AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Fangface (1978)
Today is Day 15 of AWESOME-tober-fest 2010. I am in the midst of werewolf TV show week. The shows I discussed earlier this week were very short lived and I never watched any of them. However today’s and tomorrow’s entries were two of my favorite TV shows when I was a kid. They both involved the misadventures of cartoon werewolves. Today, I’m looking at the cartoon, Fangface.
Fangface aired from 1978 to 1979. The format for Fangface was very similar to Scooby-Doo, which is not surprising since the show was produced by Ruby-Spears Productions who also produced Scooby’s adventures. A group of teens, Biff, Kim, Puggsy and Fangs (Sherman Fangsworth) drive around in their “Wolf Mobile” solving crimes. The hook is that Fangs is a werewolf. Here is the intro to the cartoon that spells out the story.
Per the narrator:
“Every 400 years, a baby werewolf is born into the Fangsworth family, and so when the moon shined on little Sherman Fangsworth, he changed into Fangface, a werewolf! Only the sun can change him back to normal. And so little Fangs grew up and teamed up with three daring teenagers: Kim, Biff and Puggsy, and together they find danger, excitement and adventure! Who can save the day? Who can wrong the rights and right the wrongs? None other than Fangface!”
The first season ran for 16 episodes. The great Frank Welker (Fred from Scooby-Doo and Megatron from Transformers) would voice Fangs and Fangface. While the show’s format was a copy of Scooby-Doo, it had a lot of it’s own fun, but goofy, character touches. Fangs would change into Fangface not only when he saw the moon, but even a picture of the moon would trigger the transformation. Likewise, either the real sun or a picture of the sun would change him back. Also, neither Fangface nor Fangs were aware of each other. When Fangface would show up he’d just start going crazy and kicking ass without wondering where the hell he was. Whenever he would transform back, Fangs would be disoriented and wonder where he was and what happened. Fangface also loved to try to eat Puggsy. Whenever food was mentioned, he would swallow Puggsy and not let him go until Kim would tickle his foot to relax him. This group just had lots of fun, quirky adventures.
The format changed for the second season. The half hour show was cut in half and placed as a segment on the Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show. The Plastic Man show would also re-run season 1 episodes. This is where I remember watching a lot of the Fangface shows. That Ruby-Spears Plastic Man show was awesome and showing it back to back with Fangface was just ridiculous. However, as awesome as it was, Ruby-Spears added a new character for the second season. Just as they did with Scooby-Doo, they decided to give Fangface an infant sidekick, Baby Fang. Baby Fang, of course, changed into a baby werewolf called Fangpuss.
And, of course, they also renamed the show Fangface and Fangpuss for the second season. They either forgot or they ignored the fact that the opening narration said that only every 400 years a werewolf is born into the Fangsworth family. So, yes, that was irritating. And Fangpuss was annoying, but not on the level of a Scrappy-Doo. The show was still watchable, especially paired up with Plastic Man. However, the second season would be the last. It would get picked up and shown in syndication for years afterward, but no new episodes would be produced.
The show did gain a following though. Several products were released with the Fangface image.
Two Fangface episodes received novelizations. In 1979, the first Fangface episode A Heap of Trouble was released by Cinnamon House. In 1980, Tempo Books released the novelization of the second season episode A Time Machine Trip to the Pirate’s Ship. Even though they were different publishers, Tempo continued the numbering from the first book.
In 1983, three first season Fangface episodes were released on VHS. The episodes were A Heap of Trouble, The Great Ape Escape and A Creep from the Deep.
To this day, Fangface has yet to show up on DVD. The Ruby-Spears Plastic Man series which featured the second season of Fangface recently made it to DVD, but no episodes of Fangface. I eagerly await it’s arrival to disc. Even if it’s “made for order” like the new Thundarr the Barbarian discs.
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.