It’s been a couple of weeks since Hoverboy Friday came near a Friday, and this is a good one, Bucket Brethren and Sistren.
The big news is that a retired animator/producer for Vigilance Pictures by the name of Santos McMillan has contacted me with a mountain of new Hoverboy video material to put on the Hoverboy website. This includes a full episode from the HOVERBOY TO THE MOON series from 1961, part of an episode from the never aired Heroteam series from 1976, and a WHOLE SEASON’S worth of episodes from Hoverboy’s 80s epic kid’s series: GOD FEARING PUPPET TOWN! I’ll try to get the videos up on youtube later this week, and link to them, but for now I can show off some of the stills and jpgs he sent along with the package.
First up, this is one of the few surviving style sheets from the aborted 70s show “HEROTEAM”, only featuring Hoverboy this time. Santos had promised me the style sheets for SLAPMAN, DANNY BANNON: THE PANTSLESS DETECTIVE, GOLDEN PLUMB and FEMININJA….he says he can’t find them yet, but not to give up hope.
For the life of me, I don’t know what M.R.M. means in the info box. Any animators out there who can fill me in?
Hero Team, as Hoverboy fans should recall, was the series intended for CBS’s SATURDAY FUN ZONE in 1976, but was canceled when a highly inebriated Bob Stark threw up a meal of chili and vodka all over the desk of CBS producer Yasha Ezrin. “I was willing to work with Stark,” Ezrin recalled in a VARIETY interview of that year, “But his constant drunkeness caused friction at meetings. He would shout ‘NIXON WAS A SAINT!’ at odd times, or beg my daughter to remove her top. That sort of thing. It wasn’t a problem for me, really, but my custodial staff refused to clean up after him, and they went on strike. I have limits to what I’ll put with in this business we call show, but a desk covered in chili and vodka that went uncleaned for eight days was the end of my rope. It’s too bad, too, as hundreds of talented people had put in months of work to make it happen.”
I’ve tried to clean up these images from the video I was sent, but don’t really work with video filters as much as I should, so I’m flying blind.
These are screen grabs from HOVERBOY TO THE MOON, the six episode cartoon series produced in 1961 in the SYNCRO-VOX technique first popularized by CLUTCH CARGO. Basically, that meant that instead of animated lips, actors would supply the lip movement that went with the dialog. There were meant to be more than the six episodes, but CAMBRIA PRODUCTIONS (the owners of Clutch Cargo) sued Vigilance for using their technique.
Now, obviously, you can’t own a technique of making cartoons, but Nolan Bridge, producer at Vigilance at the time, didn’t know that, and took his series off the air, rather than face yet another lawsuit. (Vigilance was still paying off the damages on 18 wrongful death claims from the infamous “Day the Cartoonists Died” incident wherein weaponized anthrax toxins were accidentally mixed with the printing ink on paychecks sent out to Vigilance cartooning staff the year before. )
The syncro-vox idea was originally suggested because Hoverboy had no lips, and everyone figured it was a no brainer to animate him. But the scripts for the first six episodes (which centered around supplying blankets covered in weaponized anthrax toxin to the moon men to get them off “AMERICA’S PLANET’) featured so many lines for the moon men, and of course, Jimmy and Gleep the Monkey, that the cost cutting measure didn’t work, and folding when the lawsuit showed up was probably more of a blessing than a problem.
I don’t have any screengrabs of GOD FEARING PUPPET TOWN beyond this often seen promotional still, but it’s only a matter of me learning how to upload and embed this stuff before you’ll be watching the whole season.
God Fearing Puppet Town was a short-lived spin off of Sesame Street that aired only in Arizona and Utah during the early eighties. The series was created as a response to what the producers called “an emphasis on colored people and socialist values” on Sesame Street, that simply didn’t sit well with viewers in Arizona and Utah. The 22 fifteen minute episodes followed Hoverboy as he tried to understand bible verses and the prophecies of revelations, and how it all related to modern life in Utah. Though it was a big hit for the year it was on the air, it was finally removed by the FCC who cited “clear elements of race baiting, religious intolerance, and puppet nudity” in almost all the episodes. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah was returned to in almost every episode, and constantly referred to as “Hoverboy’s favorite part of the bible.”
HOVERBOY COMIC STRIPS
For those who have been following the Hoverboy reprints of NAZI ROBOTS OF FUTURE PAST, here are the latest episodes…
That’s it for today. Scroll down for the KICK ASS CREATORS article all you kids are looking for. And don’t forget: Tomorrow is free webcomics, featuring the THIRD chapter of the ever-exciting LAST ROUNDUP ON THE SINISTER SPACECRAFT OF FORBIDDEN LOVE!
Ty the Guy
PS: I almost forgot. The best issue of Bongo’s SIMPSONS comics to hit the stands in nearly four weeks is finally out! And as a special bonus, there’s a possible chance of winning eleven million dollars if you buy the issue and find a special lottery ticket inside.Share: