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Single Cel Organism #3: The Jetsons

It may be hard to believe now, but The Jetsons began its life as a prime time show. It originally aired on ABC during the 1962-63 TV season. Perhaps more notably, it debuted as the first program broadcast in color on ABC.

Single Cel Organism #3: The Jetsons

Here is the full Jetson family, sans Rosey/Rosie the Robot — Judy, George, Jane, Elroy, and Astro. 

Toon Time #2: Quick Draw McGraw for Kellogg’s

From the age when corporations directly sponsored TV shows comes this color animation cel from 1959. It features Baba Looey of The Quick Draw McGraw Show on top of a wagon spiriting a Kellogg’s banner. The show was sponsored by Kellogg’s when it debuted in 1959.

Kellogg’s – The BEST to You

Here’s a sample of the opening theme for the show, although this particular cel is not part of it.

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The Venture Bros. Wrapup logo

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “A Very Venture Halloween”

Venture Bros. Wrapup: "A Very Venture Halloween"

Has it really been almost two years since I last wrote about a new episode of The Venture Bros.? Yup, seems so. And now here we are, with 2012 winding down, and we finally have a new episode from Jackson and Doc — “A Very Venture Halloween.” It’s the first holiday-themed installment of the show since “A Very Venture Christmas” all the way back at the end of season one in 2004.

Alright, enough history — let’s get into it. This episode was damn good, and sets the table quite nicely for the upcoming fifth season of the show. For awhile I thought this was going to be a typically light-hearted standalone episode, but Doc Hammer (who wrote this one) took things in a very dramatic direction toward the end.

Let’s get the frivolity out of the way first — Dr. Venture and Sgt. Hatred hang out with Pete White and Billy Quizboy at the compound on Halloween night to see who can win the most money. You see, they’re betting on which “lucky” trick or treaters can make it past the compound’s deadly security systems. Fun stuff, but nothing too heavy. It was rather nice seeing Hatred and getting zero pedophile jokes, so I hope that continues.

The venture Bros. - "A Very Venture Halloween"

The A plot (or maybe B) concerns the boys and Dermott, who head out to spend the night in a real haunted house — the so-called Potter House. Dean, looking rather goth, is the only one brave or stupid enough to actually go in, and he ends up learning the secret of his cloned past. This was a rather bold move on the show’s part, but I think it’s a great idea. They got all the mileage they could out of Dr. Venture hiding this secret, and it’ll be fascinating to watch the fallout now that it’s out.

The second main plot sees the always welcome return of Dr. Orpheus and the Order of the Triad. They host the gathering of the Brimstone Assembly in Orpheus’s place, and it’s quite the group of mystical figures that shows up. The two best parts of this story were the return of The Master (aka H. Jon Benjamin as Santa Claus) and the Hellraiser spoof with the Outrider and Orpheus’s ex-wife conjuring a Pinhead-esque figure that has a toaster for a face and ejects “pleasure toast.” Awesome.

There’s an Important Lesson for Orpheus and the others here, too, but really the whole thrust of the episode is Dean learning the truth from a newly introduced character named Ben (J.K. Simmons). I imagine we’ll be seeing more of him later, but you never know. I don’t know if he’s going to stick with the sullen goth thing, but I’m damn glad we get goofy Hank back.

If “A Very Venture Halloween” proves anything, it’s that this show seems to still be on its game as it prepares for the fifth season early next year. Damn, I can’t wait!

Final grade: A


  • For not the first time, Brock makes an appearance in an episode but says nothing.
  • One of the few things I caught through the jargon in that little medical exam rundown of Dean was early baldness.
  • Ben reminds me of Jeff Bridges as the Dude.
  • Wilhelm Scream appearance.
  • Excellent direction, placing the end of Orpheus’s speech over the image of Dean returning home to deal with the truth about the clones.

Best lines/moments:

  • The entire cold open, with Dean and Hank failing to scare Rusty and Brock on Halloweens past, was outstanding.
  • “Thank you boys, that was… chilling.”
  • “Jefferson, this is not The Craft.”
  • “I have yet to meet a woman that doesn’t dress sexy on Halloween. Witch? No sir, sexy witch. Freddy Krueger? Nope, sexy Freddy Krueger. Hmm. Sexy damn Freddy Krueger.”
  • “That’s what she said.” “Oh, she said nothing of the sort!”
  • As I said before, the whole Hellraiser/Rubik’s Cube bit was gold.
  • “Submit to my toast. My pleasure toast!”
  • “Super fucking run away!”

