Though they might not want to admit it, kids love monsters. But while scary monsters just before bedtime can induce bad dreams and nightmares, watching them in the form of a Hanna Barbera cartoon on Saturday mornings provided a fairly safe outlet for many of us. Most of the time, they weren’t even monsters to begin with, but a thief using a disguise to scare people. Other times, ghosts and monsters were represented as comical characters.
While Scooby-Doo, Where Are You was not the first monster-themed cartoon from Hanna-Barbera, it remains the most popular and well-known. The show was so popular that it served as inspiration for many other Hanna-Barbera cartoon series (including a few listed here) and at least 11 other versions of the show. Other cartoons were inspired by popular TV series and movies. And here is something that might surprise you. Many well-known actors have provided voices for these Hanna-Barbera tales over the years including Jodi Foster, Rip Taylor, Carol Channing, Rick Moranis, Ricki Lake, Shari Beleafonte, Jonathan Winters, Eileen Brennan and many others.
Original Run: 1966-1968
Premise: Non scary in the least, this series was paired with silly superhero show, The Impossibles. Centered in Civic City, Buzz Conroy and his father Professor Conroy would fight crime with the help of their monster robot, Frankenstein Jr.
Characters and Voices: Buzz Conroy (Dick Beals), Frankenstein, Jr. (Ted Cassidy), Professor Conroy (John Stephenson)
Scooby-Doo Where Are You
Original Run: 1969-1978
Premise: Three amateur teenage sleuths solved crimes and exposed phoney ghosts and goblins. The gang traveled in a big van known as the Mystery Machine. Along for the ride (and food) was their friend Shaggy Rogers and his Great Dane, Scooby-Doo. The latter two were never interested in fighting ghosts but could be persuaded with the occasional “Scooby Snack.” Monsters were never real in the original series. They were always devices used to scare people so that the criminals could get away with some evil plot.
The Funky Phantom
Original Run: 1971-1972
Premise: Basically a copycat of the Scooby-Doo series, three teenagers solve crimes committed by “ghosts” and “monsters” (aka bad guys wearing masks) with the aid of a Revolutionary War-era ghost and his cat who is often teasing the teen’s bull dog. The show’s set is also strangely similar to the Abbott and Costello film, The Time of Their Lives where two ghosts live inside grandfather clock before before being released by humans. Instead of a Mystery Machine, the gang rides around in a Looney Duney.
Characters and Voices: Jonathan Wellington Muddlemore (Daws Butler), Augie Anderson (Tommy Cook), Skip Gilroy (Micky Dolenz), April Stewart (Kristina Hollad), Elmo the Dog (Don Messick), Boo the Cat (Don Messick)
Goober and the Ghost Chasers
Original Run: 1973
Premise: A group teens who write for the publication Ghost Chasers Magazine, travel with the Afghan Hound (who is actually a ghost himself) to investigate haunted sites. Using their apparition kit, the group’s task is to figure out if an entity is real or not. Some ghosts were real and would help the group defeat the fake ones. Like Scooby, Goober could talk, but only to the viewer. For some reason, half of the episodes featured the kids from the Partridge Family TV series voiced by the original actors.
Characters and Voices: Ted (Jerry Dexter), Tina (Jo An Harris), Gilly (Ronnie Schell), Goober (Paul Winchell), Danny Partridge (Danny Bonaduce), Tracy Partridge (Suzanne Crough), Lauri Partridge (Susan Dey), Chris Partridge (Brian Forster)
The Addams Family
Original Run: 1973-1975
Premise: Based on the 1960’s TV series, The Addams Family first appeared a year earlier in one episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies. While this episode featured the voice cast of the original series, the new cartoon show only featured a couple. Here, the fam were traveling in their Victorian-style “creepy camper” scaring fellow campers along the way. The characters were drawn to look exactly like the versions used in Charles Addams’ New Yorker comics.
Characters and Voices: Gomez (Lennie Weinrib), Morticia (Janet Waldo), Grandmama (Janet Waldo), Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan), Wednesday (Cindy Henderson), Pugsley (Jodie Foster), Lurch (Ted Cassidy), Cousin Itt (John Stephenson)
Casper and the Angels
Original Run: 1979
Premise: Hanna-Barbera had a way of mixing different genres together that often didn’t make sense. In this case, Casper (aka the Friendly Ghost) lives in the year 2179 and aids two female space police officers for Space City. Joining the trio is the thousand-year-old ghost Hairy Scarey who likes to scare the bad guys. The show also features two male chauvinist police officers who continually try to outperform the females.
Characters and Voices: Casper (Julie McWhirter), Hairy Scarey (John Stephenson), Commander (John Stephenson), Space Patrol Officer Maxi (Diana McCannon), Space Patrol Officer Mini (Laurel Page), Nerdly (Hal Smith), Fungo (Paul Winchell)
The Drak Pack
Original Run: 1980
Premise: Teen descendants of Count Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man atone for their ancestors’ wrongdoings by transforming into superheroes. When trouble strikes, the three would put their hands together and shout “Wacko!” to become a vampire, a monster and a werewolf. Count Dracula appeared as well as the “Big D.” The antagonist of the series were part of the group O.R.G.E (The Organization for Generally Rotten Enterprises).
Characters and Voices: Drak Jr. (Jerry Dexter), Frankie (William Callaway), Howler (William Callaway), Count Dracula (Alan Oppenheimer), Dr. Dred (Hans Conried), Toad (Don Messick), Fly (Don Messick), Mummyman (Chuck McCann), Vampira (Julie McWhirter)
Rick Moranis in Gravedale High
Original Run: 1990
Premise: Because of his popularity in the films like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, NBC hired Hanna-Barbera to create a cartoon series built around the actor. The result was the actor portraying a human high school principal for a school of classic movie monsters. He was hired because no monster principle would deal with this unruly bunch.
Characters and Voices: Maxwell Schneider (Rick Moranis), Headmistress Crone (Georgia Brown), Boneyard (Brock Peters), Coach Cadaver (Jonathan Winters), Miss Dirge (Eileen Brennan), Chef Sal Monella (Maurice LaMarche), Mr. Tutner (Tim Curry), Miss Webner (Sandra Gould), Vinnie Stoker (Roger Rose), Frankentyke (Frank Welker), Reggie Moonshroud (Barry Gordon), JP. Ghastly III (Frank Welker), Gill Waterman (Jackie Earle Haley), Cleofatra (Ricki Lake), Sid (Maurice LaMarche), Blanche (Shari Belefonte), Duzer (Kimmy Robertson)
The Addams Family
Original Run: 1992-1993
Premise: HB’s second series based on the 1960’s TV series revived because of the popularity of the 1991 feature film. Although the characters’ looks were changed, the series featured the iconic theme song and had the fam back at home in the town of Happydale Heights. The series featured new next-door neighbors, the Normanmeyer’s who plot to rid the Addams from their homestead.
Characters and Voices: Morticia (Nancy Linari), Gomez Addams (John Astin), Wednesday (Debi Derryberry), Pugsley (Jeannie Elias), Uncle Fester (Rip Taylor), Granny (Carol Channing), Lurch (Jim Cummings), Cousin Itt (Pat Fraley), Uncle Cleaver (Rob Paulsen), Norman Normanmeyer (Rob Paulsen), Normina Normanmeyer (Edie McClurg), Norman Normanmeyer Jr. (Dick Beals)
(Main Image: Warner Bros.)
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