1 9 8 8 – 1 9 8 9 (USA)
13 x 30 minute episodes
When comic actor Martin Short transplanted his Ed Grimley creation from Saturday Night Live to an NBC Saturday morning cartoon, he was joined by many of his former cohorts from his previous TV variety show of the early 1980s, Second City Television.
Grimley was one of SNL‘s most memorable oddballs – a Pat Sajak fan resembling Alfalfa of The Little Rascals with his huge cowlick, jutting jaw and squinty eyes. He talked in a quavering voice peppered with odd exclamations such as “I must say!”
The object of his affection was blonde dingbat Miss Malone (voiced by Catherine O’Hara), and his landlord was the short-tempered, toupee-wearing Mr Freebus (Jonathan Winters), whose wife Deidre (Andrea Martin) was excessively proper.
Living with Ed in his apartment were a pet goldfish named Moby and a pet rat named Sheldon (Frank Welker).
The plot tangents of the show were bizarre enough, but somehow each episode included an interruption by the Amazing Gustav Brothers – Roger and Wendell – dissimilar-looking identical twins who constantly failed to get to the science lesson they were to teach about a particular scene in the show.
Another intrusion in the action was the appearance of a live segment featuring Count Floyd (Joe Flaherty), who tried to instil fear in a studio audience of cranky children with his monotonous “scary movies.” Flaherty had first introduced Count Floyd on SCTV.
Besides Short, Flaherty, O’Hara, and Martin, another SCTV alumnus often working on the show was Dave Thomas, who in one episode voiced an uproarious on-target spoof of Bob Hope, complete with the comedian cracking a stream of lame jokes for which his team of writers faked laughter.
This and other scattershot attacks on popular culture – including the time when Miss Malone kept repeating vacuously, “When a bell rings, an angel gets his wings” à la endless TV repeats of the 1946 movie classic It’s a Wonderful Life – gave the series
more appeal to hip adults than to children.
Though it lasted only one year, the show became a staple of the Cartoon Network cable channel’s late-night lineup in 1996.
Mr Leo Freebus/Roger Gustav
Mrs Deidre Freebus