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Articles on this Page
- 08/12/14--07:32: _Great Moments in Ac...
- 08/14/14--06:53: _Flintstones Weekend...
- 08/16/14--07:17: _Huckleberry Hound —...
- 08/20/14--07:09: _Why No Daws
- 08/23/14--06:50: _Snooper and Blabber...
- 08/27/14--07:01: _Neenah and the Pink...
- 08/30/14--07:26: _Augie Doggie — Vaca...
- 09/02/14--07:40: _Yogi Bear Weekend C...
- 09/04/14--06:50: _A Hanna-Barbera Mis...
- 09/06/14--07:16: _Yogi Bear — Missile...
- 09/09/14--08:23: _Are You Loopy For L...
- 09/11/14--07:05: _Park Avenue Indians
- 09/13/14--07:06: _Quick Draw McGraw —...
- 09/16/14--06:57: _Shadow of the Condor
- 09/18/14--00:01: _An 11-Year-Old Turn...
- 09/20/14--07:31: _Pixie and Dixie — M...
- 09/23/14--18:03: _Family of the Futur...
- 09/27/14--06:58: _Huckleberry Hound —...
- 09/30/14--06:50: _Blab Book
- 10/01/14--07:59: _Yogi Bear Weekend C...
- 08/12/14--07:32: Great Moments in Acting With Chatterly the Cat
- 08/14/14--06:53: Flintstones Weekend Comics, August 1964
- 08/16/14--07:17: Huckleberry Hound — Bars and Stripes
- 08/20/14--07:09: Why No Daws
- 08/23/14--06:50: Snooper and Blabber — Eenie, Genie, Minie, Mo!
- 08/27/14--07:01: Neenah and the Pink Window Shade
- 08/30/14--07:26: Augie Doggie — Vacation Tripped
- 09/02/14--07:40: Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, September 1964
- 09/04/14--06:50: A Hanna-Barbera Miscellany
- 09/06/14--07:16: Yogi Bear — Missile Bound Yogi
- 09/09/14--08:23: Are You Loopy For Loopy?
- 09/11/14--07:05: Park Avenue Indians
- 09/13/14--07:06: Quick Draw McGraw — Mine Your Manners
- 09/16/14--06:57: Shadow of the Condor
- 09/18/14--00:01: An 11-Year-Old Turns 50
- 09/20/14--07:31: Pixie and Dixie — Mouse Trapped
- 09/23/14--18:03: Family of the Future Still Here Today
- 09/27/14--06:58: Huckleberry Hound — Huck dé Paree
- 09/30/14--06:50: Blab Book
- 10/01/14--07:59: Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, October 1964
The final Loopy cartoon released by Columbia in the 1964-65 theatrical season was “Big Mouse Take.” It’s different in that Loopy doesn’t show up for the first third of the cartoon, so during that time it seems like you’ve somehow tuned in to some lost H-B TV series from 50 years ago. The second thing I thought watching it was “Hey, that’s Carlo Vinci!” Chatterly the cat shows up on screen in a tail-pumping, awkward-looking run cycle that could only have come from Carlo’s mind. And the cat has a diving exit off screen just like Carlo animated at Terrytoons and in the early H-B cartoons of the late ‘50s.
But then something happened in the cartoon that caused me to stop it, download it, and study it frame-by-frame. Hanna-Barbera characters weren’t known for their big takes in 1965—how can you exaggerate Atom Ant, after all?—but Chatterly pulled off one in this cartoon. And you can’t credit Carlo this time.
The situation is something so warped only Mike Maltese could have come up with it. After a chase inside a home, Chatterly swallows Bigelow the mouse, who becomes stuck inside the end of the cat’s tail. Chatterly tries to evict Bigelow by putting his tail out the window and slamming down the sash. But that means he’s also slammed it down on his tail and he lets out a huge scream. Look at these great drawings.
These fun drawings aren’t the work of Carlo Vinci. I believe it was helpful Howard Fein who mentioned once that the stretched-head was an animation quirk of Hugh Fraser, the former Disney artist who teamed up with Carlo on “The Flintstones” and “The Jetsons,” and pointed to the same sort of thing in the “Miss Solar System” episode. In fact, I found the same head stretch in an episode of the TV Popeyes he animated/directed in 1960.
Fraser began, like many other H-B artists, working for Walt Disney and went back as far as “Snow White.” He ended up working for former Disney director Jack Kinney at his own studio before moving to Hanna-Barbera for a long career. He animated (with former Disneyites Ed Aardal, Ed Parks and Harvey Toombs) on the first episode of “Jonny Quest.” Fraser died on January 6, 1994 at the age of 89.
Oh, the first thing I thought watching this cartoon? “Daws is re-using Fibber Fox’s voice.” Some aspects of the earliest Hanna-Barbera series were derivations of something else, but the studio began to copy itself, and the copies were never as good as the original. Loopy De Loop himself is an example. The idea of a pleasant guy with an accent who gets bashed around then talks at the camera came from Huckleberry Hound (and the Carolinian Huck had far more charm than Loopy and his Québécois dialect). There’s even a version of the “ran-out-of-piddies/finger” gag pulled by Tweety Bird that is tired and pale by comparison. And, in this case, the cartoon co-stars Bigelow the mouse whom the cat afraid of because he’s...Bigelow? I shrug.
At least the short has a few, very brief shining moments thanks to guys who had worked at Disney and Terrytoons, two studios at the opposite ends of the cartoon quality scale.
Here’s one of Carlo’s run cycles for the great-named Chatterly. I’ve slowed it down. The baseboard jerks a bit because the background drawings don’t match up between the last frame and when the first repeats again.
P.S.: If I had just bothered to check the credits before writing this post, I would have seen that Carlo Vinci and Hugh Fraser animated the cartoon.
For some reason, Fred has a “Mr. Boulder” as a boss. The comics didn’t necessary follow what was happening on the TV show; witness the later development of Pebbles and Dino “talking” in the comics via thought-balloons.
Unless she’s hiding in the missing first row of the first three comics, Betty Rubble is absent again. Maybe she confined herself to the daily comics. Or perhaps she’s gone on a visit to Petticoat Junction.
The gag set-up in the third cartoon is my favourite. A shame the TV set isn’t tuned in to Yogi Bear again this month. The last one is a marvel of filling space and making the characters read. I’ll bet it stands out more in colour.
August 2, 1964.
August 9, 1964
August 16, 1964
August 23, 1964
August 30, 1964
Credits: Animation – John Boersma; Layout – Jim Carmichael; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Written By Tony Benedict; Story Director – John Freeman; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Narrator, Huckleberry Hound, Guard – Daws Butler; Fats Dynamo –Vance Colvig.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Warden Huck tries to get inmate Fats Dynamo to leave prison.
The stories of the later Huckleberry Hound cartoons were structured fairly similarly. A narrator would set up the situation, Huck would chat with him, then Huck would try and fail several times at accomplishing something, with a little tag line after each failure. The format doesn’t get repetitious because Huck is given a new setting and situation in each cartoon.
Tony Benedict comes up with a nice little twist in this story. Instead of an inmate trying to break out jail, Huck has to force him to leave. Perhaps Tony was inspired by the wail that “prisons have become country clubs” in some quarters. Nevertheless, this prison isn’t quite a country club—it’s better. That’s even though the opening goes like this, with Daws Butler’s narrator intoning in extreme mock seriousness:
Huck: Howdy, narrator. Plannin’ to hang around long? (laughs) That’s just a little ol’ spoofin’ type joke we got in the business.
Narrator: Can you tell us, Warden Huckleberry, the reason for your fine record of no escapes?
Huck: Well, all seriousness aside, I got what I call “The honor system.”
Narrator: The honor system?
Huck: Yessir-ee. We got tennis courts, majong, your-jong, oujie boards and TV in every cell. We got swimmin’ pools, an’ movies, and baseball teams, and even our own Alkatrash-land, with fun rides and cotton candy and wool fudge, and this kinda keeps all the prisoners happy. Nobody wants to escape.
If you have a chance to watch the cartoon, look at what credited animator John Boersma does with Huck’s hands. They’re in motion to emphasize the dialogue. One example—when Huck talks about a Ouija board. He puts his index fingers together like he’s moving something on a board. It’s a little extra that other animators might not have bothered with.
The phone rings (as some “Top Cat” music plays in the background). It’s an emergency. Prisoner 054678 won’t leave his cell. The cartoon now features a string of gags as Huck fails to get Fats Dynamo (as opposed to Fats Domino) to go. Dynamo is played by Vance Colvig, Jr., better known to the world as the voice of Chopper in the Yakky Doodle cartoons. It’s the only Huck cartoon he ever did; I suspect he was working on Yakky and Joe Barbera had him cut dialogue for this cartoon while he was there. The gags:
● Huck climbs and balances on a ladder reaching Fats’ barred window. Fats tips over the ladder.
● Huck uses a rope to lower himself to the cell window. Fats cuts the rope. Huck expected it and has a net to catch his fall. Instead, the net acts as a trampoline that boosts Huck back up to the window. Fats hands him a bowling ball. Huck crashes through the net. (“I just gotta keep after him,” Huck tells us. “It bein’ against the rules to be intimidated.”
● Suction cups on Huck’s hands and feet enable him to climb up to the window “just like a human fly.” Fats pulls out his “human fly swatter.” Down goes Huck again. The gag made an appearance two seasons earlier in “Nottingham and Yeggs,” written by Warren Foster.
● Finally, Huck yells that it’s time for chow. Despite having an ice box in his cell, Fats rushes to the Chow Hall where he’s stopped (off camera) by a guard.
Besides a couple of pieces of “Top Cat” music, you’ll hear the “Wilma, I’m home” music from “The Flintstones” when Huck is describing your-jong (my favourite pun of the cartoon).
Daws Butler was Hanna-Barbera’s premier voice actor through the 1950s. And then things changed. “The Flintstones” came along. Although Daws cut a dialogue track for Fred Flintstone on a demo reel using a Ralph Kramden-like voice he put in a number of cartoons, he was not on the roster of stars when the series debuted in 1960.
Joe Barbera explained why in a feature story in the Philadelphia Enquirer of October 9, 1960. He went into the casting of the show, though some details are maddeningly absent, and talked about the studio in general.
In reading about the volume of shows the studio was producing, it’s no wonder not all the cartoons were gems. I’m presuming the “72 Quick Draws in nine months” and “five Huckleberry Hounds in five days” refer to Mike Maltese and Warren Foster, respectively.
‘Flintstones’ Cartoon Series Is Aimed Squarely at Adults
BY HARRY HARRIS
HUCKLEBERRY HOUND, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, Jinx, Augie Doggie, Boo Boo, Pixie and Dixie, Snooper and Blabber . . .
To that distinguished assembly of ultra-popular TV personalities have just been added several more—Fred and Wilma Flintstone and Barney and Betty Rubble, the stars of ABC's “The Flintstones,” Fridays at 8:30 P. M. (Channel 6).
Later recruits may include characters tentatively tagged Lippy the Lion, Hardy Hat Har (a sad hyena), Harebreath Hare and a couple of gals, Ribbons and Rosie. Slated for movie house stardom: Loopy the Loop.
Despite the diversity of their monickers and species, all share the same parents: Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, the creative dynamos whose Hollywood cartoon factory manufactures merriment wholesale.
When we visited it last month, ideas—and puns—were popping all over the place. A mile-a-minute rundown of past, present and future TV projects by partner Barbera, a dark, handsome, fast-talking man who looks more like an actor than a tycoon, left us convinced the Emmy-winning Hanna-Barbera organization is capable of miracles.
Some they've already performed.
Singlehandedly (or should it be double-handedly, considering there's two of them?), Bill and Joe have proved that animated cartoons needn't be prohibitively expensive either as TV or movie house fare.
This they've managed through application of their “planned animation” concept, which has added jet propulsion to what used to be a tedious process.
“It’s a method we used at M-G-M when we were doing the ‘Tom and Jerry’ cartoons,” Barbera explained. "We’d do a mock version with a minimum number of drawings, To show our cartoonists before they started animating. We developed it to such a point that we didn’t need any additional cartoons to tell the story. Instead of 17,000 individual drawings, we could show a complete picture in 600 or 700.
“When we suggested this technique to M-G-M, they never even answered. Thank heavens! Wouldn’t it be awful to be working there yet, saluting everybody, waiting six weeks for an answer!
“We used to do eight shows a year; now, on the phone, Screen Gems orders 78, or 104, or ‘500 as quick as you can!’ Men who used to do eight shows a year now do one a week. Even three doesn’t faze them. One turned out 72 ‘Quick Draw McGraws’ in nine months; another, five ‘Huckleberry Hounds’ in five days. “In television, something comes up and you do it. Even the impossible!”
Another thing Hanna and Barbera have demonstrated is that grown-ups can flip over what used to be considered strictly kid stuff. “Huckleberry Hound” testimonials, for instance, come from college students, GIs, businessmen, professionals, even atomic scientists. “The Flintstones” is TV's first animated cartoon series scheduled in prime time and deliberately aimed at adults.
One reason for adult enthusiasm is the canny use of “funny” voices. Bob Smith, explaining the recent demise of his “Howdy Doody,” complained that sponsors now want double-duty children’s shows with pictures to amuse youngsters and sounds to amuse oldsters—“like ‘Huckleberry Hound.’”
Barbera acknowledges that stress is placed on “sound” in the Hanna-Barbera shows. “We sit around listening to voices," he said. “If we laugh just listening, fine; if not, we’re in trouble.
“To get the right voices for ‘The Flintstones,’ we interviewed people for a solid year. We auditioned 12 teams of voices daily, explaining the characters and having everybody read the same lines for a tape recorder.
“We thought of using Daws Butler, who’s great, but we were afraid we were starting to spread him too thin. He’s already the voice of Yogi, Huck, McGraw, Jinx, Augie Doggie, Dixie, Bobo-looie, Snooper and Blabber. What would we do if anything happened to him? We keep him locked up in a box!
“We listened to 60 or 70 of the best voices in the United States. We didn’t want a gimmick voice that would wear down, because ‘The Flintstones’ is a situation comedy with people. We brought in everybody: Andy Devine, Maxie Rosenbloom, Jack Oakie.
