Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
He was an unassuming detective in a
frumpy trench coat and a shoddy little car that seemed almost unable to find
the loose change in your couch, let alone solve a crime. And yet, somehow, he
always got his man.
Mumbly in his jalopy.
If those of you old enough to know
thought that was describing Columbo, a
series starring Peter Falk
as the title character, you’d be half right. In 1976, Hanna-Barbera took inspiration
from the mystery series to create a “new” character: Mumbly (Don Messick). Why “new”?
Because Mumbly was a redressing of the previously-existing character, Muttley (also Messick).
Hanna-Barbera wanted to use him again, but because he and his owner, Dick
Dastardly (Paul Winchell), were co-owned by Heatter-Quigley
Productions in a deal for an intended game show, Hanna-Barbera wasn’t free
to use them as regularly as their other characters. So, they changed Muttley’s fur,
gave him a coat and a car that lost pieces as it drove, and Mumbly was born.
Mumbly and Shnooker enjoying some downtime.
Mumbly Cartoon Show debuted on ABC on
September 11, 1976 as part of the package show Tom & Jerry/Grape Ape/Mumbly Show alongside reruns of The New Tom & Jerry Show and The Grape Ape Show, and then the reduced
Tom & Jerry/Mumbly Show after Grape Ape was broken off into its own show.
The series followed Mumbly as he was tasked by his boss, Chief Shnooker (John
Stephenson), with solving impossible crimes—often at the threat of losing his
job—that Shnooker was either too frightened or couldn’t be bothered to do. Of
course, Shnooker didn’t hesitate when it came to taking the credit for closing the
case. One of the running gags featured a criminal who could run off absolutely
anywhere in the world only to find Mumbly already there and waiting to arrest
them. The series was written by Bill
Ackerman, Larz Bourne, Tom Dagenais, Alan Dinehart, Don Jurwich, Joel Kane, Dick Kinney, Frank Ridgeway, with music by Hoyt Curtin.
Mumbly getting the drop on a giant lumberjack.
only ran for a single season, continuing on in reruns through the early
part of 1977. While it aired primarily on Saturday morning, “The Fatbeard the Pirate
Fracas” aired as part of ABC’s
Thanksgiving Funshine Festival on Thanksgiving Day. Hanna-Barbera decided
to recycle Mumbly further by including him as one of the villains, the Really
Rottens, in Laff-A-Lympics;
teamed-up with The Dread Baron (Stephenson) who was a pastiche for
Dastardly. Following the end of that series, Mumbly disappeared into relative
obscurity; only appearing again as part of a clip segment in ABC’s 1983 Saturday Morning
Versus Flat Foot” (9/11/76) – A speedy thief tips Shnooker off to his intended
Great Hot Car Heist” (9/18/76) – Mumbly is assigned to retrieve a new
top-secret police vehicle that ends up being stolen.
Magical Madcap Caper” (9/25/76) – Mumly and Shnooker guard the valuables in a
mansion where a suspicious magician is performing.
Big Breakout Bust” (10/2/76) – Mumbly is ordered to retrieve an escaped
prisoner in 24 hours or lose his job.
Return of Bing Bong” (10/9/76) – Mumbly is tasked with ending the rampage of an
80-foot gorilla in the city.
Super-Dooper Super Cop” (10/16/76) – Mumbly is forced to compete for his job
against a robot detective while also capturing a slippery cat burglar.
Big Ox Bust” (10/23/76) – Mumbly and Shnooker take a trip to Canada just as a
giant lumberjack is terrorizing the forest.
Great Graffiti Gambit” (10/30/76) – Mumbly is put on the trail of a graffiti
artist who has defaced half the city.
Stock” (11/6/76) – A prize-winning bull is taken, setting Mumbly on the trail
of The Lonesome Rustler.
Littermugg” (11/13/76) – Shnooker’s TV interview is interrupted by a sudden deluge
of litter, courtesy of The Littermugg.
Perils of the Purple Baron” (11/20/76) – The Purple Baron freezes everyone in
the city in order to rob them, except Mumbly remains unaffected and is hot on
Fatbeard the Pirate Fracas” (11/25/76) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
Big Snow Foot Snow Job” (11/27/76) – Shnooker’s ski vacation is spoiled by the
sudden appearance of a creature scaring everyone away from the lodge.
Badder Brudder” (12/4/76) – Two criminals have it out for Mumbly and Shnooker
and try everything to get rid of Mumbly.
UFO’s a No-No” (12/11/76) – Aliens arrive to invade Earth, and Shnooker tasks
Mumbly with giving them a parking ticket and collecting the fine.
and Seek” (12/18/76) – Mumbly investigates a disturbance at Dr. Seek’s lab
where he discovers Dr. Seek’s new soda formula turns him into the insidious Mr.