Sunday, July 31, 2022

Looney TV: The Wild Chase (1965)

 Long before DC Comics became part of the Warner Bros. family, WB parodied the famous races in the books between Superman & The Flash by having their two super speedsters, Speedy Gonzales & The Road Runner, meet in a match race in Mexico, marred by their respective nemeses, Sylvester and Wile E. Coyote.

Here's "The Wild Chase":

We've had this up before, but it was taken down due to copyrights. Let's hope this one stays.

Rating: A.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Toon Rock: Narco (2017)

 Baseball fans will recognize this next song.

"Narco", by Blasterjaxx & Timmy Trumpet, was released in 2017, but has become the entrance music for not one, but two MLB players.

Mets closer Edwin Diaz selected "Narco", and this season, it has taken off, so much so that Atlanta catcher William Contreras has adopted it as well. Former major leaguer Socrates Brito, who now plays in Korea, makes it a trio.

The beat is ridiculously infectious.

Toon Legends: The Pink Panther in Pickled Pink (1965)

 "Pickled Pink" was early in the Pink Panther series, released in May 1965, so this was still in the developmental phase.

Anyway, a drunk (Mel Blanc) brings the Panther home, then has to worry about his wife (also Blanc) finding out about his carousing.

Given all the work that Blanc did for Friz Freleng at WB, one wonders why he didn't do too much more at DePatie-Freleng after this.

Rating: B.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

You Know The Voice: Paul Frees (1971)

 Now, this is rare.

Radio & cartoon legend Paul Frees makes a rare on-camera appearance in this 1971 ad for Taster's Choice coffee, recycling his Inspector Fenwick voice from Dudley Do-Right, which he'd also used for some other characters at Hanna-Barbera (i.e. the Chief from Secret Squirrel).

Frees worked for virtually every animation studio on the planet (i.e.  Jay Ward, H-B, Disney, MGM, Filmation, Rankin-Bass) in his storied career.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Tooniversary: Abbott & Costello meet Sinister Professor Sinister (1967)

 To show that Hanna-Barbera was not afraid to skewer its own line of adventure cartoons, including comedy heroes like Atom Ant & Peter Potamus, we have Abbott & Costello as space detectives battling "Sinister Professor Sinister" (Don Messick).

The bit with the ant tossing Costello (Stan Irwin) around, followed by Costello doing the same to Sinister and his robot, is a call back to Atom Ant, but the episode skewers the superhero genre in general. Bud Abbott isn't given much to do other be the team leader and power up his friend.

Rating: B.

When 80's icons meet: Inspector Gadget visits the Mario Brothers (Super Mario Brothers Super Show, 1989)

 Now, here's a crossover that should've merited more attention than it did.

Actor-impressionist Maurice LaMarche (The Real Ghostbusters) takes on the role of Inspector Gadget for the first time as the cyborg sleuth visits The Super Mario Brothers Super Show. DIC produced both series, so it made sense to bring Gadget to life in this case, a few years before Matthew Broderick donned the trenchcoat.

In "Defective Gadgetry", Luigi (Danny Wells, ex-The Jeffersons) makes like Radar and has Mario (Capt. Lou Albano) answer the door before the bell even rings, LaMarche nails a perfect Don Adams mimic in playing Gadget, a role he'd revisit in animation years later after Adams passed away.

You'll recall that Gadget's 1st run lasted a couple of years. The Marios only got one. Hmmmmmmm.

No rating. Just a public service.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Ricochet Rabbit in Big Thinker (1964)

 Ricochet Rabbit takes on a little outlaw with big plans. Half-Pint Pinto is not getting the respect of other outlaws in the badlands because he looks too much like a goody two-shoes. The "Big Thinker" thinks stealing a circus elephant will change their minds.

Some of the gags will resemble the ones from the Droopy cartoons, and, later, Mumbly, due to Ricochet suddenly appearing where Pinto doesn't expect him.

Rating: A.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Peter Potamus meets Little Red Riding Hood (1964)

 Some of the better entries in Peter Potamus, and, for that matter, Ricochet Rabbit, were when they did parodies.

