April 11, 2020

COOL McCOOL


COOL McCOOL
(NBC, September 10, 1966-January 21, 1967)

Cavalier Productions, King Features




MAIN CAST:
Bob McFadden – Cool McCool, Harry McCool, various
Chuck McCann – Number One, Mr. Riggs, Breezy, Dick, Tom, The Owl, The Rattler, Dr. Madcap, Hurricane Harry, Jack-in-a-Box, various
Carol Corbett – Friday, Greta Ghoul, Pussycat, Bellows Belle various


            Cool McCool was the second animated series featuring the involvement of Bob Kane after Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse, which spoofed his greatest-known creation: Batman.

Cool McCool being briefed by Number One.


            Cool was also a spoof, but this time of spy genre; which it achieved by aping another spoof: Get Smart. The central character was the titular Cool McCool (Bob McFadden, doing a loose imitation of Jack Benny rather than Smart’s Don Adams), a bumbling spy for Secret Inc. who only succeeded by pure accident and luck. Like a stereotypical spy, he always went around in a long trench coat and gloves. His long-suffering superior was Number One (Chuck McCann). He was obscured from the audience behind his huge chair, with only his arms and cigar ever seen. A running gag saw Cool foul something up in Number One’s office after solving the case, to which he uttered “It will never happen again” before Number One used a control panel to eject Cool from the building. Mr. Riggs (McCann) was the agency’s technician and repairman who created the gadgets Cool used on his missions, which often backfired and hurt Cool (the only thing Cool was blamed for that wasn’t his fault). These devices included Cool’s transport the Coolmobile, which he could summon with a whistle and change into any kind of vehicle needed, and his mustache communicator, along with various specialty weapons. Other members of Secret Inc. included Number One’s klutzy secretary, Friday (Carol Corbett), who had a crush on Cool, and Cool’s soft-spoken and more competent occasional sidekick, Breezy (McCann).

Cool's regular rogues: Greta Ghoul, Dr. Madcap, Hurricane Harry, The Rattler and Jack-in-a-Box.

            Cool frequently faced off against a kooky assortment of villains (many patterned after Batman villains). Among them was The Owl (McCann), an owl-themed supervillain who often used birds in his schemes and had a cat-themed girlfriend named Pussycat (Corbett); The Rattler (McCann), a snake-like cyborg with a passion for art and control over plant life; Dr. Madcap (McCann), who could control hats and make them do his bidding with various effects; Greta Ghoul (Corbett, impersonating Greta Garbo whom she was modeled after), Dr. Madcap’s vampy wife who often doesn’t feel appreciated or loved by him; Hurricane Harry (McCann), an overweight man who could blow mighty gusts of wind and could be deflated by knocking out his buck tooth; Bellows Belle (Corbett, speaking with a wheeze), was Harry’s fiancĂ© and often aided in his plans or re-inflated him with a bicycle pump; and Jack-in-a-Box (McCann), a crook patterned after a jack-in-the-box who used a variety of kooky gadgets in his thefts.

The Komedy Kops: Tom, Dick and Harry.

            A second feature of the show focused on Cool’s father, Harry McCool (also McFadden), who was a police officer. Harry was partnered with his brothers Dick, the rotund member of the group, and Tom, who spoke in gibberish that only Harry could understand and had to translate for Dick (both brothers voiced by McCann). They were known as the Komedy Kops (a play on the Keystone Kops), as well as having their names based on the phrase “Tom, Dick and Harry.” Harry was the most intelligent of the three (which wasn’t saying much) and thus the de facto leader, although he was even more of a bumbler than his son. As none of the brothers knew how to drive, their primary mode of transportation was a three-seater bicycle.

Cool in the Coolmobile talking on his wrist watch communicator.

            Cool McCool debuted on NBC on September 10, 1966. As the series was co-created by Albert Bordax, it was produced by King Features’ film division and animated by London-based TVC Studios, just like Bordax’s other program, The Beatles. Every episode consisted of two short Cool segments with a Harry segment in between. Each Harry segment was introduced by Cool being bounced into his house by all of his villains and singing about being a great law-enforcer like his father before dozing off, and ended with Cool bumbling up his exit somehow; like shooting off half of his clothes as he tried to holster his gun, or a live grenade blowing up in his face. Outside of the episode “College of Crooks”, those intros were the only place where the villains ever teamed up against Cool. Kane served as the series’ script editor while Bernie Green provided the music.

The Owl behind bars.

            Unlike The Beatles, Cool McCool wasn’t that big a hit. The series was pitted against Filmation’s brand-new The New Adventures of Superman on the schedule, didn’t have the mass-appeal of a major band behind it that The Beatles did, and didn’t have a big merchandising push. After its initial 20 episodes, production on the program ceased; however, NBC continued to air the program through most of 1968 and part of 1969. Nearly 20 years after its last airing, Best Home & Video Co. began releasing several episodes to VHS in North America, while Castle Vision released VHS compilations in the United Kingdom. The UK releases were transferred to DVD by Hollywood DVD beginning in 2003; two of which were paired up with releases of G-Force and Felix the Cat. BCI/Eclipse put two episodes on their 2006 Animated All Stars vol. 1 compilation and released the complete series to DVD in 2007. The entire series was made available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video.



EPISODE GUIDE:
“The Big Blowout / The Phantom of the Opera House / Fine Feathered Fiends” (9/10/66) – Hurricane Harry demands a million dollars to spare the world’s monuments. / Tom, Dick and Harry go after the Phantom of the Opera. / The Owl uses the world’s birds to steal for him.

“If the Hat Fits…Watch It / Horsehide and Go Seek / The House That Jack Built” (9/17/66) – Dr. Madcap uses his hats to steal money. / Tom, Dick and Harry are assigned to protect a famous baseball. / Jack sends Number One a raging bull and traps Cool in a circus with two lions.

