October 26, 2019

GROOVIE GOOLIES


GROOVIE GOOLIES
(CBS, September 12-December 26, 1970)

Filmation Associates




MAIN CAST:
Larry Storch – Drac, Hagatha, Ghoulihand, Batso, Ratso (both first half), Icky, various
Howard Morris – Frankie, Wolfie, Fido, Hagatha (3 episodes), Dr. Jekyll and Hyde, Mummy, Hauntleroy, Orville, various
Jane Webb – Bella La Ghostly, Sabrina Spellman, various
Larry D. Mann – Rover, Boneapart, various
Dallas McKennon – Batso, Ratso (both second half), Goo, Salem, various


            Television airings of the classic Universal Monsters movies had found the franchises with a new popularity in the 1960s. Filmation producer Lou Scheimer grew up with those films and decided to create a humorous homage to them.

Welcome to Horrible Hall.


            Scheimer hired Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In writers Jack Mendelsohn and Jim Mulligan to develop the series. They ultimately settled on the scenario of a group of monsters living together in a castle and also performing together in a band. Initially, the castle, named Horrible Hall, was meant to be an inn that would be frequented by various guest monsters and ghouls resulting in the title Monster Inn; emphasizing both the setting and serving as a parody of the Laugh-In title, of which the show would take heavy influence from. There would also be a villain named Syndey Sneaking-Slyly trying to get to a treasure buried beneath the castle. Once that aspect was dropped, the name “The Kookie Spookies” was adopted for much of the show’s early production until they were forced to change it as it sounded too close to Hasbro’s short-lived “Kooky Spooky” toyline. Ultimately, the group and the show became “The Groovie Goolies” (the unique spelling designed to avoid any claims of copyright infringement from other companies; although the traditional “ghoul” did appear from time to time).

Frankie, Drac and Wolfie play for Bella, Orville, Hagatha, Hauntleory, Icky, Goo, Ratso and Batso.

            The Goolies were comprised of Drac (Larry Storch), a pastiche of Dracula, the short-tempered leader who played the pipe organ; Frankie (Howard Morris, doing a loose impersonation Boris Karloff), based on Frankenstein’s monster, who was the easygoing head of the Muscleleum Gymnasium and played either bone xylophones or drums (later misinformation would call Frankie the son of Drac and Hagatha); and Wolfie (also Morris), based on the wolfman, who spoke in a mix of beatnik, surfer and hippie slang and played a lyre-like instrument. Other residents of Horrible Hall included Hagatha (Storch & Morris), a plump witch that served as the chef and had a sentient broom named Broomhilda; Bella La Ghostly (a play on Bela Lugosi, voiced by Jane Webb), the vampiric switchboard operator; Dr. Jekyll and Hyde (Morris), the resident doctor with a human and a monstrous head (a play on the dual nature of the original monster); Mummy (Morris, impersonating W.C. Fields), the resident newscaster with a penchant for first aid and often became unraveled; Boneapart (Larry D. Mann), a skittish skeleton in a Napoleon hat (a nod to his namesake) that often fell apart; Ghoulihand (Storch), a giant talking glove; Batso and Ratso (initially Storch, but later Dallas McKennon), two imps who often stole treats and played mean practical jokes (that often backfired on them); Hauntleroy (Morris), Hagatha’s nephew who was selfish and two-faced; and Icky (Storch) and Goo (McKennon), two gargoyle-like creatures that were the resident pets along with Rover (Mann), Frankie’s pet dinosaur, and Fido, Wolfie’s pet piranha. Of course, other familiar trappings from the genre made appearances such as ghosts, man-eating plants and sentient furniture.

Sabrina being bored by Drac.

            Groovie Goolies debuted on CBS on September 12, 1970. The show was picked up by Head of Children’s Programming Fred Silverman who was looking for a compliment to their successful Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Since both shows featured witches, it was decided to package Goolies together with Filmation’s other offering, Sabrina the Teenage Witch; a spin-off of their popular The Archie Show. The hour-long Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies featured two 15-minute Sabrina segments and a 30-minute block of Goolies, with both sets of characters crossing over into each other’s shows.

Ratso and Batso trading barbs during Weird Window Time.

