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Stuff about early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

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    A perhaps-familiar little friend rejoined the land of Yogi Bear 50 years ago this month in the pages of newspapers subscribing to the McNaught Syndicate’s version of cartoondom’s favourite pilfering bruin. And there’s a not-so-subtle plug for the Yogi Bear movie.

    I think I’ve asked this before, but does anyone know the origin of the nuts-equals-Napoleon gag? Was it based on something that happened in real life? Winsor McCay used it in one of his intricate Sunday Rarebit newspaper cartoons before World War One. Here it is in the May 3, 1964 Yogi comic. Nice balance on the bear in the opening panel. Remarkable, isn’t it, that the tourists would know Yogi by name? Well, then again, he’d been on TV since 1958.

    Whaaa? Vandalising Ranger Smith’s home? Yogi’s kind of getting destructive, isn’t he? The May 10th comic is a far cry from purloining a sandwich from a basket like on TV. You can’t see them all that well but Yogi’s got a nice ranger of expressions. My suggestion would be to check out Mark Kausler’s site for full-colour versions of the bottom two rows of this month’s comics.

    Look! It’s Li’l Tom Tom! No, we don’t mean the rapper (and there must be a rapper somewhere named Li’l Tom Tom). We mean the little native American boy who appeared in the early Yogi cartoon “The Brave Little Brave” (1958). Hanna-Barbera had high hopes for him; Li’l Tom Tom dolls were even manufactured. But the mute little boy didn’t really have any personality and was soon eclipsed by other H-B characters. His swan song was in a Hokey Wolf cartoon. But here he is brought out of cartoon retirement. I don’t know who wrote the story of the May 17th comic, but I like the idea the natives aren’t speaking in “Hollywood Indian.” “Bernard” and “Hildagarde” is a real stretch for a rhyme. If this had been a 1930s cartoon, Bernie would have been a Jewish Indian. Some nice Harvey Eisenberg silhouettes here. Note the wind-up record player.

    The best part of the May 24th comic may be Boo Boo’s dry sense of humour in the opening panel. It surfaced maybe a couple of times on the TV cartoons. Yet another chubby-cheeked Boy Scout. The final panel is well laid out.

    Unfortunately this tabloid copy is the best version I can find. The tabloids always took out one of the small panels, and one is missing in this comic. It shows Boo Boo standing in front of a rock, looking up and saying “...There’s just one thing...” before the next panel asking about the Fan Club.

    What’s that? You can hear Daws Butler’s Phil Silvers voice out of the big agent? Silvers’ Sergeant Bilko would appreciate the audacity of Hanna-Barbera giving free advertising to its feature-length movie in its own comic. This May 31st comic came just after the official preview of the movie. The folks at Weekly Variety wrote, in part, on May 27, 1964:

    Columbia Pictures will explore a new location Saturday ( 30) for a press junket for one of its upcoming releases—one chosen to make the film's leading man feel at home. Taking off from here Decoration Day, a planeload of press, radio and tv reps will head for Yellowstone National Park...
    The mayor of Salt Lake City will accompany the fourth estaters to the habitat of the fictional bear who is central figure of the animated feature. Agenda calls for flight to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in a chartered Martin 202, transferring to buses for Yellowstone with a lunch at Old Faithful preceding screening of the - Hanna-Barbera animated feature, plus stage show with performers enacting characters from the film. World premiere of "Hey There" is scheduled for here on June 3.

    The same issue of Weekly Variety reviewed the feature, calling it a “Marketable hot weather cartoon feature for the moppet mart. Will have to buck its own freevee competition.” (On another page, the paper announced “The Jetsons” would be on CBS’ Saturday morning schedule).

    Back the comic: it’s hard to make out, but the word “Zoom!” is on the bottom of the last panel as Yogi brings out his bags and goes Hollywood.

    Okay, now a little bonus. In honour of the appearance of Li’l Tom Tom, here is one of the two music cues used in “The Brave Little Brave.” I haven’t been able to locate the first one, which is maddening, but this is the one played when the panicky rabbit is talking to Yogi, and during the daring rescue of the little boy before he goes over the falls. It’s from Capitol Hi-Q reel M-13. It’s a little chewed up but listenable.


    What? You want more music? Okay, here’s the rest of the reel. All are by Spencer Moore. None of these cues were used in cartoons.






    As usual, you can click on any of the comics to make it larger.

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  • 05/08/14--07:19: Cartoons Live On Location
  • Television stations, apparently, couldn’t just rely on kids to turn on the set and watch cartoons on their own. They went out and advertised their shows.

    I was leafing through 54-year-old copies of Sponsor magazine the other day (this gives you an indication of what my life is like), and found some items related to our favourite TV cartoons.

    TV stars made personal appearances, so you’d find Wild Bill Hickok hired to open a supermarket or the Cisco Kid in a parade. Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear were no different, except a drawing couldn’t very well walk around in public. So people dressed as Hanna-Barbera characters were available for the asking, sometimes in conjunction with stores that sold H-B merchandise or TV stations that broadcast their cartoons. The TV stations promoted their promotions in Sponsor.

    While Yogi appeared in the cartoon “Rah Rah Bear” (1959) about the Chicago Bears football team, he also had a baseball connection. And I don’t mean with the name Yogi Berra. Check out Yogi’s appearance to the right. Yogi must have inspired his fellow bruins as they beat the Nashville Vols 12-1 on a seven-hitter by left-hander Bob Allen that night (April 17, 1960). That put the team in a first-place tie in the Southern Association. Alas, the Bears ended the year in seventh place and dumped their manager along the way.

    Besides special events, TV stations took out full-page ads. Here’s one that’s interesting, considering that Taft Broadcasting bought Hanna-Barbera about a dozen years later.

    That one’s clearly aiming for the college group; Huck was huge on campus when he debuted in 1958. This ad is part of the large “Huckleberry Hound for President” campaign that appeared everywhere except on the TV show. But a TV station jumped on the bandwagon. It was published on October 10, 1960.

    KGLO, Mason City, Iowa crowed in the September 19, 1960 edition of Sponsor that it telecast a live political convention campaigning for Huck, viewers got bumper stickers and car window signs pushing Huck and a ballot sheet of 4,000 signatures stretching 1½ city blocks was filled with presidential endorsements. You can read more about the presidential campaign in this post.

    Sponsor stated in its edition of October 17, 1960 that “The Flintstones” had received a mixed reception from critics, but not with audiences. On its debut week, the prime time cartoon earned a 19.5 rating and a 37.7% share, beating all other shows in its time slot. Below, you can see what one ABC affiliate did to promote the Modern Stone Age family. Apparently the Flintmobile was out of service, so it had to settle for an antique car. It’s a good thing the cartoon was new because no one today would ever mistake these two for Fred and Wilma.

    In fact, mentions of “The Flintstones” found their way into ABC-TV ad copy, pushing it as a success story (and a reason to buy the network’s time). Sponsor, in an article, partly credited the cartoon characters plugging Winstons during the show. Is it any wonder other networks jumped on the idea of prime-time cartoons the following year, one starring this man:

    The ad from Sponsor shows you Stang couldn’t have been hurting too much for cash when he auditioned for the role of Top Cat the following year.

    The public appearances did more than plug some TV cartoons. They were part of a multi-million-dollar business. Witness this article in Weekly Variety of December 21, 1960. The photo is yet another from Sponsor.

