Unaired Pilots

Small Screen Specials, Series and Direct-To-Video
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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by EricJ » June 27th, 2022, 7:35 pm

Wait, it--
(checks IMDB)
--How could Marvel/Saban do something that looks SO MUCH LIKE Fat Albert, right down to the moral lessons, the static recycled animation and the "white" voices for urban black characters? I refuse to believe it's an accident. :shock:

Still, if it's '90, we can pretty much write Filmation out of the equation...

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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by gaastra » June 27th, 2022, 8:36 pm

Speaking of filmation--








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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by gaastra » June 27th, 2022, 8:40 pm

More pilots--








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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by droosan » June 27th, 2022, 9:20 pm

If we're including live-action pilots, one of my all-time favorites is The Adventures of Captain Zoom in Outer Space..!



This was aired -- as a 'TV movie' in the mid-1990s (on USA network, UPN, etc) .. but it was originally made with the hope that a TV series could eventually be sold.

It has an outstanding cast .. featuring Ron Perlman as a scenery-chewing 'Ming the Merciless'-styled villain, and Nichelle Nichols as a wise shaman named 'Sagan'. :lol: Daniel Riordan is brilliant in the title role, as a self-centered washed-up actor/kid-TV idol who suddenly finds himself whisked to another planet -- where he is the sole hope of desperate aliens who don't understand that his TV adventures weren't 'real'.

It also precedes Galaxy Quest by a few years (which had essentially the same premise, except that GQ parodied Star Trek, rather than Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers).

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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by EricJ » June 27th, 2022, 9:33 pm

gaastra wrote:
June 27th, 2022, 8:36 pm
Speaking of filmation--
Am I wrong for wishing that Marx Bros. pilot got greenlit? :cry:

Dated around 1966, so that would put it around the same time as other studios were doing the Abbott & Costello, Laurel & Hardy and Beatles cartoons, so it wouldn't have been the celebrity-license issues that officially became a problem in the 80's.
And pretty much near the beginning of Filmation, pre-dating even "Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down?"

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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by Ben » June 28th, 2022, 5:20 am

"I must have posed for that when I was stoned!" :lol:

Whoever thought the Marxes would work in a cartoon!? Kind of an obvious idea, but they were already kind of too quick for that, and the eventual result actually feels slower than the earliest Marx bits. And their humour would be going right over the kids' heads — well the heads that were not blown off by having a gun shot right in their face…! :shock:

I don’t think that’s actually Groucho; not sure if he would have been approached (he died in '77, so would have been around), or if he threatened to sue over his likeness being used (he did a lot of that, so celebrity licenses were indeed a Thing even then), but it’s a pretty good copy — though something of an odd choice to imitate Groucho's slower delivery from the 60s onwards rather than just go with the 20s and 30s heyday…it’s like no-one here had seen the Paramount movies or even later MGMs…!


Dick Digit is all kinds of bonkers. Why are they saying these things!? Why is this all happening!? I kind of like the totally nonsensical nature of it. This is more like what a real Buzz Lightyear would have been like… At least we know what happened to Alderaan's sister planet…! :lol:

King Arthur is kind of what a joke version of this would be like if made in the Filmation style now, but it’s actually quite well done. Boy, the guy can sure throw an arrow, eh? Also loved how big it kind of felt was in places (good use of library score music too!), and the Filmation take on Disney's Merlin, basically. I guess they got their own back by nicking Tarquin for the Gummi Bears. ;)

Motor Scouts' opening was weird and depressing! And waaay too long and talky! Points for the diversity as far back as then, but it felt more late 60s than mid-70s and ran out of gas before it got going. As dated as it was maybe forward-thinking, but I struggled with this! I’ve seen a lot of the other ones before, not that they aren’t worth looking at again for the sometime jaw-dropping nature, including Superboy's total lack of super-charisma and WW's lack of identifiable tone! ;)