“The Odd Boxes Caper / The Vanishing Shoehorns / Garden of Evil” (9/24/66) – Jack decides to crash a dinner honoring detective Sherlock Klotz. / Mighty Morris steals shoehorns and launches Tom, Dick and Harry into orbit. / The Rattler develops a venom ray that causes anyone to hate the closest being.

“Rocket Racket / Here’s Pie in Your Eye / Queen’s Ransom” (10/1/66) – Jack sets his sights on stealing the moon. / Tom, Dick and Harry happen upon a spy stealing Mrs. Plotz’ pie recipes. / Hurricane Harry kidnaps Queen McQueen and rather than pay the ransom, the Foreign Office decides to send Cool after her.

“The Big Brainwash / The Wood-Chopper / Shrinking the Slinker” (10/8/66) – Dr. Madcap uses a giant hat to steal an armored car. / Tom, Dick and Harry pursue a nefarious lumberjack. / The Rattler steals a shrinking formula and uses it on Cool.

“The Box Fox / Gym Dandy / Bagging the Windbag” (10/15/66) – Jack robs an armored car using giggle grenades. / Unable to capture a practical joker, Tom, Dick and Harry decided to hit the gym and get in shape. / Hurricane Harry demands to be crowned king of the world or else he’ll pump it full of air until it pops.

“Will the Real Cool Mobile Please Stand Up / Big Top Cops / Owl on the Prowl” (10/22/66) – Dr. Madcap sells hats that rob their owners. / Tom, Dick and Harry investigate the sabotage of a circus. / The Owl manages to steal a secret formula from Cool and Number One.

“Sniffin, Snoozen, and Sneezen / The New Car / How Now Foul Owl” (10/29/66) – Hurricane Harry uses sleepy smoke to put the world to sleep. / When they allow a crook to get away, the Sarge insists Tom, Dick and Harry learn how to drive a car. / The Mockingbird tricks Cool into believing The Owl is really a secret agent.

“Caps and Robbers / Three Men on a House / The Romantic Rattler” (11/5/66) – Dr. Madcap steals a priceless jewel with a hat that turns the wearer into a mindless fool. / Sarge orders Tom, Dick and Harry to whitewash the jailhouse. / The Rattler falls for the agency’s new female robot.

“Jack in the Boxer / Fowl Play / Love Is a Gas” (11/12/66) – Jack poses as a photographer to steal a movie star’s valuable necklace. / Tom, Dick and Harry crash their bike into a chicken truck and the chickens escape. / Dr. Madcap invents a love gas that causes people to just give him their valuables.

“Who Stole My 32 Secret Agents? / The Jet Set, Yet / The 500lb. Canary Caper” (11/19/66) – Dr. Madcap captures 32 British agents and plans to drain the secrets from their heads. / The Flying Demon steals the key to the city. / The Owl uses a giant canary with a sonic cry to rob banks.

“Fun and Games / McCool Jazz / Mother Greta’s Wrinkle Remover” (11/26/66) – Jack’s new toys rob their owners. / Tom, Dick and Harry investigate the racket at the Pushkey Piano Factory. / Dr. Madcap’s new wrinkle remover is only temporary and leaves the user’s face plaid.

“The Sombrero Affair / Dog Tired / The Moon Goon” (12/3/67) – Cool chases Dr. Madcap and Greta to Mexico. / Tom, Dick and Harry have to find a little old lady’s puppy. / The Owl uses the moon as his new hideout after his latest caper.

“Two Fats and a Fink / High Jokers / Rockabye for Rattler” (12/10/66) – Hurrican Harry plans to kidnap the Maharajah of Mish Mash. / Tom, Dick and Harry give chase to a candy apple thief who absconds with a hot air balloon. / The Rattler steals an armored truck from under Cool’s nose.

“High Jacker Jack / Time Out / The Wind Goddess” (12/17/66) – Jack steals an armored car and seemingly disappears. / Tom, Dick and Harry discover that the town clock has been stolen. / Hurricane Harry steals an ancient Egyptian idol.

“Hot McHot / Monkey Dizziness / A Growing Problem” (12/24/66) – Hurricane Harry uses the sun’s rays to penetrate safes and armored cars. / Tom, Dick and Harry pursue the monkey that stole the hair ribbons from their shared infatuation. / The Rattler covers the planet in vegetation and holds it for ransom.

“Oh Say Can You Seed / Green Dragon / What Goes Up…Must Come Down” (12/31/66) – The Rattler robs a bank with a seed grenade. / A thief is robbing the city and leaving behind the mark of a green dragon. / Cool uses his fog gun to try and retrieve the Statue of Liberty from Hurricane Harry.

“Birds of a Feather Flop Together / A Lot of Ballooney / The Box Popper” (1/7/67) – The Owl uses a flock of birds to rob banks. / Gaston Gaswell gets his revenge on the Kops by creating life-sized balloons that look like them. / Cool unleashes the Box Popper to stop Jack’s latest crime spree.

“Owl’s Well that Ends Well / Goat Chasers / A Tree is a Tree is a…Tree?” (1/14/67) – Cool’s vacation is interrupted by The Owl’s latest crime spree. / While on patrol, Tom, Dick and Harry spot a goat eating a man’s clothing. / The Rattler sells Cool a rare tropical plant that eats everything in Number One’s office.

“The Whistler’s Mommy Case / In the Dough / The College of Crooks” (1/21/67) - The Rattler uses his plants to rob the museum. / Harry’s birthday party is interrupted by the robbery of Ronald Bun’s Bakery. / Cool is confused when a mansion is robbed using the methods of all of his regular foes.

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