For example, Peter (Daws Butler) and So-So (Don Messick) step right into a familiar story to help Little Red Riding Hood (Janet Waldo) with a certain menace. So, Peter becomes "Big Red Ridin' Hood":

That poor wolf (Butler) shows the audience what he's going to do, as futile as that would be. Oh, what fun.

Rating: A-.

Coming Attractions: Spider-Man returns in an all-new series on Disney+

 Among the announcements made by Marvel at the San Diego Comic-Con was the reveal of a new Spider-Man series, set to debut on Disney+ in 2024.

Yep, that's the full title. Marvel & Disney have a commitment to at least two seasons of the series, with season 2 changing the subtitle to Sophomore Year. What is not clear is what the Freshman Year refers to, either Peter Parker being rebooted back to high school, or it's his freshman year in college. He's been depicted as both a high school & college student in various animated iterations in the course of 55 years of television.

What we do know is that characters such as Harry Osborn, Peter's roommate in college and the 2nd Green Goblin, and Amadeus Cho, a more recent character more closely associated with The Incredible Hulk, will be part of the supporting cast. Villains will include Speed Demon, Chameleon, Green Goblin, and........the Kingpin. 

The biggest part of the announcement was the fact that Vincent D'Onofrio will reprise as Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin, not only in this series, but a pending Daredevil reboot, also ticketed for 2024 for Disney+, and, in lockstep, Charlie Cox, who a brief cameo as Matt Murdock in "Spider-Man: No Way Home", will play Murdock/Daredevil again. The live-action Daredevil: Born Again is an 18 episode series, and likely adapts a classic story arc from years past.

The role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man has not been publicly announced. Stay tooned.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Toon Legends: Popeye in The Cure (1961)

 Popeye (Jack Mercer) has to help Wimpy (Mercer) break his addiction to a particular brand of hamburger cooked by the Sea Hag (Mae Questel). Here's "The Cure", co-written by Jack Mercer.

This just goes by too quickly. The gleeful smile on Wimpy after he eats the spinach, though. WHOA!

Rating: B-.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Toonfomercial: When roaches gamble (1974)

Johnson Wax (now SC Johnson) got a lot of mileage out of their animated (or part-animated) Raid commercials, to the point where they were able to get name talent to either narrate or voice the bugs.

The narrators included William Schallert (ex-Dobie Gillis, The Patty Duke Show), Danny Dark, who also did voice-overs for Keebler, among others, and his Super Friends castmate, Casey Kasem (who also did ads for Soft 'n' Dri, St. Joseph, Chevron, and other sponsors during his storied career). The bugs' voices were usually done by toon legends Paul Frees, Mel Blanc, and, in later ads, Frank Welker.

In this 1974 spot, a cabinet under the sink turns into a bug speakeasy until Raid shows up. Blanc uses his Bugs Bunny voice for one of the bugs.

Eliot Ness had nothing on Raid.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

You Know The Voice: Keye Luke (1967)

 I believe this was Keye Luke's 1st appearance on Dragnet during its 2nd run (1967-70). In "The Jade Story", he plays an expert on rare jewels, and appears around the 11 1/2 minute mark.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Coming Attractions: Craig McCracken returns to Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends------and the Powerpuff Girls

 Thomas Wolfe once wrote you couldn't go home again. However, in Hollywood, that isn't entirely true.

After developing series for Disney and other outlets (i.e. Wander Over Yonder), Craig McCracken is returning to Cartoon Network to helm another relaunch of The Powerpuff Girls.

Photo courtesy Cartoon Network/Everett Collection.

While a live-action series from Greg Berlanti at CW has run into some issues of late, it's still being considered in development, though I doubt now it'll still end up at CW after the network has gradually ended its DC Comics line of dramas. McCracken, meanwhile, will keep his creations as grade school students (the 2016 series moved them into elementary school), or even retcon them back to preschool.

But, that ain't all.

TV Line is also reporting that McCracken is relaunching the Emmy winning Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends as a preschool series, aimed squarely for CN's Cartoonito block, with a new roster of imaginary playmates to debut.

Stay tooned.

Toonformercial: Remember Raid Ant Baits? (1997)

 You all know about the Raid line of bug sprays. Ant & Roach Killer. Flying Insect Killer. And so on.

