Gravedale High (also known as Rick Moranis in Gravedale High) is an animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera for NBC Productions (the latter company owns all rights to the series). The series premiered in the fall of 1990 on NBC and lasted thirteen episodes.
|Also known as||Rick Moranis in Gravedale High|
|Created by||David Kirschner|
|Developed by||Ernie Contreras|
|Written by||Ernie Contreras|
Bruce Reid Shaifer
|Starring||Rick Moranis as Max Schneider|
|Voices of||Shari Belafonte|
Jackie Earle Haley
|Theme music composer||Tyrell Music Group|
|Country of origin||USA|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||David Kirschner|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
MGM Worldwide Television Distribution
|Original release||September 8 –|
December 1, 1990
The show revolves around the misadventures of human teacher Max Schneider who has unwittingly taken a job at Gravedale High, a school for monsters, near the city of Midtown. Schneider, the only human in the school, presides over a group of ghoulish teenagers that are latest-generation versions of classic movie monsters.
Most are either disruptive, uninterested, and/or unduly self-preoccupied in school, and the class is generally considered disreputable if not uncontrollable (not unlike "the Sweathogs" in Welcome Back, Kotter), the implication being Schneider was hired to teach the class because no monster teacher would take the job.
The actual "town" of Gravedale is occasionally seen and consists primarily of various cemeteries including the Eastside Cemetery and the Midtown Mausoleum. It can thus arguably be considered a "suburb" of Midtown, although few humans seem to know of its existence. In addition to the students' homes, it is known to include a doctor's office (which is run by a medical version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as seen in "Fear of Flying") and a literal body shop where people can purchase parts to assemble monsters. The existence of a charitable organization known as the United Monster Fund (dedicated to helping schools like Gravedale High "around the world") indicates Gravedale is part of an entire monster subculture.
- Maxwell Schneider (voiced by Rick Moranis) - A human teacher in his late 30s to early 40s. Slight frame and very thin physique. Very much the grown up nerd and very proud of being a teacher who can make a difference. Dresses in a plain preppy business suit attire. He always wears a polka-dotted bow tie and thick dark horn-rimmed glasses, and he has wavy auburn hair and warm brown eyes. His personality is quirky but very steady (it has to be... being in charge of his motley young crew); friendly, fun, open-minded, and one of the hardest-working teachers on the Gravedale High staff. He'd be just like one of the monsters, if he wasn't already human. A dedicated instructor who truly cares for each of his students.
- Vinnie Stoker (voiced by Roger Rose) - A vampire who is a Fonz-esque version of Count Dracula. His name is an homage to Bram Stoker and the common habit in fiction of giving vampires names that begin with V. He dresses like a 1950s greaser and often arrives late to class, which stems more from his lack of interest in academia than nocturnal habits. This is source of much debate between Schneider and Vinnie, who spends a lot of his time keeping Vinnie's boots off his desk. Vinnie is lazy by nature, but will do "studious things" or hard work if it serves his best interest.
- Frankentyke (voiced by Frank Welker) - A child reminiscent of both Frankenstein's Monster and Bart Simpson (to the extent that he addresses everyone as "man"). His short stature is the antithesis of the classic image of a hulking, frightening monster. As seen in Night of the Living Dad, his father is a human scientist who evidently created him; he apparently has no mother.
- Reggie Moonshroud (voiced by Barry Gordon) - A geeky red-haired werewolf, Reggie is prone to shedding a great deal when nervous, and can sometimes howl, but overall has his emotions under control (the opposite of werewolves being associated with carnal instincts). As a nod to Richie Cunningham from Happy Days, he and the Fonz-like Vinnie are best friends, which was also a play on the show's antithesis of the classic monster movie genre, which often depicts werewolves and vampires as mortal enemies.
- J.P. Ghastly III (voiced by Frank Welker impersonating Peter Lorre) - A wealthy blue-skinned gnome-like monster. Sid once referred to him as a "quirk." His monster classification is unidentified. There is a bit of rivalry between him and Vinnie.
- Gill Waterman (voiced by Jackie Earle Haley) - A lagoon creature and surfer dude. His name is a pun on both concepts, and he frequently uses, and overuses, surfer lingo. Best friends with Frankentyke. Gill likes to surf, idolizes famed surfer Kahuna Bob, and has a voracious appetite. As seen in Night of the Living Dad, Gil's parents dress in Southern aristocracy attire (perhaps as a nod to the Black Lagoon's location in South America), but Mr. Waterman shares his son's fondness for surfer lingo.
