Beyond the Background: The Ghoul School

Today’s installment of Beyond the Background spotlights that rare sub-species in pop culture: the all-female Monster Mash. Today we’ll be shining the spotlight on a gang of monster girls who all attend a special school together.

Ah, no, not them. Believe it or not, kiddies, there was another ghoul girl gang before Monster High. Today we’ll be looking at the girls from Miss Grimwood’s Finishing School for Ghouls, the finishing school for the daughters of monsters, as featured in the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 TV movie Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School.
"Those Monster High bimbos think they're so hot. Let's see them rock these bitchin' tutus!"

“Those Monster High bimbos think they’re so hot. Let’s see them rock these bitchin’ tutus!”

Scoob, Shaggy and Scrappy were employed at Miss Grimwood’s boarding school for a single school year as gym teachers, though they spent most of that year being scared, running away from people and things and having to save their students from a swamp witch with a web fetish. Anyways….
The school’s headmistress was (no prizes for guessing) Miss Grimwood, who had an octopus butler and a floating hand in her service, as well as a pet dragon named Matches who acted as the school’s ‘guard dog’. Miss Grimwood definitely had a preference for the macabre, but what kind of monster was she? She didn’t seem to possess any kind of dark power nor did she seem to come from any kind of supernatural or paranormal lineage. Maybe she was just a Goth.
“I did assemble this outfit at Hot Topic, yeah.”
Now on to the students. First up, we have Sibella, the daughter of Count Dracula and one of his many, many, many wives, girlfriends, lovers and flings. (Vampires are the playas of the monster world, after all.) Sibella is very kind, polite and generous, though not above using vampire powers or her bat form to her advantage in sports such as volleyball and racing. She has a frequent habit of making puns on words to make them relate to vampires, such as “Fangtasic to meet you.”(Yay, puns.) She seems to be creative with clothing, making a bat robe for her father and a fire proof one for Matches, and she seems to be able to go out in the sunlight with no difficulty, though she doesn’t appear to sparkle in sunlight either.
“Darling, I sparkle everywhere I am! I just got it goin’ on like that!”
In addition to being the second tallest of the ghoul girls (tied with Phantasma and second only to Elsa) Sibella is, dare I say, the hottest among the girls. I’m starting to like the color purple more and more…
Next up, we have Winnie Werewolf, a brave, tough, sometimes over-confident 8-year-old lycanthrope, possessing superhuman strength, speed, and senses and perhaps as a result of her wolf-like nature, she is notably the most athletic of the girls, once challenging Sibella to a race.
Winnie Werewolf
“Yeah, I’m pretty awesome at sports. I basically rule all of ’em! Well, except maybe swimming. I don’t swim much; when I do the pool sometimes gets clogged with globs of hair. I have body hair issues.”
Next there’s Elsa Frankenteen, the teenage Frankenstein monster. She’s a tad slow and lumbering, with a facility for stating the obvious, but she’s got heart (or to be more accurate, 2 of them) and while lacking the speed and agility of the other girls, she compensates with great strength and extreme durability.
Elsa Frankenteen
“I guess I’m pretty strong. I did once lift the entire school to retrieve a soccer ball. But my real passion is Mad Science. I’m majoring in Dark Matter studies and minoring in Building an Army of Atomic Supermen.”
Next up is Phantasma the phantom. She’s loud, hyperactive, wacky and silly, with a high-picthed cackling laugh, but is actually smarter than she appears. She also loves to play, float, and run around. Being a ghost, she can float through many objects. She can also spin her head around like an owl. As a spectre, Phantasma can become intangible at will. This makes her able to phase through both inanimate objects and people alike. She’s also a talented organ player, having composed an original piece which she wrote and performed with with Miss Grimwood’s hand keyboard with her octopus butler on drums; it was called “Duet for Three Hands and Six Tentacles”.
“I’m totally gonna be a rock ‘n’ troll musician when I grow up! I’m gonna come on stage in a flashy cape and start my shows by saying, ‘It’s showtime, folks!'”
“You’re adorable, kid, but that’s my line. The only things scarier than me are copyright lawyers!”
Finally we have Tanis the mummy, the youngest and shortest of all the girls, with an innocent demeanor. She’s a literal thumb-sucker. Cute, but not nearly as hot as Monster High’s Cleo DeNile.
“Who says I’m not hot? Underneath these wrappings, I look like Zoe Saldana!”
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that Miss Grimwood’s Finishing School for Ghouls was adjacent to Calloway Military School, a military academy for boys. the Grimwood Ghouls had a long-running rivalry with Calloway due to the boys constantly beating them at volleyball (this is why Scooby and pals were brought on as gym teachers in the first place). I wonder if the girls like the boys now?
“Like them? Why, they were DELICIOUS!”
So no rematch, then.

