|Directed by||Sidney Miller|
Charles A. Nichols
|Voices of||Scatman Crothers|
|Theme music composer||Hoyt Curtin|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||16|
|Executive producers||William Hanna|
|Producers||Terry Morse, Jr.|
|Running time||60 minutes (1977–78)|
30 minutes (1979–81)
|Production company||Hanna-Barbera Productions|
|Original release||September 10, 1977 –|
January 21, 1978
The Skatebirds (onscreen title: Skatebirds) is an American live-action/animated package program produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and broadcast on CBS from September 10, 1977, to January 21, 1978.
The Skatebirds consisted of three large costumed birds on roller skates: Knock-Knock, a woodpecker (voiced by Lennie Weinrib); Satchel, a pelican (voiced by Bob Holt) and Scooter, a penguin (voiced by Don Messick). Their nemesis was a cat named Scat Cat (voiced by Scatman Crothers).
The live-action sequences featuring The Skatebirds mostly revolved around the nasty Scat Cat perpetually chasing the roller-skating trio and trying to get the best of them. Unlike the Banana Splits live-action segments, the Skatebirds were filmed in a variety of theme-park locations, rather than running around in a single studio.
The show was divided into four short segments introduced by live action wraparounds with The Skatebirds characters which included three animated segments (The Robonic Stooges, Wonder Wheels and Woofer & Wimper, Dog Detectives) and a 10-minute live-action segment (Mystery Island). The appearance of the characters and the show's format was similar to The Banana Splits. Unlike its similar predecessor and most Saturday morning children's shows produced in the 1970s, The Skatebirds did not contain a laugh track.
A total of 16 episodes of The Skatebirds were produced in its original run from September 10, 1977, to January 21, 1978. In the fall of 1979, the show returned to CBS in a shortened half-hour version with Wonder Wheels and Mystery Island segments (The Robonic Stooges and Woofer & Whimper, Dog Detectives segments had been spun off into a separate half-hour) and broadcast on Sunday mornings from September 9, 1979, until January 25, 1981. In the late 1980s, a different syndicated half-hour version of The Skatebirds with The Robonic Stooges and Wonder Wheels segments was shown on USA Cartoon Express and later resurfaced on Cartoon Network in the 1990s and Boomerang in the 2000s.
The opening credits for the original one-hour version with voice-over narration by the show's recording director Wally Burr:
It's Skatebird time and here come The Skatebirds –SKATEBIRDS (C) 1977 HANNA BARBERA PRODUCTIONS INC.- Knock-Knock, Scooter, Satchel and Scat Cat. Then, The Robonic Stooges, plus the spine-tingling suspense-filled excitement of Mystery Island, and the doggone it daffy doings of those dog detectives, Woofer & Whimper, and more...the unbelievable adventures of an unbelievable motorcycle, Wonder Wheels. For all-out fun, it's Satch, Knock-Knock, Scooter and Scat Cat...and for suspense, mystery and adventure, it's The Skatebirds Show!
The opening credits for the syndicated half-hour version with voice-over narration by Ronnie Schell:
It's Skatebird time starring Knock-Knock, Satchel and Scooter, those featheared clowns of fantasy. Along with Willie the Wheeler and the superhero cycle known as Wonder Wheels, as well as those three mechanical marbles, The Robonic Stooges. One big collection of wild, wacky and wonderful characters...The Skatebirds!
The music featured in the closing credits is the CB Bears theme which was also later used as the ending credits for Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels.
Main article: The Robonic Stooges
The characters of The Three Stooges – Moe (voiced by Paul Winchell), Larry (voiced by Joe Baker) and Curly (voiced by Frank Welker) – as clumsy crime-fighting bionic superheroes who are given assignments via film projector from their boss Agent 000 (voiced by Ross Martin) who runs the Superhero Employment Agency.
Main article: Wonder Wheels
A high school journalist named Willie Wheeler (voiced by Micky Dolenz) and his girlfriend Dooley (voiced by Susan Davis) solve crimes with the help of his shape-shifting superhero motorcycle Wonder Wheels. Whenever Willie goes into action, his beat-up motorcycle transforms itself into a flashy version with a mind of its own.
Main article: Clue Club
A shortened and re-titled version of Clue Club featuring two talking bloodhounds – Woofer & Wimper (voiced by Paul Winchell and Jim MacGeorge) – who help solve mysteries with the Clue Club detectives: Larry (voiced by David Jolliffe), Pepper (voiced by Patricia Stitch), D.D. (voiced by Bob Hastings), and Dottie (voiced by Tara Talboy) which usually ends with the bad guys arrested by Sheriff Bagley (voiced by John Stephenson). The original half-hour episodes of Clue Club were cut-down to 10 minutes to showcase both dogs as the show's main characters.
Main article: Mystery Island
The adventures of a plane crew consisting of pilot Chuck Kelly (portrayed by Stephen Parr), computer expert Sue Corwin (portrayed by Lynn Marie Johnston), her younger brother Sandy (portrayed by Larry Volk), and their robot named P.O.P.S. (voiced by Frank Welker) who stranded on a remote island by the evil scientist Dr. Strange (portrayed by Michael Kermoyan) after he used a tractor beam to bring their airplane down onto Mystery Island. Dr. Strange hopes to capture P.O.P.S. and use it in his quest for world domination.
Original CBS broadcast:
Broadcast schedules (all EDT):
|Character||Costumed actor||Voice actor|
|Scat Cat (cat)||Maurice Cooke||Scatman Crothers|
|Knock-Knock (woodpecker)||Bruce Hoyt||Lennie Weinrib|
|Satchel (pelican)||Ken Means||Bob Holt|
|Scooter (penguin)||Joe Giamalva||Don Messick|