May 31, 2020


You can read the full story here.

He was the longest-serving narrator for the Thomas the Tank Engine series, assuming the role from Ringo Starr in 1991 until 2012.

May 30, 2020


You can read the full story here.

He composed, produced and performed “Sweet Victory” in the “Band Geeks” episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, which was later included on the series’ The Yellow Album. 


(ABC, September 8-December 29, 1973)

Hanna-Barbera Productions

Daws Butler – Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss, Wally Gator, Peter Potamus, Augie Doggie, Hokey Wolf, Lippy the Lion, Baba Looey, Tantrum
Henry Corden – Paw Rugg, Dr. Bigot, Chief Short
Allan Melvin – Magilla Gorilla, Mr. Sloppy/Mr. Neat, Professor Haggling
Don Messick – Boo Boo Bear, Ranger Smith, Touché Turtle, Atom Ant, Squiddly Diddly, Mayor of Smog City, Temper
John Stephenson – Doggie Daddy, Hardy Har Har, Mr. Cheerful, Greedy Genie, Hilarious P. Prankster, Envy Brother #2, Captain Swashbuckle Swipe, Fumbo Jumbo, Mr. Hothead, Professor Bickering
Jean Vander Pyl – Maw Rugg

            Where Yogi Bear began his career as a supporting character to Huckleberry Hound (both Daws Butler), and later as the star of his own televised shorts, the rest of Yogi’s television career took him out of Jellystone Park and away from his beloved picnic baskets. Instead, he was always part of an ensemble cast comprised of various other Hanna-Barbera characters both established and new. In fact, this would be the first in a series of programs where Hanna-Barbera would bring characters together from throughout their library.

The titular ark with it's Yogi's Gang name.

            The very first instance of these crossovers, however, was where Yogi’s Gang actually began. In 1972, ABC launched the anthology series The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie where many animation studios presented either pilots for potential series, one-off projects, or follow-ups to well-known works of fiction. One of Hanna-Barbera’s entries was “Yogi’s Ark Lark”. The special was intended to help raise ecological awareness.

Noah Smitty.

            Concerned about the environment, Yogi called a meeting of his animal friends at Jellystone Park. They decided to leave their homes in search of “the perfect place” free of pollution, deforestation and the like. They enlisted the help of Jellystone maintenance man Noah Smitty (Lennie Weinrib) to build a flying arc, naming it “Noah’s Ark” (because “Smitty’s Houseboat” was too long). After exploring some options and morale on the ship taking a hit, they all decide to go back and clean up their homes in order to make them the perfect place.

Some of the gathering of Hanna-Barbera stars.

Along with Yogi, there was Atom Ant (Don Messick), Secret Squirrel, Paw Rugg (Henry Corden), Maw Rugg, Floral Rugg (both Jean Vander Pyl) and Squiddly Diddly (Walker Edmiston) from The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show; Quick Draw McGraw, Augie Doggie (both Butler) and Doggie Daddy (John Stephenson) from The Quick Draw McGraw Show; Huckleberry Hound, Pixie (Messick), Dixie, Mr. Jinks (both Butler), Hokey Wolf, and Ding-A-Ling from The Huckleberry Hound Show; Lambsy (Butler) from the It’s the Wolf! segment of Cattanooga Cats; Wally Gator (Butler), Touché Turtle (Messick), Dum Dum, Lippy the Lion (Butler) and Hardy Har Har (Stephenson) from The Hanna-Barbera New Cartoon Series; Magilla Gorilla (Allan Melvin) from The Magilla Gorilla Show; Moby Dick (Messick) from Moby Dick and Mighty Mightor; Peter Potamus (Butler) and So-So (Messick) from The Peter Potamus Show; Ruff and Reddy from The Ruff and Reddy Show; Sawtooth the Beaver from Wacky Races; Snagglepuss (Butler), Yakky Doodle (Edmiston), Chopper and Boo Boo (Messick) from The Yogi Bear Show; and Top Cat (Butler) and his gang—Benny the Ball (Stephenson), Spook, Choo Choo, Fancy Fancy and the Brain—from Top Cat. Several of the characters made non-speaking appearances, while Mel Blanc, Paul Frees, Howard Morris, Arnold Stang and Jimmy Weldon didn’t reprise their respective characters who did speak. That was likely due to either availability or Hanna-Barbera attempting to keep costs down on the special since they weren’t prominent parts (Maurice Gosfield and Bill Thompson, Benny and Touché, had both died and Doug Young, Doggie Daddy, was caring for his sick wife).