Beyond the Background: The Forgotten Twins

This is a picture of Hello Kitty, correct?


Wrong-o! First, weird that this is the 2nd mention of Hello Kitty on this blog in as many days, second, nope, this is not Hello Kitty. This is a picture of HK’s twin sister Mimi White (I’ve also seen her called Mimmy or once even Minny or Missy, but I hate indecision so henceforth I’m just going to call her Mimi to save time). What, you didn’t know Hello Kitty had a sister? Where’s Mimi’s merchandise empire? How do you share a womb with someone for 9 months and then get lost in that other person’s shadow? It’s for these Beta siblings that we devote today’s Beyond the Background to: The Forgotten Twins.
Let’s start with Mimi here: Who is she? What do we know about her? Well, for one thing, Mimi wears a yellow bow on her left ear while Kitty wears a red bow on her right, for another, she seems to be shy and has a slightly less outgoing personality then Kitty does, but they still seem to highly enjoy each others company, which could explain why she isn’t as famous as Kitty is: she seems to have social anxiety up the wazoo.

“My hobbies include playing with my sister, hiding and barely speaking above a whisper. Oh, and I’m a huge fan of IFC’s ‘The Birthday Boys’. Stop staring at me!”

Still, I imagine it must be grating to be less famous and less popular than your twin, perpetually stuck in the shadow of the person who’s your age and looks just like you. To be forever known as “That famous character’s twin”.
Hello Kitty and Mimi
Kitty: Maybe if we stopped dressing alike all the time, more people would notice you.
Mimi: Well, I’m not changing my wardrobe. I like this look!
Kitty: Well, I’m not changing my look either. Looks like we’ve got ourselves a fashion standoff here!
Mimi: Standoff? I hate confrontation! I’ll be hiding in the closet.
Kitty: Geez…
Why can’t these 2 be famous in tandem, like another pair of twin Sanrio mascots, Kiki and Lala, aka the Little Twin Stars?
Kiki and Lala are a pair of celestial human (I think) children who were big in the 80’s. FTR, Kiki’s the blue haired one at the top, Lala’s the pink haired one at the bottom. True story: when I first heard these characters’ names, I thought Kiki was a girl with short hair, but I later found out that he is in fact a boy. I’ve never met a dude named Kiki, all right? But unlike Kitty and Mimi, these 2 are both the titular characters of their merch line and they’re both famous together as a team. No one twin is more important, prominent or popular than the other, and both are regarded as equally cute.
“‘Cute??'” Whatchu talkin’ bout, dude? I’m a stud!”
“Yeah, right, bro. Face it: your cheeks are just as pinchable as mine. We’re adorable, deal with it.”
There are other characters who share Mimi’s plight. Let’s look at Lin-Lin (aka Rin-Rin) from Capcom’s Darkstalkers video game series.
For those who don’t know, Lin-Lin is the twin sister of the Jiang Shi/Chinese vampire/zombie thing Lei-Lei (the more common Western names are Hsien-Ko and Mei Ling, but I refuse to call them that; Ling-Ling and Lei-Lei have more of a ring to them). The 2 of them actually comprise the Jiang Shi together, with Lei-Lei acting as the body while Lin-Lin takes the form of the talisman which adorns Lei-Lei’s hat.

