The Skatebirds

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The Skatebirds
Directed by Sidney Miller
Hollingsworth Morse
Charles A. Nichols
Chris Cuddington
Voices of Scatman Crothers
Bob Holt
Don Messick
Lennie Weinrib
Theme music composer Hoyt Curtin
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 16
Production
Executive producer(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Producer(s) Terry Morse, Jr.
Running time 60 minutes (1977–78)
30 minutes (1979–81)
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera Productions
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original network CBS
Original release September 10, 1977 (1977-09-10) – January 21, 1978 (1978-01-21)

The Skatebirds (onscreen title: Skatebirds) is a 60-minute Saturday morning live-action/animated package program produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and broadcast on CBS from September 10, 1977 to January 21, 1978.

Overview[edit]

The Skatebirds consisted of three large costumed birds on roller skates: Knock-Knock, a woodpecker (voiced by Lennie Weinrib); Satchel, a pelican (voiced by Bob Holt) and Scooter, a penguin (voiced by Don Messick); their nemesis was a cat named Scat Cat (voiced by Scatman Crothers). The live-action sequences featuring The Skatebirds mostly revolved around the nasty Scat Cat perpetually chasing the roller-staking trio and trying to get the best of them.

The show was divided into four short segments introduced by live action wraparounds with The Skatebirds characters which included three animated segments (The Robonic Stooges, Wonder Wheels and Woofer & Wimper, Dog Detectives) and a 10-minute live-action segment (Mystery Island). The appearance of the characters and the show's format was similar to The Banana Splits Adventures Hour. Unlike its similar predecessor and most Saturday morning children's shows produced in the 1970s, The Skatebirds did not contain a laugh track.

A total of 16 episodes of The Skatebirds were produced in its original run from September 10, 1977 to January 21, 1978. In the fall of 1979, the show returned to CBS in a shortened half-hour version with Wonder Wheels and Mystery Island segments (The Robonic Stooges and Woofer & Wimper, Dog Detectives segments had been spun off into a separate half-hour) and broadcast on Sunday mornings from September 9, 1979 until January 25, 1981. In the late 1980s, a different syndicated half-hour version of The Skatebirds with The Robonic Stooges and Wonder Wheels segments was shown on USA Cartoon Express and later resurfaced on Cartoon Network in the 1990s and Boomerang in the 2000s.[1]

Opening and closing credits[edit]

The opening credits for the original one-hour version with voice-over narration by Wally Burr:

It's Skatebird time and here come The Skatebirds – Knock-Knock, Scooter, Satchel and Scat Cat. Then, The Robonic Stooges, plus the spine-tingling suspense-filled excitement of Mystery Island, and the doggone it daffy doings of those dog detectives, Woofer & Wimper, and more...the unbelievable adventures of an unbelievable motorcycle, Wonder Wheels. For all-out fun, it's Satch, Knock Knock, Scooter and Scat Cat...and for suspense, mystery and adventure, it's The Skatebirds Show!

The opening credits for the syndicated half-hour version with voice-over narration by Ronnie Schell:

It's Skatebird time starring Knock-Knock, Satchel and Scooter, those featheared clowns of fantasy. Along with Willie the Wheeler and the superhero cycle known as Wonder Wheels, as well as those three mechanical marbles, The Robonic Stooges. One big collection of wild, wacky and wonderful characters...The Skatebirds!

The music featured in the closing credits is the CB Bears theme which was also later used as the ending credits for Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels.

Segments[edit]

The Robonic Stooges[edit]

The characters of The Three Stooges – Moe, Larry and Curly – as clumsy crime-fighting bionic superheroes who are given assignments via film projector from their boss Agent 000 who runs the Superhero Employment Agency.

Wonder Wheels[edit]

A high school journalist named Willie Wheeler and his girlfriend Dooley solve crimes with the help of his shape-shifting superhero motorcycle, Wonder Wheels; whenever Willie goes into action, his beat-up motorcycle transforms itself into a pimped out version with a mind of its own.