Lotta Litter spreading around some trash.

While the premise remained in place from pilot to series, a number of changes were made when converting “Ark Lark” into Yogi’s Gang. The overall cast was reduced, with the removal of Top Cat and his gang, Pixie, Dixie, Mr. Jinks, Lippy, Hardy and others. The character of Noah Smitty was written out, and the ark was renamed “Yogi’s Ark”. The only humans to appear on the show was Yogi’s supporting character, Ranger Smith (Messick), and various ecological villains. As for the villains, each one would have a particular gimmick related to some form of pollution or unacceptable social behavior that the ark’s crew would have to overcome. For instance, the Sheik of Selfishness (Paul Winchell) would use a magic box to make Yogi selfish. Smokestack Smog (Weinrib) was a business executive that convinced an entire town that the smog produced by his factory was a good thing. Commodore Phineas P. Fibber (Tom Bosley) encouraged members of the crew to lie regularly. Lotta Litter (Rose Marie) encouraged the spreading of trash all over the place.

Dr. Bigot and his bigot ray.

Yogi’s Gang debuted on ABC on September 8, 1973, and was the only Yogi Bear program to feature Hanna-Barbera’s laugh track. It ran for a single season of 17 episodes, with two of those episodes being “Ark Lark” broken up into two half-hour episodes and some scenes edited down or removed. The series was written by Neal Barbera, Alan Dinehart, Neal Israel, Bill Lutz, R.T. McGee, Jack Mendelsohn, Sloan Nibley, Bob Ogle, Ray Parker, Dick Robbins and Paul West. Hoyt Curtin handled the series’ music while Jerry Eisenberg did the character designs. The song “The Perfect Place” from the special was utilized as the show’s theme with slightly altered lyrics.

The complete series DVD.

Following its run, reruns aired as part of the syndicated weekday series Fred Flintstone and Friends beginning in 1977. Starting in the late 1980s, reruns also found their way to USA Cartoon Express, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Boomerang. In 2009, the episode “The Greedy Genie” was released to DVD by Warner Home Video on the compilation Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1970s Volume 1, and “Mr. Bigot” saw release on Volume 2. Both were re-released in the combined Saturday Morning Cartoons compilation collection in 2018. In 2013, Warner Archive released the complete series to DVD as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection. The series was also made available on the iTunes Store, Google Play Store, and Amazon Prime Video.

“Dr. Bigot” (9/8/73) – While stopping for bananas for Magilla, Yogi and Mr. Cheerful are turned into bigots by Dr. Bigot’s bigot ray.

“The Greedy Genie” (9/15/73) – Yogi’s hobo friend finds a magic lamp whose genie convinces him to lust for more and more, turning him greedy.

“Mr. Prankster” (9/22/73) – A spurned entertainer uses the talentless Wally to get revenge on Yogi for refusing to allow him to participate in Jellystone’s talent show.

“Mr. Fibber” (9/29/73) – The ark picks up a passenger who teaches everyone to lie, which leads to trouble when bad weather brews.

“The Gossipy Witch” (10/6/73) – The ark heads back to Jellystone where a witch spreads gossip among the crew.

“Mr. Sloppy” (10/13/73) – A dedicated foe against neatness, Mr. Sloppy infiltrates the ark to get them to stop cleaning it so well.

“Mr. Cheater” (10/20/73) – Snagglepuss, Quick Draw and Wally are invited to join a school where they’re taught the art of cheating.

“Mr. Waste” (10/27/73) – The ark stops at an island to resupply and the crew is tricked into using up all of the island’s resources.