- Cleofatra (voiced by Ricki Lake) - An obese and somewhat nerdy mummy in contrast to the emaciated appearance generally associated with mummies. Her name is usually abbreviated as "Cleo." Best friends with Duzer. Cleofatra has a crush on TV monster celebrity Billy Headstone who is the star of the daytime soap opera "Trudy and the Beast" (which is a parody of the 1980s show Beauty and the Beast).
- Sid (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) - A student based on the Invisible Man. Sid is the class clown and does various impersonations (implying that perhaps he and his name were inspired by Sid Caesar), in contrast to the idea of the "invisible" one of the class being unnoticed. Oddly, Sid, like many cartoon anthropomorphic animals, apparently does not wear pants, unless his pants are invisible as the rest of his wardrobe is not. Sid's parents are also talented impersonators as seen in the episode "Night of the Living Dad."
- Blanche (voiced by Shari Belafonte) - A zombie Southern belle who loves to shop, making her a literal "mall zombie." Her name and personality comprise a pun on "blanche" as a synonym for "turn pale," 'carte blanche', and Blanche DuBois (in the episode "Monster Gumbo", she comments that she has "always depended on the kindness of monsters" parodying a line from A Streetcar Named Desire). Blanche frequently dates J.P., although it is implied she finds his money the most attractive trait. Blanche is a shopaholic who is frequently teased by her classmates about how many credit cards she's maxed out. She is a bit of a clothes horse. She does sew her own clothes and can cook, though she doesn't like domestic duties, her ambition being to marry the richest monster in the world; J.P.'s ambition, in turn, is to be the richest monster in the world.
- Duzer (voiced by Kimmy Robertson) - A snake-haired gorgon Valley girl and parody of Medusa (which is her actual first name with "Duzer" being an abbreviation) minus the petrifying gaze. Her response to anyone who annoys her is "Get a life!" which is ironic in that many Gravedale students and staff members are in fact already dead. She is very pretty, vain, competitive, bossy, and likes to be the center of attention with all the boys, particularly Vinnie, who she seems to have an unrequited crush on. In the first episode, Duzer replies that she can't do anything with her snake hair and Cleo offers to help her "get her hair ready for Vinnie." Duzer states that she doesn't have a crush on Vinnie Stoker. Frankentyke swipes her diary off her desk and reads out loud a passage about that reveals otherwise. Schneider enters the classroom just as Duzer gives chase and states that Frankentyke took her diary. Tyke throws the evidence out the window. Vinnie flies into the window with said diary and tries to read it before Duzer yells at him "If you read that, you're dead." Afterwards nothing was mentioned about the relationship in the animated series.
Other recurring students include:
- Alpha-Mae Centauri - A centaur.
- Blobby - A student reminiscent of The Blob.
- Busby - A human fly.
- Elephant Boy (voiced by Frank Welker) - A literally elephant-like parody of the Elephant Man. He speaks with a cultured British accent. One of two students who seriously campaigned for Class President (although Vinnie campaigned just for kicks and won).
- Iggy - A hunchbacked student that resembles the stereotypical "Igor" type of mad scientist assistant. Iggy has a zipper along the length of his scalp implying he is both hunchback and a Frankenstein-type monster. He tends to forget his brain and is often scolded by Headmistress Crone for this.
- Moorehead - A Metaluna Mutant that is a student in Coach Cadaver's class.
- Nardo - A gargoyle jock who is Vinnie's rival in sports. He is also a student in Coach Cadaver's class.
- Natasha Neckinski - A vampire girl with a European accent in contrast to the thoroughly Americanized Vinnie.
- Rover (voiced by Frank Welker) - A dog-boy who speaks in a manner similar to Scooby-Doo.
- Seymour (voiced by Barry Gordon) - A cyclops.
- Suey - A pig-girl. Like Elephant Boy, she seriously campaigned for Class President. The two performed a Romeo and Juliet-like recital at a talent show, suggesting they are dating.
The bespectacled Mr. Schneider has his hands full with his new students, but he has Gravedale's spooky staff (where some of them initially do not trust Schneider due to his human status but develop a camaraderie with him as the overall story arc develops) to help him out. Like Schneider, each teacher oversees a specific class of students. Gravedale High's staff include:
- Headmistress Crone (voiced by Georgia Brown) - The strict principal who runs the school with an iron albeit easily detachable left hand. As her name implies, she is a witch-like monster. Her grandfather Cretin Crone founded the school and later passed it on to his son Addlepate. She can be ruthless to trouble-making monsters and faculty who do not toe the line, but is generally an able administrator. Although Headmistress Crone considered herself taking a risk hiring a human teacher, she knew she made the right decision when Schneider disciplined the unruly "misfit" class and now works to give him support.
