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.

No comments:

Post a Comment