Of all the superheroes Hanna-Barbera featured, who could forget one of the true classics, Captain Caveman (Cavey for short). His amazing abilities include super strength and hidden objects that he keeps in his fur, which include live dinosaurs big and small. I always found that strange. Where does he keep those?
Cavey also has flying ability that comes from his club, but it’s very limited. At least he can easily activate it with his battle cry, “Captain CAAAAVEMAAAANNN”.
Cavey started out in Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels (1977-1980), which is one of many mystery solving spooky adventure cartoons that came from the success of the Scooby-Doo franchise. However, this one always stood out to me because of Cavey’s lovely companions.
The teen angels are a trio of mystery solvers. They are Deedee the inquisitive leader, Taffy the brilliant excitable beauty, and Brenda the coward. Although she doesn’t run and hide like Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, she tends to dwell on the scary situations.
I’d also like to point out that the teen angels make mystery solving look easy. All it takes is finding a few clues and they already know who did the crime, or who the monster behind the mask is. Then when the crook tries to run off, it leads to an exciting chase as Cavey goes after him.
Cavey and the teen angels were also part of the Scooby Doobies team on Laff-a-Lympics (1977-1978). They have always been the characters I most looked forward to see compete. However, there are episodes when Cavey doesn’t talk. He just grumbles and growls like a caveman. I find that confusing sometimes because he talks just fine on his own show.
In later years, Captain Caveman became part of the Flintstones franchise, starting with his own segment on The Flintstone Comedy Show (1980-1982). This version is more on the level of Superman and Cavey has a secret identity, Chester the office boy. The disguise isn’t much, but requires an elaborate transformation sequence behind a coat rack.
Another big difference was that Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble were often the damsels in distress Cavey ends up rescuing from peril. As exciting as that is, I end up wondering where the teen angels are. Then it dawned on me. This series takes place in the Stone Age long before the teen angels found Cavey in that block of ice. So maybe these were Cavey’s past adventures before joining the mystery solving group.
After that, Cavey had a segment on The Flintstone Kids (1986-1988) called, Captain Caveman and Son. Here he was a TV superhero instead of a real one and has adventures with his son Cavey Junior. Although these adventures provide good lessons to learn, they’re not as exciting as before.
There you have it, another classic superhero that stands out as one of the greats in both crime fighting and comedy. Do you suppose there’s a chance of Captain Caveman ever making a comeback after having such a long run?
Hanna Barbera Productions has produced many different cartoon shows over the years. Laff-A-Lympics (1977-1978) provides an opportunity to bring these various characters together in a weekly sport competition with creatively unorthodox events, while traveling around the world.
Snagglepuss and Mildew Wolf from The Catanooga Cats Show are the commentators.
The athletes are split into three teams. Team #1 is the Yogi Yahooeys with Yogi Bear as captain. They are all animal characters from The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Yogi Bear Show, and Quick Draw McGraw, along with Grape Ape.
Team #2 is the Scooby Doobies with Scooby Doo as captain. This group is all mystery solver characters from The Scooby Doo Show, Dynomutt the Dog Wonder, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, and Speed Buggy, along with Hong Kong Phooey and Babu from Jeannie.
And team #3 is the Really Rottens. Other than team captain Mumbly, who has a striking resemblance to Muttley, these characters are all brand new to the Hanna Barbera franchise. Some of which are highly similar, like the Creepleys who are much like the Gruesomes from The Flintstones and Dread Baron who resembles Dick Dastardly.
On occasion, other characters make guest appearances. Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble come by to demonstrate an event and Jabberjaw makes appearances as a guest referee, particularly for the water events. Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite.
As the three teams compete for the Laff-A-Lympics gold medal, the Rottens always look for ways to cheat while the Yogis and Scoobys work hard to earn the prize fairly. Sometimes the Rottens lose points for cheating, but only when they get caught. I’m surprised that it doesn’t happen often.
I don’t know how they select which athletes to do which events, but the creativity he or she provides makes them exciting to watch. It’s kind of like picturing these characters as video game heroes.
The scoring system is always the same, 25 points for first place, 15 points for second, and 10 points for third. On rare occasions, there’s a 50-point bonus included for the really difficult events. Unfortunately, none of the teams have ever won it. It can be overwhelming if you think about it.
Each episode features six events, three in one country and three in another. Yet there’s no mention of the transportation used to get to these places so efficiently. It makes me wonder what these athletes do to party while they travel.
I enjoyed this series for its mixture of characters and exciting competition. Even though the Rottens never learn about cheating, it’s good to know that the Yogis and Scoobys are good sports toward one another.