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Stuff about early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

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  • 03/06/14--06:19: Arf? Nino? Jinks is Who?
  • The beginning of the Hanna-Barbera story would seem cut and dried. It’s been told so many times. Poor Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were tossed into the cold by MGM in 1957, formed their own studio, came up with “Ruff and Reddy” later in the year, then created “The Huckleberry Hound Show” the following year, and then “The Quick Draw McGraw Show” the year after that, hiring new staff along the way and replacing writer Charlie Shows with Mike Maltese and Warren Foster from Warner Bros.

    Well, it’s basically true. But a few other things happened as well that neither Bill Hanna nor Joe Barbera documented in their autobiographies. As we mentioned in THIS POST, characters named Ruff and Reddy were copyrighted on May 26, 1956 by Shield Productions, a company co-owned by Bill Hanna, Mike Lah and MGM artist Don Driscoll, more than a year and a half before they ever appeared on TV from the efforts of H-B Enterprises (and despite claims by Barbera that he created the characters). And a journey through the pages of Variety published contemporaneously provides us with a little additional information about the studio’s earliest years. It’s a story of cartoons in earlier-than-expected development and hirings of people who never got credit on a single cartoon.

    As the trades reported, H-B Enterprises formed in early July 1957. “Ruff and Reddy” premiered on December 14th, but H-B had been working on other cartoon ideas before then and Columbia Pictures, which owned a good chunk of the company, picked up a couple. Here’s Variety from November 27, 1957.

    Geo. Sidney Sells NBC 52 Cartoons
    NBC bought 52 cartoons in the series called "Ruff And Ready" from H-B Enterprises for showing on Saturday mornings. It was part of a package negotiated by Screen Gems and will include Columbia one-reel comedies.
    SG has also ordered from H-B 78 cartoons titled "Super Snooper" and "Yogi Bear."
    H-B was formed last spring by George Sidney, prexy, and animators Joe Barbara and William Hanna. Company has also been active in the commercial tv [rest of story unavailable].

    That’s right. “Super Snooper” was in development almost two years before Snooper and Blabber ever appeared on “The Quick Draw McGraw Show.” Whether it’s the same concept that appeared on Quick Draw is unknown and the answer may be buried in some old Hanna-Barbera files somewhere. We did get a comment on the blog in August 2010 from a reader who had a photostat of a Jinks model sheet with the name “Snooper” on it. To the right, you see a picture of it mined from the internet.

    So where’s Huckleberry Hound, you ask? Or Pixie and Dixie? Joe Barbera said in his autography they were developed around the same time as Yogi. The number of cartoons mentioned works out to three series of 26 each, and that’s more or less what made up the first season of the Huck show. So Variety would be appear to be missing a series.

    As we all know, the studio sold Huck to Kellogg’s in June 1958 and the show debuted to much acclaim the following September. But what happened to Super Snooper? Here’s Daily Variety from November 19, 1958 (thanks to Kliph Nesteroff for the clipping):

    Hanna, Barbera Set Half-Hour Mystery Cartoon Vidseries
    George Sidney's Hanna & Barbera Productions will film "Snooper and Blabbermouse," half-hour mystery cartoon teleseries for Screen Gems distribution.
    Company currently is testing voices for the lead and secondary voices in the new project. Firm also produces "Ruff And Reddy" and "Huckleberry Hound."
    The Variety story makes it appear Snooper and Blabber were to be the stars of the new show. And, indeed, the studio did test for new voices. Elliot Field was the original voice of Blab and you can hear him in the first four cartoons. He also did some work on one Quick Draw McGraw cartoon, as did Peter Leeds and Vance Colvig, Jr., later the voice of Chopper in the duck series.

    So where’s Quick Draw McGraw in all this? The first reference to him in the trade paper I can find is from December 16, 1958 but he must have been in development before that.

    H-B Staff Gets Bonus
    Some 200 employes of Hanna and Barbera Enterprises will receive a paid week's vacation next week as a special Christmas bonus. Production of "Ruff and Reddy,""Huckleberry Hound,""Quick Draw McGraw" and "Snooper and Blabbermouse" will be halted during the holiday.
    Whether Quick Draw and Snooper were planned as stars of two separate half-hour shows at that point is unclear.

    Oh, I know what you’re saying now. What about Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy? We mentioned in THIS POST that they had been conceived by January 1959 as Pete and Repete. Evidently, the newspaper writer we quoted must have read Variety. Here’s what the trade paper revealed on January 8, 1959:

    Screen Gems OK's New H& B Cartoons
    Screen Gems yesterday gave the go-ahead to Hanna & Barbera Productions for full production on “Pete and Repete,” new half-hour cartoon series to be launched next fall.
    H&B are already in production on two other cartoon series for Screen Gems, “Quick Draw McGraw” and “Snooper and Blabbermouse.” H& B are searching for offbeat voice characterizations for “Pete,” a father and son format.
    Besides new entries, H& B are continuing with production of their current “Ruff [and Reddy” and Huckleberry Hound” shows].
    But Pete and Repete didn’t become Doggie Daddy and Augie Doggie right away. They had a new name by the January 28th edition of Variety.

    Hanna-Barbera Plots 197 Cartoons
    A record production year for cartoons has been set by Hanna and Barbera Productions for the coming year, with 197 cartoons to be made for tv during 1959. This includes segments of "Ruff and Reddy,""Huckleberry Hound,""Arf and Arf,""Quick Draw Mc Graw," and "Snooper and Blabber," as well as commercial and industrial animation.
    Firm headed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, as v.p.'s, and George Sidney as prexy [rest of story unavailable]
    “Arf and Arf”? Could the name be any lamer? It’s worse than “The Gladstones,” which was an interim name given briefly to Stone Agers Fred and Wilma after the original name, “The Flagstones,” had been quickly changed because of the threat of litigation from the syndicators of the comic ‘Hi and Lois’ (last name, Flagston). The change to “Arf and Arf” may have been just as quick, and for the same reason. In the 1959 Catalog of Copyright Entries is a listing for Pete and Repete, the Glacier National Park bears who were comic characters. How long “Arf and Arf” lasted is unknown; I have a copy of Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy model sheet dated April 1959 so that may be an indication.

    (As a side note, the Copyright Catalog isn’t the best of sources. For example, the Huck cartoons in the first season were copyrighted in 1958 and early 1959 but don’t appear in the catalogue for that year. They appear, instead, in the 1963 catalogue).

    The studio was also working on one other animated series which doesn’t seem to have had anything to do with Quick Draw, Snooper, father and son dogs or anything else. This is from Variety, December 31, 1958:

    Hanna-Barbera Prod'ns Plots New TV Cartoons
    "Nino From Coconino," original story by Edward Fiske, has been bought by Hanna and Barbara Productions for a cartoon teleseries and will go into production in February. New series, which has a Mexican boy as the hero, will be on a five-a-week schedule, with each episode a separate story.
    This cartoon is an absolute mystery. I’ve found nothing about the story (let alone why H-B would buy one from the outside), which Edward Fiske is being referred to, whether the series went into production, if any animation or artwork from it exists, or whether the whole thing was a publicity plant by the studio. Variety makes no further mention of the series that I’ve been able to find. Fans of truly bad TV cartoons will recall that around this same time, Sam Singer’s Trans Artists Productions plunked a Mexican boy in a mind-numbingly wretched cartoon series called “Bucky and Pepito” (see right). It was already in production at the time Variety announced “Nino;” Variety squibbed on November 26, 1958 that the first seven cartoons had already been completed.

    Meanwhile, Variety reported on May 2, 1958 that NBC picked up “Ruff and Reddy” for another season (to be sponsored by candy maker Mars, Inc.) and on August 13th that Kellogg’s had bought national sponsorship of the Quick Draw show and would air it in more than 150 markets starting in September, resulting in Hanna-Barbera turning out 39 hours of animation a year at that point. That, naturally, meant an expansion of studio space and staff. In fact, the studio hired people whose names you never saw on a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. We’ll post about that later.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    No credits. Layout – Tony Rivera?, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas?, Written by Mike Maltese, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Augie Doggie, Peggy Poodle – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy – Doug Young.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961.
    Plot: Augie decides to act like a grown-up.

    There’s a question that has been debated by generations of Hanna-Barbera cartoons fans without a successful conclusion—what happened to Mrs. Doggie Daddy, anyway? She’s as mysterious a figure as, well, if you want a somewhat appropriate analogy, Jimmy Durante’s Mrs. Calabash.

    “Growing, Growing, Gone may supply us with a clue.

    There were few female characters in the Augie Doggie cartoons. The next door neighbour in “Treasure Jest” was one. There was the librarian in “It’s a Worm Day.” And, to the left, you see Peggy Poodle. She’s a friendly character who offers to share her lollypop with Augie and tells him she likes him. Augie responds by running as fast as he can for home to get away from her. “Dat’s my who’s growin’ up,” Daddy cheerfully tells us in response. So, we’re left to conclude that Doggie Daddy ran away from his wife years ago and took Augie with him.

    (Actually, I suspect the explanation for the lack of a Mrs. Doggie Daddy is partly because Hanna-Barbera worked with a two-character dynamic—Yogi and Boo Boo, Quick Draw and Baba, Chopper and Yakky—with a third character used only as an antagonist/lifestyle interrupter).

    Peggy is standing in front of stylised isosceles triangles that are standing in for trees, so I’m presuming the layouts were handled by Tony Rivera. I have two versions of this cartoon and that credits are incorrect on both. I’m really not well-versed on H-B artists after a certain period. For example, the cop in this cartoon is designed with fortune cookie ears. I’ve seen that before but haven’t really compared all the 1961-62 season cartoons to see who liked drawing incidental characters that way.

    As for the background artist, both Bob Gentle and Dick Thomas used loops to signify foliage in bushes and by this time, both were using sketchy zig-zags to indicate patches of grass. I’m leaning toward Thomas because of the blue sky and the fairly literal way the exterior of the house is drawn. I haven’t tried to go back and compare artwork on the walls in previous cartoons (either Augie or Pixie and Dixie). Here are some of the backgrounds.

    The animator’s even more of a mystery to me, so I put the question to Howard Fein, who’s pretty good at spotting the animators from the Flintstones/Jetsons/Top Cat period of the studio’s life. He thinks it’s John Boersma. The first thing that caught my attention is Doggie Daddy’s eye is partly above his head in the opening scene.

    There are some quick exits in this cartoon and they’re all drawn differently. One has brush-strokes, but no character outline, like Hicks Lokey drew.

    This one has a character outline, like Brad Case drew in several cartoons.

