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The Other babies

Discussion in 'Muppet Babies' started by Drtooth, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    It's no secret that Muppet babies became so popular, there have been multiple copy cat series based on the "Babification" genre. Some okay, some terrible, some didn't even make it out of the door outside of merchandising. (Note, I feel this thread should go in this portion, since it is directly relate, but if it needs to be moved, it needs to be moved).

    Hanna Barbera seemed to be the first group to get into the act. Up first, the Flintstone Kids, loosely based around the original sitcom premis, though it seems to follw the "the Flintstone Comedy Show" segmented skits route. Amoung the most memorable moments, a segment called Captain Caveman and son (following in the footsteps of shows where classic characters begat little kids for no apparent reason)

    Then came "A Pup named Scooby Doo"- which followed the original ideal of the series (the solving mysteries about various crooks disguising as Ghosts). A step back to their original roots after "The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo".

    And finally, Yo Yogi, considered to be the biggest failure of the lot. Yogi's Gang was now preteen, and hung around a Mall food court. A lot of classic characters like Snagglepuss and Dick Dasdarly joined them (as tweens), but the show was almost dedicated to cloning the success of Bart Simpson's personality at that point.

    Warner Bros got into the act twice.

    The first attempt was Tiny Toons. Not quite the same, as it was more of a new generation series (the original Looney Tunes appeared as teachers, and were in most of the episodes). While fans of the original Looney Tunes were critical, younger fans latched onto the show happily. Some characters took on the personalities of their elders (Plucky and Buster especially), some were insipred by their predicessors in spirit (Montana Max and Hampton for example). This show was a screaching success that lead to more Amblin co-produced series, like Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brian.

    The next attempt wasn't so successful. Baby Looney Tunes was almost an entire ripoff of the series, featuring Granny as Nanny. Taz was almost identical to Baby Animal. While some of the other characters retained a close approximation of their original personality, lost was the crazy chase aspect of the original shorts. This lasted only one season. The merchandise was a bigger success, and featured more characters than used on the series (Baby Road Runner and Baby Coyote appeared only on bottles and bibs)

    Disney stepped up to plate with Disney babies merchandise. A series was looked into, but thankfully didn't materialize. To this day, merchandising of Baby Mickey, Baby Pooh, and Baby Princesses still appears.

    It was not long before other, independantly run cartoon series had baby versions, most were merchandising only- Baby Garfield, baby Snoopy (short lived, as it appeared just before Schulz's passing), and Baby Popeye.

    Baby Felix soon popped up in Japan, as an original series. The series borrowed more closely from their own Doraemon (a double back, as Felix's bag of tricks influenced, directly or indirectly, Doraemon's gadget filled fourth dimensional pocket). I've only seen one episode, and it featured Felix being able to travle into the future to see his adult self, via the magic bag of tricks (Doraemon is able to travel freely to different time periods via a hidden time machine in a desk drawer).

    And finally, there's Sesame Beginnings. A DTV series featuring the Sesame characters as children interacting with their parents (or guardians). unlike Muppet babies, these characters were presented as puppets in their own series. Another dissimilarity is the appearance of Sesame Babies merchandise years before Sesame Beginings was established.

    If I'm missing any, please fill me in.
  2. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Have you ever heard or seen tom and Jery Kids. It was pretty much just another baby show. The part that buged me the most was in most every show tom and Jerry would end up being nice to each other. Now once in a blue moon it is nice to see them help each other, but not all the time. They also had droopy and his son as dectevis that really got me mad becuase of droopys sons's voice. Here is a link to show you what I mean.

