October 27, 2018

JIM HENSON'S LITTLE MUPPET MONSTERS


JIM HENSON’S LITTLE MUPPET MONSTERS
(CBS, September 14-September 28, 1985)

Henson Associates, Marvel Productions




MAIN CAST:
Muppets:
Richard HuntTug Monster, Scooter, Janice, Beaker (animated), “Muppet Sports Shorts” narrator
Cheryl Blalock – Cow, Raggmopp
Michael Earl Davis – Penguin
Jim Kroupa – Nicky Napoleon
Noel MacNealRat, Cow, Magic Book
Kathryn Mullen – Penguin, Rat
Martin P. Robinson – Rat, Cow, Walrus

Animated:
Frank Welker – Kermit, Chicken Who Crossed the Road, Banana Nose Maldonado, Milo Sockdrawer
Hal Rayle – Animal, Gonzo, Miss Piggy


Little Muppet Monsters was a show that combined traditional puppetry with animated segments. Or, that was the plan, anyway.

Michael Frith's design for Molly.


Following the unexpected success of Muppet Babies, CBS decided to try and expand on that by having Henson Associates and Marvel Productions create another series they could use to make a one-hour programming block. Jim Henson and Babies executive producer, Michael Frith, came up with an idea that would allow them to make use of the classic Muppets in occasional appearances with the conclusion of The Muppet Show while also complimenting the themes of imagination and creativity Babies was meant to encourage. Frith served as the creative producer and conceptual designer, coming up with the new character designs.

The monsters (from top): Tug, Boo and Molly.

The series centered on three new characters: Tug (Richard Hunt), Boo (David Rudman) and Molly (Camille Bonora). They were monsters sent to play in the basement of the Muppets’ building by Scooter (Hunt) in order to keep them out of trouble (initially Kermit was meant to be the main Muppet contact, but Scooter was chosen since his actor was also Tug and Henson would be largely unavailable due to other commitments overseas). They discovered and props from the Muppet Show days that would allow them to broadcast their own show in a similar format, albeit only to the house above. The idea for the show was borne from the advent of the hand-held video camera. felt that device would allow anyone, especially kids, to be able to express their creativity on television and, in a few years down the line, allow them to shift into the professional aspect of the medium (a prediction that ultimately would come true with the rise of the internet and sites like YouTube). Where Babies was meant to encourage imaginative play, Monsters was meant to encourage hands-on creativity.

Model sheet of the animated Muppet characters.

The monsters produced episodes of their show with the help of their in-house band, Nicky Napoleon and his Emperor Penguins (a group of penguins that broke into the basement and lived there), and sometimes the adult Muppets themselves. What would follow would be shows within the show, with animated segments such as “Pigs in Space”, a parody of space programs starring Miss Piggy (Hal Rayle) that originated on The Muppet Show; “Kermit the Frog, Private Eye”, where Kermit (Frank Welker) and Fozzie (Greg Berg) parodied mystery movies; “Muppet Sports Shorts”, which saw Animal (Rayle) performing various athletic feats; and “Muppet Labs”, with Dr. Bunsen Honeydew (Bob Egen) and Beaker (Hunt) performing feats of science. Recurring Muppet segments were “Fozzie’s Comedy Corner”, with Fozzie (Frank Oz) discussing jokes and Gonzo (Dave Goelz) presenting a variety of weird things. Each episode featured an original song bringing everything together.

Molly and Tug with Nicky by their transmission device.

Little Muppet Monsters debuted on September 14, 1985 as part of the program block called Jim Henson’s Muppets, Babies & Monsters. The show was introduced the night before on CBS’ Saturday morning preview special, All-Star Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Saturday Spectacular, by Pee-wee Herman and Rowdy Roddy Piper. A scene from an unaired episode was shown, as well as alternate takes of ones that were aired. The series was written by David Babcock, Sarah Durkee, Chris Grabenstein, Bradley Kesden, Steve Morgenstern, Kathryn Mullen and Julia Murray, with consultation on the animated segments by Chuck Lorre, Barry O’Brien, Jack Mendelsohn and Bob Smith. Rick Merwin and Hank Saroyan served as story editors. The music was composed by Robert J. Walsh, with songs by Alan O’Day, Janis Liebhart, Scott Brownlee, Michael Carney, Michael Carroll, Joe Carroll, Christopher Cerf, Kevin Joy and Durkee. The series’ theme was a mash-up of the Babies and Monsters themes.

