The Retro Bin: Filmation’s Ghost Busters (1975, 1986)

There’s something strange in your neighborhood. Who ya gonna call?


This squad?


Or this squad?


Or how about this squad??

With the 2016 reboot of Columbia Pictures’ Ghostbusters looming on the horizon, today’s Retro Bin will be spotlighting the other team of spook catchers, the team that started it all. A team of paranormal hunters consisting of 2 comedians and…a gorilla? Before the Ghostbusters, there was Filmation’s The Ghost Busters.

To chronicle the Ghost Busters, we first have to go back in time to 1975.

Rewind Button

Filmation’s The Ghost Busters was was a live-action children’s situation comedy that ran on Saturday mornings on CBS in 1975, about a team of bumbling detectives who would investigate ghostly occurrences. Fifteen episodes were produced. The show reunited Forrest Tucker and Larry Storch in roles similar to their characters in F Troop.


“Old sitcom. Talk to your parents or watch RTV.”

Spencer Tracy & Kong

The Ghost Busters were a trio of bumbling, slapstick and shtick-prone paranormal investigators/ghost catchers named Spencer, Tracy and Kong. The first 2 characters’ names were a play on actor Spencer Tracy, while the latter was an obvious reference to King Kong, but spoilers! The one named Kong wasn’t the ape!


“You done blown my mind!”


Kong (Forrest Tucker), clad in a numbered jersey, vest and pork pie hat, was the canny, dour-faced leader of the group. Zoot-suited Eddie Spencer (Larry Storch) was a fast talking wiseguy who was quick with the quips. The final member of the trio was Tracy, a gorilla who acted as the team’s Man Friday, lugging around the team’s ghost busting gear and props for any occasion. Tracy usually wore a yellow beanie cap with a red propeller, but would always be seen wearing a different hat when the gang went on missions (where he kept all these hats is anyone’s guess), which would always be to the same haunted mansion. Though Tracy was clearly an actor, Bob Burns, in an ape suit, Burns was always credited on the show as Tracy’s “trainer”, leading some naive kids to believe that Tracy was an actual intelligent gorilla, only to have their bubbles burst by the onset of adolescence.


“Another Hollywood illusion shattered!”

Each week Spencer, Tracy and Kong would receive orders from some unseen commissioner, then Spencer and Tracy would head to the same antique shop and receive their walking orders from some random prop a la Mission Impossible; said object would then announce “This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds”, Tracy would shrug and start counting down from 5 on his fingers and the object would blow up in his face. Comedy! Then the Ghost Busters would head on down to the same haunted castle, have a slapstick-filled confrontation with the Ghost of the Week and then send him/her to the nether-realm with their Ghost De-Materializer. Wash, rinse, repeat for 15 episodes. Here’s the opening:


Then in 1984, the other Ghostbusters came along. Columbia Pictures did pay Filmation a license to use the name, but they did not want to license Filmation the rights to the movie Ghostbusters when they were looking to produce an animated series. Filmation had even gone as far as to attempt to work with Columbia Pictures and had completed initial design work for a cartoon to be based on the movie. Columbia changed its mind, deciding not to work with Filmation, and the proposed deal fell through (Columbia worked with DiC instead). Undaunted, Filmation realized that they already had their own Ghost Busters show, and decided to make an animated series out of that. A bigger, (somehwat) more kick-ass cartoon, which was in no way an attempt to cash in on the Ghostbusters phenomenon at all. This cartoon debuted in 1986 and was simply titled Ghostbusters. Filmation dropped the word “the” from their series original title and shortened “Ghost Busters” to just one word.


Ah, I see what you did there, Filmation.

As if someone was begging Columbia and DiC to twist the knife even further, they called their cartoon series The Real Ghostbusters, which must’ve really put a burn in the ol’ britches, since technically Filmation’s show came first.

Just to kick things up a notch (BAM!), Filmation’s animated Ghostbusters was a next gen series, starring the young (teen? twenty-something?) sons of the original Spencer and Kong (when those guys managed to find mates and get busy has yet to be revealed), operating from a small haunted house sandwiched between 2 tall skyscrapers, armed to the teeth with high-tech spook-themed gizmos, some weird connection to the future for some reason and assistance from some other allies while in combat with a band of wicked specters who were sort of a cross between the Groovie Ghoulies and the Legion of Doom. They also employed a different opening theme, which upon revisiting it, actually isn’t that bad. It’s lacking in Ray Parker, Jr., but there are worse songs you can get stuck in your head. It fits the quasi-epic, spooky tone and it’s actually quite catchy.


In case you haven’t figured it out by now, “Let’s Go, Ghostbusters!” was supposed to be Filmation’s answer to “I Ain’t ‘Fraid of no Ghosts!”. Here’s a list of who was who in the animated Ghostbusters universe.


FGB Theteam

“We are not afraid of any ghosts!”

