Are you ready to freak out? After the 1960s, both cartoons and live-action children's shows began including rock bands. They left a generation baffled by poseurs who said "groovy" alot — but somewhere there were subversives running wild in the programming department, and Saturday morning would never be the same.
These six videos remind us of that forgotten moment in time when the counter-culture came for our children.
1. The Secret Chimpanzee's Other Ball
Yes, it's a band composed entirely of monkeys. One year after Woodstock, and four months after Kent State, the airwaves were seized by a band of radical chimpanzees. ("C'mon baby, let your hair hang low. Let the revolution show you all you got to know...")
Each week after being introduced by a fake Ed Sullivan monkey, the "Evolution Revolution" indoctrinated a room full of pogo-ing monkeys as part of Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp. The camera zooms with rock star excitement, providing an unintentional satire of the entire pop music industry. (Alternate name: "Monkey Vanilli.") Editing can make a rock band out of anybody — including chimpanzees who look agitated, bored, and occassionally itchy.
Of course, in real life, the monkey Lancelot Link wasn't a rock musician. He was a secret agent for the Agency to Prevent Evil. (Or "APE.") But his band rocked the Nixon era for two years, until network TV executives decided it was frightening to both children and adults
2. Yabba Dabba Doobie
In 1971 Pebbles and Bam-Bam grew into trendy teenagers with their own awful rock band. They lasted exactly one season, doomed the moment a studio executive decided the perfect voice for teenaged Pebbles would be Sally Struthers.
Their band played instruments made out of domesticated animals, until "The Bedrock Rockers" were absorbed into the equally short-lived Flintstones Comedy Show. (It's slogan? "We'll have a groovy time.")
The only surviving relic is an unloved DVD and these surreal animated music videos for songs like Sunshine Man, Yabba Dabba Doosie, and one about the Zodiac. But it's better than that commercial Fred Flintstone did for Winston cigarettes.
"Winston is the one-filter cigarette that delivers flavor — twenty times a pack!"
3. The Bugaloo Experience
Flying bug people form a rock band and flee from "Benita Bizarre" and her sidekick, Funky Rat.
The Bugaloos all had hippy names like Joy and Harmony, and lived in a place called "The Tranquility Forest" with their sidekick — "Sparky". They also presuambly had unspeakable crushes on their female singer Joy, who wore a mini-skirt with pink wings, since even their birthday songs to her were creepy. ("Older woman — you're a little prettier today...")
The singing bug people all wore antennas, and continued freaking out Saturday morning viewers until 1972. Their song Fly Away With Us "sounds like the perky pests are trying to lure kids into an LSD trip," writes one web critic, "or some Eastern-inspired cult." After listening to "The Senses of Our World", he added: "This is what Prozac sounds like."
Amazingly, over 5,000 people had auditioned to be in the bug band — including Phil Collins.
4. Krofft Gets Funky
There's no evidence eight year olds dropped acid for The Krofft Super Show, but its theme song promised it "will blow your mind away."
Its hallucinogenic lyrics about "a crazy world...where most of what appears isn't true..." ended up in the hands of Captain Kool and the Kongs, a children's version of KISS with faces decorated in glitter and makeup. The "land of dreams" they introduced were live-action segments from Sid and Marty Krofft — which means they were low-budget and disturbing. There was Wonderbug, Dr. Shrinker, and Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.
Were they disturbing? Let's just say the actor playing Dr. Shrinker had also played Caligula, and served a year in prison for methadone possession.
5. Josie's Groovin' in Outer Space
A stoner reading Heavy Metal magazine decided the cartoon band Josie and the Pussycats would be even better if they lived in outer space with an alien named Gleep. He drew a phallic rocket which quivers on the launch pad, then blasted them eight miles high.
Two years later a competing stoner reading Heavy Metal launched the Partridge Family into space, stranding them in a cartoon continuum 230 years in the future, where they "showed us how it's gonna be." In 1982 the desperate cast of Gilligan's Island tried blasting themselves into outer space, but unfortunately, no one noticed. Soon even Fonzie and the other characters from Happy Days found themselves blasted out of the 1950s and into the future — and outer space.
None of these shows lasted more than a season — except Josie and the Pussycats In Outer Space, which lasted two. But when future generations build moon colonies, maybe they'll draw inspiration from the fact that they were preceded into space by an all-girl band in kitty costumes.
6. Sympathy for the Misfits
Jem and the Holograms were the 80s equivalent of The Pussycats — but with one difference. They had their own Nietszchean doppelgangers trying to destroy them.
Jem's animated rock band competed against a warpaint-wearing rival group with bizarre coked-up "metal" hair and a weirdly negative vibe. The Misfits' videos included giant spiders, lightning surfboards, guitar-shaped motorcycles, and even planet-swallowing darkness.
Alas, Glenn Danzig's punk band — also called The Misfits — was nowhere to be seen, and cheery MTV synth-pop ultimately conquered Saturday morning, bringing with it a line of tie-in toys from Hasbro. The bitter Jem-haters were our last line of resistance against a big media beachhead of beautiful people, and though the Misfits were as vindictive as they were doomed, they did teach impressionable youngsters an important and affirming truth.
That a world without freaks would be even worse.
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44 thoughts to “Six Freakiest Children’s TV Rock Bands”
Thank you, God, that I was born early enough to have missed all these.
great article. i have one kind of like it here: http://completefuckery.blogspot.com/2007/02/top-ten-cartoon-theme-songs-of-80s.html
top cartoon theme songs from the 80’s
Here’s one vote for the doodlebops.
I was very suprised not to see Kideo on here
What ever happened to the Hudson Brothers?
They were three white longhaired afroperm guys. I think they might have been on around the same time as H.R.Puffenstuff.
