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Who could ever forget that theme song? This was all about good clean fun. By the time this show was on the Harlem Globe Trotters had become world-wide sensations and this group of players were the best they ever had. Everyone's favorites were Curly (who could dribble a basketball like no other) and Meadowlark Lemon. These guys brought a lot of joy into people's lives and they were immortalized in this cartoon. They would travel around in a van and helped kids learn lessons. This was as good as Saturday morning cartoons would ever get and we sure could use some of this goodwill today. Robert Smigel spoofed this show on Saturday Night Live and he too was of the generation that loved this show. Go go Harlem Globetrotters.
The theme song to the show is playing in my head right now.
The world famous HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS,arguably the best-known professional basketball team in the world,was organized in 1927 by Abe Saperstein in Chicago,Illinois--rather than the famous uptown New York City neighborhood of Harlem that gave the team its name. Not to mention the theme song as well "Sweet Georgia Brown",which was part of the team's signature song every time the players step out on the court.
The all-African American team grew in fame all over the world and for the next few decades,and got excellent exposure during the 1960's TV sports series like "The CBS Sports Spectacular",and others(like "ABC's Wide World Of Sports)which no doubt led to this animation adaptation. The animated version of THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS was one of the surprise hits that CBS had on its very successful Saturday Mornings schedule and it was right up there with "The Archies","Bugs Bunny" "Scooby Doo,Where Are You?",and "Josie And The Pussycats". In fact when the series premiered on CBS-TV on September 12,1970,it came on a hour before another series "Josie And The Pussycats" which also premiered that same year. The series would last two seasons on Saturday Mornings with CBS until September 2,1972(in repeated episodes from the first season)and from there the network moved the show from Saturday Mornings to Sunday Mornings in repeated episodes from September 10,1972 until the last broadcast on May 20,1973. The series was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS was the first series to featured an all minority cast with a hint of diversity in some of the segments. As this befits their name,the Globetrotters traversed the world to play various opponents in locales from hillbilly country in the United States to snowy European mountains and to other places as well including islands in the South Pacific,and exotic locations like London,Paris,India and Japan. Granny(Nancy Wible),the only Caucasian on board,drove the team bus,and Dribbles(Frank Welker)the dog that accompanied the group as sort of a team mascot. The players consisted of Meadowlark Lemon(Scatman Crothers),comical relief Curly(Stu Gilliam),and the other players on the roster including B.J. Mason(Eddie "Rochester" Anderson),Geese Ausbie(Johnny Williams),Gip Gipson(Richard Elkins),and Pabs "Pablo" Robertson(Robert Do Qui). The series within itself showed what the team does best and that is show off their impressive athleticism with their superior basketball expertise. Plus other stuff of interest that you may not see in live-action,but in an animated cartoon-they could get away with it very easily.
The group also did its own album for Don Kirshner in 1970,but could not make them emulate the success of his proteges,"The Archies".The songs that were for the album were written by Neil Sedaka for the Warner Bros. Records label. After the animated series went off the air in 1973,the "real" Harlem Globetrotters came back the following year with their own weekly variety-musical-comedy series "The Harlem Globetrotters Popcorn Machine",which lasted one season on CBS. That variety featured The Globetrotters along with its child star-Rodney Allen Rippy and featuring Avery Scheriber as Mister Evil.
On February 4,1978,the HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS were back on Saturday Mornings after a six year-hiatus. Only this time around they switched networks from CBS to NBC. The series returned in repeated episodes titled "Go-Go Globetrotters",which also contained repeats of the 1960's action-adventure series "The Herculoids",and also repeated episodes of "Hong Kong Phooey","Dinomutt",and a new entry titled "The C.B. Bears". On September 2,1978,NBC resurrected the team as they returned for a new animated incarnation called "The Super Globetrotters",which lasted one season. The series ended its association with NBC in repeated episodes during the end of the 1978-1979 season.
I couldn't forget that theme song, either. And now I won't forget it, since I recently located a vinyl copy of the 1970 "Globetrotters" album at a record meet a few weeks ago. I also remembered "Bouncing All Over the World," "Marathon Mary," "Meadowlark," "Cheer Me Up," and the group's only Top 100 single, "Rainy Day Bells" (sadly, it didn't hit the Top 40, despite the genius of Jeff Barry, Neil Sedaka, and Don Kirshner behind it). Warner Bros., if you're reading this, I hope you'll see about putting the "Globetrotters" cartoon on DVD soon, especially since: (1) you've recently released DVD box sets of other Hanna-Barbera cartoon series (e.g. "The Flintstones," "Wacky Races," "The Jetsons," and "Top Cat"); and (2) after hearing the "Globetrotters" songs, I wish I could see the cartoon itself again! And Sony Music Entertainment, if you're likewise reading this, and since you now own Kirshner Records' backlog (Kirshner also had The Archies and Kansas on his label), I hope you'll see about putting the "Globetrotters" album on CD. It'd sure sound better digitally remastered and without scratches, and if Warners should resurrect the cartoon on DVD, then the CD of the "Globetrotters" album would be a perfect complement!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I bought three episodes on tape off Ebay and they were:
1. 'Scoop To Nuts' - The team works for a newspaper. Listen for Henry Cordin (second Fred Flintstone) as the Sidney Greenstreet villain and the unmistakable Mr. Jinx voice on his sidekick. The team also had to play blindfolded in this episode. The song was 'Bouncing All Over The World'
2. 'Double Dribble Double' - Mad scientist seeks to put the Globetrotters basketball skills into his robots. Song was 'Meadowlark'
3. 'Shook Up Sheriff' - the team aiding a scared sheriff (Daws Butler doing Snaggle Puss voice) and the song again was Bouncing All Over The World.
I also have 12 comic books of the Globetrotters with titles like:
4. 'Summer Snow With Winter Woe' - the team plays basketball on skis.
5. 'Barely Bear Basketball' - they play a group of bears in Paris.
6. 'Wild and Wizardy' or 'Wilds and Wizards' - Guess who they played here?
7. 'Roamin' Gladiators' - In gladiator garb, they tangled with lions
8. 'Fantastic Ferry Tale'
9. 'Grannys Royal Ruckus' - they play against the Abominable Bombers, snowmen who think Granny is their queen. Second episode to have Granny as a queen.
10. 'Westward Whoa' - western story, the team plays the Cactus Gulch Crunchers.
11. 'Great Geese Goof Up' - BRILLIANT episode in which the team incorrectly believes Geese has been turned into a kangaroo, who belongs to a magician or hypnotist and the kangaroo has been used to hide stolen jewels in his pouch.
Hilarious bit where they dress up as doctors and try to wheel the kangaroo out under a stretcher, and Curly dresses up as a nurse with a mop on his head for hair and the full length mop handle is visibly still attached to his head.
12. 'Hold That Hillbilly' - I remember this episode as well, involving the homely hillbilly girl falling in the mud at the end and the mud hardens and when Granny cracks off the mud, she is now beautiful
13. 'Bad News Cruise'
14. 'Monkey Marvels' - They appear to be in India
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