TODAY'S SPECIAL IS: NOSTALGIA.I was looking up information on Google the other day for information on the early-Eighties era European cartoon Dr. Snuggles, the rather odd series about the inventor with the striped pants whom was voiced by none other than Peter Ustinov, and, since the last time I had tried looking for information on that series, there was something new...
Official Doctor Snuggles website! And Doctor Snuggles creator Jeffrey O'Kelly takes an active role in the website! You can ask him questions! How cool is that? Well, not terribly cool at all, unless you're someone like me, but I'm someone like me so it's the best thing ever! Some people, of those that remember it, think that cartoon may have been done on illicit substances, and often animators want you to think that even if they're completely "clean" since having people think they were "high" when they were doing a project since it's the closest thing to "street cred" there is in animator circles, but I'm not cynical enough to think that. I think Jeffrey O'Kelly and Nick Price are just two guys whom were high on total creativity, though I think the character Woogie the freckled camel could posibly have had a stash somewhere in the clouds, from his dreamy demeanour and his slow speech patterns. Is there such a thing as liquid marijuana? I'm thinking that it wasn't just tea in that teacup, and he doesn't seem drunk. Well, the show was animated in Holland, what with the "Head Shops" and all...
It aired around 1984, I think on both WPTZ-5, the NBC affiliate in Plattsburgh NY, and on TV Ontario. I absolutely don't want anyone to think that I hated Doctor Snuggles, just, in all honesty, as a ten year old, I didn't exactly know what to make of it, but it was so endearingly weird that I'm still looking for information about it as a 29 year old two decades later, and I haven't seen it in well over a decade, and that's probably the best compliment Jeffrey O'Kelly can receive. I do get the idea that I'd probably "get" more from watching the show now, even if it is a kid's show.
You can download an MP3 of the Doctor Snuggles on this page, which is the motherlode of theme songs from programmes shown on TV Ontario circa 1984-85, and not just their relatively mainstream stuff like Read All About It, The Polka Dot Door, and Today's Special but also the semi-obscure stuff like Readalong (the show with Boot the Boot and Pretty the Shoe), Calling All Safety Scouts and Math Patrol, and the really obscure shit that I thought I was the only person that remembered like Dear Aunt Agnes, (Aunt?) Harriet's Magic Hats, and The Magical Music Box. Also, they have the themes from a couple of the anime which aired on TVO during that era: Belle and Sebastien, the English language version of Meiken Jolie ("Jolie, the Great Dog"), and Fables of the Green Forest, and the anime-esque animated version of The Little Prince ("anime-esque" meaning that I don't know if it was an actual Japanese cartoon or not). For some reason, there's also the theme song to The Edison Twins, even though I'm sure that one was a CBC series, and Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, among many others.
Wow! I actually did a successful segue going from talking about Doctor Snuggles to talking about that theme page. Can I do another segue?
Speaking of that theme page, they also have the theme song to the 1980s British cartoon series Willo the Wisp (another one which may have been influenced by illicit substances), and I also recently found the official Willo the Wisp website, and, apparently, they're making new episodes, to be directed by Bobbie Spago, daughter of the late Nick Spago, creator of the series.
Now, on the original Willo the Wisp episodes, the title character and narrator was some sort of spirit, played by the late Kenneth Williams. (Well, to be technical, he was a St. Elmo's Fire, a phenomenon created by swamp gas, but I need the word "spirit" for my next lame segue.)
Speaking of "spirits", do you know whom really hates spirits that aren't of the Holy kind? Why, Bob Larson of course! Bob Larson was a Christian radio host whom used to specialize in pop culture subjects. He went on the road with the band Slayer once to write an article for Spin magazine and he was a consultant on some horror movie (I thought he said it was Witchboard, but he talks about knowing Drew Barrymore during the filming, and she wasn't in any of the Witchboard movies) and he was a frequent guest on Oprah, confronting 2 Live Crew's rap and Whitley Streiber's claims of being abducted by aliens with a message, and his two-hour Talkback radio programme with him as sort of a Chritstian "shock jock" was great fun to listen to just for his ragging on anything and everything "cool", from videogames to Nirvana to Goosebumps books to Barney the Dinosaur and his confrontational approach with most of his callers. Around 1995, he decided to go for a shinier gold ring, going after the Rush Limbaugh conservative radio-listening audience with a more secularized version of his programme, but that flopped badly, so he went back to doing just Talkback, still having some pop-culture subjects (like the guest whom called videogames "murder simulators"), and he also had entire episodes that were basically infomericals for Lite-and-Rite, this dubious weight loss product that "Julie", the chirpy woman promoting it, claimed was "90% Christian" ("and 10% goat's blood!") and a gold trading company called Swiss-America, and the begging for money went through the roof, to the point where literally half the show was him asking for donations. Going in to the late nineties, he also came up with a new schtick... exorcisms, both on-air, and on his travelling
However, I wrote the preceding boring paragraph because... he's back on the air! I just wish his new shows were interesting to listen to... like, for his episode on Lord of the Rings, it takes him 20 minutes just to get to fricking Tolkien! And it's only an half-an-hour show! His new show is based in Phoenix AZ, I guess because it's symbolic of his show haven risen from the ashes. He should do his show from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, because then he can say "Bob Larson, Charlottetown"... say it ten times fast. For those of you in Rio Linda, the joke is "Charlottetown" sounds sorta like "Charlatan".)
Eh.. I have more stuff to share, but I'll finish it tomorrow....