Cool McCool.


Medium: TV animation
Produced by: King Features
First Appeared: 1966
Creators: Bob Kane and Al Brodax
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Thanks to the popularity of James Bond, the mid-1960s were years of high-tech, high-profile super-spies — in fact, that genre was …

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… ripe for parody, as evidenced by the sitcom Get Smart, which began in 1965. Its Saturday morning cartoon counterpart was Cool McCool, which debuted on NBC, on September 10, 1966.

Cool McCool's creator was Bob Kane, whose other Saturday morning credits include Courageous Cat, but who is better known for Batman and Robin (which may explain why the vehicle Cool got around in was called the Coolmobile, and why most of the bad guys resembled Batman's). Also credited as a creator was producer Al Brodax, whose prior work includes many Popeye cartoons made after the sailor's stint at Famous Studios and the 1964 Beatles TV cartoon, and who would later play a key role in getting Yellow Submarine to the screen. The production company was King Features, primarily a newspaper syndicate (Prince Valiant, Moose & Molly) but also responsible for animated shows such as Flash Gordon and Defenders of the Earth.

Cool, whose motto was "Danger is my business", was typical of his genre (other than being inept). He was dashing and handsome, communicated with Headquarters (Secret, Inc.) through a device cleverly disguised as an ordinary personal accoutrement (in his case, his moustache), and used amazing gizmos to defeat flamboyant villains. He got his marching orders from a man known only as "Number One", and whom viewers saw only as a pair of hands and a waggling cigar. After bungling each assignment, he would utter his other catch-phrase, "That will never happen again", right before Number One ejected him from the office.

The show had three segments, with Cool starring in the first and last. Between them, he'd reminisce about his dad, Harry McCool, who had been a policeman in a three-man squad whose other members, inevitably, were named Tom and Dick.

Both McCools' voices were done by Bob McFadden, who also did Luno the White Stallion for Terrytoons and Commander Stargazer in Silverhawks, but whose best known role is probably Frankenberry. Number One and most other male roles were voiced by Chuck McCann, whose other credits include Mummy Man in Drak Pack, Blinky and Pinky in Pac Man, and Burger Beagle in DuckTales. McCann also did Riggs, the scientific genius who supplied Cool with techno-gadgets. Number One's "girl Friday", whose name was Friday, was Carol Corbett, who has no other voice credits.

Cool McCool didn't become a comic book, a Big Little Book, etc., nor was he an overwhelmingly successful merchandising icon. But he did stay on network television for three years, for a total of 20 half-hour shows. Reruns have been scarce, but in recent years, he's been available on VHS and DVD.


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Text ©2004-06 Donald D. Markstein. Art © King Features.