Unpopular Opinions: Blue Falcon & Dynomutt 2020

OK, so Scoob! happened.

Scoob!

As you know by now, we don’t review movies here at Twinsanity, so I won’t go into detail about the movie itself (there are already a ton of reviewers YouTube who have done that already), I’ll just say that my assessment of the film overall was…

Meh

It was OK. Not great, not groundbreaking, just OK. I don’t think it was low-grade dog food like many people on the internet apparently do, but I admit that its’ main draw was either for die hard Scooby-Doo fans or people in my age bracket (40-100 and up) who grew up with 1960’s through 1980’s Hanna-Barbera cartoons and will therefore recognize and appreciate the many references, allusions and callbacks.

No, I didn’t think Scoob! was swill, but believe it or not, that’s not the Unpopular Opinion of this post. Today’s Unpopular Opinion is that, regardless of what I thought about the movie itself…

scoob-blue-falcon-e1583455169550

I liked the movie’s takes on Blue Falcon…

Dynomutt 2020

…and Dynomutt.

To understand why I feel this way (and to get the young’uns in the crowd up to speed), here’s a brief history lesson:

Dynomutt_blue_falcon

Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, Dog Wonder made their debut on ABC’s Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour in 1976. The Blue Falcon (originally voiced by Gary Owens) was a Batman-esque superhero (his alias was that of millionaire playboy Radley Crown) and Dynomutt (originally voiced by Frank Welker) was his eager, brave but comedically inept sidekick, who just happened to be a talking robot dog. Dyno’s bumblings were so frequent that Blue Falcon (or “B.F”, as Dynomutt called him) would often refer to him as ‘Dog Blunder’.

The duo later turn up in–of all places–an episode of Dexter’s Laboratory entitled “Dyno-Might”.

DexterBlueFalcon

“Guest star powers-ACTIVATE!”

Fanboy and Chum Chum

“ZOMG! SHARED UNIVERSE!!!”

Dyno-Might 1

In it, the Falcon’s arch-foe, The Buzzard, ‘kills’ Dynomutt in battle and BF comes to Dexter for assistance. Dex rebuilds Dyno, but feels that the goofy ‘Dog Blunder’ isn’t a worthy sidekick to an awesome superhero like Blue Falcon, so he builds a replacement called Dynomutt X90, a more efficient but far more aggressive robot dog who’s so extreme that he sets a man on fire for littering and nearly laser blasts a little girl for picking a flower before he’s stopped by the re-activated original Dynomutt.

DynoMuttX9.JPG

“Jaywalking? Not on my watch, buster! Say your prayers, dirtbag!!”

At the end of the short, Blue Falcon says that he prefers having a comic relief sidekick because it makes him look cooler. Dexter, who’s saddled with Dee-Dee, agrees.

Fast-Forward to Scooby-Doo: Mystery, Inc. BF and Dyno turn up in this series as well (by this time it’s been long established that the crime fighting duo know and are well-acquainted with the Scooby-Doo gang, as they’ve met and crossed over on numerous occasions and even appeared alongside one another on the Scooby Doobies team on ABC’s Laff-A-Lympics), albeit with a slightly revised backstory and some notable changes in characterization.

Blue_Falcon_(SDMI)

“I’m a falcon! Grrr!”

Here, rather than being a rich playboy, Radley Crown is a security guard at one of the laboratories of Quest Industries (as in Dr. Benton Quest, father of Jonny Quest–yes, Jonny Quest, Scooby-Doo and Blue Falcon exist in the same universe–it’s canon now) and Dyno is his faithful dog Reggie. One fateful night the two are attacked by a mutated monster created by Mad Science and Reggie is seriously injured in the attack. Desperate to save his friend, Crown enlists the aid of Dr. Benton Quest himself, who utilizes Quest technology to transform Reggie into a super canine cyborg. While Dyno here is his usual goofball self, B.F. is more gritty, angtsy and edgy, basically a spoof of Frank Miller’s Batman from The Dark Knight Returns.

