Cashing In

Hanna-Barbera's 1969 hit "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" sparked a number of direct ripoffs: "Josie And The Pussycats," "The Amazing Chan And The Chan Clan," and "Goober and the Ghost Chasers" all had a kooky gang of teenagers (and their meddling pet) solving mysteries and acting groovy.

The genre itself was just coming over its high point in early 1971, when a staff writer had an intriguing idea: what if, instead of a pet, the teen's assistant was a ghost himself?

The studio execs approved, and a backstory was written: In 1776, Jonathan Muddlemore, revolutionary coward, hid from the British in his grandfather clock with his cat Boo (apparently recognizing even then that they would return in spectral form) and stayed there, presumably, until he died and became a ghost.

The Show

We were cold and soaking wet
and lost out in a storm
We went inside a spooky house
just hoping to get warm
The dusty clock said half past six
we knew that it was wrong
When we set the hands to twelve
the clock began to gong

(Spoken: "The Spirit of '76, at your service, even")

We found a friend,
friend, friend
in Funky Phantom

He'll pop right in
just when
you need him most

And Boo will too,
and you can't do
without 'em

That cat
and that
Funky Phantom ghost

Theme song to "The Funky Phantom"

If the theme song didn't clue you in, let me assure you: this show failed fantastically. A trio of plucky teenagers - and, mindbogglingly, a pet bulldog Elmo - finds Muddlemore's house while out in the rain and release him from the clock. Wherein he promptly joins the teens as they travel across the United States in their "Looney Duney" (I could NOT make this stuff up, folks), solving crimes perpetrated by theatrical villains trying to passing themselves off as ghosts, ghouls, werewolves, aliens, and whatever else the local costume shop had on markdown November 1.

Muddlemore (called "Muddsey" by the gang) was voiced by none other than the legendary Daws Butler. Unfortunately, despite Butler's amazing talents (he provided the voice to over 70 characters in the H-B world) the voice of Muddsey was identical (purposely) to that of the legendary Snagglepuss. Heavens to Murgatroid, talk about phoning it in!

One other interesting note: former Monkee Mickey Dolenz provided the voice of Skip, one of the cruising kids.

The Votes Are In...

All told, 17 episodes of "The Funky Phantom" were produced by the studio (see episode title list below). The following season the shows were simply repeated in a different order. In 1973, the show was combined with the Godzilla and Dynomutt split show to form the monolithic "The Godzilla/Dynomutt Hour with the Funky Phantom" series. For some reason, the strong combination of a fire-breathing dragon, a robotic dog, and a cowardly (albeit funky) patriotic ghost never caught on, and the entire show was cancelled after just one season.

You can still catch episodes of "The Funky Phantom" on Cartoon Network's Boomerang here and there.

Episode Guide

"Don't Fool with a Phantom"

"Heir Scare"

"I'll Haunt You Later"

"Who's Chicken?"

"The Headless Horseman"

"Spirit Spooked"

"Ghost Town Ghost"

"We Saw a Sea Serpent"

"Haunt In Inn"

"Mudsy Joins The Circus"

"Pigskin Predicament"

"The Liberty Bell Caper"

"April's Foolish Day"

"The Forest's Prime-Evil"

"The Hairy Scarey Houndman"

"Mudsy and Muddlemore Manor"

"Ghost Grabbers"

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