DVD Review: Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels

Let it be known that Hanna-Barbera never let a good pop phenomena happen without figuring out a way to cash in on it. If they doubted how to approach a character, they made it act like Phil Silvers (Top Cat) or Jackie Gleason (Fred Flintstone). When America was in the midst of Kung Fu fighting, they unleashed Hong Kong Phooey. In the late ’70s when people were excited by Charlie’s Angels, the company conspired on creating their own angelic trio to their animation empire without paying Farrah, Kate Jackson, Jaclyn, Cheryl or Aaron Spelling. But they needed that element that said, “We’re not ripping you off.” Instead of a mysterious voice from an intercom; Dee Dee Skyes, Brenda Chance and Taffy Dare took their orders from a recently defrosted caveman (voiced by Mel Blanc). The Teen Angels appeared like an updated and non uniformed version of Josie and the Pussycats so Aaron Spelling couldn’t sue them for ripping off his Angels. In the Fall of 1977, they needed extra segments for Laff-a-Lympics. They already had new (and old) Scooby-Doo adventures and The Blue Falcon & Dynomutt. The 15 minute slot between the animated competition was perfect for Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. It allowed the show to thrive without viewers pondering how this could be?

How exactly do three young women find themselves solving crimes with a hairy defrosted caveman that barely speaks English? According to the opening of the show, “Set free by the Teen Angels from his prehistoric block of glacier ice, comes the world’s first superhero, Captain Caveman! Now the constant companion to the Teen Angels—Brenda, Dee Dee and Taffy—in their hilarious, and sometimes scary mystery missions. Get ready for Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels!” This opening has the young ladies in an arctic wasteland wearing short skirts. So there is no need to figure out logic. All that matters is that this brings together Charlie’s Angels with a dislocated Flintstones character. There’s no talk about how these girls actually earn money and why scientists aren’t more curious about the reanimated caveman who hasn’t suffered frostbite from the experience. There’s no explanation about why he can fly. How his club has a bird with a candle inside the shaft. Why does he have the title Captain? Did he pilot a caveman ship in his previous life? The mysteries are formulaic and easy to solve since they only have 11 minutes. They race around the world on various cases including a visit to Twin Peaks on “Cavey and the Weirdo Wolfman.” This is good, dumb Saturday morning nonsense.

The first two seasons of Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels had them as a segment on Laff-A-Lympics. They were also part of Scooby Doo’s team that competed around the world in nutty competitions. This quickly allowed them to find fans. In 1980, he was given his own half hour series although it was a bit of a cheat. They combined a new 11 minute cartoon with a rerun to create 16 new episodes. Not expanding the episodes to 30 minutes like Scooby-Doo works best for Captain Caveman. Less plot is best for these simple mysteries. The Teen Angels only need two clues to spot the real criminal mastermind. They’re about half as difficult to solve as an episode of Clue Club. All 40 episodes that featured the hairy wonder and his three ladies are featured on this collection. The prize is that you don’t have to sit through the athletic competition to get back to the mystery action. Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels: The Complete Series brings back the memories when Saturday morning shows didn’t even have to fake being educational and informative.

“The Kooky Case of the Cryptic Keys,” “The Mixed Up Mystery of Deadman’s Reef,” “What a Flight for a Fright,” “The Creepy Case of the Creaky Charter Boat,” “Big Scare in the Big Top,” “Double Dribble Riddle,” “The Crazy Case of the Tell-Tale Tape,” “The Creepy Claw Caper,” “Cavey and the Kabuta Clue,” “Cavey and the Weirdo Wolfman,” “The Disappearing Elephant Mystery,” “The Fur Freight Fright,” “Ride ’em Caveman,” “The Strange Case of the Creature from Space,” “The Mystery Mansion Mix-Up.” “Playing Footsie with Bigfoot,” “Disco Cavey,” “Muscle-Bound Cavey,” “Cavey’s Crazy Car Caper,” “Cavey’s Mexicali 500,” “Wild West Cavey,” “Cavey’s Winter Carnival Caper,” “Cavey’s Fashion Fiasco,” “Cavey’s Missing Missile Miss-tery,” “The Scarifying Seaweed Secret,” “The Dummy,” “Cavey and the Volcanic Villain,” “Prehistoric Panic,” “Cavey and the Baffling Buffalo Man,” “Dragonhead,” “Cavey and the Murky Mississippi Mystery,” “Old Cavey in New York,” “Cavey and the Albino Rhino,” “Kentucky Cavey,” “Cavey Goes to College,” “The Haunting of Hog Hollow,” “The Legend of Devil’s Run,” “The Mystery of the Meandering Mummy,” “The Old Caveman and the Sea” and “Lights, Camera… Cavey!”

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are rather clean with decent detail. Now while this is a Warner Archive release, the version sent to me appears to be a DVD instead of a DVD-R. The audio is Dolby Digital Mono. Things sound good for Mel Blanc’s caveman groans.

No bonus features.

Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels is a brilliant way to combine Charlie’s Angels with prehistoric fun. The Saturday morning cartoon is pure goofy mysteries as a defrosted caveman solves crimes with a trio of young ladies. This is perfect for people who want an animated mystery that calms the minds.

Warner Archive presents Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. Starring: Mel Blanc, Vernee Watson, Marilyn Schreffler and Laurel Page. Boxset Contents: 40 episodes on 2 DVDs. Released: July 23, 2013.

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