    Estimate $ 40,000,000 Merchandise Gross on ‘Huckleberry Hound’ in ‘60
    Huckleberry Hound, the realized gold fantasy of Hanna-Barbera and Screen Gems, is due to expand his personal appearances in ‘61 to include “live” tv dates. Currently being prepped are two “live” act promotions for local telecasting. Bulletin sent out to stations alerting them of the development brought 20 affirmative responses within a week.
    In one of the promotions, Huck will be accompanied by Yogi Bear and his new girlfriend, Cindy Bear. In the other, he’ll be accompanied by Quick Draw McGraw and his sidekick, Baba Looie.
    Ed Justin, SG merchandising manager, plans to schedule the air dates in coordination with promotional appearances at major department stores.
    Those department store tie-ins are of no small consequence. It’s estimated that in ‘60 the Huck line of merchandise grosses about $ 40,000,000 on the retail level. Usual licensing arrangement calls for a 5% royalty for use of characters by the manufacturer, the 6% taken at the wholesale level. If $ 20,000,000 is estimated for the wholesale gross of the Huck line, Hanna-Barbera cartoonery and SG will share about $ 1,000,000 in royalties in ‘60.
    The Cindy Bear and Baba Looie costumes, now being completed, will be new to the p. a. trail.
    During ‘60, costumes for Huck, Yogi and Quick Draw made well over 150 promotional appearances at department stores and at major local events such as college football games and parades. In addition, last summer an attraction starring Huck and Yogi, with Eddie Alberian as emcee, put in appearances at fairs and amusement parks.

    A hound, a bear and some prehistoric humans had turned into enormous cash cows. 54 years later, the latter two still are today.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – George Goepper, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Huckleberry Hound – Daws Butler; Narrator, Neighbour, Dog, Eel, Swallow – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Prehistoric Huck tries to capture a dinosaur.

    “The Flintstones” was about life in the Stone Age, but within the context of mid-20th Century suburbia. This Hanna-Barbera cartoon doesn’t transpose modern existence (1961-style) onto cave-dwelling times so the humour is a bit different. So, no, you won’t see wooden cars with granite rollers for wheels or a mastodon’s snout spraying dishes in the kitchen sink. That’s even though the title card features a silhouette of a dinosaur that looks like Dino (little feet, three hairs on head, bent end of tail).

    The cartoon really has two halves, the first with random gags built around the period and the last involving Huck’s hunt for a dinosaur. As usual, Huck makes wisecracks during the whole of the proceedings. His running commentary, combined with occasional sight gags, is what makes the cartoon amusing.

    After a pan over a Dick Thomas background with dino-characters moving in the foreground, Huck opens the cartoon with a chorus of “Clementine,” with the word “brontosaurus” tossed in the lyrics. He has a nice little chat with the narrator at the outset, who describes primitive life and how only someone “strong,” “fearless,” “cunning” and “rugged”—like Huck—could survive. Huck explains how he can survive in this wild, untamed world. “Why, shuckins, Narrator, there’s nothin’ to it, I mean, if you’ve got the know-how. Well, uh, when threatened by some fearless beast, you just got to know how to run like mad.”

    Cut to Huck’s dog (with sabre-teeth) burying a bone. Cut to a wide shot showing it’s a huge bone. Well, there are big dinosaurs out there, you know.

    The next routine involves the daily visit from Huck’s neighbour. Huck isn’t bothered by the fact the Cro-Magnon only comes over to club him. Foster gives him a great little speech as he dodges the growling oaf’s club.

    Huck: You notice how my friendly attitude pays off? I figure if you’ll be friendly with people, they’ll be friendly with you. They just cain’t help theirselves. My neighbour’s testin’ me to see if I’ll get riled up. But I won’t rile, because I believe the day is comin’ when the peoples of the world won’t fight each other no more. They’ll outlaw these terrible weapons. They’ll stop all the testin’ of spears. And the terrible bow and arrow will be controlled for peaceful use. I know that day is comin’. (Huck gets bashed on the head). But today is not the day.

    It’s a great little scene because you know Huck is going to get clobbered. You just don’t know when. And Foster and George Goepper have animation of the caveman bringing down his club like a hammer with appropriate wooden sound effects. But it’s not Huck being bashed. The camera cuts back to Huck fending off the savage’s club with his own.

    Huck’s sabre-tooth dog is hungry and bites Huck in the you-know-where. Huck pops him on the head. Another nice design by Tony Rivera. The dog responds by grabbing Huck’s club by the end and bashing Huck, head first, against the ground. Huck doesn’t let go of the club. “Since the dog is caveman’s best friend, you can imagine the trouble we have with the unfriendly animals around here,” he tells us.

    So Huck chats away to us as he hunts for a dinosaur. Along the way, he comes into contact with a huge eel. Look at the detail of Goepper’s drawing in close-up.

    Huck cracks the eel on the skull and it sinks gurgling into the water. The hunt is interrupted by a “swallow” which carries Huck away and drops him to the ground far below. Finally, he invents the first lasso, ropes the dinosaur, and is dragged by him along the ground as the beast runs away. Huck figures the creature will get tired and stop—in a few days. Then there’s a really abrupt sound edit job and Huck sings “Clementine,” er, “Dinosaur” as the Narrator ends the cartoon.

    Goepper has a bunch of funny, goofy expressions in this cartoon. George Washington Goepper was born in Santa Ana, California on February 22, 1909 to Julius A. and Harriet L. (Chapman) Goepper. His father had been a cigar maker. He was supporting his widowed mother when he started at Disney on June 1, 1933 as an in-betweener. Goepper became Norm Ferguson’s assistant and later animated for Jack Hannah. He worked on the Dance of the Hours segment in “Fantasia.” In World War Two, he served in the Photographic Science Lab, Art & Animation Div., USMAS. Anacostia. He left Disney and worked at Bob Clampett’s Snowball Productions (according to the late Fred Kopietz) before going to Hanna-Barbera. After retiring in 1970, he eventually taught animation at Orange Coast College. Goepper died on January 11, 1993. You can read a bit more about George HERE and HERE.

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    Some nice gag set-ups highlight the world of the Flintstones in the Sunday comics (Saturday in Canada) 50 years ago this month, though one story bothers me.

    In the May 17th comic (third below), Barney tricks Fred into putting himself in danger after Fred selflessly rescues him. Would Barney really do something like that?

    Four of the five of the comics centre around Fred; the one published May 3rd (first below) epitomises the jerk version of Fred we all came to love in the first season of the cartoon series.

    Pebbles was left out of the May 10th comic (second below). And there’s nothing like smoking volcanos (fourth below).

    Click on any comic to make it larger.

    May 3, 1964

    May 10, 1964

    May 17, 1964

    May 24, 1964

    May 31, 1964

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  • 05/15/14--07:29: Little Red Riding Lozzi
  • “Little Red Riding Huck” is a funny cartoon and it gets off to a nice start with an Art Lozzi background. Lozzi decided since the cartoon is a fairy tale spoof, it should have toadstools in it. Big ones.

    The background isn’t long compared to others used when characters run in front of it. But here it is snipped together in full.

    It takes Huck 16 frames to runs past the same tree on the left. He does it six times. His run cycle is four drawings, one per frame.

    The background is, unfortunately, only used at the start of the cartoon. Here are the next two of Lozzi’s backgrounds.

    Lozzi worked off layouts on this cartoon by Dick Bickenbach.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – La Verne Harding, Layout – Don Sheppard, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, J. Plentitude Pascuniak – Daws Butler; Foiled Bad Guy, Captain Zoom-Zoom, Human Fly Burglar, Newscaster – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Blabber pretends to be TV hero Captain Zoom-Zoom to capture the Human Fly Burglar.

    Boys and girls, when we last left Captain Zoom-Zoom, he had put Doggie Daddy in a predicament in “Fan Clubbed” (1959). He couldn’t come to Augie’s birthday party because he had a headache. Well, kids, Captain Zoom-Zoom is back for another cartoon adventure—and he still has that headache.

    Yes, writer Mike Maltese has brought back the space TV adventure show character but this time in a different series. He’s not only Augie’s favourite star, he’s Blabber’s, too. And just like Augie, he thinks what he’s seeing on the Captain Zoom-Zoom show is real.

