The Incredible, Indelible, Magical, Physical, Mystery Trip: Musical fantasy is a tour of the body(1973)
“The Incredible, Indelible, Magical, Physical, Mystery Trip,” a highly-acclaimed presentation in the prize-winning “ABC Afterschool Specials” series will have an encore showing on the ABC Television Network.
A musical fantasy, the special combines live action and animation as it takes a brother and sister on an awesome trip through the over-fed, under-exercised body of their Uncle Carl. The children, Joey and Missey, are reading “Gulliver’s Travels” when they hear a mysterious voice coming from within the book.
As they search for a body to fit the ever-changing voice, they discover a flighty, colorful creature — Timer — keeper of body time, perched on the rim of their dozing Uncle Carl’s coffee cup. Before Joey and Missey know what has happened, they find themselves magically miniaturized and tumbling into their uncle’s mouth.
Led by Timer, the brother and sister meet both the good and bad inhabitants residing within Uncle Carl, among them General Antigen; Sadsack, a damaged lung cell; Admiral Plasma; Herbie the Hippie; and Colonel Von Neuron.
The youngsters also see Uncle Carl’s fatty heart struggling to meet his body’s demands. They see a six-armed engineer helplessly try to cope with excessive amounts of food, and they hear the cry of his lungs for clean, fresh air, instead of cigarette and cigar smoke.
Throughout their awesome journey, Joey and Missey are entertained by the singing and antics of this mysterious world. But there is one problem: How will they get out?
“The message for the kids was, of course, not to mistreat this mechanism they live in,” commented the Los Angeles Times, which also called the songs “sharply honed, both for the message and the fun…”
Bright ABC show for children
From an article by Howard Thompson, New York Times (New York) February 7, 1973
The American Broadcasting Company’s monthly “Afterschool” series for youngsters has another bright package today at 4:30 P.M. Here again is tasty; sturdy homeviewing for children. Adults could do much worse.
The hour-long program is titled “The Incredible, Indelible, Magical, Physical Mystery Trip” — spelled fun, the imaginative kind.
In animation, we see two youngsters climbing, trotting and boat-sailing through the human body, mouth to tummy and back, guided by a sassy little creature and a swarm of inner functional beings that picturesquely rail against health abuse.
The cleverly colored animation is inventive, the pacing is brisk, the tone is sassy and serious and the anatomical galaxy of Alice in Wonderland characters is perky to hilarious. Add a batch of lilting tunes.
There’s just one catch. When the footage shifts “outside” to live action, the children’s uncle (it’s his body) seems a human caricature, with his incessant eating, smoking and grimacing.
Peter Broderick and Kathy Buck are disarming young explorers. This delectable hour was “created” by Guy Fraumeni, directed by Herbert Klynn, written by Larry Spiegel, produced by David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng, with songs by Edward Newmark. Nice, neat going, all.
Video of “The Incredible, Indelible, Magical, Physical, Mystery Trip”
Starring Hal Smith (Uncle Carl), Kim Richards (Missey/Missy), Michael Link (Joey) and Len Maxwell (voice of Timer).
More of the adventures of Joey and Missey
Tomorrow, we’ll take your kids on a tour through the human body!
Traveling lilliputian-style, your children will navigate through the body’s vessels and arteries with exciting excursions into the heart, lungs, stomach and nervous system. They’ll discover how these organs and systems work — and how proper health and hygiene habits keep them working smoothly. It’s an inside story the whole family can enjoy.
Incredible, Indelible, Physical, Magical, Mystery Trip – An ABC After School Special – Brought to you by Oscar Mayer & Company and M & M/ Mars.
Len Maxwell: The voice of Timer, and a thousand others
From The Sun (Hammond, Louisiana) & The Cincinnatti Enquirer (Ohio) February 7, 1973
Len Maxwell is a man of many voices, including the voices for between 1500 and 2000 television and radio commercials a year.
You might know Len best as the voices of Punchy and Oaf on the Hawaiian Punch commercial, but you’ll soon know him as the multi-voiced flighty, ever-changing character of Timer, keeper of body time in “The Incredible, Indelible, Magical, Physical, Mystery Trip,” a combination live-action and animated musical fantasy on the ABC Television Network’s “The ABC Afterschool Special.”
Guy Fraumeni produced today’s special. He remembered Maxwell’s work on “Crunchbird” and invited him in to audition for his ABC project. Instead of splitting the work among a number of people, Fraumeni gave Len a great bulk of the assignments.
It’s Len Maxwell’s biggest project, in both the hour length and the number of characters he voices.
“I was a little apprehensive about doing it at first,” Len admitted. He called it the most difficult project he has ever encountered.
“He had me do all 21 characters, which is a lot of fun, but a little difficult to sing and speak them,” Len said in his own deeply resonant voice.
“I really loved doing it. The character of Timer changes so rapidly, sometimes from word to word, that it really was a tremendous challenge,” Len continued, in the ever-changing voices of Timer.
“I’m also the brain,” Len continued, as a brain, “and the heart, forces of infection, antibodies, air sacks, and even Decay Germ.” Believe it or not, Len sounds like all of them.
Len estimated he put in 20 hours of recording over three weeks’ time to accomplish today’s soundtrack. Two music sessions, with a 35-piece orchestra already on tape, and two talk sessions were required to finish the show’s audio portion.
“The Incredible, Indelible, Magical, Physical, Mystery Trip” takes Missey and Joey, a brother and sister, on a trip through their Uncle Carl’s body.
Uncle Carl, addicted to over-eating, eating the wrong foods, laziness and cigarette smoking, is not only physically unfit, but unaware of the destruction taking place within his body.
Thanks to Timer, Joey and Missey get a first-hand look at the inhabitants of Uncle Carl’s body, among them General Antigen, Sadsack the Air Sack, Admiral Plasma, Colonel Von Neuron, Herbie the Hippie, and Decay Germ, each of which is quite talented in his own right.
“Have you ever heard a Decay Germ sing?” asked Len, the voice for these colorful characters, carries on the interview in a wild variety of voices.
“When I started working on the Sad Sack character and his song,” Len said, “I had a strange experience. The song is about how happy this little character was until he was smothered, choked, and on his way to annihilation by Uncle Carl’s cigarette smoke.
“I started looking at my own lit cigarettes as I sang about not smoking. Well, in addition to the public service spots I have done for anti-smoking campaigns, Sad Sack finally got to me. I quit smoking.”
Len’s voice became serious. “This is really a powerful show, and the great thing about it is that kids will learn, but they won’t realize because of the entertaining going on.”