Fabulous Funnies is a 1978-1979 American animated children's show produced for Saturday morning television by Filmation. The show aired for one season from September 9, 1978 to September 1, 1979 on NBC, airing 13 episodes.
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producers||Lou Scheimer|
|Running time||30 min.|
|Original release||September 9, 1978 –|
September 1, 1979
The show was an anthology of stories based on famous American comic strips, including Broom Hilda, Alley Oop, The Captain and the Kids, Nancy, Emmy Lou and (for one episode) Tumbleweeds. The character designs closely mimicked the comic strips, so the animators had to animate in several different styles for the program.
It was noted by critics that the show's comic potential was blunted by NBC's demand that the show promote pro-social messages for the child audience. This was especially noticeable when rowdy characters like the Katzenjammer Kids were obliged to spread messages of politeness and restraint. The Los Angeles Times called the show's moralizing "heavy-handed."
Each episode contained Broom Hilda, Alley Oop and The Captain and the Kids, with other segments appearing on a rotating basis. Foozy from Alley Oop served as the show's host, and mainly spoke in rhyme.
Each episode had an overall theme, based on a pro-social message. For example, "Fear" dealt with overcoming trepidation, and included Foozy's narration, "We're here to make one thing clear, a lot of woe comes from undue fear." Other topics included drinking, smoking, schoolwork, health, voting and the environment.
The first episode of Fabulous Funnies aired with a segment based on Tumbleweeds, but Filmation didn't actually have the rights to the strip. The strip's creator, Tom K. Ryan, said that he would give approval for his comic to appear in the show pending a look at the scripts and designs, but the producers believed that he had already given permission. After the first episode aired, Ryan called producer Lou Scheimer and said that he wouldn't sue, as long as the strip didn't appear in any further episodes.
The voice cast included:
In The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows, David Perlmutter writes: "For the most part, they were effective adaptations on a visual level. However, the advanced age of most of the properties (Katzenjammer dated to 1898, Alley Oop and Nancy to the 1930s, Broom Hilda to 1970) meant that adapting them to the restrictions of television animation in the 1970s required unwelcome compromises to the material that impaired their abilities to tell stories as effectively as they had in the comics." George Woolery agrees in Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years that the show "sacrificed humor and fun for preaching."
In Television Cartoon Shows, Hal Erickson adds, "What, pray tell, did the media critics expect when such marvelously uninhibited, havoc-wreaking characters like Alley Oop and the Katzenjammer Kids were required to warn the kids at home to behave like responsible ladies and gentlemen? Especially in the case of the Katzenjammers, the whole point of newspaper strips in the first place was to give rule-bound children (and adults!) a cathartic outlet for their latent antisocial tendencies. With the noblest motivations in mind, Fabulous Funnies managed to rob its characters of their very reason for being."
The 13 episodes were:
|Nº||Title||Original air date|
|1||"Animal Crack-Ups"||September 9, 1978|
|2||"School Daze"||September 16, 1978|
|3||"Comic-ition"||September 23, 1978|
|4||"Bods and Clods"||September 30, 1978|
|5||"Save Our World"||October 7, 1978|
|6||"But, Would You Want Your Sister to Marry an Artist?"||October 14, 1978|
|7||"Money Madness"||October 21, 1978|
|8||"Fear"||October 28, 1978|
|9||"Different Jokes for Different Folks"||November 4, 1978|
|10||"Death"||November 11, 1978|
|11||"Safety Second"||November 18, 1978|
|12||"Drinking"||November 25, 1978|
|13||"Shot in the Light"||December 1, 1978|
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television cartoon shows: an illustrated encyclopedia, 1949 through 2003. McFarland & Co. pp. 310–311. ISBN 07864-2255-6.
- Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 186. ISBN 978-1538103739.
- Scheimer, Lou (2015). Creating the Filmation Generation (2nd ed.). TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 157–158. ISBN 978-1-60549-044-1.
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 310–311. ISBN 978-1476665993.
- Woolery, George W. (1983). Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years, 1946-1981. Scarecrow Press. pp. 91–92. ISBN 0-8108-1557-5. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- "The Fabulous Funnies Episode Guide". The Big Cartoon Database. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
- Gent, George (February 12, 1968). "Fabulous Funnies". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 March 2020.