Bunsen and his latest invention.

Unfortunately, Little Muppet Monsters didn’t get much of a chance to see if Henson and Marvel could duplicate Babies’ success. Because of the tight timeframe both studios had to produce the program for airing in the upcoming season, the idea was not being properly fine-tuned to ensure the concept would gel together. Many on Henson’s staff felt that the superior puppet work overshadowed the comparatively inferior animation; the quality of which varied from piece to piece due to translation issues and the rushed nature of the project. While Henson’s crew managed to produce 18-episodes’ worth of Muppet sketches, Marvel was unable to provide the animated segments in a timely fashion as they were also working on Babies simultaneously. Marvel also had to serve as a mediator between Henson Associates and CBS as the network became more involved with the production over concerns of the scripts they saw. Had Marvel been able to provide the animation quicker, attempts would have been made to have the puppet and animated segments interact with each other; such as having puppet Kermit rewrite the mysteries his animated counterpart was in, or by having Boo argue with the space pigs on where to place a cliffhanger.

The continuing adventures of Pigs in Space.

Only three episodes were ready to air by the time the show was set to premier. Henson, feeling the show failed to meet his high standards, ultimately decided to pull it after the third and final episode. Both Henson and CBS conceded that the concept wasn’t well thought out, and a second half-hour of Babies was put in Monsters’ place. When the ratings exploded for that hour, CBS decided to ditch Monsters entirely, leaving the remaining episodes unfinished and the completed episodes never broadcast again. The concept of a combined puppet/animation show was more successfully revisited by Henson’s company in 1992 with the airing of Dog City.

Henson newsletter talking about the show.

Ghosts of Little Muppet Monsters remained. An instrumental version of the show’s theme song served as the closing credits theme of Babies until that series’ conclusion. The monsters made an appearance in the special The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years broadcast on CBS that January. The special was filmed before Monsters was cancelled and plugged the new show. Animation from the Kermit segment was reused in the final episode of Babies, providing that show with a single line of dialogue uttered by Henson himself. Tug appeared in the introduction of The Muppets at Walt Disney World, a special designed to build awareness at the then-upcoming Disney acquisition of Henson’s company, mauling then-Disney head Michael Eisner. The penguin band was featured in the Disney World attraction Muppet*Vision 3D. All three monsters were later reused in various Henson projects as a variety of characters.

The sole piece of released merchandise for the show.

According to the Henson newsletter, a wave of merchandise based on the show was set to debut at Toy Fair 1986. Amongst them were a plush by Hasbro, board games and puzzles by Milton Bradley, puzzles by Playskool, costumes by Ben Cooper, stickers by Diamond Toy, balloons by Balloon Concepts, clothing by Allison Manufacturing, greeting card by Hallmark, belts by Lee Belts, pajamas by PCA Apparel, and party supplies by Beach Producers. Only a Playskool puzzle ever saw release in limited quantities. There has been no indication of any intention to ever finish or release the remaining episodes of the series. In 2015, puppet segments from the episodes “Foo-Foo Phooey”, “Gunko” and “Gonzo’s Talent Hunt” were leaked onto the internet. Each one is missing some scenes and their respective animated segments, and run just over a half hour in total. The three aired episodes have also found their way online.



EPISODE GUIDE:
“In the Beginning” (9/14/85) – After Scooter sends the monsters to the basement, they find some studio equipment and decide to create their own show.

“Space Cowboys” (9/21/85) – The monsters can’t seem to get on the same page of what kind of show they’re going to do: space or cowboys.

“The Great Boodini” (9/28/85) – Boo attempts to make use of a magic book on their show, but ends up changing the forms of his friends.

