March 26, 2022

SPACECATS

 

SPACECATS
(NBC, September 14-December 14, 1991)
 
Marvel Productions, Paul Fusco Productions, NBC Productions
 
 
MAIN CAST:
Rob Paulsen – Thomas “Tom” Spacecat, Chelsie Pipshire
Townsend Coleman – Scratch
Pat Fraley – Sniff
Paul Fusco – Captain Catgut
Charles Nelson Reilly – D.O.R.C.
Robert Ridgley - Narrator
 
 
            Spacecats was an animated/live-action/puppet hybrid created by Paul Fusco, the man behind the ALF puppet and franchise. The series focused on a group of alien cats (basically cats with antennae) who were created on the planet Trygliceride-7 to solve all the problems of Earth; fighting for “truth, justice and a better-quality cat food without a fishy aftertaste” (a play on Superman’s motto). They took refuge in an underground lair so secret, not even the cats themselves knew where they were.

D.O.R.C. addressing Captain Catgut.


Their leader was D.O.R.C. (the Disembodied Omnipotent Ruler of Cats, performed in liv-action by Charles Nelson Reilly), a former game show host with a low tolerance for cats due to his inability to have a pet as a young head (because he needed to be able to carry them in his mouth). He relayed missions directly to the less-than-intelligent Captain Catgut (Fusco), who then selected the agents to carry out their mission.            Despite a large assortment of Spacecats to choose from (seriously—he usually flipped through film slides of several), Catgut generally chose the same three. The team leader was always Thomas “Tom” Spacecat (Rob Paulsen), a weapons expert with excellent spelling ability. Under him was disguise expert Scratch (Townsend Coleman), so named because of a musical family of space fleas constantly making him itchy, and Sniff (Pat Fraley), whose keen sense of smell was only rivaled by his numerous allergies. It would be up to the Spacecats to foil the villains, save the day, and try to discreetly blend in with Earth cats (well, two out of three ain’t bad).

Captain Catgut's intro credit.


Spacecats debuted on NBC on September 14, 1991. The series was written by Fusco with ALF writers Howard Bendetson and David Silverman, animated ALF writer Terrie Collins, ALF Tales writer Judy Rothman, Rogena Schuyler, Rowby Goren (who served as story editor), George Atkins and Ron Friedman, with music by Shuki Levy, orchestrated by Udi Harpaz. Each episode followed a similar structure: after the intro and theme by ALF veterans Leslie Ann Podkin and Alf Clausen, the narrator (Robert Ridgley) would introduce the Spacecats to the audience as the camera went from space down into their lair via the garbage can entrance. The lair and Captain Catgut would be represented by puppets on a set, typically in stock footage showing the cats milling about looking busy-ish. D.O.R.C. would then appear on the to fill Catgut in on the mission with some snide barbs before departing with a comedic message appearing on his screen, such as “Deposit $850” or “Want to lose weight? Ask me how!”. The episode would then switch to traditional animation by AKOM Productions as Catgut would scroll through slides of agents before settling on our three protagonists, with the narrator going over their qualities (usually a mix of serious and comedic). After the trio bumbled their way through the assignment, they would end the episode by addressing the audience with words of not-quite-wisdom. A running gag also had them announcing themselves with a poorly-harmonized vocal fanfare. This would be Marvel Productions’ second—and arguably more successful—attempt at an animation/puppet hybrid series after the failed Little Muppet Monsters.

The crack(ed) team of Tom, Sniff and Scratch.


            Unfortunately for all involved, the series came about right when NBC was considering a move away from animation to produce more live-action teen-oriented fare in an attempt to duplicate the success of Saved by the Bell; which would take the form of TNBC the next season. As a result, Spacecats was among the many animated shows cancelled by the network after its sole season. To date, no home releases or merchandise have been released outside of the partial adaptation of “Diamonds are Fur-Ever” featured in the special NBC Saturday Morning Comics from Harvey Comics, which previewed NBC’s 1991 Saturday morning line-up. However, 10 episodes have been uploaded online in various places, with two only available in Persian dubs.
 
