In the mid-1990s, Hollywood began a trend of producing motion pictures based on television series from the 1960s and '70s. In the mid-1970s, Hollywood started a trend of turning them into Saturday Morning cartoons. I Dream of Jeannie, Gilligan's Island, Emergency!, The Brady Bunch, Star Trek, My Favorite Martian, Lassie and The Odd Couple all had their own cartoons. Why not The Partridge Family? Why not, indeed!
"Get me another Scooby-Doo!" That was the cry of ABC executives when developing their 1973 Saturday Morning animated schedule. Hanna-Barbera Productions was more than up to the task and created a new series for youngsters: Goober and the Ghost Chasers. Slapstick comedy was the theme for this wacky mystery cartoon featuring the bumbling antics of Goober, a canine who is more chicken than dog. The fun unfolded when Goober joined his friends, reporters for Ghost Chasers Magazine, on assignments to investigate ectoplasmic apparitions. They consist of Ted, team leader; Tina, who never missed a good story angle; and Gilly, a photographer oblivious to danger. Armed with electronic and scientific gear, such as their "specter detector" (a device that glows and vibrates when ghosts are nearby), the gang traveled around the globe, encountering unfriendly spirits and providing plenty of comedy entertainment.
Goober and the Ghost Chasers closely adhered to the same basic formula as the highly successful Scooby-Doo, Where Are You (CBS, 1969). The difference was, while the Great Dane is scared of his own shadow and will run and hide, in times of stress or high emotion Goober became invisible, leaving only his red striped stocking cap behind. Teaming up with the Ghost Chasers were the Partridge Kids: Laurie, Danny, Chris and Tracy. Wherever they went, there were plenty of strange and eerie wailing, moans, flying vases, pictures, and clanking chains. Producers were not able to secure the vocal talents of Shirley Jones or David Cassidy and their characters were absent from these stories. However, Susan Dey, Danny Bonaduce, Brian Forster and Suzanne Crough were all on hand.
cmongethappy.com asked Iwao Takamoto, a creative veteran for 38 years
at Hanna-Barbera, what prompted the teaming of Goober and the Ghost
Chasers with The Partridge Family:
"Well, it was getting harder and harder to sell a show to the networks. They wanted the ratings success of Scooby-Doo, and were afraid to try anything new. Every other cartoon seemed to be a rip-off of a prime time live action series. We had some success a few years earlier with a Scooby-Doo series that used a guest star every week. I think we had Sonny and Cher, Phyllis Diller, Mama Cass, Dick Van Dyke, etc., and they all voiced themselves. So rather than just animate a prime time series, we used the Partridge characters in another project we were already developing, as guest stars. We also used Michael Gray and Wilt Chamberlain in an episode too."
The following year, Hanna-Barbera did animate The Partridge Family in their own series for CBS's Saturday Morning schedule, with a decidedly different twist - they were set in 2200, A.D.
Sixteen episodes of Goober and the Ghost Chasers were produced in 1973, eight of which featured the Partridge Kids:
69 - 1: "Assignment: The Ahab Apparition" (first aired: 9/8/73)
The Partridge Kids are vacationing at Peaceful Cover, but it's anything but peaceful! The ghosts of Captain Ahab and Moby Dick are haunting the old mansion on the cliff, and it's up to Goober and the Kids to interview them for their magazine.
69 - 2: "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" (first aired: 9/15/73)
The Partridge Kids are supposed to play a concert, but their performance is cancelled when Macbeth's ghost begins haunting the hall.
69 - 4: "The Singing Ghost" (first aired: 9/29/73)
Frankensteinís Monster the 3rd tricks Danny and the Partridge Kids into coming to his castle to discuss a singing engagement. Once there, they realize the only thing he wants is Danny's voice - for his own!
69 - 5: "The Ghost Ship" (first aired: 10/6/73)
The Partridge Kids and Goober and the gang are aboard an old pirate ship, for publicity pictures when the ship is set adrift by the salty spirits!
69 - 7: "The Mummy Knows Best" (first aired: 10/13/73)
The Partridge Kids, Goober, and the gang decide to spend their vacation in Kahrobi, land of the Arabian Knights - and ghosts!
69 - 8: "The Haunted Wax Museum" (first aired: 10/20/73)
With a day off between concerts, The Partridge Kids decide to visit an old wax museum - a hangout for ghosts!
69 - 9: "The Wicked Witch Dog" (first aired: 11/3/73)
A supernatural canine is haunting the lighthouse of MacBurn's Point in Scotland.
69 - 13: "Go West, Young Ghost, Go West" (first aired: 11/17/73)
At an amusement park, the haunted house is a little too haunted for the Partridge Kids, Goober, and the gang.
Goober and the Ghost Chasers has appeared periodically on the Cartoon Network, Hanna-Barbera's all-cartoon cable channel. Future broadcast plans include appearances on Cartoon Network's new sister cable channel, "Boomerang" in April 2000. Sadly, there was very little in the way of licensed merchandise for this series, and if there was it was without the Partridge Kids. That property would have belonged to Columbia Television, while Goober and the gang belonged to Hanna-Barbera. King Seeley released a metal lunchbox and thermos, which shared space with another Hanna-Barbera series, "Inch High Private Eye". Goober was featured in a magic trading card set that was offered free inside Wonder Bread and Worldvision Home Video (a sister company to Hanna-Barbera) released two different videos of Goober and the gang in 1985. No longer in print, they are available periodically on Ebay.
Goober and the Ghost Chasers (1973, ABC) - 16 episodes total
Premiere: September 8, 1973 - Saturday 10:30AM - 11:00AM EST
Last Program: August 31, 1975
Executive Producers: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
Producer: Iwao Takamoto
Director: Charles A. Nichols
Goober: Paul Winchell
Gilly: Ronnie Schell
Ted: Jerry Dexter
Tina: Jo Ann Harris
Laurie Partridge: Susan Dey
Danny Partridge: Danny Bonaduce
Chris Partridge: Brian Forster
Tracy Partridge: Suzanne Crough
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