December 31, 2019
December 28, 2019
CHOP SOCKY CHOOKS
(Cartoon Network UK, March 16-September 4, 2008)
Aardman Animations, DECODE Entertainment, Cartoon Network Europe
Created and developed by Sergio Delfino, Chop Socky Chooks was a comedic love-letter to the kung fu films of yesteryear. The series was set in a city-sized shopping mall, Wasabi World, owned and ruled by Dr. Wasabi (Paul Kaye), a piranha in a water-filed suit. He enforced his will on the citizenry of the mall with the aid of his right-hand ape, Bubba (Rupert Degas), an army of ninja chimps, and a variety of robots. Opposing him and standing up for the citizens were the Chop Socky Chooks: three chickens who lived and worked in the mall under Wasabi’s nose. Chick P (based on Lucy Liu, voiced by Shelley Longworth) was the team leader, who spent her days working on the electrical system of Wasabi World when she wasn’t fighting with her razor fans. Wasabi destroyed her home to construct the mall, making her battles personal. K.O. Joe (based on Jim Kelly, voiced by Paterson Joseph) was the funky member of the team who often wore 70s-style clothing and used a grappling hook hair pick as a weapon. Rounding them out was Chuckie Chan (named after Jackie Chan, voiced by Rob Rackstraw), a proverb-spouting martial arts instructor who could weaponize his chi energy.
|The Chooks: K.O. Joe, Chucki Chan and Chick P.|
Chop Socky Chooks (a combination of Asian slang for the martial arts film genre and Australian/New Zealand slang for chicken) originally aired on Cartoon Network UK from March 16 to September 4, 2008, before heading to Cartoon Network in the United States and Teletoon in Canada. The series’ theme was composed by The Eggplant Collective while the rest of the music was composed by Lou Pomanti. The series boasted the traditional Aardman design and stop-motion style, rendered in a combination of 2D and CGI with full 3D models rendered by C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures. The series ultimately ran only a single season of 26 episodes before it was cancelled and relegated to making the rounds on reruns on affiliated Cartoon Network stations.
THE HECKLE AND JECKLE CARTOON SHOW
(CBS, October 14, 1956-September 24, 1960, September 25, 1965-September 3, 1966
NBC, September 6, 1969-September 4, 1971)
Terrytoons, CBS Television
Heckle and Jeckle (Sid Raymond, Ned Sparks, Dayton Allen and Roy Halee) were a pair of mischievous talking magpies created by Paul Terry. Initially, the pair began as a married couple meant to be antagonists for his farmer Al Falfa character in the 1946 theatrical short The Talking Magpies. However, as the birds became a hit with audiences, the pair left Al Falfa behind to become the stars of their own shorts. They were retooled from a married couple into a pair of best friends, named “Jeckle” after Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and “Heckle” based on their frequent method of antagonization. While the pair were often indistinguishable on sight and rarely called each other by name, they became identifiable when Heckle was given a Brooklyn accent and Jeckle an English one.
|The mischievous magpies.|
Heckle and Jeckle would appear in numerous shorts over the next 20 years; being the most popular Terrytoon series next to Mighty Mouse. The shorts would find the pair either messing with someone for fun (typically one of two dogs, Dimwit and Clancy) or serving as comedic heroes helping someone and giving a villain his comeuppance. They were also self-aware, knowing full-well they were cartoon characters which allowed them to pull off impossible feats.
|Theatrical advertisement for the Terrytoon library.|
In 1955, Terry retired and sold his studio and characters to CBS. CBS began airing Heckle and Jeckle shorts on television in 1956 as part of CBS Cartoon Theater, hosted by Dick Van Dyke. A month after the show’s cancellation, Heckle and Jeckle were spun off into The Heckle and Jeckle Cartoon Show, which aired three Heckle and Jeckle shorts with another starring a different Terrytoon character. The show aired until 1960 before returning to the network on Saturday morning for a year in 1965. It would return one more time on NBC from 1969-71.
December 27, 2019
He was a producer best known for his long career making various productions based on the Peanuts comic strip, including The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. He also worked on Mother Goose and Grimm, Garfield and Friends, and served as a creative consultant on episodes of Toonsylvania.
December 21, 2019
(ABC, September 30, 1960-April 1, 1966)
For the history of The Flintstones, check out the post here.