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Separated at Birth? (Mark Gastineau and William Murderface)

Separated at Birth? (Mark Gastineau and William Murderface)

One of them was one of the most feared defensive linemen in the National Football League in the 1980s, and was a member of the New York Jets’ vaunted New York Sack Exchange. The other is the bassist in the virtual/real death metal band Dethklok, as seen on the show Metalocalypse. The question is… were Mark Gastineau and William Murderface separated at birth?

Separated at Birth? (Mark Gastineau and William Murderface)

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NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Snorks

Fall TV Preview Madness! (NBC Saturday Mornings, 1985)

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Back to Next SaturdayNBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Back to Next Saturday

I’m counting down the days until the Fall 2012 television season gets underway the only way I know how — by bringing you network promos for TV seasons long gone. Today’s preview is for NBC’s 1985 Saturday Morning lineup of children’s shows. NBC ran a yearly special previewing their upcoming season of Saturday morning shows from 1973 to 1991. The ’85 special was called Back to Next Saturday — cashing in on the popularity of Back to the Future — and it starred the likes of Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show) and Lisa Whelchel (The Facts of Life), as well as the casts of It’s Punky Brewster and Kidd Video.

Unlike the prime time previews, Back to Next Saturday went to the trouble of concocting a storyline. Pulliam enters the Dream Zone, otherwise known as your typical tropical island. She meets the real-life cast members from one of the new Saturday morning series, and they all must find a way to get back to the cartoon. Or something like that. Look, it was the ’80s, it was a confusing time for all of us.

So let’s head to the Dream Zone and travel back… to next Saturday! (* denotes a new series.)

The 1985-86 NBC Saturday Morning Schedule

8amSnorks (1984 – 1989)
8:30am*Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985 – 1991)
9amThe Smurfs (1981 – 1989)
10:30am* — It’s Punky Brewster (1985 – 1986)
11amAlvin and the Chipmunks (1983 – 1990)
11:30amKidd Video (1984 – 1985)
12pmMr. T (1983 – 1986)
12:30pmSpider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981 – 1986)

It’s Punky Brewster

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - It's Punky Brewster

As you can probably guess, this is the cartoon spinoff of the live-action Punky Brewster show. Soleil Moon Frye plays Punky again, and they even went retro and added a small magical creature (a leprechaun gopher named Glomer). It lasted for just two seasons and 26 episodes, while the real deal made it to 1988.


NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Snorks

Snorks returned for its second season in 1985. If you’ve never seen it, imagine the Smurfs living in the ocean. Yeah, that’s about as exciting as that got. Shockingly, NBC churned out 65 episodes of this thing over four seasons.

The Smurfs

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - The Smurfs

I can admit freely that I was huge into The Smurfs. I had Smurf toys, Smurf bedding, and all kinds of Smurfy shit. But that was before I discovered  Transformers and GI Joe, and those little blue goblins were smashed to bits. Still, the Smurfs were the little kings of NBC Saturday mornings in 1985, and the Peacock aired them in a 90-minute block. They basically owned the rest of the decade as well, airing from 1981 to 1989.

Alvin and the Chipmunks

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Alvin and the Chipmunks

Since I’m already confessing one love, I’ll add this one too. Man, I loved these little pitch-corrected rodents. Of course I hate them now, and rightly so.

Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears

I was aware that this show existed, and I might have even watched an episode or two. But I remember very little about it, other than the bit about Gummiberry Juice. Maybe I watched more than I think after all.

Kidd Video

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Kidd Video

This may be the most quintessentially ’80s thing ever. Oh and don’t miss Whiz, played by Robbie Rist (aka Cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch).

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

I find it fascinating that a network devoted time on a preview special to a show that wasn’t even producing new episodes anymore. You see, this edition of Spider-Man aired its last original episode in 1983. But NBC kept it on the Saturday morning schedule for three more years. Fascinating.

Mister T

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Mister T

Hmm, maybe I was a bit premature in declaring Kidd Video the most ’80s thing ever.

"Three Little Bops" from Looney Tunes, 1957

Sunday Jazz: Shorty Rogers, Stan Freberg, and “Three Little Bops”

"Three Little Bops" from Looney Tunes, 1957

I’d like to deviate from the usual Sunday Jazz fare to pay small tribute to one of my favorite cartoons of all time. “Three Little Bops” is one of the great entries in the Looney Tunes catalog, and came out in 1957 — a time when Beat culture was very much in the American consciousness. Not only is it funny, it swings! Dig it, man:

I could watch that all day. So anyway, not much is absolutely confirmed about the men behind “Three Little Bops.” Stan Freberg and Shorty Rogers are credited with vocals and music, respectively, but that’s about it. Some enterprising folks have done a lot of digging to uncover the rest of the musicians, and have come up with this lineup:

  • Vocals — Stan Freberg (credited on the short)
  • Saxophone — Pepper Adams (or possibly Jimmy Giuffre)
  • Trumpet/flugelhorn — Shorty Rogers (credited on the short)
  • Piano — Pete Jolly
  • Guitar — Barney Kessel
  • Bass — Red Callender (or possibly Red Mitchell)
  • Drums — Stan Levey (or possibly Shelly Manne)

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2010: The Gray Flannel Suit Year That Was

It’s been another fun year for me in running this site, and I’d like to thank all of you who visit regularly, irregularly, or even once.  I’d also like to thank everyone who has helped by contributing comments and post ideas.  It’s good to know there’s at least a few people out there who enjoy my little corner of the intertubes.  Since we’re in the midst of year-end review season, let’s take a quick look back at the posting year that was 2010 for The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.

Most Popular Posts

This is really what it’s all about right?  It’s always interesting to me to see what content takes off and what content gets largely ignored.  Since I want to stay positive I’ll focus on the former.  So here are the eleven most-popular posts on the site for 2010.

#11. Happy Hoff-Day! – David Hasselhoff is ageless, wouldn’t you agree?  Apparently many do, as this birthday celebration post from all the way back in 2007 is an evergreen.  For Hoff lovers, might I recommend you check out my Hasselhoff/Shatner showdown post from 2008?

#10. Rush album countdown: #4-#1 – Leading up to the 2007 release of Rush’s Snakes & Arrows, I took on the task of ranking every Rush studio album to that point.  As you can guess, this was the payoff.

#9. Retrotisements – Marlboro cigarettes – I’ve made no secret about my fascination with American tobacco advertising.  This classic from July 2007 showcases some vintage Marlboro ads, from long before the Marlboro Man rode into the American pop culture scene.  Maybe he was one of the infants from these early ads?

#8. Album cover of the week: Peter Gabriel (car) – The second album cover post in the top 10, this one showcases the debut album of prog rock legend and former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel.  Creepy stuff.

#7. Rush album countdown: #8-#5 – I guess fewer people were interested in the big finish to the Rush countdown?  Or maybe I didn’t rank A Farewell to Kings high enough?

#6. Commercials I hate – Hyundai Sonata hipster Christmas – And making a late charge into the top 10, it’s everybody’s least favorite car commercial featuring annoying hipster musicians.  I figured I wasn’t the only one who hated this spot, but even I was surprised to see how this post resonated.

#5. Album cover of the week: The Who Sell Out – I think I’m getting the picture that I need to get on the stick with more album cover posts.  Or at least more with cool information, like this Who one.

#4. Michael – Death is a weird thing.  I and countless others spent years distancing ourselves from Michael Jackson and his music, and as soon as he died it’s like it was OK to like him again.  I guess that means I can expect a ton of hits here when I kick the bucket?

#3. Attn: Cartoon porn enthusiasts – I’m not too proud to admit that I wrote this to mess with people.  I noticed a strange trend of incoming searches for cartoon/Disney porn, so I set this up as a sort of welcome tent for pervs.

#2. America the Brave: A selection of Veterans Day images – I dusted off this 2008 image gallery in November, and it’s proven to be even more popular than before.  The Vietnam War seems to be the main topic of interest for people looking at this post, so maybe I’ll write a new one just for ‘Nam.

#1. Album covers of the week: 1962-1966 & 1967-1970 – I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the most popular band of all-time is the subject of my most popular post of the year.  I am a little surprised that this relatively obscure (for the Beatles) compilation is searched for so often.  I imagine there will be at least one or two more Beatles albums in future installments of Album Covers of the Week.

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Retrotisement: Winston cigarettes (feat. The Flintstones)

You know what’s even more awesome than the fact that Winston cigarettes sponsored a cartoon?  The fact that the main characters, as was the custom for TV shows of the ’50s and early ’60s, appeared in ads actually smoking them.  Behold, an infamous Winston spot from The Flintstones, circa 1960-61:

See, I told you it was awesome.  Even better, and almost lost in the clouds of secondhand smoke, is that little gem of pre-Women’s Lib chauvinism that starts the ad.  As Wilma and Betty toil in the yard, Fred has a brilliant idea – “Let’s go around back where we can’t see ’em!”  He’s like Don Draper in an animal pelt.

Winston, who also sponsored The Beverly Hillbillies around the same time, pulled its sponsorship from The Flintstones when Wilma became pregnant.  I guess even tobacco companies have to draw the line somewhere.

Oh wait, no they don’t.