April 28, 2018

KIM POSSIBLE



KIM POSSIBLE
(Disney Channel, June 7, 2002-September 7, 2007)

Walt Disney Television Animation

            Collaborators Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle had been working for Disney Channel for years on many of the movie-to-show based projects for the network. However, they desired to contribute something original and the network, looking for shows that featured ordinary children in extraordinary circumstances, let them pitch one. While riding in an elevator after lunch, McCorkle said the phrase “Kim Possible. She can do anything” which led Schooley to respond “Ron Stoppable, he can’t.” That, essentially, led to the creation of Kim Possible.

Kim, Ron and Rufus.

            Schooley and McCorkle developed the concept of Kim around the notion of giving their own daughters a character they could look up to and relate to as they had been provided in the things they enjoyed. Kim Possible centered around the titular Kim (Christy Carlson Romano), your everyday average high school cheerleader who just happened to fight crime on the side. Her partners were her klutzy best friend, Ron (Will Friedle), 10-year-old computer genius and Kim’s tech support Wade Load (Tahj Mowry), and Ron’s pet naked mole rat Rufus (Nancy Cartwright). Sometimes Kim’s other best friend, Monique (Raven-Symone), was brought along on missions to make use of her fashion skills, providing a bridge between Kim’s two worlds Amongst Kim’s usual foes was her arch nemesis, Dr. Drakken (John DiMaggio), a mad scientist seeking world domination with the aid of his far-more-intelligent minion, Shego (Nicole Sullivan); father and son billionaires Senor Senior, Sr. (Ricardo Montalban & Earl Boen) and Senor Senior, Jr. (Nestor Carbonell), who treated villainy as a hobby out of boredom; “world’s deadliest golfer” Duff Killigan (Brian George); and Bonnie Rockwaller (Kirsten Storms), Kim’s cheerleading rival and polar opposite (hey, high school is tough, man!).

Shego trying to keep her patience with Dr. Drakken.

            Kim Possible began airing on the Disney Channel on June 7, 2002 with a theme performed by Disney contributor Christina Milian. It ran for 3 seasons and two TV movies: A Sitch in Time and So the Drama. The show ended with Kim and Ron entering a relationship, which was planned from the outset. Schooley and McCorkle had already moved on to other projects when fans, interested in where that relationship would go, prompted Disney to renew the show for another season. It became one of the few Disney shows to bypass the 65-episode cap, running 87 episodes and being the longest-running on Disney Channel until it was passed by Phineas and Ferb in 2012. What they thought could have been a restricting mistake, exploring the relationship without making it a soap opera reinvigorated Schooley and McCorkle on the series. The show was nominated for eight Emmy Awards and won one, and also won a Parent’s Choice and Annie Award. In 2018, Disney announced on their Instagram plans to produce a live-action Kim Possible Disney Channel Original Movie.

COPS


COPS
(Syndication, October 5, 1988-February 20, 1989)

DiC Entertainment, Crawleys Animation, Hasbro


Bad boys bad boys, whatchu gonna do…oh, wait, wrong show…



            COPS (Central Organization of Police Specialists) was an animated series based on Hasbro’s action figure line C.O.P.S. ‘N’ Crooks. The toys were created by John Fertig as part of Marvin Glass and Associates, and gained their name after the original one, Police Man, didn’t market well. The figures were released between 1988 and 1989, with biography cards written by Larry Hama and package art by Bart Sears, Mark Pennington and McNabb Studios. Shortly before they were adapted into an animated series, DC Comics began publishing a comic based on the toys that ran for 15 issues.

Some of the COPS: Bowser, Bulletproof, LongArm, Mainframe and Sundown.