    There’s a bit of irony here. Serialised adventure shows were a staple of late-afternoon programming in the early days of TV just as they had been on radio. By the time this cartoon rolled around, those kinds of shows were replaced with cartoons. So Augie and Blabber (not to mention Bugs Bunny and Popeye) helped kill off “Captain Video,” “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet,” “Space Patrol” and their comrades of the cosmos though, arguably, the format simply grew up and became “Star Trek” a few years later.

    Perhaps Maltese had some fondness for these types of shows because they were generally cheesy and low-budget, therefore ripe for parody. Perhaps not coincidentally, his caricature appeared as Captain Schmideo in the Warners cartoon “Rocket-bye Baby” (which he wrote).

    The best part of the cartoon is, as usual, Maltese’s dialogue, but there’s some artwork that’s pretty nice. The credits say Don Sheppard handled the layouts, meaning he likely designed the incidental characters and props. But the TV newscaster looks an awful lot like a Tony Rivera design—thick framed glasses and parallel jaw lines.

    Snooper and Blabber have a new kind of car in this one, compact with a high roof.

    Dick Thomas gets the background credit here. His work is far more elaborate than what he normally draws.

    Almost the entire first half takes place in the office of the Snooper Detective Agency. In this one, the private eye ball is on a window on the office door.

    Blab is watching Captain Zoom-Zoom on TV taking care of the Human Fly Burglar, and imitating the Captain’s “Fweep, fweep, fweep, fweep, fweep!” and bird-like arm flapping. Snooper is amazed at Blab’s gullibility in believing the show is real. Suddenly, there’s a news flash. A real human fly burglar has threatened to steal “the terribly-expensive Pascuniak sapphire.” Captain Zoom-Zoom vows to the newsman he’ll go after him. The phone rings. “Snooper Detective Agency. A small down-payment’s all you need to help us solve the case indeed” is the rhyming answer this episode. Guess who’s on the line.

    Snooper: Captain Zoom-Zoom? Uh, I thought you were out catching the human fly burglar. Quote: “Fweep, fweep.” Unquote.
    Zoom-Zoom: Are you kidding? I couldn’t catch a 12-pound bass if it was in a derby hat.

    So Snooper says takes the case for $50,000 (“Oh, for that kind of bucks money, I’d wrestle an octopus in Lacy’s window, with me hands tied behind my sacroiliac”). It’s his “boundin’ main duty” to make sure the Captain’s fans don’t become disenchanted. How? “Elementary school.” Blab dresses up as Captain Zoom-Zoom.

    “Stop in the name of Channel 32!” yells Snooper at the Human Fly Burglar, who is on his way up the side of a building to get to the Pascuniak penthouse and steal the “terribly expensive” (as everyone keeps calling it) sapphire. Blab finally captures him, but not until after giving the burglar and Pascuniak his autograph and shooting his ray gun (which shoots out a scroll promoting the Captain Zoom-Zoom TV show). Blab smashes the crook against the side of the building with a giant fly swatter.

    The wind-up scene has Blab again doting over Captain Zoom-Zoom, who brags about capturing the burglar “all by myself.” For a change, Snooper ends the cartoon, telling the audience: “Leave us face it. The real heroes aren’t all on TV.”

    Maltese now puts away his fweeps until the Wally Gator cartoon “False Alarm,” when a bird emits a fweep-fweep while avoiding getting captured.

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  • 05/21/14--07:28: Play With Huck
  • You remember “Concentration,” where contestants would match items hidden behind numbers to reveal parts of a puzzle. Well, Huckleberry Hound had his own version of “Concentration,” though it was a little less elaborate than Hugh Downs’ game show. It’s one of several Huck items from his heyday we’ll look at.

    You’ll have to click on the photo above to read the rules. These Ed-U-Cards were produced in 1961. Huck eating carrots?! Don’t tell the folks at Kellogg’s.

    Here’s the Huckle-Chuck game from Transogram (with three factories in the eastern U.S.) from 1961. It’s three games in one, though imaginative kids could have combined them if they wanted (and read the instructions). For reasons I don’t understand, the instructions keep referring to the character as Huckle-Chuck instead of Huckleberry Hound. The head moved, which made it more difficult for kids/adults/teenagers to throw a ring onto the corner of Huck’s hat. There’s a bean bag toss into Huck’s mouth and the self-explanatory target. If I recall, we’ve posted pictures of a similar Yogi game here. It’s not terribly sophisticated, but neither were kids in 1961. There’s an innocence to these games I really like.

    And below is a 1959 Milton Bradley game (produced in Canada by Somerville of London, Ontario). You can enlarge the photos to read the game instructions. Milton Bradley had a bunch of Hanna-Barbera board games. Quick Draw, Super Snooper and Yogi Bear all had games. Milton-Bradley came up with a different Huck board game years later, based on the cartoon “A Bully Dog.” The doggie desperado, as far as I know, wasn’t in any cartoons but I can somehow hear Don Messick’s growly voice coming out of him.

    It seems like there was an endless amount of stuff made in the wake of the success of Huck and Quick Draw. And the studio’s merchandising exploded even more when the Flintstones went on the air.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Bill Keil, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Yo-Yo Bear – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Consul, Tourist – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: A goodwill bear from Japan causes picnic basket mayhem at Jellystone Park.

    “An Okinawa bear, hmmm? I wonder what they’re like.” You and me both, Ranger Smith. Are bears indigenous to Okinawa? Maybe a bear swam over from Siberia once.

    The credited animator in this one is Bill Keil, yet another Disney veteran who arrived at Hanna-Barbera to work on “The Flintstones” first season. William Bond Keil was born in Pittsburgh on August 2, 1916 to William Frederick and Alice Jeanette (Bond) Keil. His father was a sheet metal worker. The family was in southern California after the middle ‘30s and Keil went to work for Uncle Walt. In 1939, Keil married Jeanne Lee, an inker at Disney. In between his Disney and H-B careers, he worked on Jack Kinney’s first TV Popeye cartoon, “Barbecue For Two.” Tom Sito’s book
    Drawing the Line mentioned Keil retired from Hanna-Barbera at the start of a strike in 1982. He was supervisor of animators at the time. He died in Los Angeles on August 29, 2003. (See the comment section; I’ve received several notes saying Don Williams animated this cartoon).

    The cartoon starts off with Ranger Smith on the phone to Sheldon. Was there a Sheldon at Hanna-Barbera then? Was he a buddy of Warren Foster? Or did Foster pull the name out of thin air? Anyway, the ranger breaks a lunch date because he’s got to receive the gift of an Okinawa bear named Yo-Yo from a Japanese official. Smith gives Yo-Yo freedom of the park. Yo-Yo parks himself in Yogi’s cave and sleeps. Yo-Yo’s not even on Yogi’s bed; he’s on the ground with a log for a pillow. But trespassing’s enough to bug Yogi who threatens to give Yo-Yo a fat lip. Here’s a short sequence of drawings. They’re all on twos.

    Yo-Yo responds by flipping Yogi. Here are some of the drawings. Notice that Yo-Yo brings Yogi’s arm up and down a couple of times but the drawings aren’t identical.

    The Ranger asks Yogi to treat Yo-Yo like a good-will ambassador, so Yogi gives him a picnic basket. Yo-Yo goes nuts, even eating the basket.

    15 picnic baskets stolen in an hour. Ranger Smith thinks it’s Yogi, so he puts on a disguise to catch him in the act. We catch a good look at one of the background drawings for almost eight seconds while the ranger chats to himself off camera (a sky colour that’s other than blue is unusual for Thomas). As we all know, the thief is Yo-Yo, who flips over Mr. Ranger and runs off with his basket. A ranger dragnet captures him (apparently, Jellystone only hires black-haired rangers with the same haircut), but Smith magnanimously listens to Yogi’s plea to let Yo-Yo go because he now knows the rules. Foster’s end gag is cute. Yogi explains how picnic baskets are a temptation to bears and battles to follow the rules are sometimes lost. The camera pulls back to see that Yogi is holding a picnic basket behind him so the ranger can’t see he’s stolen it.

