Monday, January 31, 2022

From Comics to Toons: Dog Catcher Popeye (1960)

 It's been a long time since we checked in on Popeye.

The sailor ends up getting an unexpected 1st mate when a stray puppy decides to follow him, so now Popeye needs to thwart Brutus' attempts as a dog catcher. Here's "Dog Catcher Popeye". Most of the open and part of the closing have been edited off for copyright reasons.

Rating: B.

You Know The Voices: Allan Melvin & Joe E. Ross (1957)

 We'll have this up over at The Land of Whatever before the end of the week, but I couldn't pass up posting it here and now.

From season 2 of The Phil Silvers Show, aka Sgt. Bilko or You'll Never Get Rich:

In a clear case of series creator and head writer Nat Hiken perhaps anticipating something in the wind, Fort Baxter gets a shocking surprise in the form of singer Elvin Pelvin (Tom Gilson), who has enlisted in the Army. Just like the man he is spoofing, rock legend Elvis Presley, Pelvin just can't seem to go anywhere without screaming fans following his every move. Imagine if any of the Beatles would've entered the British military right before their careers took off.

"Rock & Roll Rookie" preceded Presley's induction into the Army by a year. Allan Melvin is seen as Corporal Henshaw. Joe E. Ross is Sgt. Ritzik. And we cannot forget Maurice Gosfeld (Doberman), who'd later land a gig on Top Cat, two years after Silvers ended.

I can't tell for sure, but that might be Olan Soule (Captain Midnight, Dragnet) as the narrator-announcer for this episode.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Tooniversary: Petey & The 101 Seals (The Puppy's New Adventures, 1982)

 After having been separated from his owner and family, Petey (Billy Jacoby) and friends encounter some poachers abducting seals for their skins. The episode title, "Petey & The 101 Seals", is a riff on Disney's 101 Dalmatians, which later was adapted for television by Disney for ABC.

Who said dogs & seals couldn't get along?

No rating. We didn't see this the first time, and it wouldn't really be fair now.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Disney is marking Disneyland Paris' 30th anniversary by giving Minnie Mouse a makeover. Some idiots don't like it

 Disney should've known this was going to happen.

As soon as it got out that Minnie Mouse would be given a new outfit for the 30th anniversary of Disneyland's Paris venue, conservative morons like Fox Shmooze's Jesse (Dirty) Watters and his guest du jour, Candace Owens, had a collective cow on the subject.

Now, what is wrong with this? Nothing.

The blue pantsuit, with polka dots and a matching bow, is, as you can see, the work of fashion designer Stella McCartney (Paul's daughter), so if you're going to diss Disney & Minnie, you're going after Stella, too, dummies. I wouldn't be surprised if another Fox Shmooze moron, Tucker Carlson, gets in his five cents later tonight if it's a slow news night.

Lost in all of this is the fact that this is temporary, at least in France. Would Minnie have this ensemble here in the US, print media aside? That's up to Disney to decide.

One more reason to lament the fact they should've bought Fox Shmooze, too, and dumped Watters, Carlson, and the rest of the dummies.

Spelling can't be that hard......can it? (1969)

 Ye scribe has done the spelling bee thing. Not quite the formal competition as seen in 1969's "A Boy Named Charlie Brown", but as part of a 6th grade activity.

Charlie (Peter Robbins, in his final go-round as Charlie) is a couple of grades lower, but can America's lovable loser finally win?

It is with sadness that we learned that Robbins, 65, had taken his own life a little more than a week ago after a lengthy battle with mental illness, particularly bi-polar disorder, which he had gone public with some years back. Peter had retired from show business in 1972, though that anguished "AAAAUGHHH!" would be dubbed over other actors for years to come. Robbins' live-action credits included the 1968 adaptation of Blondie and guest appearances on shows such as F-Troop and Get Smart

Rest in peace, Peter. Your suffering is over.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

You Know The Voice: Wally Cox (1966)

 While Underdog was in reruns on CBS, its original home, Wally Cox landed a 2 episode story arc, spread over three weeks, on The Beverly Hillbillies as season 4 drew to a close.

