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Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Archive for the tag “Old Horseman”

Horror Hall Of Fame

‘Tis the Season… Hallowe’en, that is! The coolest guy in Spooksville — Vincent Price — is joined by fellow horror movie stars, including Frank Gorshin, John Astin and John Carradine, in a good-natured reflection on the genre. From 1974. More from the Old Horseman.




Devils, Witch And Reaper

Hey kids (of all ages), it’s Saturday Morning Cartoon time again! Hallowe’en style, even!

This week’s combo starts with a legendary cartoon cutie and her questionable choice of attire going to explore the depths of Hell in a pre-code short. Then Witch Hazel’s first appearance ends with Bugs ticking off the PC crowd sufficiently to be censored on TV for a while. Finally, something a bit more modern as we see what happens when the Grim Reaper gets bored and kinda’ accomplishes the opposite of his job. More from the Old Horseman.




 

Hallowe’en Pink

Hey kids (of all ages), it’s Saturday Morning Cartoon time again! Hallowe’en style, even!

Can the coolest cat in ‘toondom keep it together when faced with vampires, witches, ghosts, and ghouls? Check out this trio of Pink Panther shorts to see for yourself! More from the OldHorseman.




Bigfoot, Ice Demon And Makeup

Hey kids (of all ages), it’s Saturday Morning Cartoon time again!

After getting Filmation Studios off the ground with TV cartoons in the ’60s, the DC superheroes (mostly) transitioned to Hanna-Barbera for the Super Friends dynasty of the ’70s and ’80s. We’ve covered SUPER FRIENDS, The ALL-NEW SUPER FRIENDS HOUR, CHALLENGE OF THE SUPER FRIENDS, and The WORLD’S GREATEST SUPERFRIENDS. Now we start a new decade with simply SUPERFRIENDS.

The format was three new short cartoons per show, coupled with material recycled from previous incarnations of the franchise to fill-out an hour.

The competence level of our long-john clad protagonists is pretty embarrassing in this era. Worst of all the teenage Wonder Twins. Seriously? Attacked by a giant Ice Creature and you “Shape Of” a tiny woodpecker and “Form Of” a monkey-sized jackhammer to mildly annoy the murderous monster?! Why not a fire-breathing dragon and a cloud of superheated steam to end that sucker?!?! From September 1980. More from the OldHorseman.




 

The Power Pirate

Hey kids (of all ages), it’s Saturday Morning Cartoon time again!

Filmation studios got its start making TV cartoons featuring DC comic book superheroes, as covered here last week. But it was the ’60s, and the damned hippies were winning the Culture War, so the face-punching, hero vs villain cartoons were being pushed off TV. Filmation would continue to thrive with ARCHIE, SABRINA, FAT ALBERT, STAR TREK and other licensed characters. (Previously featured on this channel.) But it was Hanna-Barbera who would pick-up the JUSTICE LEAGUE license and run with it.

Their secret? Cut the superhero element to roughly half-strength by pouring in a big dose of SCOOBY-DOO, including Meddling Kids and semi-anthropomorphic dog.

Many call Shaggy, Velma, and Scoo… er… I mean Marvin, Wendy, and Wonder Dog “useless”, since they lack superpowers, tech, or special skills. But they’re the ones who tended to solve the cases, while the spandex grownups were running around reacting to events. Often, they stop the (not particularly villainous) antagonists by explaining the error of their ways.

A common complaint about superhero teams is that top heroes have to be “nerfed”… When you have a godlike being like Superman, who routinely saves the world in solo adventures, why would he need a team? They hadn’t quite figured out how to nerf the characters effectively in this first episode, though. We’re repeatedly reminded that the Batmobile is about the slowest means of transport on the show. And with ersatz Mystery Inc. solving the cases, Bats comes off even more useless than Aquaman… Who, for his part, gets caught by giant sea anemone as soon as he tries to swim in the ocean. (Dammit, Arthur! You had one job!!!)

From September 1973. The first episode of the first iteration of SUPER FRIENDS. More from the OldHorseman.




SuperFriends: Fire

Hey kids (of all ages). It’s Saturday Morning Cartoon time again!

Last week we had an episode of JANA OF THE JUNGLE. I noticed it got a down-vote almost immediately. I’m guessing because the crummy VHS transfer didn’t live up to the thumbnail. To make it up to y’all, this week we’ll do a similar character as she’s featured in a more popular show (of which I can find decent prints).