    Here some more backgrounds. The front part of the cave entrance is on an overlay. The long one is complete.

    Hoyt Curtin wrote some specialty Japanese-sounding music, though I don’t know whether it was originally for this cartoon. Listening to the opening cue, you’d expect to see Fred and Barney driving somewhere.

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    This is kind of a Huckleberry Hound cartoon. Some time ago, Mark Christiansen posted individual drawings from a Huckleberry Hound flip book. You can see them RIGHT HERE. The drawings were taken from one of those little cartoons between the cartoons on the Huck show.

    Someone else ingeniously turned them into an animation GIF. Thanks to whoever was responsible. Here it is below.

    Mike Kazaleh has identified the animator responsible for the frames as Phil Duncan.

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  • 05/31/14--07:20: Augie Doggie — Ape to Z
  • Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson (credits from BCDB).
    Voice Cast: Doggie Daddy – Doug Young; Augie Doggie – Daws Butler; Radio announcer, Bongo Bongo – Don Messick.
    Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Jungle boy Augie brings home a gorilla from the zoo.

    Mike Maltese enjoyed odd words and phrases so it’s no wonder he found a place for “jackanapes” in a cartoon. If he used it at Warner Bros., I can’t recall, but it’s front-and-centre in the first act of “Ape and Z.” Appropriate, I suppose, as a “jackanapes,” at one time, referred to an ape or a monkey (if the internet is correct).

    This cartoon was apparently the first one aired in the final first-run season of the Augie Doggie series, but some of the storyline is like an old friend paying a visit. This is another “can-I-keep-him-dad/dad-is-reluctant” cartoon. Large, strong apes in Hanna-Barbera cartoons go back to Wee Willie in the first season of the Huckleberry Hound show. But to show you the difference between Hanna-Barbera in 1958 (with Joe Barbera and Charlie Shows writing) and Hanna-Barbera in 1961 (with Maltese writing), the “comic violence” of the early days has been replaced with words. Huck got bashed around a lot by Wee Willie. In this cartoon, Bongo Bongo opens a door on Doggie Daddy and throws him against a wall. Dear Old Dad remains uninjured for the remainder of the proceedings. And, as usual, dad gives in to Augie’s demand, tossing in an “After all” observation as he did in almost every cartoon.

    And the whole first scene may remind you of when Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck jumps back and forth, playing two characters talking to each other, somehow changing costumes between each jump.

    The animation isn’t anything to get excited about. I wondered if it was Dick Lundy assisted by Bob Carr, but the Big Cartoon Database says it’s Hicks Lokey. It certainly could be. Note the loops for closed eyes when Daddy’s snoring, with the grille of teeth in one drawing and little shovel mouth in another.

    An interesting little bit of animation when Augie stops himself under a typical Dick Thomas painting on the wall and tells us he hears the snarl of the wild and ferocious jackanapes. He squints with one eye, then the other, then back again. It’s kind of like he’s eyeing his prey. It’s better than just standing there and bobbing his nose in dialogue, like Lew Marshall would have done.

    There’s no attempt at stretching a character when he zips off stage, which happens frequently in this cartoon. Look at Augie. It’s like a regular drawing of him that’s partly off camera. It’s followed by swirl lines.

    There are places where the drawings wouldn’t have been out of place on a lightboard at Gamma Productions. Here’s one of a four-drawing chew cycle of Bongo Bongo, the ape.

    How about this ugly Augie?

    In this scene, it looks like Bongo Bongo is floating. Shouldn’t his feet be even with Doggie Daddy’s?

    Anyway, let’s get to the dialogue, which is usually the highlight of a Mike Maltese cartoon. Augie pretends to be a mighty hunter and the hunter’s gunboy, Ooga Ooga. Maltese makes fun of jungle pictures where natives speak broken English and some invented African dialect.

    Augie (as gunboy): Oh, Master. Wogga wogga, ooga ooga. Me chicken.

    Augie fits in “It is to laugh,” just like Bugs or Daffy in a Warners cartoon.

    Augie pretends Daddy is a jackanapes and shoots him with his cork pop gun (that’d never have been allowed on network TV within a few years). Daddy makes a run for it past the same two pictures ten times.

    Daddy: But, Augie what about the jackanapes? And, come to think of it, may I enquire as to what is a wild jackapes?
    Augie: Well, you know, it’s, uh, just an animal that’s eight feet tall. Which I just mortally wounded.
    Daddy: Heh, heh, heh. Well, you shouldn’t clutter the living room with jackanapes’ carcasses. Put him in the closet. It’s neater that way.

    In the next scene, Augie’s listening to the radio, which reveals a gorilla is loose.

    Augie: I’m going on a safari. Do you want to come along?
    Daddy: No, thanks, Augie. It just so happens that I gotta luncheon engagement with a hippopotamus-saurius.

    Doggie Daddy always seems to be sitting in his armchair reading the paper in every cartoon. This is the scene where he’s doing it.

    Augie captures Bongo Bongo with bananas and a sign for bait, but feels sorry for him and invites him home for a pet. Daddy, thinking his son is kidding, tells him to put the gorilla away.

    Augie: Bongo Bongo’s in the closet, dad.
    Daddy: That’s fine, Augie. I’ll bring him a deck of cards so he and the wild jackanapes can pass the time playing gingery rummy. Heh, heh, heh, heh. Hey, what’s my old raccoon coat doin’ in here? I thought I packed that old thing in the trunk years ago. Yikes! It’s alive with moths. (Daddy is thrown against a wall) And the moths are hostile! An’ if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s hostile moths.

    Later, when Bongo Bongo opens the closet door, which crashes against Daddy so hard, he goes right through the outside wall.

    Daddy: Imagine. Thrown outta my own house by a raccoon coat. What a dilemmia.
    Augie: Bongo Bongo didn’t mean it. He’ll be more careful next time.
    Daddy: Jumpin’ jackanapes. It’s a gorilla!

    And to end the cartoon, after Augie asks Daddy if they can keep the gorilla:

    Augie: Then you’ll adopt him as your very own son?
    Daddy: But I already have a son who is full of monkeyshines.
    Augie: Well, uh, couldn’t he be your nephew, dad?
    Gorilla: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
    Daddy: Dat’s a thought, Augie. After all, how many fathers can also say they’re a monkey’s uncle?

    This is the only Hanna-Barbera cartoon made for the 1961-62 season which used the Capitol Hi-Q and Langlois Filmusic libraries. All other cartoons produced by the studio henceforth would have stock cues composed in house. Farewell, library music!

    0:00 - Augie Doggie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin)
    0:26 - GR-65 BUSH BABY (Green) – Daddy snores, Augie tippy-toes into room, turns head.
    0:59 - GR-255 PUPPETRY COMEDY (Green) – Conversation with “Ooga Ooga,” Augie shoots Daddy, Daddy bolts from chair.
    2:02 - GR-78 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – Daddy runs, skids to a stop.
    2:13 - EM-107D LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – Daddy and Augie talk about Jackanapes.
    2:44 - no music – Augie listens to radio.
    2:59 - GR-154 PICNIC OR COUNTRY SCENE (Green) – Augie tells Daddy he’s going on a safari.
    3:23 - PG-168J FAST MOVEMENT (Green) – Augie runs, reads sign.
    3:30 – no music. “There. That oughta tempt him.”
    3:32 - GR-348 EARLY MORNING (Green) – “Now, I’ll hide...I got him!”
    3:40 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – Gorilla/Augie scene.
    4:30 - skipping strings and jaunty bassoon (Shaindlin) – Daddy with boxes, gorilla in closet, Daddy with gorilla’s arm.
    5:23 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Ape hauls Daddy back in closet, Daddy thrown out, door opens on Daddy.
    5:50 - Tick Tock flute music (Shaindlin) – “Be careful...”, cartoon ends.
    7:10 - Augie Doggie End Title theme (Curtin)

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  • 06/03/14--07:35: A Lucrative Cartoon Sideline
  • Below you see some Hanna-Barbera characters you should recognise.