“Hi, Mars”

“Monster Measles”

“Gonzo’s Talent Hunt” – Tug tries to set up a talent show that will impress the judges and Gonzo.

“Can’t Stop the Music”

“Boo Monster Ace Reporter”

“Feels Like Rain”

“Foo-Foo-Phooey” – Scooter asks the monsters to watch after Foo-Foo, which Tug feels gets in the way of his acts for the show.

“Penguin for a Day”

“Gunko” – When Tug announces a strange unknown product as their show’s new sponsor, the monsters try to figure out what exactly the stuff is good for.

“Mail-Order Guest”

October 20, 2018

COMMERCIAL BREAK: DUNKIN DONUTS HALLOWEEN

While watching on a spooky October Saturday mourning, you were probably frightened by these:







NIGHTMARE NED


NIGHTMARE NED
(ABC, April 19-August 9, 1997)

Walt Disney Television Animation, Creative Capers Entertainment




MAIN CAST:
Courtland Mead – Ned Needlemeyer
Brad Garrett – Ed Needlemeyer
Victoria Jackson – Mrs. Needlemeyer
Jeff Bennet – Conrad
Rob Paulsen – Vernon
Tress MacNeille – Ms. Bundt


            Nightmares. We’ve all had them. Any time something weighed on our minds. Any time we were anxious about something. Or maybe just because you decided to eat that ice cream, pickle and pepperoni combination too late at night. Whatever the reason, nightmares are a scary part of going to sleep. And one company sought to turn it into a franchise.




            Creative Capers Entertainment is a creative thinktank formed in 1989 by Terry & Sue Shakespeare, and David Molina that specializes in flash and hand-drawn animation for a variety of different kinds of productions. Terry, having worked for Sullivan Bluth Studios, was able to use his connections to secure some of the top talent from Bluth and develop a relationship with Disney. They provided uncredited additional animation for Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King, as well as worked extensively on games published by Disney Interactive.



Disney was looking to break into the growing PC game market and tasked the studio with crafting a new IP that they could exploit. One that wasn’t just based on a previous Disney film and could attract some of the older gamers. The resulting game was Nightmare Ned, created by Walt Dohrn.

The weird world inside Ned's head.

            Nightmare Ned focused on Ned Needlemeyer (Courtland Mead), a pre-teen with anxiety to spare. The game found Ned learning his family would be out of the house for a while, so he indulges in some junk food binging and video games until a storm knocks out the power. Ned believes someone’s in the house with him but writes it off as his anxiety flaring up. But, it turns out five fear-eating shadow creatures are there to feed on his dreams when he goes to sleep. They rule over five distinct worlds: the Graveyard, the Hospital/Dentist’s Office, the Bathroom, the School and the Attic/Basement. The game was rendered in a variety of different styles--hand drawn, stop-motion, painted backgrounds, collages and 3D computer animation—in order to effectively create a nightmarish world for Ned to navigate.

Boss fight!

The object of the game was to travel to each world and solve the puzzles within the span of 8 game hours, or the length of time Ned would be asleep. Ned would lose time whenever he took too many hits, or a whole hour whenever he returned to his quilt which was possessed by the entities and served as a hub between the levels. Accomplishing this would have Ned learn the true, real-life anxiety that would fuel the entities, allowing him to confront and overcome that particular fear. Finishing within the allotted time led to receiving the “good” ending, where Ned was a bit surer of himself and felt loved. The “bad” ending saw Ned as even more of a wreck than when he started.

Vernon and Conrad, typical bullies.

During development of the game, Disney saw potential in Nightmare Ned and decided to adapt it into an animated series for their new Disney’s One Saturday Morning programming block. Developed, produced and directed by Donovan Cook, the animated Ned took a departure from the game. His family, only briefly seen in the game, was featured more prominently in the show. There was his father, Ed (Brad Garrett), his unnamed mother (Victoria Jackson), and little baby sister. Ned (still Mead) also gained two bullies that constantly harassed him: the crown-wearing Conrad (Jeff Bennet) and the big-nosed Vernon (Rob Paulsen).

