Tom Fremgen's Blog about all things cool at

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Posted by tom on January 5, 2016 in Uncategorized with No Comments


Hey party people,

Thought I’d post a ‘just for fun’ post this week. And being the start of the new year, here’s a list! I did this a while back (before this blog) but I thought I’d bring it back now. So here is my list of TOP 10 CARTOONS from the 1960’s.

The 60’s was pretty much the birth of television cartoon. Granted the so-called first one, CRUSADER RABBIT, dates back to 1949 and Hanna-Barbera had a few shows in the very late 50’s. But the medium didn’t really take until the 1960’s. Aided by the invention of Anime and Saturday Morning cartoons, which created more companies than just Hanna-Barbera to specifically create animated programs for television. Also most early television cartoons were crudely made, for cheap tv budgets and based on the theatrical shorts. Meaning you got two or more stories in a single ½ hour show. In the 1960’s two things changed, stories were expanded to the full ½ hour and four got produced for Prime Time (THE FLINTSONS, THE JETSONS, TOP CAT and JOHNNY QUEST). So this is why I kick off with the 1960’s and basically claim it was the first decade of television cartoons.

First off, you will notice a few shows missing from my list. This is because while a show maybe important and successful, it doesn’t mean I found it worth while to watch. The biggest example is THE FLINTSTONE, I’m sorry but no matter what my age, I never enjoyed the show. It was basically a sitcom from the 1960’s and just like most sitcoms from the 1960’s they were more cute than funny. Even with all the dinosaurs, as a kid I still found the show to be boring- same with the THE JETSONS. I’m also not listing SUPERMAN, arguable the first Saturday Morning cartoon show. A massive hit, written by the Superman comicbook writers. But again, even as a kid I found the stories to be boring, and the artwork not that exciting either. Mind you, as a kid I still watched these shows, and I even have SUPERMAN on dvd today. I’m just not putting them on my top ten list, all of which I think you can still watch today and find something worth while in. Ok, now here is the list:

10- SPACE GHOST & DINOBOY (1966-67)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXx9yRCSt5Y

Let’s be real, no one turned in to watch Dinoboy, we were all there for Space Ghost. With reasonable, if predictable stories, Hanna-Barbera’s first action cartoon is winner. Having animation legend Alex Toth doing the bulk of the design work really helped make this show a classic for the ages.

9- JOHNNY QUEST (1964)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0kg_tzQvf4

This was Hanna-Barbera’s first adventure show, and for Prime Time no less! It’s pain stacking details made it a hit, and caused it’s down fall, because it was just too expensive to produce. Those details now give it great 1960’s kitsch value today. Basically created by Doug Wildey, Johnny Quest was a spot on adventure show for 1960’s television. Which is probably why I had to get a little older to appreciate it.

8- TENNESSEE TUXEDO AND HIS TALES (1963-1965)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHfmT_-DvEY

Featuring the voice talent of Don Adams (who would go on to play Maxwell Small and Inspector Gadget), Tennessee Tuxedo had more snap and wit than most of the comedies. While Jay Ward Productions’ ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE gets most of the fanfare, Tennessee and his mad schemes made for much better material. Plus he was aided by ridiculous THE WORLD OF COMMANDER MCBRAGG shorts.

7- THE ALVIN SHOW (1961)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SdMTK1Brr8

Ross Bagdasarian Senior’s high speed voice creations Alvin, Simon and Theodore, the Chipmunks from record fame became a cartoon show. Packed with the bounce originals and covers by the Chipmunk (you’re a fan or not I guess) and the simple premise of how can they (mostly Alvin) screw with their producer David Seville. Every episode is the same, David is just trying to get through his day, and they just mess with him every step of the way, like a good YouTube video.

6- THE BEATLES (1965-68)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSAJaHatUDQ

What could be better than the Chipmunks? The Beatles, the then and still undisputed kings of popular music. Each episode had animated music videos and the boys living it up in a cartoon version of the movie, A HARD DAYS NIGHT. It was just about as fun as the Beatles themselves, or as least as fun as we hoped they all were. Only people who don’t like the Beatles would find nothing to like here.