Originally beginning life as The Flagstones, The Flintstones was meant to be Hanna-Barbera’s answer to shrugging off its reputation as a producer of strictly kiddie fare by airing as a primetime sitcom. Heavily influenced by The Honeymooners (to the point that series creator and star Jackie Gleason considered suing the company) and set in a modernized version of the Stone Age, the show focused on overweight and overbearing caveman Fred Flintstone (Alan Reed) who would often drag his dim-witted best friend and neighbor Barney Rubble (Mel Blanc, Daws Butler for several episodes and the pilot) into various get-rich-quick schemes. Along for the ride were their long-suffering wives, Wilma (Jean Vander Pyl) and Betty (Bea Benaderet through season 4, Gerry Johnson for the remainder). Running gags in the series included names of people and places that featured some kind of rock or mineral word, modern conveniences made out of stone such as newspapers, chairs and furniture, animals acting as appliances (and complaining about it to the audience), and cars driven via foot-power.
The Flintstones debuted on ABC on September 30, 1960, and proved a hit; easily securing its desired adult demographic. As the series went on, however, changes were made. In the third season, the Flintstones and the Rubbles both gained children in the form of Pebbles (Pyl) and the super-strong Bamm-Bamm (Don Messick). The Rubbles also got their own pet, a Hoppasaurus named Hoppy (Mesccik), to compliment the Flintstones’ snorkasaurus, Dino (Blanc). The series also gained its memorable theme, “Meet the Flintstones”, performed by the Skip-Jacks and a 22-piece jazz band. For the final season, an alien named The Great Gazoo (Harvey Korman) came to the town of Bedrock and used his magic to help Fred and Barney learn valuable moral lessons. With these changes, the tone of the series softened and the writing skewed more juvenile; becoming the antithesis of the reason Hanna-Barbera created it. The show was quietly cancelled after 6 seasons and a theatrical film, becoming the longest-running primetime animated series until The Simpsons surpassed it in 1995. The series would go on to be more popular and profitable in syndicated reruns, leading to numerous spin-offs and revivals.
THE ADVENTURES OF LUCKY PUP / FOODINI, THE GREAT
(CBS, ABC, August 23, 1948-June 23, 1951)
CBS Television, ABC Television
Created by puppeteers Hope and Morey Bunin, The Adventures of Lucky Pup was a 15-minute show based around a cute dog (Hope) that inherited $5 million from the estate of a circus queen. Pup’s fortune was under constant threat from an evil magician named Foodini (Morey), and his dim-witted associate, Pinhead (Hope).
The Adventures of Lucky Pup debuted on CBS on August 23, 1948, with Doris Brown serving as hostess and the only on-air human character. The series aired live on the east coast, with kinescopes recorded for later broadcast in markets further west. While the series was successful, the audience’s interest began to shift from the “goody goody” Pup towards the entertaining interactions of Foodini and Pinhead. When Brown left the show after getting married, the show was cancelled by CBS. ABC picked up a retooled version that focused on Foodini and Pinhead and renamed Foodini, the Great. The series ended its run in the summer of 1951, while kinescopes of the program were shown on Saturday mornings through the winter.
December 14, 2019
HI HI PUFFY AMIYUMI
(Cartoon Network, November 19, 2004-June 27, 2006)
Renegade Animation, Cartoon Network Studios
PUFFY are a Japanese pop rock band comprised of singers Ami Onuki and Yumi Yoshimura. Both had ended up working for Sony Music Entertainment in different ways and neither was progressing very far in the company on their own. A chance encounter at an after-party found them hitting it off and requesting to be paired together. Producer and American pop musician Andy Sturmer christened them “Puffy” and they began to work on their first album, AmiYumi. Their debut single, “Asia no Junshin”, was a smash success and immediately launched the pair into stardom. When they made their United States debut in 2000 at South by Southwest, attorneys for performer Sean “Puffy” Combs sent them a cease and desist letter because of their name. As a result, they became Puffy AmiYumi for all things pertaining to the US; however, they remain PUFFY outside of it.