Ned becomes a girl who wants to be recognized as a boy.

There were no supernatural entities to be found to fuel Ned’s nightmares. Instead, an event in Ned’s real life would cause his anxiety to activate his wild imagination, leading to a bizarre nightmare related to whatever the incident was indicated by a swirl after Ned fell asleep. For instance, wanting to adopt a pet pig but discovering that his favorite food, Canadian bacon, was made from pigs, led to a nightmare where Ned ran away to live with the pig’s family only to realize they were fattening him up to eat him. Another saw Conrad and Vernon trick Ned into using the girl’s bathroom at school, leading to a nightmare where Ned became a girl. Or, when Conrad and Vernon managed to sneak dog food into Ned’s food, he dreamt that he was transformed into a dog. Each nightmare ended with Ned waking up with a start, and usually helped lead him to a solution for whatever his difficulty was. Each episode served to address a typical fear and anxiety experienced by young children that often wasn’t addressed by other programs.


Nightmare Ned began on April 19, 1997 on ABC (coincidentally coinciding with Mead’s 10th birthday). Produced by Walt Disney Television Animation, the animated Ned abandoned all the different visual styles seen in the game, which released a short time later that June, and focused on straightforward hand animation. Each episode was broken up into two segments written by Mitch Watson, Mike Bell, Peter Gaffney and Ralph Soll, with Gaffney and Gary Sperling serving as story editors. Steve Bartek composed the music. Dohrn also served as a director and storyboard artist on the show, while the Creative founders functioned as executive producers.

Probed by aliens.

After Ned aired its twelve completed episodes by August, the series disappeared entirely from the airwaves. Unlike other Disney programs, especially ones created during that time period, it was never rerun on any of the Disney-owned cable networks. Several unproven explanations have been given for this cancellation. Allegedly, the series was running over budget and Disney wasn’t seeing enough of a return on their investment in it to continue. Another explanation was there were creative conflicts between Cook and Dohrn, which contributed to the budget problem. Further, despite it being extremely toned down in comparison to the game, the content and subject matter raised the ire of parents who complained to Disney and the network.

The Tooth Fairy up to no good.

Because of its sudden departure and abandonment by Disney, the show has gone on to gain a bit of a cult status and following. It was all but forgotten until old VHS recordings of the series were found and began appearing on streaming services like YouTube. As of this writing, one segment and one episode remain missing, and the third episode is allegedly not available in English. 



EPISODE GUIDE:
“Ned’s Life as a Dog / A Doll’s House” (4/19/97) – Ned dreams he becomes a dog after eating dog food. / Ned becomes a doll after the girls dress him up.

“Robot Ned / Dapper Dan” (4/26/97) – Possessing a robot toy sees Ned become a robot himself. / Forgetting all of his clothes leads Ned to being tortured in various ways by Conrad and Vernon.

“Monster Ned / The Ants” (5/3/97) – Ned becomes a giant kaiju. / Ned and his father end up trapped on an ant farm.

“Magic Bus / Until Undeath Do Us Part” (5/10/97) – A puppet drives the scary bus Ned finds himself on. / After Ned sees a horror movie in the theater, zombies begin to rise from their graves.

“Headless Lester / My, How You’ve Grown” (5/17/97) – Ned’s camp counselor relays the scary story of a headless man who came to the camp. / Ned begins to grow older quickly.

“Tooth or Consequences / Show Me the Infidel” (5/24/97) – Ned travels to a world full of lost teeth and confronts the Tooth Fairy. / Ned falls off a ride at the amusement park and ends up in a cave with goblins.

“Willie Trout / House of Games” (5/31/97) – A fishing trip puts Ned in a position to be bait for a giant trout. / Everything in Ned’s house comes to life.

“Girl Trouble / Canadian Bacon” (6/7/97) – Conrad and Vernon trick Ned into using the girls’ bathroom and he actually becomes a girl. / Ned wants to adopt a pet pig until he realizes that his favorite food is Canadian bacon.

