January 30, 2023



You can read the full story here.

Best known for playing Shirley in Laverne & Shirley, which she reprised for the first season of the animated spin-off, Laverne & Shirley in the Army, she also played Gerri Poveri in an episode of The Magic School Bus. 

January 28, 2023



(NBC, September 8-December 1, 1973)
Hanna-Barbera Productions


Lloyd “Chip” Hand II – Butch Cassidy
Micky Dolenz – Wally
Kristina Holland – Stephanie
Judy Strangis – Merilee
John Stephenson – Mr. Socrates
Frank Welker – Elvis, various


            Surprisingly, this wasn’t Hanna-Barbera’s attempt to adapt the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid into a kid-friendly animated romp—heck, it wasn’t even a western. No, instead this was another Scooby-Doo clone—with mystery-solving teenagers and a pet sidekick—and a dash of Josie and the Pussycats.

Meet the band: Stephanie, Merilee, Butch, Wally and Elvis.

        Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids were a teenaged rock band that worked as secret government agents for the World-Wide Talent Agency; solving crimes as they toured around the world with the help of local agents (although you’d think being famous musicians would make keeping a low profile for investigating difficult). The band was comprised of lead singer and guitarist Butch Cassidy (Lloyd “Chip” Hand II), tambourine player Merilee (Judy Strangis), bass guitarist Stephanie (Kristina Holland), and drummer Wally (Micky Dolenz), as well as Wally’s trusty anthropomorphic (though non-speaking) dog, Elvis (named after The King, voiced by Frank Welker). They were given assignments and advised by a giant supercomputer named Mr. Socrates (named for the Greek philosopher, voiced by John Stephenson using a stereotypical robotic voice), who was housed inside the WWTA and could communicate with Butch, codenamed “Sundance 1”, through the device in the ring he wore. Despite being an artificial intelligence, somehow Mr. Socrates had a strong allergy to dogs which meant Elvis had to be kept out of the lair. A running gag featured Elvis managing to find his own way in or Wally forgetting about Socrates’ allergy and bringing Elvis in with them. The characters were designed by Takashi Masunaga.

Mr. Socrates.

        Butch Cassidy (also known as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids) debuted on NBC on September 8, 1973, running only a single season of 13 episodes. The series was written by Bill Raynor, Fred Fox, Seaman Jacobs, Bernie Kahn, Myles Wilder, Norman Hudis, Ed Jurist, Sam Roeca and Dick Wesson, with story direction by Joe Bruno, Earl Klein, Paul Sommer, Carl Fallberg, Don Sheppard and Ken Southworth. Similarly to Josie, Butch Cassidy featured a musical number in each episode performed by the band. These songs were produced by Universal Presentations, with Buddy Buie as executive producer. Four of these songs were released as singles by Romar Records. A full album was announced, but never materialized. The rest of the series’ music was composed by Hoyt Curtin.  

Hanna-Barbera Fun-In #11.

        The episode “The Pearl Caper” was adapted into comic form for Gold Key ComicsHanna-Barbera Fun-In #11 in 1974 (with Elvis given a “voice” in the form of thought bubbles). In 2013, Warner Archive released the complete series to DVD as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection. It’s also been made available to stream on Prime Video and iTunes

The Hex Girls poster in Scoob! baring the Sundance Kids' name (among others).

The characters would go on to make appearances in several episodes of Sealab 2021: playing as a band in “All That Jazz”; as residents of SeaLab Pod Six in “Let ‘Em Eart Corn!” (with Butch and Wally sporting mustaches); “Butchslap”, where the character of Marco (Erik Estrada) was revealed to have been a Sundance Kid; and the character models for Butch and Wally were recycled for the appearances of writer John Miller and creator/writer Adam Reed, respectively, in the episodes “Swimming in Oblivion” and “Return to Oblivion”. The band was also listed as a featured act for the Hex Girlsthe fictional goth female group within the Scooby universe—on a poster in the 2020 film, Scoob!


