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.
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.
first instance of these crossovers, however, was where Yogi’s Gang actually
began. In 1972, ABC launched the anthology
ABC Saturday Superstar Moviewhere 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.
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
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.
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
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).
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
The citizens of Lidsville tattle on HooDoo to his mother (Muriel Landers).
HooDoo taking Witchiepoo terrorizing in his Hatamaran.
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 Lidsvillecomic 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.
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 SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE / THE NEW SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE
(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
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 inmuch 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.
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
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,
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
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 Gidgetbook/film/television
franchise with “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection”, an interpretation of the
legend of Robin
with animals in “The Adventures of Robin Hoodnik” (a year before Disney’s),
and a sequel to the novel Oliver
Twistwith “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.
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 Goolieswhich had
Filmation’s characters interact with most of the Looney
Tunes (save Bugs Bunny
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
Herman Munster driving around his son Eddie's band.
took the opportunity to introduce an animated prequel to their 1967 stop-motion
Monster Party. “Mad, Mad, Mad Monsters”
followed Baron Henry von Frankenstein (Bob McFadden)
creating a bride (Rhoda
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
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
Girl. “That Girl in Wonderland”
saw the show’s characters in the stories of Alice in Wonderland,
and the Three Bears, The
Wizard of Ozand Cinderella.
Thomas reprised her role of Anne Marie.
Promo image for "Luv-cast U.S.A."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
and the Professor” (9/30/72) – Nanny and the Everetts get caught up in a
mystery involving a microdot.
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
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.
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.
Adventures of Robin Hoodnik” (11/4/72) – A retelling of the legend of Robin
Hood starring a cast of anthropomorphic animals.
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.
Makes the Wrong Connection (a.k.a. The Odd Squad)” (11/18/72) – Teenager Gidget
and her friends run into gold smugglers.
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.
and Adam and the Clown Family” (12/2/72) – Tabitha and Adam Stevens use their magical
powers to try and save a circus.
Red Baron” (12/9/72) – The Red Baron and his fellow dogs do battle with the
sinister army of cats.
Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies” (12/16/72) – The Groovie Goolies
help the Looney Tunes solve a mystery.
U.S.A.” (1/6/73) – A wacky deejay plays some romantic hits while various
characters engage in romance-themed escapades.
Girl in Wonderland” (1/13/73) – Ann Marie imagines herself in a variety of
in Space” (9/8/73) – A meteor field sends the Jupiter II far off course.
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
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.