Thursday, January 29, 2015

It Should've Been on a Saturday: Animorphs (1998)

Scholastic Books, the folks behind R. L. Stine's family of youth horror books, saw the success Fox had adapting Goosebumps for television, and sought to find another series that was ready for television.

The company and its television arm partnered with YTV in Canada and Nickelodeon in the US to produce Animorphs, based on the book series of the same name. The TV version began in 1998, but lasted just 2 seasons (26 episodes).

The plot deals with a random group of teens recruited to fight off an alien invasion, granted the ability to morph into various animals and insects. Series star Shawn Ashmore later landed a primo gig in the "X-Men" movie series, and is the only cast member who'd actually become a success coming out of Animorphs.

So far, Scholastic has resisted the urge to license the now-defunct series into comics. Had they done so, and, say, DC picked up the license, I get the feeling the Animorphs would get a visit from a couple of DC heroes already accomplished in animal morphing......!

Anyway, the mistake Nick made was putting Animorphs in primetime, rather than on Saturday mornings, where it would've garnered a bigger audience. Problem was, Nick suits were obsessed with running blocks of certain "hot" cartoons of the period and left themselves no room to fit this series into their Saturday morning block. Their loss.

Scope out the series opener:

No rating.

From Comics to Toons: Casper in The Witching Hour (1963) & Deep Boo Sea (1952)

Here's a pair of Casper shorts, just to prove that the Friendly Ghost is a spirit for all seasons.

First up is "Deep Boo Sea", from 1952. Casper doesn't want to scare, and so he gets a much bigger dunce cap, strengthening his resolve to make mortal friends. After that, in "The Witching Hour", Casper helps his BFF, Wendy, when an evil witch casts a spell on her house.

"Witching Hour" comes from the 1963 New Casper Cartoon Show, and, as such, has more of the familiar Harvey Comics look comics readers were familiar with.

No rating.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

From Comics to Toons: Captain America catches up with an old flame (1966)

Well before Marvel Studios launched the current Agent Carter primetime series, Peggy Carter made her television debut in a 3-part Captain America cartoon, lifted directly from the comics pages themselves, as part of the Marvel Superheroes Show.

Scope out "The Girl From Cap's Past", in its entirety:

No rating. I have no memory of seeing this one.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Saturtainment: Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension (1998)

First, Fox picked up Eerie, Indiana off the scrap heap, and put it on Saturday mornings. Enough people must've liked it enough that Fox ordered a sequel.......which bombed.

Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension was a mid-season replacement series that launched in February 1998, but only 13 episodes were produced. Omri Katz, who starred in the original Eerie, returned only for the opener, to pass the torch to the new stars. Hulu provides us with the series opener.

No rating.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Tooniversary: Secret Squirrel in England (Scotland Yard Caper, 1965)

Secret Squirrel marks his 50th anniversary this year, so let's take a time-trip with Secret (Mel Blanc) & Morocco Mole (Paul Frees, who also narrates), as they travel overseas in "The Scotland Yard Caper":

Jolly good, wot?

Rating: B.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Toon Sports: Kim Possible steps into the ring (2002)

A pro wrestling grudge match becomes a secondary attraction when a disgruntled non-combatant mutates into a monster to inject himself into the mix, forcing Kim Possible to try to stop him. Real-life pro wrestlers Bill Goldberg and Andrew Martin guest star in "Pain King vs. Cleopatra":

Should we be at all surprised that Ron Stoppable (Will Friedle) was a wrestling fan? Hmmmm, well, of course not.

Rating: B+.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Rare Treats: (They Long To Be) Close To You (1970)

"(They Long To Be) Close To You" is more closely associated with the Carpenters, who scored a mammoth hit with it. However, believe it or else, it turned up as an album track on the lone album of Josie & the Pussycats, produced by Danny Janssen's La-La Productions for Capitol in 1970. I'm not entirely sure if it's Patrice Holloway (singing voice for Valerie) or Cherie Moor (Cheryl Ladd, Melody's singing voice) doing the honors here, but give a listen.

8 years later, while on Charlie's Angels, Cheryl Ladd went back into the studio and cut her first solo record. Considering her country music roots, I'd say she might've gone for the crossover audience, but we'll never know, as other than the obligatory special, not much came out of it. Holloway was the only other one who went solo, both before and after being a part of the band.