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  1. #1

    Pre-1967 Supremes cartoon?

    Here's a what-if- What if Berry Gordy was brave enough for The Supremes to have their own cartoon on NBC when Florence was still with the group?

    I was thinking more of a "California Raisins Show" (yes there was such a Saturday Morning cartoon but it was 2d instead of Claymation like the commercial) meets The Jackson 5 approach.

    It would have the same crossover appeal as the music and The Supremes as a whole.

    Kids would tune in.

    And unlike J5, the girls would actually sing the songs with their mouth moving! (like the California Raisins Show)..

    What would be their vehicle of choice?

    Who would sponsor the show?

  2. #2
    The original Supremes were so very popular that there could have been a number of avenues at Gordy's disposal for expanding the visibility of the group. A cartoon, a movie, a fashion line of some sort. But it probably wasn't until the end of Flo's tenure that Gordy began to think outside of music, which is how we ended up with TCB. And it's important to remember that as popular as the Supremes were, they were still Black women in a society that limited what they could do. It's easy to forget that because they were so popular, but their popularity has to be placed in historical context. The fact that they were even on TV so often was still seen as a big deal.

    Also keep in mind that Motown in the 60s was a record company and nothing more. By the time the J5 cartoon hit the airwaves, Motown was transitioning from Detroit record label to Los Angeles entertainment corporation. There was a world of difference between what Motown 1971/72 was doing vs Motown 66/67.

    But I think a Supremes cartoon would've been an interesting venture, especially since their male "equivalent" the Beatles had their own cartoon. A movie would've been even better, considering how interesting each girl's personality and chemistry with the camera was. I think a movie- if done right- would've been something fun to watch. A line of Supremes gowns or shoes or wigs (the latter of which someone would finally attempt to capitalize on during the JML period, but by then the group had lost a lot of it's original popularity) or accessories might have proven successful. Today these are things that are par for the course with an act as big as the Supremes, but back then it was considered a great idea just to get the Supremes' their own brand of white bread.

  3. #3
    Prior to the J5 cartoon series on ABC, during the 1960s, here in the U.S., ABC aired on Saturday mornings a cartoon series, "The Beatles." Each episode contained at least one song by The Beatles. The Beatles themselves did not do the voices, but the voice actors did try -- to varying degrees of success -- to imitate speech patterns of each Beatle.

    Here is an episode featuring "Penny Lane" (it seems as if perhaps the YouTuber decide to use one of Paul's live versions of "Penny Lane" after The Beatles broke up) --




    But there was precedent for it. As we all know, The Supremes gave The Beatles a run for their money chart-wise. Maybe given the image that Berry was trying to cultivate for the girls wouldn't have been conducive to the antics of Saturday morning kiddie cartoons.

  4. #4
    it's a fun idea but not one i think Berry would have taken on. his goal with the Sups was to enhance their sophistication. they were already more worldly and "adult" than most of the other girl groups - both at motown and throughout the industry. that's why they seemed to so seamlessly move into the high-end supper club arena. A cartoon would have reinforced that the girls were really just kids and probably have diminished their ability to convince Jules Podells of the world to book them

    Gordy was OBSESSED with managing their career - every release, every appearance, everything

  5. #5
    I fail to see why this idea would have had anything to do with 'bravery'. The Supremes were gorgeous to look at as well as talented; who would want to bother looking at a cartoon version?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceNHarmony View Post
    I fail to see why this idea would have had anything to do with 'bravery'. The Supremes were gorgeous to look at as well as talented; who would want to bother looking at a cartoon version?

    It'd be 4 the kiddies!

    Maybe they could become budding Supremes fans, and some kids would cry once Flo left....

    Besides DMF weren't going to do the speaking voices. They would use recordings for the songs, but the animators would move their mouths and would serve purpose to the episodes
    Last edited by IMissFlo93; 06-03-2019 at 07:25 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by IMissFlo93 View Post
    It'd be 4 the kiddies!