I do remember Captain Zoom, though, from when it aired on SciFi here in the UK! There was a whole raft of these quasi-cheesy B-picture homage TV movies in the 90s, when video effects basically replaced the bad mattes of 1950s schlockers, though I could never quite reconcile the modern look with the antiquated content; they kind of weren't one thing or the other to me. I did remember liking the set and costume references and nods in Zoom, though, even if skimming through it again today reminds me of a "modern" kind of Ed Wood movie! ;)

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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by gaastra » June 28th, 2022, 7:07 am

On February 14, 1966, the trade publication Broadcasting Magazine carried an advertisement from Filmation Associates for a proposed series titled “The New Marx Brothers Show.” The series was to consist of 156 animated shorts featuring characters inspired by Groucho, Harpo and Chico Marx. (Yeah, no love for Zeppo, again!)


This endeavor seemed to have been inspired by the commercial success of Cambria Studios’ syndicated cartoon show “The New Three Stooges,” which created new animated adventures for Moe, Larry and Curly-Joe. That program debuted in 1965 and obviously inspired another animation company, Hanna-Barbera, to create syndicated cartoon series based on two other classic comedy teams, Abbott and Costello and Laurel and Hardy.

But “The New Marx Brothers Show” never occurred. Only a single pilot episode was created, and it remained unseen for 46 years.

Lou Scheimer, the co-founder of Filmation, recalled in his 2012 autobiography that Groucho was signed as a technical adviser for the project, but the 77-year-old was not up to the task of doing the voice performance for his character. Comic actor Pat Harrington was hired and he did a spot-on imitation that perfectly captured the sedate, “You Bet Your Life”-era comic’s vocal style. Ted Knight, who was then an under-the-radar character actor, voiced Chico and most of the other male characters in the short, while veteran funnyman Joe Besser was tapped to bring his highly distinctive voice for a single role. Comedy writers Jay Burton and Mort Goode teamed with Termite Terrace icon Michael Maltese on the script, while Filmation co-founder and former Disney artist Hal Sutherland directed the pilot.

The resulting work, titled “A Day at the Horse Opera,” didn’t capture the brilliant anarchy of the Marx Brothers classics. But despite the limits of Filmation’s flat animation, the short was a charming effort that offered some amusing moments.

Groucho’s opening narration informs the viewer that the short takes place “100 years ago BC – that’s before credit cards” while Harpo happily swings on a statue of Horace Greeley pointing westward. Greeley’s celebrated advice to “go west, young man” is accentuated when the giant statue unexpectedly kicks Harpo into the air towards the Wild West. Alas, a hostile tribe of Indians has driven the U.S. Cavalry from their fort. This creates chaos in Washington, where a meeting of generals and senators decide to send a peace emissary to mollify the Indians. But the Indian chief (voiced by Joe Besser, packing in his sublime whiny intensity) refuses to consider a peace treaty until his daughter Minnie Ho-Ho marries a man that resembles a rock formation called The Great Stoneface. And, no, the formation looks nothing like Buster Keaton – but it is the spitting image of Groucho.

Meanwhile, Groucho (brandishing his trademark cigar – remember, you could still smoke in cartoons in the 1960s) and his brothers are running a shady medicine show when an irate customer complains that the hair tonic he purchased from them grew dandelions on his scalp. “Why don’t you rub some on your chest and become your own lawn?” Groucho asks before the Marxes beat a hasty exit and wind up at the Indians’ camp. The Washington emissary becomes ecstatic when he sees Groucho, for he believes that his resemblance to The Great Stoneface will result in the marriage needed to secure peace.

“I must get to the White House immediately,” the emissary says. Groucho pauses, looks at the camera and deadpans, “Spoken like a true Republican. But I don’t think he’ll make it either.” Groucho then sees The Great Stoneface formation and quips, “I must have posed for that when I was stoned.” But when Minnie Ho-Ho appears and is revealed to be a giggling behemoth, Groucho remarks, “For a minute I thought it was King Kong in a nightgown.”