            The series was written by Mendelsohn and Mulligan with Bob Ogle, Chuck Menville, Len Janson, Jim Ryan and Bill Danch. As said, the show took strong inspiration from Laugh-In and featured a similar structure of quick skits and jokes. “Weird Windows Time” was a direct spoof of Laugh-In’s Joke Wall, where the Goolies would pop out of various places and trade jokes. Each Goolie had a special segment, such as Dracula’s Schoolhouse, where Drac taught mad science; Hagatha’s Bedtime Stories, where she read a popular fairy tale to Frankie and the other residents all acted out the roles; Home Movies, which had the character’s watching videos from their pasts; The Mummy’s Wrap-Up, where Mummy would deliver news stories about other monsters; and Wolfie’s Theater, which was similar to Hagatha’s stories but with a stage performance set-up. Often, the characters would deliver educational tips about various subjects to the audience. A recurring gag saw Frankie being struck by lightning and then remarking “I needed that!”, as well as possessing the dual identity as inept superhero Super Ghoul.

The Mummies and the Puppies.

Each show also featured two musical numbers; one performed by the Goolies, and another by a guest band. Those bands included The Bare Bones Band, comprised of three skeletons; The Mummies and the Puppies (a play on The Mamas and the Papas), comprised of a family of mummies and dogs; The Rolling Headstones (a play on The Rolling Stones), made up of three living tombstones; and The Spirits of ’76, which had three ghosts wearing the tricorne hats common during the 18th Century. Other groups conceived of during pre-production but not used were The Japanese Beatles, The Rolling Rocks, The Door Jammers and The Snapping Turtles. The songs were written by and arranged by Richard Delvy (as Linda Martin), Ed Fournier (as Sherry Gayden) and Dick Monda. Fournier and Monda also provided vocals with Bob Markland, Chris Sciarrotta and Dave Mani. The series’ background music was composed by Ray Ellis (as Jeff Michael), with additional music and sound effects provided by Horita-Mahana Corp. and Jan Moore. The titles of the songs would go on to provide episode titles for home media releases, as the original episodes went untitled and were only classified by their production numbers.

Some random tomfoolery.

Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies was the highest-rated children’s program in 1970. In 1971, CBS split up the two shows. Sabrina was removed from the Goolies into and replaced with clips from “The Monster Trio”, and was omitted by changes to the theme song’s lyrics. They also moved the show to Sunday mornings and paired it with Tom and Jerry. After a single season there, CBS cancelled Goolies. However, the characters continued to appear in Sabrina and became series regulars in 1972. That same year, they also appeared on rival network ABC in Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies, which aired as part of The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie. ABC would later broadcast reruns of Goolies in 1975. The characters would make two final new appearances in episodes of The New Archie and Sabrina Hour, and Frankie was featured in the show’s closing credits. Despite its short run, Goolies was broadcast globally and translated into many languages. The show was so popular in France that the characters were included on a float in France’s 1986 Carnaval de Cholet.

The Groovie Goolies rocking out.

As with The Archie Show and The Hardy Boys, Filmation heavily pushed the musical aspect of the series. An album of 10 songs was released by RCA Victor Records in 1970; 8 of them had been featured on the show with “Save Your Good Lovin’ For Me” going on to be the only single, while “We Go So Good Together” and “Spend Some Time Together” were exclusive to the album. Featured on the cover was Monda, Fournier and songwriter Jeffrey Thomas in costume as Drac, Wolfie and Frankie, respectively; roles they would later reprise for the live-action segment of Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies, although Thomas and Fournier switched roles (home releases of the special would omit the live segments). Neither release sold particularly well, although a revised version of “Chick-a-Boom (Don’t Ya Jes’ Love It)” by Monda under the alias Daddy Dewdrop reached at #9 on the Billboard singles chart. A live version of the Goolies briefly toured in 1971 lip-synching to the series’ songs. Their make-up was provided by Wes and Robert Dawn.

A spider provides a tennis net for the Goolies and Mummy.

The French version received its own album in 1983 by Magical Ring Records under the translated title “Les Croque Monstres”. Only the theme song was carried over and translated; the rest of the songs were new monster-themed ones and covers of other hit songs. To promote the album, a band dressed up as the Goolies (including Mummy) performed the theme song. The album would be reissued in 2013 by Balthazar Music with a slightly different track order. In 1992, Bonton released a pair of albums titled Bubusou in Czechoslovakia featuring all 33 of the show’s songs translated by Jiří Josek.

Character models.

