Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie

Opening to the Saturday Superstar Movie
Brady Kids cartoon

ABC Saturday Superstar Movie
9:30 Saturday Mornings 1972 - 73

TV-movies were big winners for ABC in primetime so they tried an anthology program for the kiddie set. It worked for CBS and the New Scooby Doo Movies.

ABC fielded a wide range of concepts for their cartoon movies -'Willie Mays and the Say Hey Kid', 'Yogi's Ark Lark', 'Daffy Duck and Porky Pig Meet the Groovie Goolies', 'Oliver and the Artful Dodger', 'Lassie's and the Spirit of Thunder Mountain', 'That Girl in Wonderland' and 'Popeye'.

'The Brady Kids' starred the vocal talents of the original cast members, this was on the first episode of SSM to give a big launch for the new Brady cartoon series that started on Saturdays that fall.

Highlights for the first season included an animated reboot of 'Nanny and the Professor', again with the original cast of the ABC primetime series (Juliet Mills, Richard Long, etc) reunited. The family and Nanny got involved in a spy adventure that started when the boys found a stolen microdot. This was charming, as I recall, but then I loved the sitcom and was sorry to see it go the year before.

'Tabitha and Adam and the Clown Family' was based on the ABC hit  'Bewitched'.

'Mini-Munsters' was the first of MANY attempts to revive 'The Munsters', the only original cast member in this production was Al Lewis as Grandpa. The network failed to pick up this pilot.

Gidget Cartoon Saturday mornings 1972"Robin Hoodnick" Lennie Weinrib did most of the voices for a cartoon version of the goings on in Nottingham Forest.

"Gidget Makes The Wrong Connection" - an animated Gidget and her beach pals gets mixed up with gold smugglers.

Most if not all of these 'movies' were pilots for possible Saturday series, many (like Lassie) actually graduated to weekly status. These mini-movies were produced by Filmation, Rankin-Bass, Hanna-Barbera and others.

ABC Superstar MovieThe 1973-74 season saw the coming of The New Saturday Superstar Movie. Despite the word 'New' in the title, only three fresh episodes aired this season.

Still, the second season started with a bang - 'Space Family Robinson', the animated adventures of the 'Lost in Space' Robinson family... well, sort of. The original Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) was on hand but (for legal reasons) this was a slightly different Robinson family he's now marooned with. Another possible Saturday morning series that was ultimately shelved from Hanna-Barbera.

This was a very weird production, guess they decided to do 'Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space' instead - it was basically the same concept. Clever character designs by Alex Toth made this (and Josie) watchable.

Other new features this season -  'Nanny and the Professor and the Phantom of the Circus', modeled on every Scooby Doo episode ever. The original cast of this much-loved primetime series (Nanny and the Professor, 1970-71) returned a second time in cartoon form.

'Luvcast, USA' was a 'Love American Style' cartoon-style with three segments about love potions and feminist werewolves. Now that's scary! 

More Classic TV fun at TVparty!