Cox plays Professor Biddle, a professional birdwatcher, and Jane Hathaway (Nancy Kulp) is part of his Beverly Hills nest, the equivalent to a scout troop, given the Scout-derivative uniforms. When actor Dash Riprock (Larry Pennell, ex-Ripcord) resumes his courting of Elly May (Donna Douglas), he finds that Elly wants to be a birdwatcher, and has taken an interest in the professor.

Worth the wait: Near the end, Elly puts Dash in a hammerlock, although you'd think Biddle's doing that, as Cox uses the heroic timbre of his Underdog voice in this spot.

The follow-up would air 2 weeks later, and we'll post it another day.

Getting Schooled (again): Zoom (1999)

 At the end of the 90's, PBS revived two iconic series of the 70's. The Electric Company took a wrong turn at Tangent Street, and lasted just a couple of seasons.

Zoom, on the other hand, returned in the spring of 1999, and ran for seven seasons (1999-2005), updated for the 21st century, but otherwise pretty much the same as the original with games and viewer mail among the attractions.

Unfortunately, as much as I was a fan of the original, I never really got to see the updated version, so there's no rating. We'll leave you with a standard intro:

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

You Know The Voice: John Fiedler (1969)

 Here's a Shasta Cola ad that I wasn't going to wait until Halloween for. This was previously posted over at The Land of Whatever.

The monster of Frankenstein makes what appears to be a routine visit to a local grocery to stock up on Shasta orange. The shopkeeper (John Fiedler) just lets him go, knowing the monster never carries any money. Tom Bosley narrates.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Dog-gone: The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy Hour (1982)

 With Hanna-Barbera having almost a monopoly on Saturday morning programming in the early 80's, with help in part from sister studio Ruby-Spears, ABC insisted on some bad programming choices in 1982.

We've previously discussed how an animated "prequel" to Mork & Mindy was paired with season 2 of Laverne & Shirley in The Army. Similarly, ABC decided that The Puppy's New Adventures, spun off from Weekend Special, would be coupled in another hour long block with Scooby & Scrappy Doo.

This was the season that introduced Scooby's other brother, Yabba-Doo, who shared adventures with Scrappy and Deputy Dusty out West. Unfortunately, Dusty & Yabba were gone after 1 season. Petey (Billy Jacoby) and friends got 2 seasons. Nancy McKeon (The Facts of Life) lent her voice to Petey's girlfriend, Dolly. 

Where ABC messed up, of course, was having Scooby team with Yabba & Dusty on a case, especially since Shaggy (Casey Kasem) had the rights to the Mystery Machine at the time. Poor Scrappy. All those frequent flier miles, and no respect.

Here's the show intro. Dick Tufeld is the announcer.

Tufeld (ex-Lost in Space, Hollywood Palace) had been the studio announcer for Ruby-Spears the previous 2 seasons, and transitioned to Hanna-Barbera with this series.

Rating: B.

Animated World of DC Comics: Batman teaches the Penguin about clean & dirty (1969)

 This is the last of the three Batman quickies Filmation produced for season 1 of Sesame Street.

Here, the Penguin (Ted Knight) thinks the Caped Crusaders can't catch him, but apparently, his henchmen know nothing about housecleaning......

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Getting Schooled: The genesis of a school talent show (Room 222, 1969)

 From season 1 of Room 222:

I can speak---sort of---to the experiences the kids at Walt Whitman High went through in preparing a student talent show.

In my senior year at Troy High, I didn't take part in the talent show, but I had friends who did. I can just picture how difficult it was to mount the show. In the context of the series, student-teacher Alice Johnson (Karen Valentine) was put in charge of the talent show, encouraging a very reluctant Helen (Judy Strangis) during class, and helping her through the show.

In fact, one of the highlights is Helen doing an a capella reading of the Rolling Stones' "As Tears Roll By".