  • Jake Kong, Jr. – the son of the original Kong from the 1975 series. (So Kong’s first name was Jake all this time. Who knew?) Handsome, blond, straight-ahead, the usual leader attributes. Though Jake was apparently drying out from some undisclosed addiction to snorting ectoplasm, since his nose would twitch whenever ghosts were nearby. (Just one more, man, just one more….)
  • Eddie Spencer, Jr. – the son of the original Spencer. Generally klutzy and cowardly, though he would on occasion bust out the jams and prove his worth from time to time.
  • Tracy (not Junior) – in-universe Tracy was the same gorilla from the original series, only now colored brown and clad in a fedora, khaki cargo shorts and a backpack. He was incredibly well-preserved considering this was 20 years later. (With plastic surgery and liposuction, anything’s possible.) Also, Tracy must’ve been been doing some serious reading and studying during his decades long absence, since here Tracy is extremely smart and is credited with inventing all of the Ghostbusting gadgets and would often construct one to help a bad situation, in addition to being super-strong and powerful, using his strength to get out of tight spots. If Tracy could audibly order pizza over the phone, he wouldn’t need Jake and Eddie at all.
  • Jessica Wray – an intrepid reporter (for which publication I have no idea) who would occasionally aid the Ghost Busters. She also seemed to be hot for Jake.
  • Futura – purple skinned lady Ghostbuster from the future. (Why was she purple? Was she an alien? Is gene-splicing a thing in her time? Was she part eggplant? We never found out.) Futura would also frequently team up with the guys and also seemed to like Jake (so Eddie gets no love? That hardly seems fair.) Trivia Time: Futura was originally going to be African-American, but was changed to lavender at the last minute. White-washing, perhaps? Or is it purple-washing?
  • Madam Why -a strangely Caucasian looking gypsy who would sometimes aid the guys or give them mystical advice.
  • Belfry – a pink kid bat in a red onesie who kind of resembled Winnie the Pooh’s pal Piglet. He fell firmly in the “annoyingly cute tag-a-long kid” archetype.
  • Corky – Jessica’s young nephew. Another Aesop-prone kid character. He wore a T-shirt with the Ghostbusters’ logo on it.
  • Skell-o-Vision – a skull-shaped TV monitor with a face and feet who could talk. He would usually deliver the little PSAs that were tacked on at the end of the episode.
  • Ansabone – another skull-themed prop, this one a talking phone who would crack wise whenever anyone tried to answer him. (“You’ve reached the Ghostbusters at a bad time: they’re here!” or “The Ghostbusters are out –out of their minds, that is!”) hey, you’d be snarky too if you had a constant ringing in your head.
  • The Ghost Buggy – no prizes for guessing, this was the Ghost Busters’ car. It spoke with a Southern accent and the Ghostbusters logo at the front of its’ grill doubled as its’ face. He often complained about being weighed down by his passengers (“You guys should call yourselves the Car Busters!”)
  • Time Hopper – Futura’s talking transport. Not surprisingly, it could travel through time. Time Hopper had a female voice and personality. Ghost Buggy was hot for her, though the feeling wasn’t mutual.


FGB Bad Guys

  • Prime Evil – the resident Big Bad of the show. He was a dark and powerful ghost/wizard (think bad Beetlejuice) with a strangely robotic looking head. He basically held a huge simmering grudge against the Ghostbusters since the original Busters trapped him in a safe for 100 years (why he couldn’t just phase through it is unknown) and so now he turns up week after week to do bad guy stuff aided by his monstrous minions. The Ghostbusters infuriate this guy so much that he can’t even bring himself to say their group name, he usually substitutes it with something like “Ghost Bunglers”, “Ghost Blisters” or “Ghost Bozos”, and whenever he would try to speak their name, he sounded like he was soiling his robe.
  • Brat-a-Rat – a mangy looking, legless rat-like creature who was Prime Evil’s Number One suckup and resident snitch. He usually clung to Prime’s shoulders like a pirate’s parrot.
  • Scared Stiff – a robot ghost (don’t ask me how such a thing could come into existence –maybe he was the Ghost in the Machine that I’m always hearing about). Usually in a state of quivering cowardice and with the habit of falling to pieces, literally, whenever he was scared.
  • Fangster – not just a werewolf, but a werewolf in sneakers! Technically, werewolves aren’t ghosts, but just go with it.
  • Misteria – the pale skinned self-proclaimed Mistress of Mists. Extremely vain, she spent as much time primping as conjuring mists. She also had the habit of calling everyone “darling”; perhaps she was the missing Gabor sister.
  • The Haunter – a British safari hunter ghost (sure, why not). He could make his pith helmet large and fly around in it. His voice and mannerisms were based on actor Terry Thomas, substituting his ‘r’s for ‘w’ a la another famous hunter, Elmer Fudd. he also had the habit of calling Prime Evil “Old bean” or “Old sport” or “Old boy”, which ticked him off to the point where Prime Evil would usually zap him with lightning or in one episode, shove him inside a jar.
  • Airhead – a mummy whose chief trait was that he was very, very, very stupid. He usually referred to himself in the 3rd person and would make “jokes” that only he found funny (“Airhead make joke!”). Mummies aren’t ghosts either, but Team Prime already had a werewolf in their ranks, so why not a mummy?
  • Apparitia -a green skinned vampish sorceress capable of conjuring up monstrous apparitions, hence her name. You knew she was a vamp because she talked like Mae West.
  • Sir Trance-a-Lot – a skeletal knight whose lance could mesmerize. “A Bad Knight to All”. You knew somebody was gonna say it!
  • Long John Scarechrome – a pirate ghost (or ghost pirate, whichever you prefer).
  • Flozart – a ghostly musician who not surprisingly unleashed musical based spells. Despite his name, he more closely resembled Ludwig Von Beethoven.

Not only did these new Ghostbusters have to contend with all of that, but they went through this same sequence in every show just to put on their uniforms.

-They had to go through that every day? Hopefully neither Jake or Eddie ever showed up for work after a bender, ’cause that would be one heck of a thing to endure with a hangover.