Fred and Barney are being portrayed vocally by Alan Reed and Mel Blanc; their wives, Wilma and Betty, by Philadelphia-born Jean Vander Pyl and Bea Benadaret. “We had had Alan in nine months earlier, reading with somebody else,” said Barbera, “and, that way, he didn’t sound right. Strangely enough, he tooks something like Fred Flintstone. Mel wasn’t available when we started casting.
“When we were up to the 12th show, Alan developed cataracts in both eyes. He couldn’t see. We prepared his scripts with bigger type and more space until, fortunately, his eyesight improved.”
Barbera doesn’t minimize the importance of the visual element in the Hanna-Barbera shows.
“We cast the characters as if we were interviewing real people. We look at all sorts of drawings before approving characters, wives, kids, dogs.
“At first, when we thought about a satirical thing, we considered a hillbilly character, but decided that might be downbeat, because such people live poor. Suburban cave men in the Stone Age gave viewers a chance to identify and still have fun.”
It also provided ample opportunities to “sneak in” some of the visual and verbal “extra pluses” grown-up Hanna-Barbera fans have come to look for.
Examples in “The Flintstones”: autos with dragging-foot brakes; a record player containing a bird with a long-playing beak; cameras containing tiny sculptors; “Own your own cave” commercials.
One major problem accompanying success has been where to get the necessary personnel.
“For 15 years cartoons have been on a downward slide,” said Joe, “and no new people have been developed. We’ve brought people out of retirement, tracked down second generations, arranged for people to work at home. My two daughters were here all summer, and Bill’s daughter is working here now.
“Each of our people is an artist, an individual, and we’ve got to think of their quirks. After all, we’re not turning out cars. There are no time clocks, and if anybody comes up with a fresh idea, he has a check in his hand within a half hour.
“As a result, we get the beat people. We’re not cornering the market—we’ve just dropped two people, because they weren’t good enough. We have a standard now; we’re stuck with a quality. Somebody has said that in the field of cartoons we’re doing for television now what Disney did for motion pictures 25 years ago.”
Like Disney, Hanna and Barbera are planning expansion into feature-length cartoons and are even considering a Disneyland-like amusement center—“Huckleberry Houndsville, maybe, or Jellostone Park.”
Since entering the TV field with “Ruff ‘n’ Reddy,” they’ve been going in heavily for merchandising. At last count, assorted novelty items numbered 280.
“In the 20 years we did ‘Tom and Jerry,’” Barbera noted, “there were only comic books. Nothing touches the impact of television!”
Animation – C.L. Hartman, Written by Mike Maltese, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson (BCDB credits).
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, Genie, Sinbad – Daws Butler; Aladdin, Alibi Baba, Jug Vendor – Don Messick; Scheherazade – Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-039, Production J-124.
First aired: week of December 11, 1961.
Plot: Snooper and Blabber are hired to capture an escaped genie in Persia.
“Say, Snoop,” says Blabber to open this cartoon, “when am I going to get a salary for being your assistant?” “Blab, your golden opportunity has come at last,” replies Snooper, though he doesn’t realise how golden it is until the cartoon’s over. Snooper informs him “some things are bigger than money.” Today, Blab will be the private eye and Snoop “the lowly assistant.” Blabber rapturises about it and strikes several poses. Here’s some of the animation. Look at the fingers.
The version of the cartoon currently circulating has the incorrect credits. The Big Cartoon Database credits the animation to former Disney artist C.L. Hartman. If someone can confirm or deny that, leave a comment.
It’s pretty obvious Mike Maltese wrote the story. There are some repeats of some old routines, like the parody on the Dragnet-style of questioning when Blab grills Scheherazade (Blab’s repetitive “Yes, m’am” becomes unstoppable after a while) that Maltese worked into the dialogue of ‘Prince of a Fella’,’ ‘Slippery Glass Slipper’ and elsewhere. And the newly-freed genie peppers Snooper and Blabber with questions about stuff that happened while he was inside the lamp: “Are they still doing the Charleston? Did Lucky Lindy make it to Paris? How are the Dodgers doing?” just like in the Augie Doggie cartoon ‘Skunk You Very Much’ (which includes the Charleston question and one about the Dodgers).
I won’t guess at who handled the layouts (I suspect Bob Gentle is the background artist) but I sure like the design of the genie.
Here are the other incidental characters. Sorry I can’t mask the TV logo in some of these.
Their voices should be familiar from other H-B cartoons. Note that Don Messick does the same kind of accent for Aladdin and the jug merchant, but Aladdin’s voice is softer. The genie has the same voice as Fibber Fox.
Some of the dialogue highlights:
● Blab answering the phone a la the radio show ‘Duffy’s Tavern’: “Blabber Detective Agency. Roses are red, violets are blue, we’ll take your case and solve it for you. Chief Blab speakin’.”
● The genie signs his note: “Genie with the light brown hair.” Snoop: “Oh, good. We got a description of the suspect.”
● Blab to Alibi Baba, the used flying carpet salesman: “We’re detectives, and we’re lookin’ for someone.” Alibi: “Oh, the police! I run an honest business, lieutenant. There’s no dirt under my carpets.”
● Blab, questioning Sinbad: “Where were you on the Arabian night of January 16th?” Sinbad: “Huh.” Snoop: “Blab, what in carnation has that got to do with it?” Archie on ‘Duffy’s Tavern’ was big on “what in carnation...” as well.
● Jug merchant: “Heavens to Halavar!” Halavar is in Armenia which is adjacent to Persia, the setting for this cartoon. Then again, he could be saying something else.
Snooper tries to capture the genie by grabbing his turban. Instead, the genie ties the end of it to a palm tree and Snoop crashes into it. The genie thinks he’s made a getaway on a flying carpet but crashes into a turret.
Booby Blab proves he’s not so booby in this cartoon. Blabber cons the genie back into the lamp by pretending to refuse to believe he’s a genie unless he can prove he can do something—like fit in the lamp. So, as amazing as it sounds, the cartoon ends with our heroes a million dollars richer. Well, not both our heroes. Blab caught the genie. So Blab tells Snoop he can take back the job as chief private eye, while he (Blab) keeps the million bucks reward. Blab chuckles to end the cartoon.
No private eye ball on the window to Snoop’s office door in this one, nor do we hear the catchphrase “Halt in the name of the Private Eye (fill in name of organisation).”
You’ll recognise plenty of Flintstones cues here (I don’t have names for most of them), such as “Chase” when the genie flies away and Snoop vows to reel him in like a fish. The cue “Walking” (aka “Here’s What We’re Gonna Do”) shows up when the genie tries to catch up on the Charleston, etc. Hoyt Curtin also came up with an Asian sounding piece with a guitar and xylophone when Snooper’s talking to Aladdin. There are parts of the cartoon with no music, like when the helicopter rotor sound effect is on the sound track, a wise decision by the cutter.
The artist responsible for this background painting had an indirect connection to Bill Hanna from before she was born.
This is from the Snagglepuss cartoon “Be My Ghost,” and the background artist is Neenah Maxwell. Here are some of the other backgrounds.
Here’s what the above drawing looks like without the entrance on an overlay.
The door on the background below is on a cel.
Maxwell arrived at Hanna-Barbera around 1960 and was gone by 1963. Where she came from and where she went in a complete mystery. If I had to speculate, I imagine she might have worked at one time in the ink and paint department at MGM.