And now we come to today. B.F. and Dyno turn up again in Scoob!. Here, Blue Falcon is a very famous and highly revered superhero, idol to millions and heavily trademarked, BUUUT (*Spoilers for those who haven’t seen the movie, or actually care, which I doubt is many of you) this Blue Falcon is not Radley Crown, rather it’s his adult son Brian Crown, a somewhat goofy and slightly egotistical glory hog who seems more interested in promoting his brand than saving the world.

scoob-blue-falcon-e1583455169550

“Remember, kids: say you prayers, eat your vitamins, drink your milk, and buy my T-shirts!”

Dynomutt 2020

Dynomutt meanwhile has apparently been upgraded to a sleeker, cooler and far more competent version of himself; his tech is 100 times cooler, he’s more sarcastic and quick to chide his new partner and his goofy giggles have been replaced by a more annoyed wiseguy voice, provided by Ken Jeong.

And I enjoyed the heck out of these guys, particularly Dynomutt 2.0. Confession time: I’ve always thought Dynomutt was kind of cool. Despite his usual portrayal as a bumbling dufus who hindered Blue Falcon’s efforts as much as he helped them, I always though his tech was pretty cool. Back in the ’70’s, Dynomutt, along with the Robonic Stooges…

Robonic Stooges

That’s right, THESE guys…

Were what first attracted me to the idea of utilizing high-tech as a super power. These guys were the Robocops and Cyborgs of their day. So I was actually glad to see Dynomutt on screen and not being a joke. You’re free to disagree with me but I thought Blue Falcon and Dynomutt’s banter was funny and I love their new designs. The details on Brian’s costume looked awesome and this new Dynomutt is just cool-looking and badass.

Plus, I can’t be the only one who’d like to see an animated series starring these two. C’mon, a Booster Gold-esque Blue Falcon trying to make a name for himself while struggling to live up to his father’s legacy and his snarky but efficient robot dog companion? I’d watch the heck out of that show!

Even if you don’t agree with me on that, there’s something else I think we can all agree on:

Daphne Blake 2020

Kid Daphne in this movie was cute as a button!

 

Peeks: First Impressions of ‘Looney Tunes Cartoons’ and ‘Jellystone!’

Not too long ago HBO/AT&T/Time-Warner announced the impending arrival of the media’s umpeeth streaming service, HBO Max, set to launch in May 2020.

hbo-max-header-720x720

HBO…to the Max!

In a press release, they listed what we can expect to see on the service: some movies, some shows, some classic movies, Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Sesame Street, etc., etc. My reaction:

Spongebob Meh

OK. Cool. Whatever.

…Then they announced that they’d be showing the new Looney Tunes Cartoons shorts and a new animated series built around the Hanna-Barbera library (and not specifically Scooby-Doo or Tom & Jerry) entitled Jellystone!. My reaction:

funny cartoon eyes

“OK, NOW you’ve got my attention!”

As you may have surmised by now, on today’s Peeks we’ll be giving you our first impressions of these new shows, what we think of what (admittedly little) we know and have seen so far and what we expect (or hope) to see when these shows eventually make their debut.

LOONEY TUNES CARTOONS

looney-tunes cartoons-2

“Ehhh, what’s clickin’, Doc?”

For those who don’t know, Looney Tunes Cartoons is an American animated web television series developed by Peter Browngardt, creator of Cartoon Network’s Secret Mountain Fort Awesome and Uncle Grandpa

Uncle Grandpa

Yeah, that Peter Browngardt.

…and produced by Warner Bros. Animation, based on the characters from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. The project made its worldwide premiere at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 10, 2019. This show is the successor to New Looney Tunes, which I actually liked despite some haters nipticking about it.

This project was first announced on June 11, 2018, when Warner Bros. Animation announced that a new series, which would “consist of 1,000 minutes spread across 1–6 minute shorts”…

Looney-Tunes Cartoons 1

 

…would be released in 2019 and that it would feature “the brand’s marquee characters voiced by their current voice actors in simple gag-driven and visually vibrant stories”.

Bugs_Bunny

“Hey, Doc. I’d like to talk to ya about the Looney Tunes Cartoons Initiative.”