    And there’s one that’s just a standard character-runs-away cycle. Here are a couple of scrunch takes.

    Mike Maltese has come up with the kind of story we expect out of Mike Maltese. Augie wants to use a carving knife to sharpen his pencil. No, Daddy says, he’s too young for that. Dialogue sample:

    Augie: You’re laughing at me, thoughtless dad. And I abhor ridicule.
    Daddy: Dat’s my boy dat said dat. And I wish I knew what it meant.
    Augie: Well, it simply means “let there be hilarity and mirth, but let it be tempered with a certain reserve signifying a consideration for the feelings of others.”
    Daddy: Never-the-none-the-less, it’s time all little smart boys were in bed. Ipso factori.

    Eventually, Daddy tells him the outside world will make him grow up, so Augie runs away into the outside world. That’s Maltese’s set-up for a typical Augie Doggie cartoon story—Doggie Daddy tries various things in front of his son and fails miserably. In this case, it’s trying to go home. Dear old dad apparently didn’t learn in “Watch Dog Augie” or “Pint Giant” that whenever disguises himself, it never works. It doesn’t here.

    ● Daddy pretends to be a “spooky ghost.” Augie thinks he’s silly and bashes him twice with one of those satchels on a stick that runaway kids and hoboes have in cartoons. Maltese fits in a “fugitive” reference: “Go haunt a house, you fugitive from a clothesline,” the annoyed Augie says to the ghost.
    ● “Stick ‘em up, varmint,” says a mustachioed daddy, who claims to be Two-Gun Canafraz, a “really Western outlaw.” Varmint? Canafraz? Maltese is drinking the Warner Bros. cartoon sauce again (yes, “Super Rabbit” with Professor Canafraz was written by Tedd Pierce, but Maltese was at the studio then). Augie dispatches him with a slingshot. There’s an “Abilene” reference, like in one of Maltese’s Quick Draw McGraw cartoons, “Locomotive Loco.”
    ● “Robin Hood Daffy” anyone? Augie demands that the disguised Daddy prove he’s really Robin Hood. Daddy shoots the hat off a cop (not an Irish one) instead of nailing an airborne duck.

    The cartoon ends with the aforementioned Peggy Poodle scene.

    Only six Augie Doggie cartoons were made in 1961-62, the final season in first-run for “The Quick Draw McGraw Show.” The Capitol Hi-Q library has been dispatched to gather dust and Hoyt Curtin’s cues are used on them all. That means Flintstones music. “And That’s the Story” accompanies the opening scene where Daddy and Augie are talking and you should recognise “Chase” when Augie’s running away from potential romantic entanglement.

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  • 03/12/14--07:06: Songs in the Key of Fake
  • There are three kinds of Hanna-Barbera records. One kind features music and/or voices that were in the original cartoons. That’s the best kind. Then there’s the other kind where other people pretend to be the characters or the music features different singers. Some are okay (for example, the LP with June Foray as Boo Boo), others aren’t so hot (anything with Frank Milano). And then you have the platters produced by Hanna-Barbera Records, some of which have nothing to do with the cartoons and others leave you stunned.

    We have the latter in this post, although someone will likely wail about “happy childhood memories” or some other kind of misty nostalgia as they sigh in delight over what’s below.

    “Golden Cartoons in Song Volume One” is one of those albums which precocious little me would have asked my father why he didn’t buy a real Hanna-Barbera album instead. This features songs that were never heard in Hanna-Barbera cartoons sung by people who had no association with the cartoons. At Golden Records on the East Coast, similar songs were cheery, minimally-orchestrated pop tunes. These “themes” from a 1966 HBR album are supposed to evoke rock music but pull their punches. Compare that to Hoyt Curtin’s theme music for the actual cartoons where the brass section cuts loose. And whoever came up with “Jonny Quest” for this album evidently never saw the show. They seem to think it was about spies or secret agents.

    Curtin’s name is on the album as one of the composers. So are Stan Farber, Larry Goldberg and Lynn Bryson. Several web sites have a fascination with HBR recordings and you can learn more about Goldberg at them. The lyrics for these songs were by Charlie Shows, who contributed dialogue to the studio’s cartoons in its first two years. His “Augie Doggie” lyrics quoting Doggie Daddy make no sense; it’s more of his rhymes for the sake of rhymes. “I treat Augie like a brother. Why, you’d think I was his mother.” What’s that supposed to mean??

    Listen at your own risk.















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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Vera Hanson, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Narrator, Dynamite Kaboom, Brown Hat Cowboy, Sheriff, Assorted Townsmen – Doug Young; Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Snuffles, Snuffles' kids, Paymaster, White Hat Cowboy, Deputy, Assorted Townsmen – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-041, Production J-110.
    Plot: Quick Draw and Snuffles try to stop Dynamite Kaboom from blowing up the dam.

    What do you do with a cartoon character when he’s only got one piece of schtick? You use him judiciously so he doesn’t wear himself out. That’s what Mike Maltese did with Snuffles. The biscuit-loving dog only appeared in seven Quick Draw McGraw cartoons. His routine never became tired, even with continual reruns of the cartoons.

    In “Dynamite Fright,” Maltese added something to make things different—four identical little Snuffles who mimic his actions. Maltese likely had no choice but to use Snuffles; the dog was appearing in commercials for Kellogg’s Gro-Pup dog biscuits and the studio was even putting the packages on screen in Quick Draw McGraw cartoons. Nothing subtle about it.

    This was one of six new Quick Draws made for the 1961-62 season, though in looking at the production numbers on the internet (not all of which have turned out to be correct) it was begun before one which appeared on the previous season. Snuffles appeared in two of them.

    Maltese uses some pretty matter-of-fact dialogue in the first couple of minutes to set up the plot. Dynamite Kaboom, for reasons left to your imagination, wants to blow up a dam and flood a little western town in the process. There’s a little right-to-left pan over a Vera Ohman Hanson background.

    There are townspeople running in fear. Here’s are Hicks Lokey’s drawings on twos. Anticipation drawings then a quick flee.

    Now for some fun Maltese dialogue.

    Sheriff: Quick Draw, I sent for you because Dynamite Kaboom is a-goin’ to blow up the new dam. Well, I don’t mind a little rain once in a while, but one big kersplash I don’t like. Uh, will you stop Dynamite Kaboom? For the sake of the settlers?
    Quick Draw: I sure will! And thanks for the ten-thousand-dollars reward.
    Sheriff: Now who said anything about a ten-thousand-dollar reward? Uh, how about a grand?
    Quick Draw: A grand what?
    Sheriff: A grand total of fifty dollars.
    Quick Draw: I’ll take it.

    Now Snuffles is introduced into the cartoon, with a brief appearance by his offspring. All have three hairs on their heads growing from the same place, like Dino on the Flintstones. Snuffles will do anything for a dog biscuit, including jumping through a window. Which he demonstrates.

    The second half of the cartoon features the hunt for Dynamite Kaboom, interrupted as Quick Draw proves to himself a stick found by Snuffles is dynamite by blowing himself up. Snuffles captures the bad guy and gets his usual reward (see our post about the ecstasy animation HERE). But Dynamite Kaboom has a timer attached to his bundle of dynamite which threatens to blow up the dam and flood the town any second. Will Quick Draw save the town? There’s some real suspense here only because Quick Draw is so inept in his cartoons, and doesn’t always win in the end, you never know how the plot is going to play out. The uncertainty adds to Maltese’s story.

    As it turns out (after Quick Draw says “hold on thar!” to the bundle of dynamite), the dynamite is tossed into the water, Quick Draw is kicked into the water by Dynamite Kaboom, who is kicked into the water by Baba Looey. Neither Quick Draw nor Dynamite Kaboom can swim, but Quick Draw is rescued from under the water because he conveniently has a dog biscuit to bribe Snuffles. The bad guy isn’t as well stocked (“Awww,” says Snuffles, shaking his head over the drowning villain’s plight). But Baba pulls Kaboom out of the water and it’s off to jail.

    The wind-up scene has the Gro-Pup product placement, the four sons of Snuffles duplicating dad’s routine after eating biscuits, with Baba ending the cartoon by superfluously remarking “That’s what I call ‘like father, like sons’.”

    Quick Draw doesn’t fit in his “I’ll do the thinnin’ around here” or “Oooh, that smarts” catchphrases in this cartoon.

    You’ll recognise a number of short Flintstones cues in this cartoon, as well a dramatic horn cue during a shot of the bundle of dynamite that was used later on “Jonny Quest.” There are stretches of the cartoon where no music is heard (like the scene where the sheriff and Quick Draw discuss the reward). “That’s Quick Draw McGraw” accompanies the arrival of our hero, sung by Doug Young.

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    Life in the Stone Age was pretty primitive, so it’s no wonder things broke down. At least, that’s the fate that greeted our favourite denizens of Bedrock this this month 50 years ago.

    Finding an on-line version of a newspaper that published the Flintstones’ Sunday comics for March 1964 was an adventure in itself. I still can’t locate a full comic for the end of the month (newspapers occasionally dropped a comic and substituted paid advertising, such as half-page cartoons pushing Kellogg’s cereal and a contest). So this is the best I can do. It’s a shame that some publisher hasn’t realised there’s money to be made in collating the old Yogi and Flintstones Sunday comics in a book.

    I don’t know why Betty’s annoyed in the March 1st comic. After all, the leak can’t be fixed for a month. What else does she expect Barney to do. If he’d try to fix it himself, Fred would horn in and, well, you can probably hear the Hoyt Curtin music in the background as disaster strikes.

    For those of you who get worked up over whether Fred and Barney work together, you’ll notice Fred has a hard-hat and Barney doesn’t. Then again, maybe Barney has an office job.

    Fred Flintstones endorsed products for Miles Labs on TV, but apparently they didn’t have a product strong enough to deal with Fred’s sinus trouble. The artwork here’s very nice, especially the happy bull moose that pop up in the final panel, and the sound waves that pour out of Fred in the bottom row, far left. And Fred’s body language is nice in the panel where he and Barney are walking. Fred’s stooped over, so you can tell he’s not well. This is from March 8th.

    A TV antenna? Say, that is Stone Age! The comic from March 15th (not too visible) has nice reaction drawings of Dino about what’s going on. If this were the TV, the record player bird (played by Mel Blanc) would comment.

    March 22nd has a nice little story. I wish the scan of this was better because I’d like to get a better look at the dopey expression on the dinosaur in the last panel of the middle row. Fred looks kind of dozy himself. This comic may solve the mystery of where Baby Puss went. He seems to have adopted the ranger station as his home, judging by the opening panel. Does anyone know if Dick Bickenbach drew this?