On-line death records show that Maxwell was born in California on May 22, 1934 and died on January 21, 1997 in Ventura, California. Her mother’s maiden name was Hanson. But it was her father who Bill Hanna knew and worked with for over two decades.
You won’t find a Neenah Maxwell in the 1940 census. But you will find a Virginia Lee Maxwell living at the Los Angeles home of Carman G. Maxwell and his wife Dorothy, whose maiden name was Hanson. C.G. Maxwell is none other than Max Maxwell, who was production manager for the Harman-Ising studio when Hanna was hired there in the early ‘30s to work as a janitor. Both Maxwell and Hanna were enticed to leave Harman-Ising for MGM in 1937, and Maxwell managed the production end of the cartoon studio for the 20 years it was in existence. California birth records state Virginia Lee Maxwell was born on May 22, 1934, so there’s no doubt she’s Neenah Maxwell. If I had to guess, Neenah was a pet name. And if I had to guess some more, if she had an interest in art, her dad would have found a way to get her a job in the studio (both Hanna and Barbera found work for their children when they opened their own studio). Incidentally, her uncle was Howard Hanson, an ex-Harman-Ising and MGM cartoonist who was the production manager at Hanna-Barbera from the start in 1957 and for almost the next decade. Hanson’s second wife was Vera Ohman, also a background artist at MGM and H-B.
Snagglepuss cartoons generally have a lot of fun dialogue—in this cartoon, Mike Maltese borrows his own “Odds, fish!” line from his great Bugs Bunny short “Rabbit Hood”—but the thing I remember about this from my childhood is the ghosts that roll up like old window shades and then disappear. Harum and Scarum did the same thing in the Snooper and Blabber cartoon “Real Gone Ghosts” a couple of years earlier (Maltese wrote that one, too). Snagglepuss tries it in this cartoon but fails miserably. He’s not a ghost, after all. C.L. Hartman is the animator.
I’m a big fan of the orange version of Snagglepuss, the one before he got his own series, the one where he’s a snooty villain who’s in control and knows he’s superior to Quick Draw McGraw or Super Snooper. But the pink one is funny, too, thanks to strong dialogue from Mike Maltese, the usual clever voice work of Daws Butler, and (at least in this cartoon) some attractive background work by Max Maxwell’s daughter.
Credits: Animation – John Boersma, Layout – Noel Tucker, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Direction – John Freeman, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Augie Doggie – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy – Doug Young; Greech, Martian Ranger, Akba – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-043, Production J-135.
Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Doggie Daddy goes greech hunting on Mars.
In 1957, Evelyn E. Smith wrote a science fiction short story called Once a Greech, about a pink furred, blue tongued creature on another planet. Mike Maltese may have had that in mind when came up with story for this cartoon. More than that, elements of the story are familiar from old Warner Bros. cartoons. The greech’s mock death scene is pure Bugs Bunny (“A Wild Hare” and others), his surprise yelling emulates Bugs screaming at Elmer Fudd “Confidentally, I am a wabbit!!” (“A Wild Hare” again), while the routine of the “dying” greech pulling out a picture of his wife was lifted from a Daffy Duck cartoon of World War Two vintage. And it seems to me Doggie Daddy’s obliviousness of being transported to outer space has a little similarity to the Maltese-penned “Jumpin’ Jupiter,” a Porky Pig-Sylvester short. Maltese also borrowed from his earlier work at Hanna-Barbera; the idea of Augie Doggie communicating with Martian friends came from “Mars Little Precious” two seasons earlier.
There’s an inside gag in this cartoon as well. There’s an H-B pennant on the wall in Augie’s bedroom.
John Boersma receives the animation credit. Is it really him? There’s some really odd animation. There’s one scene where he jerks Daddy’s head and body around during dialogue, like Don Williams drew in that Uncle Batty cartoon in the Pixie and Dixie series. At times, Dear Old Dad goes from having two eyes to one, depending on the position of the head. Sometimes he draws Daddy’s eyes overlapping one another, while other scenes have them separated. Other times, Daddy is cross-eyed. There’s one spot where Augie’s head is down during dialogue so the animator doesn’t need to draw a mouth moving. And he likes to have Daddy’s eyes closed and teeth exposed during laughter.
Here are some of Daddy’s reactions when the greech screeches in his ear.
Ex-Disney type Noel Tucker handled layouts, so he could have designed the incidental characters. Here’s a Martian version of Ranger Smith and a shot of the newly multiplied greech family.
Here are some of Art Lozzi’s backgrounds. It’d be nice to have a drawing of the Martian trees free of characters.
● Via radio, Akba teaches Augie how get his house to blast off for Mars. As the house rises, Daddy wakes up and asks Augie what’s going on. “You were merely having a flight-mare,” replies the son-my-son.
● We get a Sylvester, Jr.-like “Oh, the shame of it!” from Augie after Daddy shoots at the Martian greech, who goes into a phoney death act. Then a paraphrase of an old song—“Mine own papa is a greech killer!” Daddy’s response: “But, Augie, my boy, boy, I got a huntin’ license.”
● Daddy and Augie rush into the house and it lands back on Earth. “Ah, it’s good to be back on good ol’ terra cotta once more!”
● Augie indulges, once again, in the old “Can they stay, huh, can they, dad?” routine. Daddy doesn’t exactly want to go back to Mars, so he agrees. “Well, after all,” he says to end the cartoon, “how many families have genuine Martian greeches for house guests?”
Miscellaneous notes: Some sources say this was the last Augie Doggie cartoon put into production....Akba has that wavering voice Don Messick used for aliens in a number of Hanna-Barbera series....The greech hops along to a sound effect made with a large rubber band....All of Hoyt Curtin’s cues picked by the sound cutter fit the cartoon nicely.
Ranger Smith got the month off from the Yogi Bear comics as the summer of ‘64 wore down. But September means back-to-school time, so we get cute kids in two of the four Sunday editions. Click to enlarge the comics.
For a second I thought Mr. Peebles and his pet store had landed in Jellystone Park, judging by the September 6th comic. The sobbing kid feels better, even though his situation hasn’t changed. It isn’t like the other kids will let him play with them. But Yogi Bear isn’t supposed to be Dear Abby.
Nice design on the leprechaun in the September 13th cartoon. Good end gag. He really is lost, isn’t he? Why isn’t Yogi reading a Huckleberry Hound comic? How could they miss a chance at free cross-promotion?
While we’re asking questions, where did Yogi get the money to rent an airplane? Maybe it’s left over from his wishing well in “A Bear Living.” Or it could be from his pay for appearing in “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear.” And he’s a lot better at piloting aircraft here than when he took off in a helicopter in “The Buzzin’ Bruin” (and crashed another chopper over the closing credits of his TV show). Nice selection of angles in the September 20th comic. The mountains here are more pointed than usual with no snow.
Yogi showed his ignorance of the world in several of the animated cartoons (in “A Bear Pair,” he thinks Paris is in Rhode Island). Today, the kids in the September 27th comic could simply go to Wikipedia and get misinformation. Bushes are in a number of panels as a backdrop. Did kids really wear those crown hats like the little kid here (or Jughead?).
These were the best versions I could find but you can see two-thirds of each of them in colour from Mark Kausler’s collection on his blog. See the link in the column to the right.