  3. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Funny that I forgot to mention that one as well. I was having a discussion with someone the other day how Tom and Jerry pretty much had a tough time in television until just recently (The HB show, Filmation, and this for example). I can't say I hated it, but it just didn't leave a real impression on me. Except for the fact that they tried to make a Screwball Squirrel cartoon at one point.
  4. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    I know what you mean, and i think Tom and Jerry are great. I could always watch them with my dad when he was alive, and he would always laugh. Tom and Jerry and Srewy Squirrel, and all the cartoons that came out of Fred Qumibie and MGM at the time where great. I think it's sad that these classic cartoons don't get the real treatment they deserve.
  5. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Before this bcomes a Tom and Jeryy Thread, I will say the new series, Tom and Jerry Tales (especially season 2) really recapture some of the magic of the old shorts. The violence is toned down, sure, but not to a dramatic extent. While not as good as the original cartoons (hard competition there), they really have the feel of them. They even did the unthinkable, bringing them to a more contemporary setting without modernizing them. I think Barbera wrote his last scripts to a couple episodes.

    That said, I think babies tend to work better as merchandising than actual products. And some babies make no sense to me. What's the point of Baby Tweety anyway? he's already cute, and "twee an a half years old." Regular Tweeties aren't good enough for a baby? I always felt Tweety was taken out of context in merchandise for Babies and girls. he's cute, yes, but he still drops an anvil on Sylvester's head. That's where Baby looney Tunes failed where Muppet babies worked.

    You see the Muppets they used were like old friends, who had their ups and downs. They never tried to eat each other. Animal taking a bite out of Rita Moreno doesn't count. The Looney Tunes they used are always trying to one up each other so they won't get eaten or shot. Bugs usually gets Elmer to shoot Daffy. Tweety tried to avoid getting eaten by Sylvester, sometimes by painting a stick of dynamite yellow. Bugs dresses in drag to avoid getting eaten by Taz.

    Muppet Babies kept the appeal of their characters, Looney Tunes is lost in translation.
  6. Baby Gonzo

    Baby Gonzo Well-Known Member

    I have to admit, I loved Tiny Toons as a kid. I haven't seen it in a while, but I have a feeling it wouldn't be a show that would age well. It did pave the way for Animaniacs, which I think was a great show... Entertaining cartoony fun and catchy (sometimes educational) musical numbers.

    A Pup named Scooby Doo is another show I used to watch all the time. It was a complete mixed bag, now that I look back on it. It followed the same dead TV show outline (Scooby and the gang happen upon some spooky scenario[FONT=&quot][/FONT], look for clues, and in the end it's a person in a costume) It was more humorous than the original series, but that's not saying much. I enjoyed the more cartoony spin on the characters. Still... It relied on a tired old formula which probably should have died when the original Scooby Doo ended.

    Considering I could watch just about anything animated when I was little, I watched Tom and Jerry Kids and Flintstone Kids, but even then, I found them to be anoying.

    It's strange. Now that I look back on it, these sorts of shows were defiantly a dominant part of the cartoon world in late 80s and early 90s, when I was little.
  7. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Tiny toons was good, and i also liked there video games they put out they where real fun. I think that when you put a group together like the loony toons that for the most part where not together in there prime, it gets messed up. i mean sure bugs would be in almost everyone elses cartoons at least once all the other loony toons had there own pairs. when they are as a group they seem to not mesh as well to me. I think puting them as babys and then as space robots where bad ideas. They where trying to take classic cartoons and make them for todays kids, well i dont think it worked.
  8. emberfire

    emberfire Member

    Yah, all of the Looney Tunes characters were never thought of as a group of characters when they were in theaters. But when they got put on television, they mashed them all together, and that’s when they were thought of as a franchise for children. The Muppets, however, were never thought of as separate entities when they were created.
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    That's the problem with Scooby Doo. Either they follow a tired formula, or they do something completely different and the fans get upset with it. The formula, as tired as it was, was tried and true, and the key to the success of the show. The times they changed it, things didn't turn out too well:

    Scooby's All Star Laff-alympics. Sort of borrowing from the formula of Wacky Races and putting it in an olympic style setting. Don't know how successful this one was.

    Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo. 2 different series were made. one closer to the original formula, and a second series of lame chace cartoons (which followed a formula all its own, where Scrappy would annoy someone, chasing Shaggy and Scooby for 6 minute intervals). these are the least favorite ones as far as most fans go.

