1 9 6 9 – 1 9 7 1 (USA)
Borrowing lightly from The Wizard of Oz and heavily from The Beatles’ film Yellow Submarine (1968), Here Comes the Grump was a fantastical, psychedelic cartoon that disappeared from the scene all too quickly.
The series began when a young boy named Terry Dexter – voiced by Jay (Dennis the Menace) North – inexplicably arrived in a strange, distant, vibrantly colourful land ruled by the benevolent Princess Dawn.
One of her subjects, known as The Grump, was none too happy about anything, let alone the Princess’ cheery demeanour. The Grump hoped to spread his perpetual bad mood throughout the kingdom, so he placed a curse of gloom on the poor princess.
The Princess and her doglike companion, Bib, recruited the help of Terry to somehow reverse the spell and free the kingdom from its gloomy state. Their task – to search the Land of 1,000 Caves for the hidden Cave of the Whispering Orchids.
There, they would find the Crystal Key, which was the only thing that could break the curse.
Each week, the trio searched for this elusive key, encountering such imaginative lands and characters as the Eenie Meenie Miners and the Cork Men.
The Blue Meanies would have fitted right in.
Always trying to thwart their attempts was the Grump himself, who – as portrayed by the handlebar-moustached Rip Taylor – was far more humorous than scary or grumpy.
He travelled around in a bright pink costume and was accompanied by the less-than-menacing Jolly Green Dragon, who only spouted fire when he accidentally sneezed.
Though the show lasted until 1971, its psychedelic, nonsensical presence didn’t gel with the major networks’ decision to be socially conscious as the 70’s progressed, and the show faded into relative obscurity.