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The Robonic Stooges was indeed on CBS; it was a segment of the
live-action series "The Skatebirds" (1977). However, the Stooges was
the most watched part of the show (airing twice each week), so in
January of 1978, CBS gave them their own half hour, retitled "The Three
Robonic Stooges," which would resurface on CBS two more times. It now
airs as short features at the end of selected shows on the Boomerang
The mindset is that because it's by Hanna-Barbera (animated at their Australian outlet), then by default it's a terrible show. For the sake of argument, I'll grant that it's not the best show, even by what's acceptable by Saturday morning standards. The atypical H-B animation, the half-baked situations, the dialogue, all the hallmarks to all that hold Hanna-Barbera as animation anathema. However, unlike other H-B shows at the time, "The Robonic Stooges" wasn't afraid to make references to its medium (the H-B studio appears in one episode) or even reference other comedy teams (the Marx Brothers in another).
We really didn't need another superhero cartoon in 1977; the cheese and camp of "Superfriends" was more than we needed or deserved. The Stooges could have very well been acceptable without the superhero take, but it was terrific in contrast to the other "Skatebirds" feature, the dreadful "Wonder Wheels."
Here's another obscure short-lived gem buried deep in the annals of
"The Three Robonic Stooges" was shown for one year on, I believe, CBS. This was made during the renewed interest in slapstick comedians of yore. Lest we forget, around the same time, the cartoon series, "Baggy Pants and The Nitwits", featured a cat who dressed and walked like Charlie Chaplin. Anyway, the classic team of Moe, Larry and Curly are featured as superhero robots (right down to the long underwear), whose appendages can also extend! In between their internal squabbling, they also went to save the world. My one-line summary above is the line that the stooges would utter whenever their less-than-pleased boss, Agent O-O-O, appears on the telescreen to give them their next assignment, or to give them heck...
Hmmm, to think the government hired these goons to save the world. Maybe Chuck Barris DID work as a political assassin after all...
Hanna Barbera did adapt cartoons for Laurel and Hardy then Abbott and
Costello. This time, they adapt this trio of lovable fighters and
slapstick humor kings the 3 Stooges. This time, they are bionic and are
manned by Agent 000 to fight crime and save the World...
The storyline: simple, the 3 Stooges have a message from a TV screen from Agent 000 to do missions around the World and fight all foes and menaces. And of course, Moe, Larry and Curly gets into all kind of messes, all in the name of a good time, but finally get their job done.
Saw it in French under Les Robonics (dubbed in a somewhat acceptable Parisian French... Francis Lax dubbed the ever boiling character of Moe...) and was at least entertaining, but saw that Hanna Barbera was running out of steam as per their originality.
Done at a time where the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman peaked at popularity before they were flushed away (however, they gained cult status).
If you are fan of the Stooges, stick to the original movies by the real trio, this series only for curious, and not destined for cult status, like the real Columbia Pictures shorts with the real guys ! Wise guy, eh ! A nous Les Robonics !
I have noticed that there is quite a bit of disagreement in reviews on the work of Hanna-Barbera of the 1960s and beyond. This team made a bazillion cartoons during the late 50s-80s and they established the standard for TV cartoons during this time--and they set the bar very low. Exceptionally low frame-rates (resulting in stiffer animation), repetitive backgrounds and terrible scripts were the norm for most of their shows. While I will admit some of their shows were pretty good, such as the original "Flintstones" but remember, these are the same guys who created "Jabberjaw", "Inch High, Private Eye" and "Hong Kong Phooey"! However, among all their bad shows (and they made a ton of them), I challenge you to find one worse than "The Robonic Stooges". The problem in this case isn't really the animation (which is bad) but the idea. Think about it--the Three Stooges are now robots!!! Who in the heck thought of this? And, how much contempt did they have for kids to foist this crap on them?! Try watching an episode or two--they're occasionally shown on Boomerang. Then, try to come up with a worse cartoon by this team!! Embarrassingly bad and a horribly 'tribute' to the real Three Stooges.
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