“Mr. Vandal” (11/3/73) – The crew sets out to teach a destructive bunch of campers the value of antique objects.

“The Sheik of Selfishness” (11/10/73) – The Sheik gives Yogi a magic box that fulfills his desires, but also turns him selfish.

“Mr. Smog” (11/17/73) – The ark stops at a town where everyone has been convinced that smog is good for them.

“Lotta Litter” (11/24/73) – Lotta Litter uses her powers of impersonation to trick the crew into messing up Jellystone Park.

“The Envy Brothers” (12/1/73) – Two trapeze artists try to get control of the circus they work for, but the crew interrupts their plans.

“Captain Swipe” (12/8/73) – When Wally is upset he doesn’t own any beach gear, Captain Swipe is able to talk him into stealing.

“Mr. Hothead” (12/15/73) – When the crew heads out to help Cindy at her new dude ranch, Mr. Hothead uses a device to make all of their tempers flare.

“Yogi’s Ark Lark, Part 1 & 2” (12/22-29/73) – Yogi and his animal friends gather on an ark on a mission to find a place to live that’s devoid of pollution and the destruction caused by mankind.

May 23, 2020


(ABC, September 11, 1971-January 1, 1972)

Sid & Marty Krofft Television Productions

Butch Patrick – Mark
Billie Hayes – Weenie the Genie, Witchiepoo
Charles Nelson Reilly – Horatio J. HooDoo, Merlo the Magician
Walker Edmiston – Raunchy Rabbit, Jack of Clubs, Bela, Boris, Imperial Wizard, Hiram, Admiral Scuttlebutt, Big Chief Sitting Duck
Lennie Weinrib – Mr. Big, Captain Hooknose, Rah-Rah, Colonel Poom, Mr. Chow, Pierre LeSewer, Scorchy, Tex, Tonsilini
Joan Gerber – Madame Ring-a-Ding, Mother Wheels, Nursie, Twirly, Little Ben
Sharon Baird – Raunchy Rabbit (performer), various
Angelo Rossitto – Mr. Big (performer), various
Joy Campbell – Nursie (performer), various
Felix Silla – Colonel Poom (performer), various
Van Snowden – Tonsilini (performer), various

            Lidsville is the fourth television show featuring the work of Sid and Marty Krofft, and the third made through their production company. It utilized their style of actors in makeup filmed alongside performers in full mascot costumes and puppets with voice actors supplying the voices. Lidsville followed the adventures of young Mark (Butch Patrick) after he falls into a magician’s hat and winds up in a land of living hats. The land was frequently terrorized by magician Horatio J. HooDoo (Charles Nelson Reilly, who also played the magician in Mark’s world) in order to extort money from them. HooDooo kept an eye on the populace via a TV-like eyeball called The Evil Eye, and travelled around in his top hat-like Hatamaran. HooDoo was alerted to Mark’s arrival and took an interest, believing Mark a spy. HooDoo would also actively prevent his attempts to return home when Mark stole the magic ring that contained HooDoo’s bumbling genie slave, Weenie (Billie Hayes, replacing an initially cast Billy Barty who fell ill before production).

Mark and Weenie the Genie.

            Lidsville was inspired by Sid Krofft’s large hat collection. One day he pondered what would happen if they came to life and exhibited their own unique personalities. It was the Kroffts’ most ambitious project at the time, boasting a tremendous assortment of both costumed characters and puppets. While a number of previous Krofft players were retained from the prior shows to play the characters when they were the focus of a scene, the sheer volume of these characters meant they had to hire additional support in the form of The Hermine Midgets or even children for any background characters. When the focus would shift characters between shots, the players had to trade costumes and, over the course of the show, often ended up playing multiple characters.

Citizens of Lidsville (from front left): Mr. Chow, Tex, Hiram and Little Ben, Weenie, Madame Ring-a-Ding, Scorchy, Nursie, Colonel Poom, Rah-Rah, Admiral Scuttlebutt, and Big Chief Sitting Duck.

