Thursday, March 27, 2014

Discuss: Favorite Cartoons That Might Seem Obscure Now


Humanbelly said...

Boy, I was so immersed in cartoons from my preschool years through early high-school that I kind of have trouble distinguishing what's considered obscure--! And it does seem that in the last decade or so even a lot of minor, 3rd-tier cartoons have been "rediscovered" in an effort to mine any remaining nostalgia dollars out of them. But let's see. . .

REALLY early was TOM TERRIFIC & MIGHTY MANFRED THE WONDER-DOG on Captain Kangaroo. . . with irrepressible villan, Crabby Appleton (heh-- love that name!). That was the Captain's go-to cartoon break for the seeming eternity of at least a couple of years. I'm pretty sure Tom T was preceeded in that capacity by Larriat Sam-- but I really only recall the name, and not the cartoon itself. I was born at the tail-end of 1960, so I may be pulling memories of television-watching as a 3 or 4 year old, mind you.

Loved the Beatles cartoon as a kid-- recently discovered how truly, unforgivably bad (cheap, slap-dash) it really was.

For about a year as little kid I had recurring dreams that I was actually part of the Underdog cartoon.

The "alive" mouths on the Clutch Cargo-style cartoons gave me horrible nightmares.

Josie & the Pussycats & J&tP in Outer Space were about 10 times funnier and better written than I think they got credit for-- but my buddies and I didn't watch them because they were "girl" cartoons. Plus, Pat Benatar! Wow- who knew?

Probably like most folks, though, the ones I (we?) loved most were the ones that really did capture all of our imaginations and interest: All of the Warner Brothers shorts, Scooby-Doo, Flintsones, Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Herculoids, Wacky Races (& related Hanna-Barbera's), HRPufnstuff, Land of the Lost, Rocky&Bullwinkle, Superman, etc, etc.

One, though, that I think may have been better than we remember was a short-lived, rather expressionistic Lone Ranger cartoon that got relegated to the lunchtime death-slot. Quite artistically cool, IIRC.


Anonymous said...

Deputy Dawg, Top Cat (renamed Boss Cat for us Brits), Pixie and Dixie, The Hair Bear Bunch, Wait Till Your Father Gets Home.....

david_b said...

HB brings up some great ones... When you say 'obscure', I'm assuming to our generation.

(Ask any of the younger generation today about any cartoons before 1980 and they've never heard of 'em...)

One '90s cartoon I never can get anyone to remember (or admit to..) was the splendid 'Duckman', with Jason Alexander as the lead voice.. Just a great steaming, sarcastic, frantic cartoon. LOVED all the zippy, occasionally disgusting one-liners. Fun characters.

With HB's mention of nightmares, I will confess that the early Anderson supermarionation cartoons gave me nightmares, it was just those stares and how they moved (kinda like the Twilight Zone episodes when the ventriloquist dummies would suddenly come alive..). It's ironic that their later 'Space:1999' would become my all-time favorite show.

HB's right on the Beatles cartoon ~ For as much as diehards kept pushing for their release with cleaned up prints/improved audio, etc, etc.., you really don't get much as a result. They were pretty bad. I heard one comment that the Fabs couldn't stand those cartoons when they were still a band, but I've read interviews where George (and I believe Paul..) would watch them in the '80s and laugh their heads off...

Colin, that 'Wait Till Your Father Gets Home' was a good, later attempt at covering Flinstone ground, I know there was a football cartoon with essentially the same characters.

Another common theme was putting pre-existing shows in space in the '70s.. 'Gilligan's Planet' was interesting, in that they had most of the original cast doing the actual voices.

'Partridge Family 2200 AD', anyone..?

Anonymous said...

Just last night I was reading the X-Men Days of Future Past issues in anticipation of the movie and was reminded of the ads the 3 major networks would run in the Fall featuring that year's Saturday morning line-up. Related to your comment David was an ad for Happy Days (yep, Fonz, Richie, etc.) in Space. Can't say I remember that one at all.

