For the Saturday Morning Cartoon blog column, of course. Also useful for other animation. Not for comics! Comics go under “Books” until further notice. UPDATE Fine, you all win, comics get their own tag.
Thirteen episodes of Fugget About It, a cartoon about a New York mob boss stuck in Regina, have been ordered for Teletoon, according to the CBC.
Let’s set aside that co-creator Nicholas Tabarrok calls the Queen City “small-town Canada”. I think it’s just nice to know that we’re living in “the heart of Canada, both figuratively and literally.” (Emphasis mine.)
After two years of Saturday Morning Cartoon – it’s time for it to come to an end. So this is the second last Saturday Morning Cartoon. Next Saturday will be the last for the time being.
With over one hundred Saturday’s it’s been fun but there isn’t much left to do. Starting next year Saturday Morning Cartoon will return but it different format. It will move to a once a month format that will be a little more in depth.
This week’s cartoon is Yogi Bear. In what will probably be the most annoying movie released this month – Hollywood has decided to make a live action CGI Yogi Bear movie. UGh. Anyway Yogi first appeared on The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958. By 1961 he had his own show called The Yogi Bear Show. He is one of Hanna-Barbera Productions more popular characters but a live action movie – sigh, because you know that worked so well for The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo.
The 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death was Dec. 8 and I while I came across this Saturday Morning Cartoon a couple of months ago I decided to hold off on it until now.
From 1965 to 1969 ABC aired a Beatles cartoon on Saturday morning. The band had nothing to do with the series although their songs were used in the episodes. Each episode featured a short story followed by a sing-along piece. The series predated the Yellow Submarine movie and the band hated the cartoon.
It’s time for another Saturday Morning Cartoon and today’s is a weird one. The 1986 film Highlander wasn’t a big hit when it was originally released but it slowly became a cult favourite on home video. So much so that in 1991 a sequel was spawned that was just awful. Despite being panned it still made some money and a television series was spun off in 1992.
In 1994 a Canadian French animated series was created by Gaumont Multimedia. The series was set in the far future where the world has become a post-apocalyptic wasteland. An evil immortal named Kortan has taken over part of the world and the only hope for mankind is the descendant of the original Highlander Connor MacLeod – Quentin MacLeod. It’s sure a good thing that after thousands of years the MacLeod clan can still pump out an immortal or two.
The cartoon toned down a few of things from it’s R-rated origins. For one thing, Quentin didn’t chop of other immortals’ heads to gain their precious precious super-powers aka the Quickening. Instead they shared the quickening by holding on to a sword instead in a rather friendly not trying to kill each other way. And yet the bad guy still did things the old fashioned way. Chop, chop, chop.
This year marked the 25th anniversary of Back to the Future. I was shocked to discover that after the trilogy had hit theatres that there was an animated cartoon that ran for two seasons starting in 1993.
The cartoon followed after the third movie continuity-wise and focused more on Doc Brown and his family and less on Marty. Strangely enough Christopher Lloyd starred as Doc Brown in a live action segment at the start of each episode and at the end where he would introduce a science experiment that Bill Nye (before he was the science guy) would perform at the end of the cartoon. Naturally Michael J. Fox had nothing to do with the series but Mary Steenburgen (Clara) and Thomas F. Wilson (Biff) voiced their characters from the films. Strangely Christopher Lloyd did not voice the animated Doc Brown. Dan (Homer Simpson) Castellaneta did. Maybe it was too much to pay Lloyd to do the live action bit and the cartoon.
Man there is a lot of cartoons that have toy tie-ins. In 1987 Starcom: The U.S. Space Force briefly hit the air waves. It lasted for 13 episodes. It was made in conjunction the Young Astronauts’ Council with the original intention of sparking young viewers’ interest in the U.S. NASA Space Program. Since no one watched the show (I certainly didn’t) – interest in NASA didn’t grow. However in Europe and other countries the toys were a huge success.
The plot had an evil group called the Shadow Force trying to take over the galaxy. They were lead by the evil and silly named Emperor Dark. The good guys were lead by Col. James “Dash” Derringer and his happy group of men who liked to give the thumbs up a lot as they went to fight the forces of evil.
