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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mystery Solving Musicians

YouTube Tuesday presents:

My favorite childhood cartoons that mixed pop music and crime solving.

First up is my favorite, of course. Josie and the Pussycats were a trio of girls, their manager, his sister and their roadie (along with Sebastian the cat) traveling around the world to play gigs, but somehow got involved with criminal masterminds. I have the soundtrack album and listen to the songs all the time. Cheryl Ladd (pre-Charlie's Angels) was the singing voice of ditzy Melody. I always loved the big chase scene that used their songs as the chase music.

The Pussycats eventually shot off into space to solve intergalactic mysteries.

Next is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids. Even as a youngster, I knew that Butch was the hottest animated character around. This was before Gatchaman hit the states as Battle of the Planets with Mark and Jason. The musicians had a supercomputer that contacted Butch through his ring and they were off to solve the crime.

Jabberjaw had to be the cartoon with the most bizarre concept. In the not too distant future, a rock group travels to underwater cities (not outer space) for their gigs and a giant great white shark that talks like Curly from the Three Stooges is the drummer. Somehow they get involved with dastardly villains who want to take over the world. My favorite character besides Jabberjaw was the bubbleheaded Bubbles who talked like Gracie Allen.

Lastly must be the most offensive cartoon of the bunch. Asian stereotypes are abundant in The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan. Asian sleuth Charlie Chan is on hand to solve mysteries and with him are his 10 kids and a dog to help. The music is fun and the stories are cute. I remember really liking it as a kid, but watching an episode recently I was amazed at how un-PC it is. I know that TV at the time tried to make stereotypes somehow funny, but watching them now makes me cringe. I will say this, the theme song is still great and sticks in your head for days.

I wonder how many kids gave up wanting to be in a rock band, because they thought it might be too dangerous?


  1. I've just recently added you to my blogroll; your stuff is great.

    If you can, you should pick up a copy of the book BUBBLEGUM MUSIC IS THE NAKED TRUTH by my friend Kim Cooper - there's a chapter or two devoted to all the "rock'n'roll" cartoon shows and the musicians who did the songs. Ron Dante, the voice of The Archies, did at least one of the Chan Clan songs ("I Got the Goods on You").

    I'm sure you've seen the hilarious episode of "HARVEY BIRDMAN: ATTORNEY AT LAW" where the Chan Clan sues the Jabberjaw band for stealing one of their songs. At least in that one the Clan seem to be speaking actual Chinese.

  2. Sounds like my kind of book, I'll have to look for it. You know, I have never seen Harvey Birdman and people keep telling me I need to see it, because it references everything I like.



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