TWINSANITY!

Where Cartoons and Comedy Collide!

Nerdvana: Respect the Splits

In February 2019, Warner Bros. Television Group’s Blue Ribbon Content announced that it is producing a film version of Hanna-Barbera’s The Banana Splits.

Banana Splits 2

The film will venture into a horror-like setting, scheduled to be released through Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and to air on Syfy in the United States in 2019. According to the synopsis, a boy named Harley is spending his birthday with his family at a taping of the TV show. The outing takes an unexpected turn that involves a rising body count.

So basically it’s like Five Nights at Freddy’s

five-nights-at-freddys

…but with the Banana Splits.

thumb-down-smiley

Do. Not. Want.

I’m generally not a nostalgic person, but I’d rather not have some folks’ initial exposure to this franchise be some Asylum-esque abomination. So in response to the announcement of this thing, I’m devoting today’s Nerdvana to the Banana Splits. The REAL Banana Splits.

Banana Splits 3

Trivia Time: In his autobiography, Joe Barbera said that the show was to be called The Banana Bunch, but they could not get permission from the author of a children’s book by that title.

I can’t think of a better way of kicking things off than with that earworm of a theme song. Drop it!

 

Awww yeah. That’s the stuff!

The Banana Splits starred in The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, an hour-long, packaged television variety program featuring the Splits, a fictional rock band composed of four funny animal characters. The costumed hosts of the show were Fleegle (guitar, vocals), Bingo (drums, vocals), Drooper (bass, vocals) and Snorky (keyboards, effects). The group were created to be reminiscent of The Monkees.

The Monkees 2

Figure out for yourself which one was supposed to be Bingo.

In 1967, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera approached Sid Krofft and Marty Krofft to design costumes for a television show which would feature animated and live-action segments, with the whole show hosted by a bubblegum rock group of anthropomorphic characters. The format of the show was loosely based on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. The Banana Splits Adventure Hour premiered on NBC on September 7, 1968 and ran until September 5, 1970, and in syndication from 1971 to 1982. The series’ sponsor was Kellogg’s Cereals.

The show’s live-action segment Danger Island, a cliffhanger serial, as well as the short-lived Micro Ventures, a part-live action, part-animated series consisting of only four episodes, ran alongside the animated segments Arabian Knights and The Three Musketeers. Actors Jan-Michael Vincent (billed as Michael Vincent) and Ronne Troup appeared in the live-action component Danger Island. All the live-action material filmed for the series’ first season, including the Banana Splits and Danger Island segments, was directed by Richard Donner.

But we’re here to discuss the show’s main attractions: the Banana Splits themselves. Break it down!

FLEEGLE (voiced by Paul Winchell)

fleegle-the-banana-splits-23.2

Fleegle was the only Banana Split who was a domestic animal rather than a wild animal and the only Split who didn’t wear sunglasses, but he acted as the de facto leader of the group. His distinctive lisping madcap voice was provided by legendary ventriloquist and voice actor Paul Winchell.

-Did you know that Disney animation voice actress staple April Winchell is the daughter of Paul Winchell? Well, now you do.

BINGO (voiced by Daws Butler)

Bingo

The cheeky gorilla and resident cut-up of the Splits was voiced by animation voice legend Daws Butler. His giant grin could never be duplicated…except by one other musician.

bootsy-collins

“Banana-Licious, baby!”

DROOPER (voiced by Allan Melvin)

Drooper-Head

Drooper’s laid-back Southern drawl, provided by actor Allan Melvin, is said to have been based on that of The Monkee’s Michael Nesmith.

Mike Nesmith

So Drooper was partially based on my favorite Monkee? Just one more reason for me to like these guys!

SNORKY (no voice actor)

Snorky New Style

Snorky the elephant never spoke, communicating only via beeps and honking sound effects. He’s cleaned up considerably since his original appearance…

Snorky Original

…When he was considerably shaggier, looking more like a woolly mammoth. But hey, it was the late ’60’s, lots of folks back then went through a hippie phase.

You would think that Snorky’s inability to speak (which automatically meant that he couldn’t participate in any verbal humor) would mean that he was less popular than the other Splits. But no…

Coldplay Paradise

…The band Coldplay clearly remembers Snorky well. Check out the pachyderm on the far left. Look familiar?

In addition to engaging in wacky sugar-high levels of slapstick, the Banana Splits also performed pop music. The show’s theme song, titled “The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)”, was written by N.B. Winkless, Jr., who also wrote the the “Snap, Crackle, Pop” jingle for Rice Krispies cereal, among other things. The song was released as a single, attributed to the Banana Splits, and peaked at number 96 on Billboard’s Top 100 in February 1969.