COPS followed a group of highly-trained police officers in the future as they protected the fictional Empire City from Big Boss and his gangsters. The leader of COPS was Baldwin P. Vess, aka Bulletproof (Ken Ryan), an FBI special agent called in to help stop the rampant crime in the city. However, he was injured in his duties and had to be outfitted with a cybernetic bulletproof torso in order to recover. Unable to do it alone, he recruited and formed the rest of his team: P.J. “LongArm” O’Malley (John Stocker), who used an extending handcuff device for various functions; Donny “HardTop” Brooks (Darrin Baker), a rookie Empire City officer who drove the COPS’ Ironsides vehicle; David E. “Highway” Harlson (Ray James), an ace motorcycle cop; Colt “Mace” Howards (Len Carlson), who used a laser Mazooka and was known for tactical strategies; Stan “Barricade” Hyde (James), a soft-spoken officer who used a M.U.L.E. device and performed crowd control; Tina “Mainframe” Cassidy (Mary Long), a computer specialist; Walker “Sundown” Calhoun (Carlson), a former Texas sheriff that was an expert with a lasso and a sharpshooter; Suzie “Mirage” Young (Elizabeth Hanna), an expert in undercover operations; Hugh S. “Bullseye” Forward (Peter Keleghan), a great helicopter pilot; and Rex “Bowser” Pointer (Nick Nichols) and his robot dog, Blitz.

Big Boss stroking his weasel.

            The C.R.O.O.K.S. had their own team as well. Making up the syndicate was their leader, Brandon “Big Boss” Babel (Carlson), a businessman with a literal iron fist; Barney L. “Berserko” Fatheringhouse (Paul De La Rosa), Big Boss’ dim-witted and impulsive nephew; Edmund “Rock Krusher” Scarry (Brent Titcomb), a super-strong thug who used a heavy-duty jackhammer; Stephanie “Ms.” Demeanor (Tabitha St. Germain as Paulina Gillis), a deceptively super-strong woman who took issue with being called unfeminine; Ted “Turbo Tu-Tone” Stavely (Dan Hennessey), a skilled mechanic and getaway driver; Dr. Percival “Badvibes” Cranial (Ron Rubin), brilliant and deranged mad scientist; Rafella “Nightshade” Diamond (Jane Schoettle), a rich girl who turned to crime for the thrill; Constantine “Buttons McBoomBoom” Saunders (Nichols), armed with a submachine gun in a violin case he carried and two in his cybernetic chest; and Dirk “Squeeky Kleen” McHugh (Marvin Goldhar), Big Boss’ lacky who performed menial tasks for him. There were additional villains not necessarily part of the syndicate as well.

Promo ad for the show.

            COPS aired in syndication from October 5, 1988-February 20, 1989, running a total of 65 episodes. While based on the toys, the show and the comics utilized characters that never saw an action figure in the line, such as Mirage, Mainframe and Nightshade. When CBS reran the series on Saturday mornings in 1993, they retitled the show CyberCOPS in order to avoid confusion with the reality show COPS, which had debuted the month after the animated COPS finished its run. When USA Network reran the series in 1995, it restored the original COPS title.

April 26, 2018

SOON-TEK OH DEAD AT 85



You can read the full story here.

Oh provided a guest voice in an episode of Life With Louie.

April 24, 2018

BOB DOROUGH DEAD AT 94



You can read the full story here.

Dorough was heavily involved with the production of Schoolhouse Rock! as a writer, director, composer, performer, music director and even voice actor.

April 21, 2018

THE AMOS 'N' ANDY SHOW


THE AMOS ‘N’ ANDY SHOW
(CBS, June 28, 1951-December 1, 1953, January 4-March 29, 1955)

Hal Roach Studios


            Actors Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll began working in Chicago radio in the 1920s in the hopes of it leading to stage work. After selling some of their works to bandleader Paul Ash, they were able to become full-time broadcasters for Chicago Tribune’s WGN in 1925, and the Victor Talking Machine Company (now RCA Records) offered them a recording contract. WGN wanted the pair to adapt the popular Tribune comic strip The Gumps into a serialized radio show. Since neither was adept at imitating the female voices needed for the series and not wanting to taint their previous work in the event the show failed, they decided to offer an original series about “a couple of colored characters” that would allow them to use a dialect to disguise their identities and utilize their familiarity with minstrel traditions. The resulting show, Sam ‘n’ Henry, began on January 12, 1926 and became a sensation in the Midwest.

Ad for the radio show.

            When WGN refused their proposal to syndicate the series, Gosden and Correll quit the station and went to WMAQ. They offered more money and a syndication deal for a show similar to Sam ‘n’ Henry since WGN owned the rights to the original show. Gosden and Correll went on to create the show Amos ‘n’ Andy, utilizing names they heard two elderly African-Americans greet each other by in an elevator one day. Naïve but honest Amos Jones (Gosden) and gullible dreamer Andy Brown (Correll) were Georgia farmers who moved to Chicago in search of a better life. There, George “Kingfish” Stevens (Gosden) would often try to lure the pair into get-rich-quick schemes, or into various kinds of trouble.

