February 27, 2018


(FOX, September 12-December 5, 1992)

Blye-Einstein Productions, DiC Entertainment, Reteitalia Ltd.

Bob Einstein – Super Dave Osborne
Art Irizawa – Fuji Hakayito

            Super Dave Osborne is a character created and performed by comedian Bob Einstein. Super Dave believes himself to be an accomplished stuntman, however the gag is that he’s actually the world’s worst and usually ended up coming into cartoon-level bodily harm at the end of one of his impossible stunts. Aiding him in his stunts was his ever-faithful sidekick, Fuji, played by comedian Art Irizawa. Dave, a parody of noted stuntman Evel Knieval, often wore uniforms reminiscent of his.

            Super Dave made his debut in 1972 on The John Byner Comedy Hour and became a regular on Byner’s next show, Bizarre. He also appeared on the short-lived Van Dyke and Company and was a frequent guest on Late Night with David Letterman. In 1987, Super Dave got his own self-titled variety show on Canada’s Global Television Network from 1987-91, which aired on Showtime in the United States. The show took place at Dave’s all-purpose “compound” where guest stars would be introduced in random fashion with elaborate false backstories before Dave would perform one of his bumbling stunts. Demonstrations of the compound’s various features and technology would often replace the typical stunt but would yield the same result of Dave being comedically injured.

Fuji and Super Dave.

            Margaret Loesch decided to bring Super Dave to Fox Kids for the 1992-93 season. The concept was adapted by Einstein and Allan Blye, along with Reed and Bruce Shelley and Mike Maliani into Super Dave: Daredevil for Hire. The show followed Dave (Einstein) and Fuji (Irizawa) as they used their stunt show as a cover for investigating criminal activity or were lured into saving the day under the guise of performing those stunts and Dave’s celebrity. Like the live performances, Dave’s stunts often backfired (partly due to Fuji) resulting in his sustaining severe bodily harm. Part of the show’s comedy involved fourth wall breaking, with the characters acknowledging they were on a show, talking to the audience, and even dealing with the network executives. Einstein and Irizawa were joined by veteran voice actors Frank Welker, B.J. Ward, Stevie Vallance, Kath Soucie, Susan Silo, Don Lake, Brian George, Jesse Corti and Charlie Adler in a variety of supporting roles.

Character model for foe Slash Hazard.

            Super Dave: Daredevil for Hire debuted on FOX on September 12, 1992. The series was produced by Blye-Einstine Productions, along with DiC Entertainment and Reteitalia, Ltd with animation by Hung Long Animation Co., Ltd. and SaeRom Plus One Co., Ltd. Animation. Each episode began with Dave narrating the premise of the upcoming show over clips and ended with a live-action Dave introducing and showing stunts recycled from the earlier Super Dave show. The series was predominantly written by Robert Askin, along with Richard Mueller (misspelled “Muellar” in his credit), Bob Forward, Rowby Goren, Judy Rothman, Phil Harnage, Larry Caroll, David Carren, Jack Hanrahan, Eleanor Burian-Mohr, Einstein and the Shelleys, both of whom were also the story editors. Tom Worrall, Murray McFadden and Mike Watts composed the music.

One of Fuji's character models.

            When it aired, the show was met with criticism for the characterization of Fuji. Early in the show’s development, Kenyon S. Chan, chairman of Asian American studies at Cal State Northridge and a member of Fox Children’s Network Advisory Board, had expressed concerns over Fuji’s design. The exaggerated caricature of the Japanese-Canadian actor leaned towards the negatively stereotypical with his short stature, protruding lip and slit eyes through enormous glasses. That negative characterization was made even worse once episodes started airing and Irizawa’s impersonated heavy Asian accent was finally heard. Along with Chan’s objections, concerns from Asian communities and organizations such as the Media Action Network for Asian Americans prompted FOX to order changes be made to the character

The new Fuji: rounder eyes, less-pronounced lip, and a complete lack of accent.

