Also, the comics introduced a new regular character who never appeared in the show. Priscilla Atwater, a ghostly matron from Mudsy's time, who lusted after Mudsy and pursued him actively, although she tended to flirt with about any other ghost who came along. See more »
Funky Phantom is a re-invention of the Scooby Doo formula of kids going around solving mysteries, as is so often with so many other Hanna Barbera offerings that pervaded the 1970s.
I don't want to make this another cruel review of Hollywood animation post 1940s, but I need to get the bad out of the way. Funky Phantom used recycled voice talent with little variance on the characters they were voicing. Couple that with a cheaper animation approach, look and feel, and you get a series of cartoons that aren't worth a whole lot.
If you were a kid who came home after school in the 70s and 80s, or even the 60s, and you saw Warner Brothers or MGM classics from the 30s, 40s and even 1950s, then you noticed a difference in quality between the guys who were offering Bugs and Daffy as well as Tom and Jerry, and the guys who were offering Scooby Doo, the Chang Clan, Funky Phantom, Wakcy Racers, Stop the Pigeon, Huckleberry Finn, Yogi Bear, and just a whole host of animated offerings that had a cheap look and recycled feel that, and I can only speak for myself, had me turning the channel.
Funky Phantom comes from that post corporate industrial period when the Hollywood social psychologists felt they had to create something for the kids that was beyond the slapstick antics of classic studio animation. Funky Phantom was part of an effort to get kids to stop and think about their fears or people presenting fears. Scooby Doo did this, even the Flintstones or the Groovy Goolies, and in particular the "Super Friends" (Justice League of America) all did this by trying to offer something that had stories that tried to be more sophisticated, but, again I can only speak for myself, came across as cheap and ham-fisted.
Reason; Japan was already offering more sophisticated action mystery animation for children that didn't rely on condescending tropes of including cute side kicks (Scrappy Doo for Scooby Doo) or kid audience avatars like The Wonder Twins for the Justice League or their substitutes Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog. Japanese animation had full fledged violence with bloodshed realizing that children knew how to accept violence without becoming programmed by it, and to this end also realized that it was important to put the violence in its proper context so that good young healthy minds could make their own decisions about it based on their parents' values of how to judge said actions.
Funky Phantom attacked American children with the usual cheap animation techniques that didn't have an ounce of artistry in Japanese offerings, and certainly were not as smooth as Disney or classic pre 1960s animation.
Funky Phantom, like all of the other Hanna Barbera offerings, takes all of the aforementioned elements and gave American children a repackaging of what was essentially the same theme of trying to teach children to be critical of the world about them.
In my opinion not only did it not succeed in this, but the cheap presentation of 1970s animation really had a lot of kids turning the channel. Just look at the number of reviews on Amazon between the DVDs of classic animation and the Hanna Barbera shows in the 1970s. I remember talking with kids my age about which cartoons were good and which were bad. We all agreed that classic cartoons from MGM and WB simply outclassed anything Hanna Barbera could throw at us.
Funky Phantom, with a perpetual re-use of voice talent (Dan Butler re-using the same character for the phantom that he did for Snaglepuss) re-use of the same set of sound-effects from the same sound studio in Burbank, and using the same formula of young kids solving mysteries and taking on crimes, couldn't be a bigger flop in terms of social objectives.
The proof is in the pudding; the UFO, ESP and astrology social phenomenons hit an all time high in the 70s and 80s. Religion fundamentalism continued to be on the upswing in the bible belt and beyond. And mysticism of all forms, and just a fascination with the supernatural, continued to grow among the same audience that watched Hanna Barbera's offerings.
Funky Phantom was poorly animated. Had a laugh track because it wasn't funny. Relied on cute characters to try and rope in boys and girls. And didn't even look good nor was it well animated. That's on top of all the social psychology injected into it and its cousin shows made by the same animation studio.
And that's pretty much what I think of Funky Phantom and all of Hanna Barbera's offerings from the late 60s up through the 80s.
Not a memorable show other than the fact that it was produced. If you need a nostalgia blast, well, there are better shows out there. Funky Phantom is another product of the cultural depression that was the 1970s in the United States of America. Thank goodness that era is over with.
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