One piece of the Gidget franchise has eluded me for a few years: the Hanna-Barbera produced cartoon “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection.”
That’s right. Not only did the Gidget character find herself on the silver screen, TV shows and movies, and in books, Gidget was also featured in cartoon-form.
Airing on the ABC Saturday Super Star Movie on Nov. 18, 1972, “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection” was one of “galaxy of famous personalities and characters from the realms of literature, sports, television, and motion pictures,” according to a Sept. 9, 1972 article.
Some of these included anything from baseball star Willie Mays, the Blondie comic strips, Tabitha from “Bewitched,” the Banana Splits, Lassie, Marlo Thomas as “That Girl,” and of course, Gidget.
The show aired on Saturday mornings and was geared towards children.
In Gidget’s animated story, after causing trouble in a marina, Gidget and her friends Rink and Jud sign up as a ship crew for a boat race to Mexico … or so they think. Really, the race is a ruse as the three adults onboard are smuggling gold.
Produced by Hanna-Barbera, is similar to other 1970s era Hanna-Barbera cartoon, as far as animation, voice talent, humor and storytelling go.
Gidget looks like she could be related to Daphne from Scooby Doo, and the sleuthing and antics may remind you a bit of Scooby Doo mysteries.
That said, it’s a silly, breezy and not unpleasant way to spend 45 minutes.
The voice talent is fun. The snooty smugglers, Barbara and Ralph Hightower will remind you a bit of Mr. and Mrs. Howell from “Gilligan’s Island.” The two are voiced by Virginia Gregg and Mike Road. I swear Road is doing a Ronald Colman impression.
Kathy Gori voices Frances “Gidget” Lawrence in her first acting or voice acting gig. While in the movies and TV show, Gidget can be meddling, in the cartoon she’s meddling and also clumsy. The crew gets in all sorts of trouble, because of her “seventh sense” ideas. If I had to compare this Gidget characterization to any of the other franchises, I would compare it to Cindy Carroll in “Gidget Goes to Rome.” Also of note: Gidget doesn’t do any surfing in “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection.” But she’s still in the water, snorkeling and boating.
Gidget has new friends for the adventure, Jud and Rink, who were not previously characters in the movies. Sorry, no Moondoggie this time. Rink is voiced by Denny Evans and and Jud is voiced by David Lander of “Laverne and Shirley” fame.
Bob Hastings and Don Messick also provided voice work on this cartoon.
The creation and air date is interesting for this Gidget installment. It aired 10 months after the Gidget TV movie, “Gidget Gets Married” (1972), where Gidget and Moondoggie get hitched. After Gidget made waves in the 1960s, this was the last hoorah of the franchise until the 1980s TV movie and television series reboot aired in 1985.
In 2017, I completed the Gidget series reviews with the exception of this one. I wasn’t able to find it anywhere, not online or being sold. Searching high and low, it wasn’t until a reader brought it to my attention that someone uploaded it online! (Thank you, Mike!) I will refrain from linking to it (I don’t want it to be taken down!), but a quick online search will help you find it.
Overall, “Gidget Makes the Wrong Connection” isn’t the best installment of the franchise, but would be a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.