October 22, 2016

GOOBER AND THE GHOST CHASERS

GOOBER AND THE GHOST CHASERS
(ABC, September 8-December 22, 1973)


Hanna-Barbera Productions

MAIN CAST:
Jerry Dexter – Ted
Jo Ann Harris – Tina
Ronnie Schell – Gillie
Paul Winchell - Goober

            The success of the Scooby-Doo franchise led to many attempts to repeat the success with the same formula, both from Hanna-Barbera and other studios. Some of these attempts to clone the series were more overt than others. At the behest of ABC for another Scooby, Hanna-Barbera gave them Goober and the Ghost Chasers.

Goober with Ted, Tina and Gillie.

            The series followed the titular dog, Goober (Paul Winchell), and his teenaged humans, Ted (Jerry Dexter), Tina (Jo Ann Harris) and Gillie (Ronnie Schell), as they traveled around the world seeking out the supernatural for their Ghost Chasers magazine. Key differences in the shows were that the Ghost Chasers would actively go looking for the entities they encountered, and sometimes those entities were actually real rather than just someone in an elaborate costume (something the Scooby franchise wouldn’t encounter until a decade later in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo). They often employed ghost-tracking devices, such as the Specter Detector, to determine if an entity was real or not. Goober, while as cowardly as Scooby, had the ability to turn himself invisible whenever he was frightened, save for his cap and collar. He also spoke clear English unlike Scooby, although he seemed to be talking more to the audience than any of his co-stars.

The Partridge kids get in on the action.

            Since selling an all-new property, no matter its influence, was becoming increasingly difficult, it was decided to try and increase Goober’s profile by adopting the format of featuring real-life guest-stars used by The New Scooby-Doo Movies. As a result, half of the episodes had most of the kids from ABC’s hit series The Partridge Family appear, including Laurie (Susan Dey), Danny (Danny Bonaduce), Chris (Brian Forster) and Tracy (Suzanne Crough). Basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain and actor Michael Gray also made appearances on the show.

I guess that's a "wrap".

            The series debuted on September 8, 1973 on ABC. Despite the formula and guest-stars, Goober failed to catch on with audiences and only lasted a single season; although its reruns aired for an additional year. Hoyt Curtin composed the music for the show. The series did serve to create a renewed interest in the Partridges, resulting in Hanna-Barbera producing Patridge Family 2200 A.D. the following year for CBS. In 1977, Goober reruns became one of the features of the weekly syndicated series Fred Flintstone and Friends. Later reruns on Cartoon Network and Boomerang removed the studio laugh track present in the original airings.

Goober on DVD.

Not much was produced in the way of merchandise beyond a lunchbox by King-Seeley, shared with Inch High. Private Eye, a series of puzzles by Hope, and a magic trading card set offered by Wonder Bread. In 1986, Worldvision Home Video released a VHS sharing the show’s title containing the first two episodes. Two years later, Hanna-Barbera Home Video released four of the episodes featuring the Partridge kids to a VHS called The Chase is On! In 2009, the first episode was included on the compilation DVD Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970s Volume 1 from Warner Home Video. The following year, Warner Archive released the complete series on DVD as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection.

EPISODE GUIDE:
“Assignment: The Ahab Apparition” (9/8/73) – The Partridge kids are vacationing near a haunted mansion where the Ghost Chasers must get an interview with Captain Ahab and Moby Dick.

“Brush Up Your Shakespeare” (9/15/73) – Macbeth’s ghost prevents the Partridge kids from performing their concert.

“The Galloping Ghost” (9/22/73) – The Ghost Chasers investigate Wilt Chamberlain’s ranch to get the scoop on a galloping ghost.

“The Singing Ghost” (9/29/73) – Frankenstein’s Monster the Third invites the Partridge kids to his castle to discuss a gig in an attempt to steal Danny’s voice for his own.

“The Ghost Ship” (10/6/73) – The Ghost Chasers are set adrift on an old pirate ship by ghosts led by Captain Dunk.

“Mummy Knows Best” (10/13/73) – The Ghost Chasers and Partridge kids spend their vacation in Kahrobi where they learn the ghost of King Osiris and his mummies are haunting the city.

“The Haunted Wax Museum” (10/20/73) – The Partridge kids visit an old wax museum where ghosts possess the wax mannequins.

“Aloha Ghost” (10/27/73) – The Ghost Chasers head to Hawaii to investigate a ghost sighting at the plantation where Michael Gray works.

“The Wicked Witch Dog” (11/3/73) – The Ghost Chasers investigate the lighthouse of MacBurn’s Point in Scotland where a Wicked Witch Dog reportedly haunts.

“Venice Anyone?” (11/10/73) – The ghost of Don Giovanni wants to prevent Carlo from marrying Julia from a rival family in Venice.

“Go West Young Ghost” (11/17/73) – The Ghost Chasers and Partridge kids discover the amusement park’s haunted house is really haunted by the ghost of Ichabod Ipswich.

“A Hard Day’s Knight” (11/24/73) – The first manned flight to Mars is interrupted by the ghost of Spanish knight Don Miguel.

“Is Sherlock Holme?” (12/1/73) – A relative of Sherlock Holmes assists the Ghost Chaser on their latest mystery in London.

“The Snow Ghost” (12/8/73) – A ski resort hires the Ghost Chasers to investigate a snow ghost.

“Inca Dinka Doo” (12/15/73) – The Ghost Chasers investigate the ghost of an ancient Incan chief who haunts the nearby town and forest.

“Old McDonald Had a Ghost – EI EI EEYOW” (12/22/73) – George McDonald has the Ghost Chasers investigate a farm haunted by the ghost of Old McDonald and a scarecrow.

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