Groucho and his brothers escape to the abandoned fort to fend off the unwanted marriage ceremony. The chief has his secretary – a pretty young woman sitting a desk with a typewriter that sends off smoke signals – summon all warriors. The Marx Brothers fight off the Indians by themselves – Harpo uses his harp as an oversized bow to send multiple arrows at once, while his top hat has a mechanized device that shoots off a revolver and lights a match to fire a cannon. The chief fires a rocket into the fort and it lands in the ground without exploding, although a ticking noise is heard. “It can’t be a time bomb because they haven’t been invented yet,” Groucho exclaims.

In the end, Groucho forces the peace emissary into a Groucho disguise and throws him at the chief, who throws him at the elated Minnie Ho-Ho. The emissary looks sadly at the camera and riffs on a classic “My Fair Lady” tune by sighing, “I’ll never grow accustomed to her face.”

For a short running less than seven minutes, “A Day at the Horse Opera” packs a lot sight gags and a surprising amount of topical humor, including references to Jack Benny, Dr. Spock and the perennial struggles of baseball’s Washington Senators. There is even a tribute to “You Bet Your Life,” with a descending stuffed duck arriving (on Groucho’s head) at the utterance of the secret word. Mercifully, the comic depiction of American Indians was not racially offensive – and how can anyone be upset over the concept of Joe Besser as a tribal warrior?

Alas, “A Day at the Horse Opera” was met with disinterest and no offers were put forth to bring “The New Marx Brothers Show” to life. Filmation found its groove later in 1966 with a series based on the Superman comic strip, and in 1968 it produced “The Archie Show” – which, as every Saturday morning television fan knows, was the source for the pop music classic “Sugar, Sugar.”

There is no record that “A Day at the Horse Opera” was ever telecast, and the short was filed away and forgotten. A 2009 posting on Jerry Beck’s influential Cartoon Brew website presented a copy of the Broadcasting Magazine advertisement, and in 2012 Lou Scheimer screened the short for an astonished audience at the San Diego Comic-Con. An audience member shot a video of the screening on his cell phone, and for a while this was the only way people could see “A Day at the Horse Opera.”

Today, a collector-to-collector operation specializing in grey market material is offering a none-too-pristine copy of “A Day at the Horse Opera” along with other Filmation pilots that never sold. A video of this short is circulating on Facebook among animation aficionados, and it may eventually turn up on other video sites. Getting a proper home entertainment release would involve clearing the rights to the Marx Brothers’ estate to use their characters, and the commercial viability of this effort is, at best, somewhat minimal.

Nonetheless, “A Day at the Horse Opera” is a pleasant surprise and it is easy to wonder how Filmation could have followed this with another 155 cartoons featuring the Marx Brothers characters.


So the real Groucho he did ok the cartoon but couldn't do the voice good anymore.
Groucho was signed as a technical adviser for the project, but the 77-year-old was not up to the task of doing the voice performance for his character. Comic actor Pat Harrington was hired and he did a spot-on imitation that perfectly captured the sedate, “You Bet Your Life”-era comic’s vocal style. Ted Knight, who was then an under-the-radar character actor, voiced Chico and most of the other male characters in the short, while veteran funnyman Joe Besser was tapped to bring his highly distinctive voice for a single role. Comedy writers Jay Burton and Mort Goode teamed with Termite Terrace icon Michael Maltese on the script, while Filmation co-founder and former Disney artist Hal Sutherland directed the pilot.



https://www.cinema-crazed.com/blog/2017 ... rse-opera/

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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by Ben » June 28th, 2022, 8:47 am

Interesting stuff!

Yes, it’s clear that the "Groucho" was from his later years: indeed Pat Harrington is spot on for this era of Groucho, though I still wonder when they didn’t go for the actual Marx Bros. era voices, seeing as it was a cartoon and based on those earlier caricatures, like the Stooges and Laurel & Hardy cartoons, which I recognise as a cheap and fairly mean (to Stan) cash-in, but did enjoy at the time (as well as the comics, which I have a few left of still).

