Thursday, February 26, 2015

Whatever happened to Where's Huddles?

A while back, I posted an episode of Where's Huddles, only to have to take it down when the video was booted off YouTube due to copyright concerns.

At the time, I had pitched the idea of rebooting the series as a multi-generational comedy-drama, which would bring the initial storylines forward from the 1970 series to the present day. The difference being, of course, that Ed Huddles and BFF/teammate Bubba McCoy would be retired, and their children would take up the family business of playing football. It's either that, or reboot it completely, with Ed & Bubba as active players. Regular correspondent Magicdog noted that Huddles, voiced by Cliff Norton in the 1970 series, bore a resemblance to another actor, Walter Matthau.

To refresh everyone's memory, here's the intro to that 1970 series, courtesy of CartoonsIntros:

My vision for a rebooted Huddles has two options.

1. The series moves forward into the present, with Ed & Bubba playing for the Rhinos, who would be an analogue for a current NFL team. My guess would be the Rams, who are rumored to be headed back to LA after more than 2 decades in St. Louis. I say the Rams because sportscaster Dick Enberg, who was heard in the series, was at one time the voice of the Rams. Ed would still be the quarterback, but he'd take on more of a younger appearance, as would Bubba and the rest of the team. This would allow for current NFL stars such as JJ Watt, Cam Newton, Tony Romo, and Eli & Peyton Manning, all of whom have appeared on Nickelodeon's Rush Zone, to make guest appearances. The players' wives, Marge & Penny, would also look a little younger.


Ed & Marge Huddles, as 20-somethings, would be voiced by Drake Bell (currently on Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors) and Amy Poehler, who just finished up Parks & Recreation. I'd reunite Will Friedle & Christy Carlson Romano (ex-Kim Possible) to play Bubba & Penny. Yeah, I know. Friedle was just cast for Guardians of the Galaxy, but he can do comedy, too. Claude Pertwee, the fussy neighbor, could be either Thomas Lennon (Odd Couple) or Neil Patrick Harris.

2. The other option is to make this a follow-up series. Ed & Bubba would be retired with sons of their own following in their footsteps. This would allow for a Married With Children reunion, casting Ed O'Neill (Modern Family) as Ed, with Katey Sagal (late of Sons of Anarchy) as Marge, Jason Alexander (ex-Seinfeld) as Bubba, Tina Fey (ex-30 Rock) as Penny, with Bell & Friedle as the next generation footballers.

Granted, the original series only lasted 10 weeks, so a TV-movie would be in order to reintroduce the cast. Contemporary announcers such as Jim Nantz (CBS) or Rich Eisen (NFL Network) would fill Enberg's spot at the mic.

What do you guys think?

You Know the Voice: Bud Collyer (1956)

In addition to hosting To Tell The Truth, Bud Collyer also served as MC for another classic game show, Beat the Clock, which premiered in 1950. By then, Collyer had ended his run doing Superman radio dramas, and would not be, ah, reunited with the Man of Steel for another 16 years.

To give you some idea of Beat the Clock, we present this episode from 1956.

Today's audience is familiar with a spiritual descendant to clock, that being Minute to Win It. It just ain't the same.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Sport Billy (1980)

Sport Billy has the distinction of being the last Filmation series sold to NBC, but in fact it was imported, as Filmation had produced it initially for European markets.

Billy (Lane Scheimer, ex-The Brady Kids, Lassie's Rescue Rangers) carries with him an Omni-sack, a size changing gym bag that can be made small enough to carry in Billy's pocket for when he needs it, which seems to be in every episode. He's joined by Lilly (Joyce Bulifant, ex-The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and a dog, Willy (Frank Welker) in his adventures. Since this was meant for European consumption, the primary sport is their version of football----what we call soccer. 26 episodes were produced and aired during one calendar year. NBC aired it initially as a summer replacement, then would bring it back again the following year.

Here's the intro:

What hurt Sport Billy here was where NBC scheduled it---at lunch time. If memory serves, it was in place of either Drawing Power or The Daffy Duck Show, I'm not sure which. As I've oft noted, if it's booked to air at 12, unless it's Fat Albert, it ain't gonna last long. Sadly, the series has not resurfaced on cable in the 30+ years since its debut.

Rating: B-.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Toons After Dark: I Am Weasel (1997)

Amidst the stupidity of Cow & Chicken was a backup feature that was actually better than the lead, enough to earn its own series. But, since this is Cartoon Network we're dealing with, I Am Weasel didn't fare quite as well on its own.

I. M. Weasel (Michael Dorn, ex-Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine) is not your ordinary, stereotypical weasel. He's a philanthropic do-gooder, apparently college educated, and a hero to the masses. I. R. Baboon (Charlie Adler) is, well, dumber than a bag of hammers, yet jealous of Weasel's success. So, each of the shorts depicts Baboon trying to one-up Weasel, and, more often than not, failing in epic style.

When Weasel was granted his own series, creator David Feiss proved to be just as dim as Baboon by inserting the Red Guy (Adler), his personifcation of the Devil, as an unnecessary agent provocateur. The Red Guy was the square peg that didn't belong in the round hole of this show, and all by himself is the reason I Am Weasel ended up a failure.

Unfortunately, none of the shorts are available on YouTube. We just have the intro:

Ok, so Weasel was meant to be a funny animal MacGyver. Then Feiss screwed up. And he hasn't had a hit since.

Rating: B-.

Toonfomercial: Remember Erin Esurance?

It's been 5 years since Esurance "retired" their animated "mascot", if ya will, sexy Erin Esurance, discontinuing the ad campaign because Erin was being used, without the company's permission, mind, for some, ah, mature artistic ventures.

The only regret is that Erin didn't wind up starring in her own TV show, but then, some might suggest she'd be a grown-up version of Disney's teen crime stopper, Kim Possible, save for the fact that Erin had pink hair, as opposed to Kim's auburn.

In this sample clip, Erin is playing hockey.........

In 2011, Esurance was acquired by Allstate. Now, all we need is to bring Erin to life and have her battle Mayhem (Dean Winters). That's got money all over it!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Dino Boy vs. the Vampire Men (1966)

Ron Ray brings us this Dino Boy adventure. Man, I wish I found this on Friday the 13th, to be honest with you. That's a more appropriate time for Tod (Dino Boy's real name, according to research sources) to encounter "The Vampire Men":

Vampires? They look more like mutated monkey-bats.

Rating: B.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Funnies: The Baby Huey Show (1994)

Harvey Comics' Baby Huey was granted his own series in 1994, more than 40 years after he'd made his debut in a series of shorts that Famous Studios (Paramount) produced after obtaining a license from Harvey.

2 seasons of 13 episodes were produced, but it was a mixed bag. In the first season, Sid Raymond, who'd voiced Huey in the 50's, was brought back. Classic shorts from the 50's featuring Huey, as well as Herman & Katnip, rounded out the half-hour. In season 2, Film Roman took over producing the series. Raymond was cut in favor of a younger actor, Joe Alaskey (Tiny Toon Adventures), and 1st season shorts replaced the classics. Plus, Richie Rich was added to the mix, leading to the "World's Richest Boy" getting a 2nd shot at his own series.

Here's the 1st season intro:

I remember reading a few Baby Huey comics as a kid. I tried watching the show, and, well, something got lost in the translation.

Rating: C.