“Abduction / Bad Report Card” (6/14/97) – Aliens abduct cows to put mustaches on them, including Ned who wears a cow costume. / Ned’s world comes crashing down when he gets a failing report card.

“Testing...Testing… / The Accordion Lesson” (6/21/97) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

“Along for the Ride / Steamed Vegetables” (6/28/97) – Ned is dragged along on a long, boring family road trip. / Ned is nervous about appearing in the school play.

“Lucky Abe (One Cent Ned) / The Dentist / The Ballad of Vernon & Conrad” (8/9/97) – Trying to learn a magic trick leads Ned to swallowing the family’s lucky penny. / NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE. / NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

October 13, 2018

COMMERCIAL BREAK: REESE'S HALLOWEEN

While watching on a spooky October Saturday morning, you were probably frightened by these:







CASPER AND THE ANGELS


CASPER AND THE ANGELS
(NBC, September 22-December 15, 1979)

Hanna-Barbera Productions




MAIN CAST:
Julie McWhirter – Casper
John Stephenson – Hairy Scarey, Commander
Diana McCannon – Space Patrol Officer Maxi
Laurel Page – Space Patrol Officer Mini
Hal Smith – Nerdley
Paul Winchell – Fungo


            When Harvey Cartoons approached Hanna-Barbera about producing their next Casper series, the results ended up becoming a hodgepodge of different ideas blended together.

Casper, Maxi, Mini and Hairy.


            The new Casper series became Hanna-Barbera’s second attempt at cashing in on the fame of Charlie’s Angels following Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. The difference was this time they opted to mix in a little CHiPs and a taste of The Jetsons as the Angels in question, the ditzy Mini (Laurel Page, who also starred in Caveman) and the sensible yet short-tempered Maxi (Diana McCannon), were jet cycle cops in the year 2179. Joining them on their assignments was Casper (Julie McWhirter), as well as two inept junior partners, Nerdley (Hal Smith) and Fungo (Paul Winchell). Rounding out the rag-tag bunch was Casper's cousin Hairy Scarey (John Stephenson impersonating Ed Wynn), a more traditional ghost who liked to scare and often fell into helping the Angels out on their cases. Unlike other ghosts in the Casper franchise, Hairy was more accepting of Casper’s gentle nature and did his best to try and teach him how to be a real ghost. The Angels’ orders came from The Commander (Stephenson) via communicator screen.

Hairy giving Fungo and Nerdley a fright.

            Casper and the Angels debuted on NBC on September 22, 1979. The show was written by Jack Bonestell, Patsy Cameron, Gary Greenfield, Bob Ogle and Dick Robbins, with Ogle serving as story editor. Hoyt Curtin provided the music. The series limped along for a single season, not really catching much of an audience. Hanna-Barbera gave it their all, however, as while the show was in production they also produced two Casper specials featuring Hairy. Casper’s Halloween Special aired on October 30th, and Casper’s First Christmas aired on December 18th. Neither special was set in the futuristic setting of The Angels, or featured the Angels themselves; however the cast, save Page and Winchell, were reused for different roles in Halloween.   

Hairy showing The Commander some respect.

In 1995, Turner Home Entertainment released two VHS collections, The Boo Zoo and Stars & Frights, featuring five episodes of the show between them. In 2000, Warner Home Video released the Halloween special on VHS and included six episodes with it. The series itself has yet to see any kind of release to DVD.



EPISODE GUIDE:
“Casper’s Golden Chance / Space Circus” (9/22/79) – Mini and Maxi are after gold thieves while Hairy teaches Casper how to scare. / A diamond smuggler happens to hold out at the circus Casper and Hairy go to.

“Casper Ghosts West / Casper’s Camp Out” (9/29/79) – The team is tasked with protecting Sandy Gulch from goons disguised as ghosts. / While on a camping excursion, the team has to deal with a damaged dam.

“Strike Four / The Space Pirate” (10/6/79) – Someone impersonates the star player of the Space City Dodgers. / The team plans to foil Spacebard’s plot to rob a bank.