    Fred has a new address in the March 29th comic, which builds up to one of those “Soft Fred” moments. Pebbles’ thought balloons would appear more often as the years passed. This is the best version I can find of this comic, sorry.

    Click on each comic to expand it. Consider these Flintstones posts as a kind of bonus, as it’s becoming difficult to find complete, viewable versions of the Sunday comics to pass on.

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  • 03/20/14--06:43: Kidding Gently
  • The Hanna-Barbera studio was chugging along when this column dated November 15, 1959 was published.

    It was designed to give a little plug to the studio’s newest syndicated series, “The Quick Draw McGraw Show,” and got in a little description about its operations at the time.

    There’s no mention of series in development or future plans; the studio would announce “The Flagstones” in about six weeks.

    And the tail end of the article gives you an idea how popular Huck, Yogi and Mr. Jinks were with the non-kids in the audience.

    The Corner Bar Yields Some Devoted Fans of TV Cartoons

    United Press International
    The hero of a new TV Western series is a gun-slinging horse. His sidekick is a burro with a voice like Desi Arnaz’. “Quick Draw McGraw” is the latest cartoon creation of the fertile minds of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Quick Draw and the Mexican burro, Bobba Looey, this season joined the successful TV cartoon family begun in 1957 by the Hanna-Barbera outfit. Their characters have names like Ruff and Reddy, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Pixie and Dixie, Snooper and Blabber (they’re a cat and mouse private eye team) and Augie and Doggie (a father-son canine pair).
    The success of the cartoons, now syndicated to 189 TV stations, was not easy to come by. Hanna and Barbera, who turned cut some 200 “Tom and Jerry” movie cartoons, were told that costs would be too high to permit making weekly cartoon series for TV. “We thought it could be done,” Barbera said. “We knew it could not be done on a movie cartoon budget, though. So we planned short cuts. “The biggest financial saving came by our reducing the number of drawings. We have taken away about 80 per cent of the drawings made for movie cartoons of comparable length.
    "We use only the essential movements — only what we need to show the action. We use closeups—on the obvious theory that a head will have fewer lines than an entire body. And we let the audience use its imagination.”
    The viewer imagination is stimulated into figuring cut what’s happening from time to time in any H-B cartoon. This saves drawings and money and also gives the viewer a little mental exercise — something not often associated with TV fare.
    Hanna cited a fight as an example.

    “We’ll use the off stage sounds of a struggle,” he said, “and then we’ll show the effects of it. It’s perfectly clear what has happened.”
    The cartoons are made for Screen Gems, the Columbia Studios TV subsidiary. The staff totals about 150 persons—animators, inkers, cameramen, writers and office personnel.
    “The open door policy prevails at our shop,” Hanna said.
    “Joe and I have our desks across from each other—as we have for 20 years of making cartoons. If someone wants to come in and discuss something, he comes in. We’ve minimized the memo. We’ve also outlawed the timeclock.”
    Barbera said using parody and imposing human-like situations on animal groups are two of the main devices used in their TV cartoons.
    Viewers can see without too much trouble who or what is being kidded gently in H-B cartoons—and this season it’s TV westerns and private eyes.
    “This makes it possible for our stuff to be enjoyed by adults as well as children,” Barbera said. “And we know adults are in our audience, because a friend told us there’s a bar in Seattle (Wash.) with a sign over the TV set. It’s brought out during our shows.”
    The sign reads:
    “No loud talking. No tinkling of glasses.
    “We are watching Huckleberry Hound.”

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – La Verne Harding, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Lew Marshall, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Mr Jinks, Dixie – Daws Butler; Pixie – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961.
    Episode: Production E-171.
    Plot: Pixie and Dixie try to scare Jinks out of his new mansion.

    Jinks inherits a run-down, empty old mansion from a widow no one has heard of and decides to desert the meeces, who ignore the rejection and scare Jinks back into their happy home. The End.

    You know, there isn’t much more to say about this cartoon. It’s not full of witty responses by Mr. Jinks to his spooky predicament. Warren Foster doesn’t seem to be as inspired by the orange house cat as much as he was by a blue hound dog, who comments with ridiculous appropriateness about his situation. Foster could have probably included a scene in about the joyful meece happy to be rid of the cat but then find life dull and plot to bring him back (a kind of reverse of “Lend Lease Meece”). However he spends so much time with the opening scene at the door when the mail arrives there’s no time. And, of course, the Hanna-Barbera animation had started to get so stiff by the fourth season of “The Huckleberry Hound Show;” there are none of the takes like the kind we saw in the first season to enliven the proceedings.

    Maybe the most interesting things in the cartoon are some of Dick Thomas’ backgrounds. Well, actually, my favourite part is the smiling, bug-eyed bats.

    Thomas went for textured clouds, too.

    La Verne Harding is the credited animator. Below, you can see her angular Jinks (and meeces with their eyes wide apart), a weird little run by Pixie where he’s bent over at 90 degrees with arms hanging down, and an outline of Dixie as he runs out of the scene, very much like Brad Case.

    Favourite line? Foster pulls off an almost Cole Porter-like rhyme: “This feline is making a bee-line immediately.” And Jinks butchers a word:

    Jinks: I do not subscribe to silly stupid-stitions like ghosts and goblins and spooks, or, uh, any of those figments made of, like, uh, ectoplastic.

    Greg Watson or whoever was cutting for him dredges up all kinds of Flintstones music in this cartoon. The minor key not-yet-Flintstones theme is played when Jinks is at the entrance to the mansion, and “Bridge” when Jinks is on the ground until the end of the cartoon. “And That’s the Story” is heard when Jinks is walking away from the meece and they plot to get him out of the mansion. Hoyt Curtin had a pretty good collection of creepy cues, including some with a solo organ.

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  • 03/26/14--07:52: Wave Goodbye, Yogi
  • A few of the earliest Yogi Bear cartoons didn’t involve rangers, pic-a-nic baskets and non-stop hey-hey-hey-HEY dialogue. Joe Barbera, Charlie Shows and Dan Gordon combined on a spot-gag format which, frankly, I wish had not been abandoned. One of the spot-gaggers was “Baffled Bear” (1958).

    And in some of the earliest cartoons, Mike Lah was assigned to animate two or three scenes. One of them was in “Baffled Bear.” The expressions are not as outrageous as some in his other cartoons, but they’re effective because you know exactly what Yogi’s thinking, even though he says nothing.

    Yogi invents a balloon-o-copter to get across a busy freeway. It works.

    Oh, wait. It doesn’t work. Yogi winces when the balloons break, and keeps looking up at the balloons and then at us, back and forth. It’s a really clever use of limited animation. There aren’t many drawings but the combination of Yogi moving his head combined with the moving background drawing of the sky makes it appear lots is happening. Simple drawings, but they work.

    Finally, the last balloon breaks. In a Wile E. Coyote-esque moment, Yogi turns to the camera and waves goodbye. Here it is in an endless cycle.

    Yogi drops. Ken Muse animated most of this cartoon. He’d never draw Yogi with an open little mouth like this.

    My personal preference would be for some Tex Avery-like takes—Lah, as you likely know, animated for Avery for a number of years—and he drew a few in other cartoons, but there’s nothing wrong with the simpler approach.

    Lah didn’t stay at Hanna-Barbera long. He opened Cinema Ad in 1958 then moved on to Quartet Films a few years later. It’s too bad because his take on the Flintstones would have been interesting (and probably very off-model).

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Edwin Parks, Layout – Jim Carmichael, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Tony Benedict, Story Director – John Freeman, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Huckleberry Hound – Daws Butler; Narrator, Scrubby President, Customer, Butch – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Huck, the Scrubby Brush Man, tried to sell a brush to a recalcitrant would-be customer.

    The Hanna-Barbera studio kept adding cartoons to its drawing boards and had to keep adding staff as a result. So in Huckleberry Hound’s 1961-62 season (his last with new cartoons), we start to see new names in the credits replacing Ed Love, Ken Muse and others who were moved over to the prime time “Flintstones” and “Top Cat.”

    Ed Parks was an animation veteran. He was born on August 25, 1915 in Waterbury, Connecticut, where he grew up. He and his widowed mother arrived in Los Angeles in the mid to late 30s; the 1940 Census lists him as a cartoonist. An inside reference is made to him in the 1949 Goofy cartoon “Tennis Racket.” Parks left Disney in 1961 during/after production of “1001 Dalmations” and spent the rest of his career at Hanna-Barbera, working on pretty much everything the studio produced over the next 15 years. “The Scrubby Brush Man” was either his first or second cartoon for H-B. Parks died on January 31, 1999. You can read more about him HERE.

    Among layout artist Jim Carmichael’s stops in animation was Columbia’s Screen Gems studio. During the war, he was employed at the Combat Intelligence Section at Air Force HQ. And writer Tony Benedict had just arrived from UPA. He took over writing most of the Hucks from Warren Foster, who was busy with “The Flintstones,” and rightfully decided Huck would be perfect to drop into a send-up of Fuller Brush door-to-door salesmen. The cartoon has a quick set up before getting into a string of Huck-fails-to-sell-a-brush-to-an-angry-guy gags. Huck, as usual, comments to us on each failure before moving on.

    The set-up: no Scrubby Brush salesman has ever returned from, let alone made a sale in, the 13th District, so the boss sends for super-salesman Huck. He’s not considered a dolt by management in this cartoon.

    Huck: Howdy, Pres. You wanna buy one of our new brushes? You can have it at half-price, what with you bein’ the boss and all.
    President: That’s what I like, Huck. Always pitching.

    Huck arrives at a house owned by a guy who clearly doesn’t want to be bothered. Here are the gags:

    ● Huck tries subliminal advertising by chanting a “buy” suggestion outside a window, then ducking out of sight when the guy inside turns around. But the guy catches Huck and slams the window on his snout.
    ● Huck sings a commercial jingle through the window on a bullhorn. The guy punches Huck in the head right through the bullhorn. “Some folks don’t know good music when it hits them right smack-dab in the face,” Huck tells us.
    ● Huck uses a remote camera to hook into the guy’s TV set to give a commercial. The guy punches the screen and his fist comes through the camera and hits Huck in the face. “It’s gettin’ so the commercials have commercials,” growls the guy. Huck decides the customer “has had enough softenin’ up.”
    ● He ignores signs like “Salesman Go Home” (“Sure signs of weak sales resistance,” Huck opines to us) and rings the doorbell. When the guy answers, Huck observes “I see you have one of our products in your hand there.” The guy bashes Huck on the head with the huge brush. “That’s what we call in the trade ‘the brush off’,” Huck chuckles.