In 1997, Johnson Wax (now SC Johnson) developed Raid Ant Baits, introduced in this ad:

Monday, July 18, 2022

Tooniversary: The Little House (1952)

 Remember the days when we were kids? When there were things such as the Book Mobile, where teachers read books after school?

Virginia Lee Burton's 1942 story, The Little House, likely was read in the Book Mobile as well as during kindergarten story times. In 1952, Disney adapted The Little House into a cartoon, narrated by Sterling Holloway.

The Little House reminds us of a time when children's stories allowed for anything & everything to be depicted as sentient beings. It was also the 2nd and last of Burton's works to be adapted. The other? Her first novel, Mike Mulligan & His Steam Shovel.

Rating: A.

Saturday School: The Adventurers Club vs. Captain Coda (Mission: Magic, 1973)

 Rick Springfield and Miss Tickle's Adventurers' Club run up against a music hating tyrant named Captain Coda. Time for some Mission: Magic!

Today, Coda would likely be some right wing loser.

No rating.

Friday, July 15, 2022

You Know The Voice: Olan Soule (1969)

 Sticking with our "You Know The Voice" feature, we're moving back in time by about 9 years from our earlier entry.

Earlier this week, we featured Olan Soule playing a deputy coroner on Dragnet during the final season. In that season alone, Olan also played a judge (previously reviewed), and, in this offering, a doctor. Friday & Gannon are working a hospital detail, and have to deal with a mentally challenged suspect (Del Moore), and a parolee whose date has died.

Olan first appears around the 12 minute mark, and returns for the finish.

That means Olan played a total of four characters in all during this run.

You Know The Voice: Robert Ridgely (1977)

 In between seasons 1 & 2 of Tarzan, Lord of The Jungle, Robert Ridgely (ex-Uncle Croc's Block) makes a brief (and I do mean brief) in this ad for Swiss Miss instant hot chocolate mix (now made by ConAgra). You can't get enough of the stop motion Swiss Miss mascot, though.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Summertainment: Cookie Monster teaches cooking? (2022)

 Oh, this will be rich.

Sesame Street's resident chowhound, Cookie Monster, is going to show how to make some variation on pudding for the beach.

Now, this is something we all need.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Toon Legends: An episode of the Popeye & Olive Comedy Show (1981)

 Ahoy there! Time to scope an episode of The Popeye & Olive Comedy Show.

"Rocky Rolls": Private Olive Oyl (Marilyn Schreffler) and Alice The Goon find a unique way of peeling potatoes, but Sgt. Blast (Jo Anne Worley) doesn't dig.

"Hogwash at The Car Wash": Popeye (Jack Mercer) opens a car wash, and Bluto (Allan Melvin) schemes to ruin things for Olive, the first customer. Predictable chaos.

"Snow Foolin'": It's winter at the base, and the base commander wants to go to vacation in Hawaii.

Also: Popeye makes the mistake of leaving a knife where Swee'pea can use it. Later, he teaches about pool & playground safety.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

You Know The Voice: Olan Soule (1970)

 Dragnet was nearing the end of its 2nd run. Sgt. Friday (Jack Webb) and Officer Gannon (Harry Morgan) try to solve the case of a missing persons cold case. Olan Soule plays his 3rd different character in this run, this time as Deputy Coroner Ned Harris, appearing at the 3:15 mark. Another Webb repertory company regular, Anthony Eisley (ex-Hawaiian Eye), also guest stars.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Toonfomercial: Going kooky for cars (2022)

 Destination Kia and Destination Nissan are just two of the dealerships with ad contracts with Florida animator Rob Boulware.

The husband & wife team of James & Megan Morrell are also regulars on local radio stations, their ads airing twice every hour, for example, on WROW (James Morrell, Sr., James' father, owns Albany Broadcasting, WROW's parent), and, along with the following ad, establishes that James is the kookier of the couple.

With the Fuccillo chain gone, the Destination dealerships have replaced them with their supposedly annoying ad campaigns.