The style of the series is to be reminiscent to those of Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, Bob Clampett and others. President of Warner Bros. Animation, Sam Register (creator of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi), along with Pete Browngardt  serve as executive producers for the series. The shorts will bring all of the Looney Tunes together under one roof, including more obscure members like Pete Puma, Beaky Buzzard, Hubie and Bertie, Petunia Pig and Cicero Pig.

LTC Cast

If you’ve ever wondered what characters like the Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin the Martian and Taz would’ve looked like had they been created in the ’40’s, wonder no more.

Cicero Pig? Now, that’s obscure. AFAIK, He’s never appeared outside of the comics. No mention of Lola, but I hope she shows up as well, along with Witch Hazel. A man can dream.

On June 12, 2019, a short titled “Dynamite Dance” served as a trailer for the series starring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Roll the clip!

Now I’m not normally one to gush, but what I’ve seen of these cartoons so far is simply…

Amazing GIF

 

LTC - mummydummy

I am in freaking LOVE with the designs and aesthetics of these shorts. Everything just…pops! The colors are bright. The shadows, the light, the buoyancy.  The characters are just bursting with life; they look like they could jump off the screen and starting running amok in your living room at any given moment.

Looney-Tunes-Cartoons-Art

Plus the artists captured the 40’s look and feel perfectly. If these cartoons didn’t look so shiny and new, I’d swear that they were actual classic shorts that got lost in the vault somewhere. If Wabbit/New Looney Tunes had looked like these shorts (though I know  the amount of money required to produce animation of this quality for a weekly TV series would’ve bankrupted a Saudi Arabian king) the show would’ve had far fewer detractors.

ltct_014_still_01-1

And fans rejoice! The mayhem is back! Bombs! Anvils! Props! Squash-and-stretch physics! Solving problems with dynamite! WB listened to fans complaining about the absence of good old-fashioned cartoon chaos from The Looney Tunes Show and brought it back in spades. We wanted the slapstick back, and now we’ve got it. And the skies are ripe with love.

LooneyTunesCartoonsFeature-min-1

Plus it looks like we’ll be getting some classic WB team-ups, like Bugs and Elmer (a combo that was curiously lacking on The Looney Tunes Show and Wabbit/New Looney Tunes)…

LTC - Curseofthemonkeybirdscreen

…And Porky & Daffy. Cool, I’m definitely on board. But you know what we’re really happy to see? The triumphant return of this guy:

LTC - Crazy Daffy

“Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo!”

Remember this toon? The “crazy darn fool duck”? The black-feathered nut case who’s so crazy, he just doesn’t give a darn? Well, he has returned! The re-appearance of manic Daffy Duck on New Looney Tunes was not, repeat, NOT a fluke. This series already sold me the second I saw this:

 

LTC Daffy

YES!! My guy is back! We’ve elaborated on this here before, so I’ll keep it brief, but I can’t begin to say how happy I am to see that WB isn’t finished with OG insane Daffy Duck. I’ve had to endure the jealous, selfish, greedy jerk version of this character for soooo long that I was beginning to lose hope of ever seeing screwloose Daffy again, but he’s still here, and I hope he stays around for a loooong while, perhaps permanently.

LTC - Wetcementscreen

No offense to Chuck Jones, but I’ve always preferred nut-job Daffy to his take. Just keeping it 100.

Now I’m OK with the classic pairings, but one thing (among others, I thought) that New Looney Tunes got very right was that they weren’t afraid to mix things up, pair off characters who didn’t usually interact much, if at all, like Foghorn and Taz or Elmer and Porky or Tweety and Sylvester with Speedy Gonzales, Gabby Goat, Pet Puma, Marc Antony and Claude Cat (seriously, somebody at Warner Bros. remembered the character of Claude Cat!). I hope the producers of these shorts don’t shy away from mixing up the character combinations; that keeps things fresh and interesting. Also don’t be afraid to put new spins on established characters like how NLT gave the bland character of Sniffles a shot in the arm by giving him a vigilante alter ego in the form of Dark Bat:

And I may be alone with this, but I also hope we haven’t seen the last of some of the new characters created for Wabbit/NLT, such as Squeaks the Squirrel…

SqueaksSquirrel

You’re free to disagree, but I thought Squeaks made a decent sidekick for Bugs; aside from team-ups or crossovers, Bugs is usually alone, so a character like Squeaks is good because he gives Bugs someone to bounce lines off of and have his back when he inevitably starts cooking up some deviltry.

