Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Return of The Saturday Morning Revamp

I originally posted this last year. I re-present it here for newer readers who may have interest in what kind of stuff goes through my head at 3 in the morning. Enjoy!

It has long been a television tradition to take a hit prime-time series and adapt it into a Saturday morning cartoon series or animated special. Through the years, I've been fascinated by this concept and have finally compiled a list of these shows. Note: I've left out shows based on comic book superheroes (BATMAN, SUPERMAN, etc.) and comic strip adventures (TARZAN) since they were based on the original source material and not the primetime TV shows. Also, shows based on films that were also TV shows (like PLANET OF THE APES for instance) and primetime animated specials based on shows THE NANNY, THE CONEHEADS and RHODA will be examined at a future date. (Though I already covered THE NANNY here.)After appearing on an an episode of CBS's NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, originally based on the Charles Addams one-panel cartoon, had two runs as animated series, the first aired on NBC from 1973-75, and in 1992 a revival aired on ABC, though this was spun-off from the theatrical film version. Inerestingly, Jackie Coogan and Ted Cassiday reprised their prime-roles of Fester and Lurch on the original version (where Jodie Foster voiced Pugsley!), while John Astin returned to voice Gomez for 1990s series! I'm
NBC's wise-cracking alien sitcom ALF, had two animated shows, ALF (1987-89) and ALF TALES (1988-90). The second series retold classic fairy tales, kinda like SHREK from outer space.THE BIONIC SIX (1987) This syndicated had nothing to do with Steve Austin or Jamie Somers other than it's title. Jennifer Darling, who played Peggy Callahan (Mr. Goldman's assistant) on THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and THE BIONIC WOMAN voiced a villainess named  Madame-O. Imagine how cool a real Bionic cartoon show would have been!
THE BRADY KIDS - ABC (1972-74) The classic example of the primetime-to-Saturday morning format. Here the kids appear (unexplained) sans parents and Alice–but with the assistance of two pandas named Ping and Pong and a magical mynah bird named Marlon! The original cast recreated their roles-for at least the first season. Wonder Woman and Superman made guest appearances. The pilot originally aired on the amazing ABC weekly anthology series THE SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE.THE COMPLETELY MENTAL MISADVENTURES OF ED GRIMLEY - Canadian comedian Martin Short brought his SCTV and SNL character to this NBC daytime show. (1988-89). Even Count Floyd was featured!
DENNIS THE MENACE (Syndicated/CBS 1985-88) Based on Hank Ketchum's comic strip as well as the classic 1960s TV series. Dennis later was featured in a string of theatrical and TV-movies. Crabby Margaret was surely a stand-out.THE DUKES (CBS 1983) The Hazzards brought their white-trash clan to Saturday mornings via this short-lived Hanna-Barbera effort. I was never a fan of either version of this show. In  fact, I don't think I ever sat through an entire episode of THE DUKES OF HAZZARD. Now, BJ AND THE BEAR was another story!EMERGENCY + FOUR - NBC's primetime hit came to Saturday mornings. Gage and Desoto took in four kids to help them save cats and put out fires. (1973-76) Unfortunately Julie London's fabulously sexy Nurse Dixie McCall was left out. Darn, she would have made a great transition to animation!
FONZ & THE HAPPY DAYS GANG - ABC's hit 1950s era becomes a time-travel adventure featuring the new character named Cupcake! Featuring the voices of Henry Winkler, Ron Howard and Donny Most. What, no Anson Williams???(1980-82). I think I was too old to watch most bad cartoons at this point. Thankfully.
THE GARY COLEMAN SHOW (NBC 1982-83) Not based on DIFF'RENT STROKES, but on a TV-movie called THE KID WITH THE BROKEN HALO - in which Gary Coleman dies-and becomes an angel. Creepy.GIDGET MAKES THE WRONG CONNECTION (ABC, 1972) was a SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE from Hanna-Barbera based on the girl surfer series of films and TV series starring Sally Field. Moondoggie still looks pretty dreamy even in cartoon form.GILLIGAN'S ISLAND returned to TV twice in animated form. First on ABC from 1974-77 as THE NEW ADVENTURES OF GILLIGAN and then on CBS from 1982-83 as GILLIGAN'S PLANET. In the first series, Gilligan had a pet monkey named Snubby and on the second show he had a pet alien named