    ● Huck puts his foot in the door. We hear a chomp. A bulldog clamps on Huck’s leg, runs into the yard and buries him.
    ● Trying to win the customer’s confidence, Huck gives him a gift of colog-nee. The guy gives Huck a gift. “I think I know what it is on account of it’s tickin’.” Kaboom! “How about that. I was right. A home-made bomb. You get to know all the tricks after awhile.
    ● A crash helmet doesn’t stop Huck from being crushed by a chest of drawers dropped on top of him from the second storey of the house.

    ● The best gag is an old one but it’s still funny. Huck knocks on the back door. The door opens and crashes him against the side of the house. Huck tries knocking from the other side. The door opens the other way and crashes him against the other side of the house. “How about that? A two-way door.”

    Huck now returns to headquarters. The anxious president wants to know about the sale. It turns out Huck sold a back brush to himself because he needed it. The boss faints. “Hmm. I guess he just couldn’t stand success.” The next five seconds is filled with music and Huck turning to and from the audience to fill the cartoon’s allotted time.

    Ah, yes, Hoyt Curtin’s music. We get urgent “Top Cat” music when Huck saunters to the 13th District through the television punch scene. The odd thing is he’s sings ‘Clementine’ during part of the time. The music doesn’t work. Either play ‘Clementine’ in the background or let Daws Butler sing a capella. Later, Huck sings a jingle to the ‘Clementine’ music and the “Top Cat” music is playing. More “Top Cat” music follows during the brush bash scene. The gift exchange scene has a cue used in several series of that era but without the melody line. It should be mentioned Curtin never gave formal names to any of his cues; what names we have here were, I suspect, given to the cues by the late Earl Kress when he was assembling the Pic-a-nic Basket Hanna-Barbera music set for Rhino Records a number of years ago.

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    For the first time in a long time, the Hanna-Barbera “Kellogg’s” characters get together in one of the Sunday comics as we look back at 50 years ago this month. Attempts to do this sort of thing on TV in the 1970s never worked for me for a variety of reasons. But in this comic, at least, the situation isn’t contrived, and it makes sense for the characters to be together. That’s even though Quick Draw McGraw belongs in a nether-world that is sort of the Old West but isn’t.

    I again apologise for the lousy quality of these comics but they’re the best I can find on the internet.

    The April 5th plot is imaginative, if nothing else. I like the galloping beavers in the last panel. There’s a lot of content in the panel but the composition is such that it’s not cluttered. And there’s perspective, too.

    Did Ranger Smith ever get as emotional on TV as he did in the first panel of the April 12th comic? In his first appearances, he had a quiet annoyance. Pretty good expression on Yogi, too.

    Sorry, I have trouble believing Yogi’s so stupid, he doesn’t know what a fossilised skeleton is. This is from April 19th.

    I don’t see Snooper in the April 26th comic, but Blabber’s there. We get Huck, the meeces, Mr. Jinks, Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, Quick Draw and Baba Looey, Snagglepuss, Chopper, Yakky and Hokey Wolf. Oh, and Boo Boo, Cindy and Ranger Smith. And three silhouette piles of characters.

    Click on each comic to enlarge.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – John Boersma, Layout – Walt Clinton, Backgrounds – Fernando Montealegre, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Lew Marshall, Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, J. Richley Richley – Daws Butler; Hazel – Jean Vander Pyl; Grimes, Circus Barker – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Snooper finds a millionaire’s butler is shrinking himself to steal gems.

    Mike Maltese puts together some variations on some of his old favourites in this story. There were several cartoons featuring fleas and a couple involving gems thieves. “Flea For All” (1960-61 season) combined the two. And there were a couple of Quick Draw cartoons where the bad guy declared he was off for “jolly fun” or a “jolly time.” Well, the bad guy does the same thing here. So what we get is a bunch of teeny flea-like silhouettes fighting with regular-sized objects in a regular-sized world—like below.

    Except the flea-like silhouettes are Snooper, Blabber and the bad guy.

    There’s no office door with an eyeball on its window, no Duffy’s Tavern-like opening rhyme from Snoop when he answers the phone in this cartoon. He and Blab are riding a bike. Their car has been repossessed. They must still have an office as Hazel, their secretary, is yelling at them (their phone is disconnected) about a job. Monty is the background artist in this cartoon; I like his trees in the opening scene.

    So off they go to the mansion of J. Richley Richley, with Blab doing his “sireen” impression. “Try not to look hungry, Blab,” Snoop advises. Richley answers the doorbell. “That must be those two-bit private eyes,” he grumbles in an English accent that sounds somewhat like James Mason. “All the good ones are out of town.” Here’s part of a background of the Richley mansion.

    “You sent for us, I take it? Or we wouldn’t be here, would we?” asks Blab, who’s a dullard in this one. Richley suspects his butler, Grimes, is stealing his gems, even though Snooper assures him “the only times the butler did it is in those old, old movies on the late, late show.” Here’s a pan of the fabulous gem collection.

    So our heroes pose as window washers to keep an eye on Grimes, “even though this ain’t the Late, Late Show.” In the next scene, Snooper spots a clue; “something we missed before.” Well, it was pretty easy to miss it as it wasn’t on the background drawing above—footprints getting smaller and leading into a mouse hole. “Hark, as they say,” remarks Blab, and the scene cuts to Grimes drinking some kind of potion to shrink so that he can get under the door of the vault to steal another gem and run into the mouse hole with it for safe keeping. “Soon, I’ll have the ‘hole ruddy lot. Then it’s me to the Orkney Islands for a jolly time,” exclaims Grimes.

    “Okay, Blab, go after him,” orders Snoop, handing the bottle of potion to Blabber. “You’re askin’ me to drink that stuff, Snoop?” “Socially, I would ask you. But, officially, it’s an order.” So Blab drinks the stuff and shrinks. Don’t ask why it is Blab is a mouse but he has to shrink to be able to fit through a mouse hole. Anyway, Grimes has a gun that he can somehow lift despite his extremely small size. In fact he’s about the third the size of Blabber but when the fight scenes take place, the two (and Snooper, who has shrunk himself to come to the rescue) are all the same size.

    “Stop in the name of the Private Eye Institute Fife and Drum Corps,” yells Snoop. There’s a fight scene with the characters in little silhouettes. Snooper is tossed into a fish bowl (with water but no fish) by Grimes who tries to grab the potion to grow back to full size. Wait. The potion makes you shrink AND grow? How? Oh, well. Best not to ask. Blabber stops Grimes from reaching it by knocking him out with a golf ball in a perfectly swung drive. But then booby Blab throws the bottle of potion through the window. They can’t grow back. And when Snooper and Blabber try to collect their $50,000 reward (Grimes is now taller than Blabber), Richley thinks they’re fleas and tries to kill them with a fly-swatter. Snooper, Blabber and Grimes retreat under the door.

    The potion won’t wear off for six weeks. So they do the only thing they can. Become an act in a flea circus, with Blab somersaulting in the air between Grimes and Snooper. “It was either this or go to the dogs,” exclaims Snoop. Blab gets the pun and snickers as the iris closes to end the cartoon. You’ll notice a sign says “Fink’s Flea Circus.” No doubt Maltese recalled years earlier in vaudeville there was a popular act called Fink’s Mules that toured for decades.

    Hoyt Curtin’s music works well here. The cutter uses a jaunty little march during the scene at Richley’s door. There’s also a version of “Man on the Flying Trapeze” when the circus barker is shilling that was used in a number of H-B cartoons about this time. You’ll recognise the “hurry” music from “Top Cat” during the fight scene.

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  • 04/09/14--02:07: 3-D House of Huck
  • It was the 1960s. We had a View-Master. Who didn’t?

    There were slides depicting the Taj Mahal and other sites around the world. But there were cartoons, too. Only they weren’t really cartoons because they had a weird 3-D effect. Okay, it seems that’s what animated cartoons are today, but let’s not get into that here.

    We’ve posted a couple of these pictures here before. A nice guy named Dom Giansante has collected a bunch of Hanna-Barbera View-Master slides, some from his own collection I gather, and we pass them on as a public service. The Yogi ones are really neat.

    Seeing them now reminds me of the old George Pal Puppetoons. It might have been interesting to make a little Huck film in stop-motion, but it would have felt an awful lot different. No run cycles in front of a repeating background, for one thing. And then there’s that thing called “cost” that Bill Hanna used to go on about a lot. Ah, well. We have a few old View-Master frames—and our imaginations—to give us a bit of an idea of what it might have been like.

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  • 04/12/14--06:38: Yogi Bear — Acrobatty Bear
  • Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera, Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Bob Bentley, Layout – Dan Noonan, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Colonel – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ringmaster – Don Messick; Cindy Bear – Julie Bennett.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Yogi joins the circus to be near Cindy Bear.

    As a kid, I liked watching Yogi Bear outwit Ranger Smith. And I thought it was funny hearing him mispronounce “filet mignon”—even I knew it was wrong—then seeing him getting kicked out of France. And I laughed watching him getting chased around by a dog who would only say “Yowp.”

    But a love story? What kid wants to see that? Especially in a cartoon. I sure didn’t.

    Yet Hanna-Barbera thought I and millions of others did. The studio dug into this cartoon, lifted the ideas of a Yogi-Cindy relationship, the circus, and the evil ringmaster, added the snickering dog concept from the Huck cartoons, sprinkled in a few songs and mixed it all into a feature film.

    Gak!! Let parents watch that tedious relationship stuff and on their own time. I want to see Yogi running over sleeping-bagged campers on a motor scooter.

    And worse still, said me-as-a-kid, Cindy isn’t even interested in him in this cartoon. First, she liked his handstand. Now, she doesn’t. She walked away from him. Why is Yogi wasting his time with her? If someone doesn’t like you, don’t you ignore them and hang out with someone else?

    Little did I know that not too many years later, I would see guys make complete asses out of themselves over uninterested or fickle women. Obviously, little boys are smarter than adults.

    So it is with such childhood baggage that I look again at this cartoon some five decades later.

    Actually, writer Warren Foster reused a couple of his early Yogi plots in this cartoon. In “Love Bugged Bear” the previous season, Yogi put up with physical abuse by a girl bear because he was love-struck and was rewarded by having her run off with another bear. And in “The Biggest Show-Off on Earth,” Yogi joins the circus thinking he’s a star, but gets mistreated during his act and finally decides to quit and go back to Jellystone Park.

