Laugh Busters

One of the many things I recall getting excited about as a kid was the annual run of prime time Saturday morning preview specials on each of the major television networks. Just before the new line-up of Saturday morning shows would hit the air, the networks would show 30-60 minute prime time specials featuring celebrities of the day and previewing the shows that kids would soon be spacing out to on Saturday mornings.

Over the past several years, I have been able to come up with copies of a handful of these prime time specials but unfortunately, the one I remember most has continued to elude me. In 1984, NBC ran their prime time Saturday morning preview special -- Laugh Busters. The plot of Laugh Busters was pretty simple...

The "director" of the special, D.W., opens the show only to find that the evil Gargomore has "Smurf-napped the Smurfs" in an attempt to wipe out anything humorous on NBC's Saturday morning.

As Gargomore recruits Hank and Hubert from Going Bananas to prevent the Saturday morning stars from reaching NBC studios, D.W. seeks out the help of Riptide's Boz (Thom Bray) to foil their plan. Boz uses his robot companion, Roboz, to place a call to Spiderman but cannot get through as Spiderman has been "stuck" by Hank and Hubert.

Meanwhile, Silver Spoons' Alfonso Ribiero and Roxanna Banana from Going Bananas are watching a musical performance by Diff'rent Strokes' Danny Cooksey. As he finishes, Danny takes a call from Boz who asks him to "drive to the outskirts of town to save Spiderman." Too young to drive, the only logical solution for getting him there is to contract the services of Knight Rider's KITT. A quick rescue frees Spiderman from his sticky situation.

The efforts of Hank and Hubert continue as they attempt to wipe out the gang from Kidd Video by wrecking the Kiddmobile. As repairs are made, the band rehearses the theme song from their new show. Meanwhile, Roxanna Banana and Jamie Cole are traveling by bus (Roxanna driving, of course) as they look forward to their own new show, Going Bananas. Luckily, they come upon Kidd Video and offer them a ride.

An APB is put out on Alvin and the Chipmunks as they have their train tickets and NBC passes stolen by Hank and Hubert. Thanks to Boz, the Chimpunks are picked up by the Screaming Mimi (the helicoptor from Riptide) and taken to Burbank.

Mr. T and his crew of gymnasts fall victim to Gargamore's plan by following an invitation for a bogus gymnastics meet. They realize they've been had just in time to find that Hank and Hubert are attempting to steal their bus. Meanwhile, Pinky and Panky, from Pink Panther and Sons, avoid the hands of Hank and Hubert.

With only a few chances left to prevent laughter on Saturday mornings, Hank and Hubert program a guided missile to wipe out the Snorks. Unfortunately for Hank and Hubert, the Snorks are able to counteract their mediocre efforts.

Lastly, the Smufs (all but Papa Smurf and Smurfette) must be freed from Gargamore's castle. To save the others, Papa Smurf uses laughter (or light?) to weaken Garamore and free the Smurfs.

The special can finally begin as everyone has made it to Burbank safely. Hank and Hubert realize that they cannot win and, as NBC Saturday morning stars themselves, they join the party.

Although I have yet to come up with a video copy of Laugh Busters, an audio copy is a different story. Armed with a cassette recorder, my brother and I spent many hours taping various things including television commercials and specials. Thankfully, we chose to record Laugh Busters and the tape has survived the past 25+ years.

If you're like me and have been searching high and low for a copy of Laugh Busters, part of me wonders if the description above, based on a rough audio recording, might be your best bet. If nothing else, maybe it can serve as a consolation until a video surfaces someday.

Interested in hearing a crappy audio copy of this special? Drop me a line.

TV Guide scan courtesy of Branded in the 80's. Promo card image courtesy of eBay.


James E B said...

I too miss these shows. It was a quick way to see the new cartoons and it was always on during prime time. I did notice though that you kept talking about Gargomore; who I'm assuming is really Gargamel. Right? Anyway good luck on searching for the video, I hope you find it.

TL said...

James -- It actually was a character named Gargamore. It's been years since I've seen this program but I want to say he was live-action. Gargamore was the "bad guy" in this particular show -- definitely not Gargamel from the Smurfs.