Bumper. Filmation, you guys were just sick.THE HARDY BOYS - After two MICKEY MOUSE CLUB serials in the 1950s and a failed CBS primetime pilot, ABC and Filmation brought the boy detectives to Saturday mornings from 1969-71. this time out they had a rock band. A fun ABC live-action primetime series followed in 1977-79 and a Canadian syndicated series ran in 1995. The Cartoon Network's VENTURE BROS. was surely inspired by this show.The beautiful genie named JEANNIE came to CBS in 1973-75 without her supporting cast. Instead of Tony the astronaut, her "master" this time around was a teen teen surfer named Corry (voiced by Mark Hamill). And her friend Babu was such a giant queen! ("Yapple Dapple!")
LASSIE'S RESCUE RANGERS (ABC 1973-75) followed the new adventures of the canine film and TV star. The pilot aired on THE SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE. Poor Lassie. Skip this and watch the recent film version. It's a tear-jerker.
LAVERNE & SHIRLEY IN THE ARMY came to ABC daytime in 1981-82 transforming into LAVERNE & SHIRLEY WITH THE FONZ in 1982-83 and THE MORK AND MINDY/LAVERNE & SHIRLEY/FONZ HOUR in 1982-83. Cindy Williams left this series too. Who can blame her?LOST IN SPACE returned to the airwaves via ABC in 1973 via SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE. Dr. Smith was back, but the Robinsons were a completely different family! Not to be confused by the Space Family Robinson comic book or the futuristic Disney cgi animated film MEET THE ROBINSONS . So little space, so many Robinsons.M*U*S*H was a canine-themed parody of M*A*S*H from the minds of Filmation. It aired as part of the sadly overlooked satiric  show UNCLE CROC'S BLOCK starring the late, great Charles Nelson Rielly. It ran on ABC 1975-76.
MINI-MUNSTERS was another SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE on ABC 1974. Only Grandpa Al Lewis returned. From the title it sounds like they were younger versions of the misunderstood TV family–but the screencap does not indicate that.MUPPET BABIES (CBS, 1984-92) was the hit show that started the trend of infantilizing existing characters. This was followed by FLINTSTONE KIDS, A PUP NAMED SCOOBY-DOO and a slew of other annoyingly bad ideas that populated Saturday mornings throughout the 1980s and 90s.MY FAVORITE MARTIANS ran on CBS 1973-75 with a totally different cast, but the same basic premise of the prime-time hit. I could not fin any actual artwork from this Filmation series. Instead, a fun cover of the Gold Key comic book series.
Juliet Mills, Richard Long and Kim Richards lent their voices to two SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIEs -NANNY & THE PROFESSOR (1972) and NANNY & THE PROFESSOR AND THE PHANTOM OF THE CIRCUS (1973). Phoebe Figalilly is an awesome character! Maybe the two shows will be included when the primetime show is finally released on dvd!THE ODDBALL COUPLE brought Felix and Oscar to kids TV-transformed into a cat and dog: Spiffy and Fleabag. This ran on ABC on 1975-77, after THE ODD COUPLE had ended its five-year run.THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY 2220 AD (CBS 1974-75) took the musical family into space - and Shirley Partridge was renamed Connie!!! It's like THE JETSONS if George died and Jane started a rock band.IT'S PUNKY BREWSTER (NBC 1985-89) Before her breast-reduction surgery, Soleil-Moon Frye and her friends shared animated adventures!STAR TREK (NBC 1973-75) Considered by many to be the all-time best animated series based on a prime-time show. (If not the all-time best animated series!) This effort was intelligent and featured the best Filmation animation ever. A true labor of love.TABITHA AND ADAM AND THE CLOWN FAMILY (ABC, 1972) The BEWITCHED kids are now magical teens and their parents are nowhere to be found in this SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE. This, of course led to the wickedly awful TABITHA prime-time series.And finally we have THAT GIRL IN WONDERLAND (ABC, 1973) - Yet another SATURDAY SUPERSTAR MOVIE. Marlo Thomas dreams her way into various fairy tales in this ambitious Rankin-Bass production. This I'd really love to see again! Well - that's all I have. If there's any you recall, that i haven't touched on, just let me know! A special thanks to all the fine folks out there whose images I've borrowed.


Anonymous said...

Love your web page! Thanks for the swell trip down memory lane.

Ookie said...

Whoa! Pop culture overload! Many of these shows deserve a whole page of analysis unto themselves! Listing them all like this doesn't do them justice!