Rating: A.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Family Toons: A Fish Called Pepper (Life With Louie, 1995)

 From season 1 of Life With Louie:

Louie (Louie Anderson) is concerned about his most prized pet in "A Fish Called Pepper":

In memory of Anderson, 68, who passed away Friday due to complications from cancer. No rating out of respect.

M & M's are making changes, and certain people don't like it already (2022)

 M & M's and their growing roster of mascots are undergoing some changes.

Specifically, the female mascots, Ms. Brown & Ms. Green, are swapping high heels & knee boots for sneakers in a new advertising campaign that already has gotten some blowback from Fox Shmooze garbage dispenser Tucker Carlson, who might've admitted a secret crush on the two women by whining Friday that the loss of the heels makes them, in his words, "less sexy".

Ok, Tucker, own up. Who was your cartoon crush when you were a kid? Betty or Veronica? (Because I seriously doubt he was a Wonder Woman fan growing up)

Also, Mars Wrigley (formerly M & M Mars; the company merged with Wrigley Gum some time back) is doing their part for social inclusiveness. To wit:

The above is from Mars Wrigley's own YouTube channel.

It must've been a slow news day on Friday for conservative gasbags like Carlson, otherwise there wouldn't be any comment until, oh, I don't know, the Super Bowl (February 13).

The new slogan, "All for one, fun for all", is a riff on Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers, which wouldn't be the first time Mars Wrigley has mined that literary classic, having built an ad campaign for the 3 Musketeers candy around Dumas' heroes years ago. It's nothing to lose sleep over, unless you are a conservative.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Literary Toons: Looking For Grandma Little (The Littles, 1984)

 From season 2 of The Littles:

As in any other community, there are bound to be some bad eggs. As Grandpa (Alvy Moore, ex-Green Acres), Dinky, Lucy, & Tom search for Grandma Little, using a remote control speedboat that Henry (Jimmy Keegan) can take over, a pair of bad guys are hunting for treasure, and steal the boat. 

For once, Henry's greater size works to his advantage in capturing the crooks. It seems, though, that the subtle flirting Lucy was doing with Henry in season 1 had faded.

Here's "Looking For Grandma Little":

Rating: A.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Sunday Funnies: Celebrity Jeopardy!, as seen on Saturday Night Live (1996)

 A lasting legacy of the Will Ferrell-Norm MacDonald era of Saturday Night Live is a parody of the special celebrity-themed weeks of Jeopardy!.

Inspired by the Half-Wits sketches from SCTV some years earlier, the writers went to the sledgehammer of plot approach with this left-handed satire that featured Ferrell as Alex Trebek, Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery, and a collection of other celebrity parodies, including, in this 2005 skit, Amy Poehler as Sharon Osborne and Kenan Thompson, months removed from the feature film version of "Fat Albert", as Bill Cosby, complete with prop cigar.

Poehler absolutely nailed it as Sharon. Ferrell as Trebek? Not so much. Couldn't they have brought in Eugene Levy to play Trebek? Hammond is currently SNL's announcer, so maybe this will return.

No rating.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Rare Treats: A promo for Sealab 2020 (1972)

 Sealab 2020 turns 50 this year, and we have unearthed a rare NBC promo for the show as part of its Terrific Ten block.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

From Primetime to Daytime: Room 222 (1969)

 Let's take a step back in time, to an era when television painted a positive picture of life in high school, despite all the societal issues of the day.

Room 222 was listed as a comedy-drama when it premiered on ABC in 1969, but, as with another 20th Century Fox series that came along a few years later, M*A*S*H, gave up the laugh track in due course. Producer and sometime director Gene Reynolds worked on both series.

Set at fictional Walt Whitman High in Los Angeles (the real Los Angeles High was the location for some of the filming), the series was built around social studies teacher Pete Dixon (Lloyd Haynes), guidance counselor Liz McIntyre (Denise Nicholas), who was also dating Dixon, student-teacher Alice Johnson (Karen Valentine), and Principal Seymour Kaufman (Michael Constantine, who had previously recurred on Hey, Landlord), as well as a culturally diverse student body.

