BAGGY PANTS AND THE NITWITS
(NBC, September 10-December 3, 1977)
Ruth Buzzi – Gladys
Arte Johnson – Tyrone/Agony Nine
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.
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.
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.
“Construction Caper / Earthquake McBash” (9/10/77) – NO SYNOPSIS AVAILABLE.
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