And I must guys have some good memories. Humanbelly, I used to love Tom Terrific & Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog. I can't say I remember much about that show but I do remember that intro/tag line. But I could never have come up with Crabby Appleton. Ha ha. Thanks!


Edo Bosnar said...

First one I thought of was Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, but Colin (and David) beat me to that one.
One other really obscure one (it was a one-off feature) that I recall enjoying is Carlton Your Doorman. Here's the Wikipedia entry.

Otherwise, I like a lot of those Warner Bros. features that don't star Bugs, Daffy, Porky and the other regulars, and are probably more obscure now: the ones with those two dogs who always wander into some place (like a zoo) and get into all kinds of trouble, or the one with those two gophers with very proper English accents who go to the cannery to reclaim "their" vegetables.

Tom, I remember watching a few episodes of the Happy Days cartoon - as I recall, it involved time travel rather than space. And it really wasn't that good.

And Colin, good call on Top Cat. My favorite line from that show is when that cop tells Top Cat and his buddies to get jobs, to which Top Cat responds, "Well, we would, officer, but we don't want to contribute to the wage-price spiral." Brilliant.

mr. oyola said...


A fairly recent issue of FF (Future Foundation, not Fantastic Four) made a reference to this and I just about bust a gut.

Also, people tend to forget the Spider-Woman cartoon existed.

Anonymous said...

I remember Tom Terrific and Lariat Sam from Captain Kangaroo. That is, I remember the fact that they existed, and I vaguely remember the opening sequences, but not the plots themselves.

Clutch Cargo kind of gave me the creeps. There was another show, with the same kind of "animation" (still pictures, live-action mouths) called Space Angel.

There was a (pretty lousy) series called Rocket Robin Hood, another example of putting a pre-existing concept in a science fiction setting. I think it was produced by the same company that did the 1960's Marvel cartoons (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Sub-Mariner, and the Hulk).

"Wait Till Your Father Gets Home" was probably influenced somewhat by All in the Family. The father (voice of Tom Bosley?) was not a bigot, but the next-door neighbor (Jack Burns?) was a right-wing paranoid.

The Barkleys was sort of the Honeymooners with anthropomorphic dogs.

And that football show sounds like "Where's Huddles?" It was a Hanna-Barbera series in the late 1960's, and was basically a contemporary version of the Flintstones. The Fred & Barney-type characters were pro football players. One of the wives was a stereotypical dumb blond, and may have been played by Carol Wayne. Paul Lynde played the stuffy neighbor. IIRC, it was a summer replacement series, and ran for less than three months.

The live-action anthology sitcom show "Love, American Style" once had an animated cartoon episode, "Melvin Danger," with Richard Dawson as a bumbling detective. It was probably a pilot fora spin-off, but, afaik, it never became a series.

Anonymous said...

Edo, you are right, I stand corrected - Happy Days was about time travel. Lordy, lordy...can't even remember what I read yesterday. It's hell gettin' old.

But I DO remember Wait Til Your Father Gets Home, Where's Huddles? and the Barkleys. I had a friend that used to walk around singing the Barkleys theme.

"Arnie Barkley...he's the head of the...Barkley house...".


Edo Bosnar said...

Whoa, Osvaldo, until this very moment I had completely forgotten about that Thing cartoon. Probably just deliberately suppressed the memory.
However, I never forgot the Spider-woman cartoon, but since Doug said "favorite cartoons" I didn't mention it. I think my favorite superhero cartoon from around that time (early '80s) is the rather sitcomish Plastic Man.

mr. oyola said...

Yeah, I have not watched or re-watched many TV cartoons since childhood (except for Loony Tunes, which are by no means obscure) - so I could only list the ones I remember liking, whether they were actually good or not. :)

Humanbelly said...