|The real-life Ami and Yumi.|
Sam Register, a fan of the band, wanted to help make more people aware of them by creating an animated series centered around them. He pitched the series to the band and had Renegade Animation develop a test short to help sell the idea to Cartoon Network. The series was approved and developed further by Shakeh Haghnazarian. Although Ami and Yumi appeared in short live-action segments filmed in Japan and the show featured their music (the first to use licensed music), their animated counterparts were voiced by Janice Kawaye and Grey Griffin, respectively. The series would focus on their traveling around the world in their rather large tour bus with their greedy, but well-intentioned, manager, Kaz Harada (Keone Young).
|The animated Ami and Yumi.|
Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi debuted on Cartoon Network on November 19, 2004 and featured episodes broken up into three story segments each. It was one of the few cartoons produced entirely in the United States despite featuring Japanese leads, using a combination of Flash and cel animation done in an anime style. The show’s premiere received the highest ratings ever, and the series performed strong throughout its run. Ultimately, it was cancelled after three seasons primarily because Register left for Warner Bros. Animation over a disagreement with an upcoming project he hated, and because by that time Ben 10 and My Gym Partner’s a Monkey began to surpass AmiYumi in the ratings. Cartoon Network would distance themselves from the show until the characters appeared on their 20th anniversary poster in 2012 and reruns began making the rounds on the network, as well as Yumi appearing in an episode of OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes.
(ATV, October 28, 1962-October 27, 1963)
Created by Gerry Anderson and Sylvia Anderson, Fireball XL5 was a British science fiction children’s show that made use of AP Films’ Supermarionation style (a form of electronic marionette puppetry with lip movements synchronized to pre-recorded dialogue). The series focused on the missions of Fireball XL5 (inspired by motor oil Castrol XL, which Gerry thought had an interesting sound), a ship that was part of the World Space Patrol based out of Space City somewhere in the South Pacific. The ship’s crew consisted of commanding officer Colonel Steve Zodiac (Paul Maxwell), medical officer Dr. Venus (Sylvia), engineer Professor Matthew Matic (Walter Brennan), co-pilot Robert the robot (an uncredited Gerry using an artificial larynx developed by Edinburgh University, and the only time he’d voice a character on one of his shows), and Dr. Venus’ lazy, semi-telepathic pet Zoonie the Lazoon (David Graham). They answered to Commander Wilbur Zero (John Bluthal) at Space City, who was assisted by Lieutenant Ninety (Graham). The series was set sometime in the late 21st Century and would often featuring the crew traveling to exotic planets and encountering various alien species.
|The crew of the XL5: Robert, Matt, Steve and Venus.|
Fireball XL5 debuted on Britain’s ATV on October 28, 1962. Running for 39 episodes over the course of a year, the series spawned a wave of merchandise as well as a minor hit with the theme song composed by Barry Gray, written by Charles Blackwell, and performed by Don Spencer. It would also be the last AP Films production made in black and white. As the series was wrapping up in the United Kingdom, it came to American airwaves in the fall of 1963 on NBC Saturday mornings. Although the earlier AP Films production Supercar had been seen in syndication, this would be the first Supermarionation series shown on US network television.
December 08, 2019
Best known for the role of shape-shifting Odo in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, he spent a lot of time loaning his voice to Saturday mornings. He was the stranger in The Smurfs Christmas Special; Desaad in Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians; a Poodle and Pierre in episodes of Pound Puppies (1986); Boris Roquefort in an episode of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo; Dr. Strangesnork and additional voices in Snorks; General Zod in an episode of Superman (1988); Sensei in an episode of Darkwing Duck; Dr. March in two episodes of Batman: The Animated Series; Kangent in The Pirates of Dark Water; Chef Louie in both Marsupilami and The Little Mermaid: The Animated Series; Jonathan in an episode of Rugrats; Nefir Hasenuf in episodes of Aladdin; Horde in The Savage Dragon; Quintoon in an episode of Men in Black: The Series; Scarab in episodes of The Mummy; Master Fung and the narrator in Xiaolin Showdown; McChirpy in an episode of Duck Dogers; Xyber 9 in Xyber 9: New Dawn; Blockbuster in Young Justice; Saladin in Winx Club: Beyond Believix; McLeish, Professor Schmierkankle and a cat narrator in Pound Puppies (2010); and Azmuth and additional voices in Ben 10: Omniverse. He also provided additional voices for The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, Punky Brewster, The Smurfs and The Tom & Jerry Kids Show.