Of course, this being Filmation, a lot of the same stock animations and sequences were re-used, and there were little Aesops tacked on to the ends of each episode, though Jake never told the kids at home the dangers of snorting ectoplasm.

And I’m just gonna say this: I don’t care if it was random and silly and made no sense….


A super-smart, super-strong gorilla who can invent high-tech gear to fight the paranormal is freakin’ hardcore!

Unlike their “real” rivals, Filmation’s Ghostbusters only ran for a single season, for 65 episodes. However in this era of reboots, remakes and revamps, I’ve gotta ask:

Filmation Ghostbusters

Where’s the gender-swapped reboot of this show??

The Retro Bin: Laff-A-Lympics (1977-1978)

As you may have noticed by now, Twinsanity generally doesn’t probe too deeply into the careers of Hanna-Barbera’s premier roster of characters like Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss and the many, many Scooby-Doo clones. This is for 2 reasons: one, they tend to be a tad on the interchangeable side, and two, the H-B studio has provided us with opportunities to discuss several of them at once.

One such example is the subject of today’s Retro Bin, Laff-A-Lympics.


Laff-A-Lympics was the co-headlining segment, with Scooby-Doo, of the package Saturday morning cartoon series Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics, beginning in 1977. The show was a spoof of the Olympics (duh!) and the ABC television series Battle of the Network Stars, which debuted one year earlier. It featured 45 Hanna-Barbera characters organized into the teams (the Scooby Doobies, the Yogi Yahooeys, and the Really Rottens) which would compete each week for gold, silver, and bronze medals. One season of 16 episodes was produced in 1977–78, and eight new episodes combined with reruns for the 1978–79 season as Scooby’s All-Stars. Yes, both incarnations of the show were named after Scooby-Doo; he was pretty much the Kingpin of Saturday morning back in the 70’s.

“Riss my ring, ritches!”

The episodes themselves basically reiterated the same formula: the 3 teams would lock horns in various sporting events, typically taking place in some exotic location. The various team members would employ their special talents, quirks and shticks to win; sometimes they’d work, sometimes they wouldn’t. The ‘bad guy’ team, the Really Rottens, would habitually cheat and suffer the consquences, and at the end, 1 team would emerge victorious with a gold medal, a 2nd would earn the silver and the loser (usually the Rottens) would get stuck with the bronze. Yada yada yada. What made this show special was its’ novelty: it featured no less than 45 H-B stars occupying a single program. That means nothing to anyone born past Generation X, but for a kid in the 70’s, especially one who was a hardcore Hanna-Barbera fan, LAL was the equivalent of giving a kid the keys to a candy store and saying they can go nucking futs, or a horndog let loose in the Playboy Mansion with a License to Grope badge. Here’s the intro:


Now, on to the show’s major selling point: the teams and the stars themselves. The “good guy” teams, consisting of the Scooby Doobies and the Yogi Yahooeys, were good friends and their respective team members gladly helped each other whenever they got into a jam. The Really Rottens, however, always cheated and pulled dirty tricks which would ultimately cause them to be the last-place losers in most episodes. Much like Dick Dastardly and Muttley on Wacky Races, typically the Really Rottens would be just on the verge of winning, before they would make a fatal error at the very end that allowed one of the other two teams to end up at the top. Occasionally, though, the Rottens’ cheating technique wouldn’t actually be against the rules, which resulted in them (unlike Dastardly and Muttley) actually winning in a few episodes; there was even one episode where they won through sheer chance. The final event on the show’s final episode, which took place on the moon (!), ended in a 3-way tie.

Each team adhered to a particular ‘theme’ or genre/era of H-B cartoons.


This team was comprised of Hanna-Barbera’s 1950’s through 1960’s television shorts characters. It was the only team made up entirely of anthropomorphic animals. Grape Ape was the only post-1962 character in the line-up. With this team, the challenge wasn’t finding members for it, but narrowing the choices down to just a few!


  • Yogi Bear (captain)
  • Boo-Boo Bear
  • Cindy Bear
  • Huckleberry Hound
  • Mr. Jinks
  • Pixie
  • Dixie
  • Wally Gator
  • Quick Draw McGraw (no Baba Looey)
  • Hokey Wolf (no Ding-a-Ling)
  • Snooper
  • Blabber
  • Augie Doggy
  • Doggy Daddy
  • Yakky Doodle
  • Grape Ape

“Oh sure, name your frelling team after one of us but don’t even ask us to be on it! No royalty check, nothin’! We couldn’t even get jobs as water boys! Yeah, that’s fair!”

“You folks are probably wondering why your old pal Beegle Beagle didn’t make it to the Yahooeys team. Well, it turns out I was blacklisted by the Laff-A-Lympics Ethics committee. Geez, you offhandedly mention that you know a guy who can hook your team up with some Happy Win-Time Go-Go Juice injections, and suddenly you’re banned for life!”

“So let me get this straight: the Scooby Doobies had a magic user. The Really Rottens had a magic user. I’m a 60’s era H-B character who’s a magic user, and I don’t get so much as a phone call? What the what?!”


Much like how the Yogis team represented 50’s-60’s era H-B, the Scooby Doobies team had a heavy 1970’s vibe to them. (They were the ‘modern era’ team at the time.) This team drew mainly from the 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoons, particularly the “mystery-solving/crime busting” series derived from Scooby-Doo, whose titular character served as team captain.


  • Scooby-Doo (captain)
  • Norville “Shaggy” Rogers
  • Scooby-Dum (Why? I don’t know)
  • Dynomutt
  • Blue Falcon
  • Captain Caveman
  • Brenda Chance
  • Taffy Dare
  • Dee Dee Skies
  • Babu (from Jeannie)
  • Hong Kong Phooey
  • Speed Buggy
  • Tinker

*Rumor has it that Mark and Debbie from Speed Buggy had fled to get busy in a love nest in Tijuana at the time.

BTW, take a gander at the original lineup for the Scoobies.

Yes, that’s right: the early production art for the series showed Jeannie from the Jeannie series and Melody, Alexander, Alexandra, and Sebastian the Cat from the Josie and the Pussycats series as members of the Scooby Doobies team, but legal problems with Columbia Pictures Television, Screen Gems’ successor, prevented it. Babu from Jeannie made the final cut, as he was an original creation of Hanna-Barbera, but Columbia controlled all rights to Jeannie’s image. As a result, Babu appeared alone as a member of the Scooby Doobies. Likewise, Archie Comics held rights to the Josie characters. In the actual series, Jeannie was replaced by Hong Kong Phooey and the Josie characters were replaced by Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels.

“When we lawyers sink our teeth into something, there’s no letting go!”

“Shafted again…naturally.”


No prizes for guessing, This team is composed of villainous characters. With the exception of Mumbly and the Dalton Brothers, all of the members are original characters, many of whom are based on various characters that appeared in cartoons and comics prior to Laff-A-Lympics. Originally, Muttley and Dick Dastardly were planned as the leaders of the Really Rottens; however, they could not appear on the show due to those characters being co-owned by Heatter-Quigley Productions. In their place, Hanna-Barbera used the existing character Mumbly and created the new character Dread Baron.

“What did I just tell you??”

Prior to Laff-A-Lympics, Mumbly was a heroic detective rather than a villain on his original show. (Turns out he was another cop gone corrupt, just like in Serpico.) Following the character’s revision as the villainous team leader, he remained a villain in Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose, which was also Dread Baron’s only other role. The Dalton Brothers appeared in 1950s and 1960s shorts (including the 1958 short Sheriff Huckleberry Hound, which featured appearances by Dinky, Dirty, and Dastardly Dalton, as well as their other brothers Dangerous, Detestable, Desperate, and Despicable). However, they were given new character designs for the Laff-A-Lympics series. After Laff-A-Lympics, Dinky reappears in The Good, the Bad, and Huckleberry Hound with brothers Stinky (who bears a resemblance to Dastardly Dalton from Laff-A-Lympics), Finky, and Pinky. Mountain-sized Dinky (get it?) was the only mainstay of the Dalton clan.


  • Mumbly (captain)
  • Dread Baron (co-captain)
  • The Dalton Brothers (Dinky, Dirty and Dastardly)
  • The Creeply Family (Mr., Mrs. and Junior; loosely based on the Gruesomes from the Flintstones and the J. Mad Scientists from the H-B shorts)
  • Orful Octopus (aka Octo, the Creeplys’ pet)
  • The Great Fondue (villainous magician who seemed to be incapable of performing magic with any sort of accuracy; Similar to Abner K. Dabra from the 1963 book, Yogi Bear and the Cranky Magician)
  • Magic Rabbit (Fondue’s pet, dialogue limited to “Brack!” Bears a resemblance to the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland (or What’s a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?)
  • Daisy Mayhem (or as Goldstar likes to refer to her “Boner Launcher”; mean-spirited hillbilly gal with split ends, Daisy Dukes and bare feet, who bears a resemblance to the Li’l Abner character Moonbeam McSwine)
  • Sooey Pig (Daisy’s pet pig. You can tell he’s rotten because he wears sneakers and an eye patch!)

“What? You recruited a bunch of newbies and doppelgangers instead of me? You could’ve just hired me and all the bad guys from ‘Yogi’s Gang’. There’s your Rottens team right there!”

“I didn’t get a call either? What’s the deal? Just yesterday I was in the park feeding the pigeons…to some alley cats! I’m totally rotten up here!”

Trivia Time:

  • In one season 2 episode, Mumbly is referred to throughout as Muttley.
  • Dick Dastardly and Muttley appear in issue #13 of the Laff-A-Lympics comic book series, “No Laff-A-Lympics Today!”. In the book, Dread is revealed to be Dick Dastardly’s twin brother.
  • In the Latin American dub of Laff-A-Lympics, Dread Baron and Mumbly are called Dick Dastardly and Muttley.

Each episode was presented in a format similar to an Olympic television broadcast, with announcing/voice-over duties handled by an unnamed/unseen Announcer character (see also Wacky Races, Yogi’s Space Race and Fender Bender 500). Hosting duties and commentary were provided by Snagglepuss and Mildew Wolf from the It’s the Wolf! segments of Cattanooga Cats (though unlike It’s the Wolf!, Mildew was not voiced by Paul Lynde; he was here voiced by John Stephenson). Apparently, Lynde had a reputation of being difficult to work with, so HB opted to go with a sound-alike rather than contend with the real deal.

I guess H-B considered Mr. Lynde to be kind of a silly savage.

Also, since the show was airing on ABC, Snagglepuss and Mildew wore the then-traditional yellow jackets of ABC Sports announcers.

Laff-A-Lympics ran for 16 episodes in it’s first season (1977-78) and an additional 8 episodes for its’ second season (1978-79). The series kind of fizzled after that; probably because it was the same basic formula repeated again and again, and also, let’s face it: the show lacked the ‘jiggle factor’ that permeated throughout the series that inspired it, Battle of the Network Stars. Let’s address the elephant in the room…


These guys don’t have much to offer in the wet T-shirt department.

