SATURDAY MORNING EDITION
Just in time for Halloween! This was a favorite Saturday morning cartoon of mine. The Groovie Goolies ran from 1970 to 1972 and was a sort of cross between the Universal Horror constellation of monsters and Beatles–inspired bubble gum kid’s rock outfits like the Banana Splits, the Archies and Josie and the Pussy Cats, and was structured like the ever popular Laugh-In, with a series of very short black-out skits, songs, one off jokes and other brief bits, all leavened with a recorded laugh track. The location of the show was Horrible Hall. The actual Groovie Goolies was a musical trio consisting of Drac (the organ playing vampire straight man), Wolfie (a beatnik werewolf who played some kind of alien looking stringed instrument), and Frankie (a Frankenstein monster who played xylophone and drums). He spoke kind of like Boris Karloff and would always get struck by lightning and say “Thanks! I needed that…” Rounding out the “cast” were an amusing collections of witches, skeletons, mummies, vampires, gargoyles and a two headed mad scientist monster named Dr. Jeckyll and Hyde. There was a mummy character based on Tiny Tim. Best of all the voice of Drac was provided by Larry Storch; Frankie and Wolfie by Howard Morris.
In retrospect, I’m realizing that this show, with its unique blend of horror-themed comedy and garage rock, was incalculably influential on me.
To find out more about show business past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
For more on silent and slapstick comedy please see my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc