[embedded video: Underdog theme]

I loved Underdog. The cartoon, not whatever this was. It was shown in syndication in the afternoon and I used to watch it at my grandparent’s house when the weather was too crappy for my grandfather to take dad and I out for boating adventures in the Port Charlotte canals.

The New York Times is reporting that Underdog co-creator W. Watts Biggers died.

I looked in my archives to see how much I’ve posted about Underdog. I found this in a link round-up post from 2002. (Un)fortunately, the links were dead:

It was back to sad, however, when I saw the ain’t it cool news headline announcing the death of Rocky and Bullwinkle animation supervisor William “Tex” Henson. Henson also oversaw Underdog, which was one of my favorite cartoons. There’s not a lot of Underdog information on the web. ToonTracker has some and I found a rather disturbing quantity of Underdog fan fiction that someone wrote while heavily medicated.

I also found this, which was disturbing in a different way, in that it was about a dream I had last year: I doubt a completed Underdog coloring book actually counts as a PhD comprehensive exam.

In retrospect, Underdog was a pretty annoying show, which may explain why we went on some afternoon boat rides in pretty crappy weather. Still, I loved the Underdog coloring books. A lot.

There’s no end to the horrifying ethnic stereotypes in some of the early episodes of Scooby-Doo. And by “early” I mean, “the first 60 or 70 or 80 episodes.”

The combination of cringe-worthy Chinese waiter impersonations and the insane music make season 2’s “The Mystery Mask Mix-Up” a real standout. As you may recall, there was a brief period at the end of the 2nd season where every chase scene was accompanied by a nonsensical pop song. See also: I’m in Love with an Ostrich.

Since I found the chase scene musical interlude for this episode on youtube, I thought I’d share it with you:

I was hunting around for commentary on this episode when I came across a funny website about the first few seasons of the show. This note about “The Mystery Mask Mix-Up” sums up my feelings about this episode perfectly: “The smugglers have to use golden masks and carrier pigeons to communicate with each other?! How expensive is the telephone?”

Happy holidays, everyone. Now quit trying to make polite conversation with your crazy relatives and go watch some TV instead!

Sometimes I lose my mind while watching Scooby Doo and yell things at Husband like, “That’s why you don’t put a dog in charge of operating the outboard motor!” in a way that implies Husband was considering a such an action.

Sometimes Husband has to restrict my television time. Tonight’s one of those nights.

I do a lot of things for you, my loyal readers. Other times, I do things for fun, but I claim I’m doing it for you, just to boost your self-esteem. This is one of those times.

I’ve been watching a lot of Scooby Doo. In the 2nd season, the creators started inserting pop songs into every episode. It’s the nutty lack of relevance to anything happening on screen that makes these songs so hilarious.

In “Jeepers, it’s the Creeper” the gang runs from a big green dude called The Creeper while, for no reason at all, a song about being in love with an ostrich plays.

[youtube video: Scooby Doo, Daydreamin’ (I’m in Love with an Ostrich)]

[link updated 11/13/15]

A whim one evening to watch a few episodes of Scooby Doo turned into a typically ridiculous quest to determine the original chronology of the show and to watch every episode, in order.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me sometimes.

If you don’t find this idea as exciting as I do, go to the store and buy yourself a box of BooBerry or Count Chocula. Eat a bowl or two of cereal and this project will seem like The Best Idea Ever.

The animation that transformed the top-hat wearing Count Dracula into a bat in House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula reminded me of my favorite Bugs Bunny cartoon, Transylvania 6-5000. I hadn’t seen it in years, maybe since I was a kid, so I was excited to find it online in it’s entirety.

Bugs Bunny – Transylvania 6-5000

About House of Dracula – Glenn Strange returns as The Monster but footage of Lon Chaney (Ghost of Frankenstein) and Boris Karloff (Bride of Frankenstein) are used to pad the movie. Chaney also has a starring role as Lawrence Talbot, the Wolf Man who’s despair is at the heart of many of these movies. The poor immortal bastard just wants to quit chasing cars and howling at the moon, but every scientist he finds who’s willing to try to cure him turns out to be mad. Plus, they always turn out to have a fetish for reviving Frankenstein’s Monster that screws everything up by the final reel and leaves Lawrence Talbot once again in need of some new clothes and a case of flea collars. Poor WolfMan, he’s got the worst HMO ever.

I’m fairly conversant in mid-Twentieth Century advertising and popular culture, but there’s always so much more to learn!

According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications The Flintstones started out as a Primetime show, it wasn’t considered “children’s programming” when it debuted. Even knowing that, this weirded me out:

The Flintstones sell us Winston Cigarettes.

Also on the Museum of Broadcast Communications site was this tidbit, doubly interesting in this context:

The Flintstones also launched a multi-million dollar merchandising business with hundreds of toys and novelties placed on the market. Perhaps the most enduring product developed in this ancillary line was Flintstones vitamins, also used as a sponsor for the program. Citing the difficulties children might have in distinguishing cartoon characters from the products made in their likenesses, critics attacked the practice of advertising vitamins to children, and such ads were withdrawn in 1972.

Granted, they dumped Winston as a sponsor long before the vitamins fracas, but in hindsight it just seems so quaint that marketing vitamins to kids would be threatening (not that I disagree).

(youtube link via digg)