't be the only time Anderson worked in animation. He was the narrator-announcer for Jayce & The Wheeled Warriors 8 years later.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Coming Attractions: A new Scooby-Doo series for preschoolers. In 2 years

 By the time the next Scooby-Doo series announced by Warner Bros Discovery hits the air, the canine detective will have turned 55.

That's right. Viewers will have to wait until 2024 for Scooby-Doo & The Mystery Pups, a series aimed for pre-schoolers to air as part of Cartoon Network's Cartoonito block----assuming it's still around by 2024----and streaming on HBO Max.

Conceptually, this would be the first series aimed at younger audiences since the 1988-91 A Pup Named Scooby-Doo aired on ABC. The fact that Scooby (Frank Welker) and Shaggy (Matthew Lillard, fresh from Good Girls) are working as camp counselors recalls an episode of the 2002-5 What's New, Scooby-Doo on WB. Reportedly, the rest of the crew, including Kate Micucci and Grey Griffin, are already on board.

CN is committed to building Cartoonito around established brands, as witnessed with the development of Bugs Bunny Builders and a Batman series built around the Batmobile. Mystery Pups is a CGI series, which is why they're announcing this 2 years before it hits the air. The only problem facing Cartoonito that ye scribe can see is a certain established series that eats up copious amounts of program space by getting spammed into the ground when it is about as funny as a rainstorm. I refer, of course, to Teen Titans Go!. If the Cartoonito block doesn't generate Titans-level ratings or revenues from merchandise, I'd not be surprised if WBD CEO David Zaslav decides to kill the block before Mystery Pups gets a premiere date.

Just sayin'.

Saturday School: The series premiere of Fillmore! (2002)

 The last time we checked in on Disney's Fillmore!, the studio began enforcing copyrights and episodes we had here were pulled from YouTube.

Since then, Fillmore! is back on the YouTube beat, for however long it lasts.

Anyway, in the opener, "To Mar a Stall", an ambitious student's pride & joy, the renovation of the restrooms at X Middle School, is ruined. Or so it'd appear. Wendie Malick (Just Shoot Me) is heard as Principal Folsom. Fillmore (Orlando Brown, ex-Family Matters) is just getting started.

Wikipedia's page for the series ignores the fact that ABC kept the series around for half a season of all repeats until February 2005, when they brought Even Stevens back from hiatus. I wonder if Disney and creator Scott Gimple would get back together for the series' 20th anniversary.......!

Rating: A.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Daytime Heroes: The series premiere of Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers (1989)

 Disney XD's YouTube channel has uploaded the series premiere of Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers, coinciding with the premiere of a CGI/live-action feature film which bowed on Disney+ on Friday.

"Piratsy Under The Seas" originally premiered on the Disney Channel in early 1989. They consider the episodes produced before syndication as the 1st season, with the fall 1989-90 season as season 2, and a 5 episode season 3 in September 1990 to complete the 65 episode order.

Anyway, Dale (Corey Burton) accidentally falls into a garbage truck, and that prompts Chip and the gang to follow.

The series' Wikipedia page credits Gadget's ingenuity as being inspired by the movie, "Real Genius", but who's to say she hadn't also seen the original MacGyver or The A-Team?

Rating: A.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Saturtainment: Lonely Okie (My Favorite Martians, 1973)

 Well, after years of just the series intro, we finally have an episode of My Favorite Martians available.

Okie is a pink furred Martian dog, the pet of Martin (Jonathan Harris) and his nephew, Andromeda, or, Andy (Lane Scheimer, also heard on Lassie's Rescue Rangers & The Brady Kids). As Martin explains in the open, Okie is in need of a friend, if not also true companionship.

Insofar as we know, this was the only animated series Harris worked on for Filmation, after The Three Musketeers and a animated pilot for Lost in Space for Hanna-Barbera. Harris would return to Filmation two years later (Uncle Croc's Block).

No rating. Just a public service.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Saturtainment: Small Wonder (1985)

 Here's a case of a scientist, wise & bold, who didn't seek to cure the common cold (apologies to Mr. Terrific for cribbing some of the lyrics to their opening poem). Instead, he created what he hoped was the perfect little girl.

Small Wonder lasted four seasons, and, locally, bounced around the schedule, including a stint on Saturday mornings ahead of a network schedule. The series lasted four seasons, during which time Vicki (Tiffany Bressette) evolved into more of a human youth.

Predictably, as you'd expect with fantasy-coms, you have nosy neighbors. Edie McClurg (ex-The David Letterman Show, Harper Valley) played the next door neighbor, but was gone halfway through the series after signing on to NBC's The Hogan Family, where she played a neighbor again (and whose husband was played by Today Show weatherman Willard Scott), but more of the friendly type.

