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Western Animation / Fangface

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Glistening white triangular tooth
Open up a can of tomato juice
-They Might Be Giants, "I've Got a Fang" (reportedly inspired by this show)

One of the first regular series from Ruby-Spears, debuting in 1978. Following in the formula of Ruby-Spears' own Scooby-Doo, Fangface features four teenagers — Kim, Biff, Puggsy and Sherman "Fangs" Fangsworth, who drive around in their convertible called the Wolf-Buggy, solving mysteries which frequently involve mad scientists, Aliens and Monsters, and outlandish crimes.

The big twist is that Fangs is a werewolf, who will transform into "Fangface" whenever he sees the moon. Or a picture of the moon. Or something that looks kinda like the moon. Luckily, all he needs to see is the sun (or something resembling it) to change him back. Of course, having a werewolf on your mystery-solving team has its advantages (he's often referred to as a "secret weapon"), and the team keep photos of the sun and moon on hand to initiate Fangs' Transformation Sequence as necessary. Fangface is stronger, faster, and better in a fight - although he has the bad habit of trying to eat Puggsy, especially when he hears any reference to food. In his human form, naturally, he has no idea about any of this, and is frequently confused to find himself in a situation he has no memory of getting into.


Also, unlike on Scooby Doo, all the monsters were real.

In 1979, the second season, titled Fangface and Fangpuss, aired as a segment on The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show and introduced a new character: Baby Fangs, Fangs' infant cousin who turns into a baby werewolf called Fangpuss (which contradicts the opening narration stating that only one werewolf is born into the family every 400 years, but, of course, that werewolf could be born through another family which may be married to the Fangsworth family). When Fangs saw Fangpuss, he was afraid of the child. The show remained in the same mystery-adventure style as the first season, but episodes were now shortened to 15-minute segments. Sixteen episodes of Fangface and Fangpuss were produced for the 1979-80 season. The episodes "The Creepy Goon from the Spooky Lagoon" and "Dr. Lupiter and the Thing from Jupiter" are the only season two episodes in which Baby Fangs/Fangpuss did not make an appearance.


Fangface and Fangpuss ran on ABC from September 22, 1979, to September 27, 1980; it then became a separate series in 1981 and, like the original Fangface, ran for just one season. After this series, Fangface and company faded into obscurity until reruns began to air on Cartoon Network and Boomerang.

This show contains examples of:

  • Africa Is a Country: In "The Shocking Creature Feature", Professor Kunia is referred to as being from Africa, but exactly where in Africa we never learn.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Fangface distracts an Amazon guard with shadow puppetry of a big muscular man
  • All Just a Dream: When Fangface reverts to Fangs, he dismisses it as such.
  • Aloha, Hawaii!: "There Is Nothing Worse Than A Stony Curse". Aside from featuring a villain straight out of Greek mythology, this episode is full to the brim with stereotypical Hawaiian imagery, including Hula and Luaus and inaccurately-depicted volcanoes.
  • Animal Assassin: "This snake will take care of those kids!"
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: "Dr. Lupiter and the Thing from Jupiter" opens with an astronaut landing "on the surface of Jupiter".
  • Artistic License – Geography: In-Universe. In "A Toothy Shark Is No Lark", Fangs comments that he's always wanted to go on a Caribbean cruise in the Mediterranean. Puggsy, ever the Know-Nothing Know-It-All, pompously corrects him that the Caribbean is nowhere near the Mediterranean, but in the North Pacific.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Too many specific examples to list, and describing some of them would be next to impossible, but let's just say the show runs on cartoon logic first and foremost.
  • As You Know: "Oh no! Every time Fangface hears a food word, he eats Puggsy! Quick! We've got to rub his foot! It's the only way to calm him down!"
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: "Evil Guider of the Giant Spider" involves a super-growth serum that creates a Giant Spider... and an even bigger Fangface, to whom the spider is regular-sized. He ends up using the serum to grow a jar to giant size and trapping the spider in it.
  • Bald of Evil: Very common among incidental villains, particularly those of the Mad Scientist variety.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Fangface himself is a downplayed example. He has no control over his transformations, but he doesn't seem bothered by them (or even aware of them), and his friends see no ethical dilemma in deliberately provoking them. Played straighter in "A Heap of Trouble", where Dr. Arnos' plot is to "transform the entire faculty [of the local university] into hulking monsters!"
    • In "Who Do The Voodoo", Puggys is briefly changed into a frog.
  • Berserk Button : Whenever Fangface sees his reflection in a mirror, he goes crazy, howling as loud as he can, hopping around, spinning on the floor, and then charging at the bad guys. Can be useful in a fight, but when they're sneaking around or there are no bad guys around, this tendency usually makes things worse.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: In "The Great Ape Escape".
    They need no guards. There is no escape from our trap!
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Swami Zodak does this to both Hal Hercules and Biff.
    • In "Dr. Lupiter and the Thing from Jupiter", the thing in question is actually an astronaut who has been turned into a Brainwashed and Crazy monster by Mad Scientist Dr. Lupiter.
  • Brainy Baby: Baby Fangs, who seems to have a much better understanding of his own lycanthropy than Fangs himself does
  • Busman's Holiday: The first few episodes have the gang called specifically to help deal with a supernatural situation, suggesting that this is their job, or at least, something they're known for. But in most other episodes, they simply happen to be passing by, or getting lost while on vacation, and they sucked into the events anyway.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Heap is a pretty blatant spoof of The Incredible Hulk.
  • Captain Obvious: A lot of the dialogue. Spoofed in "The Cuckoo Carnival Calamity", when Puggsy restates where they are, and Fangs excitedly agrees, "Yeah! That's what the sign says!"
  • Catch Phrase:
    • Puggsy's "Ah, shuddup!"
    • Kim spoofs Velma's "Jinkies!" by saying "Willikers!" In extreme cases, she may even upgrade to a "Willikers and double Willikers!"
    • Fangs/Fangface's catchphrase is similar to Joe E. Ross' character Gunther Toody in the tv show Car 54, Where Are You?: "Ooo! Ooo!"
  • Chased Off into the Sunset: A few episodes end with Puggsy chasing Fangs like this.
  • Chekhov's Hobby : Despite Sherman Fangsworth being a cowardly nitwit and a fraidy cat, one of his hobbies is collecting dirt. Thanks to said hobby, he can analyze soil and accurately find the geographic source of it! Fangs also demonstrates other abilities that make him a bit like MacGyver, making him the show's resident Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.
  • The Chew Toy: Fangface regularly attacks Puggsy for no clear reason, usually as his first response after his Transformation Sequence. It gets even worse in the second season, when Fangpuss joins in.
    • When out of werewolf mode, Fangs himself becomes The Chew Toy, with Puggsy taking his revenge despite Fangs having no idea what he did or even where he is.
  • Circus of Fear: "The Cuckoo Carnival Calamity" focuses on a circus strongman being brainwashed by an evil hypnotist.
  • Cool Airship / Dread Zeppelin: The Sky Ghost flies one in "The Invisible Menace Mix-Up"
  • Cool Car: The Wolf-Buggy, a bright yellow convertible.
  • Cool Boat: "The Creep From The Deep" has a lot of scenes on nice yachts. The gang rent another yacht for a fishing trip in "The Great Ape Escape".
  • Cool Down Hug: Rubbing Faceface's foot is the only way to calm him down and get him to stop trying to eat Puggsy.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Fangs eats a lot of moldy pizza. When he finally decides to stop, he promises that "From now on, it's nothing but donuts and ketchup!"
  • Cousin Oliver: Baby Fangs/Fangpuss is a pretty textbook example: Fangs' adorable baby cousin who is added to the cast in the second season. He's surprisingly unobtrusive, though, and basically just mirrors whatever Fangs/Fangface is doing.
  • Damsel in Distress / Distressed Dude: Biff and Kim are frequently kidnapped by the Monster of the Week, leaving Fangs and Puggsy to rescue them.
  • Death Trap: The ape-man of "The Great Ape Escape" throw Puggsy and Fangface in one. After returning to human form, Fangs is able to escape the trap by using a well-thrown ball of chewing gum to "gum up" the trap. Later in the episode, the whole gang save Mr. Ling the explorer from being lifted into the fiery maw of the "Ape Idol".
  • Dramatic Unmask: The master criminal The Scorpion turns out to really be... Mr. Collins!
    • The Scooby-Doo version of this trope is also inverted in "A Toothy Shark Is No Lark", when the fish man Emperor Neptune disguises himself as a normal human.
    • Just as often, this trope is averted. The masked villains of "A Time Machine Trip to the Pirate's Ship" and "The Stone-Cold Dragon of Gold" are just bad guys who happen to wear masks, and there's no big reveal about who they really are beneath the mask.
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Exploited. See Playing Sick below.
  • Energy Beings: Dr. Cybron is creating these in "The Shocking Creature Feature"
  • Eyepatch of Power: The master thief Grueller in "A Creep From the Deep" has an eyepatch. He's also way more evil than the eponymous creep, an Aztec mummy that just wants its treasure back.
  • Expy: Biff feels very much like an expy of Freddie Jones
  • First-Name Basis: Biff, Kim, and Puggsy don't have last names.
  • Fish People: Emperor Neptune, the villain of "A Toothy Shark is No Lark!", who claims to be the last of the Atlanteans
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: In "The Invisible Menace Mix-up", the gang go here to try to stop a pearl being stolen.
  • Flying Saucer: "Westward Ho to the UFO!"'s aliens travel in pretty classic saucers. There's also an extra-large mothership saucer.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: "The Creepy Goon From The Spooky Lagoon" has Fangs' brain in a Fish Person's body.
  • The Generic Guy: Biff. He... exists.
  • Giant Spider: Naturally, "Evil Guider of the Giant Spider" features one, as well as an evil guy who is guiding it.
  • Herr Doktor: A particularly on-the-nose example in "The Space Monster Mishap" with Prof. Werner, a rocket scientist
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Surprisingly averted in "Who Do The Voodoo", where aside from the title of the episode, voodoo is never mentioned. There's plenty of magic in that episode, but it's not given any particular Haitian flavour, and the villain has more of an Überwald vampire type vibe.
  • Human Popsicle: In "The Space Monster Mishap", the monster is first found floating in ice out in space
  • Human Sacrifice: See Death Trap above.
  • The Igor: Dr. Cybron's lab assistant in "The Shocking Creature Feature" is named Igor, although he's not a hunchback at all, but a muscular bald man more in the vein of Tor Johnson. Most other Mad Scientist type villains will have an assistant to boss around, too.
  • I Have Your Wife: Mad Scientist Dr. Cybron kidnaps Prof. Kunia and his daughter, and forces the professor to help him develop his energy ray, with his daughter as a hostage.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Played for Laughs. When Fangface sees food, or hears a word that sounds even remotely like food (let us = lettuce), he stuffs Puggsy between two HUGE slices of bread, puts him in a stew pot, or (most of the time) simply gobbles up Puggsy in one gulp - though he never swallows, leaving Puggsy squirming around in his mouth
  • Implied Love Interest: Biff and Kim are occasionally seen holding hands but that's all we know
  • Inescapable Net: Seem to be the preferred weapon of the ape-men in "The Great Ape Escape", in what might be an homage to Planet of the Apes (1968), but then again, nets are generally fairly common on this show
  • Insectoid Aliens: "Westward Ho to the UFO!" has an invasion of rather spider-like aliens, who cover the city in webbing.
  • Inn of No Return: In "The Shocking Creature Feature", the gang are forced to spend the night in Dr. Cybron's Old, Dark House. During the night, Puggsy and Fangface are nearly flattened by a Death Trap in their bed.
  • Invisibility: In "The Invisible Menace Mix-up", the Sky Ghost has a ray that can turn him, his clothes, his Dread Zeppelin, and even Mount Rushmore invisible.
  • Island of Mystery: The aptly-named Misty Islands in "The Great Ape Escape", although Kim suggests that they should be called "The Scary Islands".
    • In "A Toothy Shark is no Lark", Emperor Neptune makes his base on one of these, as does the evil magician of "Don't Abra When You Cadabra". In the latter case, the characters even lampshade this as possibly the scariest island they've ever been on.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang!: Usually once an episode, with Biff and Kim going off separately while Fangface and Puggsy get into shenanigans.
  • Kid Detective: All four of the leads, though they're more of the "teen sleuth" variety
  • Killer Gorilla / Frazetta Man: A kingdom of evil ape-men feature in "The Great Ape Escape". They practice Human Sacrifice and live in an Underground City inside a mountain on an Island of Mystery.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Puggsy isn't half as smart as he thinks he is. See Artistic License – Geography and Malaproper for examples.