Loesch announced that new live-action introductions would be recorded in order to show audiences that Fuji was “not a buffoon but is based on a real actor who happens to speak this way.” Stephanie Graziano, Fox’s director of animation, announced she, Irizawa and Einstein would be sitting down to discuss changes to Fuji’s appearance and voice for future episodes. All of that damage control ultimately proved to be for nothing as Daredevil for Hire wasn’t renewed for a second season. A special episode, “The Super Dave Superbowl of Knowledge”, aired in January of 1994 incorporating a slightly-altered design for Fuji and Irizawa’s new vocal performance. The special was written by Einstein, Hanrahan, Burian-Mohr and Kevin Donahue

Cover to one of the VHS tapes.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment released “Space Case” and “Con Job” to VHS, marking the only release of the series to date. Super Dave, however, continued to make appearances on various programs, talk shows, game shows and his own specials. In 2000, the character peaked with the release of his own full-length direct-to-video film, The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave

“Super Bowl, Super Bomb, Super Dave!” (9/12/92) – Super Dave must infiltrate the Super Bowl so as not to initiate a panic as he searches for a bomb.

“Space Case” (9/19/92) – Super Dave heads to space to save an out of control space station.

“Bullet Train Pain” (9/26/92) – Super Dave puts all his skills to the test to try and stop the fastest runaway train ever.

“Con Job” (10/3/92) – Super Dave has to ensure that a very dangerous criminal ends up properly locked up.

“In His President’s Secret Service” (10/10/92) – Super Dave is put in charge of protecting the President of the United States.

“The Fuji-tive” (10/17/92) – Super Dave has to rescue a kidnapped Fuji.

“Double Agent Dave” (10/24/92) – Super Dave is tricked into stealing the Navy’s new submarine.

“Happy Trails” (10/31/92) – Super Dave is tricked into protecting a western town from a gang of recently-paroled crooks.

“Hazard Island” (11/7/92) – Slash Hazard uses Dave’s answering of fan mail to lure Dave to his desert island where the volcano is about to blow.

“Put Another Candle on My Birthday Cake” (11/14/92) – Super Dave spends his birthday trying to protect medical supplies from a biker gang.

“Pain Nine from Outer Space” (11/21/92) – Aliens challenge Super Dave to a game for the fate of Earth.

“Merry Christmas, Super Dave!” (11/28/92) – Super Dave ends up involved in the rescue of a kidnapped Santa.

“Super’s Last Show” (12/5/92) – Tired of the abuse, Super Dave tells the network he’s retiring.

“The Super Dave Superbowl of Knowledge” (1/29/94) – Super Dave educates a group of kids by demonstrating the answers to their various questions.

February 26, 2018


(CBS, January 28-March 18, 1978)

Hanna-Barbera Productions, Norman Maurer Productions, Inc.

Paul WinchellMoe, various
Frank WelkerCurly, Narrator, various
Ross Martin – Agent 000

            The Three Stooges were a vaudeville and comedy team known for physical farce and slapstick. The act began in 1922 as “Ted Healy and His Stooges” (aka “Ted Healy and His Southern Gentlemen” and “Ted Healy and His Racketeers”). The titular Ted Healy was joined by Moe Howard and, a few months later, his brother Shemp. Violinist-comedian Larry Fine joined the act in 1925. Their primary routine would have Healy attempt to sing or tell jokes with his assistants, the Stooges, constantly interrupting him resulting in his angrily retaliating with physical abuse.

The original act: Larry, Moe, Shemp and Ted.

            Their big break came in 1930 when they starred in Fox Film Corporation’s film Soup to Nuts. Although the film was a flop, the Stooges were regarded as the highlights. Fox wanted to sign the Stooges to a contract without Healy, but Healy held to the fact that they were his employees and the offer was withdrawn. When the Stooges learned of the failed offer, they broke off to form their own act as “Howard, Fine & Howard” or “Three Lost Souls.” Because their routine remained essentially the same, Healy attempted to stop their act with litigation and personal threats. After failing to find suitable replacements, Healy came to an agreement with the Stooges that reunited the act.

Title card for Columbia's Stooges shorts.

