Hanna-Barbera’s The Robonic Stooges (1977)
This week’s assignment from the League is to talk about robots. Another rather broad topic, but instead of listing my top 10 robots or something along those lines, I’d thought I’d discuss one of my favorite cartoons that happens to combine robots and…The Three Stooges?!
Yep, in late 1977 CBS aired the cartoon, The Robonic Stooges featuring Moe, Larry and Curly as bumbling, bionic super heroes. The show was produced by Hanna-Barbera.
The bionic enhancements to the Stooges gave them abilities that were very similar to Inspector Gadget. Extending limbs, hidden gadgets, plus the letters on their chests were actually hidden doors that open to allow the Stooges to get supplies and objects they needed for their adventures.
Also Curly seemed to be stretchy and inflatable. Many episodes featured him getting filled with hot air and blowing away.
The show was wacky and fun. The Stooges would bumble their way through stopping thieves and mad scientists. Often times succeeding despite screwing everything up.
The Skatebirds was cancelled at the end of 1977. However, The Robonic Stooges was popular enough to get their own show after the cancellation. However, it would be cancelled by Spring 1978 and shown in reruns for the next few years. That’s how I watched the show, in reruns in the early-to-mid 1980s.
The voice cast was very good. Unfortunately, all of the original Stooges were dead by the time the show was in production, so Moe was voiced by the great Paul Winchell, Larry by Joe Baker and Curly by Frank Welker who did a variation on his JabberJaw voice.
Another show similar to this (but no robots) was Super Globetrotters. It was another way to make real life celebrities into cartoon super heroes. And it, too, was awesome.
Episodes of this show are pretty hard to come by online. There are some clips on YouTube, but that’s about it.
Here is a shortened version of the show’s intro.
Here’s a clip of the Stooges inflating a giant inflatable battleship.