Woofer & Wimper, Dog Detectives[edit]

A shortened and re-titled version of Clue Club featuring two talking bloodhounds – Woofer & Wimper – who help solve mysteries with the Clue Club detectives: Larry, Pepper, D.D. and Dottie. The original half-hour episodes of Clue Club were cut-down to 10 minutes to showcase both dogs as the show's main characters.

Mystery Island[edit]

The adventures of a plane crew – Chuck Kelly, Sue Corwin, her younger brother Sandy and their computer robot named P.O.P.S. – stranded on a remote island by the evil scientist Dr. Strange who hopes to capture P.O.P.S. and use it in his quest for world domination.

Broadcast history[edit]

Original CBS broadcast:

  • CBS Saturday Morning: September 10, 1977 – January 21, 1978
  • CBS Sunday Morning: September 9, 1979 – August 31, 1980 (rebroadcast)
  • CBS Sunday Morning: September 7, 1980 – January 25, 1981 (rebroadcast)

Broadcast schedules (all EDT):

  • September 10, 1977 – November 12, 1977, CBS Saturday 9:30-10:30 AM
  • November 19, 1977 – January 21, 1978, CBS Saturday 8:00-9:00 AM
  • September 9, 1979 – March 1980, CBS Sunday 7:30-8:00 AM
  • March 1980 – August 31, 1980, CBS Sunday 7:00-7:30 AM
  • September 7, 1980 – January 25, 1981, CBS Sunday 8:00-8:30 AM

Skatebirds cast[edit]

Character Costumed actor Voice actor
Scat Cat (cat) Maurice Cooke Scatman Crothers
Knock-Knock (woodpecker) Bruce Hoyt Lennie Weinrib
Satchel (pelican) Ken Means Bob Holt
Scooter (penguin) Joe Giamalva Don Messick

Production credits[edit]