Poster for Check and Double Check.

            The show became one of the first radio comedy series and ran as a nightly serial from 1928-43, then as a weekly situation comedy from 1943-55, before becoming a nightly disc-jockey program frim 1950-60. In 1930, RKO Radio Pictures planned to capitalize on the popularity of the show by making a film, Check and Double Check (a catchphrase from the show), starring Gosden and Correll in blackface. The film didn’t go over well with audiences and everyone involved, making it the only time Gosden and Correll performed the roles on camera. They did lend their voices, however, to animated shorts produced by the Van Beuren Studios. Finally, the radio show was adapted into a television sitcom by Hal Roach Studios for CBS.

Kingfish hanging over Andy and Amos.

            Initially, Gosden and Correll planned to voice the characters while having black actors portray them on screen and mouth the lines, but instead they just recorded samples of how the characters spoke as a guide for the actors. Alvin Childress assumed the role of Amos, Spencer Williams as Andy, and Tim Moore as Kingfish. The program debuted on June 28, 1951 and became one of the first shows filmed with a multicamera setup. The NAACP lodged a formal protest against the series and its sponsor, Blatz Brewing Company. The pressure led Blatz to end its sponsorship in 1953 and, despite strong ratings, CBS ended the show as well after 65 episodes. CBS did continue to air it in reruns, including 13 previously unaired episodes beginning in 1955. Mounting pressure from the NAACP and the growing civil rights movement led CBS to remove the show from broadcast altogether in 1966.

THE ADVENTURES OF RIN TIN TIN


THE ADVENTURES OF RIN TIN TIN
(ABC, October 15, 1954-May 8, 1959)

Screen Gems

            Rin Tin Tin was a German Shepherd rescued from a World War I battlefield by soldier Lee Duncan. Duncan trained Rin Tin Tin and secured him silent film work. He was a box office success, appearing in 27 films and gaining worldwide fame and increasing the popularity of his breed as household pets. After the death of the original in 1932, others from his lineage continued on the tradition of appearing in radio and film.

Rusty, Lt. Masters and Sgt. O'Hara with Rin Tin Tin.

            In 1954, Screen Gems produced The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. Initially, Rin Tin Tin IV was planned to star in the show, but most of the work was performed by Flame Jr., owned by trainer Frank Barnes, and Rin Tin Tin’s descendant Hey You. The series followed the adventures of Rusty (Lee Aaker), a boy orphaned in an Indian raid and now residing at Fort Apache with the US Cavalry, as he and his dog, Rin Tin Tin, helped the soldiers establish order in the American West. James Brown played Lt. Ripley “Rip” Masters, Joe Sawyer played Sgt. Biff O’Hara, Rand Brooks played Corporal Randy Boone, and William Forrest played Major Swanson.

Protecting the west.

            The series premiered on ABC on October 15, 1954. It was made on a low budget and featured a small troupe of 12 actors who often had to play multiple roles—sometimes in the same episodes. The show ran for 5 seasons and 164 episodes. Following its conclusion, ABC moved it from Friday evenings to late afternoons until 1961. In 1962, CBS acquired the broadcast rights to the show and reran it on Saturday mornings until 1964. In 1976, a new package of reruns aired with the film prints tinted brown and given a new color opening and closing sequence. Present day reruns were remastered by Cerulean Digital Color and Animation with new music and some lines redubbed by different actors.

April 17, 2018

BARBARA BUSH DEAD AT 92



You can read the full story here.

The former First Lady of the United States made two appearances in Saturday morning-related media. She was one of the participants in the TV documentary Sing! Sesame Street Remembers Joe Raposo and His Music and also appeared on the show during the 21st season. She also provided an intro with George H.W. Bush for the home video release of Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, an anti-drug PSA that starred a variety of Saturday morning characters across all the networks.




April 15, 2018

R. LEE ERMEY DEAD AT 74



You can read the full story here.