Following is a season 1 sample episode.

There's also a 1st season episode that represents one of Jesse Ventura's 1st acting jobs, but the dude who posted that one restarted his tape around the 23 minute mark, making it useless.

Rating: B.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Daytime Heroes: Giant From Planet Zyr (Battle of The Planets, 1978)

 Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, the Japanese anime that was adapted into Battle of The Planets, turns 50 this year. Next year marks 45 years since Battle's debut here in the US. Only 85 Gatchaman episodes were translated to English, and edited for violence and suggestive material.

In "Giant From Planet Zyr", Zoltar (Keye Luke) unleashes a 4-faced giant on Earth, stealing an important defensive device.

Syndicator Sandy Frank relied heavily on Hanna-Barbera talent for the show, including Luke, the original voice of Brak (Space Ghost), announcer Bill Woodson, and studio vets Janet Waldo, Casey Kasem, & Ronnie Schell, plus musical director Hoyt Curtin, whose score just kicks.

Rating: A-.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: A Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing (1973)

 Lynn Ahrens wrote & sings "A Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing", from season 2 of Schoolhouse Rock's Grammar Rock. The kindly grandmother who appears in the beginning of the video was also used to introduce each Grammar Rock video, when they'd announce Nabisco as the sponsor.

Krofftverse: H. R. Pufnstuf on The Dating Game (1972)

 We had this one up before, but it was taken down. Now, it's back, and I am not waiting until Christmas to do this one again.

H. R. Pufnstuf, still in reruns, had moved from NBC to ABC, which was part of the deal when Pufnstuf (voiced by Len Weinrib) appeared on Lidsville, the first Krofft sale to ABC. This was first shown in December 1972.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Coming attractions: Sesame Street is targeted for a dark satire comic book

 For some odd reason, people seem to like comics stories, or stories in general for that matter, set in a dystopian future, where everything is dark & dreary.

At Dark Horse Comics, one such dystopian future is being brought to print in a miniseries set to debut in August.

Welcome to Survival Street.

Writers James Asmus & Jim Festante have worked on Rick & Morty tie-in books, and have crafted a tale that, based on the synopsis, appears to be inspired by a number of sources. It posits that big business is taking over the country in big chunks, and if you think this is in response to certain ill-conceived legislation in certain parts of the country, well, that's a factor, too.

Let's see how long it takes before a certain cable network's on-air staff starts whining and crying about this project.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Saturtainment: Remember Mr. Magic? (1971)

 While Burger Chef restaurants used an animated namesake for advertising, they also had a live-action mascot in the form of Mr. Magic, a bumbling wizard. Until today, I hadn't seen this ad. At the time, Burger Chef was a unit of General Foods.

In the mid-80's, Burger Chef was sold to a Canadian company, but later was discontinued.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Looney TV: You Don't Know What You're Doin' (1931)

 Back in the 70's, when cable first came to the 518, WNEW (now WNYW) would mix in some older Merrie Melodies or Looney Tunes from the 30's, well before the likes of Bugs Bunny made the scene. 

1931's "You Don't Know What You're Doin'" fits into this category.

As we know, Hugh Harman & Rudolf Ising would later leave WB for MGM. Leon Schlesinger simply reloaded, and built a stable of talent including Tex Avery (who'd later follow Harman & Ising to MGM), Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, and Chuck Jones.

Rating: B.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

A Mother's Day treat from the Addams Family (1965)

 From season 1:

Lurch (Ted Cassidy) gets a visit from his mom (guest star Ellen Corby), who has been led to believe Lurch owns the Addams' mansion. Uh-oh.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Sunday Funnies: Meet the world's youngest pre-game analysts (2011)

 E-Trade was one of the NFL's most promient sponsors for a few years. Back in February, they brought back their mascot, the famous "E-Trade baby", at the Super Bowl.

In 2011, Fox had the main baby (voiced by comic Pete Holmes), joined by infant analogues of Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson, & Michael Strahan, appear on Fox NFL Sunday, with an interview by anchor Curt Menefee.

Top that, Rugrats!

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Saturday School Tennessee Tuxedo in Catch a Falling Hammock (1966)

 From season 3 of Tennessee Tuxedo & His Tales:

Tennessee (Don Adams, Get Smart) and pals have to deal with a military style troop of termites who've cut down the trees in the forest near the Megalopolis Zoo. "Catch a Falling Hammock" gets its title as a riff on Perry Como's "Catch a Falling Star":

I think they went with the termites because beavers would've been too obvious.

Rating: C.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Tooniversary: The Spy Swatter (1967)

 Daffy Duck is hired by a cat, who resembles a distant cousin of Pete Puma, if ya ask me, to try to steal a secret formula from Speedy Gonzales, a formula for a special cheese that would give mice the strength of 10 cats. As silly as it sounds. Format Films had a lot to do with "The Spy Swatter":

We've seen better with Daffy & Speedy.

Rating: C for cheesy.

Monday, May 2, 2022

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Thunderbirds (1965)

 I was but a wee lad when Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds hit the airwaves in the mid-60's. We've previously reviewed the movie spin-off, "Thunderbirds Are Go!", released in 1966, but now it's time to take a look at the show itself. As it turns out, American audiences would have to wait a few years before the series reached our shores. I seem to recall reruns airing sometimes in the 90's on cable.

Set some 100 years into the future, the Thunderbirds are 5 brothers whose father is a retired astronaut. In a way, the show was the British equivalent of Hanna-Barbera's Jonny Quest, in that the protagonists have a remote base of operations, and a persistent enemy coveting their valuable equipment.

Let's take a look at the series opener, courtesy of Shout! Factory.

Footage of Lady Penelope, her butler, and others were used in Wax's 1986 video for "Right Between The Eyes".

No rating.

About that Wonder Twins movie for HBO Max. Not happening

 Comic Book Resources is reporting that Warner Bros. Discovery has shelved plans for a Wonder Twins movie, first announced back in February.

File image courtesy Hanna-Barbera Productions/DC Comics via Comic Book Resources.

The announcement comes just a couple of weeks after Isabell May (1883) and KJ Apa (Riverdale) had been cast as Jayna and Zan, respectively. Coupled with the cancellations of DC Comics adaptations Batwoman & Legends of Tomorrow from the CW network, the movie, which was originally headed for HBO Max, perhaps no later than 2023, getting shelved may be a sign WBD may be looking to move DC at some point. DC has been a Warner property since the mid-70's, when WBD was Warner Communications.

Ye scribe's feeling is that the project could still get done, but as an animated movie, not live-action, as had been intended. It's going to have to wait 'til the dust settles.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Rein-Toon-Ation: Barbie: Life in The Dreamhouse (2013)

 Barbie: Life in The Dreamhouse marked the return of the Mattel icon to television after the short-lived Barbie & The Rockers several years earlier. This time, Barbie stars in a series of 4 minute shorts that aired on YouTube & Nickelodeon.

The cast tried to make the characters sound like they were teenagers, or, in the case of Barbie's sister, Skipper, tweens. The producers stopped short of speeding up the sound to Chipmunk levels. Skipper did sound as if they wanted her to be a Chipette.

In this sampler from 2015, the girls decide to get tickets to see a pop star who's a parody of Justin Bieber.

A followup series, Dreamhouse Adventures, lasted three years (2017-20).

So why are we discussing Barbie? Because of a pending live-action movie starring Margot Robbie ("The Suicide Squad", "The Legend of Tarzan") in the title role. Is Mattel that desperate to keep Barbie in the spotlight after 64 years?

Barbie: Life in The Dreamhouse gets a B.

Friday, April 29, 2022

You Know The Voice: Alan Reed (1959)

 From season 4 of Richard Diamond, Private Detective:

Diamond (David Janssen) is caught in the middle when a mobster (Alan Reed) is trying to retrieve an important ledger. Sam (voice of Roxanne Brooks) can only do so much in "The Hoodlum" to help her star client.

Reed was familiar with the Diamond franchise, having been a supporting player in the radio version of the series. The TV series had shifted from CBS to NBC for this, the final season. How Reed didn't land a similar role on The Untouchables, I'll never know.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Animated World of DC Comics: Superboy meets The Black Knight (1966)

 We had this one before, then it was taken down. Just found a new copy of this Superboy short from The New Adventures of Superman.

Superboy (Bob Hastings, fresh from McHale's Navy) travels back in time to help a young friend who accidentally winds up in Camelot. Here's "The Black Knight":

Rating: B.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Toons You Might've Missed: Four Feather Falls (1960)

 Most people are familiar with Gerry Anderson's most famous works----Stingray, Fireball XL-5, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterions, and live-action entries like UFO and Space: 1999

However, Anderson was already working with puppets as far back as the late 50's in his native England.

Four Feather Falls was the 3rd such series, produced as a mid-season replacement, if you will, for Granada from February-November 1960. Based on a concept by musical director Barry Gray, and credited on-screen to both Anderson and Gray, Four Feather Falls was a 15 minute Western, inspired by the success of American Westerns on British television. Sheriff Tex Tucker (Nicholas Parsons) helped a Native American youth in distress, and his father, the chief, gave Tucker some special feathers, which enabled his dog & horse to speak, and, most importantly, helped Tucker outdraw his opponents without touching his six-guns.

The opener is an origin story, "How it All Began":

The series was released on DVD in 2005. However, I don't think it's available here in the US.

