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.