  • DIRECTED BY: Sidney Miller ("Skatebirds" segments), Hollingsworth Morse ("Mystery Island" segments)
  • WRITTEN BY: Sid Morse, Norman Camaron ("Skatebirds" segments)
  • PRODUCED BY: Terry Morse, Jr.
  • DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Dennis Dalzell
  • CAMERAMAN: Gabriel Torres
  • SUPERVISING FILM EDITOR: Dick Elliott
  • EDITORS: Peter Berger, Warner Leighton, Peter Jennings
  • ASSISTANT FILM EDITOR: Barry Gold
  • MUSIC EDITORS: Joe Sandusky, Ken Hall
  • EFFECTS EDITORS: Gregory Watson, Terry Moore, Evelyn Rutledge, Rich Harrison, Cliff Kohlweck
  • COSTUME COORDINATOR: Charles De Moth
  • MAKE UP ARTIST: Robert Norin
  • SET DECORATOR: Leonard Mazzola
  • PROPERTY MASTERS: William Diets, William Hudson
  • "ROBONIC STOOGES" CREATED BY: Norman Maurer
  • STORY EDITORS: Norman Maurer, Sid Morse
  • STORY: Kathy Colburn, Tom Dagenais, Bill Daley, Dianne Dixon, Kari Oaurs, Andy Heyward, Chris Jenkyns, Mark Jones, Joan Maurer, Michael Maurer, Norman Maurer, Jack Mendelsohn, Howie Post, Cliff Roberts, Sandy Sandifer
  • STORY DIRECTION: Alvaro Arce, Carl Fallberg, Cullen Houghtaling, Mike O'Connor, Don Sheppard, George Singer, Karran Wright
  • RECORDING DIRECTOR: Wally Burr
  • VOICES: Joe E. Baker, Wally Burr, Henry Corden, Scatman Crothers, Susan Davis, Micky Dolenz, Ron Feinberg, Joan Gerber, Virginia Gregg, Bob Hastings, Bob Holt, Jane James, Ralph James, Casey Kasem, David Jolliffe, Jim MacGeorge, Ross Martin, Julie McWhirter, Allan Melvin, Don Messick, Marvin Miller, Alan Oppenheimer, Vic Perrin, Robert Ridgely, Ken Sansom, Ronnie Schell, Hal Smith, John Stephenson, Patricia Stitch, Tara Talboy, Janet Waldo, Lennie Weinrib, Frank Welker, Paul Winchell
  • GRAPHICS: Iraj Paran
  • MUSICAL DIRECTION: Hoyt Curtin
  • MUSICAL SUPERVISION: Paul DeKorte
  • CHARACTER DESIGN: Bob Singer, Norman Maurer, Lew Ott, George Wheeler
  • SPECIAL GRAPHICS DESIGN: Maria Dail, Dick Ung
  • LAYOUT SUPERVISION: Steve Lumley
  • LAYOUT: Bob Fosbry, Terry Moesker, Joe Shearer, Mike Trebert
  • BACKGROUNDS: Richard Zaloudek, Milan Zahorsky, Jerry Liew, Michael King-Prince, Peter Connell, Ken Wright, Michael Chojecki, Lesley Nicholl
  • ANIMATION: Sue Speak, Cecil Collins, Rodney D'Silva, Dick Dunn, Peter Eastment, John Ellis, Warwick Gilbert, Gerald Grabner, Sebastian Hurpia, Greg Ingram, Richard Jones, Cynthia Leech, Paul McAdam, Henry Neville, Ray Nowland, Di Rudder, Michael Stapleton, John Tych, Kaye Watts
  • ASSISTANT ANIMATION SUPERVISION: Paul Maron
  • ANIMATION CHECKING: Narelle Nixon
  • XEROGRAPHY: Ellen Bayley
  • INK AND PAINT SUPERVISION: Narelle Derrick
  • PRODUCTION MANAGERS: R.J. Louis, James Cranston
  • PRODUCTION COORDINATOR: Tobi Singleton
  • PRODUCTION SUPERVISION: Doug Patterson, Mark D'Arcy-Irvine, Adrienne Smith
  • ART DIRECTOR: Kirk Axtell
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTORS: Marie Gisneros, Murray Schwartz
  • SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Hal Bell
  • SCRIPT SUPERVISORS: Mary Jane Ferguson, Lester Hoyle
  • SOUND DIRECTION: Richard Olson, Bill Getty
  • SOUND MIXERS: Manuel Topoto, James Pilcher
  • ANIMATION PHOTOGRAPHY: Terry Smith, Carole Laird, Mark D'Arcy-Irvine, Kieren Mulgrew, Tom Epperson
  • DUBBING SUPERVISION: Pat Foley
  • NEGATIVE CONSULTANT: William E. DeBoer
  • POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISION: Joed Eaton
  • ANIMATION DIRECTORS: Charles A. Nichols, Chris Cuddington
  • CREATIVE PRODUCER: Iwao Takamoto
  • ASSOCIATE PRODUCER: Neil Balnaves
  • EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Joseph Barbera and William Hanna
  • A HANNA-BARBERA PRODUCTION
  • © 1977 Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc.

Other appearances[edit]

Merchandise[edit]

  • A board game based on The Skatebirds series was released by Milton Bradley in 1978. It was a 2 or 3 player game suited for children between 7 and 12 years of age. The board also featured the characters of Woofer and Wimper (with the Clue Club teenagers and Sheriff Bagley) and The Robonic Stooges. The game's premise was The Skatebirds are trying to organize their TV show and Scat Cat does all he can to foul up their plans: he has built a marble slide at the Treehouse and does his best to stop The Skatebirds. The first player to reach the Skatebirds' Treehouse Studio wins the game.
  • A coloring book, Skatebirds Present The Robonic Stooges, was released by Rand McNally in 1978.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Skatebirds Series Overview at NYTimes.com, retrieved September 22, 2015.

External links[edit]