5- PRINCE PLANET (1965)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yhn_wfgPyzI

Now this one might sound like sacrilege, as it is actually a knock-off show of the more well known ASTROBOY. As a kid I never got to watch Astroboy, but I did see Prince Planet, and it was one of my all time favorites. Maybe Astroboy is just as good or better. I still haven’t seen much, but what I have seen seems to fall short of the imagination and excitement packed into this spaceboy superhero show. I don’t think any little boy could turn down watching Prince Planet.

4- KIMBA THE WHITE (1965)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytqAS-tgGKg

Another Anime, this one created by the creator of Astroboy, Osamu Tezuka, the father of comics and animation in Japan. This is a show that has it all, adventure and heart. As a ween boy who was crazy about superheroes, I still picked Kimba over Prince Planet as my favorite tv show. It just has that quality few shows have, making it better than it probably should have been. Case in point, originally called Jungle Emperor, Disney all but ripped it off for their movie the LION KING, their most successful animated movie.

3- SPIDER-MAN (1967-69)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF2FPmX3zrI

Marvel comics hit big in the 1960’s with everything that’s becoming a hit movie today. In the late 60’s they hit television, mostly thanks to cheap animation producer Grantray-Lawrence. Not sure how, but Marvel’s crown jewel, Spider-Man got the best treatment, with original stories and well made animation cycles, event though they were played over and over again. Ralph Bakshi was put in charge of seasons 2 and 3, to cut the budget. But while animation quality dropped, he made up for it with the best soundtrack a television cartoon ever had.

2- SCOOBY DOO, WHERE ARE YOU (1969-70)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTq6nwO4oJU

One of the greatest animation icons just made it into the 1960’s, with arguable his best show. With restrictions starting to hamper action shows, Hanna-Barbera turned to mystery and kicked off a major cartoon fad. Scooby Doo is still, in some form or another, in production today! But his first show, especially for the time, did a great job of selling monsters, mystery and humor. It’s no wonder kids and adults still love Scooby Doo.

1- SPEED RACER (1967)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suCm1w_KTiY

The best Saturday Morning cartoon took 2nd place and the best Anime takes 1st, Tatsuo Yoshida’s Mach GoGoGo. As a Manga, Speed Racer was a reasonable hit, as a cartoon it was a mega hit. Yoshida tailored his racing car hero after Elvis and his adventures off of James Bond. Seriously, how could it not be a hit. The style, music, adventure and reasonable animation for the 1960’s was the first clue that Japan was going dominate in animation.

If you can watch just one show for the 1960’s, it should be SPEED RACER! Feel free to disagree, but you’ll never convince me otherwise. Until next time.

Posted by tom on December 9, 2014 in Uncategorized with No Comments


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Hey party people, so yeah I missed last week- duho! It’s the old story, I put something off for a day, then I got superbusy! Anyway, here’s my post for this week. Showing off a little artwork and talking about some of my favorite cartoons- Hanna-Barbera’s superheroes shows!

As I’ve mentioned many times, growing up in the 70’s meant watching a lot of Hanna-Barbera and Filmation! While Filmation is my fav, H-B was many times just as great. But the one thing H-B managed to do better than Filmation, and nearly anyone else, was to create some good original superheroes. Typically, if the character wasn’t from Marvel or DC, it was crap character. But back in the 60’s, in the superhero animation boom, amidst Spider-man, the Fantastic Four, Superman, Aquaman, Batman and more; H-B managed to create some original superheroes worth watching: Space Ghost, Birdman and Mightor!

One thing weird about these three characters, and I’m not even sure H-B realized this- as I’ve never seen it mentioned before. Is that H-B created a superhero of the future (Space Ghost) and superhero of the present (Birdman) and a superhero of the past (Mightor). What unique range. One thing I think that really helped sell these characters was Alex Toth- the master comicbook artist, who H-B got to design pretty much all of there action adventure shows- post-Johnny Quest (though he did do some work on Johnny).

First off there was Space Ghost, who has one of the greatest designs for a superhero ever! Seriously, he is just perfect to look at. While I was never a fan of Jan and Jace, Space Ghost was still the best show around. That lava monster in the opening credits- awesome! For helping design Space Ghost alone, Toth could be remember forever!

Next Birdman, now while Toth did a lot of designs for the show he did NOT design Birdman. I’ve seen many people give credit to Toth, but seriously look at the model sheet (not only does it not look like one of Toth’s drawings) it’s signed Hi Mankin! Also, I’m sorry Hi, but it’s also not as strong as one of Toth’s designs (the mask is way too complex). But the whole secret agent/superhero angle is very cool. Especially in the 60’s during the height of the cold war.