That’s Lin in the corner…”

Because of this, most people assume that Lei-Lei is just 1 person (and we all know what happens when we assume…). We rarely see Lin-Lin in human form in the games, outside of ending cinemas and special moves. For example, Lin-Lin can occasionally separate from Lei-Lei for a super art, and in one of vampire Demtri Maximoff’s special moves, he turns his opponent(s) into female versions of themselves (or cuter versions of themselves for female opponents) right before emptying their tanks and feeding on them; for the twins, he splits the Jiang Shi into tween versions of the twins wearing adorkable pajamas.
Lin Lin & Lei Lei

The twins’ ending from Pocket Fighter

…And their Midnight Pleasure transformation. Aaaaawwwww.

Another forgotten twin is Skeeter, an original character created for Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies. Clearly not wishing to receive the same flack that NBC was getting for there being only 1 female on Smurfs, CBS created the character of Skeeter so there’d be another chick in the nursery besides Piggy. Personality-wise, Skeeter was the anti-Piggy: an athletic tomboy who sounded like Bobby from FOX’s Bobby’s World (not surprisingly, since Skeeter was originally voiced by Bobby creator Howie Mandel, later by Frank Welker when Mandel left the show).
“My brother’s still a nerd, BTW.”
Despite being popular with fans, Skeeter never officially made into the Muppet canon; AFAIK, it had something to do with ownership rights. I thought it would have been cool if Skeeter had been the new Muppet player to join the gang in the movie The Muppets, but alas it was not to be. To be honest, I’d have rather gotten Skeeter than Walter.
No offense to Walter fans, but he’s yet another dude. The Muppets need another male character the way Mike Tyson needs another face tattoo.

Yet another forgotten twin is Mary Test, the quieter of Johnny Test’s genius twin sisters.

Gee, I wonder if this girl likes moons.

Mary is a teenage super-genius with a lab that she and her sis Susan share, where they concoct all sorts of cool stuff from robots to super powers, yet due to her gentler, more soft-spoken demeanor, poor Mary is often lost in the shadow of her bolder, more outspoken twin Susan, the yin to Susan’s raging yang, Mary is too frequently relegated unfairly to be player 2 to Susan’s player 1. She’s even ignored by Susan’s personal stalker, Eugene “Bling-Bling Boy” Hamilton.
“Yeah, seriously, what’s up with that? I know it’s just Eugene, but still it can bug a girl. Am I chopped liver? What’s wrong with me? Do I reek or something? Maybe I should start wearing shorts!”
However, in spite of (or perhaps because of) Mary’s ‘secondary’ status, she’s managed to amass a small fan following on the internet. There are even some Mary Test fanfics on I kid you not, look it up.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the original forgotten twin, Luigi of the Super Mario Brothers.
 Luigi 2
“It’s a-me! Not-a Mario!”
Fun trivia fact: in Japan, Luigi’s original name was Ruichi, meaning”similar”, so he’s Mario’s twin in the truest sense of the word.
For many years, this guy was stuck in the role of Player 2, a perpetual second banana to his older brother, Mario, arguably the biggest game mascot of all.
“Ya think that’s bad? What about us? We get starring roles in Super Mario Bros. 3, we’re real popular with fans, then Nintendo introduces that nimrod Bowser Jr., and now we can’t even be called Bowser’s kids anymore. We’ve been reduced to minions! Freakin’ MINIONS!”
“Oooh, Thanksgiving dinner’s gonna be awkward!”
But Luigi’s one of the lucky ones; he’s managed to come into his own. He’s gotten a couple of solo game titles, Mario is Missing! and Luigi’s Mansion, he’s snagged himself his own princess, Daisy…
“We got to talking at a Less Popular Relatives party and hit it off. What can I say? Second bananas are hot!”
He’s gotten his own internet meme….

…And he’s even gotten his own year. Nintendo declared 2013 the Year of Luigi. Now that’s an accolade.


 “So where’s my year, huh? Let’s get on that, Sanrio! Oh, are you looking at me again? I’m hiding in the umbrella stand!”

Beyond the Background: The Seven Dwarfs’ Knockoffs

Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy and Sneezy. To longtime Disney fans, these names are the Beatles of little people. Nearly everybody loves Disney’s Seven Dwarfs: they stole the show in Disney’s first ever animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, they appear as costumed mascots in all of the Walt Disney theme parks, they’ve recently gotten a 21st century makeover and are starring in their own new animated series The 7D (which it should be obvious by now that we here at Twinsanity are fans of, since this is the 4th time the show has been mentioned on this blog) and they’re internationally known and internationally beloved, and it’s for precisely that reason why we won’t be spotlighting them on Beyond the Background.