    The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo. Never seen this one, but they actually chased real ghosts in this one.

    And finally, Shaggy and Scooby Doo get a Clue. The Scooby Duo now inherited millions of dollars from their missing Uncle (an inventor), while trying to stop archvillain Phinias Phibes from taking over the world. Seems that it's going away the end of the season, mainly due to Warner's getting out of animation.

    On that point:

    As I stated, the Baby looney Tunes worked as a line of merchandise, just not as a TV show (something that happened with the Dinsye babies, only Disney was smart enough to nip that in the bud). As for Loonatics, that was a very misguided idea. Trying to hip the LT gang up for an imaginary audience of 10 year olds? They were more successful (at least with fans) with Taz-Mania, Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, and Duck Dodgers. At least with those shows, they proved you can put them in different situations, but keep the original integrity of the characters. A superhero Looney Tunes series could have benefited if they made fun of the genre, not held onto it. As such, they lost the Looney aspect, as well as made a very routine, and unremarkable action series.

    But this is getting off topic.

    Getting back on topic, here's a clip of Baby Felix. You're going to have to trust me on this, but the time hallway is almost exactly the same as Doraemon's.
  10. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    A couple others...

    Not to muffin the thread, but there were also a couple shows I remember revolving around the "kid versions" of celebrities. One was "Little Rosie" (no, not O'Donnell, Roseanne Barr). I barely remember even the ad for this one. The Wiki link mentions a "Nanny" and trips to "magical places". Muppet Babies inspiration? Maybe. (shrug).

    The other one I remember was "Life With Louie", which I liked a lot. Some of the stories used were from Louie Anderson's old stand-up bits. There was some merchandise for this one. I remember a figurine, canned pasta, and a couple other things.

    Convincing John
  11. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Life with Louie was awsom!
  12. CensoredAlso

    CensoredAlso Well-Known Member

    I do think Tiny Toons paved the way for Animaniacs, though I think the latter ended up being more amusing, at least to me, hehe. But in both cases, it was something fresh and different, the way the characters constantly broke the fourth wall and knew they were on TV.

    I think when they try to do these baby shows, it's not enough to basically just make the same show, only with babies, which a lot of companies have. The best ones made a completely different universe out of the original idea and stack their own territory. I think Muppet Babies benefitted from the fact that it was totally unrelated to the Muppet canon, it was free to create on its own without having to be accurate.
  13. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Those are more likely clones of the Fox series "Bobby's World." The Howie Mandel cartoon series, where the main character's voice was recycled from Baby Skeeter. Though, I don't remember if Rosanne's came out first.
  14. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    I liked Tiny Toons better than Animaniacs, but I do think both series aged well as time bottles for life in the early 90's :). The same goes for A Pup Named Scooby Doo, which I still love. I think I still like all the 'baby' cartoons of my generation really...
    Recycled or not (Bobby's voice was a little higher IMHO), that show was funny :3! (In an odd sort of way)

    Life With Louie was more to me, like an updated animated version of the life in 'A christmas Story'

    So much could have been done with Baby Looney Tunes :(. I watch it sometimes for its cutest but it really is tame, even next to MBs. IMHO, MBs is ten times smarter as a show than BLT overall, but that can be said about nearly every 80's/90's cartoon next to today's tv....*sigh* I miss Fox's Peter Pan and the Pirates, and the Beetlejuice cartoon...
  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Well, that's due in part to writing. Muppet babies had that in spades. They were designed for a preschool audience, but they treated them like an audience on the whole. The babies were, imagined or not, constantly in perilous situations. Mild ones, though, but they still had an adventure quality to them. At no point in Baby looney Tunes did Baby Bugs have to dress up as a woman so that Baby Taz wouldn't eat him (Though, I doubt even Taz would be ready for solids at that point). They didn't even pretend to be in any danger of any kind. it was all moral, and no fun.