Room 222 sprang from the fertile mind of writer-producer James L. Brooks, who'd go on to win 3 Oscars ("Terms of Endearment") and a slew of Emmys (i.e. The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Simpsons, Taxi, Lou Grant) for writing or directing. The series ran for five seasons (1969-74) before moving to syndication, which is where I eventually found it, being too young to watch it in first-run.

We've previously featured a season 1 episode that included a rare on-camera appearance by Nicole Jaffe (Scooby-Doo), but she doesn't figure into this episode. Instead, we'll see future Saturday morning stars Judy Strangis and David Jolliffe in the episode "Fathers & Sons", with guest stars William Schallert (ex-The Patty Duke Show, Dobie Gillis), who was also working as a studio announcer for ABC at the time, and Ann Morgan Guilbert (ex-The Dick Van Dyke Show) as parents of a student (Bob Balaban) who apparently isn't interested in following in his father's career path. Director Terry Becker (ex-Voyage to The Bottom of The Sea) worked as a production assistant on the show during the 1st season.

If you've ever wondered what David Jolliffe (later of Emergency Plus 4 & Clue Club) looked like, he plays Bernie, a redheaded student. Judy Strangis (Helen) & Michael Constantine would later reunite when the latter played a villain on Electra Woman & DynaGirl.

Rating: A.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Gulliver in The Capture (1968)

 A duel between Captain Leech (John Stephenson) & Gary Gulliver (Jerry Dexter) is disrupted when both are captured and conscripted by a pair of pirates (Stephenson & special guest Paul Frees). Here's "The Capture":

Frees wasn't credited, but how could you not recognize that voice?

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Hold Your Head Up (1972)

 From The Midnight Special comes this gem, even though it ended up being a 1-hit wonder for Argent. Here's "Hold Your Head Up":

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Rare Treats: A promo for Wacky Races (1968)

 In a concerted effort to keep viewers from changing the channel on Saturday mornings back in the day, CBS would run ads for the next show on the schedule before the closing credits of the show airing at that point in the day.

Case in point is this Wacky Races promo, with Don Messick putting on his hype man voice, in place of race announcer Dave Willock. This would air before the closing of The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Hour.

I seem to recall seeing spots like this for other shows, such as The Archie Show. Unfortunately CBS dropped this practice a few years later.

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Saturtainment: A complete episode of Pop Goes The Country (1974)

 From season 1 comes this gem with guests Merle Haggard & Connie Smith. Haggard gets things started with "Working Man Blues".

In memory of series host Ralph Emery, 88, who has passed away. Rest in peace.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Literary Toons: Gulliver's Travels (1979)

 Hanna-Barbera had attempted what amounted an unofficial sequel to Gulliver's Travels with the Saturday morning series, The Adventures of Gulliver, one of the last adventure cartoons of the 60's. 11 years later, the studio adapted Jonathan Swift's tale itself for CBS' Famous Classic Tales.

Ross Martin (ex-The Wild, Wild West, Sealab 2020, The Robonic Stooges) voices Lemuel Gulliver, as the story is told from Gulliver's point of view. H-B regulars John Stephenson, Janet Waldo, Julie Bennett, Don Messick, & Hal Smith are also heard.

As this aired a week before Thanksgiving, it also invited viewers another chance to see the 1968 series, which was now part of the Banana Splits syndication package. Messick also worked on that series.

No rating. Just a public service.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Toon Legends: Pink, Plunk, Plink (1966)

 Following the lead of Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry, the Pink Panther goes on stage with a symphony orchestra, whether Big Nose likes it or not, in "Pink, Plunk, Plink", which, in reality, is a love letter to Henry Mancini, who composed the iconic Panther theme, and makes a cameo appearance at the end of the short.

Mixing the Panther theme with Beethoven's 5th? Judge for yourselves.

To be fair, it did seem as though the orchestra had more energy once the Panther took the podium.