The Retro Bin: SMES (Saturday Morning Entertainment System)

Kids love Saturday morning cartoons, and kids love video games, so wouldn’t it be great if someone made a Saturday morning cartoon based on a video game? Thankfully, someone did. Today the Retro Bin looks at SatAM video game-based cartoon shows. Shows such as The Super Mario Brothers Super Show! ..Or Captain N: The Game Master…. ..Neither of which I’ll be discussing here. These shows have already been covered quite tellingly by other online personalities, most notably Doug Walker (the Nostalgia Critic) and Chad Rocco (CR!), so there’s nothing I can say about these cartoons that hasn’t already been said. We also won’t be covering The Power Team or Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures since Twinsanity has already discussed those shows here and here. There was also a little thing called Club Mario….

(Yeah, this happened)

…But the less said about that, the better.

“What were they thinking?!?”

Now on to the shows we will be discussing. The very first American cartoon based on a video game was Pac-Man, which ran on ABC Saturday morning from 1982 to 1983.

OK, one thing I never got about this show: what was that guy Mezmaron’s deal? Who or what was he? Why was he the only humanoid in Pac-Land? Why did he want the Power Pellets anyway? And why did he need them take over (or whatever his motivation was)? The guy was a freaking GIANT compared to the Pac-Landers; he could’ve just stomped through the city Godzilla style to get what he wanted. Come to think of it, I could never truly get into this show because of how badly Hanna-Barbera messed up on the ghost characters… They made Clyde the boss, Inky the dufus and Blinky a coward. Have these people not played the game? Were they really that blind to Pac-Man lore? It was NEVER like that in the games. Anyone who’s played the games knows that BLINKY is the lead ghost, as he’s the fastest, Pinky tries to ambush Pac, Inky’s moves are random and Clyde is the slowest ghost, hence their names:

CHASER (Blinky), AMBUSHER (Pinky), FICKLE (Inky) and STUPID (Clyde).

There were never 5 ghosts and there was no purple ghost. Yes, Virginia, there was a Sue, but that was just the name of the orange ghost in Ms. Pac-Man. if HB wanted a female ghost, why didn’t they just make Pinky female like every other adaptation of Pac-Man did? And why were called the “Ghost Monsters” anyway? That’s redundant, like saying “Vampire Ghouls”.

Moving on, in response to Pac-Man on ABC, a year later CBS countered with Saturday Supercade, produced by Ruby-Spears, figuring if 1 video game cartoon was working for ABC, then surely a show with several video games would work for them. Surely. Saturday Supercade featured no less than 5 separate segments, so much so that 2 of them, Pitfall! and Q*Bert had to rotate in order to fit the 60-minute allotted time frame.

The first season roster went thusly: there was Donkey Kong, in which the titular gorilla had escaped from a zoo and was now roaming the countryside, relentlessly pursued by Mario and Pauline encountering highjinks along the way. (Clearly we the audience were supposed to be rooting for the gorilla, which is weird considering how in the original game Mario was the character you played as. This series seemed to be following the continuity of Donkey Kong Junior, which begins with Mario having captured DK. Given the video game icon Mario would go on to be, seeing him as the antagonist was kind of funny.) Running concurrently along that series was the aforementioned Donkey Kong Jr., in which Junior is also roaming the countryside looking for DK Sr., also encountering highjinks along the way.

So are the Days of Our Lives.

Then there was Frogger, which depicted the title character as an investigative reporter for the Swamp Gazette, and all of his assignments involved him crossing some street and getting hit by a car, leaving him squished flat with flies buzzing over his carcass.

“Ew.” “Seriously?” “So gross.”

Q*Bert featured the orange Noser as a teenager in a quasi-1950’s suburban setting, complete with malt shops, jukeboxes, his game enemies Coily, Ug, Wrong-Way and Viper as Aaron Von Zipper-esque greasers, a little brother named Q*Bit, a girlfriend named Q*Tee (get it?), a dimwit best buddy in a Fonzie jacket named Q*Ball and as an added bonus, one of the show’s background characters was a female Noser named Q*Val who despite the 50’s era setting, spoke stereotypical Valley Girl lingo (this was the 80’s after all)…and that was her entire character shtick! Q*Val proved so popular with fans that in the second season, she supplanted Q*Bit as the 4th main character, so were were treated to even more lines like:

“I am totally, like, cubing out to the max!”

“Wow. She sure mastered that one dimension.”

The final attraction was Pitfall!, based on the Activation game of the same name, which featured the game’s hero Pitfall Harry, his niece Rhonda, a cowardly panther mascot named Quickclaw and lots and lots of swinging on vines. Saturday Supercade‘s second season only had 4 segments, so no 2 needed to rotate.

For season 2, Pitfall!, Frogger and Donkey Kong Junior were each given the ol’ pink slip, so if there ever was a heartfelt reunion between DKs Senior and Junior, we never saw it. As for whatever became of Frogger and Pitfall Harry?

