Uncle Croc's Block
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|Uncle Croc's Block|
|Starring||Charles Nelson Reilly
|Voices of||Kenneth Mars
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||Norm Prescott
|Running time||60 minutes, later 30 minutes|
|Distributor||NBCUniversal Television Distribution|
|Original release||September 6, 1975 – February 14, 1976|
As a spoof of kid shows, Charles Nelson Reilly played the eponymous Uncle Croc, a crocodile that hated his job as the show's host and was implied to be at least somewhat inebriated throughout the series (he hiccups during the theme song, for example). Also featured were Alfie Wise as his rabbit sidekick, Mr. Rabbit Ears, and Jonathan Harris as Basil Bitterbottom, the show-within-a-show's frustrated director.
Each episode contained a "Star Time" segment, in which parodies of popular characters appeared, usually making denigrating remarks about the show and/or its staff, and demonstrating their abilities (or lack thereof). Guests included:
- Captain Klangeroo is a parody of Captain Kangaroo.
- Mr. Mean Jeans (played by Huntz Hall) is a parody of Mr. Greenjeans.
- Sherlock Domes (played by Carl Ballantine) is a parody of Sherlock Holmes.
- Witchie Goo Goo (played by Phyllis Diller) is a witch whose prince-conjuring spell always summons a never-willing Basil to her.
- Junie the Genie (played by Alice Ghostley) is a teenaged genie. She is a parody of Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie.
- Billy Bratson (played by Marvin Kaplan as Captain Marbles) says "Shazowie" to turn into the superhero Captain Marbles, in the same way Billy Batson transformed into Captain Marvel by saying "Shazam!".
- Steve Exhaustion, The $6.95 Man (played by Robert Ridgely) is a cyborg that always falls apart. He is a parody of Steve Austin, The Six Million Dollar Man.
- Old Fogey Bear is a manic-depressive bear. He is a parody of Yogi Bear.
- Miss Invis is a woman who falsely claims to be able to make herself invisible.
The show also included the cartoon shorts:
- M*U*S*H (short for Mangy Unwanted Shabby Heroes): Sled dogs (voiced by Kenneth Mars and Robert Ridgely) work at a medical outpost in the frozen wasteland of upper Saboonia. This cartoon is a lampoon of M*A*S*H.
- Fraidy Cat: Fraidy Cat (voiced by Alan Oppenheimer) is haunted by the ghosts of eight of his nine lives (each voiced by Lennie Weinrib).
- Wacky and Packy: A prehistoric caveman and his pet woolly mammoth (both voiced by Allan Melvin) end up trapped in modern times.
The series premiered at 10:30 am ET on September 6, 1975. Unfortunately, Uncle Croc's Block was up against the second half of hugely popular The Shazam!/Isis Hour (another Filmation property) and Far Out Space Nuts on CBS. The show, which was fitted with an adult laugh track, was shortened to 30 minutes, then scrapped on February 14, 1976, after half a season on the air.
As a result of the show's poor performance, ABC president Fred Silverman severed all ties with Filmation and began commissioning its Saturday morning cartoons from Hanna-Barbera, with which he had had a working relationship during his time at CBS. In an attempt to save ratings, Filmation had planned to repackage the repeated Groovie Goolies episodes as a new segment, redubbed the Super Fiends (capitalizing on the title of rival Hanna-Barbera's Super Friends), but the show was shelved before the change could be incorporated. The animated segments were featured in the Filmation syndicated package, The Groovie Goolies and Friends, and also resurfaced in the home video market in the 1980s.
- Erickson, Hal. Television Cartoon Shows: The shows, M-Z. p. 882.
- Terrace, Vincent. Television: 1970-1980. p. 206.