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.