The citizens of Lidsville, the Good Hats, included Colonel Poom (Felix Silla & Lennie Weinrib using a British accent), a pith helmet who was the de factor leader of the town; Rah-Rah (Jerry Maren & Weinrib), a football helmet who acted like a stereotypical “dumb jock”; Mother Wheels (Joan Gerber), an elderly motorcycle helmet always on her bike; Madame Ring-a-Ding (Gerber), a party hat who was the town social director; Mr. Chow (Weinrib using a Chinese accent), a chef’s toque with a Manchurian mustache that served as the town’s top chef; Tonsilini (Van Snowden & Weinrib), an opera hat that signs everything he says; Hiram (Walker Edmiston), a farmer’s straw hat often seen carrying around piglet Little Ben (Gerber); Admiral Scuttlebutt (Edmiston), an admiral’s bicorne that speaks in naval clichés; Big Chief Sitting Duck (Edmiston), a feathered Indian chief’s hat that wears an Indian blanket; Twirly (Gerber), a beanie that can use his propeller to fly; Nursie (Joy Campbell  & Gerber), a nurse’s hat that serves as the town’s doctor; Tex (Weinrib impersonating John Wayne), a cowboy hat; Pierre LeSewer (Weinrib), a French beret that frequently popped out of the town sewers; and Scorchy (Weinrib), a fire hydrant that wore a firefighter’s helmet and serves as the town’s early warning system. Each of the Good Hats lived in a house that emphasized their personality.

HooDoo with the Bad Hats and Raunchy Rabbit.

            HooDoo had his own group of hats, called The Bad Hats. They consisted of Mr. Big (Angelo Rossitto & Lennie Weinrib), a gangster fedora that leads the group; Captain Hooknose (Weinrib), a pirate hat with a hook for a nose; Bela (Walker Edmiston, impersonating Bela Lugosi for which the character was named), a vampire-like tophat; and Boris (Edmiston, impersonating Peter Lorre), an axe-wielding executioner’s hood. HooDoo’s non-hat henchmen included Raunchy Rabbit (Sharon Baird & Edmiston), a dimwitted fez-wearing rabbit, and Jack of Clubs (Edmiston), a walking deck of playing cards that could speak from both Jack-of-Clubs faces. However, HooDoo wasn’t actually in charge as he answered to the Imperial Wizard (Edmiston).

HooDoo zapping.

            Lidsville debuted on ABC on September 11, 1971 after recording the entire show in a brisk 11 weeks. Many would come to note that the series was an almost superficial repackaging of H.R. Pufnstuff as it utilized a similar concept (it also bore a resemblance to the animated British program, Hattytown Tales). There was even an unsubstantiated report from 1974’s Film Fan Monthly saying that Mark Lester, who co-starred with Pufnstuff’s Jack Wild in Olvier!, was actually the original choice to play Mark in Lidsville. Also, Hayes reprised her role of Witchiepoo, the villain of that series, in an episode of Lidsville (playing a double role). However, one key difference is that while the lost boy lead of Pufnstuff seemed almost happy to be with his new friends, Mark, despite putting on a happy face, always had that underlying sense of just wanting to get home (which could have stemmed from that fact that Patrick had reservations about taking the role from the outset, and wanting to be done with the grueling shooting schedule). Also, HooDoo’s wickedness was on full display, making him seem like as genuine a threat as possible as network censors would allow.

The citizens of Lidsville tattle on HooDoo to his mother (Muriel Landers).

The series was written by John Fenton Murray, Warren S. Murray, Rita Sedran Rose, Jack Raymond, Larry Alexander, Marc B. Ray, Si Rose, Elroy Schwartz and Paul Wayne. Like other Krofft productions, Lidsville often featured a musical number in its episodes, with music provided by Les Szarvas; however, unlike those other shows, the music wasn’t always as well integrated into the narrative of the episode. The intro was filmed at Six Flags Over Texas, with the rest of the show being shot Paramount Pictures’ film studio in Los Angeles. Like previous Krofft shows, many had come to regard it as an acid trip—thanks to the abundance of colors used and weird characters—and suspected its name derived from the drug slang version of “lid”, rather than the slang for hat.

HooDoo taking Witchiepoo terrorizing in his Hatamaran.