I also wouldn’t mind seeing other NLT characters like Leslie P. Lilylegs, King Thes and Rhoda Roundhouse.

Bigfoot_wabbit

Just not Bigfoot. Sorry, but I found him to be irritatingly moronic and annoying. I personally don’t need to see him come back, and I take back the ‘sorry’ part.

-So yeah, I’m definitely digging what I’ve seen of Looney Tunes Cartoons. If they can keep up the quality of what I’ve seen of these cartoons so far as well as implement the stuff I mentioned above…

Happy Camper

…I’m gonna be a happy camper. Now, onto the other HBO Max cartoon that got us curious.

JELLYSTONE!

Jellystone! is an upcoming animated series for streaming service HBO Max, which is set to launch in May 2020. The series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. C.H. Greenblatt, known for  the series Chowder and Harvey Beaks, and Sam Register will both serve as executive producers.

The series will star many Hanna-Barbera characters, similar to shows like Yogi’s Gang and Laff-a-Lympics, living life in the town of Jellystone. While many living in the town work and play and get along together, there is always gonna be trouble happening for one another.

-OK, that could be cool. Sounds like it could be fun. The idea of a plethora of Hanna-Barbera stars taking up residence in a single area reminds me of Marvels’ Super Hero Squad Show, but with H-B characters. I’m down with the concept, and C. H. Greenblatt can be funny when he has a good concept, so sure. Let’s have a look at this cartoon.

jellystone

Creeped_Out_emoticon_emoji_face-512

“Gah? Ahhh! AAAAAHHHHH! It Burns! It burns so badly!!”

I know I give some folks a hard time for pre-judging a show just by a few images, but these initial designs are AWFUL. To their credit, you can still easily tell who the characters are supposed to be, but these designs look hideously amateurish to be used on a show put out by a major studio for a multi-million dollar streaming service. They look like a 6-year-old child drew these characters with their crayons, and I’ve seen more talented 6-year-old children. I really hope that these are just first drafts and the designs get more refined, polished and improved upon by the time the show make its’ debut.

Not only are these designs super-crude looking, but the characters look so…stupid. As in low-IQ individuals. Seriously, why do they look so derpy? Most of them have these dopey expressions plastered on their faces, making them look like they’d have trouble walking around a tree. Top Cat looks freaking stoned, like he got trapped in a warehouse full of marijuana and had to smoke his way to freedom.

Look at this image of Yogi:

Jellystone Yogi

Yogi Bear has never had a Charles Atlas physique, but he’s never been this round and fat. He looks less like a bear and more like an anthropomorphic meatball with a head, arms and legs.

And how about this screen cap of Magilla Gorilla?

Jellystone Magilla

OK, points for including him. ’cause he’s always been kind of an obscure H-B character, but again, that face: derp-derp. Same deal with Mildew Wolf here:

Jellystone Mildew

OK, this one doesn’t look too bad, but then we come to pics like this one:

Jellystone!_poster.PNG

Gah! There it is again! That whole ‘derp-derp’ thing I mentioned earlier. Look, I’m really trying not to pre-judge this show too harshly, since I do like the idea behind it and I haven’t seen the characters put through the processes of animation nor have I seen any backgrounds, but some of these renderings are ugly with a capital UGH. In addition to many of them looking so moronic that they should be wearing T-shirts reading ‘I’D RATHER BE DROOLING’, there’s no heft to these characters; they all look so flat; there’s no feeling of weight to any of them. No shadows or light. Nothing. How could the same studio that produced something so awesome looking as Looney Tunes Cartoons be okay with putting out something like these cheeseball designs? The ‘classic’ H-B designs looked like Matisse paintings compared to these doodles.

And those long eyelashes on Jabberjaw? Why, just why?? Is Jabberjaw a female shark in this or what?