The thing is, Tom, my memory carries an absurd tonnage of this kind of useless stuff. . . but I'll be darned if I can remember what my daughter asked me to pick up at the store later today. . . (Strawberry Jelly? Cream Cheese? Daggone it. . . )

My wife was mildly horrified (as I myself was, to some extent) that a few days ago in the kitchen, with Gilligan's Island on in the background, I was able to play out the scene w/ dialog right along w/ the cast (Koopa-Kai/head-hunter episode. . . "Pooloo See Bagumba!"). I think it's been at least 30 years since I've seen that darned show. . .

Ah, BUT-- to swing the tangent back around to the topic at hand--Bob Denver & Chuck McCann had a brief live-action Saturday morning Kroft show called FAR OUT SPACE NUTS. It was on at the point where I was definitely aging out of the genre', but I caught it a few times inadvertantly, and found it to be surprisingly funny and engaging, in spite of the expected Kroft awfulness. VERY loose performances w/ Denver, McCann and the B,C, & D list guest stars, and that gave it a distinct level of watchability.

Oh, and another live-action one: EARLY iteration of "Monster Squad" with Fred Grandy (Gopher on Love Boat) and the primary Universal-type monsters. I did a couple of shows w/ Fred several years ago (shared a dressing room, in fact), and finally asked him about that artifact. He, of course, didn't have much of a positive take to offer at all-- low budget, dumb scripts, same set used for every location-- only w/ a different slap of paint, but he did really like the guy that played "Bruce Werewolf"-- admired how the actor was committed to the animal physicality, and all that.

Oh again! And that puts me in mind of the FIRST iteration of GHOSTBUSTERS on Saturday mornings, w/ Forrest Tucker & Larry Storch. . . and some guy in a gorilla suit. Again, it was impossibly cheap and bad. . . except the guys (and the gorilla) carried a looseness and professionalism that somehow tended to pull it off.


Edo Bosnar said...

HB, that original live-action Ghostbusters series came up during our discussion of the Ghostbusters movie some time last year.
I loved that show! 'Course, I haven't watched it since it was first aired back in the '70s, so I don't know how it holds up. But I never missed it when I was a kid. And according to Wikipedia, the gorilla (named Tracy) was played by Bob Burns.

William said...

I mostly liked superhero cartoons when I was a kid, like the Super Friends, Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and Plastic Man. But I also really liked shows that featured original heroes created specifically for a show, instead of characters licensed from the comics. Shows like Space Ghost, The Herculoids, and even funny animal heroes like Underdog, Danger Mouse, Atom Ant, Mighty Mouse, and Hong Kong Phooey.

There was a show on when I was a kid called Tarzan (or Batman) and The Super 7. It featured a lot of original superheroes like Super Stretch and Micro Woman, Freedom Force, and Web-Woman. I remember I really liked that show a lot. I especially seem to recall liking Web-Woman. Probably because I was a big Spider-Man fan.

Redartz said...

Following on HB's monster references, there was a cartoon in the early 80's called "Drac Pack". Our Dungeons and Deagons group would take time out to watch this show. The main thing that sticks to my memory from this is the frequent reference to "Bad Toad,, baaaad Toad!"...

J.A. Morris said...

"GHOSTBUSTERS on Saturday mornings, w/ Forrest Tucker & Larry Storch. . . and some guy in a gorilla suit"

That wasn't just some guy in a gorilla suit, that was Bob Burns!

Pat Henry said...

Bucky and Pepito. Racist as hell and scary bad. About as funny as going to the dentist. Gave me the creeps just watching it.

Hercules, with memorable theme song by Johnny Nash. Hercules looked a hell of a lot like Joe Shuster's Superman.

Underdog. Deputy Dog. I liked those Terry Toons.

Gigantor. Astroboy. Speed Racer: not obscure.

Garett said...

Hey anonymous, thanks for bringing up Rocket Robin Hood. I remember liking that one as a kid. It was actually produced in Canada, and looking it up on wikipedia, some interesting trivia: the voice of Friar Tuck was by Paul Kligman, who voiced J. Jonah Jameson on the animated Spider-Man...and the show was directed by Ralph Bakshi. It was carried by a number of stations in the States.