    Morals work in cartoons ONLY if they're fun. That's why so many people loved Fat Albert. MB had morals, and the occassional science, history, and "How they do it" lessons. But in no way does it come across preachy, or like they're forcing you to laern something. Baby Kermit will always be a pop culture loving satire, be it Indiana Frog (quite a bit, actually), Captain Kirkmet, or the like. Bably Looney Tunes felt like it was nothing more than a marketing ploy they had to turn into a TV E/I series. Even my love of June Foray couldn't get me to watch it on a regular basis. Yuck.

    What a lot of copycats don't get out of it is that Muppet Babies appeal wasn't that they were Baby versions of the characters, but the stories, songs, concepts... writing once again. I especially love how the MB writers took the characters' personalities and subtly worked off that (Jeff Scott did this the best). Pup named Scooby Doo made Fred a little dumber (since when is being the straightman, in other words unable to crack jokes a hundred times, a case of stupidity) and Daphne was turned into a vain version of herself. I could almost expect that the Scooby movies were based off this series. There were throw backs to Pup in the Scooby Films, if you want to look for them. But I'm deviating.

    I think, as far as child versions of the characters, Tiny Toons did a much better job. As I said, some characters were based off their predicessors and some had slight variations on the same idea. It had nods to Looney Tunes cartoons in every episode, but managed to keep its originality. Enter Babs Bunny, the most underrated female role in cartoon history. There were no recurring young women in LT cartoons, and yet she would fit right in with that group. Similar to Skeeter in Muppet babies. She wasn't with the Muppets, but you could really see her belong up there with them.
  16. Redsonga

    Redsonga Well-Known Member

    I know :). All of those series really gave we girls role models :). I didn't like Daphne much to start with and have always been a Velma fan because she was smart, likable and got things done. If that one spin off series had been her and Shaggy and not Daphne things might have gone better (I know, I know I'm a Shaggy/Velma shipper)..but anyway...
    Babs Bunny was underrated, but I think Plucky Duck was to. It is a shame they got rid of him and gave his character to the 'new' Daffy (whenever they actually use LTs characters anymore).
    I really think the Tiny Toons stand the test of time just as much as the classic Looney Tunes and would do well on tv again, but I guess their 'parents' are having a hard time making ends meet right now :(
  17. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Well i know this parent is having trouble making it, and i wish i wasnt. I would show my kids shows i grew up with, and movies as well. I want to get all the old Tom and Jerry cartoons i can, and i know one day i will. They really have a nice colection of cartoon DVD's out there and i would love to get my hands on a lot of them.

    Tom and Jerry

    Lonny Toons

    Yogie Bear and all the other Hanna Barbera cartoon shorts.
  18. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I just picked up Baby Felix (dollar Store had a bunch of them, otherwise I wouldn't have paid cash for it). But I have to say this. It isn't good, but it isn't terrible. The songs they have are ghastly terrible, and just poorly written (the lyrics sound like they took no effort at all). But the show itself wasn't quite as bad as I thought. It still plays more like a Japanese Kid's show than anything else (It was a Japanese production, sponsered by NHK after all). But it had its moments. Especially with The PRofessor, who's still Shellbent to get Felix's magic bag.

    Of course, they do something stupid that Muppet babies never did. The characters of Kitty and Felix (the only ones that are baby versions of themselves... Rock Bottom the Dog is Baby-ized... but there's three of him, and they have a different name- Proffessor and Poindexter are the same age) are reffered to as "Baby Felix" (or Baby Kitty) by the characters themselves. Kinda dumb, actually. The Muppet babies were never referred to as "Baby Kermit" or "Baby Piggy" in the show. Though, for merchandising purposes, they were refered to that on different products.

    But all and all, a 4 out of 10. Not terrible, had its moments, and Maybe I'll buy another (Since they're a dollar each), but I wouldn't recommend it, unless you wanna give it to a younger sibling, nephew or child.

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