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Mar 112014

We all remember the 3 stooges, Moe (Moe Howard), Larry (Larry Fine), and Curly (Curly Howard) as a trio of slapstick buffoons that bumble every job they’re given. The stooges had many short films over the years, but right now I’d like to focus on the animated series The New Three Stooges (1965-1966).

Now this takes place during the Curly Joe era. For those of you unfamiliar, after Curly passed away in the early 50s, there were a couple of fill-ins for the third stooge. One of them was Curly Joe (Joe DeRita). I admit that he wasn’t as hilarious as Curly, but still funny nonetheless.

This series of cartoon shorts features Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe traveling the world while bumbling their various jobs and it usually ends with the three of them running for the hills. The only major difference is that there isn’t as much face slapping and poking at each other. I guess the purpose was to keep it “child-friendly”.

There were also live action segments that went with the cartoons, which I also found enjoyable. However, the show tended to use the same segments with different cartoons. It was confusing sometimes, especially if the intention was for the cartoons and live action segments to coincide as a full episode.

This wasn’t the only time The Three Stooges became an animated series though. There was another version called The Robonic Stooges (1977-1978). This Hanna-Barbera series featured the stooges as bumbling robot heroes with various contraptions to fight evil. Many of the contraptions were inside the big letters on their chests, which I found fascinating. However, unlike the 60s series, the stooges did not voice their own characters. It was confusing at times because Curly returns and it left the impression that Curly was still alive in the 70s, since it sounded a lot like him.

The same voice actor (Frank Welker) also voiced Jabberjaw, whose persona was very similar to Curly.

The stooges also made appearances on The New Scooby-Doo Movies, but didn’t provide their own voices on this show either, unlike other celebrity guest stars that have done so.

The New Three Stooges is truly a classic cartoon series. Even though this was before my time, I still think the stooges were great to watch growing up. They always left me laughing.

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.