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Western Animation / Uncle Croc's Block

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"Who's our Star Time guest for today, Uncle Croc?"

Charles Nelson Reilly, already a fixture on the CBS version of Match Game, was the crocodile-suited star of this three-month Filmation series on ABC, a parody of the Animated Anthology programs with live presenters that were in nearly every major TV market in the 1950s and 1960s. Reilly's co-stars were Alfie Wise as Uncle Croc's sidekick, Rabbit Ears, and Jonathan Harris as the director, Basil Bitterbottom. Due to competition with Shazam! (1974), also a Filmation production, the show was such a flop that ABC told Filmation to never sell them another show. Ironically, after ABC canceled Uncle Croc's Block, they replaced it with reruns of Filmation's 1970 show The Groovie Goolies.

The three animated segments were:

  • "Fraidy Cat", about a nervous alley cat visited by the ghosts of his eight previous lives;
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  • "M-U-S-H", a canine parody of M*A*S*H whose title expands to "Mangy, Unwanted, Shabby Heroes", and
  • "Wacky and Packy", in which a caveman and his pet mammoth are transported to 20th-century New York.

The aforementioned animated segments were later integrated into the Groovie Goolies and Friends syndicated omnibus.

Live-action segments included guests such as Steve Exhaustion, the $6.95 Man.

Uncle Croc's Block provides examples of:

  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Seven of the nine lives of Fraidy Cat have costumes that apply to this trope: #2 Kitty Wizard; #3 Captain Kitt, a pirate; #4 Sir Walter Cat, a noble cat; #5 Billy the Kit, a cowboy; #6 Jasper Catdaver, an undertaker; #7 Captain Eddie Cattenbakker, a pilot; #8 Hep Cat, a cat in a zoot suit. The only one who doesn’t is #1, Tinker Elephunt Cat, a caveman who isn’t dressed enough to count.
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  • Cats Have Nine Lives: This is the premise of Fraidy Cat. Fraidy is already nervous because he's on his final life, and it doesn't help that the ghosts of his eight previous incarnations keep appearing to him if he (even accidentally) intones their number. At least one of these ghosts, who was an undertaker in life, hopes to bring Fraidy over to the afterlife. The worst one is Cloud Nine, a psychotic storm cloud who tries to electrocute poor Fraidy. Pretty morbid for a kids' show, eh?
  • Chew Toy: Major Sideburns of "M-U-S-H".
  • Classically-Trained Extra: Uncle Croc thinks he's this as does Basil who's a once-great director now reduced to helming a kiddie show.
  • Contemporary Caveman: Wacky the caveman becomes this after he ends up in New York.
  • Cumulonemesis: In the "Fraidy Cat" cartoons, whenever the titular cat says a number from 1 to 8, a ghost of one of his previous lives would appear, and saying the number 9 (his current life) summons a small cloud that chases him and tries to kill him with lighting. While the ghosts can be helpful from time to time, the cloud is always evil towards Fraidy.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: Uncle Croc on-camera is an overly exuberant ham while off-camera he's an egotistical prima donna eagerly awaiting the first opportunity to leave the show and become the big star he believes he really is.
  • Misery Trigger: Packy always cries whenever he hears somebody say the word "home". Even when it comes from his own mouth.
  • Psycho Electro: The "Fraidy Cat" segments feature a cat whose nine lives come back to haunt him as ghosts. Fraidy's final (and current) life is personified as Cloud Nine, a sinister storm cloud who's fond of ejecting lightning strikes and always chases down Fraidy to zap him to death.
  • Shout-Out: The show can be considered one to The Monkees's "Captain Crocodile" episode.
  • Talking Animal: Fraidy Cat, Packy the woolly mammoth and the entire cast of "M-U-S-H".
  • Those Two Guys: Bullseye and Trooper Joe in "M-U-S-H".
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