 
EPISODE GUIDE:
(NOTE: Different sources list up to 26 different episode titles and seem to disagree on what episode aired when. Therefore, the accuracy of this guide cannot be verified at this time.)
 
“Send in the Clones” (9/14/91) – Investigating why a television clown has suddenly turned violent leads the Spacecats to discover a sleazy executive has been replacing talent with robot clones.
 
“Stinking Pollution” (9/21/91) – The Spacecats are pursued by a shadowy figure as they investigate pollution that has been plaguing communities.
 
“Like Cats to Water” (9/28/91) – The Spacecats investigate a thriving water park amidst the planet’s water supply rapidly drying up.
 
“Thank You, Masked Man” (10/5/91) – An evil Hollywood producer promises to revive a has-been superhero’s career as a ruse to have him commit crimes.
 
“A Recession is Depressin’” (10/21/91) – A government employee robs the U.S. Treasury and manages to keep the money away from the Spacecats by transmitting it through computers.
 
“Diamonds are Fur-Ever” (10/19/91) – The Spacecats disguise themselves as archaeologists to attempt to trap a diamond thief with the “discovery” of a fake diamond.
 
“Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall” (10/26/91) – Spacecat Yvette Meow is assigned to the team to help investigate what’s turning beautiful women into ugly hags.
 
“The Incredible Shrinking Monuments” (11/2/91) – The Spacecats investigate the connection between a miniature golf course and disappearing national monuments.
 
“Blintzcapades” (11/9/91) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
 
“A Tale of Two Kitties” (11/23/91) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
 
“Mysteriously Missing Guests” (11/30/91) – The Spacecats are sent to investigate the mysterious disappearances of guests that attend an actress’ dinner parties.
 
“Operation Pine Crud” (12/7/91) – An air freshener company may be responsible for some deforestation going on at Yellowbelly National Park.
 
“Y.I. Auto” (12/14/91) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
 
“Professor VonSchtooker and the Temple of Gold” (???) – The Spacecats are sent to find out what happened to an important scientist as he discovered the means to turn anything into gold.

March 19, 2022

TOM AND JERRY TALES

 
TOM AND JERRY TALES
(The CW, September 23, 2006-March 22, 2008)
 
Turner Entertainment Co., Warner Bros. Animation
 
 
MAIN CAST:
Don Brown – Tom, Droopy (season 1)
Sam Vincent – Jerry, Kid
Michael Donovan – Spike, Droopy (season 2), Topsy
Colin Murdock – Butch, Meathead


Check out the history of Tom and Jerry at this post here.

 
Warner Bros. was banking heavily on Looney Tunes: Back in Action being a success. So much so, they imagined it as the springboard into which they could revitalize the Looney Tunes franchise and re-introduce theatrical shorts. Unfortunately, those plans all fell apart when the movie underperformed at the box office. Warner Bros. immediately cancelled their planned slate of Looney Tunes shorts, but kept production going on the 30 Tom and Jerry ones they commissioned for the next two years before pulling the plug. While “The Karate Guard” did actually manage to make it to theaters as intended, Warner Bros. decided the best place for the rest was on television. A few of the shorts aired on Cartoon Network before being packaged together to air on Kids’ WB as Tom and Jerry Tales.


Spike and Butch pick on Tom and Jerry at the beach.


The series was a return to form for the Tom and Jerry franchise. Each episode featured three shorts with some kind of connecting theme and had Tom (Don Brown, with co-creator William Hanna’s archived yell used a few times) and Jerry (Sam Vincent) engaged in their slapstick-laden rivalry (although they would occasionally team-up against a common foe). A great number of characters from the franchise were revived for the shorts, including Tom’s primary nemesis Spike (Michael Donovan) and his son, Tyke; Butch (Colin Murdock), an alley cat who was sometimes Tom’s friend and other times his rival for Jerry; Tom’s equally-silent love interest Toodles Galore; Tom’s owner Mrs. Two-Shoes (a modified version of the racially-charged Mammy Two Shoes, voiced by Nicole Oliver); young mouse Nibbles (Reece Thompson & Chantal Strand); and frequent appearances by Droopy Dog (Brown & Donovan). Character designs were handled by Dan Haskett, Frank Molieri, and Tony Cervone, and while they adhered to the most up-to-date models of the characters, occasionally they would slip back into earlier designs in various episodes. Despite having credited voice actors, Tom and Jerry didn’t speak like in the disastrous Tom and Jerry: The Movie.  They only spoke in the short “Kitty Hawked” as it relied on them relaying a story to an audience on and through the screen.