    Journeyman Bob Bentley animated this cartoon. Schlesinger, Fleischer, MGM, Lantz, UPA, he had worked at all those studios. I’m probably missing some (yes, I know, he worked elsewhere after Hanna-Barbera) . In this one, he emulates Mike Lah’s animation at H-B a few years earlier and has characters speaking without a jaw. Just a mouth moves. Here are some examples. Cindy has a black mouth line but only red lips animate and they don’t stay attached to the line all the time.

    You’ll notice above that Boo Boo has a string around his bow tie and that Cindy’s fingers are crooked all over the place. Bentley has his characters in an advanced state of arthritis in various portions of the cartoon. The fingers don’t twiddle, like they would if Carlo Vinci were animating.

    And another example of how animators didn’t work straight ahead. These are consecutive frames. Yogi isn’t even close to being in the same place, let alone position.

    The cartoon opens with Yogi and Boo Boo watching a circus caravan with a truck that has a fender that keeps changing color.

    They notice one of the trucks is marked with Cindy Bear’s name. Yogi is “still carrying a torch” for Cindy. You can tell by looking into his eyes. Yogi decides to jump onto the caravan and reunite with Cindy, even though Boo Boo warns “the ranger said you’re not supposed to leave the park.” Ranger Smith isn’t in this cartoon; this is the last cartoon where he wouldn’t make an appearance.

    The next scene’s in the future. Yogi’s looking for Cindy in the circus. He gets crushed by the huge hand of Colosso the Gorilla. Southern belle Cindy appears; romantic Southern belles appeared on network radio in the ‘40s, especially Shirley Mitchell on “The Great Gildersleeve” and Veola Vonn on a number of shows (Jack Benny’s being one). She’s not interested in Yogi. He doesn’t take the hint. Meanwhile, the Southern Colonel circus owner and sadistic ringmaster (layout man Dan Noonan has designed him like Norton South and other bad guys who had appeared on Quick Draw McGraw cartoons) need someone to take Charlie’s place (“Good old Charlie,” they say, placing their hats on their hearts in remembrance of their late lion tamer) and hire Yogi, who thinks being in the circus will win Cindy’s heart. Don’t do it, Yogi! You’re wasting your time! Ah, bears never listen to little boys yelling at the TV.

    The evil ringmaster whips Yogi when the bear sits down in the chair he’s supposed to use to learn how to fend off lions, though the ringmaster never explains that it’s all part of a potentially-deadly lion-taming act. There’s a really nice drawing of Yogi yelling that could have been used for the basis of a take. Instead of holding it and widening it, or doing a Vinci-like vibration, it’s on screen for two frames and that’s it. The opportunity for a take is wasted. Instead we get an inside joke. Yogi: “As Quick Draw McGraw says, ‘ooh, that smarts’!” But instead of Yogi objecting to the abuse, he simply takes it. And nowhere before the end of the cartoon does the bad guy get punished for his behaviour.

    Finally, the show goes on, but not before Yogi gives us an Ed Sullivan reference and refers to it as “The Shoe.” We get some Yogi rhymes: “That Cindy’s great on a roller skate” and “Don’t look so forlorn, a star is born.” Wait a minute. Yogi passes the ringmaster. But then the ringmaster’s at the door of the lion cage to let him in. How could that happen?

    The rest of the cartoon involves Nero the lion chasing Yogi all around the circus (“That’s my cue to skidoo”; “I ask you, what else could I do?”), but the audience loves it. They think it’s part of the act. Seems to me that’s a hoary old cartoon plot. Cindy praises Yogi. Finally the bear wises up and makes fun of her, basically telling her he could have been killed trying to impress her. He runs back to Jellystone, with the lion chasing right behind him. He grabs Boo Boo, slams the door shut and the two hide under the covers to end the cartoon.

    Cindy returns later in the season, including in another cartoon where she’s willing to give her momentary affections to whichever bear hands her the most material goods. Tell her to stick her shallowness and capriciousness, Yogi! Ah, but he won’t. We kids are smarter than the smarter-than-the-average bear, it would appear.

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  • 04/16/14--07:05: A Variety of Stories
  • Hanna-Barbera was once the largest producer of TV animation. Thanks originally to the popularity of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Mr Jinks (and the meeces), the studio grew gradually and steadily as it added more and more cartoons to its assembly line.

    In some ways, it’s difficult to determine who actually started with the studio when Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera helped incorporate H-B Enterprises in July 1957. There are no credits on any of the Ruff and Reddy cartoons that began airing the following December. Dick Bickenbach told historian Mike Barrier than he was working on R & R the final week he was at the MGM studio, and we know Charlie Shows wrote them.

    However, after “The Huckleberry Hound Show” began airing in September 1958, and as the studio began developing more productions,
    Variety has some short squibs about additions to the studio staff. Some of the names are a little surprising as they never appeared on the credits of any cartoons at the time.

    As well, Variety announced a number of H-B projects that didn’t come to fruition. Let’s pass on what we’ve been able to uncover. Some stories are incomplete due to a full access of Variety’s archives. I’m somewhat disappointed none have those rhyming headlines the paper was known for, like “Stix Get Fix of Pix.” The closest we get is a reference to the King of Rhyming Cartoon Dialogue, Charlie Shows. So don’t frown, clown. (Hmm. Charlie’s becoming infectious).

    January 20, 1958
    George Sidney's Cartoonery Making Blurbs for MGM-TV
    H&B Productions, cartoon outfit formed less than eight months ago by George Sidney in partnership with William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, who previously produced "Tom and Jerry" animated series for Metro, already is expanding its operations, Sidney reported over weekend.
    Sidney, who prexies company which now has a staff of 25, drawn from Metro cartoonery when Culver lot shuttered its cartoon activities, said that he will use a cartoon sequence in his Columbia re-lease, "Pepe," starring Cantinflas, along lines animated action was used some years ago in Metro's "Anchors Aweigh," which he directed.
    SG Company, Sidney disclosed, [is] already is doing tv commercials for Metro, as well as program of cartoons for Screen Gems, "The Ruff and Reddy Show," now on NBC-TV Saturday mornings, under sponsorship of General Foods. Total of 52 segments have been completed for SG. While H-B deal with SG includes these 52 subjects only, talks already have started with the Columbia tv subsid for another series. Outfit last week launched production of 78 segments for a new program.
    The "Ruff and Reddy" series was made in color, according to Sidney, with a view to linking a number of segments together for theatrical release in Europe later as a cartoon feature. Feature cartoon production already is being actively planned by the three partners, who are weighing the possibilities of three different properties. It's expected company will have this initial feature ready for release in early 1960. Industrial and medical cartoon films likewise are planned, Sidney stated. [remainder of the story involves Pepé]

    January 22, 1958
    Sidney-Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Operation Now Employs 25, Expanding
    After less than eight months of operation, H& B Productions, cartoonery formed by George Sidney in partnership with William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, is expanding is operations. Hanna and Barbera formerly produced the Tom and Jerry Animated cartoons for Metro. H& B Productions staff now numbers 25, drawn from the Metro cartoonery when the Culver lot ended animation.
    Sidney, who is prexy of the firm, reported that he will use a cartoon sequence in "Pepe," his upcoming Columbia film starring Cantinflas. Sequence will be inserted along lines of animated action used in Metro's "Anchors Aweigh," which Sidney directed. H& B now is doing commercials for Metro, as well as for Schlitz, S & H Green Stamps, Junket and others. In addition, it is doing a program of cartoons for Screen Gems, "The Ruff and Reddy Show," which started televising five weeks ago over NBC-TV every Saturday morning, 9-9:30 a. m., under sponsorship of General Foods. Total of 52 segments have been completed for SG. While H-B deals with SG includes these 52 subjects only, talks already have started with Columbia subsid for a further series. Outfit last week launched production on 78 segments for a new program. The "Ruff and Ready" series was made in color, according to Sidney, with a view to linking [story in Weekly Variety carries on as Daily Variety story above].

    October 22, 1958
    Sidney Mulls Mex Cartoonery for TV
    George Sidney, prexy of H&B Productions Cartoonery, is considering opening a cartoon studio in Mexico City for production of cartoon programs made exclusively for Latin American television market. Producer leaves for Mexico soon to discuss project and has skedded [meetings?] with co-producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbara on future plans of company, which currently is Aiming "Ruff and Reddy" and "Huckleberry Hound" in association with Screen Gems.

    December 4, 1958
    Maltese Story Head of Hanna-Barbera Prod'ns
    Mike Maltese has been named to head Hanna and Barbara Productions' new story department. The company produces the animated "Ruff and Reddy" and "Huckleberry Hound" tv series. Maltese was with Warner Bros.' cartoon production department for past 22 years.

    December 11, 1958
    Vidfilms Using Live Action, Cartoon Technique
    Milt Rosen will write half-hour pilot teleplay of a projected scheduled cartoon-and-live action [missing word] for Hanna and Barbara Productions. H-B currently produces "Ruff and Reddy" and "Huckleberry Hound" for Screen Gems. Producers say the new series would have a novel format, and decline to discuss how it will be put together.

    December 24, 1958
    Hanna-Barbera Expands
    Announced expansion of Hanna and Barbera Productions is being activated with lease of the first floor of the Cinema Research Bldg. for the cartoon studio's camera department. Frank Paiker is in charge of the new setup

    February 3, 1959
    Barbera Talking Jap Cartoon Co-Prod'n
    Deal is in negotiations for co-production pact between Hanna and Barbera Productions and Interlingual International, of Tokyo, for filming of cartoons for Japanese market. Project would [remainder of story unavailable]

    February 16, 1959
    Hanna, Barbera Sign Lipscott, Bob Fisher
    Alan Lipscott and Bob Fisher will develop and write a new half-hour animated cartoon series for Hanna and Barbera Productions, to be distributed by Screen Gems. Signing of the writers is part of H & B Company's plans to expand its story department to have established writers working with animators on cartoon series for tv.

    March 18, 1959
    Robert Carr, previously with Walt Disney, joined Hanna and Barbera Productions' animation dept.

    March 24, 1959
    Alex Lovy Joins H-B
    Alex Lovy, formerly with Walter Lantz cartoonery, where he was director on the Woody Woodpecker series, has joined Hanna and Barbara Productions as a director of cartoons.

    April 8, 1959
    Animators Dick Lundy and Gerard Baldwin have joined Hanna and Barbera Productions as animators on "Huckleberry Hound" and "Ruff and Reddy." Lundy moves over from La Brea Productions, and Baldwin from Sutherland Studios.

