October 24, 2015

THE MILTON THE MONSTER SHOW

THE MILTON THE MONSTER SHOW
(ABC, October 9, 1965-April 2, 1966)


Hal Seeger Productions, ABC Television Network


MAIN CAST:
Bob McFadden – Milton, Heebie, Jeebie, Goo Fee, Gung Ho, Lady Deflyah, Horsey the Horsefly
Dayton Allen – Professor Weirdo, Fearless Fly, Chester Penguin, Stuffy Durma, Bradley Brinkley, Flukey Luke
Larry Best – Count Kook, Muggy-Doo, Two Feathers
Bev Arnold – Flory Fly, Penny Penguin
Hetty Galen – Beulah Penguin

            Move over, Frankenstein—there’s a new mad scientist in town.


            Professor Montgomery Weirdo (Dayton Allen), with the aid of his assistant Count Kook (Larry Best), created his own monster by pouring various sinister liquids into a mold. Fearing his creation may become so terrifying as to turn against him, Weirdo added some “tincture of tenderness” into the mix. Unfortunately for the not-so-good doctor, Kook caused him to mix in a bit too much and out came Milton (Bob McFadden, using a Gomer Pyle-inspired voice): a good-natured and clumsy monster whose hollow head would emit various amounts of white steam or smoke depending on his mood.



            Created by Hal Seeger and produced by his production company, the first of theirs to be broadcast on television, the series was intended to be a parody of old-time horror films. Weirdo lived in a castle on a hill in Transylvania and was always in competition with another mad scientist, Professor Fruitcake, who lived in another castle on top of another hill. Also in residence in the castle was a skull-faced ghoul in a top hat named Heebie (McFadden impersonating Peter Lorre) and a slow-witted cyclops whose single sharp tooth was used to open soda cans named Jeebie (also McFadden). When not competing with Fruitcake directly, Weirdo could always be found trying to profit off of his monsters by selling them out to the highest bidder or by concocting a scheme to banish Milton permanently from the castle (which always failed). Little did Weirdo know that Kook wanted to get rid of him as well in order to take over the castle and hatch his own plans.

Muggy-Doo (top) in trouble as usual, and Stuffy Durma resisting Brinkley's influence.

However, Milton was only in one of three segments in the program and usually the last one each episode. For most of the run, the first segment featured the adventures of Fearless Fly (Allen); an ordinary housefly named Hirem who ducked into a matchbox to don a red sweater and high-powered glasses that “provided millions of mega-tons of energy through the sensitive muscles in his head.” His primary foes were the Fu Manchu-like Dr. Goo Fee and his sidekick Gung Ho (both McFadden, and before racial stereotypes became taboo in cartoons). Professor Weirdo also went up against Fearless Fly a few times. In “Fearless Fly Meets the Monsters,” their first encounter also served as a pilot to the overall series as it featured Milton’s creation. Except in that instance, his name was George, he had a deeper voice, Frankenstein monster-styled hair, and a forehead scar. Heebie and Jeebie also exchanged voices. When not battling evil, Hirem hung at out the Sugar Bowl bistro with his girlfriend Flory (Bev Arnold) while dealing with bully Horsey the Horsefly (McFadden again).

Flukey Luke and Two Feathers (top) and Penny Pengin up to no good.

The second segment had a rotating line-up of characters and their own adventures. One featured Flukey Luke (Allen), an inept cowboy detective who had a Native American sidekick, Two Feathers (Best using an Irish accent), that brought their skills to the big city. Luke’s name came from the fact that it was only dumb luck that allowed him to apprehend any criminals. Another feature starred Stuffy Durma, hobo who inherited ten million dollars and resisted attempts to be made civilized by his valet, Bradley Brinkley (both Allen). The next feature starred Muggy-Doo (Best), a sly box fox who often tried to strike it rich with a variety of schemes that often failed. The final feature starred Penny Penguin (Arnold), a bratty teenager who often caused problems for her parents Chester (Allen) and Beulah (Hetty Galen) ala Dennis the Menace.