“The Scientist” (9/8/73) – The band must smuggle a scientist out of a foreign country without being discovered.
“The Counterfeiters” (9/15/73) – The band investigates a Latvanian baron for his connection to a counterfeiting ring.
“One of Our Ships is Missing” (9/22/73) – The band ride on a cruise ship that’s targeted by a group of boat thieves.
“Double Trouble” (9/29/73) – The band must expose an imposter prince put in place to hide his kidnapping.
“The Pearl Caper” (10/6/73) – The band heads to Honolulu to search for pearl thieves and their stolen loot.
“The Gold Caper” (10/13/73) – The band goes to London to uncover a gold smuggling ring.
“Road Racers” (10/20/73) – A diamond theft coincides with The Grand Prix Cross-European race that begins in Venice.
“Hong Kong Story” (10/27/73) – The band deals with both their fan club and the theft of a priceless jade statute.
“Operation G-Minus” (11/3/73) – An anti-gravity device is stolen from a Munich toy expo.
“Orient Express” (11/10/73) – Mr. Socrates is taken over by an enemy agent while the band is off delivering an important document.
“The Parrot Caper” (11/17/73) – The band escorts a parrot that memorized an important formula to Switzerland.
“The Super Sub” (11/24/73) – The band sets out to retrieve a stole experimental submarine.
“The Haunted Castle” (12/1/73) – Wally inherits a castle that appears to be haunted.

January 21, 2023



(ABC, September 18, 1993-January 29, 1994)
Jim Henson Productions, The CityKids Foundation


Cyndi Cartagena – Angelica
Hassan Elgendi – Snoopy
Dulé Hill – John
Anne Ho – Susan
Renoly Santiago – Tito
Diana Smith – Nikki
Brad Stoll – David
David Rudman – Dread, Frankie Frank, Lieutenant, Koozebanians, Toya (performer)
Joey Mazzarino – Bird, Captain, Trish (performer)
John Henson – Libido
Noel MacNeal – Koozebanians
Elizabeth Regen – Trish (voice)
Cenophia Mitchell – Toya (voice)



            When Laurie Meadoff visited the Albany Empire (now Albany Theatre) in London, she found a thriving and impactful social services and arts program for the youth there. Inspired, when she returned to New York City in 1985 she began the CityKids Foundation. Originally meeting in the basement of a local church, the Foundation invited kids from different backgrounds to come together and engage with each other through the performing arts. The Foundation has grown in the years following into an internationally recognized one dedicated to positive youth development and social emotional learning while allowing the voices of youth to rise up and be heard.

The Kids (from top): Tito, David, Angelica, Nikki, Susan, Snoopy and John.

            After their first decade in operation, CityKids partnered with Jim Henson Productions to bring their message to the airwaves. The series followed an interracial group of urban kids in New York City—Angelica (Cyndi Cartagena), Snoopy (Hassan Elgendi), John (Dulé Hill), Susan (Anne Ho), Tito (Renoly Santiago), and siblings Nikki (Diana Smith) and David (Brad Stoll), and Frida (Audrey Ince)—as they dealt with school and life issues, such as bad grades, damaging rumors, sexism, racism, financial responsibility, and more. It was the first series targeted for a teenaged audience by Henson and ABC, who ultimately picked it up for broadcast.

Dread and Bird.

            What made the series stand out from other similar pro-social shows at the time was the inclusion of Henson’s Muppets. All-new characters were created that would serve as kind of a Greek chorus. They were never seen by or interacted with the human characters, but they would offer commentary on the goings on in the story and helping to drive home the lessons being conveyed. These Muppets included Dread (David Rudman), a Rastafarian philosopher that ran a radio show with his sidekick, a pigeon named Bird (Joey Mazzarino); Captain (Mazzarino), Libido (John Henson) and Lieutenant (Rudman), who inhabited the head of a particular character; Dirt Sisters Trish (Mazzarino & Elizabeth Regen) and Toya (Rudman & Cenophia Mitchell), two girls who always gossiped with each other over the phone; the Hot Dogs, anthropomorphic hot dogs that would sing songs from the container they were being served from until a pair of tongs took one out; Frankie Frank (Rudman), a hot dog rapper and leader of Frankie Frank and the Footers; and the Koozebanians (Noel MacNeil & Rudman), three aliens from the planet Kozzebane. David Gumpel served as the Muppet segment supervisor while Rudman was the puppeteer captain.