Lidsville only ran for a single season, however it remained on the network through 1973, and then went over to NBC for another year of reruns. Horatio J. HooDoo would continue to make appearances in future Krofft productions, as well as ABC’s 1972 preview special, The Brady Bunch Meets ABC’s Saturday Superstars. However, Paul Gale would play the role in all further appearances as Reilly hated the costume and all the make-up required; a fact that was withheld from him when he took the role. The hat people also made an appearance in the 1973 Ice Capades, as well as the live stage show, The World of Sid & Marty Krofft Live at the Hollywood Bowl. The stage show was recorded and later shown as a television special; however, the Lidsville characters were removed from a 1990s Nick at Nite broadcast.

The Good Hats as depicted in the Lidsville comic.

Gold Key Comics published a 5-issue Lidsville comic that was a mix of original stories and episode adaptations. While the stories themselves were faithful to the show, very little else was. For instance, Weenie’s bumbling was toned down and his magic could only work when Mark rubbed the magic ring. Boris made no appearances outside of the covers. Jack of Clubs was depicted as being a singular card rather than a deck. The established residents of Lidsville had some noticeable differences in their appearance, and new characters unique to the comic made appearances. Other merchandise released for the show included two versions of a HooDoo and a Weenie Halloween costume by Collegeville, a tin lunch box from Aladdin, a magic slate and a an activity book, both by Whitman.

The complete series DVD.

In 1985, Embassy Home Entertainment released two volumes of episodes under their Children’s Treasures banner as part of The World of Sid & Marty Krofft video collection. The first episode was included on Rhino Home Video’s The World of Sid & Marty Krofft VHS collection in 1999, which was subsequently re-released to DVD in 2002. Rhino also released a single 2-episode VHS of Lidsville. In 2004, Rhino released The Complete Lidsville VHS collection under their Rhino Handmade banner, which was limited to 3,000 copies and retailed for an amazing $83.98. The following year, Rhino released Lidsville: The Complete Series to DVD. Later in 2005, Rhino released a stripped-down version of The World of Sid & Marty Krofft as Saturday Morning with Sid & Marty Krofft. In 2010, “Mark and the Beanstalk” was included on the DVD Sid & Marty Krofft’s Saturday Morning Hits by SMK Pictures.

“World in a Hat” (9/11/71) – Mark falls into a magician’s hat and ends up in a magical world where the evil HooDoo believes he is a spy.

“Show Me the Way to Go Home” (9/18/71) – HooDoo attempts to stop Mark, Weenie and Poom from reaching The Golden Ladder.

“Fly Now, Vacuum Later” (9/25/71) – HooDoo uses a giant vacuum cleaner in order to swallow Mark and his magic carpet.

“Weenie, Weenie, Where’s Our Genie?” (10/2/71) – Weenie runs away and HooDoo captures Nursie and Scorchy as ransom for his return.

“Let’s Hear it for Whizzo” (10/9/71) – HooDoo evicts all the residents of Lidsville so Mark challenges him to a wizard duel.

“Is There a Mayor in the House?” (10/16/71) – Mark suggests the citizens should elect a mayor, so HooDoo attempts to rig the election.  

“Take Me to Your Rabbit” (10/23/71) – A lightning strike gives Raunchy Rabbit HooDoo’s magical powers.

“Have I Got a Girl for HooDoo” (10/30/71) – Mark tries to free Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo from the spell that makes her infatuated with HooDoo.

“Mark and the Beanstalk” (11/6/71) – HooDoo disguises himself as Mark and attempts to use a beanstalk to escape to Mark’s world.

“Turn in Your Turban, You’re Through” (11/13/71) – HooDoo turns Mark into his personal servant by giving him Weenie’s powers.

“Alias, the Imperial Wizard” (11/20/71) – HooDoo kidnaps several of the hat people in order to plan a party for the Imperial Wizard.

“A Little HooDoo Goes a Long Way” (11/27/71) – Weenie gets sick just as the Bad Hats plan to overthrow HooDoo.