Groovie Goolies saw numerous releases onto home media. On VHS in the United States, Embassy Home Entertainment released Haunted Hijinks in 1985 and United American Video released Double Feature in 1989 and Live from Horrible Hall in 1990. In the United Kingdom, Select Video released Groovie Ghouls in 1985 that would be re-released by Kids Kollection in 1990, and Intervision Video included three episodes in both volumes of Filmation’s Children’s Cartoon Festival: Groovie Goolies in 1988. In Germany, Select Video released Geisterstunde in Horrible Hall in 1986, Die Lustige Monster Show: Im Horrorschlob & Das Gruselkabinett in 1990. Argentina and France had one release each with Mis Adorables Monstuitos from Buena Onda Home Video in 1986 and Les Croque Monstres by Sunbird Junior in 1989. On DVD, in the United States BCI/Eclipse released The Saturday “Mourning” Collection in 2006 which contained the whole series, then split it up between the two The Frightfully Funny Collection releases in 2008. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment would release a best-of collection in 2012 called simply Groovie Goolies. In 2009, Savor Ediciones Emon released the complete series in Spain as Mis Queridos Monstruos, and Australia would get their own release in 2016 from Universal Pictures.

Bella helping in the kitchen.

Goolies received its fair share of merchandising as well. During the show’s run, there was a coloring book and a magic slate produced by Whitman, puzzles depicting scenes from the show made by Fairchild, a collection of figurines by Chemtoy Corporation, candy with prizes, and a series of costumes by Ben Cooper, Inc.. In 2010, Monstarz released limited edition maquettes of Drac, Frankie and Wolife. In 2017, Hot Toy Cars partnered with LB Customz to make two limited edition die-cast cars featuring graphics of the Goolies in the form of a VW Drag Bus and a Dairy Delivery truck.

Drac taking the skelevator.

In 1977, Filmation produced the package program The Groovie Goolies and Friends comprised of their properties that had too few episodes to syndicate individually. Goolies reruns were rotated with The New Adventures of Waldo Kitty, Lassie’s Rescue Rangers, The New Adventures of Gilligan, My Favorite Martians, M-U-S-H., Fraidy Cat and Wacky and Packy. While each show retained their original end credits, Filmation created a new intro for the package and animated new bumper segments where the Goolies would interact with the characters from the other shows.

Drac and Bella moonlighting with Prime Evil on GhostBusters.

Over the years, Filmation planned several revivals of the show in various forms that never saw fruition. The idea of a feature film was floated in 1978. In 1984, Filmation came up with the concept of Fright Camp, which would star the children of the original Goolies attending a summer camp. They also toyed around with The Goolies, which would have featured the characters as toddlers as part of the growing babyfication craze started by Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies. Ultimately, Goolies would live on in Filmation’s GhostBusters cartoon via recycled elements, including the Skelevator (an elevator made of bone), a skeleton character who fell apart, and the appearance of Drac and Bella’s character models and animations as new characters.



EPISODE GUIDE:
“When I Grow Up” (9/12/70) – Drac shows Frankie and Wolfie his torture chamber and gets trapped in a device; Wolfie performs his version of Little Red Riding Hood; Hagatha fights with tumbleweeds; Hauntleroy’s exercise bike ends up more intense than he planned.
Songs: “Monster Cookbook” – The Groovie Goolies, “When I Grow Up” – The Mummies and the Puppies

“Population Party” (9/19/70) – Wolfie drives his Wolf Wagon around the castle; Frankie tries to train Rover; Bella tries to help Boneapart with his dog problem; Ratso and Batso want to steal Hagatha’s pie.
Songs: “One, Two, Three” – The Groovie Goolies, “The First Annual Semi-Formal Combination Celebration Meet-The-Monster Population Party” – The Bare Bones Band

“Lights Out” (9/26/70) – The monsters try to capture Drac’s great-uncle; Drac gets a physical; Tiny tries to get people to stop throwing shoes at him; Hagatha puts a spell on her cookie jar; Frankie helps Drac work out.
Songs: “Cling Clang” – The Groovie Goolies, “Lights Out” – The Rolling Headstones

“Goolie Garden” (10/3/70) – The monsters play golf; Wolfie accidentally disfigures Mummy and Boneapart; Hagatha fights the Big Green Meanie; Wolfie gives surfing lessons.
Songs: “Goolie Garden” – The Groovie Goolies, “Monsters on Parade” – The Spirits of ‘76

“Monster Trio” (10/10/70) – The monsters clean the castle; Boneapart teaches Ratso and Batso about skeletons; Tiny asks Bella’s advice on Missy’s leering eye; Dr. Jekyll and Hyde treat Ghoulihand after an accident; Hagatha gets into a fight with the mailbox.
Songs: “Monster Trio” – The Groovie Goolies, “Super Ghoul” – The Bare Bones Band