No rating. Just a public service.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

You Know The Voices: Wally Cox & Keye Luke (1970)

 From season 3 of It Takes a Thief:

Wally Cox (The Hollywood Squares, ex-Underdog, Mr. Peepers, The Adventures of Hiram Holliday) plays a professor working in tandem with Alexander Mundy (Robert Wagner). Keye Luke plays an enemy agent. This might've been the only time these two actors, Cox & Luke, worked together on a project.

Monday, April 25, 2022

There's a new teacher in Springfield

 If you are a fan of The Simpsons, you know what this is about.

It has been nearly a decade since Edna Krabappel-Flanders, Bart Simpson's original teacher, was quietly written out of the series after the passing of actress Marcia Wallace. As first reported by Entertainment's website days before the episode aired, the show's writers & producers finally filled the void.

Say hello to Ms. Peyton.

Courtesy Fox.

Kerry Washington (ex-Scandal) landed the plum part of Ms. Peyton, who appears to be a little more relatable to her students than her predecessor. Bart (Nancy Cartwright) seems to know her from somewhere, but can't place her.

And that ain't all, folks.

A Disney+ exclusive short sees Lisa (Yeardley Smith) meeting singer Billie Eilish. Two young geniuses together for the first time. You know some genius will try to post it online.

The injection of fresh blood in the 30+ year franchise should bring some sparks.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

You Know The Voice: Len Weinrib (1964)

 If your only memory of Len Weinrib in front of the camera is as the inept Magic Mongo, you'd be stunned to find he was a much more versatile actor in the 60's.

We've seen Len on Burke's Law and The Dick Van Dyke Show. Now, we're going back to 1964, near the end of season 1 of My Favorite Martian, with Len playing a dentist who treats both Tim (Bill Bixby) and Martin (Ray Walston).

Len's the kind of comedy performer who should've landed a gig as a repertory performer for a variety show (i.e. Dean Martin, Danny Kaye), but didn't.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Rhiannon (1976)

 The mid-70's saw Fleetwood Mac relocate their operations to the US. Singer Bob Welch left the group, with Lindsay Buckingham and then-honey Stevie Nicks joining. The end result was a run of success, despite romantic discord between Buckingham and Nicks, and John & Christine McVie, that lasted for years.

The band's self-titled 1975 album produced the #11 hit, "Rhiannon", written by Nicks, inspired by the tale of a Welsh witch, as Stevie explains in introducing the song on The Midnight Special. Pay attention to the lyrics. YouTube commentators noted the lyrics performed live on the show differed from the finished product on the record, long a radio standard.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Retro Toy Chest: Yes, there was Green Hornet merchandise in the 60's (1966)

 Even though The Green Hornet lasted one season, there was some merchandise that came out of the show.

Frito-Lay landed a deal to market a ring, packaged in specially marked bags of Lay's potato chips, as seen in the following video:

Good luck finding those rings today, though, as I doubt there are very many of them left.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Krofftverse: The first episode of the Bay City Rollers Show (1978)

 I don't have the heart to crib some lyrics from Paul Simon's "Loves me Like a Rock" as it relates to Horatio HooDoo, now a tenant of the Horror Hotel, but we're getting ahead of ourselves as we take a look at the debut episode of The Bay City Rollers Show, which was The Krofft Superstar Hour, trimmed in half.


Louise DuArt plays a parody of Rona Barrett, crashing the intro in an attempt to interview the Rollers after their opening number.

In Horror Hotel, HooDoo (Paul Gale) tries stand up comedy. Y'think maybe this was a subtle jab at his predecessor, Charles Nelson Reilly? Reilly opted to remain on Match Game rather than take a chance on another Saturday morning bomb on his resume.

Check it:

You can count the laughs.

Rating: D.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Literary Toons: Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971)

 Based on a 1950's children's book, Rankin-Bass adapted Here Comes Peter Cottontail into a tune-filled Animagic special for ABC in 1971. Casey Kasem (Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, Josie & The Pussycats, American Top 40) has the title role, with Danny Kaye narrating as Seymour S. Sassafrass, and Vincent Price as the nefarious Irontail.

This is also the first instance of Kasem trying to sing, as he contributes to the soundtrack. We think.

Peter delivering Easter eggs on other holidays was silly, but fun.

Rating: B+.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Turn This Mutha Out (1990)

 MC Hammer's "Turn This Mutha Out" was the 3rd single from his 1988 Capital debut, "Let's Get it Started". Two years later, Hammer turned up on Soul Train. I'd imagine his follow-up, "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em", came out around the time he appeared on the show.

Coming Attractions (continued): HBO Max casts its Wonder Twins

 WB & HBO Max are moving full steam ahead with its live-action Wonder Twins movie, due most likely in 2023.

