January 13, 2020

SHOZO UEHARA DEAD AT 82



You can read the full story here.


He wrote for several versions of the Ultraman franchise, including Ultraman Tiga which was broadcast on Saturday morning.



January 12, 2020

ANDREA ARRUTI DEAD AT 21



You can read the full story here.


She provided the Mexican dubs for Diamond Tiara, Fleur De Verre and Cloudchaser in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic; Flora in Pokémon: Black and White; Frankie Greene in Transformers: Rescue Bots; Pip in Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal; Sid Chang in The Loud House; Elise in Pokémon XY; Shasa Guten in Beyblade Burst: Evolution; and Makini in The Lion Guard.



















January 11, 2020

AMERICAN BANDSTAND


AMERICAN BANDSTAND
(WFIL-TV, ABC, Syndication, USA Network, October 7, 1952-October 7, 1989)

WFIL-TV (1952-64), Dick Clark Productions (1964-89)




MAIN CAST:
Bob Horn - Host (1952-56)
Lee Stewart – Co-host (1952-55)
Tony Mammarella – Host (1956)
Dick Clark – Host (1956-1989)
David Hirsch – Host (1989)


American Bandstand was a musical television program that showcased Top 40 music as teenagers danced along to the songs. The show began in 1950 as Bandstand on Philadelphia’s WFIL-TV Channel 6 (now WPVI-TV), a local program replacing a weekday movie that would air in the timeslot. It was hosted by Bob Horn as a spin-off to his radio show of the same name. Bandstand was a precursor of sorts to MTV as it would show short musical films produced by Snader Telescriptions and Official Films with occasional guests. However, the ratings were abysmal and Horn quickly grew bored with the show. He decided to change it to a dance program that showed teens dancing on camera as records played; based on an idea from WPEN (now WKDN) radio show, The 950 Club.

Dancers choosing the next song Bob Horn would play.


The new Bandstand debuted on WFIL-TV on October 7, 1952. The studio could hold up to 200 dancing teenagers for which time was allotted for Horn to interview them to find out their names, schools, hobbies and whatever else. The music films from the previous version were maintained as filler while dancers were changed out between segments. Horn was given a new co-host in Lee Stewart. Stewart was a local businessman and a large advertising account for WFIL, and his being made co-host was part of the deal. He remained with the show until 1955 when WFIL became more financially stable and didn’t rely on his account as much. In 1956, Horn was fired from the show after becoming involved in a series of scandals; including his involvement in a prostitution ring and being arrested for a DUI while WFIL was doing a news series on drunken driving. Producer Tony Mammarella served as interim host until Dick Clark was hired for the position permanently.

America's teenager: Dick Clark.

That spring, ABC was looking for programming suggestions to fill their 3:30 PM timeslot. Clark pitched the program to ABC president Thomas W. Moore, who eventually agreed to carry the show and bring it to a national audience under the new name, American Bandstand. Baltimore affiliate WAAM (later WJZ) opted not to air Bandstand in favor of attempting to produce their own similar program. Local disc jockey Buddy Deane was named the host of The Buddy Deane Show which aired for two hours daily. A rivalry occurred between Clark and Deane that often resulted in acts first booked on Deane’s show being rejected by Bandstand, and acts first booked on Bandstand were asked never to mention their previous appearance. Deane’s show only ran for 7 years, ending in 1964.



In October of 1957, ABC gave Bandstand a new 30-minute evening show on Monday nights, but it failed in the ratings and was cancelled that December. Also, in November, ABC opted to air their newly acquired game show, Who Do You Trust?, right in the middle of Bandstand on most of their networks. WFIL chose to tape-delay the game show for a later broadcast and air Bandstand in its entirety.

Clark interviewing The Beatles.

