Sunday, November 12, 2006

"Thing ring, do your thing!"


Those were heady days. Especially for Hanna-Barbera toons. Throughout the 70s and into the 80s, Hanna-Barbera cartoons were zany, wacky, and made by people who were totally high.

How else can you explain why familiar icons were taken completely out of context and placed in inexplicable situations? As cheaply animated as possible, of course.

Suddenly, Fonzie from Happy Days has a time machine and a talking dog? Named Mr. Cool?! And they travel through history? How could kids not love it?

Laverne & Shirley get drafted into the US Army. And they have a talking pig - voiced by Horseshack - for a drill sergeant. Seriously. That won't completely mess up kids for life.

Gary Coleman's a guardian angel. 'Nuff said.

There are dozens of these cartoons - but one that has always baffled me is the incomprehensible Fred and Barney Meet the Thing.

They never actually meet, by the way. The show was essentially new adventures of the Flintstones jammed together with a solo Thing cartoon. Except, this wasn't the typical Thing kids knew and loved from the Fantastic Four. Nope. This was a teenager named Benjy Grimm. Because when you're a teenaged version, your name must end in a "y". And he would team up and solve mysteries and fight crime with other annoying teenagers! Yes! Who wants to see Dr. Doom and Galactus?

Here's the hook - little Benjy Grimm has these special rings, see? And when he slams them together, he transforms into ...

...the ever-lovin', blue-eyed Thing!

Just a side note, that transformation looks horrifyingly painful.

Why am I remembering this short-lived, bizarre cartoon? Because of the show's catch phrase.

While the Thing had a very recognizable catch phrase of his own - "It's Clobberin' Time!!" - this cartoon had another, even catchier phrase.

Whenever Benjy Grimm slammed his special rings together, he'd shout:

"Thing ring, do your thing!"

And for some reason, I've had this phrase going through my head for the past two months. I know not why. Even stranger, I hear a gruff, gravelly voice with a thick Brooklyn accent saying it.

Catchy, right? Go ahead. Say it. You know you want to. It's fun. And addictive. Try slipping this phrase into every day conversation. It's pretty handy in any situation.

Oh, Hanna-Barbera. You have forever warped my brain.