Riverdale star KJ Apa swaps Archie Andrews for Zan, while Isabelle May (1883) plays Jayna. 

Photo courtesy Deadline.

Supporting parts are also being cast, and reportedly, it appears the twins will have separate apartments with roommates. Gleek almost certainly will be CGI, if he's even included in the movie, and we haven't heard anything to that extent as yet.

We'll see how this all plays out.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: I Got Six (1973)

 Time to get down to some musical math from Schoolhouse Rock. Here's "I Got Six", sung by Grady Tate:

I, like, dug this when it first came out, man.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

You Know The Voices: Bob Hastings & Allan Melvin (1963)

 From season 1 of McHale's Navy:

Allan Melvin (ex-The Phil Silvers Show) guest stars as a news reporter who visits the base, expecting to interview McHale (Ernest Borgnine), but Binghamton (Joe Flynn) is sending the PT73 on a phony mission, or so he thinks. Turns out Binghamton is going to need McHale's help.....

Seems the jealous Binghamton can't deal with Carpenter (Bob Hastings) being unable to keep a secret.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Looney TV: Bugs & Daffy shill for Brach's (1991)

 Back when Brach's was the #3 candy maker behind Hershey's & Nestle, they landed a licensing deal for the Looney Tunes characters to promote some special Easter candy. With the holiday right around the corner......

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Daytime Heroes: A Battle of Equals (Cyberchase, 2002)

 Cyberchase turns 20 this year. From season 1, Hacker (Christopher Lloyd) comes up with another silly idea to take over cyberspace. Here's "A Battle of Equals":

In memory of Gilbert Gottfried (Digit), who has passed away at 67. More in The Land of Whatever later.

No rating.

Rare Treats: Bat Beagle (1961)

 Sam Singer is known mostly for producing Courageous Cat, and flopping so badly on Sinbad, Jr., such that American International fired him.

In between, Singer pitched a Bat Masterson parody, Bat Beagle, in 1961. However, this was set not in the old west, but in the then-present of the period, and the bridge is the same one used in Courageous Cat. Prolific Dallas McKennon handles all the voices in the unsold pilot, "The Case of Sour Puss".

This K-9 parody remained locked away until it was discovered recently, and posted to YouTube.

Rating: B--.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Coming Attractions: Casper returns to TV, this time in a live-action/CGI series

 Ever since acquiring the license for Casper, The Friendly Ghost, Universal has made a trio of movies and a couple of animated series. Seeing the success CW and WB have had with a dark, Twin Peaks-meets-Saved by The Bell hybrid adaptation of the Archie characters in Riverdale, Universal wants some of that action.

Not content with developing an origin story for Casper in the first film in 1995, Universal has commissioned Kai Yu Wu (Ghost Bride) to create a new origin for a live-action/CGI series ticketed for Peacock.

Casper with Christina Ricci, 1995.

A family moves into Eternal Falls, and, along with Casper, gets caught up in a mystery that has continued for over a century. Casting, of course, hasn't started yet, but expect this to wind up on Peacock within the next year or so. It's been 10 years since Casper's last series, Casper's Scare School, came to an end, so the question is, can Universal succeed in freshening Casper for a new generation? We'll have to stay tuned.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Crazy on You (1977)

 Heart was still touring in support of their 1975 debut, "Dreamboat Annie", when they made their television debut on The Midnight Special, performing what would be one of their signature songs, "Crazy on You".

You Know The Voice: Larry Storch (1967)

 F-Troop had been off the air for a few months when Larry Storch made the first of two appearances on Gomer Pyle, USMC, as Manuel Cortez, or, as the title of this episode implies, "The Wild Bull of The Pampas".

Cortez visits Camp Henderson, and chooses Gomer (Jim Nabors) to be his guide. Gomer also sings a classic Mexican song.

Cortez would return in the final season.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Daytime Heroes: Day of The Flowers (She-Ra, Princess of Power, 1986)

 From season 2 of She-Ra, Princess of Power:

Orko's bumbling results in She-Ra (Melendy Britt) and He-Man (John Erwin) losing their power swords, just as Hordak is bringing in some reinforcements in the form of the Monstroids.

Here's "Day of The Flowers":

As previously noted, He-Man was added to the cast of this series after his own show was cancelled after 3 seasons. Once She-Ra bit the dust, another studio cut a deal to do a new He-Man, which didn't turn out so well, as we've also documented.

Rating: B.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Toon Legends: Cat & The Pinkstalk (1978)

 Jack & The Beanstalk is one of the most adapted stories in modern history. We've seen variants with Abbott & Costello, Popeye, and Bugs Bunny, among others.

In 1978, in preparing material for the Pink Panther's 1st season on ABC, DePatie-Freleng decided to give it a shot with "Cat & The Pinkstalk".