Here's the intro and theme song:
Rocket Robin Hood
And a couple of their vignettes.
Prince John
Friar Tuck

Steve Does Comics said...

I seem to remember a Huckleberry Finn cartoon, where Huck, Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher were chased into caves by Injun Joe and then spent episode after episode roaming the caves and blundering across lost civilisations that were contained inside them.

I also seem to recall an early 1970s cartoon about King Arthur and the knights of the round table.

Anonymous said...

I remember that Huckleberry Finn show from the late 1960's. It combined live action with animation. Ted Cassidy played the villain.

After the Ghostbusters movies were a big hit in the 1980's, Filmation did an animated cartoon version of their 1975 Ghostbusters series with Spencer, Tracy (the gorilla), and Kong. Not to be outdone, Columbia came out with a cartoon series with the characters from the movies, and called it "The REAL Ghostbusters."

Anonymous said...

HB, I think a lot of us carry that absurd tonnage. I routine rattle off dialog from old reruns too (I think I saw that Gilligan headhunter episode too the other day). I'm also guilty of remembering scores and specific plays of sporting events from 30-40 years ago.

My wife constantly jumps my ___ when I do stuff like that but can't remember what she wants for Christmas/birthday/anniversary even after she's STRONGLY hinted about a dozen times.

Hey...what about Tom Slick?


Anonymous said...

@Garrett and anonymous: I was a big fan of Rocket Robin Hood as a kid, but when I tried to watch it years later, all I could think was "What the hell did I ever see in this?" I think it's one of those cartoons (like Mighty Hercules) that you have to be a kid to appreciate.

As far as other obscure stuff...I loved Battle of the Planets, but that's not really obscure I guess; maybe Kidd Video? I had such a crush on Gabrielle Bennett.

Mike W.

Humanbelly said...

Boy, our memories really ARE churning away, aren't they? And now I DO have one that absolutely fits today's premise, 'cause I thought it was a great, hilarious, not-just-for-little-kids show that disappeared right after its first-run, and didn't even make a full round of repeats.
It was a live-action, boy-band/secret agent spoof called THE KIDS FROM C.A.P.E.R. Gleefully absurdist, slightly hip(ster), irreverant, and the in-show music was decidedly catchier than the usual cartoon-show fare. It was a fairly early experience where I realized that something that was off-beat but certainly good (like The Tick live action show) would almost certainly be abandoned by impatient programming folks.

Bob Burns, eh? Okay, gonna look him up. . .


dbutler16 said...

I don't know about obscure, but my favorite cartoons as a kid were: Thundarr the Barbarian, Tarzan Lord of the Jungle, and Star Blazers.

Garett said...

Hey Mike, I haven't seen an episode since I was a kid, but the animation looks pretty good in these vignettes, at least for the time. Maybe the appeal was jet packs! Or could it have been
Little John and his Electro-quarterstaff!

Karen said...

Points to Edo and J.A. for mentioning Bob Burns! He is a wonderful guy, sort of the Great Uncle to all of us monster kids out there. AND...I may get to see him this weekend...

Garett said...

Just one more...vignette of Rocket Robin Hood himself, "robbing from the cosmic rich to give to the astral poor", and making his enemies "quiver in their space boots"! : )
Rocket Robin Hood vignette

Seems to me they played these vignettes repeatedly through the show to fill up time.

mr. oyola said...

Oh I nearly forgot the Journey to the Center of the Earth cartoon! Which I loved and did not understand was a rerun and was so frustrated that they never showed new ones!

Anonymous said...

The more I think about it, the more I come to realize I have the opposite mind of HB. My mind is literally a junk drawer. Or more likely, that weird melding of different bars of soap that happens occasionally. The longer something stays in my mind, the more it oozes into the memory next to it. I remember Clutch Cargo and his pals Spinner and Paddlefoot, Jonny Quest and Speed Racer, but they all seem to be from the same time period. I do remember the Marvel cartoons of Fantastic Four and Thor, but I know that was from before I started school.

One of the obscure ones was the 90s Spider-Man cartoon on Fox. That run seemed to me the first time that what was on TV really seemed like a comic book to me. And each season was handled much like a maxi-series a overall arc that tied all the episodes together. That was also the beginning of the dark time when MJ started to eclipse Gwen.

And now BOOM, as I'm typing, Hong Kong Phooey. He's a dog, a janitor and a martial arts expert. Did he also have a car?

The Prowler (loses brain cells when he sneezes).

Edo Bosnar said...

Doug, looking at the response to this post, I can totally understand why you were so irked the other day over the (initially) low number of comments for the review of that Captain America issue. Heck, right now I'm a bit miffed on Karen's behalf that her excellent review of Cosmic Odyssey generated so little comment.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand: Redartz, I totally remember Drak Pack! And yes, my favorite character was "Bad Toad!" Also, I loved that the bad guys all belonged to OGRE: the Organization for Generally Rotten Enterprises (whew, talk about remembering completely useless minutiae).

Hoosier X said...

Anybody remember The Double Deckers?

And which show had the chickaphants? They were half-chicken and half-elephant. The show might have had Ruth Buzzi, but I might be mixing it up with something else.

Edo Bosnar said...

Hoosier X, I don't remember any chickaphants (although that sounds hilarious), but I vaguely recall Ruth Buzzi was in this show with Jim Nabors - they were some kind of aliens or something. *Consults to Wikipedia* Yes, it was called the Lost Saucer, and they were apparently androids...

Anonymous said...

I get The Lost Saucer mixed up with Far Out Space Nuts, but whichever one starred Ruth Buzzi and Jim Nabors was the one with the chickaphants.

Humanbelly said...

If only we'd had the presence of mind in our young adulthoods to turn all of this rampant mental energy & power of totall recall towards the betterment of mankind! (Well, Doug actually HAS kinda done that, as have several others of us, I bet, so maybe we're all still okay, yeah? )

Hooier X, GOOD CALL on the Double Deckers. . . remembered the British import kids' show, but couldn't recall the title. Kind of a weird programming choice-- don't think it caught on in our midwestern neck of the woods at all.

Prowler- Hong Kong Phooey had a catchy theme ("Number one super guy; Quicker than the human eye. . ."), and Scatman Crothers' voicing the title character was a huge plus. . . but even then I saw it as a shameless jumping onto the Kung Fu martial arts craze. It was also kind of funny that he was voicing Meadowlark Lemon in the Harlem Globetrotters cartoon that was still hanging around at that point ("We've gotta get Geese before Geese's goose is cooked!").

Mr O-- that Journey to Center of the Earth cartoon is also an excellent call. Quite a good cartoon, and engaging enough to get me to read and enjoy the book itself. So, for at least one kid, you gotta figure, "Mission Accomplished".

HB (REALLY sucked into the topic today, folks-- so sorry!)

Redartz said...

Mr. O and HB- I join you in saluting "Journey to the Center of the Earth". It was part of that great ABC saturday morning lineup in '67, along with Spiderman, Fantastic Four and George of the Jungle (what a combo!). Always liked the gimmick of the ongoing search for a route to the surface while being pursued by the descendent of Arni Sachnussen (probably mis-spelled that...). Don't recall that they ever found the way out.

Anonymous said...

I had almost forgotten Tom Slick. IIRC, it was a segment of the George of the Jungle show. Sort of, what if Dudley Do-Right had been a race car driver instead of a Mountie.

Which reminds me of Klondike Kat, a rare case of a cat-chases-mouse cartoon where the cat was the good (although klutzy) guy.

Commander McBragg was pretty funny, although I didn't fully appreciate it until I saw some old British movies (particularly The Four Feathers) with C. Aubrey Smith.

There was also a cartoon frog named Hoppity Hooper. Not to be confused with Hippity Hopper, the "giant mouse" that terrified Sylvester.

Doug said...

