Saturday, July 12, 2008

Obscurity vs. Infamy part Deux

Above: my version of the infamous 4

In a previous post i wrote about Muttley's family lineage; how i thought the evolution was more of a family tree than a different form of the same character. The focus of the article was how he almost became a character not unlike Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Fred Flintstone, Popeye, Underdog and even SpongeBob Squarepants, or, famous toons that will live on and on and become equally as infamous to each generation of kids around the world. its a machine that is driven in 3 parts. one, because these are iconic, well developed (and in most cases anthropomorphic) personalities. two, because the creators constatnly change, evolve and make available to the masses these characters and three: it's like an out of control locomotive that can't be stopped. they are so ingrained in our society, because of parts one and two, that they will never go away.

4 Hanna Barbera characters, the remaining 4 i will talk about, almost made it to infamy right along side one of their company cohorts, Fred Flintstone, but were at some point, cut off at the knees just before finishing the race and never made it past the infamy finish line. about the only other character not from the Hanna Barbera stable to almost make it was Fang Face, a Ruby Spears creation that was very good, but a rip off of Scooby Doo.

Captain Caveman
Hong Kong Phooey

i have a 4 tiered criteria that showcases why these certain characters should have made it from obscurity to infamy:
1. How much merchandise was created of them
2. How often were the characters used, outside of their own shows
3. Life size costumes created, you would find at an amusement park, is also an indication
4. 90's updates

Each of the 4 characters mentioned had merchandise created of them in various forms; coloring books, parachuters, stuffed animals. this was untrue of toons at the time who were not destined to be infamous...Devlin, the Houndcats, Giligan's Planet, The Groovy Ghoulies
Each character had life outside their own show:
All characters were members of various teams on the All Star Laff-A-Lympics. actually Jabber guested as a ref but who's counting? (i guess i am...duh!) but he was a cast member in Yogi's Space Race which was Wacky Races with spaceships. his partner was the even more obscrure, Buford the dog. the Captain apeared in man a flinstone reincarnation all the way up to the Flintstone Kids and most recently when Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm got married in the 90's and Dynomutt has had a long and storied history with Scooby Doo
You do not see costumes, amusement park costumes, made unless the character is popular. Each of these characters have their own costume, or at least did when King's Island used the HB stable as its roaming character crew.

In the 90's, Dynomutt guested on Dexter's Laboratory, Captain Caveman is still around during any Flintstone thing, Jabberjaw had an updated music video made in the 2000's and HKP is still popular enough to have his own DVD come out, not to mention HKP and Jabberjaw being turned into Beanie Babies when that was popular. in recent years Dynomutt, HKP and Captain Caveman have been turned into action figures by Todd McFarlane and in Dyno's and Blue Falcons case, a really cool maquette set. it is for these reasons i believe they should have become infamous, but instead are languishing on Boomerang where they get limited exposure.


amy said...

Aww I love the costume character pictures...2 of them I reconize being at Kings Island which is where I work!!

I believe Captain Caveman made cameo appearences for our Flashback to the 70s events we held this summer. Along with Barney, Fred, Dino, Scooby, Yogi, George Jetson, and Astro.

They were a HUGE hit! Crowds around them were larger than Spongebobs ._.

I can email some pics if ya like to see them :)

G said...

wow that would be great and i am so happy to hear that they had huge crowds bigger than the newer toons! i would love to see the pics. my email is