Taking the battle to cyberspace.


Tom and Jerry Tales debuted on The CW as part of the Kids’ WB programming block on September 23, 2006; although it did air in markets outside of the United States earlier in the year. It would be the first Tom and Jerry show produced by Warner Bros. since their acquisition of the MGM properties through the merger of Turner Entertainment and Time Warner. The series was very well-received due to its harkening back to the franchise’s earlier days. The writing and animation by Yearim Productions Co., Ltd, Lotto Animation, Toon City Animation, Inc. and Rough Draft Studios were praised. A second season was ordered and brought the total number of episodes to 26 for the course of the series; with 78 shorts total (some of which served as updates or contained similarities to earlier entries of the franchise).

Jerry model sheet.


Co-creator Joseph Barbera, who worked on “The Karate Guard”, served as an executive producer for the first season and received story credit for “The Itch” before he passed away in December of 2006. The series was written by Cervone, Charles Schneider, Eric Donald, Jim Gomez, Richard Pursel, Robert Ramirez, Matt Wayne, Bradley Zweig, Tom Minton, Earl Kress, Meredith Jennings-Offen, Mark Turosz, Chris Painter, Joe Purdy, Christopher Keenan, Eric Shaw and T.J. House, who also directed and storyboarded some of the season 2 episodes. Minton and Pursel served as story editors, with Painter joining in the second season.  “The Karate Guard” co-producer and co-director and voice of Tom Spike Brandt also joined in season 2 as a writer, director, character designer and storyboarder. The series’ theme and first season music were composed by Tom Erba, with Gordon Goodwin taking over the music for the second season.


Tom being driven crazy by "The Itch".


Any chance of a third season was likely killed by the fact that Kids’ WB was on the way out when the second season was due to finish airing. Reruns of the series survived the block’s transition to The CW4Kids, remaining on the network until September of 2008. The series would return in reruns on Cartoon Network in 2011 where the series was able to be broadcast in the widescreen aspect ratio it was produced in due to the changing television technology.

The Nintendo DS game cover.


A video game based on the show was released for the Nintendo DS as a 3D platformer and Game Boy Advance as a 2D platformer. Developed by Sensory Sweep Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the game saw the player control Jerry with the objective of getting Tom into trouble and kicked out of the house. 26 shorts were released across 6 DVD volumes between 2006 and 2009 (the United Kingdom releases had slightly different numberings), of which the first 3 were collected and re-released together in 2009 and were all re-released later in two-packs. Volume 1 was also re-released as part of Tom and Jerry Fun Pack in 2011. 12 segments were included on volumes 2 and 3 of Fur Flying Adventures in 2011, with 9 more in In the Dog House in 2012 and 2 more in Summer Holidays in 2012. The complete first season was released in 2012. In 2010, the short “Game of Mouse & Cat” was included in Tom and Jerry: Deluxe Anniversary Collection. The complete first season was released in 2012. The series was made available to stream on Boomerang SD, Boomerang’s Amazon Channel, DIRECTV, iTunes and Amazon Prime Video.
 


EPISODE GUIDE:
 
“Tiger Cat / Feeding Time / Polar Peril” (9/23/06) – After Tom accidentally wrecks his art, a monkey stealthily paints Tom to look like a tiger. / Tom must keep Jerry from feeding the zoo animals or else Spike will fire him. / An overprotective polar bear becomes Jerry’s defender.

