October 04, 2014

FANGFACE

FANGFACE/

FANGFACE AND FANGPUSS
(ABC, September 9, 1978-January 5, 1980)

Ruby-Spears Productions



MAIN CAST:
Frank Welker – Sherman “Fangs” Fangworth/Fangface, Baby Fangs/Fangpuss, various
Susan Blu – Kim
Bart Braverman – Puggsy
Jerry Dexter – Biff
John Stephenson - Narrator

The Ruby-Spears logo that followed some of their shows.


In 1977, Joe Ruby and Ken Spears used their growing prestige to leave Hanna-Barbera Productions and create their own animation studio: Ruby-Spears Productions (also known as Enterprises). For their very first production, they revisited the formula for their greatest creation, Scooby-Doo, with a dash of inspiration from I Was a Teenage Werewolf, and created Fangface.

The kids and their Wolf-Buggy.
The series focused on a group of teenagers who, in their travels, solve mysteries and foil crimes perpetrated by monsters and evil masterminds in their dune buggy dubbed The Wolf-Buggy. 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 Boys series. However, this group had a bit of a twist: one of them was a werewolf.

Monster vs. Monster.

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).

Spider-wolf, spider-wolf...

Upon transformation, 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 they 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 various situations.

Werewolf love.

Sherman’s sole role was comic relief on the show, but whenever he becomes supremely scared he comes 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 and often leading him to attack Puggsy. The kids did manage to turn this state to their advantage in a case most of the time, 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.

 The series ran on ABC for a single season, failing to gain the ratings or notability of the Scooby franchise on which it was inspired.  In the following season, Ruby-Spears tried again by including Fangface as a segment of The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show rather than on its own. The series was renamed Fangface and Fangpuss as a new character was introduced: 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 called Fangpuss.

The Fangface vinyl album.


The show retained its mystery solving format, however episodes were shortened to 11 minutes rather than a full 22. Sherman was also unaware that Baby Fangs was Fangpuss, becoming scared whenever encountering Fangpuss. 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. In 1981, Fangface and Fangpuss was broken off into its own series of reruns, lasting only a single season like its parent program. Despite the short run of the show, it did spawn the typical gamut of tie-in merchandise including a board game, jigsaw puzzles, books, a vinyl album and even a Viewfinder set.


EPISODE GUIDE:

Season 1:
“A Heap of Trouble” (9/9/78) – Professor Arnos uses his invention to change into a monster, and plans to do the same to everyone at his university.

“A Creep From the Deep” (9/16/78) – Grueller steals a tablet that will lead him to an ancient cursed treasure.

“The Shocking Creature Feature” (9/23/78) – Dr. Cybron creates a legion of energy creatures to help him take over the world.

“Westward Ho to the UFO” (9/30/78) – Alien spider creatures attempt to take over the world by covering it in their webs.

“The Great Ape Escape” (10/7/78) – The kids must rescue Professor Ling from ape creatures on the Misty Islands.

“Dinosaur Daze” (10/14/78) – Fangface encounters a tyrannosaurus freed by an earthquake and under someone’s control.

“Don’t Abra When You say Cadabra” (10/21/78) – Mysto the magician plans to rule the world with his super wand that can bend buildings.

“Space Monster Mishap” (10/28/78) – A space monster drains the knowledge from the scientists stationed on the space station.

“The Invisible Menace Mix-Up” (11/4/78) – Sky Ghost needs a black pearl to power his invisibility machine and kidnaps daredevil Su Chang to learn where her uncle’s is.

“The Cuckoo Carnival Calamity” (11/11/78) – Harold “Hal” Hercules, the world’s strongest teen, is changed into a monster wit telekinetic eye beams.
 
“Begone you Amazon“ (11/18/78) – A storm forces the kids to land in the Amazon where they rescue Sheba, an Amazon queen.

“Snow Job Jitters” (11/25/78) – The kids try to get a cat with a secret scientific formula to the lab where he belongs and out of the hands of the villainous Scorpion.

“The Goofy Gargoyle Goof-Up” (12/2/78) – The kids attend a Hollywood costume party where Crula plans to turn starlet Raquel Taylor into a bride for her gargoyle.

“A Toothy Shark is No Lark” (12/9/78) – A creature from Atlantis uses a shark to enslave humanity.

“Where’s the Wolf that’s the Werewolf?” (12/16/78) – A werewolf is stealing animals in the Jungleland Animal Safar and the blame lands on Fangface.

“Don’t Get Mean With the Cobra Queen” (12/23/78) – Cobra Queen uses a giant cobra in order to get Gloria Vanderfeller’s massive fortune.

Season 2:
“There is Nothing Worse than a Stony Curse” (9/22/79) – Evil Medulla uses the power of Medusa to turn scientists to stone to auction off to the highest bidder.

“Evil Guider of the Giant Spider” (9/29/79) – The kids crash onto the island of Dr. Lazarus, who plans to enlarge insects and use them to take over the world.

“Dr. Lupiter and the Thing from Jupiter” (10/6/79) – Dr. Lupiter uses the gases of Jupiter to change astronaut Steve West into a monster to steal Earth’s energy supply.

“Who Do the Voodoo” (10/13/79) – Nigel Winslow turns Count Drako into a mist monster in order to help him escape from prison.

“The Creepy Goon from the Spooky Lagoon” (10/20/79) – Dr. Vincent Blackmire uses his brain-switching device to swap brains with Fangface and a lagoon monster.

“A Scary Affair in the Skullman’s Lair” (10/27/79) – Skullmen kidnap Ortega and Carmen and shrink them down in order to retrieve the powerful Skull Coin from a crack in the Earth.

“A Time-Machine Trip to the Pirate’s Ship” (11/3/79) – The kids are sent back in time where they encounter pirates led by Ironmask.

“The Ill-Will of Dr. Chill” (11/10/79) – Dr. Chill plans to melt the polar ice caps and flood the Earth unless he gets what he wants.

“The Romantic Plot of the She-Wolf Robot” (11/17/79) – Countess Zarla uses a female werewolf robot to seduce Fangface in helping her steal the Maltese Diamond Cat.

“The Sinister Plan of Lizard Man” (11/24/79) – Lizard Man uses his lizard-ray to steal a meteor that will give him super strength.

“Royal Trouble with the King’s Double” (12/1/79) – Puggsy is used to replace the kidnapped king while the others try to rescue him.

“The Stone-Cold Dragon of Gold” (12/8/79) – There’s a golden dragon statue in Hong Kong.

“The Evil Design of Vulture-Man’s Mind” (12/15/79) – Vulture Man enslaves Peruvian natives in order to work his mine.

“The Defiant Casablanca Giant” (12/22/79) – A giant plans to sell a physicist to aliens for diamonds.

“The Film Fiasco of Director Disastro” (12/29/79) – Alien director Disastro plans to make The Day the Earth Exploded with very-real special effects.

“A Goofy Bungle in the Filipino Jungle” (1/5/80) – Zeno uses his hypnotic ring on Filipino cavemen to steal Professor Batack’s strength-enhancing invention.

No comments:

Post a Comment