Ermey became a character actor after serving as a drill instructor in the army,  fact that was often made use of in the roles he was cast to play. On Saturday mornings, he starred as General Thorton in Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot; played Sergeant Goonther in an episode of The Angry Beavers; reprised his role of Sarge for Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins; Colonel O’Malley in Recess: School’s Out; Colonel Thrift in an episode of Fillmore!; and the warden in an episode of Spongebob SquarePants.

April 14, 2018

TALESPIN


TALESPIN
(The Disney Channel, Syndication, September 7, 1990-August 8, 1991)

Walt Disney Television Animation



            You can take the animal out of the jungle…and put them in a seaplane.

Higher for Hire in the city of Cape Suzette.

            Disney tasked Jymn Magon and Mark Zaslove with coming up with a new animated series. They were stuck for an idea until the theatrical re-release of Disney’s The Jungle Book hit theaters, inspiring them to make a show around the character of Baloo (Phil Harris in the film) and incorporate all of the featured characters. 


TaleSpin cast: Louie, Wildcat, Baloo, Kit, Molly, Rebecca, Khan, and Air Pirates Don Karnage, Gibber, Mad Dog and Dumptruck.

They updated the setting from the jungle to the fictional city of Cape Suzette, which was set in a fantasy version of the 1930s. The manga Hikotei Jidai inspired them to make Baloo (Ed Gilbert) a pigheaded seaplane cargo pilot who often encountered Air Pirates, led by the egotistical Don Karnage (Jim Cummings, using inspiration from Desi Arnaz’s Ricky Ricardo). Cheers, the most popular television show at the time, led to the creation of Rebecca Cunningham (Sally Struthers) as an ambitious--yet inexperienced--manager who took over Baloo’s business and became his boss. Their relationship dynamic was influenced by the characters of Sam Malone (Ted Danson) and Rebecca Howe (Kirstie Alley). Casablanca inspired the creation of Louie’s Place, an island neutral zone where everyone could gather for a respite with Louie (also Cummings) taking the place of Humphrey Bogart’s Rick. Late in the show’s development, it was decided to add Shere Khan (Tony Jay) as a ruthless businessman whose schemes often led to paths being crossed with Baloo and his friends. Looking to keep the impressionable son/bad father dynamic prevalent in the film, they replaced Mowgli with new character Kit Cloudkicker (R.J. Williams & Alan Roberts); a young cub who was Don Karange’s protégé until he decided to quit the Air Pirates, met up with Baloo and becoming his navigator. Other characters included Rebecca’s daughter, Molly (Janna Michaels), and their mechanical genius (though ultimately clueless) mechanic, Wildcat (Pat Fraley).


The Sea Duck at the mercy of the Air Pirates.

            After a preview run from May 5-July 15, 1990 on The Disney Channel, TaleSpin officially began that September with the television movie “Plunder & Lightning”. The movie saw Baloo meet Kit and lose his business to Rebecca. Baloo stayed on as a pilot for Higher for Hire after Rebecca paid to rebuild his plane, the Sea Duck, after it was destroyed saving the city from the Air Pirates. The film was the only nominee for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in 1991, and was later broken up into four episodes for syndicated reruns. The series followed Baloo on his adventures that came with his deliveries and schemes to get rich and get his plane back, often finding him at odds with the Air Pirates, the frozen nation of Thembria (loosely based on the Soviet Union) or Shere Khan. The show ran for 65 episodes on the syndicated programming block The Disney Afternoon. It remained there until 1994 before returning to Disney-owned cable channels for further reruns, where episodes were extensively edited due to their content such as instances of terrorism, particularly after 9/11. When the series was finally released to DVD, however, the original presentations were restored.


DUCKTALES (1987)

DUCKTALES (1987)
(Syndication, September 18, 1987-November 28, 1990)

Walt Disney Television Animation, Tokyo Movie Shinsha (season 1), Wang Film Cuckoo’s Nest Studio

            Disney was looking to duplicate their success with Adventures of the Gummi Bears with another animated series exhibiting a higher quality of animation generally found on television. They looked towards the world of Duckburg, largely created by cartoonist Carl Barks, for inspiration and came up with DuckTales. Developed by Jymn Magon, the series followed wealthy Scrooge McDuck (Alan Young) as he went on adventures with his nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie (all Russi Taylor). Often, these adventures involved discovering some lost treasure to increase Scrooge’s fame and wealth, but other times it was protecting his businesses and interests from rival Flintheart Glomgold (Hal Smith), his #1 dime from evil witch Magica De Spell (June Foray), or his beloved money bin from the Beagle Boys (Frank Welker, Terry McGovern, Chuck McCann and Brian Cummings), and sometimes one of inventor Gyro Gearloose’s (Smith) inventions run amok.


