The Funky Phantom

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The Funky Phantom
The Funky Phantom.jpg
Genre Animation
Comedy
Mystery
Adventure
Directed by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Voices of Daws Butler
Tommy Cook
Jerry Dexter
Micky Dolenz
Kristina Holland
Don Messick
Composer(s) John Sangster
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 17 (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) William Hanna
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera Productions
Distributor Taft Broadcasting (original)
Release
Original network ABC
Original release September 11, 1971 – September 2, 1972

The Funky Phantom is a Saturday morning cartoon, produced for Hanna-Barbera Productions by Australian production company Air Programs International in 1971 for ABC.

Plot[edit]

Trying to find shelter from a storm while driving their "Looney Duney" dune buggy, three teenagers — the brainy redhead Skip Gilroy, the blonde beauty April Stewart and the brawny dark-haired "Augie" Anderson — and their dog Elmo, entered an old house where a grandfather clock displayed the incorrect time. Upon setting the clock to midnight, it released two Revolutionary War-era ghosts: an American patriot named Jonathan Wellington "Mudsy" Muddlemore and his cat, whom he had trained to respond to the name of Boo. The two explained that, during the Revolutionary War, they had stumbled upon two Redcoats and ended up hiding inside the clock, but also that they then were unable to get out of the clock and eventually died inside.[1] Ever since being freed by their new friends, Mudsy and Boo have accompanied them on many mysteries, always giving an invisible helping hand.

Production[edit]

The character voice of Mudsy was provided by Daws Butler and was identical to his voice work for Snagglepuss, "down to the use of Snagglepuss's catchphrases, Even." (In turn, Butler's Snagglepuss voice was in impersonation of that of actor Bert Lahr.)

Like many animated series created by Hanna-Barbera in the 1970s, the show contained a studio-created laugh track, and indeed, it was one of the first such productions to do so. Syndicated versions on Cartoon Network and Boomerang have the track muted.

Episodes[edit]

The Funky Phantom premiered on ABC-TV on September 11, 1971, with 17 episodes running for two years on Saturday-morning television.[2]

No. Title Original air date Production
code
1 "Don't Fool With a Phantom" September 11, 1971 (1971-09-11) FP-1
Mudsy comes to the aid of Farmer Higgens when a mysterious villain called the Raven has been sabotaging the barnyard in order to claim the property. When the group plans to enter a local cross-country race for the money to pay off the mortgage, the Raven plans to sabotage their attempts.
2 "Heir Scare" September 18, 1971 (1971-09-18) FP-2
The Looney Duney gets lost in a swamp and they end up outside of Conway Mansion. They end up aiding Michael Conway when he is stalked by a Marsh monster that is after the Conway fortune.
3 "I'll Haunt You Later" September 25, 1971 (1971-09-25) FP-3
Skip, April, Augie, and Mudsy stumble onto an abandoned truck somewhere in the swamp. While looking for the driver, they stumble onto a castle that is haunted by the Ghost of Jean Lafitte.
4 "Who's Chicken" October 2, 1971 (1971-10-02) FP-4
Chickenman[3] steals a shipment of chickens bound for Chicken Delicious owned by April's Uncle Henry.
5 "The Headless Horseman" October 9, 1971 (1971-10-09) FP-5
The Looney Duney gets a flat tire outside of Sleepy Hollow. Skip, April, Augie, and Mudsy encounter the Headless Horseman, who is targeting a descendant of Ichabod Crane.
6 "Spirit Spooked" October 16, 1971 (1971-10-16) FP-6
While competing in a race in Mexico, The Funky Phantom Gang is stopped by the Ghost of Montezuma and a Sun God. They also meet two men who both claim to be the archaeologist Professor Lundgren.
7 "Ghost Town Ghost" October 23, 1971 (1971-10-23) FP-7
The Looney Duney arrives in the western town of Plainville where its 50 Year Frontier Celebration is crashed by two outlaws named Ringo and Blackie, who are disguised as Bob Dalton and Jesse James.
8 "We Saw a Sea Serpent" October 30, 1971 (1971-10-30) FP-8
Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April learn about a sea serpent called the Black Lake Creature which is scaring away the locals near Black Lake. They are unaware that Mr. Warnock and his henchman Packy are using the Black Lake Creature for their own reasons.
9 "Haunt in Inn" November 6, 1971 (1971-11-06) FP-9
Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April end up staying at Widow Wilson's Inn, which is haunted by a ghost that has been scaring away its customers.
10 "Mudsy Joins the Circus" November 13, 1971 (1971-11-13) FP-10
Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April visit the Barnaby Bros. Circus where they spot a gorilla robbing the circus. They suspect that the circus's gorilla, Gigantua, is behind this and eventually discover that the gorilla in question is connected to a counterfeiting operation.
11 "Pigskin Predicament" November 20, 1971 (1971-11-20) FP-11
The football playoff game between Central High and Westside is interrupted when criminals Fingers and Lefty steal the $1,000,000 necklace of Brockton Van Cleef and store it inside a football, which ends up in a mix-up upon colliding with the Central High team. Now Fingers and Lefty plan to reclaim the football containing the necklace by posing as members of the other team.
12 "The Liberty Bell Caper" November 27, 1971 (1971-11-27) FP-12
The Parafiend has stolen the original U.S.A. Flag that was made by Betsy Ross and leaves a poem riddle for his next caper. Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April figure out that the Parafiend is after the Liberty Bell.
13 "April's Foolish Day" December 4, 1971 (1971-12-04) FP-13
Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April enter the Looney Duney in the Desert Race. Known racer Winfield Wheely is hired to ride the Road Hog Roadster by Cyrus Road Hog, and Winfield Wheely ends up taking April as his navigator. Yet Cyrus Road Hog has his own plans for winning the race.
14 "The Forest's Prime-Evil" December 11, 1971 (1971-12-11) FP-14
While in the Sequoia National Forest, Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April end up camping out there. The next morning, the group find tracks left by Bigfoot and end up stumbling upon an illegal logging activity.
15 "The Hairy Scary Houndman" December 18, 1971 (1971-12-18) FP-15
Elmo is entered in a dog show. Houndman targets Mrs. Alstair's dog Cromwell, yet his henchmen mistake Elmo for Cromwell since the two dogs look alike.
16 "Mudsy and Muddlemore Manor" December 25, 1971 (1971-12-25) FP-16
Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April arrive at Muddlemore Manor, which was a showplace for George Washington and his Continental Army. They find the place haunted by a ghost claiming to be the Spirit of '76. Meanwhile, a certain Mayor Henry Iverson, a descendant of Mudsy's arch-nemesis, plans to have Muddlemore Manor torn down.
17 "Ghost Grabbers" January 1, 1972 (1972-01-01) FP-17
Arriving in East Muddlemore, Skip, Augie, and April learn more of Mudsy's past where he and Boo hid inside the longcase "grandfather" clock inside which both were eventually trapped and died upon stumbling onto the two renegade Redcoats who were burying their loot on the grounds. The group decides to look for the lost treasure when the hotel clerk Mr. Richford and the criminal Slippery Stark plan to capture Mudsy, hoping that he will lead them to the lost treasure, by disguising themselves as the ghosts of the two renegade Redcoats.