Rating: A.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Tooniversary: Wonder Wheels experiences Double Trouble (1977)

 Ah, the age old trope of an evil doppleganger.

An enterprising crook (John Stephenson) comes up with his own version of Wonder Wheels, hoping to frame Willie (Micky Dolenz) and the real superbike. Yeah, right.

This video was recorded off a camera phone, it seems.

Predictable fodder.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

You Know The Voices: John Byner & Ron Dante (1970)

 Not content with the chart success he'd enjoyed as the voice of the Archies, Ron Dante created another pre-fab bubblegum band in 1969, the Cufflinks, whose one-hit wonder, "Tracy", made the rounds, and landed Dante a rare on-camera booking on John Byner's 1970 syndicated series, Something Else.

John and the gang are in Palm Springs, where they play some golf, with John wearing a suit jacket on the driving range, of all things.

We'll see Ron and "Tracy" soon enough.

Too bad this was a one season show.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Toons You Might've Missed: The Ski's The Limit (1949)

 From Paramount-Famous Studios' Screen Songs series comes a travelogue of Switzerland. The gags come at a swift pace, a la similar fare from WB or MGM.

"The Ski's The Limit" also offers a rarity for the studio in giving Jackson Beck credit as the narrator. Not sure if this was true for the entire series.

Rating: B.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Looney TV: A Tale of Two Kitties (1942-8)

 Tweety made his debut in Bob Clampett's 1942 farce, "A Tale of Two Kitties". According to other sources, Tweety was identified on scripts as Orson, but was never mentioned by name. Plus, Tweety isn't entirely in golden yellow, looking a little bald in the middle, but of course that would change.

Here, a pair of cats modeled after the comedy team of Bud Abbott & Lou Costello are on the hunt for some avian lunch. Tedd Pierce voices Babbitt, while Mel Blanc is Tweety & Catstello.

This clip is a 1948 Blue Ribbon reissue, though the original title card is shown as a screencap above.

Rating: B.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Naughty Number Nine (1973)

 There is a certain amount of serendipity to this Schoolhouse Rock entry.

A literal fat cat uses a mouse as a cue ball for a round of pool. Here's "Naughty Number Nine":

Disney owns the rights now, and you'd think they'd use these quickies as interstitals on Disney Junior.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Coming Attractions: Look who's coming to Sesame Street!

 Sesame Street has had a bazillion guest stars in its 53 seasons on the air. The latest get is getting acquainted with different forms of pop culture. "The League of Super-Pets" is due soon on HBO Max, and that might be part of the motivation behind its star's pending visit to the most famous fictional street in America.

Yeah, this guy:

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will be heading to Sesame Street to meet Cookie Monster and Elmo, as well as promoting "League" and Young Rock, one would imagine. Oh, and there's that "Black Adam" movie coming down the line. 

Anyway, this has to do with a 2004 skit that recently went viral in which Elmo questioned how a pet rock (Rocco) could eat a cookie, which caused issues between Elmo and Zoe.

This led to a back & forth on Twitter between Cookie Monster and Johnson, setting up the People's Movie Star for his first ever appearance on the show, which currently has 1st run episodes on HBO, repurposed on PBS/PBS Kids. I'm guessing the episode will be taped closer to the release of "Black Adam".

Considering Johnson's previous vocation with WWE, he's used to colorful characters.......

Saturtainment: General Mills Radio Adventure Theater (1977)

 General Mills' Radio Adventure Theater was set up as a weekend companion series to the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, both produced by Himan Brown. The General Mills show premiered in February 1977, but the sponsor pulled its support after 26 weeks, forcing the change to CBS Radio Adventure Theater before it was inevitably cancelled.