Beyond the Background is for showcasing the lesser known, less celebrated or outright forgotten cartoon characters, so the 7D don’t fit the bill. Instead, we’ll be looking at some of the Seven Dwarfs’ various imitators, spinoffs, knockoffs, ripoffs and wannabes.

Ant Hill Mob Names

First up we have The Ant Hill Mob, seven pint-sized 1920’s style gangsters who first appeared in Hanna-Barbera’s Wacky Races in 1968. Their names are Clyde (the leader, voiced by Paul Winchell), Ring-A-Ding (voiced Don Messick), Danny, Rug Bug Benny, Mac, Kirby (not the pink round Nintendo mascot who sucks up dudes and takes on their powers!) and Willy, though only Clyde and Ring-A-Ding’s names were ever spoken on camera. Clyde, a caricature of Edward G. Robinson and likely named after famous criminal Clyde Barrow, was the tough-as-nails boss, while Ring-A-Ding’s chief attribute was being about as dumb as a bag of rocks; Clyde would usually call Ring-A-Ding “Ding-A-Ling” whenever he screwed up, which was often. The gang drove in car number 7, The Bulletproof Bomb (also known as The Roaring Plenty), and were pint-sized characters, an obvious reference to the Seven Dwarfs. In the very first episode, “See-Saw to Arkansas”, they even disguise themselves as the Seven Dwarfs to escape from a policeman. Their usual method of improving the speed of their car was “getaway” power, which they achieved by extending their feet through the floor of the car and running, the same way Fred Flintstone accelerates his own prehistoric car.

Ant Hill Mob

The Ant Hill Mob, circa ‘Wacky Races’. This photo was taken shortly before the Mob knocked over a fruit stand…with their car.

After a brief stretch in the jar (a literal jar, these guys are short, remember?), The Ant Hill Mob re-appeared in a spin-off of Wacky Races, called The Perils of Penelope Pitstop. By this time they had cleaned up their act, and now acted as Penelope Pitstop’s protectors. Between shows the Mob had a little dustup which resulted in 6 of them having to go into the Witness Relocation program (Clyde got off on a technicality, and a huge bribe) and returning with different names: the others were now called Yak Yak, Softy, Pockets, Zippy, Snoozy and Dum-Dum, and this time around the other 5 had actual personalities: “Yak Yak” couldn’t stop laughing and almost always would laugh during times of peril although he didn’t mean to. “Softy” couldn’t stop crying and would mostly do so during a genuinely happy moment. “Pockets” always had gadgets in his pockets. “Zippy” could run really fast. “Snoozy” was always asleep, sleep-talking and “Dum-Dum” completely lacked all common sense.

The Ant Hill Mob have laid low since then, keeping their noses clean and staying out of the public eye. There have been rumors that the gang put out one last hit, resulting in one Sylvester Sneakly waking up one morning to find the severed heads of the Bully Brothers in his bed, but this hasn’t been confirmed…yet.

Next up we have The Trobbits, who co-starred in a 1981 Filmation CBS Saturday morning cartoon called Blackstar, about an astronaut who gets sucked into a black hole and ends up in a world of sword and sorcery, where he decides to blend in by going all Conan, stripping down to his shorts, wielding a magical sword and taking on some uber-powered dude in funky headgear.


The Trobbits (their name being a portmanteau of “tree” and “hobbit”–surprisingly enough, J.R.R. Tolkien’s estate didn’t attempt to to try merging the words “law” and “suit”) were the peaceful, pink-skinned comic relief little men who rescued Blackstar and provided the cute and the yuks. Again, there were 7 of them (surprise, surprise!) and each Trobbit had his own unique shtick:

  • Balkar – The Trobbits’ king and mentor. He controls elemental magic and is also a great alchemist. He’s also known for not acting wacky all the time like his bros.
  • Terra – The gardener who talks to plants, not the blond Teen Titans chick who turns Beast Boy’s knobs, betrays the team and, um…gets turned into a statue. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
  • Burble – The babbler who swims very well and freezes during the winter. You’d freeze too if you wore Bermuda shorts in the middle of a blizzard.
  • Carpo – The carpenter who gnaws wood with his teeth to construct things. Make fun of his teeth and you’d lose yours.
  • Rif – The grumpy, flame-capped cook. This dude was a literal hot-head: he had a flame on top of his stocking cap and not surprisingly, had an intense aversion to water.
  • Puolo – The mute whistler. Sound familiar?
  • Gossamer – The scout and lookout who flew via his huge ears.