The Banana Splits’ bubblegum pop rock and roll was provided by studio professionals, including Joey Levine (“I Enjoy Being a Boy”, “It’s a Good Day for a Parade”); Al Kooper (“You’re the Lovin’ End”); Barry White (“Doin’ the Banana Split”); Gene Pitney (“Two Ton Tessie”) and Jimmy Radcliffe, who provided his songs (“I’m Gonna Find a Cave”, “Soul”, “Don’t Go Away Go-Go Girl”, “Adam Had ‘Em” and “The Show Must Go On”) but did not contribute vocals to Splits recordings.

Here’s a sample of the Bananas’ music prowess.

 

Admit it, if you didn’t see the giant felt mascots frolicking around, you’d swear that was Cream or Donovan or The Association.

The Banana Splits even spawned a dance craze, or they tried to, anyway. Here they are busting a move with their rivals, the Sour Grapes Bunch.

 

In 2008, Warner Bros. announced a multi-platform release featuring new comedy shorts and music videos; this debuted on Cartoon Network starting on September 2, 2008. The relaunch included a live show and a website, as well as a CD and a DVD featuring 13 new songs, released by Universal Records. In addition, a child-themed area named Banana Splitsville was placed at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s Hard Rock Park rock-and-roll theme park, which later became Freestyle Music Park before closing permanently in 2009. (So it went splitsville. Sorry, couldn’t resist.) For the new shorts, Fleegle was voiced by Bill Farmer (yes, for a time, Fleegle and Goofy had the same voice actor), Bingo by Frank Welker and Drooper by Carlos Alazraqui.

Comedian Portraits At The Ice House - May 20, 2010

Yes, the man who voiced played Rocko, Deputy Garcia on Reno 911! and the Taco Bell Chihuahua was once the voice of a Banana Split. I told you these guys had celebrity cred.

 

 

Now you’re free to disagree with me, but I thought these were pretty cool; they captured the original series’ manic glee and joyful goofiness perfectly. Years back I posted an idea for a Cartoon Network program block called HBTV, which was basically DC Nation but for Hanna-Barbera properties, and these shorts would’ve made great filler segments for said block. Pity nobody at CN is willing to try this.

The Banana Splits proved popular enough for H-B to try to repeat their success with lame knockoffs like The Cattanooga Cats

the-cattanooga-cats-1969

…And The Skatebirds.

Skatebirds

emoticons_disgust-128

HARD PASS.

Seriously, GTFOOH with those poseurs and wannabes. There will only ever be one set of Banana Splits.

BananaSplitsWallpaper1024

RESPECT THE SPLITS. RESPECT THEM!

Advertisements

Brain Candy: Mousse Family Values

Recently I found myself musing about Dragon Ball.

Dragon Ball

Specifically, a small handful of episodes in which our hero Son Goku has a brief meet-and-greet with a friendly farmer dude named Mousse

Mousse1

“‘Sup, mah peeps!”

…His wife Eclair

Eclair2

…Who, no offense, looks like she’s had her share of ’em!

Hiyoooo

…And their nine children, all of whom are also named after desserts.

Moussekids

Cocoa&Cookie&Crepe

From eldest to youngest, there’s Crepe, Cookie, Cocoa

Conan O'Brien

No, not him.

Puff

Creme Puff (not the most macho name, but in his first appearance he informs us that his friends just call him ‘Puff’)…

Meh Emoji

“Mmmmmm, that’s not much better, kid.”

Jelly&Jam

…The twins, Jelly & Jam

Jelly & Jam 2

I don’t have a joke for this, I just think it’s really cute.

Donuts

Donuts

Lee_Kanker

Separated at birth??

Cupcake&Pudding

Cupcake and Pudding.

Chowder

“A whole family named after desserts? You’re makin’ me hungry!”

silence-of-the-lambs-hannibal-28976

“Me too!”

I remember being oddly intrigued by these characters and kind of wishing we could’ve gotten a side episode focusing on them or something. The potential was definitely there.

Hotshot Auteur Director

“OK, it’s not perfect. Eleven characters is a pretty big number, and we’re on a budget, I personally would prefer the twins to be the youngest, ’cause that’s my vision, and I wouldn’t have so many boys, as girls are ‘in’ now…but it can be fixed. Have your people contact my people and we’ll discuss it over lunch. Ciao!”