Speaking of females, there’s one thing we really hope gets addressed on Jellystone!: Namely, the glaring lack of female characters. I really hope Cindy Bear isn’t the only female inhabitant of Jellystone. Even if the producers have to make up a bunch of OCs, that’s preferable to Smurfette Syndrome. Jason had an idea: if you want another female character, since Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy are on this show, why not show us Augie’s mom as a character? That’s something they’ve never done before. I say why not? Disney recently did the unthinkable by making Huey, Dewey and Louie’s mom Della Duck into a character…

Della Duck

And the fans ate it up. So why not? Go for it, I say.

-Character designs aside, I am remaining cautiously optimistic for Jellystone!. If the show’s funny then that’ll make up for the less-than-stellar artwork and designs. On a final note: I noticed that one of the characters in the title card was Captain Caveman; does this mean that we could be seeing other H-B characters besides the 60’s ‘funny animal’ characters, like the Impossibles, the Chan Clan, Hong Kong Phooey, Space Ghost, the Galaxy Trio, the Teen Angels et al? That could be a hoot to see. Apart from this and the upcoming feature Scoob!

scoob-movie-2020

…Whose art, designs and animations actually look GOOD, just pointing that out…

…It seems that Warner Brothers Animation is really trying to create a Hanna Barbera Shared Universe. (And as a point of interest, Captain Caveman is supposed to appear in Scoob! as well, voiced by Tracy Morgan, of all people. OK, I want to go see this movie for that alone.) C.H. Greenblatt claims he’ll be “digging deep” for obscure characters for Jellystone!; he also says that he’ll be canonizing Yo, Yogi! in some form for this show. I’m fine with that…

Yo Yogi

Just make it absolutely nothing like its’ predecessor, and we’re good!

Nerdvana: Magical Island Groove

cute-cartoon-eyes-illustration-isolated-on-white

Long time, no see!

Hey there. It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

-Before we begin, I just to keep you guys abreast of what’s been going on with us. As those who’ve been following us know, last year we planned to stop blogging and switch this site over to visual media (videos, online comics, etc.); those plans have not been abandoned (we’re writing up scripts, taking notes and saving up for the necessary equipment and tutorials even as I type this), but at the same time, we’re not content to just sit on our hands and do nothing while we prepare to make that jump. We’ve been fairly active on Tumblr (that’s twinsanitycomedy.tumblr.com for those who are interested), but we’ve been compiling ideas since then and we still have a creative itch that needs scratching. So, while we in the process of transitioning, Jason and I will continue to make the occasional blog post here until then. It’s not going to be at the pace it has been years ago; our current schedule and priorities won’t accommodate that, but ideally we’d like to put up at least 1 or 2 blog posts per month until we’re ready to start making videos full time. Now, on with the silliness.

Donkey Kong Islands

One setting/oeuvre that I’ve been digging these past several months is the tropical island setting, in particular Magical Islands. Those tropical paradises where it’s always sunny and funny and exotic creatures and magical phenomena abound. Today’s Nerdvana will be spotlighting some of my favorite magical island settings/shows/stuff.

First, I’ll be giving an honorable mention to Jaama, the setting of Animal Jam.

Jamaa 2

While I’m indeed enthralled by Jaama, I won’t be covering it at great length here since I’m currently doing a Pop Dream on Animal Jam (which I do plan to continue this year, I promise!), so anything I’d say about Jaama here would be redundant. I’ll save my thoughts and feelings on Jaama for the upcoming Pop Dream installments. Also, like many of these Nerdvanas, these won’t be in any particular order, so I won’t be numbering them.

Let’s do this, people! Smiles, smiles!

FANTASY ISLAND, Ricardo Montalban, Herve Villechaize, 1978-1984

“Welcome to Silverstar’s Rambling, Pointless Fantasy Island!”

Kick it, gang!

I love that song. Now, on to the meat: some of my favorite enchanted island settings.

DONKEY KONG COUNTRY

DonkeyKongCountryReturns

Like many folks who played games in the late 90’s through early ’00’s, I loved the Donkey Kong Country series. Putting DK in a sprawling jungle island setting and giving him a ton of new friends, enemies and areas to explore was a stroke of genius.

Dk_island

Plus it’s shaped like DK’s head. Now that’s branding.

