Charles Nelson Reilly IS “Uncle Croc”

This is the best thing that has happened to me in months, years, possibly (and apologies to whomever that offends!) and I hope the knowledge brings you as much sheer joy and amusement as it has brought me. Uncle Croc’s Block (1975-1976) seems like it was made just for me, and yet I didn’t get the memo somehow back when it was on (actually, I know how — it was on at the same time as Far Out Space Nuts, of which I was a devotee as we wrote here. I was 10 at the time).

Imagine this: a Saturday morning’s kids’ show that was a parody of all the other children’s television shows, starring a roll call of the craziest comedians, many of them recognizable stars from sit coms and other shows we knew mostly from syndicated re-runs.

The irreplaceable Charles Nelson Reilly was the titular host Uncle Croc, who was possibly inebriated.

His sidekick Mr. Rabbit Ears was played by Burt Reynolds crony Alfie Wise. 

Jonathan Harris from Lost in Space was the show’s pompous “director” Basil Bitterbottom, mostly seen by us in Laugh-In style cutaways as he rolls his eyes in exasperation at all the goings-on.

Phyllis Diller plays Witchie Goo-Goo, a parody of Witchie-Poo from H.R. Pufnstuf (kind of a lateral move, if you ask me!)

Carl Ballantine from McHale’s Navy is Sherlock Domes, with Stanley Adams (Cyrano Jones from Star Trek) as “Watkins”

Marvin Kaplan is Captain Marbles, a parody of Captain Marvel who says “Shazowie!” instead of “Shazam!”

The hilarious Robert Ridgely (High Anxiety, Boogie Nights) plays The $6.95 Man, a parody of the then-popular Six Million Dollar Man

Alice Ghostly is Junie the Jeanie, a parody of I Dream of Jeannie

Huntz Hall from the Dead End Kids plays Mr. Mean Jeans, a parody of Mr. Green Jeans from Captain Kangaroo

Plus there were cartoon segments! And I knew the cartoons because after Uncle Croc’s Block was cancelled, they repacked them in Groovie Goolies and Friends. The segments included MUSH, an all dog parody of M*A*S*H set in the Frozen North with voices provided by Kenneth Mars; Fraidy Cat: a cat (Alan Oppenheimer) haunted by the ghosts of his previous 8 lives, voiced by Lennie Weinrib (H.R. Pufnstuf); and Wacky and Packy, a caveman and his pet wooly mammoth, both voiced by Allan Melvin 

I urge you, if you’re the slightest bit depressed, and even if you’re not, run, don’t walk directly to Youtube and search for Uncle Croc’s Block, watch the clips and let the campy hilarity wash over you like a bath in sparkling champagne. I’d put a direct link here but they always go dead, and you’re a grown-up. You can find it yourself. I know you can. I promise you it’s worth the effort.

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