Edo --

I think it's just the nature of the posts we run. The "conversational" ones almost always garner more participation. Sometimes we wonder if the density of our reviews maked it difficult for our readers to get through on a coffee break or before/after work. The time it takes to read those probably inhibits the time needed to foster a cogent thought and post it, let alone come back throughout the day to check on any activity.

But you're right -- it took me longer to find the right Felix the Cat image than it did to come up with the idea and ready today's post for publication. I maybe have five minutes invested in this today.

That being said, I've spent the better part of a week trying to come up with a title for next Monday's "Secret Empire" installment!!


B Smith said...

HB, I can't let this go without letting you that I haven't seen that Gilligan's Island episode for a good 30 years, but remember that "Pooloo See Bagumba" means "Release the prisoners"

Cartoons, cartoons....there were a couple of DePatie-Freleng ones that I was addicted to - The Super Six: snazzy theme song by Gary Lewis and the Playboys, about an agency that keeps superheroes on its books, with backup cartoon The Brothers Matzoriley, about a body with three heads (one Chinese IIRC).

Another one was Super President - now there's a concept I can't see them reviving at any point in the future.

Lots of great Japanese animation from the early days - Eighth Man, Space Ace, Amazing Three, Marine Boy, Prince Planet...used to confuse me as a kid that I knew they were Japanese, but the credits said American International.

Still have a real soft spot for those Beatles cartoons - I read somewhere that the Fab Four only agreed to them if they weren't shown in the UK; but they were screened subsequently, I believe. In the days before we had a record player, or I had a transistor radio, those cartoons were a great way to indulge in some Beatlemania....and i wonder how Ringo might have reacted the first time someone went "Hur-hur-hur-yeah" at him :-)

What the heck, as kid, I would watch ANY cartoons, and loved 'em all unreservedly

Anonymous said...

I'm with dbutler. THUNDARR! The barbarian.
Brought to us by the twin titanic talents of Mr. Steve Gerber and Mr. Jack Kirby.
Oh, and anybody remember that Flash Gordon cartoon? That was pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

I nominate Top Cat and Jabberjaw - a wisecracking cat and a talking shark always stick in your memory!

- Mike 'no respect!' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Anonymous said...

I recently caught an episode of SPACE GHOST COAST TO COAST (ah, insomnia) in which Jan and Jace were suing Space Ghost on grounds of child endangerment and exploitation.
He told them they were ungrateful punks and that without him, they would be on the HERCULOIDS, following Gleep and Glerp with a broom.

Garett said...

Hey Doug, for myself it's not usually the reading time of the reviews. It's just that it's a very specific topic, one issue you and Karen are reviewing, and you cover it quite thoroughly. So it's often, "Well that was an interesting read" but with nothing more I can add.

In the case of open topics, like what's your favorite burger/cartoon/song, everyone has an experience they can relate, so you're bound to get more posts.

I like having both reviews and open topics. The idea of adding a question or two at the end of your comic reviews seems like a good one, to get people started.

Hoosier X said...

I remember Klondike Cat. The mouse's name was Savoir Faire. He would say "Savior Faire eez everywhere!" with a French accent.

And remember Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp? Best show ever!!!

Abe Lucas said...

Whatever happened to Heckle and Jeckle?!? Did they offend the English and hard-nosed (beaked?) New Yorkers they represented?

Edo Bosnar said...

Anon, re: the Flash Gordon cartoon. Yes, I remember it quite well. It was produced by Filmation, which was also doing those Tarzan and Batman cartoons in the late '70s that I really liked. Anyway, the Flash Gordon cartoon was probably my favorite back in the day - I liked that way the story was serialized, unlike most other action cartoons back then.

fantastic four fan forever said...

Let's see obscure cartoons:

Anyone remember Rodger Ramjet and the American Eagles? It was by the makers of Rocky and Bullwinkle. I also liked:

The Mighty Heroes
Clutch Cargo
Space Angel
Spider-Man : The 1967 version

Fantastic Four: The Hanna Barbera 1967 version

and last but not least Duck Man with Jason Alexander! I wish the DVD's weren't so expensive.

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