Twilight might be riding the zeitgeist at the moment in cinemas, churning out yet another sequel before all the fans disappear, but for us people in our 30s the sight of folk with fangs and sprouting hairs at the first sign of a full moon were commonplace…in our Saturday morning cartoons.
Every 400 years, a baby werewolf is born into the Fangsworth family. And so when the moon shined on little Sherman Fangsworth, he changed into Fangface; (Ooowooo! Grrrrrr…) a werewolf. Only the sun can change him back to normal. And so little Fangs grew up and teamed up with three daring teenagers: Kim, Biff, and Puggsy. And together they find danger, excitement, and adventure. (Grrrrrr… Ooowooo!) (Ooh! Ooh! Grrrrrr!) Who can save the day? Who can wrong the rights, and right the wrongs? None other than Fangface! (Ooh! Ooh!)
So booms Mr Voiceover man at the beginning of each episode which practically combines the characters of Scooby Doo and Shaggy in one! The show even had its own ‘hip’ vehicle, the wolf buggy. Amusingly, Fangface, with his one large fang, can even turn all hairy at the mere sight of the moon, or anything resembling it!
The Funky Phantom
Essentially yet another riff on Scooby Doo and Co, The Funky Phantom featured three teenagers — Skip, April and Augie — and their dog Elmo. While trying to get out of a storm, they entered an old house where they found a clock telling the wrong time, which, .upon being set to midnight, released two ghosts: a Revolutionary War-era ghost named Jonathan Wellington “Mudsy” Muddlemore (who sounds exactly like Snagglepuss as he’s voiced by the same man) and his cat, Boo. The pair hid from the British inside the clock during the War, but then couldn’t get out and died inside – cheery! Ever since being freed, Mudsy and Boo have acompained them on mysteries, always giving an invisible helping hand…and of course they had some smart wheels as well.
The Real Ghostbusters
This series made more of a thing of Slimer, resulting in him turning up in the film sequel, the series actually featured good storylines and monsters that would have made a better starting point for a story than what we saw in Ghostbusters 2.
Interesting fact is that Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman role was voiced by the man who also did the voice of Garfield in the cartoon and that several years later Murray went onto voice the voice of Garfield in the film. Life imitating art imitating art or something like that.
The king of the carton crypt keepers is Mr Doo, even though these aren’t essentially monsters just men, generally janitors, are just men in monster outfits. The fun is in spotting the clues though and of course earning those all important Scooby Snacks. Always viewed better when he was part of the Mystery Machine team than when his pesky little nephew, Scrappy Doo, was with him. This scaredy cat dog has been being spooked since 1969.
The Drak Pack
Now this really was something and was great 70s kitsch which essentially cast those who had always been seen as villains as the heroes of the piece for a change.
The Drak Pack was made up of the teen-age descendants of Hollywood’s most popular monsters. Drak Jr. (a vampire), Frankie (a Frankenstein’s monster) and Howler (a wolfman) formed a crimefighting squad in order to atone for their forefathers’ misdeeds against humanity. To show that the teens had the blessing of the previous monsters, they usually received their assignments from Drak’s great-grandfather, Dracula himself (known as Big D to the Pack), who always ended up trapping his fingers in his coffin.
The gang’s nemesis was the evil Dr. Dred, who from his flying “Dredgible” would hatch many an evil scheme along with assistants Vampira, Mummy Man, a Peter Lorre-esque Toad, and Fly. In order to defeat them, the Drak Packers would clasp their hands together and shout, “Wacko!” a secret word which gave the teens the super powers to succeed.
Looking like a throwback from one of the Dingles, Captain Caveman (how the Captain came about is beyond me). This magic club flying(er, again clueless) crimefighter was the same every week as part way through he gave chase in the air and (what a surprise) his club would run out of power…and it was the same week in week out. He did have three nice young ladies helping him though, a sort of Caveman’s Angels so to speak. Caveman himself was clearly some sort of relative of the Slag Brothers from The Wacky Races, both coming from the Hannah Barbara stable of animation of course.
Was friendly and a ghost. Probably died of boredom. More of a wet blanket than a white sheet. Also, post Chucky, his “Hi, I’m Casper, can I be your friend?” was somewhat sinister in a you just know he wants to turn into those demons at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, you know he does, type way.
Like Mork from Ork was a spin off from Happy Days, our green feathered friend started out as a nemesis for none-other than Dangermouse, with both characters voiced by David Jason of course.
With a reincarnation ritual that replaces blood accidently with tomato ketchup, thank you Nanny, the latest in the long line of vampirac ducks is not a blood-sucking vampire, but a vegetarian one. He is more interested in juicy carrots than hunting for victims. Naturally, Igor is appalled at this and even worse, his “new” master is obsessed with pursuing wealth and fame as an entertainer.
The stories often centre around Duckula’s adventures in search of riches and fame, assisted by the castle’s ability teleport around the world. Another regular theme is Igor’s attempts to turn Duckula into a proper vampire. Some episodes feature Duckula’s nemesis Doctor Von Goosewing (an obvious play on Van Helsing).