This got me thinking about today’s Brain Candy, which also doubles as an Unpopular Opinion: my favorite moments from shows like Dragon Ball/Z

Dragon Ball Title Card

…Or Dinosaur King

dinosaur-king-tv

…Or super sentai shows like Kamen Rider OOO

Kamen Rider OOO

…Or movies like Our Friend Power 5

Our Friend Power 5

…Tend not to be the action/battle/fight scenes, but rather the silly comedy moments where the characters are just doing silly stuff at home with the zany slapstick, bizarro sound effects and musical stings, wild takes and all. In fact, I’d like to see a show like those that’s a pure comedy. In other words, a Dragon Ball/Kamen Rider/Dinosaur King/Hero: 108 type show, set in that kind of universe, but consisting of just the funny parts.

Dragon Ball Title Card

DRAGON BALL LOL. Rock the chuckles!

It would be set in the same type of universe as these shows, with the same literal nomenclature, futuristic architecture…

eastcity

…The same mix of unique looking and dressing humans and weird animal creatures…

Ryme_City_artwork

Female Pokemon Trainers

Who wears short-shorts?

…And the same kinds of way-out sci-fi tech and crazy powers…

ClickRemote

Spike_and_Aki_in_costume

…But the goofy stuff involving teenage boys obsessed with underwear, kawaii schoolgirls who are freakishly strong for no reason, soda cans that can transform into motorcycles, characters getting stuffed into suitcases and hung up on clotheslines and wives who reprimand their husbands by throwing their shoes at them would be the entire stories, not just filler material between the fight scenes. Why doesn’t some studio make a show like that? I’d watch the heck out of that!

Dr. Slump

Unless it’s been done.

 

Peeks: 101 Dalmatian Street

At the beginning of the year, I read an early preview of a new animated series that’s slated to air on The Disney Channel later on March 18th. Apparently, it’s already premiered in parts of Europe. The series is titled 101 Dalmatian Street.

101 Dalmatian Street

Here’s the skinny, courtesy of the Disney Wiki:

101 Dalmatian Street is inspired by Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel and Walt Disney’s 1961 One Hundred and One Dalmatians. But it is has been updated and moved to contemporary London. It depicts the adventures of eldest Dalmatian siblings Dylan and Dolly, parents Doug and Delilah, and 97 younger puppies, all with names beginning with “D”, who live all by themselves at the titular address. Their unseen owner’s name is Dodie (I see what you did there) who lives on an island and has provided her dogs with a state of the art, high tech house.

London’s Passion Animation Studios will lead-produce. Maria O’Loughlin writes, Miklos Weigert directs.

Here’s the show’s intro, WARNING: this tune is going to get stuck in your head!

and here’s a breakdown of the main series’ main characters. This video describes them so I don’t have to:

Our Thoughts:

This sounds interesting. It sounds kind of like a fusion between The Loud House and PAW Patrol.

The Loud House title card

Paw Patrol

“It’s two great tastes that taste weird together!”

 

I do like how all of the dalmatians have “D” names. That’s kind of clever. Also, I think it’s a nice touch how this series focuses on original characters rather than rehashing the characters from the movie. This gives the writers more creative freedom so that they don’t have to rehash the plot of the original movie over and over again. However, it is established that Delilah (the mom) is a descendant of Pongo and Perdita (exactly how is never stated), so that there is a connection to the original story, even if they’re not using same characters. I also like how this story appears to be a straight comedy rather than an comedy/adventure hybrid a la DuckTales. Don’t get me wrong; I like the DuckTales reboot (more than I do the original 1987 series, in fact!), but not every show has to be a saga with ripping yarns every week. Sometimes, I like it when shows just bring the funny.

I also like how this show remembers that the parent characters exist. I know that this will be more about the kids than the adults because this is a kids’ show, but still, the parents (Doug and Delilah) are seen on the show and they have personalities. This isn’t like Peanuts where you never see the adults.

I can already hear some fans on the interwebz crying out…

 

Crying emoji

“Wah-Wah! It’s not the Disney Afternoon show!!”

Or…

Hauntleroy

“It’s not what I grew up with, so I automatically hate it!”

To the people who have already made up their minds that they dislike this series just because it’s not 101 Dalmatians: The Series, I have to ask:

 

Question Block

Was that series really that good?

