1 9 7 5 – 1 9 7 6 (USA)
16 x 60/30 minute episodes
The show that caused ABC to cancel its contract with Filmation for Saturday morning cartoons, Uncle Croc’s Block was a mess of a show within a show, the sum of its parts poorly glued and coming apart in front of the viewers’ eyes.
The great Charles Nelson Reilly played the titular show host, fronting a programming block with barely-concealed contempt, much to the frustration of his equally-cantankerous director, Basil Bitterbottom (Jonathan Harris from Lost in Space).
Uncle Croc was assisted by his pink furry side-kick, Mr Rabbit Ears (Alfie Wise).
Initially an hour-long affair but cut to thirty minutes after a month of poor ratings, Uncle Croc would present a number of regular cartoon features:
M*U*S*H (“Mangy Unwanted Shabby Heroes”) featured mounted dog policemen with names like Bullseye, Tricky John, Cold Lips and Colonel Flake; Fraidy Cat featured a feline who was perpetually nervous because he was on his ninth and final life, and Wacky & Packy told of the misadventures of two prehistoric creatures transported to 20th century Manhattan.
The cartoons were interspersed with variety segments and “star” guests, played by a cavalcade of veterans of stage and screen, including Phyllis Diller and Alice Ghostley.
The show flew far over the heads of its young audience, and it was cancelled mid-season. ABC never ordered another series from Filmation ever again.
The cartoon segments later aired in syndication as part of a package called The Groovie Goolies and Friends.
Charles Nelson Reilly
Mr Rabbit Ears