By 1959, Bandstand had a national audience of 20 million viewers. It became daily essential viewing and greatly influenced American pop culture. As the show entered the 1960s, ABC opted to truncate the show’s runtime from 90-minutes to 60, and then down to a daily half-hour program. By 1963, the show abandoned its live format and an entire week’s worth of programs were videotaped on the preceding Saturday. This move actually allowed Clark the freedom to pursue other interests as both a producer and host while remaining as Bandstand’s host. That year, the show also moved to Saturday where it would remain in various timeslots after noon throughout the rest of its run.



Many of the local Philadelphia teens became famous following their appearances on the show. Clark would often interview the audience members in a segment called “Rate-a-Record”. He would ask them to rate two records on a scale that Clark would average out, then asked the audience to justify those scores. The segment gave rise to the phrase “It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it” when describing the songs. Once, the comedy team of Cheech and Chong appeared on the show as participants in a humorous segment of “Rate-a-Record”.

Clark interviewing musical guest Paul Petersen in front of their ABC-inspired logo.

In 1964, production of the show moved from Philadelphia to ABC Television Center in Los Angeles (currently The Prospect Studios) and they adopted a new logo that emulated the ABC logo, reading “AB” in a circle accompanied by the current two-digit date. After a disastrous first attempt to go color in 1958, which failed because of the size of the cameras required at the time in the small studio space plus ABC’s refusal to transmit in color, Bandstand finally went colorized beginning on September 9, 1967. In 1969, the show gained an entirely new set and another new logo. Notably, after the move, the dancers featured on the show became more integrated. Because of segregation, while WFIL happily exhibited the city’s interracial music scene in order to create a successful program, they kept black teenagers out of the studio so as not to alienate viewers and advertisers.



In 1973, Clark managed to cause a bit of racial controversy of his own when he attempted to expand the Bandstand brand. He created the similar Soul Unlimited, hosted by Buster Jones, with a focus on soul music. Bandstand and Unlimited would share a timeslot for several weeks. Two years prior, Don Cornelius had created his own dance program, Soul Train, which featured music from genres such as R&B, jazz, funk, soul, and hip hop (although Cornelius wasn’t a fan of that particular genre, feeling it did not positively reflect African-American culture). Cornelius and Jesse Jackson openly accused Clark of trying to destroy television’s only program created and run by African-Americans. Unlimited’s target audience also wasn’t pleased with the show due to its alleged use of racial overtones on top of its being created by a white man. Ultimately, Unlimited was cancelled after a few weeks and some of its set pieces were integrated into Bandstand’s.


As Bandstand entered the 1980s, ratings began to steadily decline. MTV and other programs began to fill the niche Bandstand had dominated over the decades, taking away more and more of their audience. Also, many ABC affiliates opted to pre-empt or delay the program for things like college football games, which were getting ever-increasing ratings, or for special presentations like an unsold pilot. In 1986, ABC once again reduced Bandstand from an hour down to 30 minutes. Clark decided to end the show’s association with ABC on September 5, 1987 and moved it to first-run syndication two weeks later, restoring the hour format. The show was now filmed at KCET’s Studio B with a new set similar to Soul Train and was distributed by LBS Communications.


Following the broadcast on June 4, 1988, Bandstand went on a 10-month hiatus. When it returned in April of 1989, it had moved over to cable’s USA Network with comedian David Hirsch assuming hosting duties. Clark remained on as executive producer. The new version of Bandstand ditched the studio setting for the first time and was filmed outdoors at Universal Studios Hollywood. However, Bandstand had ultimately run its course and was cancelled after 26 weeks. Of the over 3,000 episodes produced across the decades, only 883 are known to survive.

Donna Summer co-hosting in 1978.

Throughout the show’s run, a number of the musical acts whose songs were played appeared on the show, many of whom it would be the first time on American television, typically lip-synching to their songs and sitting down for an interview with the host. Some of the acts included Aerosmith, Frankie Avalon, The Bee Gees, E.G. Daily, Def Leppard, ELO, Marvin Gaye, The Guess Who, Corey Hart, Hall & Oates, Billy Idol, the Jackson 5, Janet Jackson, B.B. King, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, The Mamas & the Papas, Mike + the Mechanics, The Monkees, Juice Newton, Oingo Boingo, The Osmonds, Ray Parker Jr., The Pointer Sisters, Prince, Quaterflash, Della Reese, REO Speedwagon, R.E.M., Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Run-D.M.C., Sha Na Na, Shalamar, Simple Minds, Talking Heads, The Temptations, Conway Twitty, Wham! and “Weird Al” Yankovic. In 1978, Donna Summer became the only musical act to also serve as a co-host as part of a promotion for her upcoming film, Thank God It’s Friday.

Clark posing with New Edition over an anniversary cake.

Bandstand used several themes over the years. Its first was “High Society” by Artie Shaw. After the series was picked up by ABC, the theme became varying arrangements of “Bandstand Boogie” by Charles Albertine. Les Elgart’s big-band version of the theme was released as a single in March of 1954 by Columbia Records. Mike Curb wrote the synthesized rock instrumental piece “Bandstand Theme” which was used from 1969-74 and also received a single release by Forward Records. A new disco version of “Bandstand Boogie” arranged and performed by Joe Porter replaced it in 1974. Another version of “Bandstand Boogie”, this time by Barry Manilow, became the theme from 1977 through 1986. Although Manilow had previously recorded and released the song in 1975, the show’s version featured lyrics by him and Bruce Sussman referencing elements featured on the program. Porter’s theme was retained as bumper music for commercial breaks alongside Billy Preston’s “Space Race”, which had been used on the show since 1974. David Russo arranged a new closing theme that was used from 1986-87, and later performed a new version of “Bandstand Boogie” when the show went into syndication.



In 2002, Clark hosted a special 50th anniversary edition of the show in Pasadena, California. Frequent guest Michael Jackson led a group of performers that included The Village People, Brandy, members of KISS, Dennis Quaid and The Sharks, Cher and Stevie Wonder. In 2004, Clark, along with frequent collaborator Ryan Seacrest, announced plans to revive the show for the 2005 season. However, these plans were indefinitely delayed when Clark suffered a stroke that year, and would never come to fruition before his death in 2012. A segment of the proposed revival, a national dance contest, was eventually turned into the series So You Think You Can Dance



EPISODE GUIDE:
N/A

WATCH MR. WIZARD / MR. WIZARD


WATCH MR. WIZARD / MR. WIZARD
(NBC, March 3, 1951-June 27, 1965, September 11, 1971-September 2, 1972)

National Broadcasting Company




MAIN CAST:
Don Herbert – Mr. Wizard




            Don Herbert was a science and English major from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse that had an interest in drama. After serving in World War II as a B-24 bomber pilot, Herbert joined Chicago radio station WMAQ where he acted in children’s programs such as the documentary series It’s Your Life, created by the Chicago Industrial Health Organization. During this time, Herbert got the idea of using the new medium of television to bring science to the masses. He pitched his idea and it was accepted by Chicago’s NBC station, WNBQ (now WMAQ-TV).

Don Herbert with one of his books looking on at an experiment.

            Watch Mr. Wizard debuted on NBC on March 3, 1951. Filmed live, the series starred Herbert as Mr. Wizard, a science hobbyist, who would show either a little boy or girl a science experiment. To hook the audience, Herbert would show the results of the experiment, then proceed to explain how it was done and the science behind it. The experiments seemed extremely complicated at first, but ended up being simple and easily re-created by viewers at home. In fact, to keep the show accessible, Herbert refused to don a lab coat and performed his experiments in a garage or kitchen-like setting with everyday household items (which also helped stretch the practically non-existent budget).

Mr. Wizard demonstrating an experiment to one of his young female assistants.