Lastly, Mightor, who was designed by Alex Toth. And despite the fact that Toth hates caveman stuff, Mightor looks awesome! Interestingly enough, Mightor had two things in it that Filmation would borrow later. One, a side-kick that causes more trouble than help. Little Rok wanted to be a hero like Mightor but was usually just nuisance. Just like Bat-mite in the New Adventures of Batman and Robin. Two, by holding his club over his head Tor would become Mightor! And same club could change his pet dinosaur Tog into bigger tougher dinosaur- yet no one knew the two (or four) were the same. Just like in He-man- as Adam would hold his sword over his head and affect his pet tiger.

Anyway, here are some recent sketches I did of these guys. As you might imagine, I’d love to be able to work on them for real- but until then you just have to enjoy these.

 

Catch ya on the flipper.

Posted by tom on October 28, 2014 in Uncategorized with No Comments


Hey party people, as promised, we got two Captain Rocket episodes this month. I’m pretty happy with the scenes of the Rocket-Rocket landing. Hope you enjoy it!

Posted by tom on October 21, 2014 in Uncategorized with 2 Comments


cap_bw

Hey Party people, well after some crazy times, Captain Rocket is back in the house. As you may recall I’ve been dealing with some tendonitis in my right arm. While it’s still there, it was become manageable. So I’ve started working on new cartoons. You may also recall I’ve been trying to recruit and artist or two to help me make the cartoons quicker and then release it all as one short film. Alas, getting artists of a certain caliber to work on a project that doesn’t pay real money, is like herding cats. As soon as I would fine someone interested in working with me, they would then go do something else. No ill will towards any of them, they all had good reasons not work on Captain Rocket. So Captain Rocket is back to the slow pace of about an episode every month.

Anyway, now that I’m back to just cranking them out myself, I did manage to build up a small back log of episodes (don’t get greedy). So I will be releasing two a month, until it finally catches up to where I am in production- probably January.

Inbetween my time knocking out cartoons, I hope to keep up with my blog here more. Hope to have one a week now. Even if it’s just simply a new pic, which is probably what people prefer to see anyway. I’ve also been toying around forever with a podcast idea. As of now, I have no idea if it will happen- just something that keeps me busy.

Anyway, that’s what I’m up to these days, see ya next week.

Tom

Posted by tom on February 5, 2014 in Uncategorized with No Comments


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Hey Party People,

I suppose you’re all wondering when the next Captain Rocket episode will be released. Well there are currently two things preventing that right now:

1) I’m currently suffering from tendonitis. It’s in my right forearm big time! And since I’ve been favoring my left arm so much now, it’s getting rather irritated too (can’t win)! As you may have guessed, this is preventing my for doing just about anything thing- writing, drawing, playing video games, using a computer in general. I try to only use my arm at work (video editing which isn’t kind to my forearms at all!), and then rest it at home (watching movies, trying not to feel too lazy or useless). Been dealing with it for over a month now, though I am managing to type this with both hands without much pain. I can’t tell you how happy I’ll be when it finally gets back to normal!

2) Perhaps the biggest complaint I get about Captain Rocket is that the episodes are too damn short. Well there are actually plans in the work to address that! Over the holidays I started putting together a plan, in the New Year I reached out to some talented artists I know and (mind you, it’s waaaaay to early to say this will actually happen) it looks like the next time you see Captain Rocket you will see the entire Green Thing story! Again, it’s in the early stages of putting a team together, and it could go right back to quick shorts at any moment.

So those are the reasons I haven’t posted anything in awhile, even though episode 10 is ready to go.

Ok, my poor little arm can only take so much. I’ll update you all when I can.