Donkey Kong Island 2

One thing I love about Donkey Kong Island (NOT Congo Bongo, BTW!) is how it houses several different and radically diverse areas and climates within it: forest, dessert, grassland, brambles, ocean, beach, frozen wasteland, bayou and of course rain forest.

Plus, the DKC games gave us the Brothers Bear. I love the idea of multiple siblings with names that begin with the same latter and each of them has their own personal quirks and shticks.

Brothers Bear

Hmm, I wonder if Banjo is related to these guys. Distant cousin, perhaps?

-You know, that could be a separate Nerdvana unto itself. Hmmm…..

YABBA DABBA DINOSAURS

Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs

Dino-Mite!

Jason already covered this show on Brain Candy, so I’ll keep it brief; I’ll just say that Warner Bros. Studios are fools for giving up on this idea so quickly.

YDD! 2

Yeah, the art style takes some getting used to (Mark Marek wouldn’t have been my first choice for the designs, and I’m definitely not feeling the long pants on Bamm-Bamm) but how could anyone not love the idea of a savage land filled with wild, dangerous dinosaurs existing just adjacent to Bedrock? If you ask me, YDD! was just the shot in the arm the franchise needed.

YDD! 3

People are free to disagree with me, but I thought the running gags involving Dino running for the hills at any given opportunity and the Wikipedia spoofs with Pebbles were funny.

Captain-Caveman-Hanna-Barbera

Plus after 2 failed attempts, the studio finally found a way to work Captain Caveman into the Flintstones mythos that actually made sense. Make Cavey the Tarzan of The Crags. Making him a jungle wild man would finally explain why he looks and acts so differently from the civilized citizens of Bedrock; obviously if he spent his entire life in The Crags he wouldn’t be straight-laced and civilized. Come on, guys, it’s right there!

CRAIG OF THE CREEK

Craig of the Creek

Yeah, I know I’m late to the party with this one; I’ve only recently discovered this show, but it’s good, despite not getting the press or attention of CN’s other current shows. No, it’s not a multi-layered, hyper-emotional, grand sprawling epic like Infinity Train or Steven Universe, but every show doesn’t have to be that. You don’t always need a 5-course turkey dinner, sometimes just a nice burger and fries will suffice.

Like Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs, one thing I like about Craig of the Creek is how there’s this crazy wilderness area just beyond the safe, peaceful, quiet suburbs that the kids all live in, and no matter how wild and crazy things get at the Creek, they can always just go home at any time. I like how the Creek boasts several different tribes and factions of kids of all types and colors, co-existing more or less harmoniously, such as:

Horse Girls

…The Horse Girls, a tribe of girls obsessed with horses (a tad sterotypical, but stereotypes have to come from somewhere…)

Tabitha & Courtney

The Creek Witches, Tabitha and Courtney (in actuality a same-sex couple of Goth teenagers, and no, that’s not a joke; they really are a couple.)

Sparkle Cadet 2

A black Magical Girl from’outer space’ named Sparkle Cadet (where’s it carved in stone that all magical girls have to be white or Asian?)

You know, Craig, as the Creek’s resident map-maker, has already compiled a detailed list of these Creek Kids, so I won’t have to:

I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to Craig’s best buds: Kelsey,

Kelsey

I admit she’s already a favorite character of mine; she’s basically what I’d be like if I were a short, white, Jewish girl.

And JP:

JP

He’s hilarious. That’s all I need to say!

I only have one real nitpick about this show: I think, despite the premise, the show’s a tad too grounded in reality. If it were my show, I’d spice things up a little:

Why not toss in some actual monsters?

Forest Monster

“Say, um, are you white meat or dark meat??”

And while we’re at it, why not toss in some talking animal mascots a la Terry Dactyl from The Funny Company?

terry-dactyl-the-funny-company-4.65

I guess you can tell I really like this idea. Was my nonstop yakking about the animal people from Dragon Ball and Animal Jam a giveaway?

Craig-of-the-creek-family

-Side bar: another element of this show that needs to mentioned is how the titular character and his family are African-American without them being ethnic stereotypes. Yes, Craig’s family is black, but the producers didn’t set the show in the ‘hood, the family isn’t broke, mean or cheap, the slang and music on the show aren’t super-funkay, and the neighborhood the family lives in is ethnically diverse without race ever being an issue or the topic of conversation.

