Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Comic Book Advertisements!

Something a little different for this installment... I'm going to be looking at -- and writing about -- a two-page spread for CBS' Saturday Morning line-up from 1974! These pages appeared in the November 1974 cover-dated DC books. There'll be quite a bit to cover, so I'll put it all after the jump.

First up, the first page!
This page features advertisements for a number of CBS shows, although only focusing on some of them specifically. Shows that didn't make the cut for special promotion in the ad were Speed Buggy (the second season of this show), In the News (a short program between various TV shows on CBS, it alerted kids as to stuff happening in the world at large, on its third season), Scooby Doo, Where Are You? (The Internet Movie Database shows the original Scooby show aired from 1969 to 1972, with The New Scooby-Doo Movies running from 1972 to 1974, so this was reruns of the original series that lasted two years until Scooby moved to ABC), the Jetsons (reruns of the original prime time series episodes from 1969), Fat Albert (another multi-season juggernaut for CBS, debuting in 1972 along with Scooby-Doo), two episodes of the CBS Children's Film Festival (hosted by Kukla, Fran and Ollie, this series aired from 1967 to 1984, featuring children's films from around the world).

The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine, featuring the Globetrotters live, was the first of the spotlight shows.! According to the Internet Movie Databse, this was a two-season show on Saturday mornings. Here's the opening and closing of an episode:

This show was co-produced by Funhouse Productions and Yongestreet Productions, and aired about a year after the end of Hanna-Barbera's original Harlem Globetrotters animated show. Hanna-Barbera would return to the Globetrotters for The Super Globetrotters in 1979.

I honestly don't remember watching this show at all... it must'be been on opposite another show I watched on ABC or NBC!

Now, the Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Comedy show? That one I remember! My siblings and I watched this one-season wonder faithfully, although I don't recall ever watching their 1978 follow-up Bonkers!, which was produced in Britain. Anyway, here's the opening to that series:

I definitely remember Rod Hill and his Emu on this show. Like the Globetrotters show, it seems to have been produced as a kids' version of popular prime-time variety shows, like Sonny and Cher.

The next big show (for this ad, anyway), was the US of Archie, featuring Riverdale's famous teenagers from the comics, produced by Filmation. The original Archie show aired for one season in 1968, and then in 1969, it became The Archie Comedy Hour. In 1970, it was Archie's Funhouse, with Archie's TV Funnies in 1971, Everything's Archie in 1973 (apparently repeats of previously released material, with a new opening), and then The U.S. of Archie here in 1974, lasting two years (Archie would return with new material plus repeats in The New Archie and Sabrina Hour in 1977). Here's a video from an episode of this show:

Aside from the songs in the show, the idea here was we'd see Archie and the gang in various points in US history, showing how kids made history. In some ways, it was probably a much more restrained version of Kids WB's "Histeria!". I wish there were more about this show to check out, but aside from two music videos, the only other video on YouTube about this show was my own Give-A-Show video:

Even in 1974, Bicentennial Fever was starting to hit the USA, but amazingly, this was the only show on CBS that catered to it!

Another juggernaut CBS had on its hands was Shazam! This was the first season for Filmation's live-action series featuring Captain Marvel, and this show was joined in the second season by The Secrets of Isis. Shazam! Lasted until 1977, although repeats aired in 1980. Here's the opening of the show... I think that's Lou Scheimer himself doing the narration:

Another new show was Partridge Family 2200 AD, featuring the TV sitcom musical family in space! Looking at the opening, it certainly appears as though a lot of Jetsons stuff got reused here!

According to Wikipedia, this started out as an updated version of the Jetsons, featuring Elroy as a teenager and Judy as an ace reporter, but CBS told them to use the Partridge Family in the future instead! Shirley Jones and David Cassidy did not voice their cartoon counterparts, and Susan Dey only did the voice of Laurie for two episodes! This apparently lasted a single season, and deservedly so, in my opinion. This show begain airing on TV just after the original TV show went off the air.

This show was one of several Saturday morning TV shows that transplanted television characters into cartoon form... others included Jeannie (another Hanna-Barbera show, with a very different approach than I Dream of Jeannie), Filmation's My Favorite Martians, The Brady Kids, Lassie's Rescue Rangers, Star Trek, and The New Adventures of Gilligan/Gilligan's Planet. In the 1980s, animated versions of Happy Days, Mork & Mindy, and Laverne & Shirley also aired briefly.

But getting back to the Partridge Family 2020 AD... looking at the Internet Movie Database, I see that for the cartoon, Shirley Partridge was renamed as Connie Partridge!

The final show in this ad is quite possibly my favorite of Hanna-Barbera's 1970s TV shows... Valley of the Dinosaurs! In some ways, this could be looked at as a reworking of H-B's earlier Dino Boy (that show had a boy parachute into a lost world with dinosaurs and cavemen.. this one had a family's trapped in a prehistoric valley) with some touches of Turok, Son of Stone (in his comic book, Turok and his friend were trapped in a prehistoric valley, too).

Land of the Lost, with a similar premise (complete with the family on a raft) also began this season. Dinosaurs were very popular at this time, so it's no surprise two shows with similar concepts aired at the same time. Korg: 70,000 B.C. was another Hanna-Barbera show that began this same season on ABC, although that show was more realistic, featuring the adventures of a family of Neanderthals during the Ice Age (the Charlton comic book based on the show wasn't nearly as realistic).

Of the shows promoted in this ad, Valley of the Dinosaurs was the only one to be done in comic book form, with a short-lived Charlton series (DC had been publishing Shazam! already). Here's the opening of the show:

All the episodes seem to be available on YouTube.

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