Saturtainment: You call her a teenage genie? (Uncle Croc's Block, 1975)

 Uncle Croc's Block was all about parody. The show itself was a send-up of, for example, Captain Kangaroo. Recurring characters were spoofs of Sherlock Holmes and The Six Million Dollar Man, among others, showing that ABC was, we thought, willing to laugh at itself. The ratings said otherwise.

In this skit, Croc (Charles Nelson Reilly) gets a visit from Junie the Genie (Alice Ghostley), who is supposed to be a teenager, two years after CBS had done a "prequel" of sorts of I Dream of Jeannie, except that Junie is a total bungler, not unlike Ghostley's character of Esmerelda, a bumbling witch, on Bewitched.

ABC was fine with self-parody, but the sketches on this show were so bad (how bad were they?), ABC ended its association with Filmation after 9 seasons.

No rating.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: The Super Globetrotters in Transylvania Terrors (1979)

 As you know, the 1979 Super Globetrotters series followed the same format as the original 1970 Harlem Globetrotters show, except that the 'Trotters were given the powers of the 60's heroes, The Impossibles, with some bonuses, which made the climatic games even more campy.

Here, the team heads off to Transylvania to face Count Bragula.

In memory of Adam Wade (Sweet Lou, aka Gizmo), who has passed away. No rating.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Celebrity Toons: Extraterrestrial Toddler (Mork & Mindy, 1982)

 From the ill-advised Mork & Mindy animated prequel:

Mork (Robin Williams) learns of a movie being shot in Boulder, so he wants in. However, he & Mindy (Pam Dawber) get roped into a mystery when a robot being designed for the movie is stolen by two rogue Orkans, which means, of course, in this series, Mindy gets to go to Ork way sooner than in the live-action series. Mork conjures an Orkan uni for her, and the animators gave her a too familiar sexy pose that was used for other female characters of the period.

The implausibility of Mork's egg-shaped spaceship, already rebooted as an eggmobile for Earth travel, remaining in said form for a round trip to Ork & back. As a certain Exorian doll might put it, real spacey.

Here's "Extraterrestrial Toddler":

If the programmers at ABC had any sense, they would've done this sooner, and done this prequel first, before green-lighting Laverne & Shirley in The Army.

Rating: C.

Friday, July 8, 2022

Saturtainment: How Does Your Garden Grow? (Tennessee Tuxedo, 1965)

 Tennessee Tuxedo (Don Adams) needs a quick lesson on gardening in order to impress the mayor's wife while at the same time, forcing Stanley Livingston, the zoo director (Mort Marshall) to improve the zoo menu.

Here's "How Does Your Garden Grow?":

In memory of Larry Storch (Phineas J. Whoopee), who passed away today at 99, six months shy of his 100th birthday.

Summertainment: A complete episode of Popeye & Son (1987)

 This episode of Popeye & Son lends itself to our summer theme.

First up, Popeye (Maurice LaMarche, The Real Ghostbusters) and his son, Junior, find that Bluto (Allan Melvin) and his son, Tank, are forcing beach-goers to their new business via shady means, all because the attraction is, ah, tanking.

Then, Junior and his BFF, Woody, run afoul of the Goons.

The Popeye fan channel deleted the closing credits.

Rating: B. One of the better entries in the series.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Celebrity Toons: When The Moon Comes Over The Werewolf (Laverne & Shirley in The Army, 1981)

 From season 1 of Laverne & Shirley in The Army:

The girls (Penny Marshall & Cindy Williams) and Sgt. Squealy (Ron Palillo) wind up in some seriously creepy trouble, crossing paths with a mad scientist and his assistant, Talbot, who looks like the kind of guy the girls would fall for. He's also a callback to a certain film franchise in "When The Moon Comes Over The Werewolf".

Were the series to be done today, Sgt. Squealy wouldn't so much of a misogynist as he was depicted here. Of course, we've lost both Penny Marshall and Ron Palillo since the series ended, so the part would be recast anyway.

No rating. Just a public service.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Saturday Morning's Greatest Hits: Self Control & Satisfaction (1984)

 Laura Branigan made her 2nd appearance on American Bandstand with 2 tracks, including the smash hit, "Self Control". After an interview with host Dick Clark, she also sings "Satisfaction", not a cover of the Rolling Stones hit.

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.