Saturday, February 13, 2016

Toons After Dark: Gary The Rat (2000)

Yes, the date is correct.

Gary The Rat began as an online series three years before it was picked up by Spike TV. In other words, series star and producer Kelsey Grammer began work on the series while still starring on NBC's Frasier and occasionally turning up on The Simpsons. Spike picked up the series in June 2003, and even though it was the best of the short-lived Thursday night animation block, Gary The Rat lasted just 1 season.

Knowing what we know now, it seems that the nimrods at [adult swim] had seen Gary online, and decided to rip it off, turning a 60's superhero into Harvey Birdman, Attorney-at-Law, which bowed a year or two after Gary. Spike then took a chance, hoping to siphon off some of [as]' audience. It didn't work.

Here's the initial installment, "Manrattan". As I understand, the 9 minute video represents the complete episode, even though it says "Part 1" on the title card.

Not even sure if this is available on DVD at present. It was fun while it lasted. Too bad [as] didn't learn from their fundamental mistake.

Rating: A-.

Toonformercial: A message from the cast of B. C. (1973)

The Ad Council struck a deal with Johnny Hart, the creator of the long running comic strip, B. C., to have the characters appear in an ad that blanketed a number of non-profit groups. The vocals are actually by the Four Freshmen and an unnamed female vocalist.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentoons: Bride & Gloom (1954)

More than 40 years before it was done in a comic book, Popeye ties the knot with Olive Oyl----but it's only a dream, isn't it? Here's "Bride & Gloom":

In the late 90's, noted comics and sci-fi author Peter David wrote a 1-shot that had Popeye & Olive getting married for real. However, it must not have sold so well, since there was no followup.

"Bride & Gloom" gets a B.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentoons: A Valentine From The Heart (For Better or Worse, 1993)

Lynn Johnston's seminal comic strip, For Better or Worse, was popular enough to merit a series of animated specials, all produced in Canada, and aired on cable here in the US, during the 90's.

Lacewood Productions, best known for producing, with Universal, Savage Dragon and the second season of Problem Child, both for USA Network, produced six of those specials, which aired here in the States on Disney Channel, back when it was a premium channel (an earlier special, produced by another Canadian studio, aired on HBO and Disney here before Lacewood took over the license).

For that reason only, there will be no rating for our Valentoon du jour, "A Valentine From The Heart":

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Tonto vs. Queen Bee (The Lone Ranger, 1966)

From The Lone Ranger's 1966 series comes another Tonto solo adventure.

Tonto (Shep Menken) rides to the rescue when a village is pillaged by Queen Bee (guest star Agnes Moorehead, Bewitched), a rogue Native American, who, unfortunately, was a 1-shot villain.

Here's "Reign of the Queen Bee":

What would it take to get this series on DVD, I wonder.

Rating: B.

From Comics to Toons: Josie & the Pussycats meet Master Mind (1970)

In the episode, "Never Mind a Master Mind", Josie & the Pussycats are in the Netherlands on tour, and dimwitted Melody (Jackie Joseph) wears a pair of bricks under her shoes. She trades the bricks in for a pair of wooden shoes. But, just to show that this was a case of CBS having a little fun with their primetime lineup, this turns into a send-up of Mission: Impossible, as the gang now must battle the faceless Master Mind.

Come to think of it, the entire season was a Mission parody.

Rating: B.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Toons You Might've Missed: Chip 'n' Dale as The Lone Chipmunks (1954)

More than 30 years before they founded the Rescue Rangers, Chip 'n' Dale were sent off to the Old West in "The Lone Chipmunks", a parody of a certain Western hero of the day.

Black Pete may rue the day he decided to stash his loot in Chip 'n' Dale's tree.........

Not sure if this made it to air on any incarnation of The Mickey Mouse Club, but this would give the kiddo's plenty of thrills.

Rating: A.