Trish and Toya.

            CityKids debuted on ABC on September 18, 1993. The pilot episode itself, the only episode directed by Savage Steve Holland, aired as an ABC Saturday Morning Special in January featuring different puppet designs. The series was written by executive producer Adriana Trigiani, Matt Callaway and Jeffrey Solomon, with Susana Preston serving as script supervisor. The theme and series music were composed by Raliegh Neal II and Malik Yoba. Muriel Stockdale was the costume designer. Members of the CityKids foundations appeared on the show as performers, in quick candid interview segments about the topic at hand, and worked as creative assistants and production interns. Kate Hillis served as the coordinator between the Foundation and the production.

Inside the head with Captain, Lieutenant and Libido.

            Unfortunately, the series never seemed to reach its target demographic and ABC cancelled it after 13 episodes. The Foundation’s website currently hosts all but the pilot episode on their website, as well as separate clips of their kids performing from the episodes. The pilot itself was preserved on the Internet ArchiveWhile only Hill, Santiago and Stoll would go on to have active careers in showbusiness, the Muppet characters would also go on to have careers recycled as new characters in various Henson productions.


“Pilot” (1/30/93) – While David tries to approach a girl he likes, Susan deals with racial discrimination and sexual harassment.
“Becoming a Man” (9/25/93) – David has ulterior motives for wanting to have a bar mitzvah.
“Get a Job” (10/2/93) – Angelica and John bet to see who can get and keep a job first.
“The Curse of Ali Baba” (10/9/83) – Nikki takes her new credit card as a license to spend.
“Bye, Bye Reputation” (10/16/93) – Rumors spread around school about Angelica being under the control of the guy she has a crush on.
“The Mural” (10/23/93) – A boy asks Tito to paint a mural of his father, but Tito’s friends are against it as the man was a drug dealer.
“Alterations with Attitude” (10/30/93) – David volunteers for the Big Buddy program and gets saddled with a troublemaker.
“Quality Time” (11/13/93) – Snoopy’s friends are suspicious of his estranged father’s reasons for visiting.
“Rooftop Thanksgiving” (11/20/93) – The kids band together to help a hard-off family have a good holiday.
“Pack of Lies” (12/4/93) – Snoopy lies about a family death to get out of taking a test while Angelica buys something she hopes will help her attract a guy.
“Love Letters on the Hudson” (12/11/93) – Susan plans to meet her secret admirer on the Hudson River with her friends.
“All My Trials” (12/18/93) – Anjelica receives a fine and summons for improperly disposing of trash.
“I Am Woman” (1/29/94) – The boys make fun of Nikki when she wants to play basketball with them.

January 14, 2023



(NBC, September 17, 1983-October 19, 1985)
Ruby-Spears Enterprises



Mr. T – Himself
Takayo Fischer – Ms. Priscilla Bisby
Shawn Lieber – Jeff Harris
Phil LaMarr – Woody Daniels
Amy Linker – Robin O’Neill
Siu Ming Carson – Kim Nakamura
Teddy Field III – Spike O’Neill
Cathy Cavadini – Skye Redfern


            Born Laurence Tureaud, Mr. T was the youngest son in a family of twelve children in Chicago, Illinois. Having grown up facing constant lack of respect because of the color of his skin--hearing his father, uncle and veteran brother constantly called “boy”--he legally changed his name in 1970 to “Mr. T” so that “the first word out of everybody’s mouth is ‘Mr.’” He played football, wrestled and studied martial arts at Dunbar Vocational High School and became the citywide wrestling champion two years in a row. He won a football scholarship to Prairie View A&M University where he majored in mathematics, but was expelled after a year.