  • MacGyvering: "We'll use those tapestries and bamboo poles to build a glider!"
  • Mad Scientist: Most episodes will have one as a villain.
    • Dr. Arnos in "A Heap of Trouble". He returns to the university campus at night to get revenge on his old colleagues for laughing at his experiments.
    • In "The Shocking Creature Feature", there's the even more ridiculous Dr. Cybron, who lives in an Old, Dark House out in the swamp, making Energy Beings with his assistant, Igor.
    • Dr. Lazarus Webb, the title character of "Evil Guider of the Giant Spider" creates a Giant Spider and... guides it, evilly.
  • Magic Pants: The Heap wears nothing but a pair of tattered pants. When he transforms back into Dr. Arnos, he is suddenly wearing his regular shirt and labcoat, which are fully intact, and wearing a different pair of pants. Likewise, when Fangs changes into Fangface, all of his clothing - save his backwards baseball cap - vanish, and when he changes back, they return.
  • Malaproper: Puggsy is constantly saying wrong, but similiar-sounding, words, or else just making up gibberish combinations of syllables in an attempt at Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness - for instance, his favourite insult is "ignopotamus". The joke, of course, is that he's a Know-Nothing Know-It-All.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: A lot of the one-off bad guys. More common in season 2, which leaned more on Phantom Thief type villains rather than Mad Scientist types.
  • Mars Needs Women: In "The Goofy Gargoyle Goof-Up", both Fangface and the gargoyle seem to find Raquel Taylor very attractive, although the gargoyle apparently wants to turn her into another gargoyle before she can be his bride.
  • Mentor Mole:
    • In "Dinosaur Daze", The Professor turns out to be a Mad Scientist!
    • In "A Toothy Shark Is No Lark", Prof. Carson reveals himself to the audience as actually the fish man Emperor Neptune within the episode's first few minutes.
  • Monster of the Week / Strictly Formula: Any given episode of the show will give you a pretty good grasp of its overall tone and format.
  • Monochrome Casting: Averted, which was a rarity at the time. Kim is black (or at least Ambiguously Brown), and many incidental characters are people of colour. In the first season, at least, they also tend to avoid leaning too heavily on stereotypes, though the second season doesn't make as much effort.
  • Monumental Damage: A reversible example: In "The Invisible Menace Mix-up", The Sky Ghost uses his Invisibility Ray to turn Mount Rushmore invisible, intending to turn it back to normal only if the US government pays a hefty ransom. See Rushmore Refacement for more.
  • Mr. Exposition: Kim's main role seems to be this. Biff too, to an extent, along with the various Professors who turn up.
  • Mummy: "A Creep From the Deep" focuses on a water-logged Aztec mummy.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Puggsy and Fangs are pretty overtly modeled on Leo Gorcey and Huntz Hall, comedians best known for appearing in the Bowery Boys films of the 1940s and '50s.
    • The two safari managers in "Where's The Wolf That's The Werewolf?" are parodies of Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.
    • "The Goofy Gargoyle Goof-Up" is set mostly at a party thrown by Hollywood celebrity Raquel Taylor - who seems to be a cross between Raquel Welch and Elizabeth Taylor.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: A lot of the monsters - namely, the Aztec mummy, the Tyrannosaurus rex, the Threatening Shark, the giant cobra, the Energy Beings, and others - aren't really evil, but simply dangerous forces of nature, made more dangerous by human greed. Even the properly evil monsters like the gargoyle will often be working for a human villain, pulling the strings.
  • Not a Mask: "The Goofy Gargoyle Goof-Up" is set at a costume party in the Hollywood Hills. People regularly compliment Fangface on his great werewolf costume, and film producer Shadrach Cadillac even offers him a part in a movie. When the evil gargoyle shows up, most people seem to assume it's just a troublesome guest, and Fangface even briefly thinks it's Puggsy's costume.
  • Obviously Evil: A lot of the villains. Dr. Lupiter is a particularly unsubtle example; the moment he shows up we know who the bad guy is.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: There's been a gargoyle lurking under the Hollywood Hills for a hundred years, waiting for a special incense to be burned so it will no that it's time to seek out a bride.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different... and HOW!
    • Even within the series, werewolves vary. The episode "Where's The Wolf That's The Werewolf" featured the gang going after... a werewolf. Not only did he look entirely different from Fangface (being more humanoid and less Funny Animal, though he can't seem to talk), his transformation was triggered by a potion (conveniently labeled "Werewolf Secret Formula").
    • And then, in the same episode, Puggsy becomes a werewolf for a short time thanks to the same formula. Unlike the drastic difference between Fangs and Fangface, he looks mostly the same as normal, except for the brown fur on his hands, feet, and face. On the other hand, unlike the villainous werewolf, he can still talk, and he winds up acting like Fangface, right down to the "Ooh! Ooh!" exclamation.
  • Out of Focus: The end result of all the splitting the party and frequent kidnappings is that Biff and Kim are usually put off to the sidelines, keeping the focus on Fangs/Fangface and Puggsy.