            After Shemp, tired of dealing with Healy’s abusive attitude, left to pursue a solo career in 1932, Moe’s other brother Jerry joined the act as the shaven-headed “Curly.” Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer signed the act to a year-long contract and they appeared in a number of films for the studio. When their contract expired in 1934, the Stooges and Healy parted once again. Now known as The Three Stooges, they signed on with Columbia Pictures with an annual contract. Within the first year of Columbia-produced shorts, the trio became extremely popular; a fact that escaped them for their two decades of employment as Columbia president Harry Cohn deliberately kept them in the dark in order to keep them loyal to the studio and hesitant to renegotiate for better pay.

The actual Fake Shemp: Joe Palma standing in and looking away.

            The Stooges appeared in 90 shorts and 5 feature-length films for Columbia. Curly became the breakout member of the ensemble due to his childlike mannerisms and comedic charm. Unfortunately, Curly’s insecurities about his appearance led him to compensate with an unhealthy lifestyle that finally took its toll with a debilitating stroke in 1946. Curly eventually died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1952. Shemp reluctantly returned to the act as a temporary replacement so as not to jeopardize Moe and Larry’s careers. Shemp ended up staying for nearly a decade until his own death of a sudden heart attack in 1955. Joe Palma would fill in for Shemp where needed in the final four films contracted by Columbia, leading to the term “Fake Shemp” (covering up the fact an unavailable actor is replaced in a production by a body double). Needing a new Stooge, Columbia outfitted the act with one of their other contracted talents: Joe Besser. Despite his own prolific career, Besser proved an ill fit with the rest of the act and his shorts were often considered the weakest of the team’s library.

Larry, Moe and Curly Joe.

            With the market for short films having dried up, Columbia decided not to renew their contracts in 1957 and closed their shorts division; leaving the Stooges to become solely a traveling stage act. By the end of their tenure with the studio, the Stooges had appeared in 190 shorts. With the rise of television during that decade, movie studios had a new place to air their backlog of short films leading to the revival of once popular franchises. In 1958, Screen Gems, Columbia’s television subsidiary, offered a package of 78 Stooge shorts primarily from the Curly-era. The shorts were well-received, leading to the entire catalogue of shorts being released for airing by the end of 1959. Playing on the popularity of the Curly shorts, new Stooge Joe DeRita shaved his head to accentuate his slight resemblance to Curly and adopted the stage name of “Curly Joe.” During this era, Moe’s son-in-law, Norman Maurer, became their manager and a producer on most of their future projects.

            The Stooges experienced a revival in the 60s, becoming one of the highest-paid live acts in America. They starred in six full-length feature films and appeared in two others, while also making regular appearances on various television programs. Although their two initial attempts at a television series failed, the Stooges finally got their own show with the animated series, The New 3 Stooges. Produced by Cambria Productions, the syndicated series ran for a year and 156 cartoons. The Stooges also recorded 40 brand-new live-action wraparounds for the show. Because those live segments were reused for the entire run of the series, viewers tended to tune out thinking the show was a rerun causing the ratings to plummet and the show to be cancelled. While filming another pilot for another potential series in 1970, Larry suffered a paralyzing stroke that ended his career. Attempts were made to continue on with a replacement Larry and new projects, but ultimately the Stooges ended with the 1975 deaths of Larry and Moe. The final Stooge performance was Kook’s Tour; an unfinished pilot episode edited by Maurer into a 52-minute film.

Model sheet from the first Stooges episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies.

            Maurer went on to have a career in the animation industry, working primarily for Hanna-Barbera Productions as a writer. One of the series on which he worked was The New Scooby-Doo Movies and wrote their two Three Stooges episodes. Maurer attempted to resurrect a failed cartoon pitch of his involving the Stooges called “Super Stooges”, which saw the Stooges as superheroes (and was also done as an episode in the previous cartoon). The resulting cartoon ended up becoming The Robonic Stooges.

The Robonic Stooges.