101 Dalmatians - The Series

 

Yeah, sorry, gang, but I saw several episodes of 101 Dalmatians: The Series, and what was good about it was just OK. Now, I could be saying this because I was already an adult when this show premiered, so I have no nostalgic fondness for it, but for me, the show was the epitome of average. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either. It was just a show. I kind of liked Cadpig, but that’s as deep as my fandom for that show went. I’m not sure why the show’s producers thought that Roly would be a good choice as one of the principal characters when his entire personality can be summed up in a single sentence: He’s fat and loves to eat! I could see having Roly as a secondary character, but not one of the principals. Also, I wasn’t expecting the writing to be along the lines of Yes, Minster, but I think that 101 Dalmatians: TS was one of those shows where the younger you are, the more you’ll appreciate it. It wasn’t a Rocko’s Modern Life, Regular Show, Animaniacs or Uncle Grandpa kind of deal, is what I’m saying.

Myself, I’m going to watch a couple of episodes before passing judgment on it. If you happen to prefer 101 Dalmatians: The Series, that’s fine. You do you, after all…

Atomic Dog

I didn’t mean to dog you out!

Twinsanity’s on Tumblr

Just so you guys know, Twinsanity has a Tumblr account now. Check us out there at:

https://twinsanitycomedy.tumblr.com

So now there’s another place to check out our nonsense.

 

Brain Candy: Yabba Dabba Done

WARNING: The post that you’re about to read is very rambly. There’s going to be a lot of zig-zagging. You’ve been warned!

Hey! Do you remember that Highly Opinionated post that I made back in 2012 titled “The All New Something, Something Whatever Show”? Where I said that Warner Brothers had no interest in doing anything new with The Flintstones franchise? Remember that? Well, apparently, I was wrong….kind of.

A few weeks a ago, while surfing the web, I came across an article announcing a new animated series produced by Warner Brothers Animation that’s scheduled to air on the Boomerang streaming service (and possibly the Boomerang channel also) based on the Flintstones franchise titled Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs.

Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs

Yeah, that’s the thing.

Originally, I was going to talk about this show on Peeks, but I decided not to for a specific reason, which I’ll go into a little later. Suspense! Anywho, here’s the lowdown on this new series, courtesy of Cartoon Brew:

Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs!

Yabba-Dabba-Doo! Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are back in this quarter-hour animated comedy series, Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! Warner Bros. Animation takes you beyond Bedrock to The Crags, a vast land that is as dangerous and wild as the dinosaurs that inhabit it.

Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble are two best friends, growing up in the prehistoric time when dinosaurs and giant beasts still walked the earth. But as exciting as that sounds, they live in peaceful, quiet old Bedrock, a modern domestic civilization similar to our own (but with stone cars that run on leg-power). That’s why whenever they get the chance, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino head to the open wilderness, helping new friends, fighting new enemies, and learning about life through their endless crazy adventures. Back in Bedrock, Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty still enjoy all the familiar quirks and trappings of life as a modern Stone Age family not knowing all the trouble (and fun!) their kids are getting themselves into.

Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Mark Marek (producer, MAD, Be Cool Scooby-Doo!) and Marly Halpern-Graser (executive producer, Right Now Kapow) serve as producer with Sam Register as executive producer.

dumb-donald

“Uh……what??”

That premise sounds…interesting, to say the least. So all this time there’s been a savage land teaming with dangerous, feral dinosaurs located just outside of Bedrock and we’ve just never seen it before?  And no one on the show has ever mentioned this place in 40+ years? Now don’t that churn yer butter? Here’s what we know so far:

This series will mostly focus around Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, not unlike Cave Kids (which I never saw). This time around, P&BB appear to be grade school aged, not toddlers nor teenagers, but right in the middle. Regarding this series, one fan noted:

“I think that this series will focus on Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm, Dino and Hoppy.”

Hoppy?? Wow…I’m just blown away that somebody remembers that character!

Hoppy

My advice: forget about Hoparoo. The rest of the world has.

I’m not sure why dinosaurs should be a major selling point for a Flintstones series when that show has always had plenty of dinosaurs, most notably Dino.

Dino_from__The_Flintstones_

I know that Dino is technically a Snorkasaurus, but let’s be real here: Dino has always been much closer to a dog than a dinosaur. Except in that one weird episode of The Flintstones where Fred and Barney were hunting Dino and Dino was intelligent and he could talk and he was doing shtick like Bugs Bunny and Fred and Barney were like a two man Elmer Fudd, and then that episode was completely forgotten about after that episode ended. Seriously, what was up with that? What happened to Dino’s intelligence? Damon (Silverstar) offers this theory:

Maybe he got conked on the head with a bowling ball. That seems to be a common cause of amnesia in Bedrock.