Principal cast[edit]

  • Daws Butler – Jonathan Wellington "Mudsy" Muddlemore, Fingers
  • Tommy Cook – "Augie" Anderson
  • Jerry Dexter – Elmo the Dog
  • Micky Dolenz – Skip Gilroy
  • Kristina Holland – April Stewart
  • Don Messick – Boo the Cat, Farmer Higgins, Raven/Otis Carter, Chickenman/Mr. Angus, Ichabod Crane, Mayor (in "We Saw a Sea Serpent"), Packy, Bill Sands, Lifeguard (in "Haunted in Inn"), Spirit of '76/Hank Miller

Additional voices[edit]

Comics[edit]

In the 1970s, comic books of The Funky Phantom were released by Western Publishing and Gold Key Comics. The comics were both original stories as well as adaptations of some of the TV episodes. The stories in the comics, however, took a different turn from the TV episodes. While on the show, the "ghost" was always a villain in a mask (like Scooby-Doo), in some of the original comic stories, the villains would often turn out to be other ghosts from on or around the colonial era. (The show never addressed why it seemed that there were no other ghosts besides Mudsy and Boo.) The comics even did a twist on the series when the gang traveled back to colonial times via an erratic time machine, only to find out that the kids are now the ghosts (the machine could only transport spiritual matter) and Mudsy is once more inside his original flesh-and-blood body. Also, the comics introduced a new regular character who never appeared in the show. Priscilla Atwater, a ghostly matron from Mudsy's time, who lusted after Mudsy and pursued him actively, although she tended to flirt with about any other ghost who came along.

Other appearances[edit]

  • Mudsy appeared in the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "High Speed Buggy Chase," where he was voiced by Chris Edgerly. The question "What makes the Funky Phantom so funky?" is finally asked and answered.
  • Mudsy and his friends appear in the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "Mystery Solvers Club State Finals" with Mudsy voiced by Tom Kenny and Boo voiced by Rick D. Wasserman. He and his team appear alongside other Hanna-Barbera mystery teams (consisting of Mystery Inc., Speed Buggy, Jabberjaw, and Captain Caveman) in a fever dream of Scooby-Doo's. When the teenage sleuths are kidnapped by a flaming skeletal spirit called Lord Infernicus (also voiced by Rick D. Wasserman), the sidekicks are left to solve the mystery. Mudsy believes Scooby cannot solve the case. It is revealed that Mudsy is the true culprit and not a real ghost, but a down-on-his-luck actor who joined a team of teen sleuths who mistook him for a real ghost. Tired of being reduced to sidekick status, he kidnapped the teenage sleuths so he could become the hero instead of a sidekick and send the kids to Africa, which was in desperate need of teen mystery solvers in his eyes. Boo then states, "You lied to me," and attacks Mudsy. When Scooby wakes up, he finds that the State Finals have been moved to next week with the chairman that arrived having a strange resemblance to Mudsy. Of course, since this was just a dream and the fact that this is Scooby-Doo! Mystery Inc, the story is not official Funky Phantom canon.

Home Media releases[edit]

On October 26, 2010, Warner Archive released The Funky Phantom: The Complete Series on DVD in region 1 as part of their Hanna–Barbera Classics Collection. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and Amazon.com.[4] The series is also available in Digital media format at iTunes Store for Apple mobile device owners to download their favorite episodes or complete series after purchases.

References[edit]

  1. ^ This set-up shows a certain similarity to the 1946 Abbott and Costello film, The Time of Their Lives, in which two Revolutionary War-era ghosts are also held earth-bound due to a secret hidden in a clock. Mudsy bears a slight resemblance to Lou Costello's ghostly tinker, Horatio Prim.
  2. ^ The Funky Phantom at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on July 30, 2016.
  3. ^ Not to be confused with the parody super-hero whose adventures were first popularized on radio in the 1960s.[citation needed]
  4. ^ "Funky Phantom - The Complete Series Package Art, Plus a Discounted Pre-Order Price!". 

External links[edit]