            The Robinic Stooges (either a play on robot/bionic or robot/moronic) reimagined Larry (Joe Baker), Moe (Paul Winchell) and the original Curly (Frank Welker) as crime-fighting robots in a similar vein to Inspector Gadget. Meant to be the most perfect inventions imaginable, they just so happened to possess the personalities of three bumbling nitwits. The Stooges were secret agents working under the leadership of the much-suffering Agent 000 (pronounced “Oh Oh Oh”, voiced by Ross Martin). They took on a variety of spies and monsters using various gadgets built into their bodies, such as extending limbs and rocket skates, often with hilarious results.  The insignias on their chests also served as openings to a storage compartment inside their body where they pulled even more items from. Interestingly enough, Besser, who was working for Hanna-Barbera at the time, wasn’t asked to participate in the series.

            The Robonic Stooges originally aired as a segment of The Skatebirds from September 10, 1977-January 21, 1978 on CBS. While the show proved a ratings flop, the Stooges segments garnered the most attention out of the bunch. When CBS cancelled The Skatebirds, the Stooges were quickly spun-off into their own series with fellow Skatebirds segment Woofer & Wimper, Dog Detectives (whittled-down episodes of Clue Club focusing on the dog characters) to air the remaining episodes. The new show debuted on January 28, taking over The Skatebirds timeslot along with reruns of Speed Buggy. Each episode featured two Stooges segments with a Woofer & Wimper in between. Maurer wrote all of their adventures as well as produced the show. Hoyt Curtin served as the show’s composer, carrying over from The Skatebirds. Welker provided the show’s introductory narration during the opening theme.

Nobody makes a monkey out of them! Except themselves...

            Parents weren’t thrilled with letting their kids be exposed to the kind of mindless buffoonery found in Stooges episodes and the ratings suffered. After the final episodes aired, the series went into reruns before being booted off by the new season’s schedule. Just a few short years later, the Stooges experienced another popularity surge as their routines began to receive critical recognition and were released on home video. When Turner Broadcasting acquired the Hanna-Barbera library and created their own all-cartoon cable channel, Cartoon Network, the Robonic Stooges found a brief second life. Individual segments were often shown as interstitial segments during the Boomerang programming block (before it was spun-off into its own channel). 

These are the episodes that aired as part of the separated Robonic Stooges show without the Clue Club segments.

“Bye Bye Blackbeard / The Silliest Show on Earth” (1/28/78) – The Stooges have to stop Blackbeard’s robbing of ships at sea. / The Bongo Brothers look for revenge on the circus that fired them.

“Mutiny on the Mountie / Woo Woo Wolfman” (2/4/78) – After being fired for his pranks, Pierre le Sly looks to ruin the reputation of the Mounties. / Count von Crankenstein accidentally merges himself with a dog while looking for revenge on a local village.

“Burgle Gurgle / Schoolhouse Mouse” (2/11/79) – Professor Hate steals the yachts of millionaires. / Mouse Louse takes over a junior high school with his Hypno-Harp.

“Rip Van Wrinkles / The Three Nutsketeers” (2/18/78) – When Curly accidentally makes a cake with sleeping powder, the Stooges end up sleeping until the year 2070. / The Stooges have to step in for the Musketeers to stop Cardinal Poreleau’s coup of France.

“Pest World Ain’t the Best World / Superkong” (2/25/78) – Robotic outlaw Yulesinner takes over a western-themed amusement park. / Aristotle Beastly uses a 20-story gorilla to commit his crimes.

“Dr. Jekyll and Hide Curly / Three Stooges and the Seven Dwarfs” (3/4/78) – Dr. Jekyll Hyde creates another side of himself to get revenge on the Stooges. / An evil queen puts Ebony Black to sleep to prevent her from finishing her castle that would compete with her own.

“Blooperman / Jerk in the Beanstalk” (3/11/78) – Unable to meet Blooperman’s demand for a raise, Agent 000 sends the Stooges to keep him from joining up with evil. / Curly accidentally causes a beanstalk to grow and envelope the city.