From top: Gyro, Launchpad, Duckworth, Mrs. Beakley, Huey, Dewey, Scrooge, Doofus, Louie and Webby.

            While largely inspired by Barks’ comics, DuckTales did have some differences. Scrooge wasn’t as much of a miser as he was extremely thrifty, for example, as well as wearing a blue and red coat instead of a red and black one (although, funnily enough, some of the tie-in comics for the show would use the classic coloring). Other changes saw Donald Duck (Tony Anselmo), who played a large part in Scrooge’s adventures, only present for the first episode to drop off his nephews; and Glomgold was depicted as Scottish rather than South African due to American’s tensions with the country at the time, among others. New characters included Scrooge’s butler Duckworth (McCann), housekeeper Bettina Beakley (Joan Gerber) and her granddaughter Webby (Taylor), accountant-turned-superhero Fenton Crackshell aka Gizmoduck (Hamilton Camp), accident-prone pilot Launchpad McQuack (McGovern), the boys’ best friend Doofus Drake (Cummings), and more. 


The family that steals together... Ma Beagle and her Beagle Boys.

            DuckTales premiered in syndication on September 18, 1987 with a 65-episode first season. The most memorable part of the series has proven to be the show’s catchy theme, written by Mark Mueller, which was commissioned by Disney looking for a pop sound over a typical cartoon song. A second season of 10 episodes and a third of 18 followed. In 1990, the series was given its own feature-length movie, Treasure of the Lost Lamp, which while successful didn’t quite reach Disney’s expectations, shelving any further entries. However, the show’s own popularity prompted Disney to look into producing further shows with their high-quality approach, leading to the debuts of Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin and Darkwing Duck starring Launchpad. Together, these shows would be united into the syndicated programming block The Disney Afternoon, where DuckTales’ 7-episode fourth season debuted. DuckTales left the block in 1992 and entered into syndicated reruns, particularly on The Disney Channel, between 1995-99, while Launchpad and Scrooge made appearances on Raw Toonage in the interim. Almost exactly 30 years later, Disney premiered a reboot of the series with stronger inspiration from Barks’ work.

April 09, 2018

CHUCK McCANN DEAD AT 83




You can read the full story here.

McCann had a wide pedigree in television and film, starring both on and off the camera with a distinctive, easily recognizable voice, and also working behind the scenes. McCann co-created, produced, and starred as Barney in Far Out Space Nuts for Sid and Marty Kroft, as well as wrote several episodes of their show Wonderbug.

Other starring roles included Boogie and Blubber in C.B. Bears; Billy Joe in The New Shmoo; Mummy Man in Drak Pack; Blinky and Pinky in Pac-Man; Orlock in Galtar and the Golden Lance; Duckworth, Burger Beagle, Bouncer Beagle, and several minor roles in DuckTales; Mayor Grody in Toxic Crusaders; Dumptruck, Gibber and a rhino goon in TaleSpin; and Beefsteak in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1991). He also guest-starred as Number One, The Owl, Tom McCool in Cool McCool; Badladdin in an episode of The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show; Artemis and some mutants in an episode of Thundarr the Barbarian; Moving Man Grizz, Billy Beagle, Roary, Cousin Wilton, and several minor roles in The Get Along Gang; Biff Barker in Pound Puppies (1986); Cashmore and additional voices  in an episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo; Sir Gaya, a knight, a chef and a tadpole in episodes of Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears; Heff Heffalump and a Tigger lookalike in The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh; Uncle Ed and a dog in two episodes of Garfield and Friends; Codger Eggbert in an episode of Animaniacs; Santa Claus in an episode of ABC Weekend Specials; a worm and talents of trial in two episodes of The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat; and Filth #2 in an episode of The Tick (1994).

McCann also provided unspecified additional voice work for Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (1979), Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, Space Stars, Richie Rich (1982), Snorks, The Smurfs, Where’s Waldo?, Tom & Jerry Kids Show, and All-New Dennis the Menace.