Sunday, September 21, 2014

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Isis uncovers the Lights of Mystery Mountain (1975)

With its 40th anniversary a year away, I thought we'd take another look at Filmation's Secrets of Isis.

This time around, Isis (Joanna Cameron) intercedes when two teenage boys get caught up in a con man's scheme involving fake UFO's and gold. If you pay close attention's Cameron's voice, both as Isis and her mortal alter-ego, Andrea Thomas, is similar to that of Yvonne Craig (Batgirl from Batman), which gets me thinking. Cameron didn't land another series gig after this show ended in 1978, but what if they'd tried a Batgirl pilot around that time, in the wake of the success of Wonder Woman? She'd have been perfect!

Marc Richards is credited with "developing" the series, and also created Ghost Busters for Filmation that same season. At least this was able to linger around for 3 years.

Rating: A.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tooniversary: The 1st episode of Here Comes the Grump (1969)

DePatie-Freleng's Here Comes The Grump turns 45 this month, and here, we have the first installement, "The Bloonywoonie Battle", in which Princess Dawn & Terry, and eventually, the Grump himself (Rip Taylor) encounter a race of sentient balloons. The scene where Grump falls off his dragon was lifted from one of Friz Freleng's Looney Tunes shorts with Bugs Bunny & Yosemite Sam, with Sam in the Grump's role, riding a dragon.

And you wonder why DFE eventually landed a license to adapt Dr. Seuss' works......!

Rating: B.

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Super President vs. the Monster of the Atoll (1968)

Dandydeal delivers another Super President adventure.

This time, James Norcross (Paul Frees) travels to a "flyspeck of an island" in the Pacific to battle "The Monster of the Atoll", controlled by a tribal priest (Shep Menken), who seeks to maintain his spiritual hold over the tribal chief (Frees) and the villagers. Naturally, Jerry Sales (Menken) is captured, forcing Super President to offer himself up for sacrifice to force the duplicitous witch doctor's scheme into the open.

The only rational explanation for Norcross gaining his powers in a cosmic storm, as Frees explains in the show open (not shown in this video), would be that Norcross was an astronaut before running for President. Now, don't ya think they could've addressed that back then, just to square things?

Rating: C.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Toon Legends: Pink Lightning (1978)

The Pink Panther encounters Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde---sort of---in this 1978 offering that doubtlessly ended up airing on his ABC show. Hyde (Bob Holt, methinks) decides to put his formula into his car, but Jekyll trades it in, and the Panther buys the Hydemobile for mere chump change. Of course, trouble follows.

Rating: B.

You Know the Voice: You didn't know Columbo had a twin, did you? Neither did I! (1974)

Several months back, I'd posted an excerpt from this episode of the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, saluting Kojak star Telly Savalas. However, the poster of that particular video took it down, and I've been dying for it to return, and wouldn't ya know, this time, I've got the whole enchilada.

The point of all this is a guest appearance by Casey Kasem, masquerading as an alleged "#1 fan" of Savalas, but dressed as another famed TV sleuth, Columbo (Peter Falk). Considering that a year earlier, Casey had done a Peter Lorre mimic for an episode of Super Friends, the only thing missing was trying to copy Falk's vocals. He had the rumpled trenchcoat, he was stooped over a tad, but otherwise, a classic comedy bit.

Part of Casey's cameo was revisited a few years later when Casey was interviewed by Jack Perkins for an NBC News magazine show. The dais is filled with fellow sleuths Richard Roundtree (Shaft), Peter Graves (Mission: Impossible), and Ernest Borgnine, who'd play a cop 2 years later on Future Cop, long before landing a primo guest gig on SpongeBob SquarePants. Dino4ever also has Casey's other appearance, in the roast of Don Rickles, and we'll try to get that up soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rein-Toon-Ation: The Jetsons, a la John Kricfalusi (2002)

After flopping with The Ripping Friends on 2 networks, including [adult swim], John Kricfalusi produced a series of shorts for [as], featuring The Jetsons, as well as Yogi Bear. Considering Kricfalusi's own warped imagination, well, this was bound to be a disaster, and it was.

Kricfalusi and his Spumco crew made George Jetson (Jeff Bergman, impersonating George O'Hanlon) and family far more dysfunctional than had been thought possible. This is not a good thing, especially considering it was the disrespectful dullards at [adult swim] who commissioned crap like "The Best Son":

Geez, you'd think the least they'd do is give Jane a pair of shoes. How many pairs of grey hose has she worn out over the course of 50+ years?

Rating: D--.

Saturtainment: Soul Unlimited (1973)

We've previously documented that there was a period in the 70's when American Bandstand was blacked out in my home district. The ABC affiliate at the time (now an NBC affiliate) opted for syndicated sports programming or other fare as a means of getting some extra local ad revenue.

What that meant in 1973, though, was that another Dick Clark entry would never be seen in upstate New York. Soul Unlimited was designed by Clark as his answer to Soul Train, which Don Cornelius took national two years earlier (the Train started as a regional show out of Chicago), perhaps feeling the ratings pinch in certain areas where the two iconic series would air head-to-head. Soul Unlimited would air on alternate weeks to give Clark a little time off the air, since he was also hosting The $10,000 Pyramid at the time.

Buster Jones was tapped as MC for the short-lived series, and because Soul Unlimited didn't air in my area, and perhaps several others, most of us would only become acquainted with Jones' voice 4 years later, as he signed on with Hanna-Barbera. His voice-over resume includes Super Friends (as Black Vulcan), Super Globetrotters, and, in the 80's, for Marvel-Hearst, Defenders of the Earth, and DIC's Real Ghostbusters.

Thus, the following clip is dedicated in Jones' memory, as he passed away recently at 71. Many thanks to fellow blogger Marc Tyler Nobleman for the tip. Marc has a short piece up at Noblemania.

Here's Buster, with the Sylvers.

Rest in peace, Buster. No rating for Soul Unlimited.