I didn’t watch much of the London Olympics. I’ll save my rant about what is wrong with the Olympics for another post. During those two weeks, I spent more time watching the old “Laff-A-Lympics” on the Boomerang Network. For those born after 1980, Laff-A-Lympics was a Hanna-Barbara (H-B) cartoon from the 1970’s. The concept was a series of competitions which mashed up their previous “Wacky Races” with the 1970’s TV show, “Battle of the Network Stars.” I’d like to share my thoughts on this series. L-A-L featured three teams: The Yogi Yahooeys*; The Scooby Doobies**; and the Really Rottens.
First off, there’s the 2 announcers. One is a pink cat with a lisp. The other is a wolf that sounds like Paul Lynde. I’m really surprised that these characters haven’t been mentioned more often as animated homosexual pioneers.
Let’s look at the rosters. I always wondered how these teams were created. I understand that the Rottens were the H-B villains. But as Robot Chicken pointed out, who remembers where these characters came from? Most folks can only recall 3 H-B villains: Dick Dastardly; his sidekick, Mutley; and Old Man Smithers, the owner of the abandoned amusement park who dressed up as a ghost to scare the Scooby Gang (aka: “those meddling kids.”) As for the Yogis and Scoobys, I originally thought that it was the Anthropomorphics versus the Humans. Then I thought it was the early 1960’s stars versus the late 60’s/1970’s stars. Both are sort-of correct. But now I believe that Yogi and Scooby are just really horrible captains in choosing teammates. (Can you imagine both of them at a fantasy football draft? They would take PKs in the first 4 rounds just because they read that kickers normally lead the NFL in scoring.) There’s a venerable who’s who of H-B stars omitted from this series. The most notable include: The Flintstones; The Jetsons; Jonny Quest; Top Cat; Space Ghost; The Herculoids; Josie and the Pussycats; Magilla Gorilla; Penelope Pitstop; Ranger Smith; Baba-Looey; and most inexplicably, Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey. I don’t buy the “maybe they couldn’t get the voice actors (VAs)” excuse. They had multiple VAs for other H-B characters, such as Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. And they had other celebrity VAs for this show, such as Casey Kasem (Shaggy), and Scatman Crothers (Hong Kong Phooey – “number one super guy”).
- This brings me to the title of this post. I would love to see an All-Star, 1960’s/1970’s Saturday morning cartoon Dream Olympics, featuring all of the major stars and studios of that era. So facing co-captains Scooby and Yogi of team H-B would include:
- Team Jay Ward: co-captained by Rocky and Bullwinkle. The team would also feature Dudley Do-Right, George of the Jungle, Tom Slick, and Peabody and Sherman.
- Team School House Rock: captained by Conjunction Junction. The team would include the Bill that becomes a law, Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla, the Lolly family, Interplanet Janet, but not Scooter Computer and Mr Chips. (They debuted in the 1980’s, and those segments were embarrassingly outdated even back then.)
- Team Looney Tunes: captained by Bugs Bunny.
- Team Disney: captained by Mickey Mouse. Granted, Disney animation was dormant during this era, but they did have Don (“Dragon’s Lair“, “An American Tail“) Bluth employed at that time.
- Team Filmation: captained by Fat Albert. The team would include Archie Andrews and the Riverdale gang, Sabrina the teenage Witch, and the Groovie Goolies.
- Team Sid and Marty Kroft: captained by HR Pufnstuf. The team would include The Bugaloos, the Marshall family of “Land of the Lost“, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, Sigmund the Sea Monster, and in a controversial decision, the Banana Splits (choosing Team Krofts over Team H-B).
- Team Walter Lantz: captained by Woody Woodpecker. The team would include Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, Wally Walrus, and Buzz Buzzard.
- Team Peanuts: captained by Charlie Brown. This includes the extended cast that was eventually phased out by the late 60’s.
- Team MGM: captained by Tom and Jerry. I know this was where Hanna and Barbera started. The team would include Droopy, Barney Bear, Spike and Tyke, Butch the Cat, Screwy Squirrel, and Tex Avery’s Wolf.
- Team (Don’t tell anyone we’re exported from) Japan: captained by Astro/Atom (of Astro Boy). My ultimate X-Factor squad, although I admit this team would be constituted of characters from multiple studios. This team would include Kimba the White Lion, Marine Boy, Gigantor, and Speed Racer. <sarcasm> But none of us are fans of anime, right? </sarcasm>
But I won’t stop there. I would also want to see a post-1980 version as well. But since there are so many animation studios, and most of them are overseas, this version would be more akin to the X-Games, where the competitors represent themselves more than their country (or in this case, studio). There are so many possibilities. Here are a few examples I thought of. (Please feel free to add suggestions):
- In a female Battle Royale: Aeon Flux vs Kim Possible vs Juniper Lee vs She-Ra.
- In a battle of family superheroes: the Powerpuff Girls vs the Bionic Six.
- In a building exercise: the Smurfs and Snorks vs the Fraggles and Doozers.
- In a battle of overweight African-Americans: Fat Albert vs Cleveland Brown vs Uncle Ruckus.
- In a male Battle Royale of Bad-Assery: Black Dynamite vs Huey Freeman vs Samurai Jack vs Spike Spiegel.
- In a battle of half-wit heroes: Darkwing Duck vs The Tick vs Freakazoid vs Johnny Bravo vs Sailor Moon vs Roger Smith of “American Dad” (not the Roger Smith of “The Big O.”)
- In a battle of geniuses: Stewie Griffin vs The Brain vs Dexter vs Jimmy Neutron vs Dr Heinz Doofenshmirtz
- In the ultimate karaoke sing-off: Alvin and the Chipmunks vs The Chipettes vs Jem and the Holograms vs Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner vs Kid Video vs Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.
- In a tag team battle of stupidity: 2 Stupid Dogs vs Beavis and Butt-head vs Ren and Stimpy vs Cow and Chicken vs Timon and Pumbaa.
- In a battle of dysfunctional Dads: Peter Griffin vs Homer Simpson vs Jake Morgendorffer.
- In a team limbo contest: The Muppet Babies vs The Rugrats vs The Littles vs the Tiny Toons.
- In a battle of mascots: Meatwad vs Slimer vs Snarf vs Gleek vs Uni vs Orko vs Bloo.
- In a fandom contest: My Little Ponies vs Totoro vs Pokémon.
- In a battle of millionaires: Scrooge McDuck vs Montgomery Burns vs Montana Max
- In a battle of villainy: Skeletor vs Cobra Commander vs Him vs Venger vs Aku vs Mumm-Ra.
As you might have noticed, I threw in a few anime characters in there. If I included more characters, (1) the reference would be lost on 98% of my readers, and (2) characters such as the Transformers would win more often the USA and China in the Summer Games.
*As I noted, how can you call one team the Yahooeys, but not have the character named Yahooey himself?
**Even though they have alleged stoner Shaggy Rogers on the team, there are no doobies shown or mentioned. But I suppose there were plenty of them in the animators’ studio.
- Cartoon History Lesson #15: The Laff-A-Lympics (pinkbananaworld.com)
- Film: Inventory: Faux-lympic champions: 9-plus fictional gold medalists (avclub.com)