How about the Banana Splits? They were considered pretty weird way back in the day.
What about “Kid Video”?
Kids Incorporated anyone??
Howabout The ReVamped Mickey Mouse Club With Britney, Christina and Justin??
What about Jabberjaw and the Neptunes?
/*Jabberjaw*/ was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon series created in 1976 , starring a fictional shark named Jabberjaw and his four young adult cohorts, who had various adventures in a futuristic underwater world. The quintet also performed regularly as a rock group called The Neptunes.
The shark played the drums. Yeah, that’s right.
My favorite part was the theme song: “Jabber Jabber JAW!” Something like that.
Freakin hilarious…did anybody else recognize the chick in the turqoise outfit on the Kroft Super Show was Andrea Martin of SCTV fame? What the heck does she say? The whole howdiest show on earth???? What the hell does that mean?
I’d much rather have the counter culture come for my children then some of the stuff that’s coming for them now. Have you seen The Wiggles? They dress in Star Trek uniforms and blast brainwashing, elevator rock directly into your childrens’ frontal lobes.
I think she just LOOKED like Andrea Martin. The Internet Movie Database lists her as “Louise DuArt.”
She hasn’t done much since, although she did voice for an episode of Family Guy.
What happened to the Hudson Brothers? As always, Wiki knows all:
How about The Chan Clan From “Charlie Chan and The Amazing Chan Clan”? Or perhaps “Patridge Family 2020”? They were bad. Really bad.
Forget bands for kids: everything I know about music, I learned either on Sesame Street or School House Rocks..
I believe that Britta Phillips, who later was in the bands Luna and Dean & Britta, provided Jem’s singing voice on Jen and the Holograms.
How about Hong Kong Phooey #1 super guy, Lippy the Lion & Hardee Har Har ( the most lovable, laughable Lion by far- Lippy the lion & hardee har har). Captain Caaaavemannn! Hanna Barbera & sid & marty kroft shows ruled. Great space coaster anyone? Sigmund the Seamonster? A few years ago a bunch of bands did covers of Saturday Morning Cartoons- sublime was one of the groups- very cool I highly recommend it. Schoolhouse Rocks- totally the best thing on Sat Am in the 70’s
Don’t for get the Brady Bunch turned into cartoons and had their band too!
Ha! Loved seeing these, most of them were on when I was a kid in the ’70s.
RE: Kaptain (I think it was supposed to be spelled with a K) Kool and the Kongs – Kaptain Kool was Michael Lembeck, who later appeared in some plum film roles including a turn in The Boys in Company C as well as TV guest spots. He went on in the ’80s and ’90s to become a fairly prolific director in TV, including several episodes of Friends, as well as still doing a little acting here and there.
Deirdre Hall, who has been playing Marlena on Days of Our Lives forever now, was Electra Woman in the Electra Woman & DynaGirl shorts.
15 bucks if you can guess how much crack these guys smoked to come up with these ideas
Hey now, this was the 70’s … crack wasn’t around then…..my guess is ACID dude….and lots of ganja.
I was subjected to Lancelot Link as a child. I blame them for the current state of my mind.
Or maybe I should blame, THE BANNA SPLITS!
I’ll think about it more after a bong hit or two…
What about the “Groovie Ghoulies”?
I loved The Great Space Coaster! I remember when Actress Sally Struthers guest starred on the show back in the year 1982. Puppet Goriddle Gorilla fell in love with her because she looked like the blonde girl from King Kong! Sally Struthers sang, “Carolina In The Morning” and she also played her face with both of her hands till she had a headache! Sally Struthers held Goriddle by the chin.Later on alone, Sally Struthers and Goriddle Gorilla sang together: “Just the way you are!” Please sign the bring back the great space coaster online petition @ www. petitiononline.com/TGSC because it now has 2,433 signatures. There’s also The Great Space Coaster Homepage @ www. great space coaster.com.
Henry Miller and Kurt Vonnegut are the authors that fight american insanity. Worse: they show how sanity is far away. The “american way of life” isn’t the solution for the world. We are, all the world is, a village, and all men must live together. There is no more place for exclusion: all will live in peace or all will perish. Never like today the world has been in such a danger. Old civilizations desapeared. In our days, there’s no more that chance. All the world in only one civilization. War kills the victims and the victors. Wars are made to try to forget the kind of life Henry Millet paints: men without humanity. The result is painted by Kurt Vonnegut: men of sensibility killed by war. They sohowed the way – it’s us to decide.
Does anyone else recall The Catanooga Cats and The Bay City Rollers? Or The Archies? Or those Tiger Beat idols The Monkees? (Gotta hand it to the Monkees, they had two actual musicians – Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith – in the band)
I was hoping someone could help me. The other day while driving home with my sister we were talking about t.v shows we use to watch as children. The one we recalled was of these 3 men that were in a band. They were usually in white( at least i think), they were painted white and usually had stars or something painted on their face. And they wore bright coloured wigs. All there wigs were different colours. Red, blue,and green. They looked like those party noise makers with the streamers at the end. I can’t remember the name of the band and its really bothering me. If anyone has any idea, it would really help. Thanks
Re: Victoria’s last question. I have been wondering the same thing. It’s been bothering me too. Does anyone remember what they were called?
!!! You forgot The Specimen on No. 73!!! Ollie Wisdom in black speedo-type garment and stockings…1983 maybe, can’t remember..
I’ve been trying to find out the name of the the show with the 3 rockstars with different colored wigs for years now!
It was called Kideo Rock!
I believe that Britta Phillips, who later was in the bands Luna and Dean & Britta, provided Jemâ€™s singing voice on Jen and the Holograms.