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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.

 

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.

May 132011
 

Not too long ago, my sister and I went to the Kennedy Space Center for the first time and it had some real interesting exhibits throughout. Obviously, real space travel is nothing like how it’s featured in pop culture. However, it did make me think of some pop culture references that made space travel appear more exciting and adventurous. Of course if your spacecraft was like the Winnebago on Spaceballs, it’s the only way to fly. Anyway, here are my top five favorite space traveling references from whatever the source.

#5) Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope: One of the most exciting scenes is when Luke Skywalker and the rebel forces fly to the Death Star for a full-scale assault followed by the classic trench run. The Star Tours ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios used to feature the same trench run along with a crystal meteor shower. I look forward to the new Star Tours ride that’s coming real soon.

 #4) The Adventures of Mark Twain: Even though the vehicle that’s featured is an airship and not a rocket ship, the climax had an exciting chase into space to catch up to Halley’s comet. Before reaching it, Mark Twain and the crew must dodge meteors and head into the comet’s channel. It goes to show that comets are so much bigger up close.

#3) Raiden Trad (SNES): In this video game, you fly an aircraft on Earth to fight an enemy from another world. All that’s featured is enemy vehicles to blast. Then in the later levels, the aircraft goes into outer space, where you blast more enemy vehicles and astroids everywhere. It surprised me at first, but remained exciting as before.

#2) Gradius 3 (SNES): Here’s another classic video game about flying through space and blasting various enemies. What really stands out is the soundtrack, which makes it more adventurous. Here’s a clip I found on YouTube to provide an example.

#1) The Funtastic World of Hanna Barbera Ride: Back when this classic ride was at Universal Studios theme park, there was an exciting story behind it that makes it one of my most favorites. We all ride a spaceship with Yogi Bear as the pilot and Boo-Boo as co-pilot, chasing down Dick Dastardly and Muttley through the world of Hanna Barbera to rescue Elroy Jetson from their clutches. To keep it simple though, the ride only goes through the top three franchises, The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, and The Jetsons. Although Jimmy Neutron has replaced the ride, it still keeps the exciting space chase in check.

Mar 072011
 

Dogs are well known as man’s best friend. To some heroes, they also make great sidekicks. On the other hand, there are even dogs that make great heroes themselves, unlikely or not. There were so many good ones, it was difficult to narrow down. Here they are, my top 20 favorite canines in pop culture. I guess you could call them top dogs.

#20) Astro from The Jetsons: When Elroy found this dog he was labeled as a puppy, even though he is the same size as George when standing upright. Astro can also speak English, sort of. He’s very close with Elroy and loves to slurp George. “Now cut that out!”

#19) Max from How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 version): This is the Grinch’s companion, actually his only companion. As loyal as Max is to the Grinch, he’s not exactly a sinister sidekick. Max only does what he’s told out of fear. Why else would the Grinch make Max a reindeer? Poor little fella.

#18) Rude Dog from Rude Dog and the Dweebs: I can remember back when this character was part of a popular line of T-shirts. Then he had his own cartoon series about living with seven other dogs, who are a bunch of dweebs. Rude Dog tries to teach them how to be better dogs. In addition to his wisecracks, Rude Dog is a good leader to guide the dweebs in the right direction. It’s not easy, but somebody’s got to do it.

#17) Mr. Peabody from The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show: Now here’s an intelligent canine. He can think his way out of any situation with his boy Sherman. It’s unknown how Peabody became such a brilliant dog, but he is one of a kind, leaving his mark through history.

#16) Santa’s Little Helper from The Simpsons: This greyhound with a long name used to run in the dog track, but was booted out for always coming in last place. Now he’s the Simpson family dog. He’s well loved, but highly unintelligent. Santa’s Little Helper fits in perfectly.

#15) Ren from Ren and Stimpy: He is the straight half of this duo. Ren constantly has to put up with Stimpy’s antics, which drives him up the wall. However, when Ren sees an opportunity to get rich based on what comes from Stimpy, like hairballs being more valuable than gold, he always jumps at the chance. Don’t get me wrong though. Ren can be as gross as Stimpy sometimes, but at least he’s more sensible.

#14) Muttley from Dastardly and Muttley: He is the loyal companion of Dick Dastardly, but tends to be a bungler. However, Muttley has the ability to fly by using his tail like a mini helicopter. It’s very helpful when Dastardly falls out of his plane time and time again while chasing that darn carrier pigeon. Muttley always expects medals for his heroic deeds, even before actually earning them. He’s also comedic with that wheezing laugh he’s best known for, which is still classic.

#13) Ravage from Transformers (80s version): This Decepticon is a robotic attack dog, who can transform into one of Soundwave’s cassette tapes. Ravage is fearsome with his sharp claws and teeth, but is more dangerous than any other attack dog because of the missiles in his arsenal. This brings “Beware of Dog” to a whole new level.

#12) Snoopy from Peanuts: We all remember this classic beagle. Unlike other dogs, Snoopy likes to lay on top of his doghouse flat on his back. He’s also imaginative and likes to party. Of course, Snoopy’s antics can drive Charlie Brown crazy. However, he’s hilarious when he kisses Lucy. She hates dog germs… a lot.

#11) Odie from Garfield and Friends: Jon Arbuckle doesn’t just own a cat, he owns a dog too. Odie is a good pal to Garfield, despite how Garfield treats him sometimes. Odie isn’t bright and doesn’t speak like the other dogs and cats, but is very enthusiastic. I wonder, if Odie could talk, what would he sound like?

I’ll have to stop here for now, but there are still more dog stars to come. Check my blog in Part 2, where I’ll be talking about my top ten.