The new attractions were Kangaroo, again based on the game of the same name, starring the titular star (here named KO Katie), her joey, imaginatively named Joey, and their friends having mild adventures in a city zoo. The Monkey Biz Gang (Bingo, Bango, Bongo and Fred), enemies who kidnapped Joey in the game, were here given Bulk & Skull status: not actually evil, just selfish, scheming and stupid. The show deserves some credit for remembering Kangaroo; most of our contemporaries have forgotten that game ever existed. The other new segment was Space Ace, which basically followed the same plot as the game: a blond bohunk space ranger battles an evil blue skinned alien named Borf (excuse me!), whose main weapon of choice was the dreaded Infanto Ray, which turned its victims into babies. Ace gets hit by the ray prior to the first episode, but of course he’s too much of a manly man to be fully transformed, so instead of getting turned into an infant, he just occasionally switches back and forth between his normal form and that of a 19 pound weakling called ‘Dexter’, whom Ace’s partner, Officer Kimberly, tries to pass off as her little brother, so as not to alert their superior officer of Ace’s condition (though you’d have to be blind or terminally stupid to not guess that they were one and the same; Space Ace and Dexter were never seen together, they had the same hair color and outfits, sometimes dude would transform right in front of the guy and he never spotted it!). The most notable thing about the Space Ace cartoon was that Kimberly was voiced by Nancy Cartwright (aka the Woman who Would Be Bart Simpson) and how she went from looking like this…


To looking like this.


USA Network has also tossed their hat in the video game cartoon ring. There was Street Fighter: TAS.

Hey, here’s an idea: let’s make a cartoon based on Street Fighter, but instead of making it like the game that everyone loves, let’s base it on that craptacular live-action movie, you know, the one where Belgian action star Jean-Claude Van Damme was hilariously miscast of all-American hero Guile, M. Bison was made into Magneto, Chun-Li became Lois Lane, Blanka was Charlie, Dhalsim was a scientist with hair, E. Honda was a hacker, Balrog tried typing on a computer while wearing boxing gloves, Ryu and Ken, the main characters of the game, were remade into the Two Stooges, Zangief worked for Shadaloo even though he never had any association with them in the game, Sakura appeared in a single episode and sounded like a 30-year-old and had a completely different back story, Akuma had a British accent, nothing in it resembled the game in any way and it sucked? Let’s go with that!

“Ew.” “Seriously?” “So dumb.”

USA also gave us Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm.

Hey, another idea: let’s take Mortal Kombat, a game known for its’ graphic violence, murder and gore, a game which all but forced the ESRB ratings system into existence, and turn it into a watered-down kids’ cartoon without a drop of blood and no one ever dies? I love it! Give me 13 more!

Well, the show at least featured Clancy Brown as a snarky, sarcastic Raiden, so there was that.

Finally, take that Donkey Kong Country cartoon that aired on Fox Family…please.

“Ew.” “Seriously?” “So cheap.”

OK, this was only around 1999-2000, CGI was in its’ Stone Age, so I can overlook the creaky graphics, what I can’t excuse is how there were so many fun, and entertaining elements to the games this show was based on, and it utilized absolutely NONE of them. Where were the inventive levels? Where was Rambi, Squitter, Engaurde, Gnawty Beaver et al? What’s all this business about a Crystal Cocunut? What is Congo Bongo? The name of the place is Donkey Kong Island. Why is there a factory in the jungle? Who is this Bluster character? If they wanted a rival Kong for an adversary, why didn’t they use Manky Kong? Why’d they change so much? Did they think if the show resembled the game that no one would take it seriously? We’re talking about a game series about a clan of gorillas protecting their banana horde from sinister reptiles. What were they expecting? The Last Emperor?

Not all video game cartoons were perfect, but there was a certain charm to some of them. They weren’t the worst things video game related to hit TV.

Not by a looooooong shot.

The Retro Bin: Saturday Morning Jock Jams

11:30 AM to 1 PM, this is a bittersweet time for Saturday morning viewers. It’s generally the start of the time when the cartoons die down and the kids are forced to relinquish control of the TV back to the adults who’ll begin their own weekend rituals of watching news, infomercials and especially sports programs. Of course, we here at Twinsanity are huge geeks who would much rather watch cartoons than sports, but thankfully, there have been some instances where we didn’t have to choose. A number of professional athletes have found their way into Saturday morning cartoons, and these mergings have generally been…ridiculous. Nonetheless, in this Retro Bin, we’ll be taking a look back at some of Saturday morning’s Jock Jams.

The earliest one that comes to mind is the SatAM cartoon starring The Harlem Globetrotters, which was produced by Hanna-Barbera and CBS Productions and ran on CBS from 1970 to 1972 and was later re-run on NBC under the title Go-Go Globetrotters.

“Right on! Jive Turkey! Keep On Truckin’! Give a hoot, don’t pollute and other phrases!”

In this animated incarnation, the titular basketball superstars (which included animated versions of George “Meadowlark” Lemon, Freddie “Curly” Neal, Hubert “Geese” Ausbie, J.C. “Gip” Gipson, Bobby Joe Mason, and Paul “Pablo” Robertson) would travel would travel the globe  in their funky fresh van having random misadventures along with their bus driver and manager, a little old lady from Pasadena called Granny and (because this was a Saturday morning cartoon made in the early 70s) their mascot; a goofy, sneakers wearing dog named Dribbles (Get it?).  Exactly why H-B felt that the jesters of dunk needed to have a comic relief mascot is beyond me. The Globies have always kind of been their own comic relief, so giving them their own Mr. Cool (see Fonz and the Happy Days Gang) seemed kind of unnecessary. The series worked to a formula where the team travels somewhere and typically get involved in a local conflict that leads to one of the Globetrotters proposing a basketball game to settle the issue. To ensure the Globetrotters’ defeat, the villains rig the contest; however, before the second half of the contest, the team always finds a way to even the odds, become all but invincible, and win the game. In 1979, H-B would try this formula again, only with the Globetrotters as super heroes in a series titled The Super Globetrotters, which has already been covered by Damon (Silverstar) in the very first Retro Box. At least the opening theme song was catchy. Check it out:

Trivia Time: Coach Leon Hillard was originally planned to be on the series, but was cut out of the cast prior to the start of production.

