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Nov 262013
 

Now who remembers this old classic? Wake, Rattle and Roll (1990-1992) is about a young man named Sam Baxter (RJ Williams) and his robot DECKS having misadventures in a basement that’s filled with high-tech gadgets that are highly imaginative.

Some of these gadgets include a dumbwaiter that works like a roller coaster shute, a transporter that summons people, and a living library that brings characters from a book to life. The inventor of these contraptions, including DECKS, is Sam’s grandfather Lester Quirk (Avery Schriber). He often travels around the world, but always keeps in contact.

Another major contraption is the Debbie Detector. Debbie (Terri Ivens) is Sam’s older sister and the detector is a transmission device to her bedroom. Debbie is a mean girl, but deep down she does care about her brother. One thing I don’t understand is what Debbie is speaking into on the other end of the transmission because we never see her bedroom.

The main person who joins Sam and DECKS on their misadventures is Sam’s good friend KC (Ebonie Smith), who is very helpful on occasion.

Each episode has two cartoons DECKS shows on his TV in his chest. The first is Fender Bender 500, which is an “updated” take on Wacky Races. Classic Hanna Barbera characters have races all over the world in creatively designed trucks that require two riders.

They include Yogi and Boo-Boo in the Jellystone Jammer (#1) and Huckleberry Hound and Snagglepuss in the Half Dog Half Cat Half-Track (#2). Man that’s a mouthful.

There’s also Magilla Gorilla and Wally Gator in the Swamp Stomper (#3) and Top Cat and Choo-Choo in the Alley Cat (#4). On a personal note, this cartoon is how I first learned about Top Cat.

Here are some more likely team-ups. Quickdraw McGraw and Baba Looey in the Texas Twister (#5), Pixie and Dixie in the Cheddar Shredder (#6), Auggie Doggie and Doggie Daddy in the Lucky Trucky (#7), and Winsome Witch and Lucky the cat in the Sonic Broom (#13).

Then there’s the cheating Dick Dastardly and Muttley in the Dirty Truckster (#00). It’s no surprise since they always used to cheat in Wacky Races. You just never know who is gonna win.

The second cartoon is Monster Tails. In a castle that’s always raining and snowing outside, resides animal versions of the classic horror monsters having misadventures with their human guardian Igor Jr. There’s Frankenmutt, Catula, Mumfrey, and Dr. Veenie who becomes Mr. Snyde whenever he sneezes. I think these names speak for themselves. The only exception is Elsa. She’s resembles the Bride of Frankenstein, but also has a bit of talking parrot in her.

This was a good show that was very well made. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t last and it would be nice to find it on DVD as well.

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 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.