Continue reading “Beyond the Background: The Seven Dwarfs’ Knockoffs”

Beyond the Background: Elmyra’s Family

By now, most of us are familiar with the famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) star of Tiny Toon Adventures, Elmyra Duff…..

Relax. It’s because Elmyra is so well known that we won’t be profiling her here. Beyond the Background is for shining the spotlight on the more obscure, lesser-known and forgotten characters, so Elmyra doesn’t qualify.

Instead, we’ll be looking at Elmyra’s family, the Duffs (it’s ‘Fudd’ spelled backwards, get it?), who only appeared in 2 TTA episodes, “Take Elmyra Please” and “Grandma’s Dead”. Some have speculated that these 2 eps were meant to be pilots for an Elmyra spinoff series, but that’s just an internet rumor. Elmyra’s family didn’t even appear in Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain. So whatever became of the Duffs? What are they up to now?

We’re glad we pretended you asked.

First, there’s the mother of the family, Emily Duff, a hard working if somewhat oblivious mom who works at a public radio station. Post TTA, she has been spotted serving jury duty on Animaniacs, and she was most recently a contestant on the popular game show, You Risk Your Life (appearing under the pseudonym “Mrs. Myra Puntridge” due to requests from the radio station, who felt that public radio should never be associated with anything profitable), winning big with her partner, Aristotle.

Say, I wonder what she did with her winnings?
“I…spent it all on exotic cupcakes. Seventeen dozen exotic cupcakes. The Cupcake of the Month Club were very persuasive, and the family ate them all up, literally! But the flavors were so tempting! Carolina Crunchy Creme, Simply Red Velvet, Breakfast Cereal Chunk Cluster, Strawberry Banana Fondue Whip….uh, but I digress. We’ll be discussing it on my next broadcast, Cupcakes and the People Who Love Them.”
Next up we have Elmyra’s dad, MacArthur Duff (aka “Mac”, Mac Duff. Get it? GET IT??). He is an inventor, always trying to come up with a revolutionary new discovery. Some of Mac’s previous attempts include a clean-burning fuel made from cholesterol (“Take Elmyra Please”) and drinking water made from tears (“Grandma’s Dead”). Those didn’t exactly take off, but we hear he’s still in the game.
“My latest invention is sure to become a household name! I even paid for a commercial for it! I came up with the name myself!”
‘Kay, well, I won’t be forgetting that anytime soon. Moving on…
We next come to Elmyra’s sarcastic teenage older sister, Amanda Duff, who typically spent her time chatting on the phone and being embarrassed and annoyed by her family. I wonder what she’s been doing since her last TV appearance?
“I’ve just been trying to keep up at school, hanging with my friends, putting up with my crazy family, just normal stuff, no big whoop. What? Does every teen TV star have to end up a drug-addicted, sex tape making, felony-facing train wreck??”
Next up is Elmyra’s brother, Duncan Duff, who liked to spend his time play acting either one of 2 superhero personas: Ninja Boy (“Take Elmyra Please”) or Captain Quirk (“Grandma’s Dead”).
“Please! Those games were ridiculous. I’m matured since then; these days I go by Boy Wonderful! I’m planning to start a suburban division of the Teen Titans called Pre-Teen Titans Midwest! All I need is a T-shaped tower and some kids with super powers to lead. Just don’t tell my folks, OK? My mom worries!”
Next up is the family’s foreign-born, super-strong maid, Queegee Bananahoe, who appeared only in “Take Elmyra Please”. We weren’t able to contact Queegee, and all known photos of her have since been removed. Wonder why…
Man in Black
“Ms. Bananahoe was in our country illegally. Her ‘papers’ were just a single sheet of pink construction paper with the words “I B AMERURICAN CITUSEN” written in crayon, so we had to deport her. Besides, who in this day and age thinks a cheap, stereotyped impression of a foreigner is funny?”
“Really. Don’ be reediculous!”
Finally, we come to the family’s youngest sibling, Baby Duff.
Baby’s present whereabouts are not publicly known. When asked, all we could get out of people are hazy recollections of a “device” and rumors of a hidden dungeon said to be located underneath the sandbox of Baby Cakes Day Care Center.
“I told that semi-evolved mouth-breather to stay away from my cookies! Once again, VICTORY IS MINE!”

