|The Funky Phantom
|Country of origin
|No. of seasons
|No. of episodes
|17 (list of episodes)
Air Programs International
|September 11, 1971 –
January 1, 1972
The Funky Phantom is an animated television series, produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, in association with Australian production company Air Programs International for the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). The show was a clone of Hanna-Barbera's popular Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, with a trio of teenage detectives driving around the country and solving crimes. In this case, the "Scooby-Doo" role was taken by a Revolutionary War-era ghost.
The show returned briefly in reruns in 1980, as part of Hanna-Barbera's Godzilla series.
Trying to find shelter from a storm while driving their "Looney Duney" dune buggy, three teenagers — brainy redhead Skip Gilroy, beautiful blonde April Stewart, and Skip's brawny dark-haired best friend, Augie Anderson — and his dog Elmo, entered an old house where a grandfather clock displayed an incorrect time. Upon setting the clock to midnight, it released two Revolutionary War-era ghosts: an American patriot named Jonathan Wellington Muddlemore, whom the kids call "Mudsy", and his cat Boo. The two explained that, during the Revolutionary War, they had stumbled upon two Redcoats so they hid inside the clock. They evaded discovery, but they were unable to get out of the clock and eventually died inside. After being freed by their new friends, Mudsy and Boo have accompanied them on many mysteries, providing invisible assistance.
This set-up shows a certain similarity to the 1946 Abbott and Costello film The Time of Their Lives, in which two Revolutionary War-era ghosts are also held earth-bound due to a secret hidden in a clock.
The character voice of Mudsy was provided by Daws Butler and was identical to his voice work for Snagglepuss, down to the use of Snagglepuss's catchphrase, "...even". Butler's Snagglepuss voice was originally an impersonation of comedian Bert Lahr.
Like many animated series created by Hanna-Barbera in the 1970s, the show contained a studio-created laugh track, and indeed, it was one of the first such productions to do so. Syndicated versions, on Cartoon Network and Boomerang have the track muted.
|Original air date
|"Don't Fool With a Phantom"
|September 11, 1971
|Mudsy comes to the aid of Farmer Higgens when a mysterious villain called the Raven has been sabotaging the barnyard in order to claim the property. When the group plans to enter a local cross-country race for the money to pay off the mortgage, the Raven plans to sabotage their attempts.
|September 18, 1971
|The Looney Duney gets lost in a swamp and they end up outside of Conway Mansion. They end up aiding Michael Conway when he is stalked by a Marsh monster that is after the Conway fortune.
|"I'll Haunt You Later"
|September 25, 1971
|Skip, April, Augie, and Mudsy stumble onto an abandoned truck somewhere in the swamp. While looking for the driver, they stumble onto a castle that is haunted by the Ghost of Jean Lafitte.
|October 2, 1971
|Chickenman steals a shipment of chickens bound for Chicken Delicious owned by April's Uncle Henry.
|"The Headless Horseman"
|October 9, 1971
|The Looney Duney gets a flat tire outside of Sleepy Hollow. Skip, April, Augie, and Mudsy encounter the Headless Horseman who is targeting a descendant of Ichabod Crane.
|October 16, 1971
|While competing in a race in Mexico, The Funky Phantom Gang is stopped by the Ghost of Montezuma and a Sun God. They also meet two men who both claim to be the archaeologist Professor Lundgren.
|"Ghost Town Ghost"
|October 23, 1971
|The Looney Duney arrives in the western town of Plainville where its 50 Year Frontier Celebration is crashed by two outlaws named Ringo and Blackie, who are disguised as Bob Dalton and Jesse James.
|"We Saw a Sea Serpent"
|October 30, 1971
|Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April learn about a sea serpent called the Black Lake Creature which is scaring away the locals near Black Lake. They are unaware that Mr. Warnock and his henchman Packy are using the Black Lake Creature for their own reasons.
|"Haunt in Inn"
|November 6, 1971
|Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April end up staying at Widow Wilson's Inn, which is haunted by a ghost that has been scaring away its customers.