    Maybe they could become budding Supremes fans, and some kids would cry once Flo left....

    Besides DMF weren't going to do the speaking voices. They would use recordings for the songs, but the animators would move their mouths and would serve purpose to the episodes
    I think Sup Fan makes a great point though: Gordy wanted the Supremes to be more than a youth act, and a cartoon would not have done much for that vision. A movie and fashion line would've still been great, but again Motown wasn't equipped for that yet.

  8. #8
    yeah back in the 60s and 70s, there really wasn't as much merchandising or sponsorship outlets for pop stars. there was some but nothing like today.

    with the J5, that started to change. and that was specifically because they were being marketing to the "teeny bopper" market. so you had stickers, book covers, lunch boxes, the cartoon, etc.

    Of course the girls did a few commercials (Coke, Arrid) and endorsed some things (a few political campaigns, charities, etc).

    In the 70s, Mego did a Diana Ross doll which was a relatively good likeness to her. there was a larger doll in the 60s which frankly just looked like a black baby/toddler aged doll with curly hair and a gown.

    Diana then ventured into some things in the 80s - a fashion line but it never really seems to have been a big venture.

    The Sups did the wig line but it seems to have faltered when the JML lineup was collapsing. They were also supposed to sing the jingle for a baby doll but guess that deal wasn't inked

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    yeah back in the 60s and 70s, there really wasn't as much merchandising or sponsorship outlets for pop stars. there was some but nothing like today.

    with the J5, that started to change. and that was specifically because they were being marketing to the "teeny bopper" market. so you had stickers, book covers, lunch boxes, the cartoon, etc.

    Of course the girls did a few commercials (Coke, Arrid) and endorsed some things (a few political campaigns, charities, etc).

    In the 70s, Mego did a Diana Ross doll which was a relatively good likeness to her. there was a larger doll in the 60s which frankly just looked like a black baby/toddler aged doll with curly hair and a gown.

    Diana then ventured into some things in the 80s - a fashion line but it never really seems to have been a big venture.

    The Sups did the wig line but it seems to have faltered when the JML lineup was collapsing. They were also supposed to sing the jingle for a baby doll but guess that deal wasn't inked
    I've seen that '60s doll in person. You're right; I thought it looked more like Teresa Graves or somebody.

  10. #10
    OMG, there was a Diana Ross doll, how awesome.

    For anyone who wants to watch a 7 minute review of said doll, as I ended up doing, heehee:



    I don't even like dolls😂

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    The Sups did the wig line but it seems to have faltered when the JML lineup was collapsing. They were also supposed to sing the jingle for a baby doll but guess that deal wasn't inked
    In 1971 JMC did sing the jingle for the "LOVE" doll!

    I heard it twice, that summer, while watching Saturday morning cartoons. Well, I was an adult (21), probably watching "Scooby-Doo", or most-likely "Josie and the Pussycats"! I was lying on the couch, brain-dead, after a Friday night out on the town. Not a hangover but extremely tired. All of a sudden I heard Jean Terrell's voice "Are you looking for Love, Love, Love". I bolted upright into a sitting position not believing my ears. (If it wasn't Jean then it was a very good sound-alike - maybe Polly Brown, lol.)

    I knew they were rumored to be doing something like this so I wasn't totally surprised. After those two viewings of the commercial - not sure if it was the same morning or two separate Saturdays - I never saw or heard about it again. I had hoped that one day this tune would surface. I seem to recall reading that it would be an actual song for an album or even a single - probably just conjecture at the time.

    Not sure what the doll looked like. Maybe this from eBay:

    https://www.ebay.com/i/122809119481?chn=ps
    Last edited by johnjeb; 06-05-2019 at 11:16 AM.