Fools, consider yourself pitied.

            1975 saw Mr. T join the Army’s Military Police Corps for several years before trying out of the Green Bay Packers football team, but a knee injury kept him out. Instead, he became a bouncer for the club Dingbats Discotheque where the Mr. T persona began to take shape. He started wearing gold chains adorned with various pieces of jewelry that essentially served as a “lost and found” box; the items typically left behind by patrons after a fight broke out who could then reclaim them from him without going back into the club. They were also meant to represent the chains that were used to bring his ancestors to the country and held them down. While reading National Geographic, Mr. T noticed the hairstyle on a Mandinka warrior and decided to adopt it as his own as a simpler, more permanent visual signature and a powerful statement about his African origins. His tenure as a bouncer led to his also becoming a bodyguard whose reputation garnered him clients such as Steve McQueen, Michael Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Diana Ross, Joe Frazier and more.

B.A. Baracus and his signature van.

            In 1980, Mr. T took part in NBC’s Games People Play in the “America’s Toughest Bouncer” competition, which he won by knocking out Honolulu bouncer Tutefano Tufi in a boxing match. This caught the attention of Sylvester Stallone, who had Mr. T cast as the antagonist Clubber Lang in Rocky III. It was this film that introduced his catchphrase: “I pity the fool!” He appeared again as a boxer in the film Penitentiary 2 and then in a bit on the sketch comedy series Bizarre with Super Dave Osborne (Bob Einstein) before landing a starring role as Sergeant Bosco “B.A.” Baracus on the series The A-Team. The series was a massive hit in its first three years, and Mr. T became the most popular character on it—especially with children.

Animated Mr. T helping out one of his charges, Kim.

            What better way to capitalize on that than with a cartoon centered around Mr. T? Then-network president Brandon Tartikoff ordered one from Ruby-Spears Enterprises. Steve Gerber and Martin Pasko were given the assignment and came up with three different proposals for the network. None of them, however, were selected. Instead, the show became yet another in a long line of Scooby-Doo clones (almost fitting, as Joe Ruby and Ken Spears were the original co-creators of that successful franchise during their tenure at Hanna-Barbera). However, instead of a talking dog, Mr. T would be joined by the youth gymnastics team that he coached. This emulated real life as, before joining the Army, Mr. T had worked as a gym instructor for a government program where he discovered a gift for helping children and continued to do so throughout his life and career. Not only did Mr. T voice himself, but he appeared in live-action segments at the beginning to introduce the story and at the end to deliver a moral lesson to the audience.

Mr. T and his crew (clockwise from top left): Ms. Bisby, Kim, Jeff, Woody, Vince, Robin, Spike, Dozer and Garcia.

            Mr. T and the team would travel around the world to compete. Along the way, they would end up encountering some kind of crime or mystery that they couldn’t help but attempt to solve; such as the wreckage of a ship that doesn’t exist, spies seeking to sabotage the space shuttle program, and even a relative of one of the characters being framed. The team consisted of Robin O’Neill (Amy Linker), the second-in-command eager to jump into situations; Spike O’Neill (Teddy Field III), Robin’s little brother who worshiped Mr. T to the point he dressed and talked like him; Jeff Harris (Shawn Lieber), a wise guy with a big ego; Woody Daniels (Phil LaMarr in his first voice acting role), Jeff’s friendly rival with aspirations of becoming a lawyer; Kim Nakamura (Siu Ming Carson), who possessed a photographic memory; Sky Redfern (Cathy Cavadini in her first voice acting role), a Native American; Garcia Lopez, an aspiring photographer; Vince D’Amato, who wanted to be a movie star; Courtney Howard, who had an ex-con uncle that turned into a magician; and Grant Kline, an ex-gang member Jeff helped reform. Additionally, there was Ms. Priscilla Bisby (Takayo Fischer), their mystery book-loving bus driver, and Bulldozer aka Dozer, Mr. T’s bulldog that shared his taste in hairstyles.

Stranger danger!

