Gravedale High

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Gravedale High
Also known as Rick Moranis in Gravedale High
Genre Animation
Created by David Kirschner
Developed by Ernie Contreras
Glenn Leopold
Written by Ernie Contreras
Ted Himmel
Glenn Leopold
Bruce Reid Shaifer
Starring Rick Moranis as Max Schneider
Voices of Shari Belafonte
Eileen Brennan
Georgia Brown
Tim Curry
Barry Gordon
Sandra Gould
Jackie Earle Haley
Ricki Lake
Maurice LaMarche
Brock Peters
Kimmy Robertson
Roger Rose
Frank Welker
Jonathan Winters
Theme music composer Tyrell Music Group
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13
Production
Executive producer(s) David Kirschner
Paul Sabella
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera
NBC Productions
Distributor NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run September 8, 1990 – December 1, 1990

Gravedale High (also known as Rick Moranis in Gravedale High) is an animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera for NBC Productions (the latter company owns all rights to the series). The series premiered in the fall of 1990 on NBC and lasted thirteen episodes.

The show was developed as an animated vehicle for Moranis, who had star appearances in the Ghostbusters movies and the popular film series, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, and would later appear in the 1994 live-action film adaptation of another Hanna-Barbera series, The Flintstones.

Storyline[edit]

The show revolves around the misadventures of human teacher Max Schneider who has unwittingly taken a job at Gravedale High, a school for monsters, near the city of Midtown. Schneider, the only human in the school, presides over a group of ghoulish teenagers that are latest-generation versions of classic movie monsters (many of which had appeared in movies from Universal, coincidentally enough).

Most are either disruptive, uninterested, and/or unduly self-preoccupied in school, and the class is generally considered disreputable if not uncontrollable (not unlike "the Sweathogs" in Welcome Back, Kotter), the implication being Schneider was hired to teach the class because no monster teacher would take the job.

The actual "town" of Gravedale is occasionally seen and consists primarily of multiple cemeteries, including the Eastside Cemetery and the Midtown Mausoleum. It can thus arguably be considered a "suburb" of Midtown, although few humans seem to know of its existence. In addition to the students' homes, it is known to include a doctor's office (which is run by a medical version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as seen in "Fear of Flying") and a literal body shop, where people can purchase parts to assemble monsters. The existence of a charitable organization known as the United Monster Fund (dedicated to helping schools like Gravedale High "around the world") indicates Gravedale is part of an entire monster subculture.

Characters[edit]