Both Muggy-Doo and Stuffy Durma appeared prior to Milton. Seeger originally created them for the comic Muggy-Doo, Boy Cat from Stanhall Publishing in 1953. Muggy was a blue cat whose yellow t-shirt always had a message that changed to match his situation ala The Yellow Kid, and worked as a junkman (er, cat). Stuff Durma also appeared in his own feature in the comic, but was depicted as an actual pig named Stuffy DERMA. The comic only ran for four issues, two of which were reprinted in 1963 by I.W. Enterprises. Muggy was later adapted for the screen in the theatrical short Boy Pest with Osh, which featured the fez-wearing hound from the comic. Both characters were redesigned for the show, with Muggy becoming a fox and Stuffy a human.

Milton, Heebie and Jeebie hitting the road.

Milton the Monster was co-produced by ABC, where it also aired for its sole season. Even after its run ended, ABC kept it on its schedule until 1968 where it then entered into syndication. Despite the series’ name, the breakout character of the show was Fearless Fly who became incredibly popular with viewers. While the format remained the same for most of the run, for a few episodes Milton segments were doubled up and Fearless Fly was moved to the rotating second segment roster. The series’ music was handled by Win Sharples.

The sole issue of Milton's comic.

Despite its long stay on ABC, there was very little in the way of Milton merchandise. In 1966, Gold Key released a single issue of Milton the Monster and Fearless Fly, but without any of the other featured segments represented. That same year, Milton Bradley produced a board game inspired by the show. In 2007, Shout! Factory released the complete series to DVD.


EPISODE GUIDE:
“Trick or Treatment / Loot Pursuit / Zelda the Zombie” (10/9/65) – Goo Fee uses super-adhesive flypaper against Fearless Fly / Spider Webb attempts to steal the Hopeless Diamond. / Milton, Heebie and Jeebie fight for Zelda the Zombie’s affections.

“Horse Shoo Fly / Gogh Van Gogh / Boy Meets Ghoul” (10/16/65) – Goo Fee challenges Fearless Fly to a game of horseshoes. / Muggy-Do steals an organ grinder’s monkey to make art. / Professor Weirdo tries to marry Milton off with a wealthy spinster.

“Fatty Karate / You Auto Be In Pictures / Monsters for Hire” (10/23/65) – Fearless Fly battles a karate champion. / Muggy-Do gets a job in publicity at Paranoid Pictures. / Professor Weirdo hires out his monsters for rent money.

“Captain Fligh / Doo or Die / Who Do Voodoo?” (10/30/65) – Fealress Fly battles Captain Fligh. / Muggy-Do goes from vacuum salesman to spy. / Professor Fruitcake makes a voodoo doll of Professor Weirdo.

“The Goofy Dr. Goo Fee / From Riches to Rags / The Pot Thickens” (11/6/65) – Gung Ho captures Horsey instead of Fearless Fly. / Muggy-Do fleeces a movie star staying at the hotel where he works. / Professor Weirdo tries to hide Milton from his Aunt Hagatha.

“Sly Fly / From Wrecks to Riches / Medium Undone” (11/13/65) – Goo Fee tries to get Gung Ho to take out Fearless Fly for him. / Stuffy Durma gets a visit from a friend. / Professor Weirdo holds a séance.

“Throne For a Loss / Missin’ Masters / Monster Mutiny” (11/20/65) – Goo Fee tries to get Hiram to betray Fearless Fly. / Spider Webb steals valuable paintings. / Count Kook rebels against Professor Weirdo.

“The Bomb’s Rush / There Auto Be a Law / Ghoul School” (11/27/65) – Goo Fee pretends to be dying in order to trap Fearless Fly. / Penny Penguin pits her father against a mechanic. / Aunt Hagatha teaches the monsters manners.

“Fly Hijack / Tired Gun / Hector the Protector” (12/4/65) – Goo Fee attempts to kidnap Fearless Fly by stealing his matchbox. / Spider Webb sends a Mexican bandit after Flukey Luke. / Professor Weirdo sells Milton to a gangster.

“Si Si Fly / Palace Malice / Horrorbaloo” (12/11/65) – Goo Fee sends a Mexican bandit after Fearless Fly. / Flukey Luke saves a royal prince’s money. / Two monster clubs want Fangenstein to join them.