It just goes to show how these things bounce around and keep coming back: the 60s cartoon versions of 30s and 40s stars was basically the same as Hanna-Barbera's multitude of 80s cartoons based on a bunch of 60s and 70s properties. It’s funny that we don’t really see that anymore today: back then we'd have had a Cheers or Friends cartoon series by now! ;)

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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by droosan » June 28th, 2022, 9:13 am

"Get a load o' Ben, eh? Like, is this hoser fer real..?" :wink: :mrgreen:


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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by Ben » June 28th, 2022, 12:44 pm

Oh, fun! I love Dave and Rick, and especially Strange Brew (the original Bill & Ted *and* Wayne's World rolled into one, eh?). Pretty fun that they got to reprise themselves together for the Brother Bear moose (mooses?) too.

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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by gaastra » June 28th, 2022, 4:44 pm





Defenders of the earth early pilot or promo.



Not a pilot and did air but no one remembers power masters!

Saturday morning podcast pokes fun of it here. Note some adult humor from the group.



Power masters has no imdb page for the show and no wki page for the show or toys! Only 3 uncomplete episodes were ever taped off tv! That's it. It's lost media.

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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by EricJ » June 28th, 2022, 5:12 pm

Ben wrote:
June 28th, 2022, 5:20 am
Whoever thought the Marxes would work in a cartoon!?
I don’t think that’s actually Groucho; not sure if he would have been approached (he died in '77, so would have been around), or if he threatened to sue over his likeness being used (he did a lot of that, so celebrity licenses were indeed a Thing even then), but it’s a pretty good copy — though something of an odd choice to imitate Groucho's slower delivery from the 60s onwards rather than just go with the 20s and 30s heyday…it’s like no-one here had seen the Paramount movies or even later MGMs…!
The Filmation-ized Harpo certainly works in a cartoon environment.
There's a film-parent debate about whether the Marxes are too silly for younger kids to "get" (ie., easier to understand helping out the good Night at the Opera characters, than raising Duck Soup heck on their own), but compared to, say, Krazy Klawz from the old H-B "Kwicky Koala" cartoon, this was Scheimer's labor of old-movie love.

As for voices, that's DEFINITELY not Chico (even if he hadn't died five years earlier), but their faux-Groucho is pretty darn good at capturing all his own classic movie-shtick styles, ie. the ad-libs or shmoozing up to the girl, whereas most imitators just go for the You Bet Your Life tropes.
Dick Digit is all kinds of bonkers. Why are they saying these things!? Why is this all happening!?
I'm not sure whether this dates before or after Filmation's "Fantastic Voyage" series, but you can see a lot of ideas that were better used elsewhere. Or at least made a lot more danged sense in context.
(And I think we've all stopped giggling over the title by now, thank you... :roll: )
Motor Scouts' opening was weird and depressing! And waaay too long and talky!
They basically read out the show bible to the network execs, but here, again, you could also sense "Let's make it sci-fi and call it Ark II!"
gaastra wrote:
June 28th, 2022, 7:07 am
and in 2012 Lou Scheimer screened the short for an astonished audience at the San Diego Comic-Con. An audience member shot a video of the screening on his cell phone, and for a while this was the only way people could see “A Day at the Horse Opera.”
(Hmm, THAT sounds familiar to 90's anime fans: :? )


And darn, I forgot about that Remo Williams pilot! The new guy was no Fred Ward, but Roddy McDowell as Master Chiun?

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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by gaastra » July 5th, 2022, 11:26 am






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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by Daniel » July 5th, 2022, 3:18 pm

"What's Wrong With Ruth?".. I don't know, that showed potential. ;)

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Re: Unaired Pilots

Post by Ben » July 5th, 2022, 6:21 pm

Really, though? Did it really…? ;)

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