Fast Forward to 15 years later to our next series; a Saturday morning cartoon  titled Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling, which ran for only a single season (1985) on CBS. This series was animated and produced by DIC Entertainment. It featured animated adventures of popular WWF stars from the time. Yes, I said “WWF”. This was before the World Wrestling Federation lost it’s years long battle with the other WWF (the World Wildlife Foundation) over use of the initials and was forced to change it’s name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in 2002.

“Suck it, World Wrestling Federation! Suck it long and suck it hard!”

Anyway, Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling focused on animated versions of the Hulkster and his slam banging buddies having random adventures all while always wearing their spandex outfits even during everyday situations. None of the WWE wrestlers provided the voices of their cartoon counterparts, but some of them would be featured in live action wraparounds which would air between segments, including some who weren’t featured in the cartoons themselves, such as Terrible Terry Funk and manager Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart . However, Rock ‘N’ Wrestling did boast some appearances by some notable voice actors before they were famous. Cartoon Hulk Hogan was voiced by the pre-Everybody Loves Raymond Brad Garret, while cartoon “Rowdy” Roddy Piper was voiced by the pre-Tiny Toon Adventures Charles Adler. Interestingly, one thing that the characters were almost never shown doing was actually wrestling. I remember one episode has Hulk and friends in a deep, dark jungle wrestling some crocodiles, but that’s about it. The wrestlers would attend rock concerts, have run ins with bargain based mad scientists, petty criminals, typical Saturday morning stuff. This, I think, is the primary reason why Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N’ Wrestling didn’t last beyond one season. In comparison to the “real” WWE shows, which boast such memorable moments as chairman Vince MacMahon  wailing on a differently abled teenage fan with the kid’s own prosthetic leg and an ancient lady wrestler (ironically named Mae Young) giving birth to a human hand, the goings on in Rock ‘N’ Wrestling seemed completely tame. It’s ironic that the actual WWE manages to be more of a cartoon than the actual Saturday morning cartoon from which it spawned. Anyway, here’s the show’s intro:

Notice how the animated Hulk Hogan looks to be about 20 years younger than his live action counterpart. Apparently, steroids isn’t something that exists in Cartoonland.

Incidentally, one of the wrestlers featured on the show was “Captain Lou” Albano, and while Mr. Albano didn’t provide the voice of his animated counterpart, he would later go on to voice another popular animated character on another TV show that you might have heard of.

Next we come to a series titled ProStars, which was produced by DiC and ran on NBC for only a single season (1991).

“ProStars, it’s all about helping kids…and endorsements.”

The show centers on Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson and Wayne Gretzky fighting crime and helping children, often protecting the environment as well. These three were chosen to represent the pinnacle of all four major American professional sports in the early 1990s. While Jordan and Gretzky are broadly associated with their respective sports, Jackson was included since he could represent both football and baseball and was a high-profile celebrity off the field as well. A reference to his “Bo Knows” Nike ad-campaign was worked into almost every episode (“Bo Knows Repetition!”)

“Oh, he said it again. That never gets old”

Trivia Time: ProStars was originally slated to air on ESPN, but I guess that there are enough animated characters on that network already.

Dick Vitale

“That;s awesome, baby, with a capital A!”

This last one gets an honorable mention, because it’s not actually a show, but rather its one episode of a show. I’m talking about the famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) episode of Kids’ WB Static Shock titled “Hoop Squad”, which originally aired on February 8, 2004. This is considered by many Static Shock fans as the single worst episode of the series. Basically, “Hoop Squad” was Static Shock‘s equivalent to ‘I’ve Got Batman in My Basement”. Below is the episode’s synopsis, courtesy of the DCAU Wiki:

“Hoop Squad” is the seventh episode of the fourth season of Static Shock. It depicts the appearance of a giant robot created by Nanites in Los Angeles. To stop the nanites Static and Gear join up with the Hoop Squad: a team of basketball players, Tracy McGrady, Karl Malone, Yao Ming and Steve Nash outfitted in power suits used to fight crime.

The Hoop Squad’s roster consisted of:

  • Tracy McGrady – Spin Drive
  • Karl Malone – Pulverizer
  • Yao Ming – Center Force
  • Steve Nash – Point Man

Man, I wish I had some nachos, so all of this cheese wouldn’t be going to waste.

The Hoop Squad were recruited by the National Biotech Authority, a secret government agency dedicated to preserving world peace and stability, to operate new bio-enhanced suits designed by Dr. Mason Andrews. They were chosen by the NBA to become a superhero team because they were the ones who had the strength and skills needed to operate Dr. Andrews’ Bio-Enhancer suits. I wonder if this National Biotech Authority only recruited basketball stars, or did it have a baseball, football, tennis and golf division as well? Yeah, like you wouldn’t want to see Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus suit up and bop bad guys with atomic powered exploding golf balls.

Trivia Time: Even though all of the Hoop Squad were based on real life athletes, only Karl Malone provided his own voice, and frankly, hearing Karl Malone trying to act was funnier than any of the jokes that were used in the episode.