The series proved a hit, drawing in millions of viewers.  It was broadcast live by 14 stations by 1954, and an additional 77 stations aired the show via kinescope recordings. It also netted a Peabody Award and three Thomas Alva Edison National Mass Media Awards. By 1956, over 5,000 Mr. Wizard science clubs were created with an estimated membership of more than 100,000 people (that number increased to 50,000 clubs within the next decade). Teachers had also begun incorporating the experiments from the show into their lesson plans. Initially, the show was sponsored by The Cereal Institute until they dropped their sponsorship in 1955. NBC took over financing by classifying it as a public affairs program from its news division. The series also moved production from Chicago to New York.

Science!

After 547 episodes, NBC cancelled the series in 1965. However, Herbert wasn’t done with edutainment yet. He produced an 8-film series called Experiment: The Story of a Scientific Search that aired on public television through grants from the National Science Foundation and the Arthur P. Sloan Foundation, as well as Science 20 which were 20-minute films of experiments designed for use in classrooms. In 1968, Herbert formed Mr. Wizard Enterprises, Inc. to raise money for production and distribution of his classroom films. He also penned numerous articles and opened a Mr. Wizard Science Center in Wellesley, Massachusetts.



After five years off the air, NBC decided to produce a revival of the series. Production was done in Ottawa, Canada and in color for the first time. Renamed simply Mr. Wizard, the revival debuted on September 11, 1971 and ran for a single season of 26 episodes. Additionally, Herbert produced 50 Mr. Wizard Close-Ups which were 30-second spots that would also air on NBC Saturday mornings, and later on ABC-affiliated stations. The Close-Ups would receive a nomination for “Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children’s Programming” from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Herbert continued producing educational content, including one last revival of Mr. Wizard as Mr. Wizard’s World on the then-fledgling Nickelodeon network in 1983.

Behind the scenes photo during Mr. Wizard's NBC tenure.

Herbert is often credited with inspiring scientific interest and curiosity within generations of children, with some of them going on to careers in science themselves. Further, Herbert’s legacy continues to be recognized in pop culture: such as having the penguin puppets named after him on similar science program Beakman’s World, a mention of his program in the “Weird Al” Yankovic song “Cable TV”, and most recently as the inspiration for the Professor Proton character played by Bob Newhart on The Big Bang Theory.

Later edition of one of Herbert's books.

During his career, Herbert had published several books expanding on the science he taught about. During the show’s run; including Mr. Wizard’s Science Secrets from Popular Mechanics (which also came with a science kit), Mr. Wizard’s Experiments for Young Scientists from Doubleday, Mr. Wizard’s 400 Experiments in Science from Book-Lab, Inc., and Mr. Wizard’s Supermarket Science from Random House. In 1952, a Mr. Wizard home science kit was released in stores and later reissued in 1999. Before his death in 2007, Herbert personally curated a selection of episodes from his various runs for release on DVD through his Mr. Wizard Studios. 32 episodes from the original run were released across 8 volumes either individually or as a set. Additionally, two coffee mugs featuring the logos from his first and last series were offered.




EPISODE GUIDE:
N/A

January 08, 2020

BUCK HENRY DEAD AT 89



You can read the full story here.

Best known as the co-creator of Get Smart, one of his many acting roles came in the form of Cupid in an episode of Eek! The Cat.



January 04, 2020

BETTY CROCKER STAR MATINEE


BETTY CROCKER STAR MATINEE
(ABC, November 3, 1951-April 26, 1952)

General Mills




MAIN CAST:
Adelaide Hawley – Betty Crocker


            Betty Crocker is a brand and fictional character utilized by General Mills. The character was created by General Mills’ precursor, the Washburn-Crosby Company, and advertiser Bruce Barton in 1921 as a way to give personalized responses to consumer questions that had been submitted to the company with responses to a contest they ran. “Betty” was chosen for sounding like a cheery, all-American name, while “Crocker” was a tribute to Wasburn-Crosby Company director William Crocker. In 1924, she acquired a voice as the host of the Minneapolis radio program The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air, portrayed by Blanche Ingersoll and later Marjorie Husted, who supervised Crocker’s development for General Mills. When the show went national, Agnes White also assumed the role and the three women would anonymously portray Crocker for the next 30 years.

