Friday, January 12, 2007

Ultimate Hanna Barbera Cartoon Cavalcade

I don't really know how else to describe the joy i felt when the show " Scooby's All Star Laff-A-Lympics" debuted on TV. Sure, cartoon team-ups were old hat and expected; they were like peanut butter and jelly, double stuff and oreos or Dolly Parton and just expected one with the other. THIS, however, was like the best wet daydream, that lasted 22 minutes every saturday morning and involed every beloved cartoon character in the stable of the most successul television cartoon house the world had known at that point. This Olympics take off, which was known by about 3 different titled incarnations usually utilizing Scooby, H-B's most popular character at the time, was utterly and undeniably the one of the most ambitious, horribly animated, but unbelievably pleasing shows i have ever seen. In 1977, did i see Micky Mouse shot-putting against Jiminy Cricket, or Goofy in a 50 yard dash against Cruella daVille? How about Mighty Mouse curling against Heckle and Jeckle or Bullwinkle fencing Dudley Do Right? Hell no! But there i was, legs going numb as i sat Indian style in front of a 24 inch TV on Saturday morning, Fruit Loops fermenting in my belly, salivating at the site of my favorite characters interacting with each other while putting on their version of a network phenomenon; I suppose it would be called Battle of the Network Cartoon Stars. I was basically Nocturnally emitting during this morning eye candy that sent my mind into a frenzy. In one episode you could see Quick Draw Mcgaw, Mumbly and Captain Caveman in a unicycle race around the pyramids of Egypt, Super Snooper, Hong Kong Phooey and Dread Baron on a river raft race down the Mississippi and Cindy Bear, Taffy and Daisy Mayhem hang gliding over the Thames, all while the inimitable team of Snagglepuss and Mildew Wolf made like Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford, a-la the Wide World of Sports.

The combinations were endless and easily melded the 60's and 70's characters into 3 teams. the Yogi Yahooey's obviously headed by that smarter than average bear and consisting of just about every 60's animal character you can think of and 1 from the 70's...the Great Grape Ape. Omitted characters who would have been helpful: Squiddly Diddly, Secret Squirrel, Peter Potamus, Magilla Gorilla. The second team was called the Scooby Doobies. This was managed by Scooby Doo and Shaggy while housing most of the 70's human characters and thier anthropomorphic friends like the Teen Angels and Captain Caveman, Dynomutt and Blue Falcon, Hong Kong Phooey, Speed Buggy and Tinker and Babu from Jeannie and Scooby Dum. Omitted characters who would have been helpful: Goober, Jabberjaw (who made guest apearances) Woofer and Whimper, Penelope Pitstop, Undercover Elephant and either the Hair Bear Bunch or the CB Bears...surly this team was lacking some bears. Finally the Really Rottons was lead by none other than Mumbly. Mumbly was originally known as Mugger in the movie "Hey there its Yogi Bear", then was resurected for Wacky Races and teamed with Dick Dastardly in that and their own spin off show and known as Muttley, then recolored baby blue and outfitted into an orange trench coat in his own show and renamed Mumbly, all the while keeping his trademark snicker (that made its way onto the character Precious Pupp in the 60's for some unknown reason). This team had Dick Dastardly's cousin Dread Baron as Mumbly's cohort and many characters that were made specifically for this show like Daisy Mayhem, Sooey Pig and Orful Octopuss; this excludes the Dalton Boys who, in one form or another, were a part of many shows throughout H-B's show's of the 60's. Omitted characters who could have been helpful: Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist, Blast-Off Buzzard and Scat cat from the Skatebirds. As you can tell from the picture above, the cast was HUGE and that had to make animating a nightmare. As a matter of fact, i can only imagine that Joe and Bill accepted this pitch (unless it was his...does anyone know?) because he knew he wouldn't have to animate it. Needless to say i was smitten with the competition, the comraderie and the countless contests coupling copious commiserating cartoon characters, counted on to compete and captivate countless kids, kvetching on this confectionary, commercial-laden carnival. I think it is actually coming to video soon, as i have seen some possible artwork and info on the series. look for it and love it; its like loving the don't know why but having all of those heroes together on the screen (even the made up, politically correct ethnic ones) was pleasing to the eye. Buy this when it comes out so we can keep the H-B DVD train rolling right along.

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