Saturday, August 31, 2013

Finding the Top 40 in a Saturday Morning Cartoon

Doug:  Last Wednesday Karen kicked off our now-ongoing retrospective on Saturday morning cartoons with a nice discussion of the Banana Splits.  Like many of you, I came to that show in syndication, vividly remembering it on weekday afternoons.  I didn't make any comments at the time, but I'll belatedly toss out a big "thanks!" to those of you who jogged this old guy's memory with such things as the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  I had completely forgotten about that!

Doug:  Which brings us to today.  A few weeks ago when Karen and I were discussing this "series", some of the shows that came to my mind were cartoon versions of the Osmond Brothers and the Jackson 5.  Does anyone remember those?  I don't recall a lot of details -- like many of you, I do have recollections mainly of waiting for the songs.  I've included some clips below, so you can see the quality of the animation.  As these were undoubtedly snatched straight from the TV, the quality is sketchy.  But you'll get the idea if you've never seen this before.  And, let's not limit ourselves to just these two shows.  If you know of other musical acts that were "cartoon-ized", then by all means toss 'em out for all of us to discourse on (Beatles, anyone?)!


Anonymous said...

Didn't the Archies hit "Sugar Sugar" start as a cartoon or something ? I've got no knowledge of the Archies apart from that song.

redartz said...

I certainly recall watching the Jackson 5 show, as a matter of fact it was my first exposure to their music. Thought the spin dance moves were pretty cool, if pretty repetitively animated.

Didn't watch the Osmonds, as I was no fan of theirs (despite my sister having a huge crush on Donny). However the Beatles cartoon was always on my Saturday morning list in those younger days. I recall being disappointed to learn that the boys' voices weren't actually done by the Fab Four. The ABC network had a killer lineup in 1967-68, with Spiderman, Fantastic Four, George of the Jungle and the Beatles too!

One other musically animated memory- there was an episode of the Flintstones that featured an animated group called the "Beau Brummelstones", singing their hit "Laugh,Laugh". Always liked the celebrity guest appearances on that show. One wonders how Hanna Barbera would handle such episodes today, with today's crop of celebrities (Miley,anyone)...

david_b said...

Still on my rare vacation, but a couple of thoughts..:

1) Jeff Barry's 'Sugar Sugar' was first offered to the Monkees, but was deemed too sappy; when Colgems fired Kirshner, he decided to use it to launch the Archies, where it became a huge suprise AM hit. Kirsher MUCH preferred working with contracted studio singers than four out-of-control pop stars..

2) Can't recall which series came first, Osmonds or Jacksons.., but I remember Donny Osmond talking about the 'slight' competition on Saturday mornings..

Love the SNL spoof cartoons about the 'Five Presidents' all singing/playing in a mock band like Josie's Pussycat group. Always a hoot.

david_b said...

Ah, guess the Jacksons cartoon was on first, '71-'72 season, predating Osmonds by a year or two..

'Groovie Ghoulies' anyone..?

Monsters AND bubble-gum music, can't beat that.

Humanbelly said...

The absolute cookie-cutter facial characteristics on the Jacksons is rather disturbing, to say the least. Brothers or not, surely even this limited animation style could have found some reasonable variation in the facial features to make the guys more distinctive. I mean, it absurdly brings to mind that demeaning phrase, "they all look alike to me", y'know? Geeze. . .

I remember REALLY liking the Beatles cartoon when I was a kid, although I think I've misremembered that Ringo was a silent character when he actually does have a voice-actor credit listed (Lance Percival).

I think Rick Springfield had a trippy (but rather dreadful) Saturday morning show a bit later on. Hmm-- Ptolemy the Owl, I believe was his pet.

But really the reverse was what was so common. . . the characters in the cartoon were a band of some sort, or had a band, or something similar. Josie & the Pussycats, of course, is what comes immediately to mind--- and I have to admit that that was not a bad show, and the music was surprisingly catchy and well-performed.

And on another tangent-- remember in the first season of Scooby-Do, that the 3rd-act "chase" sequence was always underscored w/ an upbeat (and kind of non-sequitorial) pop song? Some of those were, again, really tight little harmonic earworms that disappeared into the ether. . .

Okay, HBGirl's wantin' to watch the final David Tennant episode of Doctor Who-- gotta go--



J.A. Morris said...

I can't explain why, but I was always a bit weirded out by cartoons based on real people. I love the Beatles but something about the Saturday morning 'toon always bugged me. Maybe it was the speaking voices?

They weren't a band, but the only "reality-based" cartoons I recall watching much of were the two Globetrotters cartoons made in the 70s, anyone remember those?

And here's the other one:

According to wikipedia, the aforementioned Jeff Barry & Don Kirshner also worked on the music for the 1st Globetrotters series.

I don't remember the Osmonds cartoon at all, but I watched a few Jackson 5 episodes. The only bit I remember is the "Back To Indiana" segment, which seems to be missing from youtube.

Matt Celis said...

I own a number of Archies LPs. There are some real pop gems mixed in among some cheesy junk, but most of the tunes are listenable. Never saw the cartoon, though!

J.A. Morris said...

Since Colin brought it up, here's the Archie clip that introduced 'Sugar Sugar'.

And since david_b mentioned the X-Presidents, here's a clip of them, the "Archies" parody shows up at the end of this cartoon:

Speaking of the Archie, why would that sociopath Reggie Mantle ever consent to naming the band after Archie?

Edo Bosnar said...