“Oh, Brother” (12/4/71) – HooDoo’s good twin brother visits and confusion abounds.

“HooDoo Who?” (12/11/71) – HooDoo ends up with amnesia.

“The Old Hat Home” (12/18/71) – HooDoo crashes a charity event and advances the ages of all in attendance.

“The Great Brain Robbery” (12/25/71) – HooDoo lures the good hat people into his Brain Wash machine so they’ll be his army against the Imperial Wizard.

“Mommy Hoo Doo” (1/1/72) – HooDoo’s mother comes to visit and the citizens of Lidsville try to convince her that her son is a baddie.

May 16, 2020


You can read the full story here.

He appeared as the Award Show Host in an episode of The Weird Al Show; Mr. Brown in an episode of City Guys; Cassandra's father Vic in several episodes of Hercules: The Animated Series; Pa Munchapper in three episodes of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command; Mr. Paulson in Teamo Supremo; Ross Darren and a speedway announcer in two different episodes of The Batman; Swindle in Transformers: Animated; Grandpa Murphy in Milo Murphy’s Law; and Pop-Pop in The Loud House. He also provided voices for The Emperor’s New School and appeared with his comedy troupe, Ace Trucking Company, in the 1974 ABC Funshine Saturday Sneak Peak preview special.


(ABC, September 9, 1972-November 17, 1973)



            With movie studios still viewing television networks as a threat to their business, they often charged high fees for the broadcasting of their films. The networks decided to experiment with producing films specifically for television as a way to significantly lower expenses. NBC was the first, creating the weekly World Premiere Movie in 1966. ABC, who was running last place in the ratings, came up with their own in 1969 called the ABC Movie of the Week. That, combined with Monday Night Football, significantly improved ABC’s ratings and raised it up as competition for the other networks.

Ad for the first episode of Saturday Superstar.

            In 1972, ABC brought the concept to Saturday mornings as The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie. It was the first Saturday morning anthology series presented in much the same way as the regular Movie of the Week., Saturday Superstar would feature one-hour predominantly animated (although some contained live-action) specials by the various animation studios at the time. The selection of specials were typically pilots for shows the studios wanted to do and used Saturday Superstar as a proving ground; although some of them were sequels of previously established properties or just a showcase for a one-off production.

Dr. Smith, Robon and Link from Hanna-Barbera's Lost in Space.

            Hanna-Barbera’s only successful pilot offering was “Yogi’s Ark Lark”, which would become the slightly reworked Yogi’s Gang. For one of their failed pilots, they once again partnered with Screen Gems to make “Tabitha and Adam and the Clown Family”, which centered on the adventures of the now-teenaged children from the sitcom Bewitched (which they made the animated opening titles for); who both naturally inherited their mother’s supernatural powers. The other was a reboot of Lost in Space, which only featured the returning characters of Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris), this time an actual passenger on the Jupiter 2, and the robot (now named Robon, voiced by Don Messick). The new characters included Space Academy graduate Craig Robinson (Michael Bell); his little brother, Link (Vincent Van Patten); and geologist Diana Carmichael (Sherry Alberoni). They took off on a routine mission from Earth to Saturn and ended up thrown wildly off course by a sudden meteor shower. Hanna-Barbera also released a follow-up to The Banana Splits Adventure Hour with “The Banana Splits in Hocus Pocus Park”, an animated entry in the Gidget book/film/television franchise with “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection”, an interpretation of the legend of Robin Hood with animals in “The Adventures of Robin Hoodnik” (a year before Disney’s), and a sequel to the novel Oliver Twist with “Oliver and the Artful Dodger” (which happened to be the series’ only two-part episode).

Animation cel featuring The Groovie Goolies and some of the Looney Tunes.

            Filmation found a bit more success with their pilots, as both of their offerings led into a show. “The Brady Kids on Mysterious Island” was later broken up into the first two episodes of The Brady Kids, as was “Lassie and the Spirit of Thunder Mountain” for Lassie’s Rescue Rangers. “Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies” presented a rare instance in which Warner Bros. loaned out their characters for use by another studio (normally, those studios would be making the cartoons for Warner Bros., who at this time didn’t have their own animation department). The special was a follow-up to The Groovie Goolies which had Filmation’s characters interact with most of the Looney Tunes (save Bugs Bunny and Speedy Gonzales). This was the only time the legendary Mel Blanc worked on a Filmation project; which he not only hated doing but came to regret doing as an error in the sound mixing ended up making most of his characters sound off.