  12. #12
    ^wow!!! well maybe with our recent luck of having that rare He's My Man video surface, this will pop up too

  13. #13
    No way was that in the plans for Berry. He had the group perform at the Copacabana and the Coconut Grove for goodness sakes... also when the Beatles had their show, their audience was mainly young girls so male groups after them were suddenly, in the '70s, as we saw with the Jacksons and Osmonds, having cartoons and then in the '90s, MC Hammer, Kid & Play and New Kidz on the Block had their own cartoons. All of them were aimed squarely at kids.

    The Supremes weren't. That's why Motown had no plans for such a show though the Supremes were one of the few groups to attract kids, teens and adults, by 1965, they were already aiming for the middle of the road market even while still releasing some cutting edge pop/soul material.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    The original Supremes were so very popular that there could have been a number of avenues at Gordy's disposal for expanding the visibility of the group. A cartoon, a movie, a fashion line of some sort. But it probably wasn't until the end of Flo's tenure that Gordy began to think outside of music, which is how we ended up with TCB. And it's important to remember that as popular as the Supremes were, they were still Black women in a society that limited what they could do. It's easy to forget that because they were so popular, but their popularity has to be placed in historical context. The fact that they were even on TV so often was still seen as a big deal.

    Also keep in mind that Motown in the 60s was a record company and nothing more. By the time the J5 cartoon hit the airwaves, Motown was transitioning from Detroit record label to Los Angeles entertainment corporation. There was a world of difference between what Motown 1971/72 was doing vs Motown 66/67.

    But I think a Supremes cartoon would've been an interesting venture, especially since their male "equivalent" the Beatles had their own cartoon. A movie would've been even better, considering how interesting each girl's personality and chemistry with the camera was. I think a movie- if done right- would've been something fun to watch. A line of Supremes gowns or shoes or wigs (the latter of which someone would finally attempt to capitalize on during the JML period, but by then the group had lost a lot of it's original popularity) or accessories might have proven successful. Today these are things that are par for the course with an act as big as the Supremes, but back then it was considered a great idea just to get the Supremes' their own brand of white bread.
    Sidenote/sidebar: the Osmond's had a Saturday cartoon too.

  15. #15
    Sorry ,midnightman. Didn't mean to step on your toes. Tee hee

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by johnjeb View Post
    In 1971 JMC did sing the jingle for the "LOVE" doll!

    I heard it twice, that summer, while watching Saturday morning cartoons. Well, I was an adult (21), probably watching "Scooby-Doo", or most-likely "Josie and the Pussycats"! I was lying on the couch, brain-dead, after a Friday night out on the town. Not a hangover but extremely tired. All of a sudden I heard Jean Terrell's voice "Are you looking for Love, Love, Love". I bolted upright into a sitting position not believing my ears. (If it wasn't Jean then it was a very good sound-alike - maybe Polly Brown, lol.)

    I knew they were rumored to be doing something like this so I wasn't totally surprised. After those two viewings of the commercial - not sure if it was the same morning or two separate Saturdays - I never saw or heard about it again. I had hoped that one day this tune would surface. I seem to recall reading that it would be an actual song for an album or even a single - probably just conjecture at the time.

    Not sure what the doll looked like. Maybe this from eBay:

    https://www.ebay.com/i/122809119481?chn=ps
    They did record it. It was a song called “Love Love Love (You Know How Much I Need You).” It was cut sometime in 1971. I heard a rumor it was suppose to be a single.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    They did record it. It was a song called “Love Love Love (You Know How Much I Need You).” It was cut sometime in 1971. I heard a rumor it was suppose to be a single.
    In J. Randy Taraborrelli's book on Motown, he wrote that the song was written by Al Cleveland as a jingle for a Hasbro doll and was also scheduled to be a single. He also wrote that the girls were to receive a $25,000 advance but the deal was canceled at the last minute.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    They did record it. It was a song called “Love Love Love (You Know How Much I Need You).” It was cut sometime in 1971. I heard a rumor it was suppose to be a single.
    Another something to look forward to!

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