Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Three Hanna-Barbera Shows That Really Existed (believe it or not)

 Fonz and the Happy Days Gang
1980-1982 (24 episodes)
It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. At the start of the 1980s, H-B signed a deal with Paramount Television to bring some of their TV shows to Saturday mornings in cartoon form. Mork and Mindy (starring the original cast but, oddly, set when Mindy was at school), Laverne and Shirley and this oddity. Why is it any odder than the other Paramount shows I mentioned? Because this show featured the Fonz, Richie and Ralph Malph meeting a girl from the future called Cupcake (voiced by Didi Conn who was Frenchie in Grease). And Cupcake has a time machine. Yup, you read that right, the 'Happy Days Gang' travel through time. Sure, the live action show dabbled in sci-fi before when it introduced Mork but that was only a dream Richie had. Oh, and Fonzie had an anthropomorphic dog called Mr. Cool.
FACT:  In the Laverne and Shirey cartoon, the characters were in the army. This is similar to Olive Oyl in the Popeye Show that was on at the same time. Both were inspired by the film Private Benjamin which was a hit the year before (1980)

See the intro here-

The Robonic Stooges
1977-1978 (32 episodes)
H-B made many shows that were made up of 3 or more shorts. Yogi Bear, for example, started as a short in The Huckleberry Hound Show before getting one of his own. In 1978, the format was wearing a bit thin when they introduced The Skatebirds to Saturday mornings and in turn, that show introduced The Robonic Stooges to a world of unsuspecting kids. Giving a modern spin on the classic characters, Larry, Curly and Moe get bionic powers and fight crime. It's as bad as it sounds. Since all of the real stooges had passed away before this monstrosity could get made, it was left to voice actors to play the parts. The problem is, especially in the case of Frank Welker, they used actors who had done impersonations of the Stooges for other shows. This is why Curly sounds exactly like Jabberjaw.......
FACT: Paul Winchell who voices Moe is more famous for providing the voice of Dick Dastardly.

See the (very brief) intro here-

Popeye and Son
1987-1988 (13 episodes)
In the 1980s, every cartoon character either had kids (The Pink Panther, Captain Caveman) or were kids (Tom and Jerry, The Muppets, The Flintsones, the Scooby Gang etc) and in the later half of the decade H-B thought it was the turn of Popeye to have a kid. Yup, Popeye. Now, correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't one of the main attractions of the original (and indeed in H-B's own Popeye toon from the 70s/early 80s) the love triangle between Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto? In this version, Popeye and Olive are married and have a son called Junior (original). Not only that, but Bluto also has a son! Despite him being a cartoon character, I swear you can see the embarrassment on Popeye's face.
FACT: Maurice LaMarche who played Popeye for this show only is more famous as being the voice of Egon in the Real Ghostbusters cartoon and Brain in Pinky and the Brain. He also does many voices on Futurama.

See a complete episode here-


  1. Sadly I remember all of these (Popeye and son only after seeing it again - my brain has blocked that out)

    H-B had a string of anthropomorphic thing with stoner friend, good-looking guy, good looking girl solve crimes in "environment." And I watched every one of them.

  2. I actually have some episodes of Popeye and Son on dvd, to my shame. I'm a huge fan of H-B but even I'll admit they made some shite. Saying that, though, I would bloody love to see episodes of Fonz and the Happy Days Gang again.