“Star Flaws / Stooges, You’re Fired” (3/18/78) – In the future, Galacto uses a laser to erase the cities of Earth in his plan for conquest. / Agent 111 tires of the Stooges’ bumbling and holds a trial to decide their fates.

February 25, 2018


You can read the full story here.

Luckey was an animator and actor. He worked on storyboards for Back to the Future and provided animation for Sesame Street between 1976-88, as well as several spin-off videos and shorts. He also voiced Donnie Budd, the Candy Man, and sung several songs on Sesame Street from 1972-2000.

February 24, 2018


(ABC, September 8, 1990-August 11, 1991)

Little Rosey Productions, Nelvana Ltd.

Kathleen Laskey – Little Rosey
Noam Zyberman – Buddy
Tabitha St. Germain (as Paulina Gillis) – Tess
Lisa Jai (as Lisa Yamanaka) – Nonnie, Tater
Judy Marshak – Mom
Tony Daniels – Dad
Stephen Bednarski – Jefferey, Matthew

            In the early 1980s, Roseanne Barr became a prolific stand-up comedian. Her routine was centered around the working-class housewife whom she referred to as a “domestic goddess.” After appearing on The Tonight Show and Late Night with David Letterman, Barr landed an HBO special called The Roseanne Barr Show which earned her an American Comedy Award for “Funniest Female Performer in a Television Special.” When Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner of Carsey-Werner Productions sought to make a show centered around a working mother, they gravitated towards Barr’s unique “in your face” voice and offered her the lead role.

            Roseanne aired on ABC from October 18, 1988 to May 20, 1997. It centered on the Conners: an American working-class family struggling to get by. Barr played Roseanne Conner, the outspoken matriarch of the family. Critics found the show notable as one of the most realistic depictions of a blue-collar family, and that the heavyset nature of the lead actors were never the target of jokes. The show was a hit, becoming the most-watched television program in the United States from 1989-90, and spending its first six seasons in the top five highest-rated shows. Its popularity remained strong enough that after years of discussing a possible revival, ABC greenlit one for premiere in 2018—over two decades after it left the air.

Tess, Rosey and Buddy.

            With Roseanne doing well and Barr’s popularity on the rise, ABC was looking to expand her presence on the network while she and then-husband Tom Arnold sought to expand her overall brand. It was decided that since Roseanne was already dominating primetime, they would try their luck introducing Barr to a younger crowd. As Barr was including elements of her personal life into the stories of Roseanne, she figured a cartoon focusing on stories from her childhood would be ideal. 

Rosey's parents and Tater.

            Enter: Little Rosey. Animated by Nelvana, the show focused on the adventures of 8-year-old Roseanne (Kathleen Laskey, doing an impression of Barr), her sister, Tess (Tabitha St. Germain), and best friend, Bobby (Noam Zyberman) as they dealt with the events of everyday childhood by using their imaginations to overcome difficulties and problems. Other characters included Roseanne’s parents (Judy Marshak & Tony Daniels), her baby brother, Tater (Lisa Yamanaka), and identical twin science nerds, Matthew and Jeffrey (both Stephen Bednarski), who served as Roseanne’s nemeses. Barr would serve as the co-host of ABC's preview special, along with the cast of Family Matters, introducing the new Saturday line-up and her show.

Rosey and her friends pretending to be super heroes.

            Little Rosey debuted on ABC on September 8, 1990. It was developed and story edited by Peter Sauder, with Barr and Arnold serving as executive producers through the production company they founded, Little Rosey Productions. The series’ music was written and composed by Marvin Dolgay, Glenn Morley and Kevin Staples for Tambre Productions, Inc. The theme song had additional lyrics written by Carole Pope and Peter Gilboy, and was performed by noted rock and roll performer Ronnie Spector. The series ran for a single season of 16 episodes, with most of them containing two segments. Sean Roche, J.D. Smith, Taylor Grant, Julianne Klemm, Tony Marino and Meg McLaughlin served as the show’s writers, along with Sauder. 

Rosey as Rapunzel.

