Captain Caveman (or Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels to give it its full title) was another in the long list of Hanna Barbera’s “group of teenagers and their comedy sidekick solve mysteries” style of cartoon, and whilst nothing will ever top good old Scooby Doo in my book, Captain Caveman was certainly not the worst of the bunch, and his great gutteral cry of “Captain Caaaaaavvemaaaaan!” brings back happy memories of pretending to fly around the school playground pretending to be him.
Captain Caveman, or Cavey Wavey as his female teenage companions would call him whenever they wanted him to do something, was a neanderthal super hero, covered in what one presumes was incredibly long brown hair, and equipped with a massive wooden club and wearing a little leopard skin cape (or the prehistoric equivalent of a leopard anyway). He had super strength and the ability to fly, although these powers had a tendancy to pack in at the most inopportune moments, such as when flying across a massive ravine or holding a really big boulder in the air.
His club was not just a great weapon but was also laden with Flintstone style prehistoric gadgets, such as a torch which was a little bird clutching a candle, or a “guard dog” dinosaur. Incidentally, speaking of the Flintstones, it was on one of the many Flintstone comedy show cartoons that Captain Caveman first appeared, then he later appeared with the Teen Angels of Scooby’s All Star Laff-A-Lympics before finally getting his own show. Personally I don’t remember ever seeing him on the Flintstones, and I only have very vague memories of Laff-A-Lympics, but I certainly remember him from his own cartoon.
Cavey spoke in the stereotypical neanderthal manner, saying things like “unga bunga” or “looks like me ran out of power”. He was voiced by the late, great Mel Blanc, better known as the voice of a host of Warner Brothers cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.
The Teen Angels, Cavey’s companions, were Brenda, Dee and Taffy. Brenda filled the shoes of Shaggy for the most part, being the nervous scaredy cat one. Dee Dee was an African American girl who was the brains of the bunch, but unlike Velma from Scooby Doo she wasn’t quite so much of a geek (no offence Velma, nothing wrong with being a geek). Taffy was the most irritating of the lot in my book, being there to come up with hair brained schemes usually putting Cavey at risk and shouting “Zowie” a lot.
The whole group used to travel around in their equivalent of the Mystery Machine, which was a similar looking combi-van with a massive cave on the top which is where Captain Caveman lived. Perhaps Cavey was also part Timelord, as his cave seemed to share a lot in common with the TARDIS, being generally much larger on the inside. One difference between their adventures and that of Scooby Doo though is that I believe the ghosts and monsters they chased didn’t usually end up being Old Man Withers with a plastic mask on, which was always the great shame with Scooby Doo, as you wanted the villains to be real for once.