Time to clean out a folder of drawings of the early Hanna-Barbera characters I’ve corralled from various parts of the internet. I didn’t make a notation of where most of this came from; it may been something you posted. So my apologies if I don’t credit you as I post it for everyone’s viewing pleasure.
As we all know, the best dog in Hanna-Barbara cartoons was Yowp. But if we had to pick a second-best, well, Astro would pretty much be up there (I’m talking about a dog as a pet, not a humanised dog like Huck Hound or a dogised something-else like Dino). Tony Benedict wrote the first Astro story on “The Jetsons” and made him the series’ funniest regular character. He was so good, the studio ripped off his “r” speech impediment and gave it to another character seven years later. Astro was voiced by the versatile Don Messick, who graciously signed this model sheet for a lucky fan.
This great drawing is from the collection of artist William Wray. Cornelius the Kellogg’s rooster is conducting the starring characters of the first season of “The Huckleberry Hound Show.” I couldn’t tell you what it was for, promotional material perhaps. The side of the piano is made from a Corn Flakes box.
These layouts are for one of the in-between cartoons on the Huck show. It would seem Dick Bickenbach was responsible for them.
Oh, no! Dixie is headless! Someone can correct me but I believe the little tree-charts on the side indicate which level the cels with various body parts (such as heads) are to be laid for camera work.
The note is have simply says this is a drawing of Cindy Bear by Ed Benedict. It seems odd Cindy would be dressed up as a maid.
These two great sketches are from the Wray collection as well. In the first one, we see Boo Boo, Huck, Pixie, Dixie and Iggy the crow on the top row, and Yogi (from “The Runaway Bear”) , the unnamed little fox that Yowp caught (in “Foxy Hound Dog”), Li’l Tom-Tom (from “The Brave Little Brave”) and Mr. Jinks on the bottom.
The second drawing features Ziggy and Iggy, Mr. Jinks, Yowp, the rabbit from “The Brave Little Brave” and Wee Willie on the top row and Yogi, Li’l Tom Tom, Huck, Pixie and Dixie and Boo Boo on the bottom. It was for a publicity photo. Here is it below.
And from cartoon historian John Cawley’s collection...
The Yogi hat looks more like something Larry Storch wore on “F Troop” and Huck’s resembles the ones I’ve seen people wear on St. Patty’s Day—except it has “WIGGL-EARS.” No hat is complete without them.
Credits: Animation – C.L. Hartman, Layout – Dan Noonan, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, General, Second Soldier – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, First Soldier – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Yogi disrupts a war game at Jellystone Park.
Warren Foster worked some military satire into a couple of Yogi Bear cartoons, both with “missile” in the title. This one has the smallest amount. That distinguished military vet Ranger Smith talks with a general who is leading war games at Jellystone.
Ranger: I suppose warfare has changed a lot since I was in the service, sir.
General: Well, the weapons keep changing, but the idea’s the same. Two armies line up and they try to clobber the daylights out of each other. Ha ha ha hah ha ha ha!
Ranger: That’s the way it was in my time.
General: That’s the way it is every time.
The plot’s driven by the ignorant Yogi, who attacks without getting the facts first. The soldiers he’s bashing are on his side? There’s no time to find out unimportant details like that; he’s got to get them before they get him. Stand your ground, Yogi!
The final scene—where Yogi’s forced to eat an entire picnic basket, only to discover it’s full of untasty K-rations—might seem an odd one to stick in what’s supposed to be a children’s cartoon series. But Joe Barbera mentioned in a number of interviews that kids watched adult shows and got jokes like that. Certainly I got it when I was a kid 50 years ago but I couldn’t tell you where I first saw the gag.
The idea of war games inside a national park is a little disconcerting, but I suppose it’s for the convenience of the plot.
Art Lozzi gives us more of his bluish tints and rolling hills with hugging clouds and trees to match. Here’s a great background. Ranger Smith and the general drive past the same trees in their jeep 12 times before cutting to a close-up (and driving past another clump of trees 16 times before the scene fades). The Ranger has a map of Jellystone on his office walls.
You can see some blue shrubbery overlays on these two.
C.L. Hartman received the animation credit. He draws a lot of the dialogue with open mouth shapes on the head that move around. I’ve reviewed three of his cartoons here and I can’t see a lot of stylistic similarities among them.
The less said about Foster’s rhyming dialogue, the better. “In our forest domain, we’re on the gravy train,” exclaims Yogi at the outset of the cartoon. He paraphrases Nathan Hale with “I regret that I have only one life to give for Jellystone,” and then Churchill when he tells the ranger: “Remember, this was our finest hour.”
The plot’s straight-forward. War games are being conducted at Jellystone, Yogi just can’t stay away, he steals the general’s picnic basket, then gets fired on as the games begin. He vows to fight back with a (blue) stick and clobbers all the American soldiers. The games are now fouled up and called off, Yogi is captured and forced to eat the untasty military grub in the basket. The end.
Hoyt Curtin’s underscore fits the cartoon. The Yogi Bear theme song is brought up in the final scene.
Let’s face it. Loopy cartoons just aren’t that great, certainly not compared with Quick Draw McGraw or Huckleberry Hound. And putting them up against other theatricals? Forget it. Unless you consider that, perhaps, they set the trend for cheap-looking, unfunny cartoons of the late ‘60s like Cool Cat or the Beary Family that were inflicted on patrons by theatres that still bothered to run cartoons.
You might think it’s odd that I’m not a Loopy fan, despite the fact he was made by the same artists behind the other great early Hanna-Barbera cartoons. But even back in the heyday of theatrical animation, not every character or cartoon was a hit, so the late ‘50s aren’t really any different.
Thus I’ve really said little about him on this blog, but I make an exception today because the Warner Archive Collection has announced it is releasing a DVD of all the Loopy cartoons. It’s great news because Hanna-Barbera fans can see it and make up their own minds about the series. I have no idea if the cartoons been fully restored or are just TV dubs, or if they contain full end credits.
The site has a snippet of one of the cartoons, 1963’s “Sheep Stealers Anonymous.” Here’s the opening shot, another one of Art Lozzi’s blue backgrounds.
The snippet doesn’t have any credit but George Nicholas’ work is unmistakeable. Here’s a neat little take.
The Loopy cartoons were released by Columbia Pictures. It had been releasing UPA cartoons since the late ‘40s. By 1959, Columbia must have figured “Hey, we own part of a cartoon studio. Why aren’t we releasing its cartoons?” Variety of April 29, 1959 mentioned Columbia had terminated its shorts deal with UPA “amicably.” Variety’s Larry Glenn reported in a front-page story on December 2, 1959 that Columbia was nearing a five-year deal with Hanna-Barbera to be its exclusive theatrical producers, with ten Loopy cartoons in the works. Obviously, the two studios had to have signed something before that. On November 23rd, Variety had mentioned Columbia releasing the ten Loopys, and contemporary issues of Boxoffice magazine state the first Loopy, “Wolf Hounded,” was available for theatres that month.
Incidentally, Columbia was supposed to release “Hillbilly Hawk” and “Three Mixed Up Mooses” cartoons from Hanna-Barbera (Variety, May 1, 1963), but something evidently fell through.
It’s a shame the Loopy cartoons weren’t done in full animation. I’d love to know the difference in their budgets compared with the money spent on the UPA shorts the previous year.
