Friday, April 24, 2015

Looney TV: Porky Pig gets schooled on the Constitution (1986)

Oh, man, poor Porky Pig puts his hoof in his mouth when he tells his girlfriend, Petunia, that a woman can't be President. Too bad they didn't revisit this ad for an episode of The Looney Tunes Show 25 years later.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Daytime Heroes: Spider-Man vs. The Wall (Electric Company, 1970's)

Here's a baseball themed Spidey Super Stories short from the original Electric Company. Spider-Man (Danny Seagren) attends a Mets game at Shea Stadium, but the defending NL champs have to also deal with The Wall. Series regular Skip Hinnant plays a Mets outfielder, while Morgan Freeman is the umpire. Does sound like Morgan unwittingly did a Scatman Crothers mimic.

Not one of the better ones in the series. The producers couldn't come up with enough cheddar in the budget to actually replicate even a portion of Shea Stadium. When the series was revived several years later, Sesame (formerly Children's Television) Workshop, despite the fact that Marvel Comics and some of the Muppets are now Disney property, couldn't reach a deal with Disney to revive this feature, even with today's advanced technology. Their loss.

Rating: D.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Rare Treats: A pair of Milky Way ads from the 60's

Here's a pair of forgotten Milky Way candy ads from the 60's, back when Mars, Inc. actually promoted themselves.

The first spot is animated, with the inestimable Paul Frees as the voice of the candy bar. The second is a live-action piece with silent movie legend Buster Keaton.

A check of Wikipedia claims that the defunct Forever Yours bar was a dark chocolate version of Milky Way that had been around for years. Not that I could recall. Forever Yours actually was a short-lived brand and was revived under the Milky Way label twice in later years (Milky Way Dark & Milky Way Midnight), neither of which got over all that well, either.

Looney TV: Pinky, Elmyra, & the Brain (1998)

Pinky & The Brain were fine by themselves, but some jabroni at Warner Bros. decided to shake things up by giving them a human foil who proved to be even more clueless than Pinky (Rob Paulsen), if that was even possible.

That would be Elmyra Duff (Cree Summer), formerly of Tiny Toon Adventures, who one day went into a pet shop to buy a turtle, and ended up with more than she bargained for. Combine her IQ with that of Pinky, and, suffice to say, it ain't much. Brain (Maurice LaMarche doing a Orson Welles mimic), who's had to suffer with Pinky's mental shortcomings to begin with, now must deal with Elmyra's suffocating presence.

Pinky, Elmyra, & The Brain, however, proved to be the last straw for Amblin Entertainment's collaboration with WB. Viewers voted with their remotes, and after six weeks, the series was cancelled. The remaining seven were divided up and mixed into an anthology series combining other WB cartoons.

Here's the intro:

It turns out that Elmyra's red hair is actually a wig, suggesting a connection to Elmer Fudd, as if her first name and facial features weren't enough. Her personality, though, reminds me of a minor character in "Snoopy Come Home" who claimed possession of Snoopy for a time, and was just suffocating.

No rating.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

From Comics to Toons: The origin of Iceman (Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, 1982)

We've previously covered the origins of Spider-Man (twice) and Firestar. This time, we're going back to season 2 of Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends, which kicks off with the origin of Bobby Drake, aka Iceman (Frank Welker). The audio is a wee bit ahead of the video, as often happens sometimes in uploading videos, it seems.

Friends, I have an ulterior motive for posting this particular episode. In case you didn't read the news online earlier today, the idiots at Marvel have green-lighted writer Brian Michael Bendis' latest twist in X-Men history, taking effect with issue 40 of the current series, out tomorrow. You see, what Mr. Bendis, an acclaimed writer, but not quite so acclaimed when it comes to television, has decided to do is ret-con Mr. Drake into a gay man, becoming the 3rd (at least) pre-established Marvel character in the last decade, after the Rawhide Kid and Northstar, to be rebooted as gay.

Why take this step? For the sake of a cheap headline on a slow news day. Under publisher Dan Buckley, Marvel has made way too many of these moves, aimed at mainstream cross-promotion, but at the same time, it devalues characters who've been around since the 60's (Rawhide Kid and Iceman) or late 70's (Northstar). To my knowledge, Marvel hasn't developed a totally original gay superhero, though DC has in recent times, and instead will randomly choose pre-established characters and trot them out to the press, and, in particular, the gay & lesbian community, which comics publishers feel is still an under-served portion of their audience.

As noted, DC created a totally new gay superhero for a recent reboot of Teen Titans, but they've also rebooted pre-established characters, same as Marvel. Archie introduced their first gay character, Kevin Keller, as a positive role model (Is there any other kind of role model in Riverdale, anyway?), about 3-4 years ago, but his series was quietly cancelled recently, although he'll probably figure in the Archie reboot that begins in June. The shock value wore off a long time ago. I don't read the X-Men books anymore, haven't in years, and according to the articles I've read, they're using the time travel gimmick currently in those books as an excuse to reboot Iceman as gay. A poor excuse at that.

"The Origin of Iceman" gets a B.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Toons After Dark: The Great Cartoon Massacre (Robot Chicken, 2013?)

I ran across this next item when I scoped out Twin Factor the other week. Another instant classic from Robot Chicken.

Inspired by Steven Spielberg's 2005 film, "Munich", Seth Green and friends imagine the 1972 Olympic massacre in Munich with characters from Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics. It's going to get graphic, gory, and ugly in a hurry. For what it's worth, Frank Welker was not called upon to reprise as Scooby-Doo or Dynomutt. In fact, Green takes his turn as Scooby, though Matt Lilliard reprises as Shaggy.

Here's "Laff-a-Munich":

The sketch title is also a play on the phrase, "laugh a minute".

Rating: A-.

Rare Treats: Mission: Magic (the complete song) (1973)

A long time ago, we reviewed Rick Springfield's 1973 series for Filmation & ABC, Mission: Magic. Now, you know that Rick also recorded the show's theme song. Not just the usual minute-or-less ditty you usually get on a Saturday morning show. In this case, that was an edited version of the actual song, which I think Rick also wrote and released on an album coinciding with the series' debut.

Until today, I'd never run across the complete version of that song, but here it is. Unfortunately, there's only a photo of the album cover. No series footage.