  • Maxwell Schneider (voiced by Rick Moranis) - A human teacher in his late 30s to early 40s. Slight frame and very thin physique. Very much the grown up nerd and very proud of being a teacher who can make a difference. Dresses in a plain preppy business suit attire. Always wears a polka-dotted bow tie. Thick dark horn-rimmed glasses. Auburn wavy hair with warm brown eyes. His personality is quirky but very steady (it has to be... being in charge of his motley young crew); friendly, fun, open-minded, and one of the hardest working teachers on the Gravedale High staff. He'd be just like one of the monsters, if he wasn't already human. A dedicated instructor who truly cares for each of his students.
  • Vinnie Stoker (voiced by Roger Rose) - A vampire who is a Fonz-esque version of Count Dracula. His name is an homage to Bram Stoker. He dresses like a 1950s greaser and often arrives late to class, which stems from his lack of interest in academia than noctural habits. This is source of much debate between Schneider and Vinnie, who spends a lot of his keeping his boots of his desk. Vinnie is lazy by nature but will do "studious things" or do hard work if he serves his best interest.
  • Reggie Moonshroud (voiced by Barry Gordon) - A geeky red-haired werewolf. As a nod to Richie Cunningham from Happy Days, he and the Fonz-like Vinnie are best friends. Reggie is prone to shredding a great deal when nervous.
  • J.P. Ghastly the III (voiced by Frank Welker impersonating Peter Lorre) - A wealthy blue-skinned gnome-like monster. His monster classification is unidentified but his voice and mannerisms resemble Peter Lorre. There is a bit of rivalry between him and Vinnie.
  • Gill Waterman (voiced by Jackie Earle Haley) - A lagoon creature and surfer dude. His name is a pun on both concepts. Best friends with Frankentyke. Gill likes to surf, idolizes Kahuna Bob, and has a very voracious appetite.
  • Cleofatra (voiced by Ricki Lake) - An obese and somewhat nerdy mummy in contrast to the emaciated appearance generally associated with mummies. Her name is usually abbreviated as "Cleo." Best friends with Duzer. Cleofatra has a crush on TV monster celebrity Billy Headstone who is the star of the daytime soap opera "Trudy and the Beast" (which is a parody of the 1980s show Beauty and the Beast).
  • Sid (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) - A student who is based on the Invisible Man. Sid is the class clown and does various impersonations, in contrast to the idea of the "invisible" one of the class being unnoticed.
  • Blanche (voiced by Shari Belafonte) - A zombie Southern belle who loves to shop, making her a literal "mall zombie." Her name and personality comprise a pun on "blanche" as a synonym for "turn pale" and Blanche DuBois (in the episode "Monster Gumbo", she comments that she has "always depended on the kindness of monsters" parodying a line from A Streetcar Named Desire). Blanche frequently dates J.P. Ghastly the III, although it is implied she finds his money the most attractive trait. Blanche is a shopaholic who is frequently teased by her classmates about how many credit cards she's maxed out. She is a bit of a clothes horse. She does sew her own clothes and can cook, though she doesn't like domestic duties, preferring to marry the richest monster in the world.
  • Duzer (voiced by Kimmy Robertson) - A snake-haired Valley girl and parody of Medusa (which is her actual first name with "Duzer" being an abbreviation) minus the petrifying gaze. Her response to anyone who annoys her is "Get a life!" which is ironic in that many Gravedale students and staff members are in fact already dead. She is very pretty, vain, competitive, bossy, and likes to be the center of attention with all the boys, particularly Vinnie, who she seems to have a requited crush on. In the first episode, Duser replies that she can't do anything with her snake hair and Cleo offers to help her "get her hair ready for Vinnie." Duser states that she doesn't have a crush a Vinnie Stoker. Frankentyke swipes her diary off her desk and reads outloud a passage about that reveals otherwise. Scheinder enters the classroom just as Duser gives chase and states that Frankentyke took her diary. Tyke throws the evidence out the window literally. Vinnie flew into the window with said dairy and trys to read it before Duser yells at him "If you read that, you're dead." After wards nothing was mentioned about the relationship in the animated series.

Other students[edit]

Other recurring students include:

  • Blobby - A student reminiscent of The Blob.
  • Elephant Boy (voiced by Frank Welker) - A literally elephant-like parody of the Elephant Man. He speaks with a cultured British accent. One of two students who seriously campaigned for Class President (although Vinnie campaigned just for kicks and won).
  • Iggy - A hunchbacked student that resembles the stereotypical "Igor" type of mad scientist assistant. Iggy has a zipper along the length of his scalp implying he is both hunchback and a Frankenstein-type monster. He tends to forget his brain and is often scolded by Headmistress Crone for this.
  • Moorehead - A Metaluna Mutant that is a student in Coach Cadaver's class.
  • Nardo - A gargoyle jock who is Vinnie's rival in sports. He is also a student in Coach Cadaver's class.
  • Natasha Neckinski - A vampire girl with a European accent in contrast to the thoroughly Americanized Vinnie.
  • Suey - A pig-girl. Like Elephant Boy, she seriously campaigned for Class President. The two performed a Romeo and Juliet-like recital at a talent show, suggesting they are dating.

There are also some unidentified students resembling the monsters from The Brain from Planet Arous, The Crawling Eye, and other films.

