The Skatebirds:What more can I say about one of the lamest kids show of the 1970's
This was one of the biggest colossal ratings failure that CBS ever conceived for its Saturday Morning programming. It is right up there with "Far Out Space Nuts",and "U.S of Archie" as one of the worst children's shows in the history of Saturday Morning television and the short-lived Saturday Morning part animation/live-action series called "The Skatebirds" was one of them. This had to be the lamest show ever conceived since for one Hanna-Barbera not only plagiarized their own 1960's "The Banana Splits Adventure Show",but basically rip-off themselves and the Kroffts in the process. In other words a carbon copy of "The Banana Splits",but different animals characters this time around. This time the costumed hosts were nothing but birds which consisted of actors in costumes supplied by voices for a great effect basically using the regular Hanna-Barbera stock players. This time,the characters in speaking were different kinds of birds which consisted of a Penguin named Scooter(Don Messick),a Pelican named Satchel(Bob Holt),and a Woodpecker named Knock Knock(Lennie Weinrib)who were chased by Scat Cat,the arch enemy of the Skatebirds(Scatman Crothers). All of this was using the formula of the birds roller skating around the set getting away from Scat Cat to the sounds of a disco beat. Oh yeah,this came around during the height of the disco movement,and did it sit well with kids...well that's another story. Thank goodness they didn't sing. However,the series copied hook,line and sinker right off of the "The Krofft Supershow" formula(basically which was on a rival network in fierce competition of the Saturday Morning audience during the mid-1970's).
But in all aspects they copied the formula of its own processor very well,which was the late-1960's series The Banana Splits. And just like their Banana Splits counterparts,the sketches fell in between three cartoon components and one live-action serial. The first of these animated components was "Wonder Wheels"(about a motorcycle that helped adolescent news hound Willie Sheeler(voiced by Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees fame)and his girlfriend Dooley Lawrence(Susan Davis)to solve crimes and unravel mysteries by changing into its magical alter ego Wonder Wheels)which was a straight rip-off of the Krofft's "Wonderbug". The other was based on the short-lived animated series "Clue Club"(CBS,1975-76),where the characters of Woofer and Whimper were taken and given there shot at their own show titled "Woofer and Whimper:Canine Detectives". A blatantly repulsive copied of the Scooby-Doo formula.The other was based on the classic comedies characterizations of The Three Stooges too."The Three Robotic Stooges" took the characters of Moe(Paul Winchell),Larry(Joe Baker),and Curly(Frank Welker,another member of the Hanna-Barbera stock players)by giving them superpowers to fight the forces of evil. Only with bionic parts.
Just like The Banana Splits had the live-action serial "Danger Island"(a segments of serials directed by Richard Donner),this show had the action-adventure serial "Mystery Island",which was also live-action with several of the episodes directed by Hollingsworth Morse. In the segments of "Mystery Island",where scientists Chuck Kelly(Stephen Parr),Sue Corwin(Lynn Marie-Johnson),and her brother Sandy Corwin(Larry Volk)tried to keep their talking robot PAUPS(voiced by Frank Welker)out of the sinister grip of Dr. Strange(Michael Kermoyan). The evil doctor used a "projector beam ray" to force the trio's jet Nimbus to land on his island in an effort to capture PAUPS,a machine who was dead ringer for the robot the Robinson's had on Lost In Space. Dr. Strange never did hold PAUPS long enough to learn its secrets,but unlike the protagonists of characters from "Danger Island",the humans on "Mystery Island" never got the chance to escape from there lair neither,but what would had happen if they did finally got away off the island and from the evil clutches of Dr. Strange? As a kid who watch this show,I never found out. They never did.
After the series performed with unimpressive low ratings during the 1977-78 season,CBS however canceled the show within one season,and the following year,moved it to Sunday Mornings without the already spun off "Woofer and Whimper" and "The Three Robotic Stooges". This incarnation lasted for four years in repeated episodes from the first season until 1981 where it went back and forth during Saturday and Sunday Mornings. However, 19 original episodes were produced running on the CBS Network from September 10,1977 until January 25,1981.
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