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). This story was adapted for television in 1991.

No rating.

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. 

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.

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Ricochet Rabbit in Good Little Bad Guy (1964)

 Mumbleweeds (Mel Blanc, using his Yosemite Sam voice) tries to teach his son to be an outlaw, to continue the family tradition. Ricochet Rabbit, on the other hand, has other ideas. Here's "Good Little Bad Guy".

Rating: A.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Getting schooled: Grooving to Alegria (Sesame Street, 1978)

 Through the course of its 50+ years on the air (currently in season 53), Sesame Street's musical numbers will get the kids dancing.

One such case has Luis (Emilio Delgado), backed by a mariachi band, performing "Alegria" on acoustic guitar, in 1978.

In memory of Emilio Delgado, who, according to TMZ, has passed away at 81.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Toonfomercial: Andy Panda for Auto-Lite (1952)

 This next item more than likely was produced for theatres as well as for television.

Andy Panda is taking his girlfriend for a ride when his car breaks down, prompting a call to Auto-Lite:

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Family Toons: The Beary Family in Let Charlie Do It (1972)

 I don't know exactly when in 1972 Universal released "Let Charlie Do It", a Beary Family short in which Charlie (Paul Frees) tries to fix the kitchen sink, while wife Bessie (Grace Stafford) wants to call a plumber.

All I can say is Popeye handled this plotline better.

Three more Beary shorts were released before Walter Lantz closed his studio, this time for good.

Rating: B.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Getting Schooled: Spin & Marty (1955)

 The original Mickey Mouse Club featured a pair of serials, both starring Tim Considine.

We've previously reviewed Disney's take on The Hardy Boys, but this time, it's the series Considine was better known for before graduating to primetime on My Three Sons, and that would be The Adventures of Spin & Marty.

Spin Evans (Considine) spent his summers at the Triple H Ranch, where he meets wealthy Marty Markham (David Stollery). Three serials in all were produced during the series' 1st three seasons. In season 2, it was The Further Adventures of Spin & Marty, with Mouseketeer Annette Funicello joining the cast. In season 3, the title was amended again to The New Adventures of Spin & Marty, with Darlene Gillespie joining the cast, and Cubby O'Brien introducing each episode.

In this clip from the first serial, the boys aren't exactly pals, which was the crux of the plot, and try to settle their differences in an improvised boxing match.

In memory of Tim Considine, 81, who passed away earlier this week. No rating.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Toons You Might've Missed: Andy Panda Goes Fishing (1940)

 Andy Panda's earliest shorts had him in a trilogy of adventures involving some pygmies. It doesn't appear as though "Andy Panda Goes Fishing" aired here on American television due to concerns about stereotypes.

The pygmies would return in "100 Pygmies & Andy Panda" three months later.

Rating: B.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

You Know The Voice: Susan Silo (1964)

 Before becoming a voice actress, Susan Silo had done her share of face acting, appearing in front of the cameras. Her resume includes guest appearances on Batman, Dr. Kildare, Gunsmoke, The Man From UNCLE, and this 2nd season episode of Burke's Law, "Who Killed Everybody?". Susan appears right at the start, as her character is on the phone with her agent.......

Susan did have one starring role, opposite the late Larry Blyden in Harry's Girls for MGM & NBC a couple of years earlier. Today, she's teaching seminars on voice acting, and is also doing some work on video games.