    April 15, 1959
    Hanna-Barbera Expands
    Three new additions to the staff of Hanna and Barbera's cartoonery were announced yesterday. They are Warren Foster to the story department, and Paul Fennel as assistant cartoon director, and George Nicholas as animator.

    April 23rd, 1959
    H-B Adds Animators
    Don Patterson, Bob Bentley and Chick Otterstrom have joined Hanna & Barbera cartoonery as animators as part of the outfit's continued expansion.

    July 28, 1959
    Harmon Names Fennell A.P. For Vid Cartoons
    Paul J. Fennell has been signed as associate producer on Larry Harmon's "Bozo, the Clown" and "Tintin" telecartoon series now in production at California Studios. For the past four months, he has been a director on Hanna and Barbera's several animated series being produced for Screen Gems. Within the Harmon org, he will function in conjunction with Charles Shows, associate [remainder of story missing].

    November 9, 1959
    Honolulu H-B Office
    Hanna and Barbera Productions are opening a branch office in Honolulu. Joseph Barbera, veepee of the company, recently returned from a two-week trek to the islands and revealed that arrangements are underway for the space by William Hanna, partner to Barbera, now in Honolulu.

    December 9, 1959
    Hanna & Barbera Near Closing Cartoonery Deal With Columbia Pics
    Hanna & Barbera will be the exclusive theatrical "cartoon producers for Columbia under a contract now nearing the signing stage, according to company officials Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. H-B thus takes over the spot held by UPA Pictures, whose option Col did not renew earlier this year.
    The company, formed under the presidency of director George Sidney out of the inactivation of Metro's cartoon department, is now grossing an estimated $ 2,000,000 per year and has nearly tripled its staff (35 or 40 at Metro) since its formation in July, 1957.
    Hanna and Barbera pointed out that the theatrical cartoon chore - the first they've undertaken since becoming an indie will not cause a staff increase since the 10 "Loopy de Loop" (a French wolf) cartoons for Col will be made during the slack season of their tv operation (Oct.-Dec). H-B now makes three weekly half-hour television cartoon series distributed via Screen Gems, Col vidsubsid.
    Under the theatrical pact, Col will have exclusive call on H-B's theatrical product and will retain annual options for five years;- so the deal's to be mutually exclusive. On the boards is still another half-hour weekly cartoon teleseries, a situation comedy for adults.
    "We've actually turned out in one year more footage than we did at Metro in 20 years," said Bill Hanna. "We used to make eight ' Tom & Jerry's' (about 7 mins. each) a year. Last year we averaged five cartoons a week." Speedup's explained in large part, of course, by the elimination of "inbetweening," i. e., detail. H-B calls it "planned animation." [remainder of story unavailable]

    December 30, 1959
    Animated Situation Comedy To ABC-TV
    ABC-TV has bought "The Flagstones," first half-hour situation comedy to be produced in animation, as a night time program next fall. Series created by Hanna-Barbera Productions for Screen Gems deals with modern civilization against a pre-historic background.

    August 10, 1960
    H-B Promotes Lovy
    Alex Lovy, for the past two years story director on various Hanna-Barbera shows, has been promoted to associate producer on all H-B product. Lovy will function in this capacity on "Huckleberry Hound,""Quick Draw McGraw," and ["Ruff and Reddy"?]

    If you thought Mike Maltese and Warren Foster left Warners Bros. and arrived at Hanna-Barbera at the same time, it’s not true. Variety reported on November 14, 1957 that Foster had signed a contract with the John Sutherland studio. Maltese didn’t leave Warners for another 12 months.

    How long the team of Lipscott and Fisher were at H-B is unknown. The same year the two signed a deal to write 12 episodes of “Bachelor Father” and four of the Dennis O’Keefe show, developed a pilot called “Hong Kong Collect” while Lipscott, who wrote for Milton Berle on radio in the ‘30s, tried to get someone to buy his “Mishmash in Never-Never Land” concept.

    Milt Rosen was a radio and TV writer who also penned a bunch of books. I imagine if Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were serious about a live action/animation series, the cost would have put it out of the question. Of course, they later accomplished it in the latter part of the 1960s with the Gene Kelly “Jack and the Beanstalk” special (1967) and “The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1968).

    Chic Otterstrom and Paul Fennell likely never appeared on the credits at the studio that year. Otterstrom had spent the 1940s animating at the Screen Gems studio (the name was appropriated for Columbia’s TV endeavours after getting out of the animation business). Fennell went back to the early ‘30s (Chuck Jones was his assistant animator) and directed for Cartoon Films in the ‘40s before opening his own company. Apparently, anecdotes abound about his time working for Filmation many years later.

    A number of names are missing (Ed Love’s, for example), so Variety didn’t report on every arrival. La Verne Harding’s name appeared on a number of cartoons in the 1959-60 season. The trade paper mentions on June 18th she would be animating “Hickory, Dickory and Doc” at Walter Lantz. And it seems animators bounced around a lot. An August 19, 1960 Variety piece lists new staffers hired by Animation Associates (who made “Q.T. Hush”) and includes John Freeman, Clarke Mallory, Don Williams, Ed Aardal and Virgil Ross, all of whom made shorts for H-B around that time (the company was co-owned by John Boersma, who also ended up at Hanna-Barbera).

    The studio got extremely busy. The publicised numbers—197 cartoons were scheduled for the 1959-60 season (Variety, January 28, 1959) and 39 hours of animation a year (Variety, August 13, 1959). And with “The Flintstones” soon to air, it got even busier.

    One other note before we leave Variety behind.

    December 18, 1958
    ‘Hound’ Comic Book
    Harry Eisenberg will illustrate and write copy for Dell Publications’ comic book based on Hanna-Barbera’s “Huckleberry Hound” teleseries.

    Too bad the great Harvey Eisenberg got miscredited.

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  • 04/19/14--07:14: Augie Doggie — Dough-Nutty
  • Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – C.L. Hartman, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Lew Marshall, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Augie Doggie – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy, Lefty Louie – Doug Young.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Augie puts a counterfeiter through a bunch of stunts.

    This cartoon’s an unusual one because the focus is neither on Augie Doggie or Doggie Daddy. In fact, Daddy takes a seat and occasionally comments to us about the cartoon while the action carries on. And Augie’s morality is a little odd. It’s okay to be a counterfeiter and pass counterfeit bills to your dad, but think you’re a “law-abiding son?” Can Augie be that brain-dead? So it is the counterfeiting Augie holds the counterfeiting Lefty Louie for police.

    Since Dear Old Dad doesn’t have much to do outside the first and last scenes, Doug Young uses his screen time to play Louie in what seems to be his version of the Slapsie Maxie voice.

    The animator in this cartoon was Clarence Lafayette Hartman, Jr. C.L. was born in Ft. Worth, Texas on March 20, 1916 to Clarence and Cecile (Moorehead) Hartman. His father was, and this is odd, a musician with the Crazy Well Water Co. out of Mineral Wells. By 1930, the family was in Kansas City where the elderly Hartman was a musician on KMBC, the CBS station. Young C.L. had two years of college before beginning his career as a commercial artist in Chicago. He was already in animation by 1939 (and at a low rung; he worked half the year and made $700). Hartman enlisted in the military in July 1941 (6’ 3” and 204 pounds);
    Daily Variety of Dec. 15th that year reveals he was working for Walt Disney. An interesting internet find is one of a number of Christmas cards he designed while a member of the Signal Corps Photographic Center on Long Island.

    Where Hartman spent much of his time after the war is unclear; he did book covers and some commercial animation, landing at UPA by 1954 and then working for the Larry Harmon studio before moving to Hanna-Barbara. He also animated for Creston (the former TV Spots) on “Calvin and the Colonel” and his name turns up on the Grantray-Lawrence Spiderman cartoons, among other places. Hartman died in Los Angeles in June 26, 1985.

    Now, back to our cartoon.

    Mike Maltese has set up the story pretty well (despite the aforementioned criminal ignorance). Augie asks Daddy what’s the one thing he wants most that costs lots and lots of money. “A new car. The diffiry-ential is interferin’ with the carbul-lulator.” Lefty Louie shows up with a gun to get his money-making machine back from Augie, who asks if the reward for his capture will pay for a couple of new cars. It will. So Augie hides the machine and won’t tell Lefty where it is. “Ya better humour him, Lefty,” says Dad. “I’ve seen dat stubborn look of his before.” Stubborn? What? Augie’s grinning and looking the other way. C.L. apparently wasn’t paying attention to the dialogue. Anyway, Augie tells Lefty he has to play “circus” to get it back. “Don’t go away, folks,” Daddy advises us. “This could be interestin’.”

    That takes up the whole first half of the cartoon. C.L. hasn’t had to do very much. Even during walk cycles, the characters’ bodies remain rigid. Mainly, he’s drawn mouth movements, head jerks, the ubiquitous eye blinks and an arm going up and down. The animation’s extremely basic and looks like it belongs in the crappy TV Popeyes that Hartman, Cal Dalton and others worked on for Larry Harmon. The one exception is when Daddy turns around. The body pretty much has to move. The drawings are on twos.

    The cartoon now turns into one of those stunt cartoons that Maltese liked using in this series, the type where Daddy fails at a series of stunts he reluctantly attempts to try to please Augie, “Treasure Jest” and “Tee Vee or Not Tee Vee” among them. In fact, he used the circus stunt concept with “Big Top Pop.” (You could put the lineage all the way back to “Bear Feat,” one of the Three Bears cartoons Maltese wrote for Chuck Jones at Warners). The gags:

    ● As the “Great Divo,” Lefty dives 100 feet into a tub or water. Whoops. No water. Daddy adds the water. C.L. draws characters’ mouths either open wide or talking way up into their snout.
    ● A high-wire act goes fine until Lefty keeps wheeling his unicycle off the wire and into the air. Gravity kicks in.

    Cut to a shot of Daddy in a make-shift stand, enjoying a pop and a hot dog. Hmm. Angular tree foliage? Scratchy line for grass? Must be a Dick Thomas background.

    ● As Captain Pyrite, Lefty emulates Robin Hood Daffy and crashes his trapeze into a tree.
    ● As Speed Wizard, Lefty rides a motorcycle at 100 miles an hour into a brick wall. Maltese wrote a couple of Quick Draw cartoons where a character cracks into little pieces after a smash, like in a Tex Avery cartoon. But that’s evidently out of Bill Hanna’s budget now, so just the bike falls into pieces.
    ● One more act. Lefty is Claude Riches, the lion tamer. Yes, Augie has a lion in a cage in his back yard. Don’t ask how. We don’t see the attack. We see almost three seconds of a shot of the outside of the cage. We see about four seconds of a shot of the inside of the cage. Then we see another almost two seconds of the outside of the cage. No animation. Not even a violent camera shake. Just a drawing, Doug Young yelling, the roar of a lion and Hoyt Curtin’s music. Hanna must have been overjoyed at the money saved.