        Mister T debuted on NBC on September 17, 1983. Unlike many of the other celebrity-led cartoons at the time, this one proved popular enough to keep going for three seasons. It was featured in the NBC Saturday morning preview specials from 1983-85, which typically aired the Friday night before the debut of the new season the next morning. Mr. T appeared live in 1983’s The Yummy Awards and provided new voiceover for repurposed footage in 1985’s Back to Next Saturday Morning, however a combination of clips from various episodes and an arm stand-in were used to interact with the storyline of 1984’s Laugh Busters. The series was written by Pasko, Gerber, Flint Dille, Mark Jones, Buzz Dixon, Rick Merwin, Michael Maurer, Paul Dini, Matt Uitz, Cliff Ruby, Elana Lesser, Kimmer Ringwald, Booker Bradshaw and Janis Diamond, with Ruby, Lesser, Pasko, Ringwald and Dan DiStefano serving as story editors. Characters were designed by Jack Kirby, Kurt Conner, Thom Enriquez, Moe Gollub, Doug Wildey and Duncan Majoribanks. Animation duties were handled by XAM! Productions and Hanho Heung-Up Company, and music was composed by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban under the supervision of Paul DeKorte. Gary Shimikawa directed the live-action segments. Reruns were aired throughout the 80s and early 90s as part of the USA Cartoon Express programming block, and later on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block and sibling network, Boomerang.

            A small merchandising blitz accompanied the series, complimenting the merchandise already featuring Mr. T from The A-Team. One of the most popular pieces was Mr. T Cereal by Quaker Oats; their first licensed ready-to-eat cereal. The T-shaped cereal came with a sticker sheet featuring several of the show’s cast and bus. Grandreams published two comic annuals in the United Kingdom based on the show and Harbor House Publishers several coloring and activity books, while Starland Music adapted several episodes into read-along books with records. A board game was released by Milton Bradley that saw the team having to race to complete three tasks before missing the plane to their next meet. There was even a set of Shrinky Dinks by Colorforms. Various episodes were released to VHS internationally by The Video Collection, and the entire first season was released by Warner Archive to DVD as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection in 2011. The entire series has yet to see an official release, but could be purchased to stream from Prime Video and Google Play. The episode “Mystery of the Golden Medallions” was included on the compilation DVD Saturday Morning Cartoons: 1980s Volume 1 in 2010, which was re-released in the collected compilation set in 2018. In 2013, the series was parodied on Saturday Night Live’s TV Funhouse featuring Tracy Morgan as the voice of Mr. T.

Mr. T-Rex from Eek! The Cat.

            In the years during and following the end of Mister T, Mr. T kept himself busy. He appeared on a variety of programs like sitcoms Diff’rent Strokes, Silver Spoons and Blossom, sketch shows like Saturday Night Live, and had another starring role in the Canadian series T and T and the mini-series I Pity the Fool; starred in films like D.C. Cab, The Toughest Man in the World and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs; released a rap mini album called Mr. T’s Commandments; had a short wrestling career with the WWF (now WWE) and WCW; appeared at the 50th Presidential Inaugural Gala; and was even a widely in-demand pitchman, appearing in commercials for numerous products and companies such as Snickers, Toyota, Burger King, Aaron’s Furniture, World of Warcraft and MCI. Although he never had another Saturday morning show, he would play himself in an episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks and House of Mouse, and a T-Rex version of himself in Eek! The Cat. He was slowed down for a period after being diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma in 1995, but gradually made a comeback once it was in remission; referencing it before his waltz with Kym Johnson Herjavec on Dancing with the Stars in 2017.



