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Formula Juan Racer: Numero Uno!

Formula Juan Racer: Numero Uno!
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Baby Formula Juan Racer
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cooler VS CatGut: A Pound Puppies Cage Match

What do you get when you cross the Fonz from the TV show "Happy Days" with a stuffed Pound Puppies toy?  That would be Cooler, one of the talking, clothed Pound Puppies introduced in 1985.  Cooler and his friends (and their rival, CatGut) were part of a merchandising spin-off of the 1984 Tonka Pound Puppies toy line.

Scrounger and the other clothed Pound Puppies could walk on two legs, but some of the other dogs in the pound could not.  It was sort of like "Animal Farm."  Well, maybe not.

A special collection of miniature Pound Puppies Golden Books (and bookmarks) were available at Hardee's restaurants.

The original Pound Puppies include Louie (a chef), Howler, Bright Eyes, Cooler, the Nose, Barkerville and Scrounger.  Cooler's love interest, Violet, is curiously not shown with the cast here (from one of the books sold at Hardee's), but appeared on a great deal of merchandise.

Figurines of these characters were available in stores and by mail through offers on boxes of Post cereals (like Cocoa Pebbles).

Cooler and his gang were always having trouble with Dabney Nabbit, the dogcatcher.

The pups had a friend in veterinarian Doc Weston.

In addition to outwitting Dabney Nabbit, the dogs helped other pups find homes.

In addition to Golden Books, Hardee's also sold plush Pound Puppies and Pound Purries (the cat version of Pound Puppies).

Dabney Nabbit's pet is the villain CatGut.

CatGut was the only cat in the pound, as the Pound Purries toy line had not yet been created.

The Pound Puppies also had to watch out for vicious guard dogs, dobermans named Itchey and Snitchey.

Merchandise (PVC figurines) of Dabney Nabbit and the guard dogs is very rare.

Adopt a Pound Puppy, or these wabbits get taken out!

The Pound Puppies failed to save Old Yeller.

Hanna Barbera created a syndicated animated Pound Puppies special for the Fall of 1985.  The cast includes Dan Gilvezan (Cooler), Ron Palillo (Scrounger), Alan Oppenheimer (Barkerville), Gail Matthius (Violet), Don Messick (Louie, Itchy), Adrienne Alexander (Bright Eyes), Frank Welker (Howler, CatGut, Snichey), Joanne Worley (The Nose), and Henry Gibson (Nabbit).

The special (directed by Alan Zaslove and written by Tom Ruegger) closely follows characters and situations established by the toy line.  The female dog shown here is Violet, and I love that she is a droopy looking bloodhound and not a stereotypical fussy poodle.

When the Pound Puppies became a Hanna Barbera Saturday Morning TV series in 1986, the dog doo seemed to hit the fan.  Many characters were dropped or redesigned and the story changed.  CatGut got a new owner, Katrina Stoneheart (voiced by Pat Carroll, AKA Ursula from Disney's "The Little Mermaid").  Even more changes were made when the Saturday Morning show was renewed for a second season.

Before the Internet, things like this happened and kids were left to wonder what was going on, or if anyone else even noticed.  In 1988, I was happy to learn more about what happened from animator Will Finn (of "Aladdin" and "Beauty and the Beast" fame) in an article in a magazine called Cartoon Quarterly.

Will Finn's quote here about the character of Bright Eyes is hilarious:  "Q-5 even re-designed one of last season's Pound Puppies because she wasn't cute enough!  Who's gonna help re-design you?  Besides, haven't they ever seen a Pound Puppy doll?  They're not supposed to be cute.  They look like a cross between a dead dog and a sack of Gold Medal flour."

Will Finn speaks the truth.  The Pound Puppies were so ugly they were cute, and that was part of their charm.

To add to the confusion, there have been many, many different versions of the Pound Puppies (and different names for them) all over the world.  The Pound Puppies are still around today, but sadly, they no longer look like a cross between a dead dog and a sack of Gold Medal flour.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Filmation's Ghostbusters (AKA The Version With The Gorilla)

Everyone is familiar with the Ghostbusters.  You know, the cartoon with the Gorilla that wears pants.  Say what?!

Filmation's 1986 animated Ghostbusters TV series was the cause of confusion and frustration for many children in the 1980s.  It was actually NOT a rip-off of the 1984 Bill Murray film with Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  Filmation created a live action Ghost Busters show way back in 1975 (and yes, it had a gorilla character, too!).

The live action 1975 Ghost Busters TV show starred Forrest Tucker as Jake Kong and Larry Storch as Eddie Spencer.  Tracy the Gorilla was played by Bob Burns.

The 1986 Filmation Ghostbusters cartoon focused on the sons of the original Ghost Busters.

The Ghostbusters voice cast included some legendary cartoon actors.  Jake Kong Jr. was voiced by Pat Fraley (Disney's "TaleSpin").  Eddie Spencer Jr. was voiced by Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime in "Transformers").  Tracy the Gorilla was voiced by Filmation producer Lou Scheimer.  Belfry the Bat was voiced by Susan Blu (she's provided character voices and been a voice director on many, many cartoons).

The Ghostbusters have their own flying machine called the Ghost Buggy.  It is sort of like a haunted version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The Ghostbusters are assisted by Futura, the Ghostbustress of the Future (Susan Blu).  The have to fight off ghouls like Scared Stiff (Pat Fraley) and Haunter (Peter Cullen).

The main villain the Ghostbusters have to fight is Prime Evil (Alan Oppenheimer).  He fits in well with other Filmation villains like Skeletor.

This comic book was packaged with action figures based off the show.  I actually noticed the toys before I knew about the cartoon.

Prime Evil also has help from ghoulish Mysteria (Linda Gary), a Werewolf named Fangster (Alan Oppenheimer), and two-faced Fib Face (Lou Scheimer).

Brat-A-Rat (Peter Cullen) is Prime Evil's cackling, flying rat creature sidekick.

I like how theatrical and dramatic Prime Evil acts.

Prime Evil is foiled again!  He would have gotten away with it if it had not been for those meddling kids and their Gorilla.

The Ghostbusters and their enemies have all sorts of gadgets, houses and accessories to translate into toys.

Oooh!  Look at the Ghost Command Haunted House and the Ghost Buggy!  I never had these.  I bet they are worth a lot now.

Check out the Tracy the Gorilla figure with his Feces Flinging Action Arm!

This is a nice gender-neutral set of toys, with flowing hair on Futura , as well as TV reporter Jessica Wray (Susan Blu) and villain Mysteria.

Prime Evil and his pals want to haunt your house.

Brat-A-Rat was sold with Belfry, which were the only two Ghostbusters action figures that I had.

Belfry (and the Ghostbusters comic book) has survived in my Halloween decorations for decades.  I lost Brat-A-Rat many years ago.

Belfry wrapped up each episode of Ghostbusters, similar to Loo-Kee's role on Filmation's "She-Ra."

"She-Ra" featured a villain sidekick character named Imp who looks a bit similar to Belfry.  Visit Loo-Kee Here! It's She-Ra and He-Man! to explore the world of the Masters of the Universe.

For more fun with Gorillas and Ghostbusters, check out King Kong, Christmas Ape.