'The Girls Next Door' (Season 5)
What the Season's About: This season chronicles the lead-up to the buxom blonde trio's flight from the Playboy coop. While we now know that Kendra and Bridget landed their own series, we will always remember their time in the mansion -- even if Hef doesn't.
Why You Should Check It Out: It's the last season that features Bridget, Holly and Kendra as Hef's girlfriends. While there is a season 6 in the works with all new Hef gal pals, the chemistry between these three will be hard to match.
Rent it on Netflix | Buy it on Amazon
At the midpoint of the 1970s the Saturday morning schedule was remarkably different from what it was a mere five years before. Instead of featuring animated rock n' roll bands, animated mystery-solving teenagers and animated versions of Jerry Lewis, the 1975-76 schedule was filled with live-action series. Lots of live-action series.
In fact, about half of the new series to premiere this year were live action shows. Add those to existing series making return appearances and half of the 1975 Saturday morning schedule featured live actors and actresses. It would be a trend that would continue until the end of the decade and would give animated fare a run for their money.
The 1980s was the beginning of the end for Filmation Studios ... sort of. For, while their Saturday morning fortunes began to fade and eventually disappear, their successes turned to the burgeoning syndication market. It was there, starting in the early 1980s, that the studio introduced us to a sword-wielding warrior who became an animated legend.
Unfortunately, the studio's success in syndication would be a small, but powerful, blip for the two-decade old company. By the end of the 1980s the studio would fade into memory as the company was broken up and its talent moved onto bigger and better things.
When you look at the history of television you can usually connect names to certain eras of programming. For instance, producer Aaron Spelling can be connected with many of the dramas and primetime soap operas of the 70s and 80s; Garry Marshall can be matched to many of the great ABC comedies of the 70s; Mark Goodson and Bill Toddman can be hooked up with the daytime game shows that pocked the television landscape for three decades.
When the names William Hanna and Joseph Barbera are mentioned two words come to mind: Saturday mornings. Without the creations that the Hanna-Barbera studios put out year after year Saturday mornings would have looked much different. Oh, other studios like Rankin-Bass and Filmation would have probably picked up the slack, but then we wouldn't have known about Space Ghost, Scooby-Doo, Mutley, Jabberjaw, or the Wonder Twins.
From the late 50s until the early 90's Hanna-Barbera was a major presence on television. Their shows produced countless imitations (some coming from Hanna-Barbera itself), thousands of characters, and memories that will last our lifetime.
And, it all started with a cat and a mouse.
If the years 1960 to 1964 were a time when the networks put their toes in the Saturday morning waters to see what it was like, 1965 was the year where they took a few steps in. Not completely enough to submerge themselves, mind you...that would be left until the Fall of 1966. But, just enough to feel comfortable enough to dive in.
Like the nation, television was changing in 1965, and the shift could be felt on Saturday mornings. Gone were many of the post-primetime, live action shows that filled the schedule during the first few years of the 60's. In its place was more animated fare. And, that programming was geared to current fads that were taking place in pop culture during that time. It was also the year that a certain animation studio known for its primetime and syndicated fare took its first tentative steps back into original Saturday morning programming.
A few years ago I received a Hanna Barbera three-disc set of cartoon themes, comedy bits and sound effects. I have the content of all three albums on my iPod, which is quite entertaining when the iPod is on shuffle. After every few songs there will be a short clip of some wacky sound effect. Trust me, you've never heard "Smells Like Teen Spirit" until you've heard it followed by Fred Flintstone yelling "yabba dabba doo!"
I like cartoon music, that's my point. So this caught my interest, naturally. Scott Bradley was the musical composer for MGM animation, scoring Tom and Jerry cartoons and the works of Tex Avery. The first three-disc volume covers the 1950s and is limited to 3000 copies. If enough people show interest in the project, other volumes will follow, covering other decades. I suppose people like myself would love to have something like this, but I think even cartoonphiles have to admit that what made these soundtracks so great was seeing them paired up with the cartoons themselves. The next time you catch Tom and Jerry, pay close attention to the music: it stops, starts, takes weird detours, adds subtle gags to the scene, and twists and contorts to fit the action. Some of the most talented musicians in the business worked on those old cartoons, but I get the feeling that hearing the music by itself might leave one as half empty as watching the same cartoon with the mute button pressed.
[via Toon Zone]
In 1951 Hanna Barbera created a Tom and Jerry short called "His Mouse Friday" that was later banned from television for its racist content. In the cartoon, which you can watch here, Tom is stranded on an island and Jerry paints himself up with black soot to resemble a cannibal and scare Tom. You'll notice that Jerry's dialogue and the dialogue of the island natives is muted. I'm not sure why that is, but based on what I found while scrounging for information on this cartoon, the dialogue was removed because of offensive slang. That information doesn't come from any official source, so take that for whatever it's worth. Questionable content aside, I don't think this is the best Tom and Jerry I've ever seen, though the scene where Tom is cooking in the stew pot and throws away the onion is pretty funny. And if nothing else, it's a nice little piece of animation history for fans of the medium.
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