Season 1:
“Mystery of the Golden Medallions” (9/17/83) – Woody tries to adjust to being the new member on the team while they solve the mystery of crooks smashing gold medals around town.
“Mystery of the Forbidden Monastery” (9/24/83) – After being invited to a phantom competition, members of the team begin disappearing when they investigate a nearby monastery.
“Mystery of the Mind-Thieves” (10/1/83) – The team investigates who robbed the minds of a group of scientists that includes Kim’s father.
“Mystery of the Rocky Mountain Express” (10/8/83) – Garcia ends up exposed to a top-secret virus smuggled onto the team’s train by some criminals.
“The Hundred-Year-Old Mystery” (10/15/83) – The team wants to set up a gymnastics camp in Mississippi, but a local gang intends to stop them.
“The Crossword Mystery” (10/22/83) – Solving a crossword puzzle’s clue leads Ms. Bisby into discovering a word that puts her and two professors into a trance.
“The Ninja Mystery” (10/29/83) – Vince is interested in a movie location in New York City not too far from where mysterious ninjas are robbing stores.
“Dilemma of the Double-Edged Dagger” (11/5/83) – The team must clear Mr. T’s name when he’s arrested for robbing a museum.
“Secret of the Spectral Sister” (11/12/83) – While visiting her family, Robin gets a mysterious call from her thought-dead sister just as burglars break into her bedroom to look for something.
“Mystery of the Silver Swan” (11/19/83) – Investigating a classic car leads the team to discover a counterfeit car ring.
“Case of the Casino Caper” (11/26/83) – Courtney gets the team in trouble when she attempts to take down a pair of casino robbers on her own.
“Fade Out at 50,000 Feet” (12/3/83) – Jeff’s cousin goes missing from an air show while Woody falls for a shady woman named Vanetta.
“Riddle of the Runaway Wheels” (12/10/83) – Crooks have their sights set on the Turbo Team’s prize stunt car to help them acquire their own prize.
Season 2:
“Mystery in Paradise” (9/15/84) – Despite a loss, the team enjoys their time in Hawaii until a confrontation with pirates tests Courtney’s fear of water.
“Mystery of the Black Box” (9/24/84) – After recovering a black box from a downed supersonic jet, the team is being pursued by a group that wants it back.
“Mystery of the Panthermen” (9/29/84) – The team investigates an island in San Francisco where people are being frightened away and abducted from.
“Mystery of the Ghost Fleet” (10/6/84) – While Mr. T investigates a ship that doesn’t exist, Kim puts herself on a crash diet for an upcoming meet that takes its toll on her.
“Mystery of the Ancient Ancestor” (10/13/84) – The team works to get to the bottom of why the family that owns the town they’re in has a grudge with Skye’s family.
“Magical Mardi Gras Mystery” (10/20/84) – Everyone suspects Courtney’s criminal-turned-magician uncle when a jazz singer’s diamonds disappear.
“Mystery of the Disappearing Oasis” (10/27/84) – Mr. T braves his fear of flying so the team can go with Kim to meet her pen pal, who just happens to end up abducted over her necklace.
“Fortune Cookie Caper” (11/3/84) – When a string of arson attacks affects Jeff’s parents’ bookstore, the team investigates.
“U.F.O. Mystery” (11/10/84) – Woody’s stubbornness to avoid getting glasses hinders the team and their investigating when their professor friend ends up kidnapped by…aliens?
“Mystery of the Stranger” (11/17/84) – The team attempts to rescue Spike after he’s abducted by a married couple.
“The Cap Cod Caper” (11/24/84) – When Spike accidentally takes attention away from her victory, Robin attempts to top him and ends up captured by oil smugglers.
Season 3:
“They Williamsburg Mystery” (9/14/85) – While restoring an old house, the team get embroiled in a mystery of two colonial soldiers looking for a buried secret diary.
“Mission of Mercy” (9/21/85) – The team must recover a cargo ship full of donated goods from a team of mercenaries.
“Mystery of the Open Crates” (9/28/85) – Mr. T helps out an old friend keep his youth center out of the hands of drug dealers while Courtney learns a lesson about meeting one’s heroes.
“The Playtown Mystery” (10/5/85) – Nobody believes Spike when he tries to point out that two amusement park mascots are acting suspiciously.
“The Comeback Mystery” (10/12/85) – The team’s newest member has connections to a gang and are using his past with them to keep him quiet about their activities.
“The Cape Kennedy Caper” (10/19/85) – While visiting Cape Canaveral, Robin stumbles upon two spies with plans to blow up the space shuttle in orbit.