Alexis

Craig’s older brother Bernard has a white girlfriend (Alexis), and everybody’s cool with that! Nice legs, BTW.

I applaud this. Truly good mixed casting is something we could stand to see more of on kids’ shows (shows in general, actually). It’s more honest, more interesting and a positive example for the kiddos. It’s one thing to get up on a soapbox and preach about folks getting along and respecting people different from you and not treating them differently because of their skin color or ancestry, but it’s another to show your lead characters simply living this way as if it were the most normal and natural thing in the world. Example can teach just as well as any platitude, perhaps even better.

This is the kind of cartoon I’d like to make myself one day: the ‘ultimate kid-centered domestic comedy’ starring a family consisting of 2 parents, some kids and some pets, featuring people of color and a range of ethnicities without race ever being a big deal. There’d be a gimmick of course, but the characters’ skin color wouldn’t be it.

SUMMER CAMP ISLAND

Summer Camp Island

Another CN show that doesn’t get talked about very much, this one is a cute but odd little show about 2 best friends, an anthropomorphic elephant-y thing named Oscar and a  hedgehog-y thing named Hedgehog…

Oscar & Hedgehog

Wow. Must’ve been up all night dreaming up that name.

…Who are sent to stay at, you guessed it, a summer camp on a magical island.

Summer Camp Island Location

Say, did you know that in-universe this island became a haven/sanctuary for monsters and magical creatures in 1972, after they became distrusting of ‘normals’? Well, now you do.

Said island boasts such unique things as giant monsters, a moon and clouds with faces…

summer_camp_island witches 2

…3 counselors who look like cutie-pie “popular girls” but are actually witches, magic powers, pointy hats, flying broomsticks and all.

Summer Camp Island Witches 1

Generation Hex

Alice

My personal favorite of the 3 is Alice, she’s the cute one who likes to make everything around her cute….

Betsy

Second favorite is Betsy, the nice one who sleeps with a sentient tree…

Werewolf_Betsy

…And she’s also a werewolf. ‘Kay…

Also on the island are ice cream mountains, confetti mines…

Confetti Mines

Mine your own business

…Monsters…

Monsters

Rumor has it that they came to do the Monster Mash.

…an alien kid something-or-other named Puddle, who flies around in a tiny UFO and hails from unnamed alien planet that resembles a Lisa Frank illustration and is love with his alien king (no, that wasn’t a typo)…

Puddle

…And a living, talking set of Pajamas, aptly named Pajamas.

Pajamas

Cocaines a Hell of a Drug

Summer Camp Island 2

The show’s cute, and I like the concept of a magical island with a summer camp on it (otherwise I wouldn’t have listed it here), but I think it might be a little TOO ‘out there’. I don’t dig that all the characters are animals; heck, they don’t even look like animals; they look like lolicons with animal noses. Did the cast need to be anthros on a show with monsters, witches, aliens and assorted stuff? Given that, do we even need a distinction between the ‘normal’ world and the ‘strange’ island? The entire show is strange; it’s full of animal things with human anatomies! Plus, I can’t over-emphasize this, one of the characters is a sentient pair of pajamas!

zonker

“Gah! Head rush! I’m comin’ down too fast! I need some relaxing smooth jazz music and some orange slices, stat!”

TESCO BREKKIE SQUAD

Brekkie Squad 2

If you live in the UK, you’ve likely seen these. Originally created for the Summer Olympics (hence the sports motif), these characters are cute jungle animals who live on a jungle island and adorn the cereal boxes at Tesco. They don’t always have to be complicated.

TEM TEM

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“My blood, er, um…my SWEAT bubbles for battle! Yeah, that’s the ticket!”

Ah, no. Not Tam Tam, but TEMTEM. The new steam game that mimics Pokemon, but in a good way.

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Temtem 3

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“Gotta catch ’em all…no, wait…”

TemTem is set on a set of floating tropical islands (which is why it’s on this list) called the Aiborne Archipelago.