It’s also a shame that the Warner Archive Collection can’t see fit to release the last three seasons of “The Huckleberry Hound Show” or any seasons of “The Quick Draw McGraw Show.” The final season of each has no problems when it comes to music rights, as the scores were all cobbled together from Hoyt Curtin’s cues. I’d settle for just the cartoons on their own (restored and with the credits, of course).
The Loopy DVD, says Warners, “ships to U.S. only.” Ironic, considering the cartoon’s about a wolf from Quebec.
Anyone recognise the characters in this drawing by Ed Benedict? The only series I can think of featuring native Americans never got off the ground. And it kicked around Hanna-Barbera for two years. (See Paul’s note in the comment section).
During the late ‘50s and into the ‘60s, Daily Variety reported on a number of things the studio was proposing or developing that never reached the screen. Two of them were mentioned in a front-page story in the edition of November 30, 1962. The studio wanted to follow the Walt Disney route—shorts to features to live action, though it was a little hesitant about one of its concepts.
Here’s what the trade paper had to say:
Hanna-Barbera Prepping 4 Pilots
Hanna-Barbera Productions is planning four half-hour comedy pilots, and their program includes an expansion into the telefilm series area, as distinguished from animation, which has been company's principal activity to date, with such series as "The Jetsons" and "The Flintstones."
Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna said yesterday vehicle planned as a regular series is untitled, that it's a period (1910) piece. That and "The Park Avenue Indians," a tentative title, may go either animation or regular series route, he said. Joanne Lee has been signed to pen an original for "Indians," which will deal with experiences of a N.Y. model who becomes involved in real estate.
They also reported H-B has acquired its first property for feature filming, but said negotiations are now on for various facets of it, so he could not disclose deals. H-B is also working on an animation feature of its "Yogi Bear" for Columbia release.
Joanna Lee’s name should be familiar to people who watched the credits on the first Hanna-Barbera prime-time shows, as she worked on “The Flintstones,” “Top Cat,” “The Jetsons” and “Jonny Quest.” She also wrote for a number of top live-action sitcoms.
What the period piece was, neither Bill Hanna nor Joe Barbera apparently disclosed to the press. And “Indians” seemed to be shelved for almost two years, when it was re-announced in Daily Variety on October 21, 1964. Mike Connolly’s column in the October 28th edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette went into a teeny bit of detail:
Actress-turned-writer Joanna Lee sold an original, “The Park Avenue Indians,” to Hanna-Barbera. It will be the first full-length live-action feature for the cartoonists. It’s about some Tenth Avenue Redskins who stumble onto a snafu in Peter Stuyvesant’s old real estate contract and discover they own most of Manhattan.
Nothing about fashion models. In fact, the concept for “Indians” now sounds suspiciously like a TV show where some poor people unexpectedly discovered they were filthy rich—so they loaded up their truck and they moved to Beverly. Hills, that is. Well, if Hanna-Barbera borrowed from “The Honeymooners” and “Bilko,” why not grab something from the Number One TV show of 1963?
Joe Barbera was talking about the project as well. In one newspaper interview published on October 24th, he revealed “Indians” was one of three live-action feature films in the works, the other two being “Mr. Mysterious” and “Father Was a Robot.” We talked about those two in this post.
But this little flurry of press activity seems to have been it. I haven’t found any further reference to the film. In the meantime, Hanna-Barbera moved in another direction—creating brand-new cartoons for Saturday morning network television; what new cartoons existed on Saturday mornings before the 1965-66 season were made on the East Coast. It was far more lucrative for the studio than any native American movie comedy could possibly have been.
Credits: Animation – Bob Bentley, Dick Lundy (uncredited); Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Written by Mike Maltese; Story Director – John Freeman; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Quick Draw McGraw, Baba Looey, Snuffles, Jack Pott – Daws Butler; Narrator, skunk, miner, store owner – Don Messick.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-043, Production J-130.
Plot: Quick Draw employs Snuffles to get a skunk out of a mine.
This cartoon appears to have served two purposes. One was to make people laugh. The other was to kiss up to Kellogg’s and its ad agency, Leo Burnett.
Kellogg’s, of course, sponsored “The Quick Draw Show” in its original run in syndication (in the U.S.) and Kellogg’s cereals were plugged in the opening and closing credits, and between the cartoons. Kellogg’s was also the maker of Gro-Pup T-Bone dog biscuits. Is it any coincidence that Quick Draw’s bloodhound Snuffles went into ecstasy over dog biscuits? And of a certain kind with the box featured in the cartoons themselves?
No doubt Kellogg’s was happy to see the free plugs in this cartoon. Quick Draw holds the box in several scenes, and then Baba Looey has to buy a box from a nearby store after the supply runs out.
There are at least two animators on this cartoon. In an earlier post, we went into how the Snuffles ecstasy animation was reused in later cartoons. It originated in “Ali Baba Looey,” a second season cartoon animated by Dick Lundy. The exact same drawings were used in “Dynamite Fright” the following season (the credited animator was Hicks Lokey). In this cartoon, the drawings aren’t reinked exactly the same way but they’re obviously from the same artwork and the same timing is used as in the other two cartoons. Here’s an example. On the left is a frame from this cartoon and on the right is one from “Dynamite Fright.” You’ll see the line under the eyeball isn’t identical, the neck lumps go back to a different place on the collar, the body isn’t positioned at the same angle, among other things. But they must have originated with Lundy’s work, so Lundy should get a credit in my view.
Let’s check out Art Lozzi’s desert background. You can see where the background repeats. The mine is on an overlay.
The whole plot centres around Cartoon Law No. 1256H—namely, “Skunks in cartoons must smell all the time.” Naturally, we all know that skunks only spray when they’re in danger. Otherwise, they waddle around on their merry way, stopping to sniff things. The skunk in this cartoon smiles most of the time and seems quite self-satisfied about being a skunk.
Let’s take you through the story, which begins with Don Messick’s narrator explaining how poor Jack Pott became rich by striking gold which falls on top of him. The gag is the stars he sees after being knocked on the noggin by nuggets turn into dollar signs.
Fast forward many years to when Jack Pott is a rich man—but suddenly thwarted when the skunk trots into his mine and the smell makes everyone run for their lives “and some fresh air.”
Narrator: So, old Jack Pott sent for none other than that famous lawman...er, uh, uhh, ohh, what’s his name? Um...
Quick Draw (displeased): This is terrible embarrassin’.
The rest of the cartoon goes pretty much as you might expect. Pott promises to make Quick Draw a rich man if he gets rid of the skunk. That’s when Snuffles enters the picture. Snuffles gets one biscuit, then two, but can’t handle the skunk smell and demands a third biscuit to perform his job. Quick Draw promises to pay later (Snuffles mutters about Quick Draw being a cheapskate and a welsher) and when it turns out the biscuit box is empty, Snuffles puts the skunk back in the mine. Quick Draw dons a clothespin on his nose and decides to do the job himself. Snuffles is a jerk here. His extremely long arm reaches into the mine grabs the clothespin, and then he rolls the entrance shut and traps Quick Draw (holding his breath) with the smelly skunk. Baba runs to the store, gets another box of biscuits (“it’s a matter of life and breath,” says Baba to the storekeeper). Snuffles lets the blue-in-the-face Quick Draw out of the mine.
