Prime time television in the 1950s and 1960s was packed with family situation comedies, including Hanna-Barbera’s takes on The Honeymooners in the form of The Flintstones and The Jetsons. By the dawn of the 1970s, those situation comedy tropes began to permeate Saturday morning cartoons as funny animal and super-heroic fare began to wane. Then there came Scooby-Doo, the first truly original and fresh concept in ages. The four meddlesome teens, their charismatic canine companion and van became the template for many imitators.
I can therefore imagine the brain trust at H-b trying to find new variations on the successful theme. The idea of combining elements a mystery solving family was a natural but how they ever settled on Charlie Chan and his dozen children remains an, ahem,. mystery.
- Robert Greenberger
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