Ad from NBC radio congratulating Hawley on the first year of her radio show.



            In 1949, General Mills hired actress Adelaide Hawley to become the face of Betty Crocker. Despite her lack of cooking knowledge, Hawley was ideal for the role due to her broadcasting experience (she hosted her own radio show through the early 1950s). She would appear in commercials for the brand during The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show before gaining her own program, The Betty Crocker Show, on CBS. A year into it, Hawley also came to star in another show on ABC: Betty Crocker Star Matinee.

Hawley as Betty Crocker.

Betty Crocker Star Matinee debuted on ABC on November 3, 1951 as a replacement for Two Girls Named Smith; later changing timeslots to replace another sitcom, A Date With Judy. It was a half-hour drama/interview anthology series that featured interviews, food demonstrations, and short dramas or drama excerpts. Among the featured guests were Jonathan Harris, June Lockhart, Jessica Tandy, Veronica Lake, Audrey Hepburn, Basil Rathborne, David Niven and Uta Hagen. Despite the show only lasting a single season and The Betty Crocker Show ending soon after, Hawley continued to be the face of Crocker until she was let go in 1964 when General Mills decided to take the character in a new direction. 



EPISODE GUIDE:
“The Late Christopher Bean” (11/3/51) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“For Love of Money” (11/10/51) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“An Inspector Calls” (11/17/51) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Mr. Pim Passes” (11/24/51) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Eastward in Eden” (12/1/51) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“The Linden Tree” (12/8/51) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Shining Hour” (12/15/51) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Jason” (12/22/51) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Farewell to Love” (12/29/51) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

N/A (1/5/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Mary Rose”/ (1/12/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Topper” (1/19/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Open Storage” (1/26/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“The Weak Spot” (2/2/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“The Tally Method” (2/9/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“The Willow and I” (2/16/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Mr. Bell’s Creatures” (2/23/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Interviews” (3/1/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Bridging the Years” (3/8/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Women in His Life” (3/15/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“The Stove Won’t Light” (3/22/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“The Three Hats” (3/29/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Night School” (4/5/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“The Confession” (4/12/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Sense of Humor” (4/19/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Split Infinitive” (4/26/52) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

TWO GIRLS NAMED SMITH


TWO GIRLS NAMED SMITH
(ABC, January 20-October 13, 1951)




MAIN CAST:
Peggy Ann Garner (until September), Nina Foch (July & August) & Marcia Henderson (September & October) – Barbara “Babs” Smith
Peggy French – Francis “Fran” Smith
Joseph Buloff – Mr. Basmany


            Two Girls Named Smith was a sitcom that followed the misadventures of two cousins—Babs (Peggy Ann Garner) and Fran (Peggy French)—as they moved from Omaha to New York City to pursue their careers. Babs dreamed of being a singer, while Fran sought to become a fashion designer. Along for the ride was their kindly landlord and adviser, Mr. Basmany (Joseph Buloff), Fran’s boyfriend, attorney Jeffery Carter (Kermit Kegley), and Babs’ boyfriend, played by Garner’s real-life husband Richard Hayes.




            Two Girls Named Smith debuted on ABC on January 20, 1951. One of the series’ writers was Peter Barry, while music was provided by Jacques Press. Because of illness, Garner missed several weeks of filming in July and August and was replaced by Nina Foch. Garner left for the final time in September, either because of her illness or to spend more time with her husband who likely wasn’t a regular performer on the show, and was replaced for the final weeks by Marcia Henderson. The show was also the subject of a lawsuit, as the creators of the book-turned-movie My Sister, Eileen felt the show’s concept skewed a little too close to theirs. Ultimately, the show’s final fate was determined when it was dropped by its sponsor, B.T. Babbitt, Inc. Because the series was broadcast live and there wasn’t an in interest in archiving programs at the time, very little of the show is known to exist beyond the opening and end credits and one of the Henderson episodes. 