“Joy Riding Jokers / Cat Got Your Luggage? / City Dump Chumps” (9/30/06) – Mistaken as parking valets, Tom and Jerry take Spike’s car on a joyride. / Trashing a hotel lobby leads to Tom being made a bellboy to pay for the damages. / Tom and Butch battle over who gets Jerry in a junkyard.

 
“Way-Off Broadway / Egg Beats / Cry Uncle” (10/7/06) – Tom and Jerry compete as buskers to try and out-earn each other. / Tired of the city noise drowning out his music, Jerry moves to Tom’s farm where the music causes Tom’s pet hen to rapidly lay eggs. / Jerry’s uncle Pecos Pest comes for a visit and keeps him and Tom up with his annoying singing.
 
“Bats What I Like About the South / Fraidy Cat Scat / Tomb It May Concern” (10/28/06) – Jerry uses a bat that resembles him to put a scare into Tom. / Jerry pretends to be a ghost in order to scare away Tom after he buys the haunted house he lives in. / Tom follows Jerry to an ancient tomb where they disturb and anger the mummy within.
 
“Dine-O-Sores / Freaky Tiki / Prehisterics” (11/4/06) – Tom and Jerry end up shipwrecked on an island full of dinosaur eggs. / Under mind control, Tom and Jerry enter a Hawaiian volcano where they meet Pele, goddess of flame. / The rivalry transcends generations to Tom and Jerry’s prehistoric ancestors.
 
“Digital Dilemma / Hi, Robot / Tomcat Jetpack” (11/11/06) – A lightning strike sends Tom and Jerry into their new computer. / Jerry falls in love with the robot female mouse Tom builds to trap him. / Jerry and Spike team-up to take Tom down after he acquires a jetpack.
 
“Fire Breathing Tom Cat / Medieval Menace / The Itch” (2/3/07) – Jerry ends up getting Sir Tom eaten by the dragon he’s sent to slay, which ends up with Tom acquiring the dragon’s flame breath for himself. / A chase ending up in a medieval castle goes magical when Tom and Jerry get ahold of a magic wand. / Jerry wants to join a band of rats whose music causes everyone to become itchy.
 
“Ho, Ho, Horrors / Doggone Hill Hog / Northern Light Fish Fight” (2/10/07) – Tom and Jerry battling it out in Tom’s dream ends up with them wrecking the house for real. / Spike claims Tom and Jerry’s sledding hill for himself. / Ice fishing at the North Pole leads to Tom trying to steal Jerry’s fish.
 
“Cat Nebula / Martian Mice / Spaced Out Cat” (2/17/07) – Jerry and Nibbles encounter an alien squid Tom while traveling through space. / Giant mice from Mars abduct Tom and Jerry. / Tom attempts to become the first to reach the moon in order to impress Toodles and win her back from Spike.
 
“Octo Suave / Beach Bully Bingo / Treasure Map Scrap” (2/24/07) – An underwater chase leaves Tom looking like a mermaid and attractive to an octopus. / A relaxing day at the beach for Tom and Jerry is interrupted by Butch and Spike. / Tom attempts to get some sunken treasure for himself and cut Jerry out of the deal.
 
“Destruction Junction / Battle of the Power Tools / Jackhammered Cat” (3/3/07) – An extreme case of splinters sees Spike put in charge of finishing a building’s construction. / A suddenly rich Tom and Jerry try to outdo each other while building their neighboring mansions. / Tom and Jerry attempt to get at a feast Spike is guarding at a construction site.
 
“Tin Cat of Tomorrow / Beefcake Tom / Tomcat Superstar” (4/28/07) – Mrs. Two Shoes gets a robotic cat to catch Jerry. / Tom enrolls in a gym to get into better shape to catch Jerry. / Tired of a life of fame, Tom retires to the countryside.
 
“Piranha Be Loved by You / Spook House Mouse / Abracadumb” (5/5/07) – Jerry sicks a piranha on Tom as Tom tries to win Toodles’ affection. / A chase leads Tom and Jerry into an amusement park haunted house. / Tom and Jerry battle with magic.
 