January 08, 2023



You can read the full story here.

He played Presto the Magician in the animated adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons.

January 07, 2023



(ABC, September 8-December 22, 1973)
Filmation Associates



Rick Springfield – Himself
Lola Fisher – Miss Tickle
Howard Morris – Socks, Vinnie, Mr. Samuels
Erika Scheimer – Kim, Carol
Lane Scheimer – Harvey, Franklin


A spin-off of The Brady Kids and a precursor in concept to The Magic School Bus, Mission: Magic! was the fulfilment of producer Lou Scheimer’s desire to show how important a teacher could be to children. The series would center around a teacher with magical powers named Miss Tickle (a play on “mystical”, voiced by Lola Fisher) that had a special rapport with her small yet diverse class of kids—The Adventurers Club comprised of the quirky Socks, word-confusing Vinnie (both Howard Morris), their leader Kim, lovestruck Carol (both Erika Scheimer), nerdy Harvey and athletic Franklin (both Lane Scheimer)—and her cat, Tut-Tut, who could turn to and from a statue via a magical incantation. Her lessons would become enhanced adventures as she was able to open a portal through her blackboard, with Tut-Tut’s help and transport them all to magical worlds beyond such as a world ruled by magic, one where everyone did things in reverse, or even an underwater city. Filmation sold the idea to ABC’s Michael Eisner, however there was a catch: they wanted the series to feature Australian musician Rick Springfield.

Miss Tickle and The Adventurers Club: Harvey, Carol, Kim, Franklin, Vinnie and Socks.

After learning to play the guitar at age 13, Springfield joined various bands in England and Australia before winding up with pop rock band Zoot as a backing vocalist; eventually becoming the lead guitarist and vocalist in 1969. Zoot’s gimmick, wearing head-to-toe pink satin, earned them significant attention and numerous teenaged female fans, but cost them being taken seriously as musicians. After the band broke up in 1971, Springfield signed with Sparmac Records and his debut single, “Speak to the Sky”, peaked at number 5 on the Go-Set singles chart and at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. His debut album, Beginnings, became the first of seven of his top 40 albums on the Billboard 200. Springfield moved to the United States in 1972 and signed with Capitol Records until a scandal broke out that Capitol was paying people to buy his albums, resulting in a radio station boycott. Springfield moved to Columbia Records in 1973 where he recorded his second album, Comic Book Heroes. His looks and style had earned him the status as the next teen pop idol.

The psychedelic sounds of Rick.

ABC had entered into an arrangement to help promote Springfield and felt that the cartoon would be a good showcase for his music. It was decided that while Miss Tickle would be the children’s steward, Springfield would be their guide once they went through the portal with his owl Ptolemy (named for the Greek mathematician and astronomer and playing with Tut-Tut on the nonsensical poem “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear); either filling them in on the goings on or actively calling for their help through a magic gramophone in dealing with situations like thieves, despots and disasters. Springfield would go on to write and perform a song in each episode related in some way to the story, albeit in truncated form to accommodate episode runtimes, and the series’ theme. Fisher, an accomplished singer herself, was able to perform a song of her own in an episode—not written by Springfield—as well as some melodic spell casting. According to Scheimer in the book Creating the Filmation Generation, she likely would have had more opportunities had Springfield not been involved. Carol was depicted as having a crush on Rick, not unlike the legion of his young female fans.

Drawing the magic door.

Mission: Magic! debuted on ABC on September 8, 1973, airing alongside The Brady Kids. This was one of the few Filmation series to not rely heavily on stock footage, making it one of the more expensive they produced. Outside of the main characters, each new world they visited necessitated new designs for both them and their related characters. It was a way to give the series a different look, compared by Scheimer to a Peter Max painting or the designs for Yellow Submarine, and to make sure each place fit the story being told. Additionally, the musical numbers would be accompanied by their own kind of psychedelic visuals. In typical Filmation fashion, each story contained a pro-social message. Marc Richards wrote the entirety of the series as he did with The Brady Kids, and the rest of the series’ music was composed by Ray Ellis and Norm Prescott as Yvette Blais and Jeff Michael, respectively. 

