Saturday, January 17, 2015

Saturday Morning Cartoons: JABBERJAW

JAWS didn't lend itself well to spinoffs. Steven Spielberg's gory thriller redefined cinema for an entire generation, but it was a hard act to follow for ancillary media. There wasn't much more you could do with JAWS besides clone it, which only left you with a similar product aimed at precisely the same demographic.

So, when it came time for Universal to milk children out of their allowances during JAWS-mania in 1975, they weren't left with many options. No scrupulous ones, anyhow.

Hanna-Barbera Productions was not so choosy. Their solution was to stick an anthropomorphic great white shark into a SCOOBY DOO ripoff and called it JABBERJAW. Get it?

Oh, but the show was so much weirder than being a mere JAWS cash-in. I think Hanna-Barbera was using Mad Libs, mushrooms and sensory deprivation experiments to generate the concepts for new shows during the 1970s. But even that theory wouldn't explain a show like JABBERJAW, which was about a band called The Neptunes touring a post-cataclysmic undersea world in the 21st century. They routinely bump heads with super villains (and aliens) while squeezing in a quick song for the kiddies at home.

The band is made up of Shelley, Biff, Bubbles and Clamhead, which sounds like progressive stages of drug dependency. Also, the drummer for The Neptunes is a great white shark.

That talks.

With the voice of Curly Howard from The Three Stooges.

I saw them open for Alice Cooper in 1977, the year before Clamhead OD'd.
In 2011, Warner Archive released Jabberjaw: The Complete Series on DVD as part of their Hanna–Barbera Classics Collection. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and Which is probably why I wasn't able to find any full episodes of the series to stream  with this installment. (Well, there's one website that has it, but it's got MALWARE written all over it. Visit it at your own risk.)

You can catch the JABBERJAW's opening credits and theme song at the top. Changes are, that will be enough for you.

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