Did you go as TV’s FANGFACE for Halloween?

In 1978, you could have gone trick or treating in this Collegeville Halloween costume as the title character from the Ruby-Spears Productions cartoon, FANGFACE.

fangface_box_top_bottom

FANGFACE premiered in the ABC network’s 1978 Fall Saturday morning lineup. Fangface is the moon-induced alter-ego of Sherman “Fangs” Fangsworth, a tall, lean, awkward teen who reluctantly helps solve crimes with his friends Biff, the handsome leader, Kim, the smart and attractive girl and Puggsy, a short and stocky tough guy. They drive around in the Wolf-Buggy, their open-top dune buggy.

The plastic, vacuformed mask to this costume is a really good rendition of the cartoon character with some attention paid to the black line work.

This plastic, vacuformed mask is a really good rendition of the cartoon character with some attention paid to the black line work.

Unlike the typical lycanthrope who is affected only by the light of the full moon, Sherman transforms into a werewolf by simply seeing a picture of a moon. The crime-solving gang use his easy trigger to their advantage in order to replace the cowardly Sherman with the more aggressive Fangface. The flip side though is that Fangface can just as easily change back into the bumbling Fangsworth by seeing any kind of representation of the sun.

Here’s the show’s opening to acquaint yourself…

[source: youtube.com/user/cronocari }

The vinyl costume, usually worn over top your regular clothes as you headed out to score candy, has a sleeveless top with yellow pants which end just above the knees. As with most boxed costumes depicting licensed characters, the costume itself helped identify exactly who or what you were supposed to be dressed up as. This one is definitely no exception what with a full body image of the goofy werewolf and the title FANGFACE emblazoned across the top of your chest.

fangface_costume_topThe FANGFACE title deserves a closer look. There is some really nice illustration work going on in it, much more than seen in your average dimestore Halloween costume.

fangface_costume_title

The original series ran for 16 half-hour episodes for the ’78 season. It was retooled for the 1979 Fall season by adding Fangsworth’s baby cousin, Fangpuss.

Wonder if Collegeville bothered to follow-up with a Fangpuss costume as well?

Other Retroist post about FANGFACE:

There Was A Fangface Novelization?!

Linguistics in The Land of the Lost

The past 3 years of my life have been spent pursuing my M. A. degree part-time at Signum University. I’m getting a degree in Literature and Language with an emphasis in Imaginative Literature (Science Fiction and Fantasy). Part of my degree includes a requirement of two language classes. This past spring I had the opportunity to take my first language course, and boy did I pick a doozie–Language Invention through Tolkien. This is by far the most challenging class and one of the most fascinating classes I’ve taken thus far in my grad school career.

While I was fully expecting to get a crash course in philology and Elvish from my professor and Tolkien Scholar, Dr. Andy Higgins. What I was not expecting was to learn a particularly fascinating tidbit about some classic retro children’s television–Land of the Lost. While Sid and Marty Krofft were out breaking ground in innovative children’s programming with their life-size, colorful puppetry and mystical fantasy worlds, they also set a new standard for science fiction and fantasy television and film. Land of the Lost has the distinction of being the first television series to invent a language specifically for a TV show. The language of Paku, spoken by the Pakumi people, was invented by UCLA professor of linguistics, Dr. Victoria Fromkin. Not only is this the first art language invented for television, it is the first instance of a television show hiring a professional linguist to develop a language for television.

All of this was fascinating to me for many reasons.

1). Who does that for a kid’s show, especially in the 1970s?
2). I also had to ask–“Wait a minute, didn’t Klingon come first?”

Before I could fact check my professor, he stopped me in my tracks. (Really kids, 99% of the time, you shouldn’t have to fact check your professors; I just have a big ego). Land of the Lost aired from 1974-1976. The first instance of spoken Klingon occurred in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), where Mark Lenard introduced a few key phrases; however, the Klingon language did not reach its final form until Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) when linguist Marc Okrand was brought in to fully develop the tongue of our favorite warrior race.

There you have it, Retroids, the first invented language for television wasn’t Klingon, it was Paku. You can now pull this fascinating bit of trivia out of your pocket at parties to impress your friends, or you can take a look at these helpful links to teach yourself Paku!

The Paku Dictionary

The next time you watch a science fiction/fantasy show with an invented language, raise your glass to Professor Victoria Fromkin, and of course, Sid and Marty Krofft. Without them, some of our favorite shows and films would be a little less fun. Until next time,

“Qapla’!”

“Yub nub!”

and

“Kasa!”

Television Fright Films and ABC Movie of the Week Ebooks

I’m still looking for reading material to enjoy on my upcoming vacation, and I came across two very strong candidates: Television Fright Films of the 1970s and ABC Movie of the Week Companion.
ABC Movie

TFF
Now I haven’t read either of these books, and I’m not sold on them yet because they are a little pricey in my (admittedly uber-frugal) estimation. However, they look awesome. The first has Kolchak on the cover and promises to discuss 150 made-for-TV horror films, while the other has the fetish doll from Trilogy of Terror on the cover and promises to review over 200 films including Duel, Killdozer, and Brian’s Song. As I said, the price is still a little steep for my tastes, so I haven’t bought or read them yet, but if anybody does, let me know how they are.