Last week’s Stu’s Show (#342) about 8mm films and film toys inspired this look at the soundtrack records for Kenner’s Talking Show Projector featuring A-list voice actor legends – but once again, cast as other actors’ characters.
Debuting in 1971, the Kenner Talking Show Projector basically combined a Give-A-Show Projector with a Close ‘n’ Play Phonograph. Each 7-inch, 45 rpm record had two stories on each side. A beep would signal to move from picture to picture (I edited the beep out of the audio samples to make them more listenable without the pictures). The recorded stories ran about 1 ½ minutes, featured one to three voice actors and scattered sound effects, but no music.
TALKING SHOW PROJECTOR RECORD #223-236
1. Archie in “Opening Night for The Archies”
Voices: Dal McKennon (Archie), John Erwin (Jughead)
It’s cool to hear Dal McKennon correctly cast as TV’s animated Archie, but it’s weird to hear John Erwin—who voiced Reggie, He-Man and Morris the Cat—as a strangely dimwitted Jughead! I don’t recall this being a TV episode, but it’s likely the story was done in some form in an Archie comic book.
2. Sabrina in “History Headache”
Voice: Joan Gerber (Sabrina)
Based on the 1969 Archie Comedy Hour TV episode “Caveman,” this story also appeared as an 8mm film cartridge for the Kenner Cassette Movie Projector. It’s not Jane Webb as Sabrina, but Joan Gerber, whose voices included Irma on Wait Till Your Father Gets Home and Shirley Pufnstuf as well as many others.
3. Bugs Bunny in “Buccaneer Bugs”
Voices: Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam)
It’s the real thing, as Coca-Cola used to say! Very loosely based on the 1947 Warner cartoon, Buccaneer Bunny.
4. Tweety & Sylvester in “Tweety Bird” (called “Tweet Bird” on slide & record)
Voices: Mel Blanc (Tweety, Sylvester)
Not so much 1947’s Tweety Pie, but more 1952’s Gift Wrapped, because of a ladder gag.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Archie in “Opening Night for The Archies”
You’ve got to hear John Erwin as Jughead! Plus at the end, Archie introduces The Archies on stage but nothing happens (music rights would have surely affected the budget). This was also the case on the next Kenner Talking Projector record with Josie and the Pussycats.
TALKING SHOW PROJECTOR RECORD #223-237
1. Scooby-Doo in “That’s Snow Ghost!
Voice: Norma Macmillan (Fred, Daphne)
Sweet Polly Purebred and Casper as not only Daphne (originally Heather North) and doing one of those “female voice actor as young boy” voices in place of Frank Welker’s Fred! This 1970 first season episode was also adapted for a View-Master packet.
2. Josie and the Pussycats in “The Nemo’s A No-No Affair”
Voice: Janet Waldo (Josie)
One of the most beautiful speaking voices in cartoons goes solo, telling the story in first person. Based on the first episode of the 1970 Hanna-Barbera series.
3. Lassie in “To The Rescue”
Voice: Ginny Tyler (Narrator)
When Lassie wasn’t saving Timmy from a well, she was saving people from burning buildings (actually, according to Jon Provost’s book, Timmy was never trapped in a well). Disney Legend Ginny Tyler (Jan on Space Ghost, the Squirrel in The Sword in the Stone) narrates with the same sincere fervor you may remember from her albums as Walt’s Disneyland Storyteller. There was a Lassie TV episode called “To The Rescue,” but with a different storyline.
4. Superman – “Merlin’s Magic Marbles”
Voices: Gary Owens (Superman), Mel Blanc (Merlin), John Erwin (Perry White, Inspector)
Based on a 1966 episode of Filmation’s The Adventures of Superman. Check out the audio below—it’s especially cool.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Superman in “Merlin’s Magic Marbles”
Was this the only time Gary Owens voiced Superman? Perhaps not. He plays it for drama here and does a fine job, as does Mel Blanc, who did do the occasional villain voice for Hanna-Barbera. John Erwin returns to the Kenner grooves, doing the kind of voice frequently heard on The U.S. of Archie.
Other records for the Kenner Talking Show Projector include:
•Penelope Pitstop in “London Town Treachery” (Gary Owens, Mel Blanc) / The Harlem Globetrotters in “The Great Geese Goof-Up” (Mel Blanc) / Wacky Races: “The Dopey Dakota Derby” (Mel Blanc) / Kenner’s Gooney Bird in “Stump the Pirates” (Mel Blanc, Norma Macmillan, Joan Gerber)
•Popeye in “Insect to Injury” / Porky Pig in “Mouse Menace” / Yosemite Sam in “Rail-Ridin’ Robber” / Daffy Duck in “Cold Duck”