Beyond the Background: Bogel and Weerd

Today Beyond the Background tracks down the ghastly duo from 1985’s The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Bogel and Weerd.

FTR, Bogel is the short, round one, and Weerd is the one with the stylin’ Bob Marley style sheet dreads.

These goofy ghosts were itching to open the Chest of Demons, which housed thirteen of the most terrifying and powerful ghosts and demons ever to walk the face of the Earth. They were unable to open the chest (as it could only be opened by the living) but were able to trick Scooby-Doo and Shaggy into opening it. The ghosts could only be returned to the chest by those who originally set them free; thus, the Mystery, Inc. gang (sans Fred and Velma, who were undergoing “contractual negotiations” at the time) embarked on a worldwide quest to recapture them before they wreak irreversible havoc upon the world. Throughout the ordeal, Weerd and Bogel served as incompetent henchmen to which ever monster was released from the chest.

Here’s what some of these legendary ghouls had to say about Bogel and Weerd:

  • Dark Magician Maldor the Malevolent: “Calling these 2 dumb would be an insult to dumb people everywhere.”
  • The ruler of the Mirror Realm Mirror Demon: “Their faces were the only things that made me wish mirrors had never been invented.”
  • Zomba, the Zombie Demon who imprisoned her victims in TV Shows: “They were more tedious than reruns.”
  • Demon Witch Marcella: “They smelled like armpit hair and cheeseburger meat.”
  • Professor Phantazmo, The Ringleader of a Circus of Horrors: “They made lousy henchmen. But they could do a surprisingly good soft-shoe routine!”

After 11 of the 13 ghosts were imprisoned back inside the chest (the other 2 escaped to the Nether Realm where they were later caught and arrested for scalping tickets to the Mortal Kombat tournament) and the 13 Ghosts quest ended, we know what became of the other 13 Ghosts stars: renowned warlock Vincent Van Ghoul went on to star in horror movies…

“They said I had a knock for inspiring terror and the macabre. Of course, what I really want to do is direct.”

…And juvenile scam-artist and opportunist Flim-Flam is currently doing 25 to Life…

“Eh, jail’s not so bad.” I got me a nice racket sneaking in exotic candy bars from the outside, and every Wednesday we get to go to the park to pick up litter. Of course here it’s shiv or be shivved!”

…But whatever became of Weerd and Bogel? After failing to unleash the 13 Ghosts onto the world, Weerd hatched a diabolical plan which he called “The Diabolical Plan”. (Naming stuff was never his strong suit.) He used his knowledge of black magic to open a portal to the Dark Dimension, and the 2 of them planned to summon forth an army of ghosts to take over the planet, with themselves as leaders. (Bogel was especially looking forward to enforcing the daily fried chicken feedings and foot rubs.) Unfortunately, Weerd made a tactical error: he chose to open this portal in New York City (he chose there because it was a vastly populated melting pot of the world), and after a brief dust-up with the city’s local paranormal authorities, they were never heard from again.
Winston: “Hey, were just doing our jobs. They were planning to spread dark ectoplasm all over our favorite taco joint!”
Peter: “Yeah, we scientists/heroes gotta pay the bills too. Proton packs don’t pay for themselves, ya know!”
Egon: “If it’s any consolation, they’ll contribute to the progression of paranormal science. Yeah, those 2 should dissect nicely.”
Ray: “Hey, act surprised! You know busting makes us feel good. It’s in our theme song, for cryin’ out loud!”
-And now you know.