Rating: A-.

Toonfomercial: When selling pantyhose on TV was a thing (1976)

 I honestly don't know when the fashion trends changed, such that women no longer wore pantyhose for parties, work, etc., but there was a time when the hose were in fact marketable.

L'Eggs introduced Sheer Energy in 1976, and one of the first ads was this animated gem.

You don't see ads for hose anymore because of the changing fashion trends, though some of today's stars, like singer-actress Ariana Grande, have tried to bring them back into vogue.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Saturtainment: Pink is a Many Splintered Thing (1968)

 One of the downsides at DePatie-Freleng was recycling gags from the Looney Tunes characters. 

For example in 1968's "Pink is a Many Splintered Thing", the Pink Panther answers an ad for a lumberjack, but runs afoul of bees and a rude lumberjack whose timing is just off. Some of the gags were lifted from the Road Runner series.

How many times did we see the Coyote get spiked into the ground by a boulder or a tree?

Rating: A-.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Inspector in Sicque, Sicque, Sicque (1966)

 The Inspector (Pat Harrington, Jr.) and Deux-Deux (Harrington) are checking the lab of a mad scientist. Deux-Deux drinks a formula he thinks is seltzer water, and.....!

The plot of "Sicque, Sicque, Sicque" was lifted from some Bugs Bunny shorts with the Jekyll-Hyde theme.

This print is taken from an NBC broadcast, with the laugh track added. However, the laugh track kills the vibe.

Rating: B.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Tooniversary: Fievel's American Tails (1992)

 Spun off from the movie, "An American Tail" and its sequel, "An American Tail: Fievel Goes West", Fievel's American Tails ran for one season on CBS in 1992.

In the series, Fievel (Philip Glasser) becomes more of a Walter Mitty-esque dreamer, whose daydreams often get him in trouble with his parents. Glasser, Cathy Cavadini, & Dom DeLuise are the only actors from the movies to cross over to the series.

To illustrate the point about Fievel's daydreaming, "A Mouse Named Zorrowitz" is a parody, of course, of Zorro, who was back on the air in live-action form at the time on Family Channel, and whose animated adventures had aired on CBS 11 years earlier. The Lone Ranger had been parodied in the series opener.

So why did it fail? Like the show it replaced, Back to The Future, it was on too early in the morning for the target audience, airing in the lead-off spot of CBS' lineup. Had it aired, say, 2 hours later, maybe it works.

Rating: B.

Toons After Dark: Betty Boop's Hollywood Mystery (1989)

 CBS gave Betty Boop another primetime special in 1989. The fact that it hasn't been seen since speaks to her lack of recognition with modern audiences.

"Betty Boop's Hollywood Mystery" is set in the 30's, as the producers sought to recreate the classic look of the Fleischer shorts of the 30's. Melissa Fahn voices Betty this time, as it'd been 4 years since Betty's last special. Anyway, Betty gets framed for robbery, and her BFF's, Koko & Bimbo, have to help her clear her name.

The supporting cast includes Lucille Bliss, Michael Bell, Roger Rose, and Hamilton Camp, most of whom had finished with Smurfs. King Features' TV arm, Hearst Entertainment, acquired the rights this time.

No rating. Just a public service.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Wonder Wheels and The Golden Globe (1977)

 Wonder Wheels turns 45 this year. In this episode, the super bike and it's pilot, Willie Wheeler (Micky Dolenz) are after an eccentric who stole a model of the solar system.

Here's "Wonder Wheels & The Golden Globe":

Rating: B.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Toonfomercial: Do bears really repair cars? (Spoiler: No!)(1977)

 One of the cooler commercials on New York television in the 70's were animated spots for Great Bear, a chain of auto repair shops in the tri-state (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut).

The ad campaign was aimed at families, since kids would be drawn to a commercial with some animated bears doing the work, like in this bit.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Game Time: Juvenile Jury (1970)

 16 years after it had first signed off, Juvenile Jury was revived for a single season in syndication, again hosted by Jack Barry, who'd ended his exile from television by this point.

The format was the same. 5 children attempting to solve "problems" submitted by viewers, plus celebrity guests. Game Show Network acquired rerun rights in 1997 for their short-lived Kids Zone block.

Jury would return two more times, both with Nipsey Russell as host. The first was produced for BET, but footage of that series is hard to find. There was also The New Juvenile Jury, produced for syndication in the late 80's, which lasted two seasons.

I'm wondering if Ken Johnson, who was a writer on the 1970 series, is the same one who became a successful producer at Universal later in the 70's (Bionic Woman, Incredible Hulk).