I remember the Archies cartoon; it was run in syndication where I lived on weekday mornings - I'd usually only watch it during the summer when school was out. And yes, it often had the Archie gang singing pop songs.

Another Saturday morning cartoon I recall is the Brady Bunch, and they also sang some of the songs that were also featured on the live show. Here's an example:
I also later learned that the Brady kids held concerts - about 10 years ago I saw their Hollywood Bowl show on Nick at Nite. It's quite a trip: they're all in brightly-colored polyester jumpsuits, complete with tassels, singing and dancing their hearts out before a capacity crowd of screaming preteens.

And J.A., I vaguely recall watching the Globetrotters cartoon, but the only thing I really remember are the scenes when they're driving around in their bus, and one of the players has his arm out of the window dribbling a ball on the road.

Fred W. Hill said...

I have no memory of ever seeing the Beatles cartoons when they were originally aired, although there is a possibility that I did see them when I was 4 or 5, before my family moved to Japan in early 1967. I do remember watching both the Jackson 5 and Osmonds cartoon in the early '70s, when my family lived in Salt Lake City, and from what local kids told us at the time, the gated mansion a mile or so down the street from our apartment was the family home of the Osmonds. To be honest tho', I don't have any distinct memory of either cartoon, but I vaguely recall thinking the Jackson 5 were somehow better. They also started before I really started really paying attention to pop music, although within short order I was aware of Michael Jackson's early solo hit, "Ben", as well as Donny Osmond's "Puppy Love". The latter was sappy, IMO, but I still like "Ben", even if it is a love song to a rat!

Anonymous said...

The Cosby Kids was pretty good. There was always a moral lesson couched in there somewhere, but also a few good put-downs, like Rudy calling another guy "summer vacation" or something like that, because he had "no class." And the Harlem Globetrotters, of course. I saw those guys in a live game when I was a kid after seeing the cartoon and being quite confused about the nature of reality. Kind of like seeing Space Ghost walking around.

Rip Jagger said...

I remember the Beatles cartoon and the Jackson 5, but I didn't remember the Osmonds had a show. Sheesh! Too much trivia in my noggin!

Of the singing pop groups on cartoons, I'm partial to H-B's Impossibles and The Archies. I bought that on DVD a few years ago for my daughter who loves Archie stuff. I remember how the heads just jogged back and forth as they sang.

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

Anon, as I recall, it was Rudy who was the butt of that insult: one of the other kids told him he was like a teacher on Saturday...

William Preston said...

Edo, I love that you remember that!

Speaking of how these shows messed with your sense of reality:

I was a fan of the Archie show and comic. The opening of the show featured the animated characters coming onto a real-world stage. The shots of the characters were intercut with reaction shots from excited little kids in the theater audience. I studied this intro all the time to try to figure out how the kids could watch animated characters, which seemed like a pretty cool deal.

"Everything's Archie!"

Humanbelly said...

Welllllll, I up&decided to refresh my memory by watching a quick bit of that Beatles cartoon on Youtube (AMAZINGLY, it would appear to be in the public domain?? Way to go w/ the near-criminal lack of business acumen, Brian Epstein.), and, how do I say this, it was truly, truly bad-- even by the minimal standards of low-budget animation of that time. Other than the above-mentioned L.Percival doing Paul & Ringo, Paul Frees did EVERY SINGLE OTHER VOICE in the episode (including a female ghoul). Mr. Frees is a brilliant, talented legend in the field, but a) He has a highly distinctive, identifiable voice, and b) He could be VERY "auto-pilot" when obviously chugging out a quantity-over-quality job for a paycheck (see: Rankin/Bass "Little Drummer Boy"). This may have been him at his weakest, sadly.

I forgot that the Cosby Kids were also a "band" cartoon-! I know it was highly-regarded and all-- but even as a kid it felt awfully heavy-handed and preachy to me. . . and the dialog (and the corny put-downs) tended to fall flat. It was great seeing a scruffy, bearded Bill in the framing sequences, though. (Sometimes a little under-energized, perhaps. "I have three emmy awards. . . and THIS is what I've come to-?" Heh-- just kiddin')


Anonymous said...

Edo's right, and I stand corrected. It was Russell (I think) who delivered the insults. Damn my feeble memory.

Anonymous said...

Wow, i don't remember ANY of these! I guess I'm a little too young (there was actually a Rick Springfield cartoon? I loved Springfield as a kid, but I sure don't remember a cartoon!)

The only show I can think of that fits the category is Kidd Video, from the 80s:
I remember having a thing for Gabrielle Bennett who played Carla...ay ay ay!

Mike W.

Ray Tomczak said...

The Rick Springfield cartoon was called Mission:Magic! and was on ABC in 1973. Other than the fact that it existed, I really remembered nothing about it, but I went to the Font of All Human Knowledge (known to lesser beings as Wikipedia) and looked up the particulars!
A Google search also turned up this from YouTube:

Anonymous said...

Well, I was born in 1972, so I guess that explains why I don't remember that cartoon! I actually had Springfield's "Comic Book Heroes" album when I was sure sounded different from his later stuff.

Mike W.

Anonymous said...

Over a year later responding here. Too young to remember the Beatles cartoon, but my 2 sisters and I did watch the Osmonds and the Jackson 5, or J5 as they were called. My Saturday morning cartoon time was from the years 1968-1973, and I don't remember Rick Springfield's at all. Closest thing to that was Captain Kool and the Kongs, marking the end of my Saturday Morning cartoon run as I grew out of it and wasn't a fan of the newer stuff in the mid 70s.

Related Posts with Thumbnails