Season 2:
“More Powers to You / Catch Me Though You Can’t / Power Tom” (2/22/07) – Tom must protect a team of superheroes’ power rings from an evil dog. / Jerry gains super speed, making him uncatchable. / Tom and Jerry accidentally end up in the lair of a superheroine.
 
“Zent Out of Shape / I Dream of Meanie / Which Witch” (9/29/07) – Jerry constantly foils Tom’s attempts to achieve inner peace. / Sultan Tom uses genie Spike to grant his wishes and remove Jerry from his palace. / Tom is caught in a feud between two witches and must catch Jerry for one of their potions.
 
“Don’t Bring Your Pet to School Day / Cat Show Catastrophe / The Cat Whisperer with Casper Lombardo” (10/6/07) – Nancy brings Tom to school and tells him to behave so she’ll win a gold store, but that’s made difficult when another student brings in Jerry. / Jerry and Nibbles try to spoil Tom’s chances at winning a cat show. / When Tom accidentally ruins her tea party, Mrs. Two Shoes hires him a trainer.
 
“Adventures in Penguin Sitting / Cat of Prey / Jungle Love” (10/13/07) – Jerry takes in a penguin that escaped from the zoo. / Tom sneaks into an animal park to make a meal out of its star: Jerry. / Jerry is protected by a baby rhinoceros while a snake falls in love with Tom’s tail.
 
“Invasion of the Body Slammers / Monster Con / Over the River and Boo the Woods” (10/27/07) – A shape-shifting alien emerges from a ship that lands next to Tom and Jerry’s house. / Abraham Van Helsing crashes a monster convention, but all his assistant Tom is interest in is catching Jerry. / A fishing trip takes Tom and Jerry to a haunted forest where they encounter a bat creature.
 
“Xtreme Trouble / A Life Less Guarded / Sasquashed” (11/3/07) – Jerry rides his skateboard to catch a cheese truck with Tom in hot pursuit. / Jerry sabotages Tom as he tries out for a lifeguard job against Droopy. / A camping trip has Tom, Jerry and Tuffy meet Bigfoot.
 
“Summer Squashing / League of Cats / Little Big Mouse” (11/10/07) – Tom must protect a garden from Jerry and his clan. / Butch invites Tom to join a secret organization of cats that unite to catch mice. / Tom gets blamed when Jerry steals all the food from the refrigerator, but Jerry ends up too bothered by an ant to enjoy it.
 
“Bend it Like Thomas / Endless Bummer / Game Set Match’ (12/1/07) – Tom’s enthusiasm for soccer bothers the neighborhood. / Tom and Jerry compete against Droopy in a surfing competition. / Spike forces Tom to teach Tyke tennis.
 
“The Declaration of Independunce / Kitty Hawked / 24 Karat Kat” (12/8/07) – Tom must retrieve the Declaration of Independence after using it to send Jerry off in a paper airplane. / Museum tour guides Tom and Jerry recount their parts in the Wright Brothers’ flight. / Tom and Butch attempt to steal Jerry’s gold claim.
 
“Hockey Schtick / Snow Brawl / Snow Mouse” (2/2/08) – Jerry freezes the pond to skate, but Tom wants to play hockey. / Magic hats end up making Tom and Jerry’s snowball fight more interesting. / Tom and Jerry encounter a giant abominable snow mouse in the Himalayas.
 
“DJ Jerry / Kitty Cat Blues / Flamenco Fiasco” (2/9/08) – Jerry hosts a party in the record store Tom is meant to guard. / Tom gives Jerry as a gift to the girl he likes. / Jerry and his girlfriend compete against Tom and Toodles in a flamenco contest.
 
“You’re Lion / Kangadoofus / Monkey Chow” (3/8/08) – Tom visits his lion relatives to give Jerry as a gift, but they both end up on the menu. / Jerry is adopted by an overprotective momma kangaroo. / Tom and Mrs. Two Shoes move to get away from Jerry, but he follows them and causes trouble with a monkey.
 