Herman Munster driving around his son Eddie's band.

            Fred Calvert Productions attempted to translate two sitcoms into animated shows. The first was the 20th Century Fox Television production The Nanny and the Professor; a sitcom featuring a magical British nanny (Juliet Mills) inspired by Mary Poppins. She took care of a family comprised of college professor Harold Everett (Richard Long), his sons Harold (David Doremus) and Bently (Trent Lehman), and daughter Prudence (Kim Richards). Calvert made two specials based on the show, “Nanny and the Professor” and “Nanny and the Professor and the Phantom of the Circus”, with the cast all reprising their roles. The second series was Universal Television’s The Munsters; the sitcom about a family based on the classic Universal Monsters who were blissfully ignorant of their differences compared to other people. The special, “The Mini-Munsters”, only saw Al Lewis reprise his role of Grandpa from the original series. Neither show was picked up. Calvert would have better luck on NBC with Emergency +4, an animated spin-off of the medical drama, Emergency!

Marlo Thomas in animated form.

            Rankin/Bass Productions took the opportunity to introduce an animated prequel to their 1967 stop-motion film, Mad Monster Party. “Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters” followed Baron Henry von Frankenstein (Bob McFadden) creating a bride (Rhoda Mann) for his monster (Allen Swift), but his assistant, Igor (Swift), got jealous and wanted the bride for himself. While the special was praised for its visuals, the story was found lacking by critics. Rankin/Bass also made a special centering around baseball legend Willie Mays in “Willie Mays and the Say-Hey Kid”. It was basically about a guardian angel named Casey (after Casey Stengel, voiced by Paul Frees) tasking Mays with looking after an orphan in exchange for help winning the National League Pennant. An odd one was their take on “The Red Baron”, which recast the infamous WWI fighter pilot as a heroic anthropomorphic dog (Swift) who sets out to rescue the “kidnapped” princess of Pretzelstein (Mann) from a rival kingdom. Their final offering for the series was a spin-off to the Marlo Thomas-led sitcom, That Girl. “That Girl in Wonderland” saw the show’s characters in the stories of Alice in Wonderland, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella. Only Thomas reprised her role of Anne Marie.

Promo image for "Luv-cast U.S.A."

            Depatie-Freleng Enterprises’ only offering for the series was “Luv-cast U.S.A.” It was a mini-anthology, loosely based on Love, American Style. The special was centered around a radio station, where DJ Ranton Rave (actual DJ “Sweet” Dick Whittington) would receive calls from people with various romantic problems, and their answers would be seen in a series of vignettes. All the while, the DJ would play rock and roll classics music. The special landed Depatie-Freleng an opportunity to do further work on ABC’s other anthology series, The ABC Afterschool Specials

The comedy comic strip characters board for their free cruise.

            King Features Syndicate decided to throw their hat into the ring by producing a special combining just about every comic strip under their control. “Popeye Meets the Man Who Hated Laughter” not only featured the characters of Popeye, but also characters from Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Steve Canyon, Snuffy Smith, The Phantom, Mandrake the Magician, Hi & Lois, Tiger, Tim Tyler, Quincy, Prince Valiant and The Little King. This marked the first—and for some, only—time many of these strips were ever adapted into animation. The special was directed by Hal Seeger and featured Jack Mercer reprising his roles as Popeye and Wimpy. McFadden and Corinne Orr provided every other voice in the special.

            The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie debuted on ABC on September 9, 1972. It returned the following year as The New Saturday Superstar Movie for a brief 3-episode second season. After that, ABC decided to abandon the experiment with the 1974 season; however, that hiatus didn’t last too long. In 1977 they brought back the anthology concept with ABC Weekend Special, this time with a more focused message of encouraging children to read.