  • Palate Propping: Fangface uses a car-jack to prop open the mouth of a Threatening Shark.
  • Phantom Thief: The Sky Ghost, in "The Invisible Menace Mix-up". He drives around in a Dread Zeppelin stealing things with his Invisibility Ray.
  • Playing Sick: In "Westward Ho the UFO!". The aliens abandon their plans to conquer Earth for fear of ending up like in The War of the Worlds after Fangface pretends to have a contagious disease.
  • Prehistoric Monster: The Tyrannosaurus rex in "Dinosaur Daze" seems to be a relentless killing machine.
  • The Professor: Most episodes will have a resident kindly professor type around, often in contrast with a Mad Scientist.
  • Portrait Painting Peephole: "I'll peep through this peephole with my peepers and take a peep!"
  • Real After All: Unlike its inspiration and all the other "Mystery Kid" shows of its kind at the time, the monster villains in this series are actually real.
  • The Renfield: Count Drako, of "Who Do the Voodoo", has a lot of Dracula-ish trappings (despite being an evil wizard, not a vampire), and the clearest of these is his henchman, Winston.
  • Refuge in Audacity: It is a comedy show, isn't it?
  • Rushmore Refacement: In "The Invisible Menace Mix-Up", The Sky Ghost turns Mount Rushmore invisible, holding it for ransom from the US. When Fangs and Puggsy try to turn it back at the end, they have a number of mix-ups, including putting Teddy Roosevelt's head upside down and replacing it with Fangface's head - which terrifies Fangs.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: "The Cuckoo Carnival Calamity" has a scene like this, with the added element that Fangface is carrying a phone, whose (incredibly long) cord criss-crosses the hallway multiple times.
  • Sim Sim Salabim: Swami Zorak, the villain of "The Cuckoo Carnival Calamity" is a bearded hypnotist in a turban. Probably one of the only ethnic stereotypes the show ever had as a villain, and somewhat justified since he's, you know, a carnival performer, and might lean into the stereotype for showmanship.
    • In "Don't Get Mean With the Cobra Queen", the titular character lives in palace with a very Indian style of architecture, although it seems to be located in the United States, and she herself seems to be white.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Kim is the only girl of the main cast. Her involvement in the actual plot is usually pretty minimal.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: "Don't Get Mean With the Cobra Queen". The giant cobra itself is portrayed as just an animal, but the Cobra Queen herself - a human woman with a snake motif - is pretty darn evil.
  • South of the Border: Downplayed in "The Creep From the Deep", which is set on an island off the Mexican coast. The plot revolves around an Aztec mummy and there are a few incidental characters with Mexican accents and Spanish names, but it's a fairly subtle, non-stereotypical portrayal.
  • Space Station: Most of "The Space Monster Mishap" is set on one resembling Werner von Braun's design. To drive the point home, that episode briefly features a German-accented rocket scientist named Prof. Werner
  • Spiritual Sequel: It was likely intended as a kind of sister series to the more successful Scooby-Doo.
  • Sweet on Polly Oliver: Fangface disguises himself as a female gargoyle to distract the male gargoyle. It works.
  • Taken for Granite: "There Is Nothing Worse Than A Stony Curse" is about a Gorgeous Gorgon turning the world's scientists into statues so she can sell them to the highest bidder.
  • Threatening Shark: The shark in "A Toothy Shark Is No Lark", though he's a Non-Malicious Monster, and is allowed to happily return to the sea at the end.
  • Transformation Sequence: Any time Fangs see the moon or Fangface sees the sun. It's accompanied by a barrage of cartoony sound effects and spinning around like a tornado
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: The Monster of the Week in "Dinosaur Daze".
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: A lot of incidental characters seem very unfazed to see a werewolf running around. Sometimes there's a plausible explanation (see Not a Mask above) but other times they just seem to roll with it.
  • Vacation Episode: Nearly every episode. See Busman's Holiday, above. Nevertheless, the characters' Limited Wardrobe remains in effect.
  • Weird Moon: The moon is always full. Always.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Fangs is always a coward, but spiders or spider-like monsters scare him even more than most things.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Zorak deliberately leaving a few misleading clues at his circus tent, counting on the heroes' detective skills to lead them to the wrong pier at the harbour.
  • You Sexy Beast: A kid-friendly invocation in "The Goofy Gargoyle Goof-Up". Fangface is flirting with film star Raquel Taylor (who thinks he's a normal man in an impressive werewolf costume). When she gets kidnapped by the gargoyle, Fangface dejectedly assumes that "she likes gargoyles more than werewolves" and left him.
    • Again in "A Toothy Shark Is No Lark", when Fangface - after saving a cruise ship from the Monster of the Week - is seen enjoying the gratitude of a gaggle of swimsuited beauties.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Puggsy. See malaproper above.
  • You Meddling Kids: An occasional lament of the various villains.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: In "Who Do The Voodoo", evil wizard Count Drako turns into a "mist monster" and drains people's 'spirits'. Everything is restored to normal at the end, though.


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