Hoyt Curtin wrote some nice little western cues; a jaunty clip-clop with muted trumpet opens the cartoon. There’s a nice medium, lilting cue when Quick Draw McGraw arrives, but it should have been cut when Baba started singing the Quick Draw theme. One of the Top Cat “hurry-in-the-city” cues is used when Baba rushes to and from the store to buy some dog biscuits. The selections are all pretty good. A bassoon laughing cue when Quick Draw’s regaining his breath wasn’t used too often, if I recall. Some Lippy/Wally/Touché cues surface as well, include one every time Snuffles runs into the mine (also heard on the “The Flinstones.”)
Quick Draw says “Hold on thar!” but we don’t get an “I’ll do the thinnin’ around here” or “Oooh! That smarts!” in this cartoon.
This is one of three Quick Draws to have “Hanna-Barbera” on the title card and the only one with script calligraphy.
Background, layout artists and cameramen played an important role in setting the right mood for “Jonny Quest.” The layout people came up with different angles to mimic adventure comic strips so it didn’t appear the characters were being filmed looking at them like on a stage. Drawing in perspective would have been expensive and time-consuming, so the camera swooped into (or out of) shots while panning at the same time to simulate additional movement of the action on screen. And the background people had to provide realistic-looking sets; stylised stuff like in the early Huck Hound cartoons just wouldn’t fit.
Fortunately, the studio had some quality background artists who were versatile enough to work in different styles. Bob Gentle was one; look at his settings in the 1940s Tom and Jerry cartoons. The great Paul Julian, a veteran of both Warner Bros. and UPA (“The Tell-Tale Heart”), picked up credits on a pair of episodes. And another was Richard H. Thomas, who came up with some solid backgrounds for Bob McKimson at Warners in the later ‘40s.
We’ve profiled Dick Thomas in this post. But with Jonny’s 50th birthday days away, I thought I’d post some of his background labour from that show. He handled “Shadow of the Condor” all on his own and was tasked with painting a backdrop featuring the top of the Andes, a stone castle and ancient biplanes.
Here are a couple of longer backgrounds that were snipped together. Unfortunately, two are not complete due to colour changes on the DVD frame as drawing is panned.
This particular cartoon also features fine effects animation of wisps of clouds by a presumably uncredited artist.
We’ll go into the show a bit, thanks to press clippings, on its 50th anniversary.
“Jonny Quest” was great. And still is.
I was seven years old when the show debuted 50 years ago tonight. I was not an action-adventure fan (and I’m still not), but I was a cartoon fan, so I tuned in. Each week, I was gripped by the suspenseful and intense stories, augmented and enhanced by beautiful layouts and designs, and the unmatched musical work of Hoyt Curtin. The Quest cues were his finest hour. He used a minimum of 22 pieces to play his short compositions and the film cutters did an incredible job matching them to the action. My sister, who was six, became terrified during the Anubis episode and ran out of the front room, yelling she would never watch the show again. That’s how good “Jonny Quest” was.
Just like the Fleischer studio artists went from animating the Stone Age cartoon series to Superman in the early ‘40s, Hanna-Barbera artists made a graphic left turn from “The Flintstones” to “Jonny Quest.” They certainly were capable; a number of them had worked on “Sleeping Beauty” and other features for Walt Disney, including the four animators credited on the debut episode. Here’s part of the Daily Variety review from September 21, 1964:
JONNY QUEST (Mystery of the Lizard Men) Fri., 7:30 p.m., ABC-TV, filmed by Hanna Barbera. Co-producer, directors, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera; teleplay, Hanna, Barbera, Douglas Wildey, Alex Lovy; film editor, Warner Leighton; animators, Edwin Aardal, Ed Parks, Hugh Fraser, Harvey Toombs. Cast: Voices of Tim Matthieson, John Stephenson, Mike Road, Vic Perrin, Nestor Paiva, Doug Young. [Don Messick was also credited; Variety missed it].
For the young uns who dream of high adventure when they're not turning up their transistors, this new item out of the Hanna-Barbera cartoonery should thrill their little hearts. It's not a cartoon, as such, but the kind of strip that runs in the funnies section, so-called. Joe Barbera describes it as “staged animation, illustrative rather than cartoon style and a brand new style for tv.” So be it and it should give H-B another perennial as companion piece to “The Flintstones.”
Jonny (of the title) is the son of an American scientist, who goes along on his hazardous missions. They run afoul of all manner of evil-doers but manage to survive their ordeals. In the opener they were beset by lizardmen, who wreck ships with a laser beam to thwart efforts of scientists to man a moonshot. Every week will be a different locale but with the same brand of derring-do.
As a side-note, the same issue of Variety noted Alex Lovy had his name on the credits of another series that made its debut the same week—“The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo.”
The trade paper trumpeted on September 29th that Joe Barbera was heading to Chicago and New York to promote the show. As a result, we find this review in the Dover Daily Reporter of October 24th:
Escapism In Cartoon Series
JONNY QUEST: It's Not Kid Show, Producer Says
By Harold Stern
NEW YORK - Joseph Barbara, who along with William Hanna created and produced "Jonny Quest" and myriad other TV animation series, has an argument that sounds plausible. I just don't buy it.
"We've never made a kid show," he insisted. "There is no such thing as a kid in television any more. After the age of 4, it's a critical audience. Don't forget, these children have been seeing reruns of 'Sergeant Bilko' and 'The Honeymooners.' They won't go for anything childish. They demand sharp, adult entertainment. Jonny Quest plays to an adult audience."
"I was reared on Zane Grey, 'Tom Swift' and the like," he said. "Then all of a sudden, it vanished. It was replaced by sick books and stories. What our series does is try to return to the true adventure story.
"Our shows don't involve fighting 2-headed monsters. Our stories are based on fact. People can identify with our adventures. The show travels all over the world and we put a lot of research into guaranteeing the authenticity of costume and locale. We don't go into space science. We're interested in romantic, escapist stories, not brutally violent shows. Brutality is the easy way out. We don't dispose of our villains that way.
"We try not to date our shows with weapons and equipment in our series on projects either barely in use or still on the drawing board. Our shows contain such things as one-man subs, snow skimmers, hovercraft, flying belts, hydrafoils, vertical takeoff planes, etc. The whole emphasis of our studio has become adventure."
That's a lot of adventure. Hanna-Barbera Productions has a total of 13 animated series currently seen on television, 9 of them repeats. There are 4 new series in the works, plus a cartoon feature based on their "Flintstones" series.
Though their success has been in the field of animation, Hanna-Barbera isn't stopping there. There are 3 live-action feature films planned, "Mr. Mysterious,""Park Avenue Indians" and "Father Was a Robot." In addition, the studio is working on 2 live-action series, an hour-long adventure series and a half-hour comedy.
Considering Hanna-Barbera's rate of growth in the some 7 years it has been in existence, there's no reason to assume that all the contemplated projects won't materialize. Prior to going out on their own, Hanna and Barbera turned out about 48 minutes of animation a year for MGM, with a staff of about 150.
Today, in their own studios, they have a staff of 320 turning out over 90 hours of animation a year.
"Our staff consists of 320 temperaments," Barbera said, "so we don't dare impose the usual restrictions on them. They don't punch time clocks, they can work at whatever hours they like. We're not a factory. We don't do piece work. We're a creative organization and we get our best results from letting our people work as they think best."