            A second season was planned for the series, with Barr coming in to take over the role of her character. However, the executives at ABC felt the show needed some changes to improve it and bring it more in line to what they felt their audience wanted. Barr and Arnold disagreed with ABC’s stance and fought against the changes. ABC ultimately cancelled the show citing bad ratings, leaving one episode unaired until August the following year. That episode, “Not Rosey, Roseanne,” saw Rosey imagining her future set to a parody of Roseanne. Several episodes would be released to VHS in countries outside the United States.

Rosey and Buddy at the mercy of The Powers That Be.

            In 1992, Barr and Arnold financed their own animated special called The Rosey and Buddy Show that could serve as a potential pilot for a new animated series, as well as provide a subtle jab at the network over the cancellation of the last one. The special, again animated by Nelvana, starred Rosey and Buddy, voiced by Barr and Arnold, with significantly different designs. The special saw them travelling to Cartoonland to produce their show, but a group of weasels all with the surname Power (aka, the Powers that Be) refused to let them do the show they wanted to and sought to do away with any cartoon character that wanted to simply entertain for comedy. The special featured parodies of various shows and genres, as well as cameos from notable cartoon characters such as Droopy Dog, Strawberry Shortcake, Tom and Jerry, Archie Comics characters Betty & Veronica, and a colorized version of Alice from John Tenniel’s illustrations in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Nelvana properties The Care Bears (with Dan Hennessey reprising his role as Brave Heart Lion) and the animated Beetlejuice (with a different color scheme, voiced by Stephen Ouimette) also appeared. It aired on ABC on May 15, 1992 during the network’s TGIF block.

“Farewell, My Dolly / Super Rosey (part 1)” (9/8/90) – Rosey leads a desperate search for her lost doll. / Rosey imagines herself as a superhero.

“The Baby of Baghdad / Explorers” (9/15/90) – Rosey and her friends find a genie that grants them wishes. / Rosey and her friends go on an adventure to magical places.

“Land of the Lost Toys / Magic Woods” (9/22/90) – Rosey discovers where all the lost toys end up. / Rosey and her friends head to the Magic Woods and discover a bunch of unusual things.

“New People / Flower Garden” (9/29/90) – Rosey and her friends don’t get along with some new people. / Rosey decides to plant a garden outside her house.

“Pirates / The Snowman” (10/6/90) – Rosey and her friends imagine that they’re pirates on the high seas. / After it snows, Rosey tries to build a snowman.

“The Cake / Super Rosey (part 2)” (10/13/90) – Rosey learns how to bake a cake. / Circumstances call for the return of Super Rosey.

“I Did It Without Decimals / Spelling Bee-Hemoth” (10/20/90) – Satisfied she’ll never need them, Rosey refuses to learn decimals. / Rosey is nervous about competing in the spelling bee.

“War of the Rosey” (10/27/90) – Matthew and Jeffery interrupt Rosey and her friends pretending to save the Earth from an alien invasion.

“If You Grow It, They Will Come / Of Mice and Rosey” (11/3/90) – A new girl needs lessons in playing baseball. / Rosey tries to keep the mouse she brought home a secret from her parents.

“The Pumpkins are Gone!” (11/10/90) – Rosey and her friends try to solve the mystery of who’s been stealing vegetables from her mother’s garden.

“It’s Under the Bed” (11/17/90) – Rosey’s friends try to convince her that there isn’t a monster under her bed.

“It’s Really Big Out There” (11/24/90) – Rosey and her friends use their imaginations to discover what’s beyond the sky that they can see.

“The Buddy and the Rosey” (12/1/90) – Rosey tries to prove she’s as good at everything that Buddy is.

“Try Not to Lie” (12/8/90) – Rosey’s parents try to teach her the consequences of lying.

“Tater’s Tots” (12/15/90) – When Tater gets really sick, Rosey and her friends search for a Leprechaun to grant him a wish.

“Dad’s Coming” (12/22/90) – Rosey dreads her father’s arrival after she’s sent to the principal’s office.

“Not Rosey, Roseanne” (8/11/91) – Rosey daydreams what life would be like when she grows up, sending her to the virtual world of Roseanne.