“Game of Mouse & Cat / Babysitting Blues / Catfish Follies” (3/22/08) – Tom and Jerry play virtual games in which their roles are reversed. / Tom and Jerry’s nephews prove to be a handful. / A fishing trip leads to an encounter with catfish Butch, who wants to eat Jerry while Tom wants to eat him.

March 12, 2022

BAGGY PANTS AND THE NITWITS

 
BAGGY PANTS AND THE NITWITS
(NBC, September 10-December 3, 1977)
 
DePatie-Freleng Enterprises
 
 
MAIN CAST:
Ruth Buzzi – Gladys
Arte Johnson – Tyrone/Agony Nine
 
 
            Baggy Pants and the Nitwits was the blend of two generations of comedy coming together in a single package. The titular Baggy Pants was an anthropomorphic cat heavily influenced by Charlie Chaplin’s most well-known character, The Tramp (early concept art even had him named “The Little Hobo”). Like his inspiration, Baggy Pants was a good-natured and dapper vagrant that wore an ill-fitting suit, carried a cane, and possessed a small mustache. His primary adversary was an anthropomorphic pig that circumstances either put him at odds with or whom Baggy Pants would work for in some capacity. Harkening back to The Tramp’s silent film origins, Baggy Pants’ adventures were all done in pantomime (something DePatie-Freleng had experience with due to their Pink Panther character) with an accompanying old-timey score.

Baggy Pants spying something interesting in the trash.


            The Nitwits portion of the show reunited the characters of Gladys Ormphby (Ruth Buzzi) and Tyrone Horneigh (Arte Johnson) from Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. Tyrone was a lecherous old man who would always try to woo spinster Gladys in a number of inappropriate ways; typically, as she sat on a park bench. Gladys, for all her protesting, sometimes seemed to be into all the attention Tyrone gave her (in fact, they almost ended up married), but he would ultimately do something to prompt her to knock him out with her purse. Naturally, for the animated version developed by Johnson, that aspect of the routine was eliminated; instead, Gladys and Tyrone were a married couple who fought crime together with Tyrone constantly lavishing praise on Gladys and Gladys constantly bashing Tyrone for his incompetence. Tyrone was a retired superhero with the handle Agony Nine that was goaded back into part-time selective action by the populace to battle a host of absurd super villains and criminals. Tyrone’s power of flight came from his semi-sentient dog-like cane named Elmo, which also served as a two-way radio to communicate with Gladys back in their base above the police station (where a hole in the floor sometimes provided them leads on some crimes). Despite being the superhero of the story, Tyrone’s bumbling usually meant that the day was saved by the threat of Gladys’ purse. Originally, The Nitwits was going to be its own show under the title Tyrone until it was decided to combine it with Baggy Pants.

Gladys looking on after Tyrone crash-lands into their base. Again.


            Baggy Pants and the Nitwits debuted on NBC on September 10, 1977. Although they interacted in the show’s intro, neither set of characters actually did so in the episodes themselves. Each segment had its own miniature intro, with The Nitwits’ doing a parody of The Adventures of Superman radio/television intro. The series was written by Tony Benedict, David Detiege, Bob Ogle and Cliff Roberts, with Ogle serving as story editor. Steve DePatie and Doug Goodwin composed the music, with The Nitwits theme conducted by Eric Rogers.

Baggy Pants' porcine nemesis disrupts the bench the titular heroes sit on.


            Despite the show reportedly doing well in the ratings and being well-recieved, it ended after a single season of 13 episodes. Animator John Celestri stated in Think Pink: The Story of DePatie-Freleng by Mark Arnold that despite Baggy Pants being a parody, it was far too close to The Tramp and the Chaplin estate got litigious. And because of the way they constructed the show, there was no easy way to repackage The Nitwits segments without Baggy Pants, and bringing back the Tyrone concept wasn’t explored. The series remained on the network until October of 1978 when it was finally removed from the schedule. To date, no part of the show has been released to home video or streaming, although some bootleg copies exist online.
 
