Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Mornings...With Werewolves!

Growing up in the 1970s and 80s meant spending a lot of time on Saturday mornings sitting in front of the television and watching cartoons. 'Twas the golden age of animated superheroes, but there were also a fair number of kid-friendly monsters populating the TV airwaves.

Several series featured a core group of characters often patterned after the silver screen monsters. Since this is werewolf week, I've chosen to focus on a selection of retro cartoon series that featured lycanthropes.

Wolfie from Groovie Goolies
First up is Wolfie, from the CBS series Groovie Goolies (1971-72), who first appeared in the 1970-71 series Sabrina the Teenage Witch (alternately titled Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies). He's one of the friendly fiends who lives at Horrible Hall, a boarding house for monsters. Wolfie is a beatnik hippie who loves to surf, and gets around mostly by skateboard. He also plays a mean gi-tar, and is part of the house band that includes an organist (Drac, a vampire) and a percussionist (Frankie, a reanimated corpse).

Howler from Drak Pack
Next we have Howler from the CBS series Drak Pack (1980-82). He's the son of a very famous werewolf, and is part of a crime-fighting team that includes Drac Jr. (the son of Dracula) and Frankie (the son of Frankenstein's Monster). The three have teamed up to atone for the misdeeds of their monstrous fathers, and are actually under the leadership of Count Dracula himself. Howler has a powerful lung capacity, which he utilizes to get the group out of many sticky situations. When not fighting crime, the three masquerade as normal teenagers, with the ability to evoke their monster alter-egos through a high-five.

Fangface and Fangpuss
And then there's Fangface, from the truly awful ABC series of the same name, which ran from 1978-79 and was replaced by Fangface and Fangpuss (1979-80). In human form, Fangface is actually Sherman "Fangs" Fangsworth, who's part of a group of teenage supernatural crime-fighters (yes, this is highly derivative of Scooby-Doo). Sherman transforms into Fangface whenever he sees a full moon, whether it be in the night sky, drawn on a piece of paper... actually, he transforms whenever he sees anything that looks like a full moon, which really made for some contrived storytelling.

Reggie Moonshroud from Gravedale High
I thought I should close with a mention of the NBC series Gravedale High (1990-91), which lasted only one season. This series follows Max Schneider (Rick Moranis), a meek high school teacher whose students are all teenage monsters.

These include: Vinnie Stoker, a vampire patterned after "Vinnie" Barbarino from Welcome Back, Kotter; a zombie named Blanche; Gill Waterman, a lagoon creature who's a surfer-dude; Frankentyke; Sid, the invisible kid...the list goes on. Also present is Reggie Moonshroud, a werewolf who's a science geek and the class nerd.

31 Days of Horror (2014 Edition) continues tomorrow...


  1. Love the coverage of the Groovie Goolies here, but I do have to offer one correction.
    Frankie wasn't a "reanimated corpse" as you stated but apparently some sort of android or robot.
    Whenever he was struck by lightning ("I needed that!") there would be a quick x-ray image of the inside of his body and you would see all these clockwork gears turning away and hinged metal rods for bones and a digestive system that included plumbing pipes and even in one shot the kitchen sink(!).
    I don't know if it was sixties Saturday morning censorship that kept them from showing that their friendly Frankenstein was sewn together from dead bodies or if the animators just thought it would look cooler to show it the way that they did, but knowing the guys at Filmation it was probably the later!

  2. Thanks for the correction! I have the bad habit of calling any character that looks like Frankenstein's Monster a reanimated corpse, just for the sake of having something else to call it. ;) Definitely, it probably had something to do with censorship, or the fact that this was a show for kids.