|"Mudsy Joins the Circus"
|November 13, 1971
|Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April visit the Barnaby Bros. Circus where they spot a gorilla robbing the circus. They suspect that the circus's gorilla Gigantua is behind this and eventually discover that the gorilla in question is connected to a counterfeiting operation.
|November 20, 1971
|The football playoff game between Central High and Westside is interrupted when criminals Fingers and Lefty steal the $1,000,000 necklace of Brockton Van Cleef and store it inside a football, which ends up in a mix-up upon colliding with the Central High team. Now Fingers and Lefty plan to reclaim the football containing the necklace by posing as members of the other team.
|"The Liberty Bell Caper"
|November 27, 1971
|The Parafiend has stolen the original U.S.A. Flag that was made by Betsy Ross and leaves a poem riddle for his next caper. Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April figure out that the Parafiend is after the Liberty Bell.
|"April's Foolish Day"
|December 4, 1971
|Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April enter the Looney Duney in the Desert Race. Known racer Winfield Wheely is hired to ride the Road Hog Roadster by Cyrus Road Hog, and Winfield Wheely ends up taking April as his navigator. Yet Cyrus Road Hog has his own plans for winning the race.
|"The Forest's Prime-Evil"
|December 11, 1971
|While in the Sequoia National Forest, Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April end up camping out there. The next morning, the group find tracks left by Bigfoot and end up stumbling upon an illegal logging activity.
|"The Hairy Scary Houndman"
|December 18, 1971
|Elmo is entered in a dog show. Houndman targets Mrs. Alstair's dog Cromwell, yet his henchmen mistake Elmo for Cromwell since the two dogs look alike.
|"Mudsy and Muddlemore Manor"
|December 25, 1971
|Mudsy, Skip, Augie, and April arrive at Muddlemore Manor, which was a showplace for George Washington and his Continental Army. They find the place haunted by a ghost claiming to be the Spirit of '76. Meanwhile, Mayor Henry Iverson, a descendant of Mudsy's arch-nemesis, plans to have Muddlemore Manor torn down.
|January 1, 1972
|Arriving in East Muddlemore, Skip, Augie, and April learn more of Mudsy's past where he and Boo hid inside the longcase "grandfather" clock inside which both were eventually trapped and died upon stumbling onto the two renegade Redcoats who were burying their loot on the grounds. The group decides to look for the lost treasure when the hotel clerk Mr. Richford and the criminal Slippery Stark plan to capture Mudsy, hoping that he will lead them to the lost treasure, by disguising themselves as the ghosts of the two renegade Redcoats.
On October 26, 2010, Warner Archive released The Funky Phantom: The Complete Series on DVD in region 1 as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classic Collection. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Warner's online store and Amazon.com. The series is also available in Digital media format at iTunes Store for Apple.
In the 1970s, comic books of The Funky Phantom were released by Western Publishing and Gold Key Comics. The comics were both original stories as well as adaptations of some of the TV episodes. The stories in the comics, however, took a different turn from the TV episodes. While on the show, the "ghost" was always a villain in a mask (like Scooby-Doo), in some of the original comic stories, the villains would often turn out to be other ghosts from on or around the colonial era (the show never addressed why it seemed that there were no other ghosts besides Mudsy and Boo). The comics even did a twist on the series when the gang traveled back to colonial times via an erratic time machine, only to find out that the kids are now the ghosts (the machine could only transport spiritual matter) and Mudsy is once more inside his original flesh-and-blood body. Also, the comics introduced a new regular character who never appeared in the show. Priscilla Atwater, a ghostly matron from Mudsy's time, who lusted after Mudsy and pursued him actively, although she tended to flirt with just about any other ghost who happened to come along.
In 2018, the Phantom appeared in a backup story in the DC comic Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey Special #1; in this story, Jason Blood conjures Muddlemore's ghost so that some reporters and citizens can ask Mudsy what he thinks about the Second Amendment.