Defenders of the Earth was a 1986 cartoon that ran for 65 episodes. It featured three of King Features Syndicate comic strip characters together acting as a team. Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician. It was produced in conjunction with Marvel comics – they did a tie-in comic series and Stan Lee wrote the lyrics for the opening song.
The plot had Ming the Merciless attacking the Earth and killing Flash Gordon’s wife. Flash, The Phantom and Mandrake are joined by their offspring and Mandrake’s friend Lothar whose action figure described him as a Caribbean ninja. In the cartoon he was just really strong and a mechanical genius. Together they fight Ming and a variety of villains.
Besides being known for the good Star Wars movies – Mark Hamill is also known for the large amount of voice work he does for cartoons. He is most famously known for his portrayal of the Joker in the 1990’s Batman Animated series but he actually started doing cartoons early in his career.
In 1973 before a galaxy long ago he was the voice of Corey Anders – a teenager who ends up with a sexy genie in Hanna-Barbera Productions loose adaptation of the 1960’s TV show I Dream of Jeannie. Jeannie had a sexy red-headed genie enslaved to Mark Hamill’s character. Along for comedy relief was a larger, incompetent genie named Babu. The show lasted 16 episodes and had the standard Scooby-Doo tie-in.
Charles Addams was a cartoonist who had drawn a series of single panel cartoons that appeared in The New Yorker. The cartoons eventually became known as The Addams Family. The cartoons were filled with a very macabre sense of humour. Eventually they became the basis of the 1960’s popular cult TV show.
In 1973 Hanna-Barbera Productions produced an animated show that lasted 16 episodes. Jackie Coogan and Ted Cassidy reprised their roles from the TV show for the cartoon and a young Jodie Foster voiced Pugsly Addams. It was a typical Hanna-Barbera cartoon – cheap animation with the annoying laugh track and the eventual Scooby-Doo tie-in.
Teen Wolf was a lame 1985 movie that starred Michael J. Fox as a teenager who discovers that he’s a werewolf. It was popular enough that it spawned a sequel that starred Jason Bateman and this cartoon which lasted two seasons in 1986.
The cartoon followed the most of the movie’s premise with Fox’s character Scott Howard spending his high school years as a werewolf and trying to cope with it. Unlike the movie, nobody knew that Howard is a werewolf except his family – who are all werewolves and his two friends who aren’t.
The movie was written by Jeph Loeb who also wrote the lame action film Commando which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. Loeb later became more successful as comic book writer, writing everything from Batman to Hulk.
For this Saturday Morning Cartoon I’m changing things up from the usual standard hand drawn animation and showcasing some good old fashioned stop motion animation.
Bump in the Night was a cartoon that ran on ABC from 1993 to 1995. It followed the adventures of a creature called Mr. Bumpy who lived under the bed of a boy and ate dirty socks and dust bunnies. His best friends were a blue monster who lived in the toilet called Squishington and a patch work rag doll named Molly. They would get into a wacky adventure and then learn some sort of life lesson which was repeated at the end of the show in a music montage.
I just found out that this week’s Simpsons opening was storyboarded by street artist Banksy. As one would expect from something Banksy did it’s… beyond good. There’s never been anything like it. I might have to start watching that show again if it’s going to be this excellent.
Here’s the clip, which will be gone as soon as Fox’s lawyers call Youtube. Watch it fast.
Hanna-Barbera produced the Drak Pack in 1980. The show featured a trio of monster off-spring that drive around the country fighting evil. The trio went by cheesy but hip knock-offs of their predecessors – Drac Jr., Frankie and Howler. They look normal but when they put their hands together and shout “Whack-o!” – they transform into a vampire, Frankenstein’s monster and a werewolf. This ritual is called the Drak Whack. Um, yeah.
They drive around in a transforming car called the Drakster and try to fight the evil organization OGRE (The Organization for Generally Rotten Enterprises) which is run by the evil Dr. Dred. The original Dracula or Big D counseled the team when they needed help so they could make amends for all the evil that their predecessors caused. The Drac Pack was more of a super-hero team that went fighting instead actually making amends like going around and rebuilding the villages that the Frankenstein monster destroyed or helping the families of the thousands of victims of Big D’s insatiable blood thirst (one would assume).