Hanna-Barbera usually prefers characters they own outright. So it’s no surprise that they used a near-copy of RIMA, a jungle babe who had previously been animated. The odd thing is that Rima herself had been animated by HB the year before. But that was part of the SUPER FRIENDS, one of HB’s few major licensed properties. This version of Rima basically came along with the rest of the JUSTICE LEAGUE characters from DC. This episode is the first of her several appearances in the franchise.

Of course, Rima wasn’t created by DC comics. She actually predates TARZAN (but not MOWGLI) in literature. She only got one movie though, probably because the 1959 Audrey Hepburn vehicle flopped. DC put her into her own comic book in the ’70s, and that’s the version adapted here.

This the second incarnation of the Super Friends, which catered to ever-shortening attention spans by breaking the hour-long show into multiple, brief stories and filler segments. This one includes Doctor Fright / Drag Race / Plant Creatures / Fire.

I kinda’ feel like the popular meme image of Batman slapping the hell out of Robin applies. Seriously, Dick! Sit this one out and let ol’ Bruce ‘adventure’ with the hot, half-naked blond without you along as a third wheel! Also, just how damned fast IS the Super Friends Batmobile? That sucker seems to be able to get across the continent in no-time.

From October 1977. More from the OldHorseman.




 

The Cordillera Volcano

Hey kids (of all ages), it’s Saturday Morning Cartoon time again!

Filmation (the “We’re #2, so we try harder!” studio for classic TV animation) did mostly licensed properties, including TARZAN in 1976. (Which I covered a good while back.) Hanna-Barbera, the leading cartoon outfit, usually preferred to avoid licensing fees by going with ‘original’ characters. AKA: Knock-offs.

Possibly in response to the aforementioned Tarzan series, HB gave us JANA OF THE JUNGLE. Of course, half-naked white gals running around having adventures in jungles was a trope going back many decades in prose, comics, and film before this one was created to fill-out the GODZILLA POWER HOUR.

Jana’s show bore considerable resemblance to Tarzan’s. From the opening narration to the use of rotoscoping to give her more realistic movement. (Common practice by Filmation, but a rarity in HB productions.) One difference was placing Jana in a South American jungle, as opposed to Tarzan’s Africa. Natives were somewhat conspicuous by their absence in the Ape-Man’s stories, likely because there was no way to get away with depicting primitive black folks that wouldn’t be offensive in the ’70s. But you could still put spear-chucking Indians in loin cloths and feathers on the Jungle Girl’s program.

Jana’s big native fellow-traveler was voiced by Ted Cassidy (Lurch from the live-action and first animated ADDAMS FAMILY, as well as various voice roles including the HB Godzilla), who also guest-starred in the episode of Tarzan I uploaded. More from the OldHorseman.




 

Bungle In The Jungle

Hey kids (of all ages), it’s Saturday Morning Cartoon time again!

A couple weeks ago we covered SNUFFY SMITH, and a fortnight earlier we hit BEETLE BAILY. These two were part of King Features Syndicate’s follow-up to their successful batch of made-for-television POPEYE shorts, created to capitalize on the popularity the Sailor Man had enjoyed with the release of his earlier Paramount theatrical pictures to TV. Now we see KRAZY KAT, the third wheel of the “King Features Trilogy”, and it’s an odd one for a couple reasons…

First, Snuffy and Beetle were current funny papers strips in the ’60s. (And still are today, for that matter!) The KK strip ended almost two decades before these cartoons were produced. Kids had no clue who these characters were.

Second, KK was just odd by nature. The cat was non-binary gendered way before it was trendy. Mostly treated as female here, it was way more ambiguous in the source material… Instead of chasing and trying to exterminate the mouse (Ignatz), the cat is in love with the rodent, and takes his constant attempts to murder her with a brick to the braincase as some kind of S&M show of affection. Meanwhile, the bulldog, rather than menacing the cat like a normal canine, is in love with KK, and acts as a cop to protect her from the mouse!

This weirdness predates the start of the KK newspaper strip in 1913, as the Krazy and Ignatz were spun-off from the earlier DINGBAT FAMILY strip, where they were originally a fringe element. Never a huge hit, their series managed to stand-out with its avant-garde content and format. Maybe that’s why KFS decided it was suitable for TV in the Beatnik-Early Hippie era.

KK’s history in animation goes back the to the primordial silents in 1916. These early works reflected the general weirdness of the comic strip. But, in the 20s, animated KK devolved into a knock-off of FELIX THE CAT, who was the first really big animated cartoon series star. Despite transitioning to talkies, these ‘toons petered-out at the end of the ’30s.

Aside from a few tribute cameos, this series was the last new KK material created to-date. From 1963. More from The OldHorseman.




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