Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

Archive for the tag “Saturday morning cartoons”

Mad Monster Party?

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

Why should Christmas get all the Rankin/Bass Animagic? Here’s their nod to classic horror characters — Mad Monster Party?, released in 1967. Voices include the real Boris Karloff, Phyllis Diller, and Allen Swift’s impressions of a dozen others. Jules Bass, who directed, went on to great fortunes, co-directing The Last Unicorn in 1982. More from the OldHorseman.




 

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.




 

Mr. Magoo’s Dr. Frankenstein

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

The comically nearsighted yet impossibly lucky Mr. Magoo started off at the end of the ’40s in UPA / Columbia theatrical cartoon shorts. He made an early transition to television with the MISTER MAGOO show at the start of the ’60s… In 1962 he starred in the first major animated TV Christmas special, serving as pathfinder for The Grinch, Charlie Brown, Rudolph, Frosty and the rest!

MISTER MAGOO’S CHRISTMAS CAROL depicted Magoo as a surprisingly competent stage actor starring in a production based on the Dickens’ classic tale. The actual play was presented straight, with Magoo’s trademark half-blind misadventures being mostly limited to the backstage segments. This convention was carried-over onto Magoo’s mid ’60s series, the FAMOUS ADVENTURES OF MR. MAGOO. There, he portrayed various characters from literature, fairy tales and popular fiction in straight adaptations.

For this season, I’ve selected his version of FRANKENSTEIN. A rather unique interpretation of the story, which combines elements from the original novel with the later movies. From 1965. More from the OldHorseman.




 

Witches And Squash Demons

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

We’ll start off the month with energetic, broom-flyin’, cackling sorceresses in shorts from WB and MGM. Then, as a bonus, we get a look at the horrific results of Linus’ relentless devotion to the Great Pumpkin.

The commentary audio on the Count Bloodcount cartoon was a goof on my part. But I left it in because I can’t be the only nerd who likes to listen to those tracks now and then. More from the OldHorseman.




Big Mouse/Magnet Man

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

Giving the SUPER FRIENDS a break, it seems we’ve already covered the shows that ran against the WORLD’S GREATEST- incarnation of the series. Let’s look at what followed it then…

PLASTIC MAN was a superhero introduced by Quality Comic in 1941, later assimilated into DC Comics. He actually made a brief appearance in the first HB Super Friends incarnation (the Wendy, Marvin, Wonderdog version) as a sort of reserve JLA member. Half a dozen years later, he became the central figure in a two-hour cartoon block produced not by HB, but their proteges at Ruby-Spears.

Among the most obscure (and lame) components of this mega-block was MIGHTY MAN AND YUKK. I half-suspect they wanted to make a new MIGHTY MOUSE series, only to find out CBS already was. So they made their diminutive protagonist human.

We get a bit of a BLUE FALCON / DYNOMUTT vibe going, as Mighty Man is “assisted” by a bumbling, semi-anthropomorphic dog called Yukk. Rather than an assortment of malfunctioning bionics, Yukk’s superpower is being so catastrophically ugly that his face can drive people to insanity and shatter inanimate objects. Thus he is obliged to wear a miniature dog house like a cowl most of the time.

This one was mercifully forgotten when Plas’ show got trimmed-down the following year and Ruby-Spears moved-on to better fare including THUNDARR THE BARBARIAN. From Sept. 1979. 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.




Force Phantom

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

Last week, we wandered into the realm of Hanna-Barbera’s SUPER FRIENDS. The various series in that franchise were a bit of a departure for HB, featuring characters owned by DC Comics. The studio’s closest competition in TV cartoons, Filmation, was more into licensed properties. In fact, they had pretty much made their start doing DC superheroes themselves.

Filmation’s 1960s DC superhero cartoons featured the JUSTICE LEAGUE, TEEN TITANS, with all their members, villains, and associated characters. They were produced in association with DC editorial, so they closely resembled the comic books. This would ultimately be the downfall of the shows, as the rock ’em, sock ’em action was decried by killjoy busybodies who were already wrecking TV in the late ’60s. (This is why the ’70s Super Friends series are so laughably neutered that actual super-villains weren’t even included in the first few iterations.)

As one might expect, Filmation’s DC superhero ‘toons started at the top, with SUPERMAN himself. Here seen in his first made-for-TV short from 1966. More from the OldHorseman.




 

Birth Of A New Hero

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

Last week’s Saturday upload was 1978’s FREEDOM FORCE, a short-lived Filmation superhero ‘toon that included Super Samurai, whom I described as a “less sci-fi version of Ultraman”.

Now, the name Ultraman has been used in DC comic books for various alternate universe, bad guy counterparts to Superman. It was also used in self-reference by a teenager with superpowers in the late ’80s sitcom MY SECRET IDENTITY. But I wasn’t writing about those guys…

You see, back in the ’60s and early ’70s, Japan sent us a show featuring a giant super-dude doing battle with leftovers from Godzilla’s movies. ULTRAMAN was a live-action program, done with the titular hero in a silver and red wetsuit judo-fighting rubber-suit monsters in the midst of miniature buildings while the Science Patrol flew around in toy planes on strings with small pyrotechnics in them… We freakin’ loved it!!!

Nippn Sunrise, now known as Sunrise, handled the animation. Ultraman spawned a whole franchise of follow-ups, including cartoons! Today we have a classic bit of Japanimation (from before everyone got uppity and rechristened it ‘anime’) introducing a new incarnation in 2D. From 1979. More from the OldHorseman.




Post Navigation