    The photo accompanies an article of the May 27, 1963 edition of Sponsor magazine entitled “Does TV merchandising help build high ratings?”

    As you’ve seen from pictures of dolls, games, toys, tablecloths and whatever on this blog, Hanna-Barbera and Screen Gems didn’t wait too long to get their cartoon characters into the market once the studio was set up. Let me go through the article and snip together the bits when mentioned H-B Productions.

    From the viewpoint of a toy or game manufacturer, a tie-in with a popular national tv show can be a most desirable arrangement. Such a tie-in is likely to get the manufacturer’s product on store shelves in the first place, and into the hands of consumers soon thereafter. ...
    Merchandising tie-ins are the largest single sideline of the tv industry, and will amount this year—in terms of retails sales, particularly at Christmas—to a whopping $300 million.
    Merchandise not only stems from high viewership but helps to maintain it, and a large audience for a show naturally means better exposure for commercials:
    ● An Ideal Toy Corp. replica of “Pebbles,” the 12-week-old baby of The Flintstones is selling at the rate of 28,000 weekly. These dolls are an obvious tune-in reminder in tv household and in many cases help to add viewers.
    ● Merchandising gimmicks—from bars of sculptured soap to balloons, by way of toys, games, costumes and coloring books—and credited with almost single-handedly maintaining viewership in Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear. ...
    ● Items connected with tv shows are numerous enough to make merchandising sample rooms look like department stores: Screen Gems “store” alone is filled with more than 7,500 items. ...
    Networks generally merchandise only about half of their shows. Non-network merchandising firms handle most of the reminder. The latter firms include: Screen Gems (Hanna Barbera characters) ...
    Screen Gems, tv opposite number to Walt Disney’s movie tie-ins, is perhaps the largest single merchandiser involved principally with tv programs, each year licensing items worth about $100 million in sales. ...
    Fictional comic characters are considered best for merchandising. Toys of Hanna-Barbera characters sell “extremely well.” About 100 items for The Flintstones alone have been licensed. SG probably makes more profit from merchandising than it does from any other non-program activity. ...
    Merchandising success usually goes hand-in-hand with ratings success. Pebbles, one of the best merchandising ideas of the year, is a good example. Conceived purely for sales purposes, the new Flintstone baby has not only sold well since its birth on 22 February, but helped to rocket ratings from around 20 to a steady 25. ...
    Some syndicated tv shows have aroused wide popular interest—and long-term sales benefits. Hanna-Barbera’s Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, and Quick Draw McGraw, all syndicated, are good examples. “WTOL-TV Day” in Toledo zoo last year featuring Yogi and his friend, draw a record crowd of 63,700. Sales of the toys are high.

    To be honest, I don’t know who was crediting toys and so on with “almost single-handedly maintaining viewership” of Huck and Yogi. I’d think the enjoyment of the cartoons was responsible. The article even admitted there were shows, like “Father of the Bride,” which were a merchandising success but that didn’t translate into viewers.

    Still, despite the games, toys, dolls and so on being created purely for monetary reasons, they did give people who loved the cartoons a chance to enjoy them in a different way when the TV set was off. They did something far better than bring profits. They brought fun.

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    Why buy ads in newspapers for your movie when you can get them for free?

    Hanna-Barbera used several editions of its Yogi Bear Sunday newspaper comic (Saturday in Canada) to plug the newly-released movie “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear.” Three of the four comics in June 50 years ago were devoted to the film.

    I’m having real trouble finding complete versions of the comics that are viewable (some were photocopied too dark and you can’t make out much of anything). So this is the best I can offer. You can see far better versions in colour at Mark Kausler’s blog. Since I’m attempting to wind down this blog, I may leave it up to Mark to post them from his own collection. There’s not much sense in both of us doing it. And Mark can provide far better commentary than I can being a top animator and well-versed in the people who drew these H-B comics.

    Hey, wait a minute. Why is Cindy Bear waving goodbye in the June 7th comic? She was in the movie, too. Maybe she and Boo Boo caught a later flight; Boo Boo is noticeable by his absence in the “movie” comics this month. The writer (Gene Hazelton?) gets in a dig at filmdom’s pretentiousness.

    Ranger Smith’s expressions are the best part of the June 14th comic. I like the stars around the title in the opening panel which has lots going on but isn’t cluttered.

    The full-page versions are always missing a small panel. Such is the case of the comic for June 21st. There’s a third panel which has Ranger Smith pointing his finger in the air and saying “That’s not the point, Yogi.” You kids reading this may not realise there were a lot of people in the ‘60s who really hated rock music. Elvis was a focal point for a while. But the Beatles were real game-changers. They marked the end of the song-plugger era, where each record company would have one of its stars record a song that a writer had been trying to sell to everyone. And Beatles pushed forward the concept of a radio station that played nothing but rock music; the British Invasion certainly brought plenty of music to fill air-time. Rock, if played at all, was banished to the evenings when older people had stopped listening to radio and were tuned in to their favourite radio stars of the ‘40s on TV. The older people were the ones who would think rock music stank—like skunks.
    The less said about the rhymes, the better. And, no, I don’t know how the teenagers can power a record player in the forest. But anything’s possible in a cartoon, as Tex Avery once reminded us.

    The shadow on Yogi in the opening panel of the June 28th comic is a nice effect. The second panel is missing; it shows the director holding up his arms and shouting “Okay, cut!” Evidently all those pic-a-nic baskets have destroyed Yogi’s taste-buds as he can’t tell shaving cream from cocoanut cream.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Animation: Don Williams; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Written by Mike Maltese; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson. (No credits)
    Voice Cast: Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Bank Teller, Sheriff, Blacksmith – Daws Butler; Narrator, Masked Mosquito, Bank President – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-040, Production J-123.
    First aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Baba Looey pretends to be a bad guy to bring in the bank robbing Masked Mosquito.

    Just how dumb is Quick Draw McGraw? He concocts a scheme to have Baba Looey flush out the Masked Mosquito so he can capture him. And the plan works. Up to a point. The Mosquito runs right past Quick Draw.

    Baba: Did you catch heem?
    Quick Draw: Who, Baba boy?
    Baba: The Masked Mosquito. He just run out of the bank.
    Quick Draw: Well, I dee-clare. I didn’t recog-nisize him with his mask off.
    Baba: Then I thin’ I’d better capture him myself.
    Quick Draw: Come to think of it, I wouldn’t recog-nisize him with his mask on, either.

    Which defeats the whole purpose of Quick Draw’s plan. In fact, we get the idea it’s not going to work earlier in the cartoon when our hero mistakes the village blacksmith for the bad guy and gets socked in the snout.

    Mike Maltese has come up with a well-constructed story with a silly premise—that a bad guy would be an insect. Unlike super hero comic books, the Masked Mosquito doesn’t try to look like a mosquito. He’s just a guy who makes buzzing sounds for reasons unknown. As usual, the characters talk with the cartoon’s narrator. But Maltese avoids having Baba Looey make a punning observation at the end. It doesn’t hurt the cartoon in the slightest. And the whole mood is helped by the animation. Here’s one frame of the sheriff.

    The little triangular cross-eyes are the work of veteran Don Williams, who actually gets a bit of full animation in this cartoon. Baba does a little weave when he sings the Quick Draw McGraw theme song. Other than his feet, Baba’s whole body rocks and back and forth in time to the singing; it isn’t just a head bobbing. Some of the drawings are used on only one frame, others on two. It looks pretty smooth. Even when Williams bobs a head, there’ll be five different positions and in Quick Draw’s case, his kerchief moves, too, not just the snout. Williams also likes big mouths, and wide, almost deranged-looking, eyes--especially on Quick Draw.