December 07, 2019
(Disney Junior, November 14, 2011-January 22, 2016)
Disney Television Animation, DQ Entertainment, Technicolor Animation Productions
Spinning off out of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode “Minnie’s Bow-Tique”, Minnie’s Bow-Toons followed Minnie Mouse (Russi Taylor) and Daisy Duck (Tress MacNeille) as they ran Minnie’s Bow-tique; a specialty shop stocked with an assortment of colorful bows and bowties. Helping them out was their clock-dwelling bird assistant, Cuckoo Loca (Nika Futterman). Also residing in the Bow-tique was Figaro (Frank Welker), the pet cat from Pinocchio. Although the male Disney characters weren’t stars in the series, they did make occasional guest appearances.
|Minnie, Daisy and Cuckoo taking a break from the bow business for some kitchen adventures.|
Minnie’s Bow-Toons debuted on Disney Junior on November 14, 2011. Like Clubhouse, the series was completely rendered in CGI. Episodes would typically start out with something bow-related that would serve to help in a given situation; such as rubber bows being used to stop leaky pipes, Figaro-shredded material helping a cheerleader friend replace her lost pom-poms, or fluorescent paint on bows to light-up Daisy’s birthday party when the fuses blow. Over the course of the series, the focus expanded to include a new pet-grooming salon across from the Bow-tique, as well as a world-spanning travel adventure. The series ran for 5 seasons, spawning a variety of merchandise and video games. The series would continue on in reruns on Disney Junior, eventually finding its way onto the Saturday morning schedule.
(NBC, January 5-July 5, 1957)
Hal Roach Studios, King Features Production
Blondie is a comic strip created by Chic Young. Beginning on September 8, 1930, it originally focused on young, blonde, carefree flapper Blondie Boopadoop who spent her days in the dance halls with her boyfriend, Dagwood Bumstead; a bit of a bumbling playboy and heir to a fortune. When the Great Depression hit, the strip’s relevancy began to wane and was steadily dropped by various newspapers. Young decided to change things up in 1933 by having Blondie and Dagwood become married, resulting in his being disinherited by his father and forcing them to live like an average couple. Dagwood, who was originally the straight man, became the primary comedic source as Blondie assumed the sensible role as head of the family. Because of the strip’s popularity, the marriage was a largely publicized event. Eventually, they gained children, Alexander and Cookie, and a dog, Daisy. The strip features a variety of running gags, including Dagwood colliding with the mailman as he rushes out of the house, being always late for his ride to work, his impossibly tall sandwiches and midnight snacks, his interrupted naps on the couch, and more. While very little has changed about the strip as it continued under the stewardship of Young’s son, Dean, newer elements were gradually integrated in the form of current technologies and fashion.
|The characters of the Blondie comic strip.|
In 1938, Blondie was adapted into a long-running series of low-budget films by Columbia Pictures. Starring Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake as the lead characters, Columbia took great care in incorporating as many elements as possible from the strip into the films, including the running gags, and to ensure they followed a continuity with each other. When the series began to slip in profits in 1943, Columbia released what was to be the last Blondie film as Footlight Glamour (removing the Blondie name from the title to try and lure in curious patrons) and Singleton and Lake moved on to other projects. However, fan demand brought the series back until it was finally ended with the 28th film, 1950’s Beware of Blondie. Singleton and Lake also starred in a radio adaptation that began in 1939 and was heard across all three major networks. It ran concurrently with the films and ended in 1950 with them.
|The cast of the television show.|
In 1954, NBC commissioned a pilot episode for a proposed Blondie sitcom from Hal Roach Studios. Pamela Britton and Hal Le Roy assumed the lead roles, however the series wasn’t picked up until 3 years later. For the actual show, Le Roy was replaced by Lake. The Blondie television series was essentially a half-hour version of the films, attempting to maintain the same faithfulness to the source material. The series ran for a single season of 26 episodes, running from January 1957 until it was cancelled that July due to poor ratings.
December 03, 2019
Best known for her association and contributions to the Star Trek franchise, she served as a script consultant, story editor, associate producer and even wrote an episode for Star Trek: The Animated Series. She also provided scripts for an episode of ReBoot and Silver Surfer.