EPISODE GUIDE:
Unavailable.

ACROBAT RANCH

ACROBAT RANCH
(ABC, August 19, 1950-May 12, 1951)

Acrobat Shoe Company, ABC Chicago


MAIN CAST:
Jack Stillwell – Uncle Jim
Valerie Alberts – Flying Flo
Billy Alberts – Tumbling Tim



            One of the first Saturday morning offerings from ABC came from a partnership with the Acrobat Shoe Company. Throughout the 1940s, Acrobat would offer free circus-themed story and coloring books with their shoes, initially starring a character named Tumblin Tim and later Flyin Flo.  They decided to expand on the concept by bringing those characters to life on television.

Ad for Acrobat shoes.

Acrobat Ranch debuted on ABC on August 19, 1950 and ran almost a full year. It was a variety show set on a ranch backdrop, filmed live in Chicago and sent to other markets via video recording, with Billy and Valerie Alberts filling the Tim and Flo roles. Hosted by Uncle Jim (Jack Stillwell), the show served as a showcase for a number of acrobatic feats with a touch of physical comedy, animal and magic tricks. At a point in the show, children from the studio audience are asked on stage to participate in various games for merchandise prizes. Advertisements for Acrobat shoes would also be featured in the form of little skits between segments, which would also include merchandise giveaways and any contests the company would run.


EPISODE GUIDE:
N/A

CELEBRATING 70 YEARS OF SATURDAY MORNING!


            Happy New Year, Saturday morning fans! It’s 2020! And as we get further into the future, it’s a good time to take a look into the past. 70 years into the past, to be exact, for the very first Saturday morning television schedule.

Early television.

            That’s right—while Saturday mornings wouldn’t evolve into the form most of us recognize until the end of the 1960s, they actually began in the 50s. Networks began programming for children on both weekdays and weekends, incorporating a variety of live-action programs featuring animals, acrobats, puppets and more. In light of this, Saturday Mornings Forever will be doing a year-long celebration of Saturday mornings. Every two months, we’ll be covering each decade as we see where it all began, where it ended up, and maybe even where it’s going to go.

1945 television.

When 1950 rolled around, television was still in its infancy. Despite having been in existence for a quarter century, the technology needed to bring some semblance of the system we’re familiar with today hadn’t yet caught up to the concept. Add a depression and a war, and TV’s overall development was hindered quite a bit.

1950 TV by Zenith.

            However, once the war was over, TV began finding its way into the home. The technology for coast-to-coast broadcasting still wasn’t in place yet, so for anything resembling a national broadcast required the participation of affiliated local stations and physically sending a recording of the broadcast to them to air at a later date. Despite being the last network to enter the TV game, ABC was the first to eschew local programming for a national schedule on Saturday morning. It would be followed that winter by CBS, then NBC and, to a lesser extent, DuMont by the following fall.

1959 TV ad.

            The 50s are also notorious for the lack of an archival mentality. Because of the expense of the material used to record a program, studios opted to reuse them frequently resulting in the wholesale destruction of anything previously recorded on them. Nobody ever considered the historical significance of what they were doing, or that anyone would ever want to see a broadcast again after seeing it once already. The concept of the rerun slowly came into fashion towards the end of the decade, thanks in large part to I Love Lucy, and the practice of erasure diminished more and more. Whatever did manage to survive was nothing short of miraculous. For many shows, the only evidence it even existed could be limited to merely blurbs in magazines and newspapers about them.

December 31, 2019

JACK SHELDON DEAD AT 88



You can read the full story here.


He was a jazz musician and actor who performed on numerous episodes of Schoolhouse Rock!