    The first gag involves the Masked Mosquito robbing the bank. There’s no money left in the vault, leaving plenty of room for the bank president to faint. The second scene has the sheriff, his hat flopping up and down on his head, chatting with the narrator in close-up.

    Narrator: Oh, Sheriff, we know you must be very busy but can we ask you a question?
    Sheriff: Yes?
    Narrator: Is it true that because of the Masked Mosquito robberies, the citizens threaten to run you out of town on a rail?
    Sheriff: Well, let’s put it this way. Yes, it’s true.

    Cut to a long shot of the Sheriff being carried on what looks like a thin log by two running men. No, the saying has nothing to do with a railway track. Go to THIS LINK to find out more. Cartoons can be very educational, you know. By the way, you’ll notice the clouds in the background of this cartoon are yellow.

    The narrator mentions the famous Quick Draw McGraw is coming to town. That’s even more of an incentive for the Sheriff to vamoose. Look at the way Williams has drawn the Sheriff’s right hand. It looks like a boxing glove. It reminds me of those old Ub Iwerks cartoons where a fist was drawn as a circle with no fingers.

    Enter our heroes.

    Baba: Say, Quickstraw, look. I theen that fellow is riding a rail.
    Quick Draw: Must be the poor feller can’t afford a horse, Baba Looey.

    “It’s no sooner said that don’t, and don’t you forget it,” says Quick Draw to the narrator when informed of the job opening of sheriff. That’s when Quick Draw hatches the plot to have Baba attack him in the saloon where the Masked Mosquito (“unmasked, of course”) will be hanging out and become so impressed he’ll invite Baba to be part of his gang. “Ees a pretty good idea. Quickstraw must have seen it on TV, I theen.”

    Quick Draw: Well, uh, after lookin’ all these gunslingers over, my inter-ition tells me that tough-lookin’ hombre is really the Masked Mosquito, without.
    Baba: Without what, Quickstraw?
    Quick Draw: Without his mask, of course.

    “Without,” by the way, is an old form of saying “outside.”

    The fake fight begins after some fake Spanish by Baba (“sombrero” “enchilada” and “tortilla” are included in the sentence, along with “Arriba!”). Baba bashes Quick Draw with all kinds of stuff. “Oooh. Does that ever smart!” Williams gives us some rolling eyes.

    All this does is rile up the guy whose attention they’re trying to get. He gives Quick Draw one in the snoot. Then he reveals he’s not the Masked Mosquito but the village blacksmith.

    But the Mosquito (“unmasked, of course”) has been watching the whole thing. “What did you do to that polecat McGraw?” he asks. So we get a repeat performance.

    This brings us to Baba, pretending to be the Little Mosquito (making buzzing noises) robbing a bank and Quick Draw botching the capture as we described at the outset of the post. So it’s up to Baba to capture the bad guy in the saloon by socking him with the same stuff as he did Quick Draw, with the same animation of a chair, bottle, etc. and the same catchphrase (“Like Quick Draw says, ‘Ooooh that smarts!’”). Quick Draw tells Baba he’ll take over and do “the tough part.” The blacksmith objects because “the little feller did it all by himself” and punches Quick Draw again. Williams gives us a few more slit-eyed drawings.

    The wind-up has Baba in the sheriff’s chair and Quick Draw leaving town by rail. Cut to a shot of him at the train station. He walks out of the shot, there’s some noise and a cut to a shot of him being carried out of town on a rail by the same guys who did it to the sheriff to end the cartoon.

    The music’s pretty typical of this period of Hanna-Barbera’s existence. The opening scene of the Masked Mosquito running away has Hoyt Curtin’s sped-up version of the William Tell overture. The riding-the-rail scene at the beginning features a combination of “The Arkansas Traveller” and “Shave and a Haircut.” When Quick Draw and Baba are walking and talking about the sheriff riding the rail, the sound cutter uses “Walking” (aka “Here’s What We’re Going to Do”). After Baba sings, the tune is “Walk and Talk” (aka “And That’s the Story”), both from “The Flintstones.” A few bars of “(That’s) Quick Draw McGraw” on a piano are played when Quick Draw and Baba are first standing in the saloon. The rest of the music should be familiar from either “The Flintstones” or “Touché Turtle.”

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  • 06/11/14--07:29: Lah-ttle Bird Mouse
  • There’s no constant talk, talk, talk in “Little Bird Mouse,” one of the earliest Pixie and Dixie cartoons. There are plenty of places where the soundtrack consists of Geordie Hormel’s ‘ZR-48 Fast Movement’ and effects.

    Being an early cartoon, it contains one of those Mike Lah animation inserts that Mike Kazaleh mentioned in the comment section of the blog a while ago. Lah’s characters are always expressive, far more than they became in other hands as the seasons wore on.

    Here’s one of Lah’s scenes from “Little Bird Mouse” where Jinks gets his throat caught on a line while chasing Dixie. The set-up drawings...

    Ring around the rope. A cycle of four drawings on twos.

    Then a crash on the ground.

    The bulk of the cartoon was drawn by Lew Marshall. Want to see the difference in the way he draws compared to Lah? The first drawing is Marshall, the second is Lah. See how Lah has no front whiskers on Jinks? That way he can move the mouth around on the cat’s face for dialogue without any obstructions.

    If I may speculate, this cartoon could have had its genesis in “Bird Mouse,” a Tom and Jerry short that was abandoned when MGM closed its cartoon studio in 1957, as “Little Bird Mouse” is really unlike any other Pixie and Dixie cartoon.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Warren Foster, Story Direction – Art Davis, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Pixie, Mack – Don Messick; Mr Jinks, Dixie, Hercules – Daws Butler; Gus, Duke – Doug Young.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Cousin Hercules pretends to be Pixie and roughs up Mr Jinks.

    “Ooh, those miserable meeces! They have did it again,” complains Jinks as he pulls a milk bottle out of the fridge and drops it onto the floor. “They have cleaned out all the lactic fluid.” That’s a great little start to this cartoon. Unfortunately, it kind of stalls from here and is maybe amusing at best. Daws Butler puts on a good performance of the nervous Jinks dealing with the fear and intimidation of Gus, the local boss cat. But there isn’t a lot of wit. There is one cute exchange. After strong mouse Cousin Hercules lifts a piano with one hand, we get:

    Pixie: Wow! How does he do it?
    Dixie: Oh, it’s just leverage and balance. And, of course, Cousin Hercules is strong.
    Pixie: I bet that helps.

    Parts of the story may remind you of other cartoons. Jinks mistaking the strong cousin for Pixie is much like the climax of “Scaredycat Dog,” where Jinks thinks the strong twin brother is really the timid dog. And the cats shoving Jinks back in the house to deal with “Pixie” has echoes in “Mighty Mite,” where a neighbourhood dog keeps tossing Jinks into his home to deal with a little rooster that beats him to a pulp. I keep thinking the same kind of thing happened in a Sylvester cartoon in the ‘50s. Actually, this plot was pretty much reused in the “Meowtch” episode of Hanna-Barbera’s unsold “Henpecks” series.

    Art Davis is the story director. The two hench-cats that peer through the window at Jinks look like something that could have come from a late ‘50s Friz Freleng cartoon at Warners; Davis worked on those.

