Angel Knockoffs: Animated Angels

CHARLIE'S ANGELS KNOCKOFF SERIES

Once Charlie's Angels became a hit, the rest of the entertainment world suddenly shared an epiphany: women + teamwork = success! Somehow this formula failed to yield positive results when applied to a bunch of really, really bad copycat shows, and most quickly disappeared from the airwaves. Here's a closer look in memoriam of some Angel knockoff shows you may have forgotten.

Any prime time hit TV show of the 70's or 80's worth their salt faced the inevitable Saturday morning adaption. Everything from Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley to the Dukes of Hazzard got an animated treatment and Charlie's Angels managed to find it's way on the Saturday morning line up. While no proper animated Charlie's Angels show was ever produced (although the 2000's did see some animated webisodes based on the movies) the influence of the Angels was added to some established Saturday morning properties.

Hanna Barbara attempted twice in 2 years to emulate Angel magic on Saturday morning with varying results.

 

BACKGROUND CHECK

Townsend Agency original article by Greg May 9, 2012

CAPTAIN CAVEMAN AND THE TEEN ANGELS

Slag BrothersFirst up was Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. In 1969 Hanna Barbera had introduced the Slag Brothers, Rock and Gravel, as characters on its Wacky Races show.

8 years later they dusted off the character designs and reintroduced a Slag brother as Captain Caveman… the world’s first (and presumably hairiest) superhero. Cavey was joined by The Teen Angels – three Sabrina, Jill, and kelly analogues – who also closely resembled Josie and the Pussycats. Head Angel Dee, like Sabrina, was the brains of the operation and wore a turtleneck. Taffy, the animated Jill, had a Farrah flip, was ditzy and always yelled “Zowie!” Brenda, the Kelly of the group, was also the resident scaredy-cat.

The trio assisted and were assisted by Captain Caveman in solving Scooby Doo-like mysteries. The first and second seasons were packaged as part of Scooby’s All Star Laff-A-Lympics while the final season featured Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels in their own half-hour series. The show was created by Ruby Spears and produced by Hanna Barbera. The Angels used neither guns nor martial arts, and had a tendency to scream and run a lot, but the Angel influence could not be ignored and the show was a minor hit.

CASPER AND THE ANGELS

Two years later Hanna Barbera tried again to emulate the Angel form in 1979's Casper and The Angels, a spin off of the popular Casper the Friendly Ghost. Casper was created first as a storybook in 1939 and adapted to movie shorts in 1945. For the next three decades Casper the Friendly Ghost was a staple of Saturday morning and after-school television.

In 1978, Hanna Barbera decided what would be a perfect vehicle for a dead little ghost boy would be to put him in space and add two faux Charlie's Angels sidekicks. In 1978's Casper and the Angels (in outer space) the friendly ghost travels to the year 2179 to become a guardian spirit to two intergalactic space cops named Maxie and Minnie. Maxie was surprisingly similar to Dee of Captain Caveman in that she was the leader and brains of the operation. Minnie seems to be an amalgamation of both the other Teen Angels, possessing Brenda's timidness and Taffy's ditzyness and even her voice actress (Laurel Page).

Plots involved totally original fare such as a space circus, space cat burglars, and space diamond smuggling. Surprisingly, the Angel formula mixed with a ghostly guardian Angel of female space cops on jet skis never caught on, and the show was canceled after one season.

Maybe the reason these two attempts at animating Angel magic never caught on in the late 70's was the fact that the characters of Sabrina, Jill, Kelly and Kris were not included. The Angels in Captain Caveman were not 3 seasoned, smart, capable detectives - they were 3 semi-competent, often bumbling and needing-to-be-rescued teenagers who hung out with a prehistoric superhero.

Animated AngelsAll there was were two brunettes, a blonde in the middle, and the smart one wore the turtleneck. These Angels didn't fight bad guys, they ran away from them. Casper and the Angels is even more removed from the formula in that there were only 2 “Angels” and they were intergalactic motorcycle cops. It actually felt more like an animated CHiPs in space than an Angel analogue.

All prime time properties that become Saturday morning cartoons have to have changes made to them. The changes made to the Angels placed them as second bananas behind supernatural male comedic leads. Playing second banana to powerful men was exactly what Charlie's Angels was not. So maybe that was the reason they didn't really work. Or maybe it was the lame execution. Either way, they are here with us on YouTube forever. Watch an episode. It's ten minutes of your life that can not be replaced.

CAPTAIN CAVEMAN AND THE TEEN ANGELS

YEAR 1977

RUN 3 seasons

GIST Teens & defrosted caveman solve lame mysteries

"ANGELS" Vernee Watson Marilyn Schreffler Laurel Paige

PRODUCER Hanna-Barbera

CASPER AND THE ANGELS

Casper and the Angels

YEAR 1979

RUN 13 episodes

GIST Casper helps out 2 female space cops

"ANGELS" Diana McCannon Laurel Paige

PRODUCER Hanna-Barbera