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'The Further Adventures of Doctor Dolittle' Cartoon (1970)
Stage & Screen Intro || Reiniger Animation || Radio Serial || Movie Musical
1970 Cartoon || Stage Play || 1984 Cartoon || Stage Musical || Murphy Comedies

John Dolittle, M.D."The Further Adventures of Doctor Dolittle," Saturday Morning Cartoon Series (1970-72)-- I know, I know: has the webmaster no shame, that she would devote a whole page among the Dolittle adaptations to this wacky cartoon? :-)   Well, my response is that if 20th-Century Fox (trying, I reckon, to milk as much as possible from the Dolittle rights, in the wake all they lost on the 1967 movie) weren't embarrassed to commission DePatie-Freleng to make the show, then I can be bold enough to include it here.

Tommy, the Doctor, and Polynesia aboard the 'Flounder'And anyway, this very loose adaptation of the Dolittle stories (okay, it was more of an appropriation of the characters than an adaptation of the stories) had a certain "of-its-era" charm. It featured an animated version of animal doctor and naturalist John Dolittle, M.D. (in vaguely 19th-Century dress, but looking nothing like the Lofting illustrations, nor even like Rex Harrison), along with apprentice Tommy Stubbins and familiar animal members of the Puddleby household (Jip, Too-Too, Dab-Dab, Chee-Chee, and the Pushmi-Pullyu were all part of an episode I saw recently). The premise put all of them aboard the good ship Flounder, to be pursued around the world by gangster-ish pirate Sam Scurvy and a motley crew of henchmen bent on capturing Dolittle and forcing from him the secret of animal communication (why? "To rule the world," of course!). Among the Doctor's other traveling companions were a cat from the moon (called "Mooncat") and a 1960's-style rock-and-roll band (called "The Grasshoppers," after their species). Only 17 episodes of this, er, "classic" were made. According to "Yesterdayland's" page on the cartoon, this was enough for NBC to run it for two seasons (1970-1972), the second consisting of nothing but repeats.

Voice Credits:
  Dr. John Dolittle   Bob Holt
  Tommy Stubbins   Hal Smith
  Sam Scurvy   Lennie Weinrib
  Various Animals   Don Messick,
Barbara Towers
  The Grasshoppers   Ronnie Fallon,
Colin Julian,
Annabell
  Sam Scurvy plots to take over the world

Think you might remember this one? Here are some sound bites I captured from that first episode ("The Grasshoppers are Coming! Hurray! Hurray!"), to jog your memory. You'll need a RealAudio player (make sure you get the free one!) to hear them.

  • 1. "Poop Deck": The cartoon opens with a teaser before the theme song, in which we see the Doctor at the helm of his ship, the Flounder. The Pushmi-Pullyu (one half of it wears glasses; the other half does not) sits up in the crows nest; suddenly spotting pirates on all sides, he (they? it?) gives the alarm. The Doctor responds, in this clip, by assembling his crew.
  • 2. Opening Theme: It's Leslie Bricusse's "Talk to the Animals," but with a twist.
  • 3. Pirates' Role Call: In which Sam Scurvy musters his troops, including "Cyclops" (a big dumb henchman who wears his eyepatch over his good eye, rather than over the missing one), "Zit-Zat" (as near as I can make it out, that is: he's a Frenchman and the least stupid-looking of the gang), and "Noko" and "Meeko" (I'm not sure which is which, but I think "Noko" is a stereotypical Asian who answers second, while "Meeko" is the caricature Italian who answers first). [Umm, no, this was not a very politically correct cartoon.]
  • 4. "Rule the World": In which Scurvy explains to his troops (and the audience) the premise of the cartoon--i.e., the reason for their pursuit of the Doctor.
  • 5. Pirates' Pledge: The pirates vow to catch their quarry and use his knowledge to "take over the world."
  • 6. "Swallows, HO!": The Doctor calls his feathered friends to assist when, in a second chase sequence, the pirates' ship (it's actually a submarine!) appears to be closing in.
  • 7. "Proper Antidote": The Doctor lands on Grasshopper Island at the request of one Georgie Grasshopper, who earlier had traveled to the Flounder on the back of a whale to ask for help. It seems that every grasshopper on the island has been infected by some energy-sapping substance; fortunately, the Doctor is able to identify the source of the problem and cure it.
  • 8. "Groovy": In gratitude for their cures, Georgie's band ("The Grasshoppers," natch!) play a tune for the Doctor. His appreciative response is pure 1970.
  • 9. "Rock Music Fan": The Doctor says there is one way the Grasshoppers can pay him back for his help...
  • 10. Closing Theme: Instrumental only.

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