It remains to be seen if any more sports/cartoon mash-ups are looming over the horizon, but let’s just hope that we’ll never get anything like this ever again:

Super Bowl Shuffle gif

The Retro Bin: The Big Cartoonie Show (1999-2000)

Today the Retro Bin takes a gander at the last hurrah of the so-called Silver Age comedy cartoons at Kids’ WB!, the imaginatively titled The Cat & Birdy Warneroonie Pinky Brainy Big Cartoonie Show.

I hear tell the person who came up with that name is the same person who named Denny’s Rooty-Tooty Fresh ‘N’ Fruity Breakfast.


“I never said I was proud!”

For those who don’t know, The Cat & Birdy Warneroonie Pinky Brainy Big Cartoonie Show, or The Big Cartoonie Show for short, was a compilation program that aired on Kids’ WB from January 16, 1999, to August 24, 2000. It followed a theme similar to previous Saturday morning cartoons featuring Looney Tunes shorts (to name just one example, The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show, which was still airing on ABC at the time).

“Yup, we’ve been a-shillin’ ourselves out ‘cross Saturday mornin’s for decades! Don’ gimme that look. Ten gallon hats don’t-a pay fer themselves!”

Here’s the first opening:

Well, what do you know? According to the clock on the wall, it’s time for some….


I suppose to kids who were fans of WB toons, this was supposed to be considered the ultimate crossover, a true synergy between Looney Tunes, Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs, as evidenced by that opening and the numerous publicity images featuring various characters representing each franchise, and I might have felt that way too, had Kids’ WB!’s advertising and assembling of the show hadn’t been so made on the cheap. The way they just cut and pasted the images and looped the same animation footage that they were using for every other KWB teaser at the time just made the whole enterprise come off as forced and fake. It might have looked better if say they had made original bumpers and wraparounds for the show featuring characters from the various attractions interacting and engaging in little bits of business, telling bad jokes and doing wacky slapstick and such, all with their actual voice actors, but unfortunately that wasn’t to be, as one could have fit the entirety of KWB’s budget into a thimble. Yeah, I guess Cartoon Network’s City bumps have spoiled me, but then, they’ve spoiled a lot of us.

And this has been…


Now back to the article.

Originally running for an hour and a half in length, the first four episodes featured Looney Tunes shorts with newly made title cards, as well as short segments originally featured on Animaniacs, The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, Pinky and the Brain, and yes, Pinky, Elmyra, and the Brain.

"Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain?? GACK! That ish was lame!"

“Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain?? GACK! That ish was lame!”

But all that changed after the first 4 episodes, when Kids’ WB! began airing Pokemon on February 13th, 1999, and the “mon” shows and their ilk began gradually taking over the Kids’ WB! lineup.

“We take on all challengers. YOU…CANNOT..BEAT…US.”

After that, the show was reduced to a half-hour format and showed only Animaniacs and Pinky, Elmyra, and the Brain segments. Notably, it was through The Big Cartoonie Show that most episodes of the latter program were shown, as its low popularity caused it to be swiftly removed from the schedule in November 1998. KWB just decided to exile P,E&tB to the weekend wasteland and burn off its’ remaining episodes there safely out of harm’s way.


“It was a mercy killing.”

Despite the fact that most of the show was made up of old material, the show was popular enough to garner a second season. In its second season, the show’s full name was changed to The Cat & Bunny Warneroonie SuperLooney Big Cartoonie Show and featured shorts from Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs. One minor query: I get that they wanted to take the “Cat & Birdy” part out of the title since Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries was no longer part of the lineup, but “Cat & Bunny”? That just sounds weird (OK, weird is a relative term when it comes to this title, but still…) since Bugs and Sylvester have never really shared that much screen time; given the whole Bugs & Daffy connection, wouldn’t it have made more sense to go with “Duck & Bunny”?

“Thath what I said! But did they lithen to the little black duck? NO! My name would’ve come first for onth! Curth you, Kidth WB! A pox on all your condos!!”

Cue the second opening:

Come on, Kids’WB!. Are  you gonna use that same clip of The Tiny Toons singing “We’re all a little loony ” EVERYTIME you need a group shot?? Sheesh!

-Now you may have noticed that many of the lines spoken by Dot Warner in the first opening were given to Babs Bunny in the second opening, putting voice actress Tress MacNeille in the unique position of being called in to replace herself.

As you may have also noticed from that second opening, for this season, the show was given host segments starring two noticeably flat animated kids named Karen and Kirby. (Think Henry and June from Kablam! minus the edge.) Speaking of Nick, it’s worth mentioning that Karen was voiced by Cheryl Chase (Angelica Pickles from Rugrats) while Kirby was voiced by Richard Horvitz (Daggett from Angry Beavers, not to mention the title character from Invader Zim and Billy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy). Great, now I’ve got the mental image of Angelica and Billy hosting a cartoon show together.

The Big Cartoonie Show was also now aired on weekday afternoons, where the Looney Tunes shorts were also being featured.

By this time, Pokemon and action cartoons had become increasingly dominant on Kids’ WB!, and The Big Cartoonie Show was finally cancelled at the end of the 1999-2000 season, with its last airing on August 24, 2000. With this, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain and the Looney Tunes shorts were permanently removed from the Kids’ WB block. The show might as well have been called Take a Good Last Look, These Shows Will Be Gone by September. Sure enough, that fall Kids’ WB! said to the WB toons:

But to update the story, presently Kids’ WB! is no more, action cartoons have for the most part fallen out of favor with kids’ network execs and nowadays comedy cartoons rule The roost.

“Eh, we’re still standin’ and yer not. Who’s laughin’ now, bee-yotch?”

Eh-th-eh-th-eh-th…That’s everything we’ve got, people!