 
EPISODE GUIDE:
“Construction Caper / Earthquake McBash” (9/10/77) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
 
“Lost Dog / The Dynamic Energy Robber” (9/17/77) – Baggy Pants tries to keep a lost dog out of the net of the dog catcher. / An alien is sent to Earth to steal all of their energy for his plant.
 
“Baggy Pants and Forgetful Freddy / Splish Splash” (9/24/77) – Baggy Pants gets taken in by a wealthy man that turns violently mean whenever he hears a bell. / A scientist’s apprentice steals a formula that allows him to commit crimes in a watery form.
 
“The Moving Man / The Hopeless Diamond Caper” (10/1/77) – Baggy Pants is pulled into service helping a moving man unload his truck into a house atop a tall hill. / A pair of diamond thieves gives Tyrone a bit of trouble.
 
“Circus Circus / The Evil Father Nature” (10/8/77) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
 
“The Painter’s Helper / Mercury Mike and His Jet Bike” (10/15/77) – Baggy Pants takes a job as a painter’s helper and ends up causing a series of messes. / NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
 
“Electric Girlfriend / Rustle Hustle” (10/22/77) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE. / Tyrone and Gladys head to the desert to track down an elusive cattle rustler.
 
“A Pressing Job / False Face Filbert” (10/29/77) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
 
“A Haunting Experience / Genie Meanie” (11/5/77) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
 
“Horse Laff / Chicken Lady” (11/12/77) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
 
“The Magician’s Assistant / Simple Simon and the Mad Pieman” (11/19/77) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
 
“The Frog / The Hole Thing!” (11/26/77) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
 
“Beach Fun / Ratman!” (12/3/77) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.

March 11, 2022

EMILIO DELGADO DEAD AT 81

 


You can read the full story here.


Best known for his tenure as Luis Rodriguez on Sesame Street from 1971-2017, he also appeared as White Bull in the "Tales of Nunundaga" episode of ABC Weekend Specials.

March 06, 2022

JOHNNY BROWN DEAD AT 84

 


You can read the full story here.


He played Fat Man in an episode of The Ghost Busters and Dandy Andy in an episode of Monster Squad, and provided voices for The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show and Alvin & the Chipmunks (1983).





March 05, 2022

THE SECRET LIVES OF WALDO KITTY

 
THE SECRET LIVES OF WALDO KITTY / THE NEW ADVENTURES OF WALDO KITTY
(NBC, September 6-November 29, 1975)
 
Filmation Associates
 
 
MAIN CAST:
Howard Morris – Waldo Kitty/Cat Man/Robin Cat/The Lone Kitty/Catzan/Captain Hercm various
Jane Webb – Felicia
Allan Melvin – Tyrone, various

 
 
            While most might be more familiar with the 2013 film version starring Ben Stiller, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was originally a short story written by James Thurber. First published in The New Yorker on March 18, 1939, the story dealt with the mild-mannered titular character living out heroic fantasies in his head inspired by some mundane aspect of his life in the moment. Those adventures saw him as the pilot of a U.S. Navy flying boat in a storm, a surgeon performing a rare surgery, a deadly assassin testifying in court, a Royal Air Force pilot volunteering for a secret suicide mission, and finally facing down a firing squad. The story has been adapted countless times on stage and screen.

The live-action Waldo, Tyrone and Felicia.

            Filmation, finally “getting over [their] aversion to satire” as co-founder Lou Scheimer would put it in his book, Creating the Filmation Generation, decided to take inspiration from the story for their next project. The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty followed a shy and timid cat named Waldo (Howard Morris) who often imagined himself in heroic roles when dealing with the menacing English bulldog, Tyrone (Allan Melvin), which would help him come up with a real solution. These fantasies would alternate between five pop culture parodies: Batman, Tarzan, The Lone Ranger, Robin Hood and Star Trek (four of which were properties Filmation had or would come to work on). Always present and in need of rescue was Waldo’s girlfriend, Felicia (Jane Webb). Occasionally, Tyrone would be joined by three other dogs to comprise his gang, while Waldo would have either a sparrow or rabbit as a sidekick. What made the show unique was that while the fantasy sequences were traditionally animated, the real-life Waldo and his companions were portrayed by real-life animals in wraparound segments produced by Filmart with animals from Frank Inn, Inc.