    Both Pixie and Dixie refer to Hercules mouse as “cousin.” Presumably, it means Pixie and Dixie are related, but that’s not the impression that’s left in “Mouse Trapped,” which aired the same season. Continuity wasn’t all that important back then, so Warren Foster just wrote whatever fit the story. The Jinks/Meeces relationship varied depending on the cartoon. Here, it’s pivotal to the plot. The dialogue goes thusly:

    Jinks: I’ve been so lenient with you guys, you forget you forget who I am (ceases smiling and glowers). I am the cat! When you see me, you should cringe. Beg for your miserable lives. Tremble in abject-like ter-ror!
    The meeces laugh.
    Jinks: Ah, boy. What a loose ship I’m runnin’ here. Okay, okay, what’s so amusin’?
    Pixie: You can’t fool us, Jinksie.
    Dixie: We know you don’t want to be mean to us.
    Pixie: Yeah, you like us.
    Dixie: Like we like you, Jinksie.
    Pixie: You’re the greatest, Jinks!
    Jinks: Durn meeces. They’re onto me. They know my weakness. Flattery.

    Jinks then apologises for “getting peevish” with them. In this case, he tried using a canister of bug spray (because they “bugged” him) on them. Hey, what suburban home in the ‘60s didn’t have a convenient sprayer filled with DDT?

    This whole exchange of friendship is being eyed through the window by Duke and Mack, the enforcers for the heretofore unknown Gus, the head cat in the neighbourhood. The two sandwich Jinks between them and take him to see the—dare I say it?—top cat? Only this top cat doesn’t sound like Phil Silvers. Doug Young is affecting a Humphrey Bogart mumble. Jinks promises to be meaner to the meeces and Gus promises his boys will be watching to make sure he is. In this scene, Jinks has a bullet nose like Hokey Wolf.

    Meanwhile, back at the Jinks/Meeces residence, the title character finally arrives halfway through the cartoon. Cousin Hercules is in town with the circus where he does his Strongest-Mouse-in-the-World act, which includes lifting a piano.

    Pixie suggests a good-natured trick. Hercules can dress up like him and then lift the piano in front of Jinks, making the cat think Pixie can lift a piano. The rest of the cartoon is pretty well devoid of clever dialogue. It consists of violence gags we don’t even see; they’re almost all off camera. Hercules keeps tossing out the newly-aggressive Jinks out of the house, then does it to Gus’ henchmen when they step in, then finally does it to Gus. The cartoon ends with Hercules explaining the clothing switch, then flipping Jinks one more time as a warning to “to be nice to mice,” even though the cat just wanted to shake hands. Jinks can’t win. “Oh, boy,” he sighs at the camera as the cartoon ends.

    There’s no music when Jinks sprays the meeces with DDT and they come out of their hole coughing. But Hoyt Curtin fills the rest of the background. There’s a nice little Shearing-style piano piece when Pixie and Dixie first talk to Hercules. Very Top Cat-ish. Curtin has an interesting musical effect. When Hercules lifts the piano, some arbitrary piano notes are played over the background music.

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  • 06/15/14--08:18: Farewell, Casey
  • The adventures of “those meddling kids and that dog” are out of the time-frame of this blog, but an exception must be made to mark the sad demise of Casey Kasem.

    Kasem was one of a number of Los Angeles disc jockeys hired by the Hanna-Barbera studio. Elliot Field was the first (the original voice of Blabber Mouse); Gary Owens, Jerry Dexter and Kasem followed. Despite his work in cartoons and films (as you can see to the right), he didn’t really achieve his huge fame until “American Top 40” was syndicated in seemingly every city in North America and broadcast on Armed Forces Radio around the world.

    Endless numbers of web and news sites are talking about his passing and there are, no doubt, plenty of fan-art tributes out there. There’s little for me to add, so I’ll just pass on these few notes.

    Kasem’s first bit of national fame, outside of the broadcasting trade press, may have come in this little story from United Press International, dated September 16, 1959

    CLEVELAND, Ohio (UPI) — Disc jockey Casey Kasem yesterday claimed a record for the longest “on the air” kiss in radio history.
    Kasem, 26, of station WJW, said he kissed recording star Diana Trask for 85 seconds during his program last night.

    By 1961, Kasem was working 9 p.m. to midnight on KEWB in Oakland (Gary Owens was there at the time). He arrived at KRLA in Los Angeles in July 1963. The Pasadena Star-News of October 9, 1963 reveals he hosted a teen dance party at Duarte Fiesta Day with the Righteous Brothers and the Surf Bunnies headlining; emcee jobs like that weren’t uncommon at one time for rock jocks.

    Anyone reading this page is probably familiar with at least the main cartoon roles that Kasem played, so there’s no need for me to go into them. Suffice to say he’ll be remembered for one major role at Hanna-Barbera. The only reason “Scooby Doo” has remained popular for so long is the comic byplay between Don Messick as the less-than-heroic-hero and Kasem as the less-than-heroic human sidekick.

    He talked to the New York Times’ Neil Strauss in 2004 about his approach to his radio audiences when he moved on to the next stop. “I just didn’t want to say goodbye,” he revealed. “Every station I was at, I never said goodbye—when I was in Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Oakland, and L.A. I don’t know why.”

    Kasem never really said “goodbye” to his fans when he departed this world for his next stop. But as long as his cartoons are on the air, and as long as there are memories of them, it really isn’t “goodbye,” is it? A part of him will still be here.

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  • 06/17/14--07:24: Now a Song From Our Sponsor
  • A deal between Hanna-Barbera and Kellogg’s resulted in the best-ever seven-minute TV cartoons being put on the air. Ad agency Leo Burnett bought or bartered for a half-hour each weekday on various stations in the U.S. and then handed the stations a complete show of cartoons (or a live-action-adventure). That deal brought us the first runs of the Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw and Yogi Bear shows. Kellogg’s products were plugged in commercials between the cartoons with Hanna-Barbera characters (and others developed by Burnett) doing the plugging, occasionally assisted by announcer Art Gilmore.

    So it is we present this wonderful selection of Kellogg’s jingles uncovered by reader Dan Cunningham.

    This is from a not for sale/broadcast/public performance record made in 1965 strictly as a reference recording for the company’s sales staff. It’s called “A Kellogg Concert of Best Cereal Sellers” by the pseudononynous “Philmore Bowls.” The cover features Tony the Tiger conducting an orchestra that includes Quick Draw McGraw and Baba Looey, Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss and Yogi Bear.

    Alas, none of those Hanna-Barbera characters is featured in the jingles. We do get Mr. Jinks, who is not voiced by Daws Butler. We also get Toucan Sam, who is not voiced by Mel Blanc (he was the original voice), Hillbilly Goat, who is not voiced by Howard Morris (for Sugar Stars) and a Tony who’s a great approximation of Thurl Ravenscroft. I hate guessing at these things, but the guy doing the around-the-world jingle for Rice Krispies reminds me of Dave Barry.

    I’m a sucker for really good ‘60s jingles, and there are great ones here. I’ve always liked “Snap, what a happy sound!” song for Rice Krispies, the Beatles Raisin Bran tune is lots of fun (especially the commercial version by Daws Butler and Don Messick) and the song on the disc for Sugar Frosted Flakes has a terrific faux Broadway air with a wonderful arrangement. If you can name who the main voice is on it, let me know. I recognise who it is but can’t pull out the name.

    The fifth song, for Kellogg’s Variety Pack, is the quintessential ‘60s jingle, at least in terms of instrumentation. And maybe in terms of sexism. I still don’t understand the lyric “Variety—nice in a wife.”

    So have a listen. The titles of the cuts are of my own creation. My thanks to Dan and to Vintage Kiddie Disc, who got this record for less than 50 cents at a thrift market and was kind enough to post it on the internet.

    1. BEST TO YOU

    2. NOTHIN’ LIKE CORN (Corn Flakes)

    3. LIVE IT UP! (Sugar Frosted Flakes)

    4. WHAT A HAPPY SOUND (Rice Krispies)

    5. TAKE A WIFE (Variety Pack)

    6. TURN ‘IM SWEET (Sugar Pops)

    7. GREAT! (Sugar Frosted Flakes)

    8. DON’T SAY IT FRONTWARDS (Froot Loops)

    9. HEY GIRAFFE (Triple Snack)

    10. SIX IN ONE (Snack Pack)

    11. RAISIN BEATLES (Raisin Bran)

    12. HOMER TO THE CAPTAIN (Corn Flakes)

    13. SOUND AROUND THE WORLD (Rice Krispies)

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  • 06/19/14--07:11: Blabber Mouse Blabs
  • Everyone interested in this blog, I trust, recognises who this is.