Anyway, from that era, here's an episode with talk show host Virginia Graham (Girl Talk):

No rating. Just a public service.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Saturtainment: Dinky's Doomsday Pizza (The Littles, 1983)

 "Dinky's Doomsday Pizza" is the season 1 finale of The Littles. Well meaning, but dumber than a bag of hammers Dinky decides to start a pizza delivery service-----by air. His idea of ingredients, since he makes the pizzas himself, leaves something to be desired.

Unfortunately, Dr. Erick Hunter may have something to say about Dinky's misfortune.......

Plus, Lucy and Henry show how to make a glass car. A drinking glass car, that is.

Rating: B.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

From Comics to Toons: Heathcliff vs. Terrible Tammy (1984)

 Heathcliff (Mel Blanc) needs the help of his girlfriend, Sonja, to deal with "Terrible Tammy", a feline embodiment of the snobbish "popular girl" of the period.

Plus, 'Cliff explains how to care for a newly arrived kitten.

You know Tammy's bad news when even Spike is cheering for Sonja.

Rating: B.

Friday, March 25, 2022

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Popples (1986)

 Popples, based on some toys from Those Characters From Cleveland, debuted in syndication in 1986, and later surfaced on Nickelodeon. 44 episodes, including a live-action pilot starring Jim Staahl (ex-Mork & Mindy), aired over the course of a calendar year. Wikipedia claims there were two seasons, with the second season beginning in March 1987, shortly after the conclusion of the first "season" in February of that year.

Nearly 30 years later, the series was revived on Netflix, but didn't last long.

What DIC and Lexington Broadcast Services, its regular distributor at the time (i.e. Inspector Gadget, Heathcliff) sought to do was put the Popples on the same level as the Care Bears and Disney's Wuzzles. Each animated episode ran for about 11 minutes, which is the standard today at Cartoon Network.

There were some cast changes in season 2, with Valeri Bromfield (ex-Fridays) joining the show and taking over three roles, and Maurice LaMarche (The Real Ghostbusters) also being added.

From September 1986, here's "Panic at The Library":

Silly, innocent kid stuff, animated in Japan, imported to the US. No rating, since we never saw the show the first time, nor read the comic books from Marvel's Star division.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Toonfomercial: A flying horse shills spark plugs (1950's?)

 The folks behind AC spark plugs have passed through a number of ownerships over the years, including General Motors.

Sometime in the 50's, exact date unknown, this animated ad was commissioned, featuring a flying horse (Dallas McKennon), who helps a gas guzzling driver (Daws Butler) replace his worn out plugs.

A few years later, McKennon would recycle the horse's voice, removing the southern drawl, to create the original animated version of Archie.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

You Know The Voices: Judy Strangis & Danny Goldman (1973)

 From season 4 of Love, American Style:

A nebbish (Danny Goldman, ex-The Good Life, later the voice of Brainy Smurf) is encouraged by his mind-reading buddy (Michael Lembeck, in one of his earliest appearances, 3 1/2 years before being cast as Kaptain Kool) to ask a girl out on a date. Judy Strangis (Room 222) is the date in question in "Love & The Mind Reader":

Goldman also appeared on Room 222, but not as a series regular, unlike Judy. If you listen close, you can hear why Goldman was cast as Brainy 8 years later.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Literary Toons: Madeline & The Gypsies (1959)

 Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline made her animation debut for UPA in 1952, and that introductory entry was nominated for an Academy Award, losing to Tom & Jerry.

Seven years later, William Snyder & Gene Deitch's Rembrandt Films produced a trio of adaptations of Bemelmans' books. I think these eventually found their way to television, but I am not entirely sure. As you'll see, the Pennsylvania school system took a chance on these shorts, with the artwork lifted directly from Bemelmans' work, a tactic used another 7 years later for The Marvel Superheroes Show.

Right here, we have "Madeline & The Gypsies". The narrator is not credited.

As we know, Madeline eventually made it to television (HBO, ABC, Family Channel), but we're not sure if this did. If anyone remembers seeing this on, say, PBS, let me know, ok?

Rating: A.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Family Toons: Spike & Tyke in Scat Cats (1957)

 Spike & Tyke were spun-off from MGM's award winning Tom & Jerry series, but only got two shorts where the father & son bulldogs could really shine.

The last of these was "Scat Cats", released in the summer of 1957, though the copyright says 1956. After the bulldogs' owners leave for the evening, their pet cat, Butch, calls his friends over for a party, and, well........

No one's really sure who did the vocal effects for Tyke, though one source suggests co-producer-director-creator Bill Hanna did the honors, while Daws Butler did everything else. Must've seen this a dozen times on the cable back in the day.

Rating: A.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Rein-Toon-Ation: Zorro: The Chronicles (2015)

 In 2015, the French reimagined Zorro---and his alter ego, Don Diego de la Vega----as a more youthful hero. The only way American audiences could see it was online.

