Saturday, August 27, 2011

The New Shmoo by Hanna-Barbera

In 1948 Al Capp introduced the Shmoo to readers of his comic strip L'il Abner. An amiable, white pear shaped creature with no arms, the Shmoo represented the bounty of the Earth and it's availability to all of humanity. Shmoon (plural for Shmoo) became a national craze and touched off political debates, angering people on both sides of the political spectrum. By 1979, the Shmoo craze had abated to the point where it was a dim memory, but not so dim that it didn't rate one last revival. This series by Hanna-Barbera was similar to the studio's mega-hit Scooby Doo - a group of crime fighting kids get into curious adventures with their non-human mascot. In this case, that mascot was the Shmoo. It differed from Capp's original creature in that it could transmogrify into the shape of anything it wanted at will. The series wasn't particularly successful. It only ran for 16 episodes, but it left an indelible impression on my young mind because the Shmoo was always kind and loving, even to the crooks.
The episode above is the first of the series - The Amazing Captain Mentor. It's remarkably complex for a cartoon, with some good lessons about not taking everyone at face value and the dangers of letting people take the law into their own hands. It was uploaded to Filby by IceCold.

Obscurity factor: 9 (largely forgotten, available on Filby, not on DVD)

1 comment:

  1. I remember New Shmoo. I think Capt. Caveman came out around the same time, too :)