Posted by tom on February 5, 2013 in Uncategorized with No Comments


Hey Party People,

It’s been a while huh? Well the day job has gotten every busy, plus I have to keep up with my writing for Aintitcool.com and I’ve been switching creative gears as well; which is always tricky. As you creative types know, it takes a lot of time and planning to create something worthwhile. This is one of the reasons you never see much more than one comic book out of an independent team. It can take a full year to plan a concept, let alone create a single issue! So I was, working very hard on a new comic book for Toonocity. I wrote a five issue series, did all the major design work and started drawing the first few pages of issue one- but things happened. Hard to say what, because I’m still frick’n in love with my comic book idea. But my first love has always been animation- something much frick’n harder to do on your own! And I got an idea for an animated series- in a format that I could actually produce! Instead of waiting years for me to finish my new comic book series, I could be knocking out animated shorts once or even twice a month! Plus, it’s an old concept of mine- from high school and college days, so the 90% of the concept-ing and planning work is done! Sure I’m tweaking it, but for the most part I can just get started now! So I am. And with my eyes growing wide, maybe, just maybe if this series successful, I can turn my five issue comic book into an animated dvd movie or something?

So that’s what I’ve been up too. With any luck I’ll have the first few posted this month or early next month. I’ve already started post production on the first two, but I’ll probably wait until I have four done before I release them. Here’s a background picture to see what I am up too- it should be fun.

Posted by tom on September 4, 2012 in Uncategorized with 4 Comments


Hey party people, I’ve been trolling around the internet of late, visiting animation websites and such, and I see a lot of bad mouthing of Filmation. The so called ‘crappy animation studio’- well listen up butt munch, that is not Filmation’s legacy! If Filmation had one fatal flaw, it’s that they never had a successful original character. All their big hits: The New Adventures of Superman, The Archies, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Shazam!, Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, and He-Man are all owned by someone else. So they can’t go down in history like Hanna-Barbera for The Flintstones, Yogi Bear or Scooby-Doo, because they never had a true original hit. I suppose Isis would be the closest one, but it was a live action show. It’s a real shame that they had all those hours of great cartoons, that they could never fully call their own.

Getting back to the concept of them having crappy cartoons, face facts, in that time period, everyone made ‘crappy’ cartoons for TV! We were a long way away from The Simpsons, Duck Tales and Batman: The Animated Series! Back in 1976 HB’s Jabber jaw and Clue Club were just as crappy as Filmation’s Batman and Fat Albert. Now, this is not to take away the crazy fun of these shows. I’m talking about weak scripts and cheap animation. So saying Filmation made crappy cartoons is like saying a fast food restaurant makes crappy food- all fast food restaurants make crappy food.

Now let me tell you about Filmation kicking @$$ in animation. Have you ever seen their Flash Gordon TV movie? I’m not talking about the TV series they ripped up from the movie, I’m talking the actually movie! It was made for a primetime audience and has more violence and sex appeal than anything HB ever put out. They even got Nazis in it; something Marvel could barely do in the latest Captain America movie! The animation is great, especially for the time period- the spaceships look like computer animation, being rotoscoped off models. This movie is clearly Filmation’s best work, showing what they could do with the more money and less restrains from Standards and Practices.

As for Filmations stock footage, yes they over used it, but they were making Saturday morning cartoons for very little, while keeping production in the USA- no other studio can say that! And while the animation was over used, most of it still looked frick’n great: from Fat Albert and the gang walking down the street to Tarzan diving into a river, no one had anything else that looked that good. A lot of it was rotoscoped, to be fair, but I’m sure Ralph Bakshi wishes he had rotoscop animators as good as the ones Filmation had. Fully animated scenes from He-man and Tarzan look better than the one’s in Bakshi’s, Fire and Ice (a feature film from the same time period). And what about Filmation character designs? They easily had the best designs in the industry. The Star Trek characters are all spot on. Their Batman looked completely ripped compared the one in the SuperFriends (sorry Toth). Tarzan, the Lone Range, Zorro- they all looked great! Even their comedies, like the Groovie Goolies and Fat Albert had great designs. So while the animation was limited, the designs looked great.

Filmation did go overboard with their educational messages in their shows- that’s true. Though again, it wasn’t completely their fault since the Networks dictated this to them. They did embrace it as a way of life way more than Hanna-Barbera or anyone else, who wasn’t on PBS. I remember being a kid yelling at the TV, just punch him Batman! Heck, I’d seen Adam West do it all the time! And for advice on making friends, leave that to Mr. Rogers, not He-man. Not that I’m totally against the education messages- Zorro and the Lone Ranges had history trivia which I think is far more interesting than a lesson about lying (which should have been frick’n obvious from the show!).

So in closing Filmation did not make crappy cartoons. They made cartoons that reflected their time period, and nearly all of them were above average.