Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
The series focused on a
group of teenagers who, traveling around in a dune buggy dubbed “The Wolf-Buggy”,
solved mysteries and foiled crimes perpetrated by monsters and evil masterminds.
Comprising this group was the handsome Biff (Jerry Dexter); his smart
girlfriend, Kim (Susan Blu); the stocky Puggsy (Bart Braverman), who tended to
make up words constantly; and tall, lanky simpleton Sherman “Fangs” Fangsworth
(Frank Welker, patterned after Joe E. Ross). Puggsy and Sherman were heavily based on Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall from The Bowery Boysseries.
Monster vs. Monster.
This group had a bit of a
twist: one of them was a werewolf. Indeed, the Fansworth family had a curse
placed upon it where once every 400 years a member of that family would be born
a werewolf, as explained in the opening narration by John Stephenson. Whenever
Sherman was exposed to the full moon—be it real or merely an image when the
kids needed to call upon their “secret weapon”—he transformed into Fangface: a
furry werewolf with a single giant fang. Conversely, whenever Fangface saw the
sun or its image, he’d revert back (usually at the most inopportune times).
Fangface would always ingest Puggsy whole, holding him in his mouth until Biff
or Kim rubbed his foot to calm him down (this also happened whenever Fangface
saw or heard anything remotely related to food). This was a subconscious
reaction to Puggsy’s constant taunting and teasing of Sherman’s cowardice while
in his human form. You see, they were essentially two separate people with
contrasting personalities, as Fangface was much braver than Sherman, and neither
knew of the other’s existence. Despite always being almost eaten, Puggsy was
constantly teamed up with Fangface whenever the kids would split up. Fangface
also somehow retained his trademarked baseball cap despite losing the rest of
his clothing (which reappeared whenever he changed back to human form. Hey,
this IS a kid’s show!) from which he could pull a variety of items out of in
Sherman’s sole role was
comic relief on the show, but whenever he became supremely scared he came up
with a brilliant idea to save himself. Fangface didn’t take away from that
role. He had the propensity to howl whenever he saw his own reflection and
enter into a feral state whereby he ran only on instinct, often leading him to
attack Puggsy. The kids did manage to turn this state to their advantage in a
case most of the time by letting him loose on the bad guys. Despite being a
werewolf, the public at large didn’t seem to acknowledge that fact, treating
meeting Fangface as an everyday normal occurrence.
Sherman, Baby Fangs, and their alter-egos.
Fangface ran on ABC beginning on September 9, 1978. The series was
written by Mark Jones, Elana Lesser, Norman Maurer and Cliff Ruby, with music composed by Dean Elliott. The show failed to gain the ratings or notability of the Scooby franchise and was cancelled after
a single season. For the following season, Ruby-Spears tried to give their
creation a second life by including Fangface as a segment
Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show. The segment retained the mystery
solving format, however episodes were shortened to 11 minutes rather than a
full 22. It was also renamed Fangface and Fangpuss to include
the new character: Baby Fangs (also Welker), Sherman’s infant cousin who,
despite the original opening narration’s declaration, also inherited the
ability to transform into a werewolf. Sherman was unaware that Baby Fangs was
Fangpuss, becoming scared whenever encountering him in wolf form. However,
unlike Sherman, Baby Fangs remembered his time as a wolf. Fangpuss also seemed
to share his cousin’s affinity for inflicting pain on Puggsy. Unlike the
previous season, the werewolves’ sun weakness was never exploited.