    In what was already an old cartoon routine (Warners, Lantz, lord knows who else), Lefty demands the police arrest him to get away from the abuse.

    The cartoon ends with Doggie Daddy driving a huge car with a small one as a spare tied onto the trunk. It’s similar to a gag at the outset of Yogi’s “The Runaway Bear” (1959), written by Joe Barbera and Charlie Shows.

    Familiar Curtin music from “Touché Turtle,” “Loopy De Loop” and other cartoons around that time has been put underneath the action. It includes two different circus fanfares and ends with a familiar xylophone chase.

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    Someone at Hanna-Barbera was sure fixated on mastodons/mammoths/elephants 50 years ago this month, as one or the other is in three of the four Flintstone Sunday comics. The drawings of all of them are very funny.

    I’ve been unable to find a version with all three rows for April 26th.

    April 5, 1964.

    April 12, 1964.

    April 19, 1964.

    April 26, 1964.

    Please click on any of the comics to enlarge them.

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  • 04/24/14--07:10: Check Your Local Listings
  • Let’s look at some TV ads for some Hanna-Barbera shows.

    Ruff and Reddy debuted on December 14, 1957, but this ad is from 1959. Aren’t those great little cartoon characters? (In the ad, I mean). Saturday mornings then weren’t whole blocks of cartoons, mainly because Hanna-Barbera hadn’t begun churning out series after series to sell to the networks. So some stations bought cartoons (or other programming) from syndicators to air before the network came on. This station in Buffalo chose to run formerly silent cartoons with endless numbers of mice in the morning.

    “People Are Funny” was how television demeaned people before reality shows and Maury Povich came into being.

    Yogi Bear got his own show in the early part of 1961. This Buffalo station was among the among the 150 or so on the “Kellogg’s Network,” where Kellogg bought a half hour Monday through Friday and aired Huck, Quick Draw, Woody Woodpecker and whatever else it had purchased with the characters pushing cereal in between cartoons. The Yogi Sunday comic gets a plug, too.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve posted this before, but I like this ad. Complete with stock shots.

    This came from Fred Grandinetti. Must be after 1961, judging by Tracy and Magoo.

    The Hanna-Barbera shorts went from funny to pleasant with occasional moments. But the TV Magoos were never funny. As I kid I wondered who was behind that awful UPA studio and why that Abe Levitow guy was allowed to make cartoons. Today, you can look up UPA and Levitow’s background on the internet. In the ‘60s, we were left in ignorance. It’s unfortunate a lot of very good people made very bad cartoons due to the restraints of television.

    “The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour” is outside the scope of the blog, but I include it as a curiosity. I never saw this show. That’s understandable because it wasn’t on the air very long. It debuted April 14, 1978 and the last show was May 11th (with guests Tom Bosley, Connie Stevens and the Sylvers) before being replaced by reruns of “CHiPS.” It aired on NBC opposite “Welcome Back, Kotter” and “What’s Happening” on ABC. It came about when Joe Barbera became infected with Disneyitis, a disease which compels you to expand from mere cartoons into longer, live-action programming. Considering the crushing restrictions by networks on cartoon stories back then, it may not have been a bad idea on paper, but TV variety was pretty moth-eaten by 1978.

    The network must have pushed the show for a bit because I’ve found several box ads in newspapers for it. One for the premiere reads:

    An all-star line-up of guests has been set for the premiere of the unique comedy-variety series, “The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour,” Thursday, 8-9 p.m. Robert Conrad (star of NBC-TV’s “Black Sheep Squadron”), Melissa Sue Anderson (on NBC-TV’s “Little House on the Prairie”), Linda Lavin (star of CBS-TV’s “Alice”), Leif Garrett (recording star with the hit song “Put Your Head on My Shoulder”), Peter Lupus (of TV’s “Mission Impossible”), and Hanna Barbera’s lovable Yogi Bear are the guests. The hosts are nearly human, almost life-size adult puppets, Honey and Sis, who dance and sing and think they can perform just about anything their guests do. Honey and Sis audition for a condescending Melissa Sue Anderson, who portrays the director of a musical whose leading lady is a no show. Linda Lavin wants no part of either of the puppets when she sings “Gone at Last.” One of the regular features of the series is the “Truth Tub”—a hot tub in which the show’s stars relax. In the series opener, the truth is that the tub is not big enough for all the stars. Another regular feature of the series is the “Disco of Life,” in which Honey and Sis spotlight people interacting at a disco.

    Can’t you hear the laugh track guffawing uncontrollably?

    Another show featured Gary Burghoff, Twiggy and Tony Randall. Maybe. One paper complained the network couldn’t straighten out who was appearing and kept sending revised lists. Anson Williams, Charo and Gavin MacLeod appeared on another show, with Anson and the two puppets spoofing “Three’s Company” with the side-splitting names of “Kissy”, “Jaynut” and “Jacky.” I’ll take “The Muppet Show” on another channel, thanks. You can read about “Honey’s” experience on the show HERE.

    Well, let’s end with something much more fun. William Wray, who you likely know from “Ren and Stimpy,” has this drawing in his collection and posted it on the internet.

    Someone may know if this was drawn by Dick Bickenbach, but it sure is attractive.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey; Layout – Paul Sommer; Backgrounds – Vera Hanson; Written by Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Quick Draw McGraw, Baba Looey, Sheriff – Daws Butler; Old Injun Fighter, Cactus Cecil, Bank Teller, Villain – Don Messick; Lily Belle, Paperboy – Jean Vander Pyl.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Cactus Cecil tricks El Kabong into letting him rob a bank.
    Note: Howard Fein has identified the animator in this cartoon as Lew Marshall. I thought Marshall was a Story Director by this time but the animation doesn’t look like Lokey’s.

    Everyone thinks of “Death Valley Days” as being hosted by Ronald Reagan. Fair enough because, after all, he was later President of the United States and you can’t get a much higher profile than that. But, when the show arrived on TV in 1952, the story-teller was The Old Ranger, who appeared at the beginning of the show to introduce “another interesting true story.” In “El Kabong Was Wrong,” writer Mike Maltese borrows that concept, and the cartoon is narrated by The Old Injun Fighter, who takes the audience into his confidence throughout.

    That’s the only new gimmick in this cartoon. It features familiar-looking incidental characters and the Maltese staples—catchphrases, an incorrect costume change, Baba lipping off Quick Draw and backtracking, ridiculous echoing dialogue, lots of kabongging—but it all adds up to a funny cartoon, despite the familiarity.

    The bad guy in this tale is Cactus Cecil, “the meanest, toughest hombre that ever slapped leather or robbed a bank” the Old Injun Fighter tells us. Cut to Cecil in a bank where he repeats the line. But nothing could be further from the truth. Cecil is puny, has a meek voice and absolutely no one pays attention to him, including the bank teller, who sings to himself about Cactus Nell instead. “Do I get the money or must I count to ten?” Cecil asks. He’s completely ignored. “If I count to 127, will you give me the loot?” he pathetically asks. The sheriff grabs him and tells him to go play outside. “Oh, pshaw!” cries Cecil in frustration, which he does periodically during the cartoon.

    Now the Old Injun Fighter introduces another scene. There’s the typical caped melodrama villain with Don Messick’s Norton South voice and Lily Belle, who has the same design and costume as Texas Tillie in “Gun Shy Gal” the previous season. He wants her to marry up with him so he can steal her ranch legally. She cries for El Kabong. You know what happens next. After being kabongged, the bad guy makes a run for it. “San Francisco, open up your golden gate,” he yells.

    “Extry, extry! El Kabong runs villain,” yells a paperboy. Pan to Cactus Cecil holding his gun at the boy. “I’ll take a paper, boy. Of course, this is a stick up.” The paperboy doesn’t even give him any respect. “The price is still a nickel,” the kid tells the would-be robber. “Take it or leave it.” Another “Oh, pshaw!” from Cactus Cecil and it’s a fade into the next scene.

    Cecil reads a classified ad in the paper from El Kabong offering his services to females in distress. That gives him an idea. He puts on a dress and a wig to masquerade as a “helpless-appearing little old lady.” He robs the bank. “Come back here with that money, you helpless-appearin’ little old lady,” yells the bank teller in pursuit. He cries for help from El Kabong. “That sounds like a helpless-appearing little old lady in distress,” remarks Baba. “Undisturb yourself, helpless-appearing little old lady,” says Quick Draw, who vanishes to return as El Kabong—after first appearing as a kid on a tricycle. And just as Cecil hoped, El Kabong kabongs the bank teller. “I don’t know how to thank you, Mr. Kabong,” says the disguised Cecil. “Oh, shucks, m’am, uh, just knit me a holster.”

    The teller has a lump on his head as he brings in the sheriff. “I don’t believe it,” says the sheriff. “El Kabong has turned outlaw and took up with that helpless-appearin’ little old lady who is really Cactus Cecil in disguise.” “You just scurry off on your helpless-appearing little old legs,” Quick Draw tells Cecil, and yells “Hold on thar!” at the sheriff, who shoots him in the hoof. “Oooh, that does that ever smart,” says Quick Draw. He had “I’ll do the thin’in’ around here” earlier in the cartoon, so Maltese fit in all the catchphrases.

    The sheriff clues in El Kabong about the identity of the helpless-appearing little old lady and threatens him with the El Kaboose if he doesn’t get the money back. “There’s nothin’ I hate worse than bein’ in jail,” says Quick Draw after he kabongs Cecil and runs off with the sack of cash. Maltese has a quick series of little gags here. Cecil chops a huge redwood (in the middle of the Western desert?) onto Quick Draw, then uses scissors to snip his rope. Fortunately, the sheriff breaks the fall of our plummeting hero. The sheriff’s had enough. “‘Don’t go west,’ my mother said. ‘You’ll get hurt,’ she said. Bu would I listen? No, not me. You was right, mom. Your boy is a-comin’ home.” But it turns out Cecil isn’t free to run away. In a familiar ending, Baba Looey’s hiding in the bag of money and makes the arrest. “Oh, phsaw!” we hear for a final time.

    So it’s time for the Old Injun Fighter to wrap up today’s programme. But he’s got a surprise guest—El Kabong and Baba Looey. He asks Quick Draw to explain how he goofed. The old guy gets kabonged instead. “If there’s anythin’ I cain’t stand, it’s an Old Indian Fighter tattle-tale,” says the annoyed Quick Draw. Baba adds a superfluous and not funny line because, well, Baba has to end every cartoon by saying something.