Zorro: The Chronicles lasted just one season (2015-16) as a CGI comedy-adventure series. The usual tropes are there, but this time, Diego (Johnny Yong Bosch, ex-Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) and his mute valet, Bernardo, appear to be in their early teens, returning from Spain to old California, and Diego has a sister, Ines, which is a change in the traditional storytelling.

"The Return" explains Zorro's origin for the new era.

With Diego being given a sister privy to his dual identity, it opens a door for her to become Lady Zorro, as we might see in future episodes. 

Rating: B.

"Toon" Rock: Surfin' Bird (2009)

 Ya might recall that in 2009, Fox gave Family Guy creator/star/executive producer Seth MacFarlane a live-action half hour comedy-variety special that was never rerun, and, predictably, ran afoul of the media nannies.

There were subtle plugs for the incoming spin-off, The Cleveland Show, parodies, and skits with Oscar winner Marlee Matlin and Guy contributor Patrick Warburton. Silly stuff, largely harmless when you think about it.

This clip comes as the show is ending after MacFarlane had finished a musical number as Stewie, and shifts to Peter for a chorus of the Trashmen's "Surfin' Bird", Peter's all time favorite song. Alex Borstein contributes as Lois.

Peter may be a moron, but MacFarlane is a genius.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Saturtainment: How to Smurf a Rainbow (Smurfs, 1983)

 'Tis St. Patrick's Day a wee bit longer, but for the Smurfs, there's a Rainbow Day, which is something Baby Smurf has not yet experienced. The weather isn't cooperating, but a leprechaun might be of some help......

Ah, ye learn something every day........

Rating: B.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Toon Legends: Beware The Glob (Archie's Weird Mysteries, 1999)

 Continuing with the parodies of 50's sci-fi films, this Archie's Weird Mysteries tale turns "The Blob" into "Beware The Glob", not to be confused with comic book stories by the same title. In this case, Cafeteria cook Miss Beazley mistakenly uses Dilton Doiley's growth formula on her weekly tapioca pudding, and......


Rating: B.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Saturday Morning Ringside: Remembering Scott Hall (1958-2022)

 Wrestling lost one of its icons of the 90's on Monday with the passing of Scott Hall at 63. Hall suffered three heart attacks over the weekend following hip surgery.

Hall began his career in the AWA, and won the tag team titles with Curt Hennig. After that, Hall made his first foray into WCW after Jim Crockett sold the Georgia promotion to Ted Turner. However, Hall, retaining his original, Magnum, P. I. inspired appearance, was a mid card jobber. A makeover turned him into the Diamond Studd, the forerunner to his Razor Ramon persona in the then-WWF (1992-6). The curly hair had been slicked back, his mustache was gone, his voice was a little rougher, and he added the now familiar toothpick and a new finishing move, the Diamond Death Drop (Razor's Edge). 

Despite meeting and teaming with Kevin Nash (as Oz) for the first time, Hall was let go in 1992, and signed with WWF that summer, leading to a series of video vignettes. Ramon was the Studd, now based in Miami, modeled after Al Pacino's Tony Montana ("Scarface") with a Cuban accent. 4 Intercontinental titles and an iconic ladder match at Wrestlemania 10 with Shawn Michaels later, Hall was gone again, this time returning to WCW, but back to his own name. You know the rest of the story. Hall retired in 2010, and made sporadic legends appearances for WWE since then.

WWE played a tribute video that covered 1992-forward, ignoring the Studd period in WCW, but that is where "The Bad Guy" originally came from, as evidenced in this jobber match from World Wide Wrestling.

Rest in peace & power, Scott. 

Saturtainment: Breezly & Sneezly in Stars & Gripes (1964)

 In a parody of Cinderella, Breezly Bruin (Howard Morris) gets help from a fairy godmother (Jean VanderPyl, The Flintstones, using the same voice she'd use for Winsome Witch a year later) to get into a military ball. Here's "Stars & Gripes":

Where this falls off the rails is Breezly instinctively drinking the contents of the punch bowl instead of trying to drink from a cup. That should've tipped off the military.

Rating: B-.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Literary Toons: The Incredible Book Escape (CBS Library, 1980)

 A young girl (Quinn Cummings, "The Goodbye Girl") is trapped in a library after closing. Apparently, the staff was unaware she was still reading. Anyway, this leads to adaptations of four children's stories, featuring the voices of June Foray, Arte Johnson, Ruth Buzzi, Tammy Grimes, Sparky Marcus, and George Gobel.

Presenting: "The Incredible Book Escape":

The first story, featuring a shape-shifting dancer named Myra, is also available as a stand-alone video.

I wonder how many more of these Nick Bosustow produced?

Rating: A.