Teachers[edit]

The bespectacled Mr. Schneider has his hands full with his new students, but he has Gravedale’s spooky staff (where some of them initially do not trust Schneider due to his human status but develop a camaraderie with him as the overall story arc develops) to help him out. Like Schneider, each teacher oversees a specific class of students. Gravedale High's staff include:

  • Headmistress Crone (voiced by Georgia Brown) - The strict principal who runs the school with an iron albeit easily detachable left hand. As her name implies, she is a witch-like monster. Her grandfather Cretin Crone founded the school and later passed it on to his son Attlepate. She does have more than a mild romantic interest in Schneider.
    • Clawford (vocal effects provided by Frank Welker): Headmistress' Crone's undead cat who is periodically seen hunting and being outwitted by a hunchbacked rat called Belle.
  • Boneyard (voiced by Brock Peters) - A lanky white-haired staff member dressed like an undertaker. He does various jobs at Gravedale High like bus driver, driver's ed teacher, and Gravedale Gazette printing press operator. He somewhat resembles the Tall Man from the Phantasm films.
  • Coach Cadaver (voiced by Jonathan Winters) - A hot-headed zombie (his head is stitched together at the top, making his brain removable) who works as both classroom teacher and coach. He is categorized by Crone as a "human-hater." He dislikes Schneider's students (calling them "misfits") as well as Schneider himself (whose hiring he opposed).
  • Chef Sal Monella (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) - An unspecified monster that works as a chef in the school cafeteria. He takes pride in his filthy kitchen. His name is an obvious pun on salmonella.
  • Mr. Tutner (voiced by Tim Curry) - A millennium-old mummy history teacher with bad breath and wears sunglasses and a coat and tie. Mr. Tutner is pugdy, a trait shared by Cleofatra as the opposite of mummies being associated with sickliness and emaciation. He gets along well with Schneider, and tried to compete for a charity fundraising award by attributing his long life to pyramid power.
  • Miss Webner (voiced by Sandra Gould) - As the word "web" in her name suggests, she is a spider-woman having six arms and two legs.

Episodes[edit]

