This series follows the adventures of Sherman Fangsworth, a teenager who is cursed with the ability to change into a werewolf at the sight of a full moon, even if it is only a picture of one. Together with his friends, they investigate various mysteries and crimes they encounter and find themselves facing dangers that require the power of Sherman's werewolf form as Fang-face to cope. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
Producers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears both worked for Hanna-Barbera, but left to form their own animation production company, Ruby-Spears Enterprises. Fangface was the first cartoon series produced under their new banner. See more »
[Opening title narration]
Fangface! Every 400 years, a baby werewolf is born into the Fangsworth family. And so when the moon shined on little Sherman Fangsworth, he changed into Fangface, a werewolf. Only the sun can change him back to normal. And so little Fangs grew up and teamed up with three daring teenagers: Kim, Biff, and Puggsy. And together they find danger, excitement, and adventure. Who can save the day? Who can wrong the rights, and right the wrongs? None other than Fangface!
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That's about as best as I can describe this otherwise well-made knockoff of the Great Dane Sleuth. And it is a knockoff... the stalwart "Freddie"-like leader (Biff), the resident Daphne-like sexpot (Kim), the goof ball Shaggy (Puggsy), and the mascot Scooby-Doo (Fangface).
However, Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, the head writers of "Scooby-Doo" who created this show for their own Ruby-Spears company (RS's very first series, by the way...) took a few liberties with their patented "kids and a pet meddle in mysteries" formula... first of all, Fangface isn't a scaredy-cat who's afraid of his own shadow, but a fearless, if dense, hero... shades of Dyno-Mutt (both of whom were voiced by the great Frank Welker, one of the last of the old-school voice artists). Second, the relationship between Fang and Puggsy is more antagonistic than that of ol' buddies Scooby-Doo and Shaggy. In fact, if you'll notice real closely, this is about as close as you can get to seeing the 1940's comedy team The Bowery Boys in animation, with Fang taking on the Huntz Hall role, while Puggsy channels Leo Gorcey, complete with derby.
Those little touches make Fangface stand out from the other rip-offs, and pretty much excuses the usual formulaic scripts that are a staple of such shows like this. Then they had to go and do a "Cousin Oliver/Scrappy-Doo" by adding baby FangPuss... who, while nowhere near as annoying as Scrappy, still signaled the beginning of the end (or in this case, THE end) of a rather good show.
My rating: *** stars
"Fangface" is a Ruby-Spears Production in association with Filmways TV, made between 1978 and 1980.
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