- Boneyard (voiced by Brock Peters) - A lanky white-haired staff member dressed like an undertaker. He does various odd jobs at Gravedale High including bus driver, driver's ed teacher, and Gravedale Gazette printing press operator. He somewhat resembles the Tall Man from the Phantasm films and is a little reminiscent of Digby O'Dell, the Friendly Undertaker from The Life of Riley.
- Coach Cadaver (voiced by Jonathan Winters) - A strict hot-headed zombie (his head is stitched together at the top, making his brain removable) who works as a gym teacher. He is categorized by Crone as a "human-hater." Coach Cadaver dislikes Schneider's students (calling them "misfits") as well as Schneider himself (whose hiring he opposed). His attitude is generally disliked by the Gravedale faculty as opposed to Schenider's easygoing demeanor.
- Miss Dirge (voiced by Eileen Brennan) - A teacher that resembles the Bride of Frankenstein. She shows a mild romantic interest in Schneider as she admits some monster women find human men attractive. Her name is a play on dirge or mournful funeral song.
- Chef Sal Monella (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) - An unspecified monster that works as a chef in the school cafeteria. Sal takes pride in his filthy kitchen. His name is an obvious pun on salmonella.
- Mr. Tutner (voiced by Tim Curry) - A 5,000 year old mummy history teacher with bad breath who wears sunglasses, a coat, and a tie. Like Cleofatra, Mr. Tutner is pudgy, the opposite of mummies associated with sickliness and emaciation. He gets along well with Schneider and tried to compete for a charity fundraising award by attributing his long life to pyramid power as seem in "Monster Gumbo."
- Miss Webner (voiced by Sandra Gould) - As the word "web" in her name suggests, she is a spider-woman having six arms and two legs.
|No.||Title||Original air date|
|1||"Long Day's Gurney Into Night"||September 8, 1990|
|When Sid comes down with a sickness, Max ends up having to take him to the Community Hospital since Gravedale High no longer has a doctor or a school nurse (they ran off together). Sid ends up being chased by the doctors when he doesn't want his tonsils removed. The other Gravedale students do not want to venture into the human world to visit Sid... until Max slips into the moat and the class begs Boneyard to drive the bus to get him to the hospital.|
|2||"Do the Rad Thing"||September 15, 1990|
|While teaching Frankentyke how to surf, Gill ends up meeting a professional surfer named Kahuna Bob. He starts training to become a professional surfer under Bob, but both his schoolwork and friendship with Frakentyke start suffering as a result. Things come to a head when Gil decides to drop out of school and become a professional surfer.|
|3||"Cleo's Pen Pal"||September 22, 1990|
|Cleofatra sends fan-mail to monster actor Billy Headstone who is the star of "Trudy and the Beast", who gets a response that he is in Midtown and would like to have a date with her. Cleo admits that due to her low-self esteem, she has sent Billy a picture of Duzer as herself.|
|4||"Monster Gumbo"||September 29, 1990|
|Blanche's secret family recipe for Monster Gumbo proves to be necessary for Max Schneider's class to win a competition for raising charity money against Coach Cadaver's class in a competition to earn money for the United Monster Fund. It is soon targeted by a gumbo chef named Big Daddy.|
|5||"The Dress-Up Mess-Up"||October 6, 1990|
|The students all chip in to buy Mr. Schneider a reservation at an expensive restaurant as part of a birthday present, but Duzer persuades Cleofatra to lend her the money in a plot to buy an expensive dress, win the Gravedale Fashion Show, and return the dress to get the money back. When Natasha Neckinski's "mongoose stole" is revealed as instead a living "stolen mongoose," the snakes in Duzer's hair are frightened into fleeing dragging Duzer with them and ruining the dress. Duzer is forced to get a job to cover her embezzlement, and is hired at a western-themed burger joint, where her snake attire is a hit.|
|6||"The Grave Intruder"||October 13, 1990|
|Duzer takes over the Gravedale Gazette turning it into the Gravedale Intruder where she makes up false stories about the students and staff.|
|7||"Fear of Flying"||October 20, 1990|
|After Reggie's science project ruins Nardo's play in Footbomb, Nardo ends up challenging Vinnie to "Fly or Splat" (an aerial version of "Chicken" played by flying monsters). When Vinnie ends up struck by lightning and loses his flight ability, the other students help him recover it before his showdown with Nardo.|