No. Title Original airdate
1 "Long Day's Gurney Into Night" 8 September 1990 (1990-09-08)
When Sid comes down with a sickness, Max ends up having to take him to the Community Hospital since Gravedale High no longer has a doctor or a school nurse (they ran off together). Sid ends up being chased by the doctors when he doesn't want his tonsils removed. The other Gravedale students do not want to venture into the human world to vist Sid...until Max slips into the moat and the class begs Boneyard to drive the bus to get him to the hospital.
2 "Do the Rad Thing" 15 September 1990 (1990-09-15)
While teaching Frankentyke how to surf, Gill ends up meeting a professional surfer named Kahuna Bob.
3 "Cleo's Pen Pal" 22 September 1990 (1990-09-22)
Cleofatra sends fan-mail to monster actor Billy Headstone who is the star of "Trudy and the Beast."
4 "Monster Gumbo" 29 September 1990 (1990-09-29)
Blanche's secret family recipe for Monster Gumbo proves to be necessary for Max Schneider's class to win a competition for raising charity money against Coach Cadaver's class in a competition to earn money for the United Monster Fund. It is soon targeted by a gumbo chef named Big Daddy.
5 "The Dress-Up Mess-Up" 6 October 1990 (1990-10-06)
The students raise money to buy Mr. Schneider a reservation at an expensive restaurant as part of a birthday present, but Duzer persuades Cleofatra to lend her the money in a plot to buy an expensive dress, win the Gravedale Fashion Show, and return the dress to get the money back. When Natasha Neckinski's "mongoose stole" is revealed as instead a living "stolen mongoose," the snakes in Duzer's hair are frightened into fleeing dragging Duzer with them and ruining the dress. Duzer gets various jobs to raise enough money to pay for the expensive restaurant including one at a western-themed restaurant.
6 "The Grave Intruder" 13 October 1990 (1990-10-13)
Duzer takes over the Gravedale Gazette turning it into the Gravedale Intruder where she makes up false stories about the students and staff.
7 "Fear of Flying" 20 October 1990 (1990-10-20)
After Reggie's science project ruins Nardo's play in Footbomb, Nardo ends up challenging Vinnie to "Fly or Splat" (an aerial version of "Chicken" played by flying monsters). When Vinnie ends up struck by lightning and loses his flight ability, the other students help him recover it before his showdown with Nardo.
8 "He Ain't Scary, He's My Brother" 27 October 1990 (1990-10-27)
Frankentyke's older brother Big Frankie shows up at Gravedale High. Unfortunately for Frankentyke, Blanche, Cleofatra, and Duzer each end up developing a crush on Big Frankie.
9 "Frankenjockey" 3 November 1990 (1990-11-03)
A horse named Hoover that has never won a horse-race escapes from his owners Colonel Saddlesoar and Liverpool. It has a run-in with Frankentyke and develops a liking to him. Colonel Saddlesoar hires Frankentyke as a jockey for Hoover (upon Max's insistence that Hoover enjoy a peaceful retirement in a nice pasture), but there are other forces at work to see the upcoming horse race gets fixed.
10 "Save Our School" 10 November 1990 (1990-11-10)
Vinnie runs against Elephant Boy and Suey for Gravedale High's Student Body President. At the same time, hotel tycoon Belle Gardens plans to have Gravedale High demolished so that she can place one of her Empress Hotels there even if it involves getting Inspector Nitpicker from the Midtown Board of Health to have it shut down.
11 "Night of the Living Dad" 17 November 1990 (1990-11-17)
Gravedale High's talent show is coming up and every student's parent will be attending. With help from Gill, Frankentyke builds a phony father for himself in order to hide that his father is human. When Frankentyke and Gill accidentally break the genius brain, they end up getting the brain of a Hollywood agent.
12 "Goodbye Gravedale" 24 November 1990 (1990-11-24)
As Scheider's class produces a class movie, Max Schneider receives an acceptance letter for a Midtown Prep School teaching position which he applied for prior to becoming a Gravedale teacher. Happy in his current position, he discards the letter, but his students find it. Thinking he is leaving and will use the class movie so that human students can make fun of them, the students turn against him, alienating him so that he does in fact leave Gravedale High to teach at Midtown Prep School. This causes Headmistress Crone to call in substitute teacher after substitute teacher until she can get a replacement. Eventually, the students miss Schneider and he misses them as well. He poses as a substitute teacher named Mr. Creepers. But upon learning the cause of discord, Max Schneider unmasks and everything returns to normal...for Gravedale.
13 "Monster on Trial" 1 December 1990 (1990-12-01)
Reggie Moonshroud's bad driving for Driver's Ed causes Boneyard to give up teaching it, so Max Schneider takes over. His recent bad driving leads to Max Schneider getting sued for $1,000.000 when Reggie lightly rear-ends an old lady named Ms. Fresno who claimed that Reggie and Max fiercely rear-ended her. When Ms. Fresno wins the case with her side of the story causing Judge Killjoy to sentence Max and his students to prison, Reggie and Frankentyke must find a way to get Max and the others out of jail and expose Ms. Fresno for fraud.

Cast[edit]

Additional Voices[edit]

Crew[edit]

Galaxy High comparisons[edit]

The show is somewhat akin to Galaxy High as both shows were intended to be shown to young audiences and were about humans in an environment unlike their own (extraterrestrials for Galaxy High; monsters for Gravedale High). However, whereas the main human characters in Galaxy High were often isolated from other humans (as they were millions of miles away from Earth), Max Schneider did not feel the same way as it was more of a "day job" for him to teach (although his private life was almost never seen). In fact, episodes frequently revolved around the monster students somehow interacting with the human population, who were often terrified at them, although some humans thought the monsters would be good attractions, such as a surf instructor who saw potential in Gill's surfing, or a cowboy who considered Duzer's snake attire to be a good fit to her job as a cowgirl-themed waitress. The faculty was more mistrusting of humans than were the students, although one certain episode dealt with a parents' night combined with a talent show, where Frankentyte makes a monster father to hide his embarrassment as to his true parentage. However, the false father turns out to contain the brain of a sleazy Hollywood agent type who causes Frankentyke more problems. He decides it would be easier to reveal to everyone that his true father is a human, which shocks the entire school, but Frankentyke proclaims he is no longer ashamed of his family as neither his schoolmates nor Mr. Schneider is.

References[edit]