“Ship-Wrecked / The Cat Burglar” (10/13/79) – Hairy gets the team stranded on a remote planet with hostile inhabitants. / Hairy helps Nerdley and Fungo solve a burglary after they fail to catch the thief.

“Something Fishy / The Smiling Lisa” (10/20/79) – A seal from the Space Aquarium gets held for ransom. / The team is assigned to guard the Smiling Lisa, but find out it’s already stolen upon their arrival.

“A Pocket Full O’Schemes / A Tale of Two Trashmen” (10/27/79) – Mini and Maxi argue over who gets the credit for capturing a pickpocket. / Burglars use disguises as trashmen to make off with their stolen goods.

“Fatula / T.V. or Not T.V.” (11/3/79) – An old collar seeks revenge against Mini and Maxi. / Casper and Hairy keep an escaped criminal from ruining Mini and Maxi’s TV debuts.

“Gone to the Dogs / Private Eyeball to Eyeball” (11/10/79) – Hairy poses as a dog to catch a thieving dog catcher. / Hairy becomes a private eye to investigate a crooked detective looking to steal the gold the Angels guard.

“Champ for a Day / The Ghost Robbers” (11/17/79) – The Angels have to find a wrestler’s stolen teddy bear to get him back into the ring. / Casper and Hairy are framed for robbing a bank.

“Aunt Mary Scarey / The Ice Heist” (11/24/79) – Hairy pretends to be the commander in order to impress his aunt. / The team works to uncover a ring of jewel thieves in a hotel.

“A Shoplifting Experience / The Impossible Scream” (12/1/79) – The team pursues a high-tech shoplifter. / Muscles McSnort causes trouble in the city, but the team has to stop him without Hairy who has lost confidence after failing to scare him.

“Prehistoric Hi-Jinx / The Commander is Missing” (12/8/79) – While guarding a scientist’s lab, the team accidentally gets sent back in time. / The team has to find out what happened to their boss.

“Love at First Fright / Saving Grace in Outer Space” (12/15/79) – Hairy begs Mini and Maxi to let him tag along on an assignment to guard an actress he’s fallen for. / The Commander’s troublesome niece stows away aboard a stolen spacecraft.

October 10, 2018

RIP ADAM BURKE




You can read the full story here.


Burke, primarily known for his work with Disney and Pixar, provided art clean-up for the Gargoyles video game from 1995.


October 08, 2018

DON SANDBURG DEAD AT 87



You can read the full story here.


Sandburg, the last surviving member of Bozo's Circus, was also the associate producer for The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.



October 06, 2018

THE VENOM SAGA




            Venom is one of Spider-Man’s greatest and scariest enemies. He possesses all of Spidey’s powers, and none of the responsibility. With Sony’s Venom hitting theaters this weekend (and it being Halloween month), we’re going to take a look at one of Spidey’s scarier rogues.

Note to self: avoid self-making costumes.

            Venom has a very intricate backstory. The look that Venom traditionally sports was actually intended as a new costume for Spidey, making its debut in The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1 #252 (1984). However, chronologically, it first appeared in the pages of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8 (1984). Secret Wars was the first large-scale crossover in comics that saw a group of various heroes and villains whisked away to an alien planet to do battle. There, Spidey, using what he thought was a costume-repairing machine, actually housed a living entity known as a Symbiote. It bonded with Spidey and created his new black costume designed by artist Mike Zeck.

Out! Out, damn spot!

            The idea for Spidey’s new look came from reader Randy Scheuller, who had submitted it as part of a competition for aspiring writers and artists. Then-editor-in-chief Jim Shooter liked the idea and bought it from Randy for $220. The idea for the suit to be a biological material that could self-heal was one abandoned by John Byrne during his run on Iron Fist, but used by Roger Stern when he plotted Amazing #252. After Stern left the book, writer Tom DeFalco and artist Ron Frenz were the ones who established it as a sentient being vulnerable to fire and high sonic energy. Learning the nature of his costume, Spidey used a church bell to remove it from his body in Web of Spider-Man vol. 1 #1 (1985).

