Saturday, June 6, 2009

Peter Potamus in “Stars on Mars”

As part of the recently released DVD set Saturday Morning Cartoons 1960s Volume 1, we were reintroduced to another unjustly obscure Hanna-Barbera cartoon – PETER POTAMUS.

Selected for the set was “Fe-Fi-Fo Fun” an H-B twist on “Jack and the Beanstalk”, with a particularly sarcastic version of Jack. Here’s another favorite of mine: “Stars on Mars”.

Apparently written by Warren Foster, Peter is cast as a “creature” for a movie and suffers the expected abuse while filming. Foster had previously gone to this well with both Yogi Bear and Magilla Gorilla – being cast as a “bear” and “gorilla” respectively, and having gunshots, boulder bashings, and the usual cartoon violence inflicted on them while filming.

The twist, here, is that Peter Potamus is drafted into “stardom” by a ROBOT DIRECTOR on an unknown planet – and cast as “The Beast From Planet Earth”!

The cartoon features lots of great backgrounds, and robot designs that would seem to be left over from THE JETSONS.

So, from the year 1964, let’s enjoy the great Daws Butler as Peter, Don Messick as his pal So-So, and H-B “utility voicer” John Stephenson as The Director in “Stars on Mars”.

After that, click on the full closing sequence for THE PETER POTAMUS SHOW! The DVD had only an abbreviated one!

“Stars on Mars”

Peter Potamus Full Closing Credits


Chris Barat said...


This is the first complete cartoon I've EVER seen with these characters (not counting stuff like YOGI'S ARK, of course). Wonder why it flopped? The constant changes of venue due to the traveling balloon?!


Joe Torcivia said...


I certainly wouldn’t say Peter Potamus “flopped”! New episodes were produced for three seasons (1964-1966) and it ran until 1967 or 1968. It played in New York syndication in the early seventies, was on Cartoon Network (when they RAN cartoons!) – and is probably still somewhere on Boomerang!

The “…constant changes of venue due to the traveling balloon” was more of a STRENGTH than a weakness! Peter and So-So could travel to just about anyplace – or any time – varying the cartoons’ subject matter to great advantage!

Indeed, after moving from initial syndication in 1964 to ABC for the 1965 and 1966 seasons, it was revealed that he had a time and space machine aboard the balloon to better explain how he moved about.

PETER POTAMUS, to me, was the last of the GREAT H-B FUNNY ANIMAL SERIES, which began with HUCKLEBERRY HOUND. Perhaps, having spent the shortest amount of time on the air, it may be the least remembered today.

It is also a primary reason that I so enjoyed the “Sat AM Sixties” DVD set!