Groovie Goolies aired on TV from 1970 to 1972. It was produced by Filmation and was a spin-off of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
The show featured knock-offs of Universal’s famous monsters except that they were all hip and happening monsters. Every episode they performed a pop song, which seemed to be the standard requirement of most cartoons made in the late ’60s and early ’70s.
The Goolies all resided in Horrible Hall – a boarding house for monsters. The show was modeled after the then popular Laugh-In TV show. A typical episode would feature some random sketches, bad jokes and then a musical number or two. Groovy stuff indeed.
This week’s cartoon is a request. Yes we take requests. Requests are always welcome.
From Emmet “A request: There was a cartoon of the same era as Thundarr & Snorkels (so just barely preluding Transformers and Go-Bots) that featured a teenager who could turn into a car (I think he was struck by lightning while driving on a mountainside). From what little I remember, his powers were kind of Hulk-like in that he could not always control the timing of the transformation. Of course, he had a group of teens (and, I think, the prerequisite precocious youngster) around all the time. The one scene that I distinctly remember was the gang having an apres-ski hot cocoa, and the guy spilled his cocoa on himself and unexpectedly turned into a car–indoors!
That is the full extent of my memory of the show. The name of the show and, Zod willing, a clip in a future edition would be awesome! Thanks!”
The elusive cartoon is Turbo Teen from 1984. It only ran one season for a total of 13 episodes. It was produced by Ruby-Spears Productions and the plot did revolve around a teenage named Brett Matthews who crashed his car during a thunderstorm into a lab and became fused with his car. When ever he got really hot, Brett transformed into a car. When he cooled down he turns back into a person. It was sort of like the plot to the popular Japanese manga Ranma 1/2 except that character turned from a man into a woman and wacky highjinks followed.
A teenage stunt car team secretly fight crime with their computerized cars in this week’s Saturday Morning Cartoon.
In an effort to make a quick buck on the once popular video game Pole Position, DIC Entertainment made this series in 1984. It only lasted 13 episodes.
The story had a brother / sister team continually saving the day with their talking cars for a secret organization. Their parents once had the same job but were killed in a car accident. To honour their memory the duo travel the country side performing dangerous stunts in cars by day and then race off to fight crime secretly in their space time. The show also had a freaky animal hybrid sidekick and a cheesy ’80s theme song.
There’s a great featured article about comics on the Canadian Art site, titled “The Art of Compression: Comic Conversations”
The article is notable for the insightful quotes from cartoon heavyweights such as Seth, Jillian Tamaki, Chester Brown, and Marc Bell; not to mention the fact that the piece seems to completely lack a condescending or apologetic tone. Comics as art, what will they think of next?
This feels like such a victory. Like many aspiring cartoonists pursuing a BFA, I spent a decent portion of my undergrad trying (usually unsuccessfully) to have art-conversations about comics that didn’t begin and end with the Pop appropriations of Lichtenstein.
I honestly can’t believe how much things have changed in the last ten years. I mean, these dialogues have been happening since before RAW magazine in the 1980s, but it’s just so widespread now! Truly Amazing.
Too bad print media is on its death bed … or will print just become infinitely more valuable, intimate, and cherished? Eeeek!
It’s back to school time so how about some Schoolhouse Rock?
The show started back in 1973 and was a series of musical educational shorts that aired in between regular Saturday Morning Cartoons on ABC. The first season dealt with multiplication and numbers – thus Multiplication Rock.
There are some weird cartoons out there. One of them was Galaxy Goof-Ups. It was Hanna-Barbera Productions attempt to cash in on the then recent Star Wars space craze. The show, which ran from 1978-1979, had Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and a couple of new characters called Scare Bear and Quack-Up. The show was originally part of Yogi’s Space Race but it ended up with it’s own half-hour spot.
The show had Yogi and his team of misfits as space patrolmen who always “goofed up” and ended up in disco clubs. That’s right -Yogi was a ’70s swinger. A space swinger.
And I thought the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker was the lamest attempt to cash in on the space craze.