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Consisting of Deniz, the Floating Sea, Omninesea, Myrisles, Tucma, the End of All Things, Kisiwa, the desert jewels, Cipanku, misty hills and hypertech metropolis and Arbury, land of rain and book, in case anyone was wondering.

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The TemTem themselves, in addition to being super-cute…

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TemTem

…Come in a variety of types: Fire, Nature, Water, Electric, Mental, Earth, Wind, Crystal, Digital, Melee, Toxic and Neutral.

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So it’s a Pokemon clone…with a tropical island motif. I dig it.

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Plus, I just plain like the name: TemTem. It’s got that cool, native-sounding jungle island ring to it. Not unlike Jaama.

And there you have it. Some of my favorite magical tropical island imagery.

Gilligan

“Nah, hard pass. I’ve had my fill of island life. I spent years stuck on a deserted island, and when we finally managed to get off of it, we ended up stranded on a deserted planet! yeah, life’s fair!”

Brain Candy: Aw, Nutz!

Back in 2008, Tom Ruegger (producer of such Warner Brothers hit series as Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs!) pitched an idea for a potential new series that would feature the Looney Tunes characters interacting with classic characters from the Hanna Barbera studio (this became possible due to WB absorbing H-B studios in 1999). The series, had it happened, would have been called Mixed Nutz.

Incidentally, the pictures shown below are all cut-and-paste clip art. since Warner Brothers never greenlit the series, no actual footage was ever made.

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This is just a sample of the fun that might have been.

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This idea is certainly an interesting one, and it’s almost a shame that WB ultimately passed on it. However, despite the novelty of seeing the Looney Tunes interacting with H-B’s stars, I can’t get too excited about such a prospect. While I wouldn’t turn my nose up at this particular idea, I’m not sad that it didn’t happen.

The both of us are HUGE Looney Tunes fans, and unless you’re visiting this site for the very first time, you already know that. And while I like Hanna-Barbera cartoons OK, for the most part, I’ve never felt like H-B was ever on par with Looney Tunes. When I initially read about this series prospect, all it did was make me think about how much more awesome a Looney Tunes/Disney syngery would have been.

WB logo with Bugs

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This is the cartoon collaboration that everyone wants to see! You want a WB/Disney show. I want a WB/Disney show. He wants a WB/Disney show. She wants a WB/Disney show. They want a WB/Disney show. EVERYONE wants to see a WB/Disney collabo!

TV Executive: We’re making a cartoon where Bugs teams up with Yogi Bear.

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Oh? Eh, that could be good, I guess.

TV Executive: We’re making a cartoon where Bugs Bunny teams up with Mickey Mouse.

Yeah, baby!

Bugs, Daffy and Porky teaming up with Mickey, Donald and Goofy? You’ve got my attention! Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck hanging out with Lola Bunny? Yes, please! Pete teaming up with Yosemite Sam? When and where? Chip ‘n’ Dale and Humphrey the Bear fleeing from Taz? I’m listening! Daffy Duck hanging out in Duckberg? Sign me up!

Imagine an entire series (or series of shorts like this):

 

Oh Hell Yeah

Listen, I’m OK with Hanna-Barbera. Some of their cartoons have been entertaining. I won’t deny that. But Looney Tunes are in a different class entirely. It’s like the video game Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe.

Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe

Sure, it was a cool idea, and the game at least had the potential to be awesome (DC putting unnecessary restrictions on their heroes aside), but the game mostly just made me long for the fighting game team-ups that fans really want: Marvel VS DC, or Mortal Kombat VS Street Fighter, neither of which will likely ever happen outside of M.U.G.E.N.

The only thing that the prospect of Mixed Nutz did for me was make me want to see WB team up with Disney for a comedy cartoon series. I’d watch the heck out of that. Unfortunately, getting rival companies to work together is like pulling teeth: very hard. Such a series would likely be stuck in development hell for several years.

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“Aaaaaww, NUTS!”

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.

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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

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…but with the Banana Splits.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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Fleegle the beagle 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)

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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.

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“Banana-Licious, baby!”

DROOPER (voiced by Allan Melvin)

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Drooper the lion’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

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…And The Skatebirds.

Skatebirds

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HARD PASS.

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

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RESPECT THE SPLITS. RESPECT THEM!