|8||"He Ain't Scary, He's My Brother"||October 27, 1990|
|Frankentyke's older brother Big Frank, an alumnus of Gravedale, takes time off from his job at the funeral parlor to spend some time with his "little 'bro". Unfortunately for Frankentyke, Blanche, Cleofatra, and Duzer each end up developing a crush on Big Frankie, and their dates are cutting into fun events Frankentyke has planned. However, when Frankentyke and Mr. Schneider run afoul of human thugs, maybe help is on the way.|
|9||"Frankenjockey"||November 3, 1990|
|A horse named Hoover that has never won a horse-race escapes from his owners Colonel Saddlesoar and Liverpool. He has a run-in with Frankentyke and develops a liking for him. Colonel Saddlesoar hires Frankentyke as a jockey for Hoover (upon Max's insistence that Hoover enjoy a peaceful retirement in a nice pasture), but there are other forces at work to see the upcoming horse race gets fixed.|
|10||"Save Our School"||November 10, 1990|
|Vinnie, who is flunking civics, is ordered by Schneider to run for student body president in order to learn for himself the importance of government. At the same time, hotel tycoon Belle Gardens plans to have Gravedale High demolished so that she can place one of her Empress Hotels there. Vinnie wins the election, then learns the hard way that leadership is more than a popularity contest when he must first oversee Gravedale High becoming inspection-ready, then appeal to the Midtown selectmen about Belle's targeting of Gravedale's land.|
|11||"Night of the Living Dad"||November 17, 1990|
|Gravedale High's talent show is coming up and every student's parent will be attending. With help from Gill, Frankentyke builds a phony father for himself in order to hide that his father is human. When Frankentyke and Gill accidentally break the genius brain, they end up getting the brain of a Hollywood agent.|
|12||"Goodbye Gravedale"||November 24, 1990|
|As Schneider's class produces a class movie, Mr. Schneider receives an acceptance letter for a Midtown Prep School teaching position which he applied for prior to becoming a Gravedale teacher. Happy in his current position, he discards the letter, but his students find it. Thinking he is leaving and will use the class movie so that human students can make fun of them, the students turn against him, alienating him so that he does in fact leave Gravedale High to teach at Midtown Prep School. This causes Headmistress Crone to call in substitute teacher after substitute teacher until she can get a replacement. Eventually, the students miss Schneider and he misses them as well. He poses as a substitute teacher named Mr. Creepers. Upon learning the cause of discord, Max Schneider unmasks and everything returns to normal—for Gravedale.|
|13||"Monster on Trial"||December 1, 1990|
|Reggie Moonshroud's bad driving in Driver's Ed causes Boneyard to give up teaching it, so Max Schneider takes over. His recent bad driving leads to Mr. Schneider getting sued for $1,000.000 when Reggie lightly rear-ends an old lady named Ms. Fresno who claimed that Reggie and Max fiercely rear-ended her. When Ms. Fresno wins the case with her side of the story causing Judge Killjoy to sentence Max and his students to prison, Reggie and Frankentyke must find a way to get Max and the others out of jail and expose Ms. Fresno for fraud.|
- Rick Moranis - Max Schneider
- Shari Belafonte - Blanche
- Eileen Brennan - Miss Dirge
- Georgia Brown - Headmistress Crone
- Tim Curry - Mr. Tutner
- Barry Gordon - Reggie Moonshroud, Seymour
- Sandra Gould - Miss Webner
- Jackie Earle Haley - Gill Waterman
- Ricki Lake - Cleofatra
- Maurice LaMarche - Sid, Chef Sal Monella
- Brock Peters - Boneyard
- Kimmy Robertson - Duzer
- Roger Rose - Vinnie Stoker
- Frank Welker - Frankentyke, J.P. Ghastly, Clawford, Elephant Boy, Rover, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
- Jonathan Winters - Coach Cadaver
- Charlie Adler
- Lewis Arquette
- Susan Blu
- Sorrell Booke
- Pat Buttram
- Ruth Buzzi
- Hamilton Camp - Tucker (in Goodbye gravedale )
- Dena Dietrich
- Joan Gerber
- Phil Hartman - Billy Headstone (in "Cleo's Pen Pal")
- David Lander
- Mitzi McCall
- Edie McClurg
- Tom McHugh
- Howard Morris
- Robert Ridgely
- Richard Sanders
- Russi Taylor
- B.J. Ward
- William Woodson - Judge Killjoy (in "Monster on Trial")