Ad for "Willie Mays and the Say-Hey Kid".

            Because of the multiple licenses and studios involved, a complete comprehensive collection of Saturday Superstar has never been released. However, individual components have seen their own releases on home media. Released to VHS was “Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters” in 1998 by Sony Home Entertainment; “Willie Mays and the Say-Hey Kid” by Star Classics; and “Oliver and the Artful Dodger” in 1989 by Warner Home Video. “Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters” was released to DVD in 2012 by Universal Home Entertainment, as was “Oliver and the Artful Dodger” together with “The Adventures of Robin Hoodnik” in the Hanna-Barbera Specials Collection by Warner Archive in 2015. “Yogi’s Ark Lark” and “The Brady Kids on Mysterious Island” were part of the complete series releases for Yogi’s Gang and The Brady Kids. “Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters” was made available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

Some of the foreign VHS covers for "Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies".

“Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies” has seen numerous VHS releases under various titles, predominantly in the United Kingdom and Germany by Select Video between 1983-86 with its live-action segment removed. It also saw rebroadcasts on Sky One, Cartoon Network as part of Mr. Spim’s Cartoon Theater and USA Network before they stopped airing cartoons. A restored two-part version of the film began making the rounds in Germany in 2002 and aired as late as 2013.

Season 1:
“The Brady Kids on Mysterious Island” (9/9/72) – A balloon race lands the Brady kids on a mysterious island where they meet and befriend some special animals.

“Yogi’s Ark Lark” (9/16/72) – Yogi and his animal friends gather on an ark on a mission to find a place to live that’s devoid of pollution and the destruction caused by mankind.

“Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters” (9/23/72) – Baron Henry von Frankenstein creates a bride for his monster, but his assistant Igor becomes jealous and wants the Bride for himself.

“Nanny and the Professor” (9/30/72) – Nanny and the Everetts get caught up in a mystery involving a microdot.

“Popeye Meets the Man Who Hated Laughter” (10/7/72) – Prof. Morbid Grimsby plans to cinch this year’s prestigious “Meanie” award by eliminating all laughter from the world.

“Willie Mays and the Say-Hey Kid” (10/14/72) – An angel promises to help Willie Mays win the Pennant if he looks after an orphaned girl.

“Oliver and the Artful Dodger: Part 1 & 2” (10/21/72, 10/28/72) – Mr. Brownlow adopts Oliver, but upon his death his will goes missing and his sinister nephew tries to take his fortune.

“The Adventures of Robin Hoodnik” (11/4/72) – A retelling of the legend of Robin Hood starring a cast of anthropomorphic animals.

“Lassie and the Spirit of Thunder Mountain” (11/11/72) – Lassie tries to figure out who’s scaring the Native American people away from Thunder Mountain.

“Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection (a.k.a. The Odd Squad)” (11/18/72) – Teenager Gidget and her friends run into gold smugglers.

“The Banana Splits in Hocus Pocus Park” (11/25/72) – The Banana Splits give a little girl a tour of an amusement park, only to have her kidnapped by a witch.

“Tabitha and Adam and the Clown Family” (12/2/72) – Tabitha and Adam Stevens use their magical powers to try and save a circus.

“The Red Baron” (12/9/72) – The Red Baron and his fellow dogs do battle with the sinister army of cats.

“Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies” (12/16/72) – The Groovie Goolies help the Looney Tunes solve a mystery.

“Luvcast U.S.A.” (1/6/73) – A wacky deejay plays some romantic hits while various characters engage in romance-themed escapades.

“That Girl in Wonderland” (1/13/73) – Ann Marie imagines herself in a variety of fairy tales.

Season 2:
“Lost in Space” (9/8/73) – A meteor field sends the Jupiter II far off course.

“The Mini-Munsters” (10/27/73) – When Grandpa fixes Eddie’s car so that it runs on music, gangster who took over the fuel company want his invention destroyed at any cost.

“Nanny and the Professor and the Phantom of the Circus” (11/17/73) – Nanny and the Everetts end up involved in a mystery about a traveling circus.