Huckleberry Hound is a blue-haired Southern dog with a fondness for the song, "My Darling, Clementine", and is a jack-of-all-trades cartoon star, appearing as a scientist (trying to ... See full summary »
Josie & The Pussycats follows the adventures of a rock & roll band that comes across all sorts of adventures along the way. The group consists of Josie, their guitar-playing leader; Valerie, the brilliant tamborine-player; Melody, the naive and optimistic drummer; Alan, Josie's love-interest; Alexander, the group's cowardly manager; Alexandra, Alexander's pesky sister who constantly tries to upstage Josie and be Alan's main squeeze; and of course, Sebastian, Alexandra's fiesty cat. Written by
It would be nearly three decades when I would see this cartoon again, having totally suppressed all my memories. As I watched a six episode marathon on Cartoon Network, when the song "Lie, Lie, Lie" began in "The Secret Six Secret", I was transformed to my childhood again. Since then I have collected comic books, recorded all the cartoons as well as various storybooks.
Josie began as a female Archie. Her creator, Dan DeCarlo, named her after his own wife. Alexander and Melody were there from the start, and yes, Alexander Cabot III was indeed very similar to Reggie Mantle in Archie.
Basically, Josie and Alexander were gender-reversed Archie and Veronica, to an extent.
When Alexandra appeared in the comic book, she was more of a soundboard for Alexander and would even befriend Josie.
Just before the Hanna Barbera cartoon would be launched six years later, Alan M. would be introduced as a folk-singer and an object of affection for Josie and Alexandra, bringing on what is one of the grandest rivalries this side of Betty & Veronica, totally devoid of any friendly terms.
Believe it or not, Sebastian would be introduced in the comic book as the reincarnation of an ancestor of Alexander and Alexandra. Rarely, if ever, would the comic book cat have the life of the cartoon version.
With the sudden creation of Valerie, the assortment would be complete for the cartoon, which was seeking to cash in on the success of the animated Archie and Scooby Doo.
Tho it would be on for only one year, it would end up a remarkable cartoon. All the other cartoons, Scooby Doo included, would have a group that would leave you wondering why they were there. Were Shaggy and Velma boyfriend and girlfriend, too? Did the Neptune band members in Jabber Jaw date as well, then in what order, since Clamhead and Shelly would run off together.
None of them would be as intertwined as the Josie group was, especially the interfering rivalry of Alexandra. She wanted to be leader of the Pussycats and she wanted Alan, both of which Josie possessed. Josie may have been totally devoid of character, but you had to have pity for the girl with Alexandra after her from both sides like that.
Sebastian's reincarnation would be totally dropped, much for the better. As an upright, anthropomorphic cat, Sebastian seemed more feline than he even might have as an ancestral Cabot wizard.
Alexander was clearly altered into Shaggy II, yes, to cash in on Casey Kasem's vocal talents. The only time this was damaging was in the Scooby Doo movie when Josie met the Scooby Doo gang and Shaggy and Alexander spoke at the same time. Alexander's voice changed.
Hands down, Alexander, Alexandra and Melody kept the cartoon moving. When the gang would split into groups (varying in order, unlike Scooby Doo, which nearly always sent Fred, Velma and Daphne out of the picture), for Alexander to go with Valerie and Melody and Alexandra with JOsie and Alan would be a delight, with character conflict on both ends. When Josie, Alan and Valerie were off together, the show would be uneven.
Alan would attempt a character with a "man of a thousand faces" bit in one episode, but that really bordered on insulting, with native American and oriental depictions. And the face change with pies to the kisser wasn't very entertaining either.
Song-wise, the show was smoother than Archie or Scooby Doo. Lie, Lie, Lie is undoubtably my favorite, but Road Runner, Voodoo, Beat of My Heart, Clock on the Wall are powerhouses unlike the songs in any other cartoon. The song in Midas Mix Up, played while the gang is fleeing down a snowy mountain on skis is truly wonderful.
The Josie gang would attempt to carry on as did Scooby Doo, but they would do the outrageous thing like going into outer space, which isn't regarded as anything near as good as the original show. They even got their own Scrappy Doo in the form of Bleep, a space cotton ball seal thing.
The Pussycats were a groundbreaker as an all-girl band, they were also original in that the female ratio outnumbered the male, unlike Scooby Doo or Archie, yet again, we could perceive why everyone was there.
And the band sequences were animation over real persons, much like Disney had done with Snow White thirty years earlier, another factor that makes the cartoon so endearing.
It would be nice to think that Josie and her gang got their big break some day, but the struggle was also a winner for the show.
The movie blew it by deciding Alan, Alexandra and Alexander were minor and trying to focus on the girl trio. The non-Pussycats would at least be prominently featured, but I would have just loved to see a black and white cat shown just once.
Was that too much to ask for?
Still, observing the transition from comic book to cartoon to movie is a fantastic journey.
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