I’m off from work today, so for fun I decided to watch some classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the 1970’s. Some of the selections are shows I fondly remember. Others are things I don’t recall ever seeing before, which is odd because with only three television channels you’d think I would have watched everything possible. Maybe even back then scheduling conflicts kept me from watching stuff- for instance, if The Superfriends was on, I’m sure I wouldn’t have switched over to another channel. I do have some thoughts about this selection of cartoons which might be contrary to my thoughts when I was a kid:Scooby Doo is the template for many of the Hanna Barbera shows- the group of precious teenagers, the funny humanistic pet, “The Mystery Machine” van, solving crime, spooky ghosts, running in and out of doors and rooms in a house, and so on. If you didn’t watch Scooby, you missed out on a childhood pleasure and probably never watched cartoons. This episode has the cameo kings of the 1970s- The Harlem Globetrotters- and a ghost pirate ship and a spooky inn.
I remember watching Yogi Bear as a kid but the episode of “Yogi’s Gang” here is weird. It has Yogi, Boo Boo, and other Yogi friends like Snaggle Puss and Huckleberry Hound but they are on a flying ark! And they get attacked in mid-air by a greedy genie riding a giant flying lamp. It’s a decent episode about greed and what is really important in life but I still can’t get over the flying ark! Was a van too passé? If this was a recurring thing, I either didn’t watch this show or blocked out the ark out of my mind.Goober & the Ghost Chasers sounds familiar but I don’t recall watching it regularly and after seeing this episode I must applaud my younger self’s taste. This is an awful Scooby Doo knock-off- a group of friends and a dog travel around in a van and solve mysteries. And for some reason, the dog turns invisible when frightened. And this is not a big deal!
Amazing Chan And The Chan Clan – seems to be based on Charlie Chan but it also throws in a Scooby Doo type crime solving group of kids along with a Josie & The Pussycats musical interlude with the kids at the beginning of the episode. For some reason the theme song is not sung- it is whispered. Bizarre. This episode has them running around England looking for some thieves who stole a royal artifact from the royal palace. Of course, a suit of armor comes to life and chases the kids around the palace. Yep, Scooby DNA right there and for the Josie template they close with another musical number by the kids, although the Asian kids in the band don’t sound very Asian on the song.The Roman Holidays- I have absolutely no recollection of this ever existing. It seems like a knock-off of The Flintstones but with a Roman theme. The family pet in this one is, of course, a lion. The family is a bit more upper class though. The guys all look like either Fred Flintstone or Shaggy / Fred from Scooby Doo and the women all look like Ann Margaret or Jane Russell. It could be that Hanna-Barbera used the same animation studio for all their shows so they have a similar look to them. It’s not too bad, for a kid’s cartoon.
There was also an episode of Batman and Robin. All I can say about that episode and that permutation of a Batman series is who the heck thought Bat Mite was a good idea? Bat Mite spent the whole episode creating havoc and putting the heroes in danger by ignoring Batman’s orders. Then when Batman or Robin or both chewed him out, he started crying and saying he would leave until the heroes calmed him down and made him promise to listen to them. Then 15 seconds later he ignored his promise. Bat Mite is beyond useless and annoying. He is Scrappy Doo times ten.Josie & the Pussycats is like a female driven version of Scooby Doo but with several gratuitous musical segments thrown in at various points during the show. Everyone knows about this show and probably fondly remembers it. This episode has them meeting Captain Nemo and preventing him from sinking all the ships he encounters. I think Casey Kasem, the voice of Shaggy from Scooby Doo, also voices a character on this show.
The Funky Phantom is similar to all the other Scooby rip-off shows except that here one of the people in the group of mystery solving friends is the ghost of a Revolutionary War solider and his ghost cat. The ghost is weirdly voiced by the person who also voiced SnagglePuss but the ghost is the most likable person in the group. The other characters are either vain, obnoxious or bullies. OMG- the villain in this episode, the “ghost” of Jean Laffite, just said “I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids”! Talk about a Scooby wanna-be! I kinda remember watching this show but it wasn’t a favorite.I still want to see episodes of some other Hanna-Barbera shows I remember watching and loving, like Space Ghost, The Herculoids, Atom Ant, The Banana Splits, but this was a fun way to pass a couple hours inside with the AC on during a steamy summer day.
Speed Buggy was just awful. There is no need to discuss it, much less to ever watch it.Hong Kong Phooey, voiced by Scatman Crothers, features the incompetent but lovable janitor slash martial arts superhero Hong Kong Phooey. I didn’t remember him as being this gullible and lucky but it is still an amusing show.