Another user in cyberspace speculated, “I wonder if Moonrock, Wiggy, Penny and Bad Luck Shleprock will be in this show?”

waynesworld2-outside

“Exsqueeze me? Baking powder??”

Penny Moonrock & Wiggy

Again, I’m just amazed that somebody remembers those characters. As for them being on this show, I’m not sure what led to that speculation. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are clearly younger than teenagers here, and it’s not like those characters have seen the light of day since The Flintstone Comedy Hour, which was back in ancient 1972.

Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm Show

Now this is strictly an opinion, but I personally felt that The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show was just too much like The Archies for my tastes, right down to the characters forming a bubblegum rock band performing tunes that would make the Monkees cringe, so if Warner Brothers never used Wiggy, Penny, Moonrock, Bad Luck Shleprock or the Bronto Bunch in anything else again, I’d be totally fine with that.

moonrock-crater-the-pebbles-and-bamm-bamm-show-4.39

“I concur. Oh, wait…”

Anyway…

YDD 2

The character designs are courtesy of Mark Marek. If you don’t know who he is, he’s the guy who did the Henry and June segments on Nickelodeons Kablam!. The character designs are different, but not terrible.  I don’t know who’s idea it was to give Bamm-Bamm long pants. No one on The Flintstones ever wore pants. That just looks odd.

Also, I read that Captain Caveman would be appearing on this show; in what capacity, I have no idea. Would he be a denizen of The Crags? (He’d actually be a better fit there than he would in Bedrock, honestly.) Would he be a fictional character on an in-universe TV show like he was on Flintstone Kids? Who knows? But it’s apparent that the idea of Cavey being part of the Flintstones universe is something HB producers refuse to let go of.

Captain-Caveman-Hanna-Barbera

“Me gotta stay in Bedrock. My cave on top of the Teen Angels’ van got repossessed after the girls all got jobs as swimsuit models! Rent high, man, rent high.”

YDD3

And then, the unusual Flintstones shtick is still going on in Bedrock and the parents have no idea that their kids are going to this savage land? OK. For the first time in years, there’s a Flintstones project that I actually give a crud about. The addition of The Crags to Bedrock is in an interesting angle, and I do like the idea of shifting the show’s focus away from Fred and Barney for a change, especially for something that’s not the “Pebbles, Dino and Bamm-Bamm” segments from The Flintstones Comedy Show”; at least this idea isn’t a lame Scooby Doo knockoff. I have a theory about this (and it’s just a theory. I have no solid evidence to back this up whatsoever): I think that Warner Brothers had originally planned for this show to be an attempt to cash in on the success of Jurassic Park, a show about 2 kids who venture into the world of wild, savage dinosaurs, and then someone at WB said “Hey! The Flintstones has dinosaurs! Why don’t we make the Crags adjacent to Bedrock and make the 2 kids Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm?”

Anyway…I haven’t seen a complete episode of Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs! yet, as the series hasn’t yet premiered. The pilot episode is (or was at one time) available for viewing on the Boomerang streaming service. But it hardly matters because…wait for it…about two weeks after I read that article, the news was dropped that Warner Brothers announced that there won’t be a second season of YDD! Yep, that’s right, Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs! is effectively already canceled!

And that, friends, is why I decided not to cover this show on Peeks. What’s the point of previewing a series that doesn’t have a future? I suspected as much when I found out that YDD would be airing exclusively on Boomerang. If WB and Turner thought that they had a hit on their hands, they would have run the show on their main channel (that of course being Cartoon Network), or on both channels simultaneously. Instead, it looks like this show is going to be a one-and-done before it’s even officially premiered. And if you haven’t figured it out by now…

Studios generally only do this when they know they’ve got a major league bombasaurus on their hands. WB apparently thinks that this show sucks and the studio just wants to cut it’s losses. So it looks as if WB is going to with Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs what they did with Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Pocketville and The Peanuts Show; just burn through the episodes that have already been made and then just sweep the show under the rug and act like it never existed. Too bad, since based on what I saw and read of it, buried somewhere beneath all of those layers of what the what, I thought that there was a sliver of an interesting idea in there somewhere. I even kind of like the show’s title for some bizarre reason.

The real tragedy (for Flintstones fans, anyway) is that the message that WB may take from this is that Flintstones series don’t work or resonate with modern audiences and so it may be years before we see another one.

Flintstones - WWE crossover

At least not one that’s not a crossover with WWE wrestlers.