The alter-egos of Waldo Kitty.

            The Secret Lives of Waldo Kitty debuted on NBC on September 6, 1975. The series was written by Lorna Cook, Bill Danch and Jim Ryan, with music by Ray Ellis (as Yvette Blas) and Norm Prescott (as Jeff Michael) and additional music and sound effects by Horta-Mahana Corp. The theme was written by Jackie Mills and Joyce Taylor and performed in-character by Morris. However, it was a hassle to even get the show made. Filmation’s first headache came with the conception of the show. Layout artist Lorna Smith came up with the concept, fought for it to even be considered for production by the studio, and then for her credit on the series when her role in the equation was seemingly forgotten. NBC had reduced their episode order from 16 to 13, which made the show very unattractive to certain markets for airing. Then, Filmation learned why the adage “never work with children or animals” was coined with the tremendous difficulty they had in wrangling their dog actor for filming, as he was always chasing after the cat actors on set. Finally, Thurber’s widow Helen and Samuel Goldwyn Productions filed suit against Filmation for infringing on her husband’s idea and unfair competition.  The series ultimately proved different enough for the suit to go nowhere, but NBC cancelled it anyway and didn’t even give it a second season of reruns.

One of the VHS covers depicting Waldo rescuing Felicia from Tyrone and his thugs.


            Filmation would later include an edited version of the show in a syndication package with their Groovie Goolies. To remove all comparisons to Walter Mitty, they got rid of the live-action segments and changed the show’s name to The New Adventures of Waldo Kitty. Only three episodes made it to home video between United American Video’s 1989 VHS release and various international releases.
 
 
EPISODE GUIDE:
“Cat Man” (9/6/75) – Waldo—as Cat Man—attempts to get past Tyrone’s friends to rescue Felicia from his clutches.
 
“Catzan of the Apes” (9/13/75) – Waldo—as Catzan—must keep Tyrone from tearing down the jungle in order to make room for a construction project.
 
“The Lone Kitty” (9/20/75) – Waldo—as The Lone Kitty—rises up to rescue a small desert town from bandit Tyrone and his cronies.
 
“Robin Cat” (9/27/75) – Tyrone is sent out after Waldo—as Robin Cat—to stop his stealing of food to give to the poor.
 
“Cat Trek” (10/4/75) – Tyrone chases down Waldo—as Captain Herc—and demands he give up his ship, the Second Prize.
 
“Cat Man Meets the Poochquin” (10/11/75) – Cat Man and Sparrow must rescue Felicia and her uncle from the prison Tyrone—as the Poochquin—locked them up in.
 
“Catzan or Not Catzan” (10/18/75) – Tyrone returns to the jungle to hunt all the animals that lived there, and Catzan must figure out how to get rid of him.
 
“The Lone Kitty Rides Again” (10/25/75) – Tyrone kidnaps Felicia in the desert, prompting The Lone Kitty to ride to her rescue.
 
“Sheriff of Sherwood” (11/1/75) – Tyrone intends to spoil Robin Cat’s day as “sheriff of the day”.
 
“Cat Man Meets the Puzzler” (11/8/75) – Tyrone—as the Puzzler—kidnaps Felicia prompting Cat Man to come rescue her.
 
“Dr. Livingstone, I Perfume?” (11/15/75) – Catzan vows to stop Tyrone before he gets his hands on Dr. Livingstone’s secret expensive perfume-producing oil.
 
“Ping or Pongo” (11/22/75) – Tyrone attempts to scare Captain Herc off of his ship utilizing a hologram of himself.
 
“Chaw the Bullet” (11/29/75) – The Lone Kitty and Pronto must keep a land settlement safe from Tyron and his gang.

March 03, 2022

FARRAH FORKE DEAD AT 54

 



You can read the full story here.


She played Big Barda in the DC Animated Universe beginning with two episodes of Batman Beyond.