fangface fangface

Ruby and Spears on “Stu’s Show”

This week on the internet radio program Stu’s Show, a return appearance by animation writer/producers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears. Ruby and Spears essentially created Scooby Doo for Hanna Barbera, then went on to form their own studio in 1977 to create such Saturday morning “masterpieces” as Fangface, Turbo Teen and Rubik The Amazing Cube.

Joe and Ken made their first appearance on Stu’s Show last May, and they discussed their early Hanna-Barbera days. This time they’ll talk about the projects that came forth from their own studio; which includes working with Roy Thomas, Jack Kirby, Steve Gerber and Alex Toth on Thundarr the Barbarian, adapting Plastic Man, and recording sessions with Mister T.

Stu’s Show will be broadcast live at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific at It’s free to listen live today – but after that you can download the show anytime for a mere 99 cents. They’ll take questions via phone – but if you have a question I encourage you to email Stu in advance of broadcast (email address here). Listen in here.

  • Hannah

    “Masterpieces” indeed.

  • Joel Schlosberg

    Well, I wound up missing the previous show with Ruby and Spears, in which I was hoping they’d discuss the Mr. T cartoon and their other Ruby-Spears work. So I have especially good reason to tune in this time!

  • We can sit here and snicker at the Ruby-Spears stuff ’til we’re nugat in the face, but the fact is, their stuff had some magic to it.

    I mean, what kid DOESN’T adore the idea of solving mysteries with an anthropomorphic car or puzzle or werewolf? This is a concept that you could re-introduce TODAY (replacing the werewolf with, say, a grumpy old man and a talking dog…or a bear who doubles as an overprotective parent…or, well, you get the idea), and the kids would come a-runnin’ (and the dollars would come a-pourin’ in and the Happy Meal toys would come a-slightly off-model with kinda creepy facial expressions that scientists and sociologists would later blame for mentally stunting an entire generation of mildly obese hoarders).

    You’d have to do some serious Googling to find a reputable literary critic who would defend the scholarly merits of the ‘Harry Potter’ books. But that doesn’t mean those books didn’t provide their young and impressionable fanbase with genuine joys and thrills and an intro to the artform. The same can be said for the less-than-perfect Saturday morning cartoons of Ruby-Spears. They are no ‘Snow White’ or ‘My Neighbor Totoro,’ but they eventually and unintentionally led some kids to ’em.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Reasons why some of us still turn to cartoons! :-P

  • Mel

    The Ruby-Spears animated product was a cut above the Hanna-Barbera animated product when R-S opened their studio. That changed over time, and not for the better. Ruby-Spears was a beneficiary (and ultimately a victim) of the massive 1980s toy company sponsored cartoon boom. They went from producing a handful of episodes per year to biting off more than could be even partially chewed, chasing the success of Filmation’s “He-Man,” just like every other 1980s craphole cartoon studio did. They never really rebounded creatively nor production-wise after that ill-advised mega trend.

  • Uggghh, Fangface. I’ve seen it.

    You know what Fangface is about?

    Fangface is about a gang of shallow teenagers obsessed with solving mysteries who are “friends” with a clueless kid with a lycanthropic family curse which they shamelessly abuse to help them fight bad guys. This poor, naive child is allowed to hang out with them only so they can trigger his werewolf transformation any time they want. They don’t even need the actual MOON–they just flash PICTURES of the moon in his face at will, which not only raises a lot of questions for a werewolf story but also makes them even more vile. Plus, when he changes back into a human, he has no memory of it.

    That makes this show horrible on a completely different level. It’s human exploitation pure and simple. He’s not their friend–he’s their PET.

    And then they do the same thing to his BABY COUSIN…

    • Chris Sobieniak

      When you put it that way…. yeah, I suppose we should feel more sorry for that guy and his unfortunate position in the show.

  • “Amazing cube” is an oxymoron.

  • Kate

    I grew up in the 80’s. Ruby-Spears Puppy’s New Adventures and the Puppy’s specials were my absolute favorite from my early childhood. Maybe Rubix and Mr T aren’t ‘cool’ amongst animation fans but IMO, Puppy’s was awesome.

  • Michael

    It’s now 2013- good to hear from both Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, once again. Their anination studio is still in operation and both men have been working as consultants on Cartoon Network’s Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. Both Ruby and Spears can still contribute from their own animation studio programming. Ruby-Spears’ likely candidate for its next programming deal may likely be Disney Channel, considering both Ruby and Spears have a working relationship with Disney. At last count, Ruby-Spears were preparing a live-action feature film version of Skysurfer Strikeforce. Maybe Disney can partner with Ruby-Spears and get the movie made, and I can almost see Zac Efron being cast as the lead in the movie as the leader of the Skysurfer Strikeforce and maybe John Glover being cast as the head villain. Ruby-Spears gave us good, memorable programming from the late 70’s through the mid 90’s and still managed to produce animated specials, afterwards. Probably Ruby-Spears’ best programs, over the decades would have to include Fangface in the late 70’s, Alvin & the Chipmunks in the 80’s and Mega Man in the 90’s. Both men spent the 2000’s with animated specials as well as working as consultants on numerous Scooby-Doo projects. I might consider writing a letter to Ruby-Spears to ask what future projects they’re looking into.