“Feed the Ghosts Some Garlic” (10/17/70) – The monsters play baseball; Hagatha tells her version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears; Drac talks about his ancestors; Ratso and Batso try to take Wolfie’s surfboard; Frankie pesters Hagatha for food.
Songs: “Feed the Ghosts Some Garlic” – The Groovie Goolies, “Midnight” – The Rolling Headstones

“Frankie” (10/24/70) – Frankie and Wolfie try to cheer up Orville; the Lovesick Loveseat stalks Drac; Ratso and Batso are up to no good; Bella and Drac try to teach Frankie manners; Frankie shows off Rover’s training.
Songs: “Frankie” – The Groovie Goolies, “Be Kind to Monsters Week” – The Spirits of ‘76

“What’s in the Bag?” (10/31/70) – Drac’s lessons on anatomy to Batso and Ratso are a bust; Frankie plays some home movies; Ghoulihand helps Wolfie build a garage; Frankie tries to get a troublesome bush out of Hagatha’s garden.
Songs: “What’s in the Bag?” – The Groovie Goolies, “When the Moon is Full” – The Mummies and the Puppies

“Goolie Picnic” (11/7/70) – Drac shows Sabrina the castle museum; Wolfie performs The Shoemaker and the Elves; the monsters play tennis; Jekyll and Hyde attempt to reassemble Boneapart; Frankie leads a Gool Scout troop.
Songs: “Goolie Picnic” – The Groovie Goolies, “Little Texas Goolie” – The Spirits of ‘76

“Where You Going, Little Ghoul?” (11/14/70) – Hagatha reads Frankie Handel and Gretel; Drac is having an unlucky day; Hauntleroy gets blamed for Batso and Ratso stealing Hagatha’s soup; Mummy reports on King Kong’s engagement; Wolfie and Boneapart dive for treasure.
Songs: “Noises” – The Groovie Goolies, “Where You Going, Little Ghoul?” – The Mummies and the Puppies

“Gool School” (11/21/70) – Drac and Frankie watch over Wolfie when he starts sleepwalking from an illness; Frankie shows home movies of his birthday party; a ghost comes to Bella for advice; Ghoulihand is tasked with guarding Hagatha’s pie; Hagatha replaces Broomhilda with a vacuum.
Songs: “Gool School” – The Groovie Goolies, “Bumble Goolie” – The Bare Bones Band

“Save Your Good Lovin’ For Me” (11/28/70) – The monsters play football; Ratso and Batso play with a strange gas; Wolfie receives an ad for a tropical vacation; Ghoulihand tries to cheer up a homesick Mummy; Frankie visits Jekyll and Hyde.
Songs: “Save Your Good Lovin’ For Me” – The Groovie Goolies, “Chick-A-Boom (Don’t Ya Jes’ Love It)” – The Rolling Headstones

“Darlin’ Darlin’” (12/5/70) – When Frankie makes Drac unable to fly, Wolfie takes them both out cruising; Frankie shows Wolfie how to exercise; Ratso and Batso invent a mist to help them sneak into the kitchen; Frankie and Mummy encounter a dragon.
Songs: “Darlin’ Darlin’” – The Groovie Goolies, “Kings and Queens” – The Bare Bones Band

“Shadows” (12/12/70) – Frankie ties to keep things quiet for Drac’s nap; Hagatha tells Frankie the story of The Gingerbread Boy; Bella is tasked with finding the Headless Horseman’s head; Broomhilda gets drunk on fermented spider cider.
Songs: “Shadows” – The Groovie Goolies, “Isn’t It a Lovely Night for Scaring?” – The Mummies and the Puppies

“Witches Brew” (12/19/70) – Bella redecorates the castle; Wolfie shows Sabrina his improvements to the Wolf Wagon; Drac plays a home movie of a concert; Mummy and Boneapart rescue the Lovesick Loveseat when Drac throws it out; Ratso and Batso enchant Broomhilda; Super Ghoul saves Hagatha’s mushrooms from the Monstrous Mole.
Songs: “Witches Brew” – The Groovie Goolies, “Creeper Crawler” – The Rolling Headstones

“Goolie Swing” (12/26/70) – The monsters compete in track and field; Drac shows Boneapart his art collection; Frankie goes bird watching; Bella helps a ghost overcome his fear of scaring; Hagatha prepares broomstick stew; Super Ghoul attempts to tame the Wolf Wagon.
Songs: “Goolie Swing” – The Groovie Goolies, “Listen for the Bells (Goolie Get-Together)” – The Spirits of ‘76

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