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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Superhero Sunday: Homo Habilis . . . Superior?

Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen . . .
As part of the campaign on Facebook to increase awareness of violence toward children, users are changing their profile pics to cartoon characters from their childhood with the goal to have no human faces on Facebook by December 6th. As I mentioned yesterday, I have selected that stone age superhero, that paleolithic powerhouse, the campy Captain Caveman of Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels (and later of a couple of Flintstone's spin-off cartoons.)
Voiced by the amazing Mel Blanc, Captain Caveman was touted as "the world's first superhero." His modern adventures, however, only began after three lovely coeds in the late 1970s discovered him frozen in a cave and decided to thaw him out. (Somewhere, an adult film producer has just been inspired with a great idea for a new "movie.")
The unfrozen troglodyte decides to team up with the the girls - calling themselves "The Teen Angels" - to solve crimes and unravel mysteries in the wacky Hanna-Barbera disco era from 1977 through 1980.

"It's the Mystery Machine! Go steal us a plot!"
The foursome traveled around in an RV equipped with a cave-like top where Captain Caveman appropriately slept separated from the young ladies. "Cavey" - as he was nicknamed by the girls - could fly. . . most of the time, and could pull a wide array of sometimes useful objects from the thick hair that covered every part of his body except his arms, legs, eyes, and . . . nose. He also could and did eat just about anything, which proved problematic as often as it proved helpful.
The Flintstone Medical Hour tanked.
In the early 80s, Captain Caveman appeared on episodes of The Flintstone Comedy Show (1980-82), and we finally got to see what his superhero life had been like pre-deep-freeze. In the pseudo-paleolithic world of the Flintstones, Captain Caveman had a secret identity as Chester: mild-mannered office boy at The Daily Granite newspaper (where Betty Rubble and Wilma Flintstone also worked.)
Later, Captain Caveman would appear on a show-within-a-show regularly watched by the childhood versions of Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty on The Flintstone Kids (1986-1988). On the show, he fought crime alongside his son, Captain Caveman, Jr.
a.k.a. Beating A Dead Brontosaurus
Junior could almost be considered a "Scrappy" or "Godzooky" type of a character were it not for the fact that The Flintstone Kids was itself one big Godzooky of a show. Ugh.
Buy insurance online? It's so simple!
For my money, the original incarnation of Captain Caveman was the best - even if it was basically just a Scooby-Doo rip-off with a little bit of Charlie's Angels and Josie and the Pussycats thrown in for good measure. It was still good, silly fun.

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