Saturday, July 14, 2007

Saturday Morning Cartoons!

Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines

The Cuckoo Patrol (1969)

The best animation on Saturday morning came from film studios and recycled shorts used before features at the movies - like Bugs Bunny and Tom & Jerry - mostly from the mid-'30's to the mid-'50's. Warner Brothers could take up to six months on a single cartoon. Production studios that solely created animated shows for television did them quickly and on the cheap, trying to emulate the live action production schedules that TV ate up. This created quite an influx of crap. One of the biggest suppliers of cartoon poo was Hanna-Barbera, who had their roots in the MGM Tom & Jerry cartoons. Their biggest strength was in creating fun, unique characters. They fell short in the writing and execution department. With a few exceptions (Johnny Quest and The Flintstones, for example), the characters overshadowed their lackluster adventures.

But I still loved them and ate them up as voraciously as they could spit them out.

In 1969, they produced Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines. They took the antagonists from the earlier The Wacky Races and gave them their own series. Placed - ever-so-loosely - in WWI, Dick Dastardly and his crew were charged with trying to stop Yankee Doodle Pigeon from delivering his top secret messages. I do have to give them credit for their very inventive and endless supply of flying machines. And one of my favorite things to do was to try to laugh like Muttley.

Included in this are the show's opening credits, which are a lot of fun.