ANIMATION SPIN
November 7, 2017 posted by Greg Ehrbar

Ruby-Spears’ “Fangface” on Records

Peter Pan Records’ final vinyl venture into Saturday Morning cartoons was, ironically, based on the first series by Ruby-Spears Productions.

FANGFACE – America’s #1 TV Show!
4 Exciting, New Complete Stories
Peter Pan Records #1107 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Stereo)

Released in 1979. Producer: Arthur Korb. Cast Includes: Bob Kalaban. Writers: Arthur Korb, Peter Bryant. Running Time: 36 minutes.
Stories: “Mirage (or Freak-Out in the Fun-House),” “Ghost of the High Sierras (or The Yammering Yo-Yo of Yosemite),” “The Stowaway,” “Superfrog.”

In September 1978, Saturday Morning TV fans who kept track of the end credits of their favorite shows were excited to watch a show by a “new company,” Ruby-Spears Productions. It was not surprising that the fledgling series about was similar in tone to Hanna-Barbera’s Scooby-Doo, as numerous shows attempted to duplicate its success. What made Fangface unique was that the heads of the new company created Scooby and his pals.

Joe Ruby and Ken Spears were originally film editors and then writers at H-B who developed series and characters during the late ’60s. The two of them chronicle Scooby’s creation on their website, and tell the story of their careers on two episodes of “Stu’s Show” available on the archives at stusshow.com (programs #276, 5/2/12 and #305, 1/16/13).

Episode #16, “Don’t Get Mean with The Cobra Queen” (December 12, 1978)

In creating a Fangface LP, Peter Pan Records in effect produced the only genuine Ruby-Spears record ever released. Presumably for budget reasons, it was recorded with a New York cast (which was local for the New Jersey-based Peter Pan company) instead of using the Hollywood-based voices of Frank Welker, Susan Blu, Jerry Dexter and Bart Braverman (to be fair though, Peter Pan did hire Welker and the Scooby-Doo cast for those albums).

The actors are not credited on the record, but among the cast is veteran actor Bob Kalaban, star of the Saturday morning series Drawing Power, frequent voice on Schoolhouse Rock and famed rowboat captain of the Tidy-Bowl commercials. The LP producer was Arthur Korb, who made dozens of records for Peter Pan and the Power superhero line. He also co-wrote the songs in the feature Pinocchio in Outer Space and the book “How to Write Songs that Sell.”

In addition to the Ruby-Spears copyright visible on the album cover, its parent company, Filmways, is listed with its logo. Filmways was the maker of such TV comedies as The Addams Family, The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres (“This has been a Filmways presentation, dahling”) and had moved into features and distribution by this point.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Mirage (or Freak-Out in the Fun-House)”
In this tale, the teens are on their way to Disneyland—by way of the desert (?)—when they encounter the illusion of an amusement park, except that they can go on the rides. Note the boldness with which writer Arthur Korb defied his eighth grade English teacher by combining first and third person narrative in the funhouse scene. Also, see if you agree that the actor playing Kim is doing a Helen Reddy impression and enjoy the Saturday morning tradition of the characters breaking into laughter at the end of the story for no credible reason.

 

6 Comments

  • Makes me interested in knowing how they could claim Fangface “America’s #1 TV show!”

    If there were challengers for that title, such as the anime Battle of the Planets (better known as Gatchaman), The All-New Popeye Hour, Godzilla Power Hour, The Adventures of the Little Prince and the #1 megahit TV show in the world Once Upon a Time… even though that one was never broadcast in the United States.

    • Via Stuart Shankland

      FangFace500

    • Interesting to see Viacom was behind that Jerry!

      While Ruby-Spears was owned by Filmways at the beginning, it was rather interesting how it ended up in Taft’s hands eventually (if that wasn’t enough to make one assume they were Hanna-Barbera’s red-headed stepchild).

  • For that matter, Fangface actually followed Scooby-Doo in the schedule, at least when it started out; and Scooby-Doo got dropped by ABC later in the season. Not quite Wally Pipp stuff, but…

  • I am going to be honest that Ruby-Spears have made some of my guilty pleasure cartoons. (Donkey Kong, mid-’80s Alvin & the Chipmunks, and Mega Man.) Maybe I could include Fangface on my list of terrible TV cartoons in need of a remake?

  • To be honest, as someone who was a kid when Ruby-Spears started making their own shows, I thought their shows were actually Hanna-Barbera shows that just had a different card at the end. It wasn’t until years later that I found out they were a separate company. The fact that they created Scooby-Doo makes sense to me now.

    I quite enjoyed Fangface as a child. Even owned a tie-in book I got via the Troll Book Club. I can’t bring myself to watch it now. I know it won’t hold up.

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