Sunday, March 25, 2012

Drak Pack – review

Director: Chris Cuddington

First aired: 1980

Contains spoilers

The best way to introduce the Drak Pack – to those unfamiliar with the cartoon series – is to quote the show’s opening narration, voiced by John Stephenson:

“From the monsters of the past comes a new generation, dedicated to reversing the evil image of their forefathers. Under the leadership of none other than Count Dracula --known as "Big D"-- three teenagers form the do-gooder group, named, "The Drak Pack".

“With special powers, they can transform into super, mighty monsters and use their skills against all evil-doers, especially the diabolical Dr. Dred, and his renegade rowdies: Toad, Fly, Mummy Man, and Vampira. A group known as O.G.R.E. --the Organization of Generally Rotten Enterprises

“It’s right verses wrong, good over greed, niceness against naughtiness... That's the dedication of the terrific trio --Frankie, Howler, and Drak, Jr… The Drak Pack!”

the pack
Yes, the Drak Pack was an Hanna Barbara foray into a monster cartoon and whilst it might be reminiscent, somewhat, of the Groovie Goolies, featuring as it did the classic triumvirate of vampire, werewolf and Frankenstein Monster, it actually had stories (which is more than the Goolies did) and they were actually very watchable cartoons. Indeed the show probably had more in common with the live action Monster Squad series.

Big D
The show was referential in parts – for instance Drak Jr would often come out with “It’s the old {fill in the blank} trick” which referenced Get Smart. Drak could turn into a variety of creatures – though he preferred bat form, he had telekinetic powers, could fly and turn to smoke. Of course he wasn’t the only vampire on the show. Big D had retired and, to make up for the naughtiness of the past, he had set the pack on their do-gooder path. There was also Vampira, in OGRE, who sported an Eva Gabor accent.

Drak Jr
The best baddy, however, with the sycophantic Toad, a Peter Lorre-like, in both looks and voice, his catch phrase of “Bad Toad, bad Toad!” is one that I carried with me from seeing this as a kid. Other memorable moments include the Drak Whack, where the three slap their hands together and shout “Whack-o” in order to turn into their monster forms.

The Drak pack is a cartoon that is still as fun now, as it was then. Well worth catching on DVD, as it contains the full first and only series. 7 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Alex. G said...

Heard a bit of this cartoon but never seen any actual episodes. Might have to check it out now.
Hanna Barbera also did another Universal monsters-themed series later; Gravedale High.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Alex, Gravedale isn't quite as easy to source but I do have it to watch and review ;)

As the review shows, Drak Pack stood the test of time for me (it is dated but in a fun way) - hope you enjoy it if you catch come episodes :)

Derek Tatum said...

That's really surprising. I figured that if I saw it now, I would think it was awful. Thanks for the review!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

I think part of it was that it was so referential that it can't help but appeal to the inner fanboy