Saturday, December 11, 2010
Hanna Barbera's The Biskitts
The Biskitts was a Hanna Barbera Saturday Morning cartoon that debuted in 1983 on CBS. At the time, shows like the Smurfs were very popular, so somebody had the idea to make a series with a civilization of tiny dogs living in a castle in a swamp.
The Biskitts had a job to do. They were the guardians of a royal treasure, and they took the job seriously.
The Biskitt I remember the most was Shiner. He was the antagonist of the group, and kind of a jerk. He was voiced by Jerry Houser, who played Marcia Brady's husband in all those Brady Bunch TV movies and specials like The Brady Brides and the Brady Bunch Christmas.
The tiny Biskitts faced all sorts of dangers, including a bobcat named Scratch (Peter Cullen, the voice of Eeyore in many Winnie the Pooh cartoons).
The Biskitts were small enough to ride on the turtles and frogs that lived near the castle.
The Biskitts had to guard their treasure from King Max, the Gargamel character from this show. King Max was voiced by Kenneth Mars, who would later voice King Triton in Disney's The Little Mermaid.
The character named Bump was voiced by Bob Holt. As a kid, I remember hearing his voice on The Monster Plantation ride at Six Flags Over Georgia (he was a tennis player monster). When the ride was refurbished and reopened as The Monster Mansion, his voice there was lost.
The other Biskitts were Sweets (Kathleen Helppie), Wags (Darryl Hickman), Lady (B.J. Ward), Downer (Henry Gibson), Wiggle (Jennifer Darling), Scat (Dick Beals), Spinner (Bob Holt) and Mooch (Marshall Efron). Their voices can be heard in many different animated shows.
In one episode, the Biskitts discovered a Bizarro World civilization of pint-sized cat characters called The Whiskers. While The Biskitts had to deal with Scratch the wild cat, I believe The Whiskers were pursued by a giant rat.
The idea of a tiny hidden world of creatures was quite common from Hanna Barbera in the early 1980s. There were the Smurfs, the Snorks, the Trollkins and the Paw-Paws to name a few.
I guess the swamp's gators probably didn't like the idea of becoming Biskitt transportation.
King Max's Moat Monster was pretty freaking scary looking. He was voiced by Frank Welker. If you ever hear animal sounds in a movie, chances are good that Frank Welker provided them.
King Max had help looking for The Biskitts.
In addition to his court jester, Shecky (Kip King), Max had his dogs, Fang and Snarl.
True to the phrase, "Dog Eat Dog," Fang and Snarl were not friends with The Biskitts.
I'm really surprised that there wasn't some sort of toy line with these characters (plush toys and PVC figures at least). As a kid, I loved collecting toy animals, and I know for a fact that kids still do this today. Maybe Hanna Barbera and Warner Brothers could re-launch The Biskitts and The Whiskers.