December 28, 2019

CHOP SOCKY CHOOKS


CHOP SOCKY CHOOKS
(Cartoon Network UK, March 16-September 4, 2008)

Aardman Animations, DECODE Entertainment, Cartoon Network Europe

            Created and developed by Sergio Delfino, Chop Socky Chooks was a comedic love-letter to the kung fu films of yesteryear. The series was set in a city-sized shopping mall, Wasabi World, owned and ruled by Dr. Wasabi (Paul Kaye), a piranha in a water-filed suit. He enforced his will on the citizenry of the mall with the aid of his right-hand ape, Bubba (Rupert Degas), an army of ninja chimps, and a variety of robots. Opposing him and standing up for the citizens were the Chop Socky Chooks: three chickens who lived and worked in the mall under Wasabi’s nose. Chick P (based on Lucy Liu, voiced by Shelley Longworth) was the team leader, who spent her days working on the electrical system of Wasabi World when she wasn’t fighting with her razor fans. Wasabi destroyed her home to construct the mall, making her battles personal. K.O. Joe (based on Jim Kelly, voiced by Paterson Joseph) was the funky member of the team who often wore 70s-style clothing and used a grappling hook hair pick as a weapon. Rounding them out was Chuckie Chan (named after Jackie Chan, voiced by Rob Rackstraw), a proverb-spouting martial arts instructor who could weaponize his chi energy.

The Chooks: K.O. Joe, Chucki Chan and Chick P.

            Chop Socky Chooks (a combination of Asian slang for the martial arts film genre and Australian/New Zealand slang for chicken) originally aired on Cartoon Network UK from March 16 to September 4, 2008, before heading to Cartoon Network in the United States and Teletoon in Canada. The series’ theme was composed by The Eggplant Collective while the rest of the music was composed by Lou Pomanti. The series boasted the traditional Aardman design and stop-motion style, rendered in a combination of 2D and CGI with full 3D models rendered by C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures. The series ultimately ran only a single season of 26 episodes before it was cancelled and relegated to making the rounds on reruns on affiliated Cartoon Network stations.

THE HECKLE AND JECKLE CARTOON SHOW


THE HECKLE AND JECKLE CARTOON SHOW
(CBS, October 14, 1956-September 24, 1960, September 25, 1965-September 3, 1966
NBC, September 6, 1969-September 4, 1971)

Terrytoons, CBS Television

            Heckle and Jeckle (Sid Raymond, Ned Sparks, Dayton Allen and Roy Halee) were a pair of mischievous talking magpies created by Paul Terry. Initially, the pair began as a married couple meant to be antagonists for his farmer Al Falfa character in the 1946 theatrical short The Talking Magpies. However, as the birds became a hit with audiences, the pair left Al Falfa behind to become the stars of their own shorts. They were retooled from a married couple into a pair of best friends, named “Jeckle” after Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and “Heckle” based on their frequent method of antagonization. While the pair were often indistinguishable on sight and rarely called each other by name, they became identifiable when Heckle was given a Brooklyn accent and Jeckle an English one.

The mischievous magpies.

            Heckle and Jeckle would appear in numerous shorts over the next 20 years; being the most popular Terrytoon series next to Mighty Mouse. The shorts would find the pair either messing with someone for fun (typically one of two dogs, Dimwit and Clancy) or serving as comedic heroes helping someone and giving a villain his comeuppance. They were also self-aware, knowing full-well they were cartoon characters which allowed them to pull off impossible feats.

Theatrical advertisement for the Terrytoon library.

In 1955, Terry retired and sold his studio and characters to CBS. CBS began airing Heckle and Jeckle shorts on television in 1956 as part of CBS Cartoon Theater, hosted by Dick Van Dyke. A month after the show’s cancellation, Heckle and Jeckle were spun off into The Heckle and Jeckle Cartoon Show, which aired three Heckle and Jeckle shorts with another starring a different Terrytoon character. The show aired until 1960 before returning to the network on Saturday morning for a year in 1965. It would return one more time on NBC from 1969-71.