Mary Jane gets an unwelcome guest.

            That wasn’t the end of the story. Over the next year, Spidey would find himself the target of a stalker that wouldn’t set off his spider-sense. The creature that would become known as Venom would make a cameo in The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 1 #299 (1988) terrorizing Spidey’s wife, Mary Jane Watson, before making his first full appearance in #300 by David Michelinie and Todd McFarlane. It turned out that reporter Eddie Brock had misreported the identity of serial-killer Sin-Eater on the word of a chronic confessor, resulting in his disgrace in the industry and being banished to the pages of the tabloids after Spidey captured the real one. His depression took him to the very church where Spidey freed himself of the Symbiote, causing it to be drawn by their mutual hatred of Spidey and bonding together. Because of the Symbiote’s earlier bond to Spidey, Brock had gained access to all of Spidey’s memories, all of his powers, and the ability to evade detection by his spider-sense.




            The character proved immensely popular, appearing several more times as a villain in Spidey comics before turning into an anti-hero and getting a number of books of his own. Over the years, the Venom symbiote has changed hands. For a time, former Scorpion Mac Gargan became the new Venom. Later, the Symbiote was bonded with Spidey friend Flash Thompson, turning him into Agent Venom. The Symbiote was also briefly joined with gang member Lee Price before ultimately returning to Brock and resuming his career as an anti-hero with villainous tendencies.

Dance, puppet, dance!

            While Venom had appeared in toys and video games since his creation, his first time being adapted to other media was in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. After Spidey (Christopher Daniel Barnes) rescued John Jameson (Michael Horton) and his crew from a downed space shuttle, he found himself covered in a black goo that turned out to be the Symbiote. In this version, Eddie Brock’s (Hank Azaria) fall from grace came when he teamed-up with Norman Osborn (Neil Ross) and Spencer Smythe (Edward Mulhare) to capture and unmask Spidey, but ended up with Flash Thompson who was pulling a prank in a Spidey costume instead. Brock’s second fall from grace came when he attempted to accuse Spidey of robbing the space shuttle, leaving out the involvement of Rhino (Don Stark). After Spidey rejected the Symbiote, it found Brock and they became Venom in order to achieve mutual vengeance against him.

Ain't no wall high enough...

            His next appearance was in Spider-Man Unlimited. Venom (Brian Drummond) and his adversarial offspring, Carnage (Michael Donovan), hitched a ride on John Jameson’s (John Payne) space shuttle to follow a compulsion to journey to Counter-Earth: an exact duplicate of Earth on the other side of the son. Fully bonded to their respective Symbiotes, the pair attempt to help conquer that world for the Synoptic, a hive-minded legion of Symbiotes.

One can never have too many mouths.

            The Spectacular Spider-Man had Eddie Brock (Benjamin Diskin) be deeply connected to Peter Parker (Josh Keaton). Both orphaned, the boys grew up together but Brock was secretly jealous that Peter had his relatives to look after him. A series of misunderstandings causes a rift to grow between the boys, but the final straw came when Spidey bonded with the Symbiote being studied by Dr. Curt Connors (Dee Bradley Baker). Without the Symbiote, the lab lost its funding and Brock his job. When Spidey tried to get free of and destroy the Symbiote, it unleashed Brock’s animosity towards both Spidey and Peter and drew the Symbiote to bond with him and become Venom.

Grabby grabby.

            Venom continued to appear in various forms throughout subsequent animated Marvel shows, but returned to Saturdays with Marvel’s Spider-Man. The show found the Symbiote being an unknown substance labeled V-252 from the space program that was donated to Horizon High for study. Using it in a project sees Spidey (Robbie Daymond) become bonded to the substance, making him more powerful. However, upon realizing it also made him more aggressive, he separated himself from it and the V-252 eventually wound up in the “safe” hands of the Avengers’ lab. The V-252 escaped and bonded with Flash Thompson (Diskin), before eventually finding its way to Eddie Brock (Ben Pronsky), who was jealous of Peter outdoing him in obtaining footage of Spidey’s latest battle.