    Yes, it’s Blabber Mouse, specifically from his first appearance in “Puss N’ Booty” (1959). But perhaps you don’t know who this is.

    It is the voice of Blabber Mouse. And, no, it’s not Daws Butler.

    This is a photo of Elliot Field, who was a disc jockey at KFWB radio in Los Angeles from 1958 to 1963. Elliot lent his voice to Blabber and other characters in the first four Snooper and Blabber cartoons (including “Puss N’ Booty”) and can be heard in the first Quick Draw McGraw cartoon as the narrator and Grumbleweed.

    Joe Barbera was looking for new voices when the Hanna-Barbera studio was about to launch its second half hour show in syndication for Kellogg’s, the great Quick Draw McGraw Show. Perhaps it was because Don Messick was working on the wretched “Spunky and Tadpole” cartoons and the studio needed new people. Whatever the reason, Mr. Field, Hal Smith, Peter Leeds and Vance Colvig appeared on the Quick Draw show early in the season. Smith stayed, the rest disappeared. Colvig returned a couple of years later to play Chopper in the Yakky Doodle cartoons. Elliot returned as well to lend his voice on “The Flintstones,” most famously as Alvin Brickrock, a parody of Alfred Hitchcock. He had done the same spoofing voice of Hitchcock on his radio show.

    Elliot went into radio in the Golden Days of the 1940s, first on CBS as a teenaged performer in Boston, then as a disc jockey in the hyper days of Top 40 radio, and finally in management. Soon after arriving in Los Angeles, he decided to look for outside work (today, that means lucrative commercial voice-overs) and acquired as his agent Miles Auer, who also represented Daws Butler, Don Messick and a pile of cartoon people. Unfortunately, because of the sorry state of the Hanna-Barbera library, almost all of Elliot’s screen credits for the studio were stripped from the films years ago and replaced with gang credits without his name.

    Elliot is now 87 years old and, to the great fortune of everyone, has written his autobiography. The only thing wrong with it is it’s all too brief. It features succinct, crystal-clear memories of his youth, when he contracted polio, his career as a rock jock in the pre-Beatles era and his time in cartoons. It’s available for a teeny price on Amazon.com. Check it out here.

    I make no money from this plug and mention it solely because I have a soft spot for cartoon voice actors and veteran radio people. One thing Elliot doesn’t mention is why he only appeared on five cartoons in the Quick Draw show. We’ll give you the answer. He had an operation in 1959 and was subsequently unavailable. I suspect at that point Joe Barbera handed the role of Blab to Daws, much like Red Coffey was apparently too busy touring to continuing voicing an insufferable duck when it was given its own show and the great Jimmy Weldon was hired. Timing is about as important as talent in landing work.

    There are so few of the pre-1960 Hanna-Barbera cartoon voices around—Doug Young was still living in the Seattle area last I heard—so it’s great to see Elliot put his memories on paper. I hope the e-book is a success.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Ken Muse, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Narrator, Engineer Casey, Knock-it-off Kid, Motorcycle Cop, Kids – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Kids – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Yogi defies the Ranger and rides on the Jellystone Park kid train.

    Yogi had joyrides in a park helicopter (“The Buzzin’ Bruin”) and on a motor scooter (“Scooter Looter”). So why not a park train?

    As far as I’m concerned, the star of this cartoon isn’t Yogi, Ranger Smith or even a choo-choo. It’s Art Lozzi. He’s into his Blue Period here. There were a few cartoons where he used blues in his trees, mountains and clouds. The logs in Mr. Ranger’s cabin are made of green wood. And the clouds hug the mountains with their cool shapes. Check out these. By the way, the door in the ranger’s office is on a cel and the bush in the third drawing is on an overlay.

    Here are two backgrounds that were panned. Due to colour changes, I can’t snip together the full drawings from DVD frames but you can see most of them.

    This is another one of those cartoons with a desperate Ranger Smith plea “You can do/have anything you want, Yogi, just (fill in the blank).” In this one, the ranger jumps aboard the miniature train that Yogi’s taken for a ride. It stops at the edge of a cliff and starts teetering. That’s when Smith makes his plea. It seems these kinds of cartoons usually end with Yogi eating his reward and rhyming something like “I’m enjoying this feast to say the least. Nyey, hey, hey, hey!”

    I’m not going to bother going through this cartoon in detail. You can probably figure it out from the plot summary above. Whether that’s a commentary on the rut the Yogi series fell into, I’ll let you decide. A few of random things.

    ● Kenny Muse uses silhouette drawings of a car and the runaway train on a freeway overpass. The idea could very well have come from Foster’s story sketches but it’s a welcome change.
    ● Daws Butler is the narrator. Normally, Don Messick got that chore.
    ● A boy and girl in one of the open cars are fighting during the long-shot scene of the train during the happy opening narration.
    ● Ranger Smith tries to be cute by calling out cities like a train conductor. One of the kids on the train has enough of that stupidity. “Aw, knock it off. It’s only a ride around the park,” he interrupts. Good for you, kid.
    ● Yogi and Boo Boo are sleeping in the same bed. It’s more than Rob and Laura Petrie could do.
    ● Is that a drum kit making the noise of the train on the tracks?
    ● It sounds like Daws and Don M. are ad-libbing the kids cheers when Engineer Casey promises to take them around the park again.
    ● After pulling him off the train, the ranger says: “The rule applies to all the animals. The long-horn sheep. The deer. The antelopes. None of them are allowed on the train, either.” Responds Yogi, still with his feelings hurt: “That’s very democratic and fair, sir.” A talking long-horn sheep character actually might have livened up the series. One with Daws’ Groucho voice preferably.
    ● Casey sounds like a younger Henry Orbit.
    ● The obligatory rhyme: “Let’s clickety-clack right down the track.”

    The sound cutter realised it’d be pretty stupid to have Hoyt Curtin’s cues play when the train is chugging along at the outset, so there isn’t any music for a good minute and three seconds. The music you will hear is from Loopy De Loop and other short cartoons of the period.

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    Even people who aren’t fans of Hanna-Barbera cartoons have no doubt heard the many sound effects the studio developed over its existence. I’ll bet if you read along with the comics below, you can hear them.

    Whoever worked on the layouts managed to fit a lot of things to look at, even if they have nothing to do with the main action, but it’s not filler and the panels don’t look crowded. Ironically, I’ve seen comics today that remind you of the early ‘60s Hanna-Barbera TV cartoons—characters locked in the same position in every panel with a flat background.

    Alas, 50 years ago this month, poor Baby Puss remains AWOL in the Flintstones Sunday comics. Evidently Betty was busy, too, as she’s not included. And Pebbley-poo has little to do, though I noticed in some of the dailies during this month she was chatting away to the audience via thought balloons.

    Here’s an instance where Barney is working with Fred at the quarry. The last panel in the June 7, 1964 comic is fun. Note the almost straight-on version of Wilma in the middle row. And why couldn’t Wilma call a repairman? Why’d she bother Fred with it?

    Could that be Gene Hazelton in the second panel of the June 14th comic? Gene eventually had a home next to a golf course in Del Cerra. This comic is probably my favourite of the month, especially the expressions of the animals bashed by Fred’s ball. The lettering in the Barney and angry Fred panel in the last row is a nice change.

    Hey, is that Cary Granite now playing at the Bedrock Theatre? Nice use of distance in the last panel of the June 21st comic with a large dinosaur standing behind a mesa.

    The lettering and the streamlined pre-historic hot-rods are the best part of the June 28th comic.

    As usual, click on each comic to enlarge it.

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