Tom Bosley (Happy Days) is the series host, and queues up an adaptation of H. Rider Haggard's oft-adapted 1885 novel, King Solomon's Mines:

Rating: B--.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

You Know The Voices: Jack Sheldon & Jackie Joseph (1966)

 We've previously shown a clip of this episode of Run, Buddy, Run. As it turns out, the episode, "Buddy Overstreet, Please Come Home", is the series finale. Jackie Joseph guests as a secretary of a sort working for mob boss Devere (Bruce Gordon, ex-The Untouchables). CBS scuttled the series after 16 weeks due to low ratings. Dave Ketchum (Get Smart, ex-Camp Runamuck) also appears as a psychiatrist.

One of the weirder quirks to the casting was another Untouchables alum, Nick Georgiade, playing a mobster on this show, as an underling to Devere.

Stephen Strimpell, who would star in Mr. Terrific, the series that replaced Buddy, had appeared in an earlier episode of Buddy. Series star Jack Sheldon would do mostly character roles for the rest of his career, including joining Jack Webb's repertory troupe (i.e. Dragnet) before Schoolhouse Rock introduced him to a new generation of viewers.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Toonfomercial: Crime prevention with McGruff (1979)

 The Ad Council introduced an iconic character in the 70's, McGruff, The Crime Dog, who advised viewers about crime prevention.

We bring this up because an old ad surfaced on Family Guy recently as a cutaway gag, in which Brian (Seth MacFarlane) purportedly appeared as McGruff's sidekick, Sgt. Bark. Of course, that wasn't really what happened, just MacFarlane channeling his inner pop culture geek for laughs.

In this 1979 spot, McGruff teaches how neighbors can help prevent a vacationing family from being robbed.

Unlike the Incredible Crash Test Dummies, McGruff was never spun off into an all-animated series of his own. It would've taken away his uniqueness.

Celebrity Toons: Invasion of The Booby Hatchers (Laverne & Shirley in The Army, 1981)

 To think it all started with Laverne & Shirley in a 2-part primetime story arc with guest star Vicki Lawrence (ex-The Carol Burnett Show). In hindsight, Hanna-Barbera, ABC, & Paramount would've been better served asking Lawrence to reprise her role in an animated spin-off.

As it was, Laverne & Shirley in The Army was virtually doomed from the start. The girls (Penny Marshall & Cindy Williams) were given a pig for a commanding officer (Ron Palillo, ex-Welcome Back, Kotter), which was meant for comic tension, but Sgt. Squealy was about as much fun as a moldy brick of cheese. Palillo played him like he was Horshack on a power trip, and the girls had to bail him out every time. Then again, over on CBS, airing later in the day, you had Private Olive Oyl, which wasn't much better or worse.

In season 2, Williams had left the parent series, and for the cartoon, actress Lynne Stewart was brought in to take over as Shirley. Only 8 episodes were produced for season 2, with Fonzie (Henry Winkler) & Mr. Cool (Frank Welker) coming over from the concluded Fonz & The Happy Days Gang. That made sure Squealy was neutralized.

Here's the series opener, "Invasion of The Booby Hatchers":

Rating: C--.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Jumping the Shark: Mork & Mindy in Meet Mork's Mom (1982)

 Shazbot!! On Mork & Mindy, during its 4 year live action run (1978-82), Mork (Robin Williams) explained how he'd been conceived on Ork. Apparently, when the series shifted to an animated format for its unofficial 5th season, that original origin, a joke about the then-trend of test tube babies, was discarded in favor of going with another trope previously established, that Orkans age backwards. In the final live-action season, Mearth (Jonathan Winters) was added, to further play up this trope. However, as we see in "Meet Mork's Mom", a teenaged Mindy isn't aware of this Orkan tradition........

To give credit where it's due, Mork sprang from the mind of actor-turned-director Jerry Paris, who helmed Mork's 1st appearance on Happy Days a few years earlier, inspired by an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show he'd worked on years earlier. Williams and his considerable talent did the rest.

Also, as we see, Mork does not isolate himself to contact Orson (Ralph James), as he calls Orson in Mindy's presence.

That said, the concept of sending Mork further back in time to Mindy's high school years was, in the words of a certain other alien on ABC's Saturday schedule, "real spacey".

Rating: C.