Name: Captain Caveman
First Appearance: September 10th 1977
Powers/Skills: Super strength, flight, body hair containment of various objects
Created by: Joe Ruby and Ken Spears
Produced by: Hanna Barbera Productions
On Saturday, September 10th 1977, kids everywhere got to see the zaniest superhero around. Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels became part of the Saturday Morning cartoon line up in America. This was way before Cartoon Network and Boomerang. Kids had to wait to see their cartoons until one bright, fun AM time slot to check out this crazy new cartoon.
Captain Caveman and The Teen Angels were about solving mysteries with a hairy Neanderthal with a jagged cape, a club, and a hearty yell. He would use jibberish words like “Unga-bunga” to let you know he either 1) had a bright idea; or 2) didn’t know what else to do except say “Unga-bunga”. So how did this prehistoric meta-human get discovered? A group of teenaged girls – Brenda, Dee Dee and Taffy – found him frozen in a block of ice. He was thawed out and thrust from the Ice Age into the Disco Age. The whole idea for the show was positioned to be a parody of Charlie’s Angels (yes, that one from the seventies) and it used a lot of elements from other Hanna Barbera cartoons such as Scooby-Doo and Josie and the Pussycats.
He was strong, funny and pretty damned hairy. So hairy that he had a tool shed up underneath all of that. He would pull out hair dryers, refrigerators, chainsaws … um… well, maybe not that. Plus, he could fly. All he had to do was swing that club around and off he went. It was like Thor, only shorter and without the blond locks. And not quite as proficient with his flying aid like the God of Thunder. The voice actor that gave Captain Caveman his swag was the legendary Mel Blanc. He was the voice of countless iconic cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester (and his son), The Tasmanian Devil, Barney Rubble, Foghorn Leghorn and countless others.
There were a total of forty 11-minute episodes that ran for 3 series from 1977 to 1980. The way these cartoons were featured are that they were part of segments for Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics in 1977, Scooby’s All-Stars in 1978. In 1980, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels were given their own half hour show that basically took the 11-minute shorts from the two previous programs and combined them with new shows to make up the half-hour segment. All the cartoons used a laugh track, which was pretty common during the 1970’s to help give some sort of a cue for kids (and some adults) when to laugh. Sometimes, the funniest stuff happened without the cue from the laugh track. Thankfully, the laugh track died with this and a few other cartoons from this time.
Captain Caveman is something else. First of all, dude is old. Well, he was frozen, and an antique. He’s approximately thousands of years old, but he never really confirmed his age. He spoke in “caveman-talk” which was something like “Me feel strange. Me need a break.” Dude could eat like just about everything, too. He munch down tires, bicycles, TV sets, etc. in one big gulp. It’s a cartoon. Anything is possible. Sometimes, he’d get carried away and start eating the clues to help solve the mysteries.
He helped 3 young ladies solve mysteries. The first one, Dee Dee Skyes is the defacto leader. She is the only African-American on the team. She is one of the 3 girls who found our prehistoric human popsicle. She sports an afro, wears a read turtleneck sweater with a blue skirt and red knee high boots. Her style is similar to Velma Dinkley from Scooby Doo.
Next up is Taffy Dare. They made up a word for her to say; “Zowie!” which no-one else actually said during the ’70s. She’s say this when she came up with a plan. When she did, it was referred to as Another Daffy Taffy Plan by both Brenda and Cavey and was used to help catch the culprits. Taffy has a childlike persona and a combination New York/Southern accent. Her plans were usually ditzy and zany, but they usually panned out. She wears a green dress with matching shoes. She also serves as Dee Dee’s second in command of the Teen Angels. Both she and Cavey have a crush on each other.
Then there is Brenda Chance. She is a cowardly brunette who is scared to death of demons, monsters and phantoms. Her reactions are comedy in itself and she is always either getting captured or gets the short end of the stick. She wears a purple striped tank top and a pair of hot pink flared trousers with a white belt. She serves as the sergeant of the Teen Angels.
Captain Caveman had a son named Cavey Jr. During the early ’80s, a lot of productions studios thought they needed to have a kid version of each main character. For instance, Scooby Doo introduced a new character called Scrappy Doo. The Flintstones were turned into kids. So when Cavey Jr was introduced, he fell right into the growing line of pint sized versions of their counterparts. Like his dad, Cavey Jr. could fly, sported a blue cap and had black dots for eyes. He wasn’t as strong as his dad. Plus, he was the hairiest kid on the block. The bigger mystery is where was Cavey Jr when his dad got iced? The Teen Angels need to solve that one.
Thanks to online resources like YouTube and others, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels can still be watched by fans of all ages. “Unga-bunga, me gonna watch some cartoons now! Gulp! Sorry, me ate’m computer.”