“The House-Fly Guest / Fortune Kooky / Goon Platoon” (12/18/65) – Goo Fee offers his servant a throne for Fearless Fly. / An astrologer honors Muggy-Do. / Milton, Heebie and Jeebie are drafted.

“Invincible vs. Invisible / Suit Yourself / The Dummy Talks” (12/25/65) – Goo Fee has his newly-invisible servant steal art. / Stuffy joins a boys’ baseball team. / A shrunken head wants revenge on Professor Weirdo.

“Fly by Might / Hobo Hootenanny / A Pie in the Sky” (1/1/66) – Fearless Fly has to stop Professor Weirdo’s experiments on animals. / Stuffy tries to sneak Ash Can Annie into the mansion. / Professor Weirdo and Professor Fruitcake engage in a deadly game.

“The Sphinx Jinx / Penny Ante / Monsterous Escape” (1/8/66) – Goo Fee tricks Fearless Fly into building a Sphinx. / Penny Penguin wants an allowance increase. / Professor Weirdo tries to sell Professor Fruitcake Heebie and Jeebie.

“The Spider Spiter / Sickened Honeymoon / Abercrombie the Zombie” (1/15/66) – Fearless Fly battles Professor Weirdo’s giant spider. / Penny Penguin ruins her parents’ second honeymoon. / Professor Weirdo sells Milton to Professor Fruitcake.

“Fearless Fly Meets the Monsters / Crumb-Bumming / V for Vampire” (1/22/66) – Professor Weirdo’s newest monster is too nice to fight Fearless Fly. / Muggy-Do bothers Osh at his bakery. / Professor Weirdo tries to capture a vampire.

“Monster vs. Mobster / Martians Meet Their Match / Witch Crafty” (1/29/66) – Mobsters kidnap Milton. / Fearless Fly fights Martians. / Witches catch Heebie and Jeebie spying on their convention.

“Camp Gitchy Gloomy / Let’s Phase It / The Hearse Thief” (2/5/66) – Professor Weirdo sends his monsters to camp. / Fearless Fly fights a glitch computer system at an auto plant. / Professor Weirdo accuses Milton of sealing his hearse.

“Boo to You / Under Waterloo / Kid Stuff” (2/12/66) – Heebie and Jeebie pretend to be ghosts. / Fearless Fly fights Barry Cuda. / Professor Weirdo takes in an underprivileged kid.

“Horror Scope / Lady Deflyah / The Flying Cup & Saucer” (2/19/66) – Professor Weirdo is buried alive in order to fend off a curse. / A seductress learns Fearless Fly’s secret. / Moon-men devour Professor Weirdo’s furniture.

“Monster-Sitter / Robinson Shoesole / The Moon Goons” (2/26/66) – Mechanical Mike babysits Milton. / Goo Fee and Gung Ho end up stranded on an island. / Milton attempts to rocket himself to the moon.

“Think Shrink / Private Fly / Skullgaria Forever!” (3/5/66) – Fangenstein kidnaps the shrunken head to find buried treasure. / Goo Fee hires a private detective. / Milton is brainwashed by spies in order to aid their mission.

“Crumby Mummy / Stage Plight / Fort Fangenstein” (3/12/66) – Lightning brings Professor Weirdo’s mummy to life. / Goo Fee directs a movie starring Fearless Fly. / Fangenstein and Abercrombie build a corral for the mummy.

“Safari Harry / Nuggets to You / Batnap” (3/19/66) – Goo Fee takes Fearless Fly on an African safari. / Stuffy meets prospector Grubstake Greeley. / Professor Fruitcake kidnaps Blackie.

“Dunkin’ Treasure / Ferocious Fly / Monsterous Monster” (3/26/66) – Milton’s crocodile finds a treasure. / Fearless Fly battles sultan Ferocious Fly. / Professor Weirdo’s formula turns Milton into a real monster.

“Napoleon Bonafly / Violin Violence / The Mummy’s Thumb” (4/2/66) – Goo Fee investigates a war between Fearless Fly and a French general. / Flukey Luke guards a violin. / Milton discovers the Mummy’s Thumb turns anything into gold.

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