The magical Land of Prestidigitation.

The series ultimately did no one any favors. It didn’t hit with audiences and only lasted a single season. It did nothing for Springfield’s career that he wouldn’t do for himself with the release of the album Working Class Dog and its hit single “Jessie’s Girl”, as well as his prominent role as Dr. Noah Drake in the soap opera General Hospital. He has since continued to perform on stage and screen, as well as dabbled in writing with his autobiography and a novel. While this and Miss Tickle ended up being Fisher’s only credit for Filmation, she was the wife and manager of Jackson Bostwick who would become the titular hero of their live-action effort Shazzam! in 1974.

Tut-Tut and the magical gramophone.

In 1974, Springfield released the album Mission: Magic! in Australia through Wizard Records. The album contained the full version of all the songs he performed of the show except for “Yes I Am”. While none of the songs have been included on any of Springfield’s official compilation albums, the album itself has been re-released in various territories under different names and lengths: Just Gotta Sing (13 tracks), Big Hits (10 tracks), Backtracks, Speak to the Sky (9 tracks plus the titular single), Catch Me If You Can (including 2 singles), Fan-Tastic Rick Springfield and Rick Springfield. The album was reissued on CD in 2004. In 2007, BCI Eclipse released the digitally remastered complete series to DVD with additional special features.



“The Land of Backwards” (9/8/73) – The Adventurers Club finds themselves in trouble when returning stolen jewels lands them in jail.
“Modran” (9/15/73) – The Adventurers Club tries to stop crooked Modran from cheating to win a tournament, but he takes some of the kids captive as insurance that he will.
“Dissonia” (9/22/73) – A device is eliminating all music in a land, and it appears to be impervious to Miss Tickle’s magic.
Song: Love is the Key
“Land of Hyde and Go Seek” (9/29/73) – A land is threatened by invaders who want the only substance that can give them a new hairstyle.
“The City Inside the Earth” (10/6/73) – Rick calls the Adventurers Club to a subterranean city where a scientist seeks to claim the underground for himself.
Song: “Yes I Am”
“2600 A.D.” (10/13/73) – The Adventurers Club heads to the future where they find Omni the robot is ruler over all humans, and he needs help to save the Earth from a meteor.
“Something Fishy” (10/20/73) – Dr. Manta uses his power to dominate an underwater city and takes Socks and Vinnie captive.
Song: Free and Easy
“Giant Steppes” (10/27/73) – Miss Tickle must rescue Rick and his friend Billy from a giant while the kids figure out how to get Billy back to his throne.
“Statue of Limitations” (11/3/73) – A statute is stolen in Paris, and the three prime suspects in its theft all have their own version of it.
Song: I Want You
“Will the Real Rick Springfield Please Stand Up?” (11/10/73) – Rick and Ptolemy are acting strangely, and it turns out both have been replaced by crooks that can change their shape.
“Doctor Astro” (11/17/73) – The Adventurers Club must stop a mad scientist who plans to bring Zodiac signs to life.
“Doctor Daguerreotype” (11/24/73) – Crooks capture the magic door in a special camera and use it to steal famous landmarks.
Song: On the Other Side
“Nephren” (12/1/73) – Miss Tickle finds herself up against an ancient Egyptian queen whose magic is just as powerful as her own.
“Modran Returns” (12/8/73) – Modran uses Rick as bait to get his hands on Tut-Tut, who turns out to be the key to the magic door.
Song: Just Gotta Sing
“Horse Feathers” (12/15/73) – The Adventurers Club must find out who stole the rodeo prize money.
Song: Welcome to the Rodeo” & “Sing Me A Song”
“A Light Mystery” (12/22/73) – The Adventurers Club heads through the door to find out which of three rulers stole a generator to help them conquer the entire land.