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Jun 172015
 

Even though many of the old Hanna Barbera cartoons were before my time, I still remember watching them when I was a kid. It was also highly nostalgic back when the Boomerang channel used to have them all the time. I miss that.

Hanna Barbera Record (Reverse Side)

Anyway, it wasn’t until fairly recently when I discovered that there used to be a series of record albums about the various Hanna Barbera characters from the 1960s like The Flintstones, Snooper and Blabber, Top Cat, The Jetsons, and others. Each contained a couple of songs and a full story like a radio show, performed by the original voice actors from the cartoons.

I first found out when I found the album Monster Shindig at a thrift store. It was a real interesting album with a story about Snooper and Blabber visiting a haunted house where the Gruesomes are having a party with Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Wolfman. It was put together so well that I could easily picture it on TV. The only thing that disappointed me was that the record was all scratched up.

Unfortunately, none of these albums are available on CD. On the bright side, this reminds me of the 3 CD set called Cartoon Classics and Wacky Sounds by Hanna Barbera, which was released in 2001.

Disk 1 contained the theme songs of Hanna Barbera Classics. They include Magilla Gorilla, Peter Potamus, The Flintstones, Johnny Quest, Scooby-Doo, and other shows from the 60s and 70s.

Disk 2 had Terrific Toon Tunes. This included main titles, sub-main titles, and end titles from Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quickdraw McGraw, The Jetsons, and quite a few others. This even includes the original album version of Meet the Flintstones, which I never knew about before getting this CD set.

Disk 3, which was about Hanna Barbera Wacky Sounds, has the most tracks because most of them are just single sound effects. This disk also has some newer comedy skits that feature Fred Flintstone, Quickdraw, Snagglepuss, Hokey Wolf, Peter Potamus, Wally Gator, and Snooper and Blabber. There’s no mention of who does the voices since the original voice actors from the old shows (Alan Reed and Daws Butler) had passed on.

There you have it. Not only are these classic Hanna Barbera characters nostalgic on TV and DVD, but in music form too. Are there any classic albums you might remember?

Mar 182015
 

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?

Aug 132014
 

The Scooby-Doo franchise has certainly evolved over the years. Scooby-Doo: Mask of the Blue Falcon actually goes back to its roots by including the Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. That used to be an old cartoon series from the 70s and the two of them were on the Scooby Doobies team in Laff-A-Lympics, but in this feature Blue Falcon and Dynomutt are portrayed as old comic book characters that also had a TV series.

The Mystery Inc. gang travels to the city of San de Pedro to attend a comic book convention. Shaggy and Scooby are very excited since they are such huge fans of Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. They even made costumes out of string cheese and food coloring. Now that’s just weird.

I go to comic book conventions all the time. They always provide a great atmosphere with posters, pictures, displays, backdrops, and wall hangings of classic characters randomly placed all around. This one has that too and the characters displayed are all from classic Hanna-Barbera franchises. Ones like Space Ghost, Frankenstein Jr., The Jetsons, Atom Ant, Herculoids, Mightor, Yogi Bear, The Impossibles, The Flintstones, Magilla Gorilla, and others. So these characters were really all just fictional in the Scooby-Doo universe, even though some of them did coexist in Laff-A-Lympics with Shaggy and Scooby?

One of the celebrity guests there is Owen Garrison, who played the original Blue Falcon. Now that’s clever because in the actual Dynomutt cartoon series, Laugh In star Gary Owens voiced the Blue Falcon.

The main event Fred looks forward to is the premiere of the new Blue Falcon movie that’s darker and edgier. The leading actor is Brad Adams, who never really watched the original Blue Falcon TV show in order to prepare for the role. Instead he wanted to give the character a clean slate and only sees the Blue Falcon as an enigma. Somehow this reminds me of the comparison between the old Batman series from the 60s and the Batman movies of today.

Meanwhile, Daphne’s desire is to complete her collection of cute stuffed dolls called Littlest Fuzzies. Man, I have never seen her get so obsessed over anything.

I met Grey Delisle, who was the voice of Daphne, at AFO 2012.

However, Velma isn’t thrilled to be at the convention at all. Her only interest is the mystery going on about a monster terrorizing the place. This is no ordinary monster though. It’s the Blue Falcon’s archenemy Mr. Hyde, who is a creature of chaos. Mr. Hyde wasn’t in the new movie, but he was in the old TV series. That’s why Shaggy and Scooby know about him so well.

As the Mystery Inc. gang gets on the case, Shaggy and Scooby are the most knowledgeable and take the mystery more seriously than they usually do. However, the number one suspect is Owen Garrison because he tried to revive the Blue Falcon and every studio turned him down. And with the new movie version out, Mr. Garrison’s fan base has disappeared. He keeps going on and on about it. It seems obvious, but Shaggy and Scooby refuse to accept that because they still believe in the original Blue Falcon. They even found other suspects, yet Fred, Daphne, and Velma still think Mr. Garrison is Mr. Hyde. Can you believe it?

Meanwhile, Jennifer Severin the writer/producer/director of the new Blue Falcon movie takes advantage of all the publicity involving the Mr. Hyde attacks. What I couldn’t help but notice is that she believes that her movies should have less story line and be more about blowing things up since that’s where the money is.

This was a great movie with a modernized collaboration of Hanna-Barbera nostalgia. Even the opening credits feature some of the ghosts from the classic Scooby-Doo series. If you’re a fan of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, be sure to observe the backgrounds and cosplayers closely.

 

Mar 092012
 

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 occasion, 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.

Jan 282012
 

Classic cartoons from the old days always had memorable theme songs, some of which could be found on soundtrack albums if there were any. In the mid 90s, there was a very rare mixture on an album called Saturday Morning Cartoons’ Greatest Hits, which features the different theme songs in a more extended and updated manner and performed by “modern” bands and artists.

Some of those classic songs include the themes from Scooby-Doo Where Are You, Josie and the Pussycats, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, PopeyeHong Kong Phooey, and Spiderman (60s version). A different artist or band like Matthew Sweet, Liz Phair, The Ramones, The Butthole Surfers, Juliana Hatfield, and others perform them.

Not all of the tracks are theme songs though. There are also songs from different shows that were hits back in the day like Sugar Sugar from The Archie Show, Epp Opp Ork Ah-Ah from The Jetsons, Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy from Ren and Stimpy, and Open Up Your Heart and Let the Sunshine in from The Flintstones. All of which were only featured once in certain episodes. Does anyone still remember any of these songs?

There are even theme songs from shows I had never even heard of before like The Bugaloos, Sigmund and the Sea Monsters, Groovie Ghoulies, Gigantor, and H.R. Pufnstuf. Luckily, the inside cover has information on each show, which made them more familiar to me and made me curious to see what these shows are like, if I can find them either on DVD, Netflix, or the Boomerang Channel.

Along with the info, there’s also a bit of commentary from the bands and artists about their take on these songs as well as their favorite cartoons growing up. It must be a real pleasure to participate in an album like this.

In addition to the album, there was also a straight-to-video feature about Saturday Morning Cartoons Greatest Hits. On a beautiful sunny day, Drew Barrymore and her friends have fun watching music videos from all of the different songs and provide their own cute and funny commentary. (It doesn’t include the theme from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids for some reason.)

To add to the fun, the group also gets a package that contains things like breakfast cereal, candy necklaces, and silly string in spray cans. That’s just the kind of stuff that represents innocent times. You won’t find a special like this on MTV and I have no doubt that only hardcore Drew Barrymore fans would remember it.

This album is unique with its modern twist on old favorites. Once I do find any of the old shows, after listening to this CD, I now observe the theme songs to see how they are different in comparison.