    Maltese’s song lyrics for the bank teller:

    I’ll never forget the day I fell for Cactus Nell.
    Sitting on a thumb tack made me tall in the saddle.
    Oh, I won’t be at the roundup, Nelly, because I’m such a square.

    And for Quick Draw:

    Oh, I’m a lonesome cowboy
    Because the girls don’t like my face.

    As for the real music, Hoyt Curtin’s western clip-clop opens the cartoon. An up-tempo piano/xylophone version of “The Arkansas Traveller” accompanies the villain trying to force Lily Belle to marry him. The Flintstones’ “Bridge” is heard as the villain gets away from El Kabong, while the minor-key flute melody line of the Flintstone theme is used under the newspaper scene. And part of the Wally Gator xylophone running music shows up when the disguised Cecil tries to get away with the money. And the cutter found a use for the Dixieland version of “That’s Quick Draw McGraw” during the chase scene. The only Curtin music that isn’t familiar is a Latin-flavour cue when the sheriff has to explain to Quick Draw who the helpless-appearing little old lady is.

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    “If we hadn’t have had Daws, there may not even have been a Hanna-Barbera,” said a man who should know. The statement was made by Bill Hanna.

    Hanna’s right. Who else could have brought all those wonderful early Hanna-Barbera characters to life other than Daws Butler? And made them friendly and fun? There were still plenty of great radio actors around in the 1950s but I can’t picture any of them doing it.

    Daws was interviewed by newspapers over the years—especially when the TV cartoons started reeking of nostalgia—but was finally given his due with a TV special in 1987 called “Daws Butler—Voice Magician.” As of this writing, someone has uploaded it on a video sharing site and we hope it’s still there. But we’ve managed to clip his comments about the main Hanna-Barbera TV characters he voiced and you can listen to them below.








    In the interview portion, Daws speaks about Tex Avery giving him a job in cartoons at MGM. His first cartoon for Avery was “Out-Foxed,” released on November 5, 1949. Daily Variety of December 15, 1947 mentions it as one of 14 Metro cartoons in various stages of production, so it’s safe to assume Daws recorded the voice track for it around that time (he uses a Ronald Colman-style voice for the fox). Whether that was his first cartoon is unclear. Keith Scott has identified Daws’ voice in Columbia’s “Short Snorts on Sports,” released June 3, 1948. Daily Variety reported on November 16, 1946 the studio was about to close (the building was empty by the following August), so that gives you an idea when his first cartoon work was. Anything you read on-line (especially in make-up-the-information-yourself data sites) claiming he worked in cartoons any earlier is pure misinformation. Daws was in the Navy during the war and never stepped foot in California until after he got out of the service and got married.

    A couple of other notes about Daws’ early voices:

    ● Mr. Jinks sounds very much like a voice that Stan Freberg used on records and radio. As Daws and Freberg worked on many projects together in the ‘50s, it’s conceivable Daws lifted the voice from him.
    ● Baba Looey’s register was lower and delivery a little flatter in the first few Quick Draw McGraw cartoons. Either Joe Barbera (who voice directed the early cartoons) or Daws decided to raise the voice and make him sound younger (and, therefore, cuter and more attractive).
    ● Blabber Mouse may have had a “toothy” sound, but that was courtesy of Elliot Field, the Los Angeles afternoon radio disc jockey who originated the voice. Daws took over the character after four cartoons when Mr. Field left the studio.
    Radio-TV Daily reported in 1963 on a $500,000 lawsuit by Bert Lahr against Kellogg’s, Screen Gems and Hanna-Barbera because the Daws’ Lahr-inspired Snagglepuss was appearing in commercials for Cocoa Krispies. Lahr’s litigiousness actually predates any cartoon mountain lions. The Spokane Spokesman-Review of June 12, 1962 reveals Lahr brought suit in federal court in late 1958 because voices like his were being used in commercials. After being sent to a lower court for jury trial and then to appeal court, Lahr was told in 1962 he could sue for damages. The cartoon character, in that case, was a duck hawking Lestoil. (Daws likely didn’t voice the character as the spot was produced by Robert Lawrence in New York).

    Joe Barbera once said that Daws Butler was more than a voice actor, he helped develop the studio’s characters. There may have been a Hanna-Barbera without him, but it wouldn’t have been the same.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – John Boersma, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Lew Marshall, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Pixie, Tabu – Don Messick; Dixie, Mr Jinks – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1962.
    Plot: Tabu the Indian mouse arrives to help Pixie and Dixie deal with Mr. Jinks.

    No, Hadji on “Jonny Quest” was not the first person to utter the words “(Sim) Sim Sala Bim” in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Tabu the Bombay Mouse did it in this cartoon. But writer Warren Foster didn’t invent the phrase. Go to to this web site to learn more.

    I feel sorry for Mr. Jinks in this cartoon. All he’s doing is napping. He’s not bothering anyone. Suddenly, some mouse on a flying carpet invades his house without asking and levitates him onto a tree branch. Who’s this Tabu guy to start picking on him for no reason? And what’s with the meeces? They egg on Tabu (“He’s always imposin’ on us,” says Pixie) but then object to how he’s punishing Jinks (“Mr. Jinks is our friend,” says Dixie). Make up your minds, meeces.

    Mind you, Pixie and Dixie aren’t exactly blessed with university educations in this one. When Tabu enters their mouse hole, he explains he’s an Indian mouse. “Indian mouse?!” exclaims the incredulous Pixie. “Indians have feathers and do war dances,” adds Dixie. Apparently, the turban and Don Messick’s accent didn’t clue them in that Tabu is from the real India. So Tabu does it for them. “Did you ever hear of Bombay?” asks Tabu. “Bombay?” repeats Pixie. “Oh, sure,” says Dixie. “Any friend of Bombay’s is a friend of ours’.”

    Fortunately, Mr. Jinks gets snappier things to say than this. When Jinks sees the turbaned Tabu, he asks “And who is this with the headache?” Jinks is warned Tabu knows all the secrets of India. “India, huh? Well, uh, I want no meece-type United Nations started here.” And after Tabu turns him into a cow: “I have a funny feeling that,uh, I would enjoy munching on, like, grass, repulsive as it sounds. I think I will go out in the yard and, like, chew my cud. Whatever that is.”

    Tony Rivera’s design for Jinks as a cow is pretty funny (note that Dick Thomas’ painting on the wall is of a desert).

    John Boersma’s animation is really odd in spots. Below, you see that it looks like Tabu and his flying carpet land on Jinks’ head. But Jinks moves his head (while snoring) and the carpet stays put.

    Boersma has a halting, side-step cycle for Tabu when he enters the mouse hole. Eight drawings. What makes it halting is a drawing is photographed, the background is moved slightly, the drawing is photographed again, then the background remains stationary and the next drawing is photographed. The process is repeated for each drawing.

    Later in the scene, Tabu begins to put Pixie and Dixie in a trance. You’d think he’d aim his arms at them, or something. Instead he lifts them into the air like he’s pushing something skyward. The gesture doesn’t make sense. And he’s not even saying magic words. Why are the meece under a spell?

    Anyway, the rest of the cartoon carries on. Jinks is levitated out the window and onto a tree branch by Tabu. A neat little Hammond organ march by Hoyt Curtin is played in the background; I don’t know how often it was used in cartoons. Boersma draws Jinks with a wide mouth but with a longer upper lip line than Carlo Vinci. Still, Jinks looks pretty attractive. Hmm. Angular tree foliage? Scratchy line for grass? Must be a Dick Thomas background.

    Jinks confronts Tabu, who climbs a rope and disappears (“Anything that makes a meece disappear, I am, like, all for,” exclaims Jinks). Another example of long shots not matching medium-close shots (sorry for the non-animation terminology, you animators reading here). Here are consecutive frames.

    Song references:

    Pixie: “Tabu’s turnin’ on his brain power.”
    Dixie: “His old black magic will have him in his spell.”

    That’s when Jinks is turned into a cow. To turn him back, the meece have to say the magic words “Shaboom, shaboom.”

    Tabu says “I think I go back to Bombay and forget trying to be helpful.” Hey, Tabu, I thought someone “sent” you. Aren’t they going to be annoyed that you bailed on your assignment? And when were you helpful? You showed up uninvited and performed magic on poor Jinks that nobody wanted. Good riddance, you Hadji-wannabe.

    Foster has some cute dialogue in the next scene, when the meece are talking to Jinks in the yard.

    Pixie: Hi, Jinksie.
    Jinks: Hi, uh, fellers. Uh, y’want some grass? Be my guest, like.
    Pixie: We came to help ya, Jinks.
    Jinks: Help? Like, uh, who needs help?
    Dixie: You do, Jinks. You’re a cow.
    Jinks: I know it. But, I was tryin’ to make the best of it. I despises people who are always, like, you know, complaining.

    Boersma draws a great floppy mouth on Jinks in the dialogue close-up. Jinks is changed back to a cat. To end the gag, he pulls a piece of grass out of his mouth. Not surprisingly, he chases the meece back into the hole. Inexplicably, he does it hopping like a kangaroo, complete with old MGM sound effects. Why? He’s never done it before. I guess someone thought it was funny.

    Tabu left his rope behind. Jinks manages gets it to point into the air, he climbs it and then disappears. No magic words or spells. So much for Tabu’s “power.” It was all in the rope. Pixie and Dixie quickly grab the rope so they can raid the ice box. No, they don’t tie to a door handle to open it. It seems Jinksie can’t reappear unless the rope’s around. Or something. Anyway, Pixie and Dixie chow down on cheese and the invisible Jinks wails his catchphrase as the meeces laugh. Hey, meeces, I thought you told Tabu that Jinks was your “friend.” Is that how friends treat other friends? Ah, well. Cartoon’s over. I guess we’ll have to find out next week.

    Hoyt Curtin’s spooky organ makes an appearance. There’s also a recorder cue that starts off with “The Streets of Cairo” (the snake-charming song) that Curtin takes off in another direction. The minor-key version of the Flintstones melody shows up when Pixie and Dixie tell Tabu that Jinks will be a problem. There’s some other Flintstones music here, like at the start of the living room scene with the three mice and Jinks.

    One last note: there’s way too much writing on the title card. It takes up the entire top half. I understand H-B was showing off its new script logo, but the card would look better without it and the rest of the text moved up. And you’ll notice the mouse on the card is grey when he’s brown in the cartoon.

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