“Based on fact,” Joe? You mean like the walking, revenge-seeking mummy? And there weren’t violent deaths? Oh, right. They weren’t violent because they happened off camera.
Barbera had more to say. This was in the syndicated TV Key column. Take note, back-story fetishists. There was no Mrs. Quest because there wasn’t a need for one. Isn’t that good enough?
Escapism In Cartoon Series
By CHARLES WITBECK
HOLLYWOOD — Two of the finest noses in town for sniffing taste trends at the box office belong to those indefatigable cartoon makers, Hanna and Barbera who have added a touch of James Bond escapism to their new kids' show, "Jonny Quest," on Friday nights.
The men, pushing to keep cartoons on the air, are willing to change styles, increase animation or slow it down, anything to keep H & B in the TV business. Very little has been left out of the "Jonny Quest" storyline about an 11-year-old son of an American scientist; his best friend, a Hindu named Hadji, and Jonny's bodyguard and tutor, Roger "Race" Bannon, Bandit a dog and the Persian Peddler. Plots take the cast underwater where fish heartbeats may be listened to, or there can be chases in outer space, a fling down the Amazon or an expedition to freezing Tibet.
He has taken a bold step though and eliminated Mom.
"We couldn't put Mother in the series," says Joe, "then we'd be domestic again and Mother would be in the kitchen making sandwiches. We decided to get completely away from those homey scenes where even the dogs are obedient. Life isn't like that."
Angles For Adults
Barbera won't pretend his shows have much connection with realism, particularly this year when escapism is the password. Neither will he write off the so-called adult audience when it comes to cartoons.
"I'm on a one-man crusade," says Joe, "to stop this misconception that cartoons are only for kids. We're writing for grownups, too. People are still loath to admit they look at cartoons. Take the Flintstones. I'll stack that cartoon show against any situation comedy."
Barbera likes the sense of balance given "Jonny Quest.""Do you realize we have by-passed mad scientists and two-headed monsters. Why you won't even see a moon missile on the show. We'll stick fairly close to the truth."
No mad scientists, Joe? Yeah, Doctor Zin was perfectly sane. Okay, maybe Mr. B. has us on a technicality because Dr. Zin may not have been a scientist; just a freelance power-hungry guy who was a little anti-social.
Initially, the network wasn’t really quite sure where to put Jonny. Variety reported on January 29, 1964 the series had been moved back a half hour from a planned 7:30 p.m. slot on Sundays, but Broadcasting of February 3rd reported it would air at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays, opposite “Rawhide” on CBS and “International Showtime on NBC.” General Mills turned down a sponsorship (Variety, Jan. 29) but the series was eventually picked up by B.F. Goodrich, Pepsi-Cola and Proctor & Gamble (Broadcasting, Sept. 7). For what appears to have been a brief period in April 1964, the show was being called “Jonny Quest: File 037” but someone wisely thought better of it.
The 26-city Trendex numbers (Broadcasting, Sept. 28) show that Jonny won his time slot in the season opener, though it should be mentioned ABC was the only network that wasn’t broadcasting summer reruns and not all 26 markets may have been included. Things changed the following week. The Arbitron Report showed “Jonny Quest” wasn’t even in the top 50 and was last in its time slot. And the following week, it settled in second place, well behind “Rawhide.” However, TVQ’s second October report reported that Jonny was tied for ninth in viewers 6 to 11 years of age (my sister notwithstanding), while Fred, Barney and Dino were fifth.
And it was “three strikes, you’re out” at Hanna-Barbera. It whiffed with “Top Cat,” “The Jetsons” and now “Jonny Quest.” The studio didn’t get another shot at prime time until 1970 when it remade “The Flintstones” into “Where’s Huddles?”. CBS plunked it into the 7:30 p.m. Wednesday slot in July and August where it became the second highest-rated summer series (and went into summer repeats the following year before disappearing for good). In 1967, Jonny followed T.C. and George Jetson into the world of 6 to 11 year old viewers—Saturday mornings—and remained on the air for three seasons worth of reruns despite being named in a report that “CBS network prexy Tom Dawson asked for suggestions on modifying the grotesque and the violent in the web's cartoon spread” (Variety, July 24, 1968). And like “The Jetsons,” there was still so much demand for “Jonny Quest” that it was reworked and brought back with new episodes in the ‘80s.
There’s a wonderful site that every fan of the show should visit. Click here. Craig Fuqua and Lyle Blosser have done a wonderful job and it’s got more information about Jonny Quest than you may ever want to know. And you can watch a great labour of love below—a documentary on the show and how it was made.
Credits: Animation – Ken O’Brien, Layout – Lance Nolley, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – John Freeman, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Pixie – Don Messick; Dixie, Mr. Jinks – Daws Butler.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First aired: 1962.
Plot: Jinks tries to turn Pixie and Dixie against each other with a mechanical female mouse.
If there’s anyone on “The Huckleberry Hound Show” that strikes me as lacking sexual virility, it’s Pixie and Dixie. Yet here we are to believe that, suddenly, the two meeces are so full of uncontrollable lust for a woman that they’d pound the crap out of each other.
Sorry, I don’t buy it.
Mr. Jinks, sure. He liked to give everyone the impression he was a swaggering cat-about-town. Yogi, perhaps weak from lack of pic-a-nic baskets, had his heart captured by Cindy Bear (Boo Boo strikes me as being on the pre-pubescent side). I can even see Huck as the Southerner gentleman, behaving with old-time gentility toward the Fairer Sex. But the meeces? Come on. They barely have a personality to begin with.
Despite that, Warren Foster cooked up a jealous rivalry angle between Pixie and Dixie over a woman in this cartoon and we’re supposed to buy it. In fairness, Foster sets up the plot well, and quickly, during Jinks’ soliloquy in the opening scene.
He shows off his electronic female mouse, going through a bunch of technical specifications ending with “Which is, uh, pretty good, you know, when you consider, like, I’m only a cat.”
As you can see, you’re supposed to ignore the fact that in other cartoons, Pixie and Dixie are related, not friends. But no one cared too much about the finer points of continuity 50 years ago (for example, if “The Flintstones” was in first run today, fanbois would screech ad infinitum on the internet that Fred’s house address keeps changing). We’ll also ignore it’s a little creepy that Jinks is so impressed with the sexpot he’s created that he tells us “I think I’ll get a cat my size into production.”
Jinks commands the robot mouse through a microphone to do a silent, come-hither act on each of the mice separately.
Dixie: We’ll always be good friends, Pixie. Nothin’ will ever come between us.
Pixie (puts out hand): Shake.
Dixie (puts out hand): Buddy!
Pixie: Right, pal. It’s not very often one is fortunate enough to establish such a relationship.
(Dixie sees the girl mouse and his heart becomes aflutter)
Dixie (angrily): Let go of my hand.
The two make up until the robot mouse winks at Pixie and then he goes nuts for her.
Jinks eggs on the growing dispute by sending mash notes (from “Tina”) to each of the mice. They start fighting. The force of the battle knocks the robot mouse head off. The meeces realise they’ve been had, hear Jinks confess to Charlie on the phone about what’s been going on, then use the mike to command the somehow-repaired Tina to pick Jinks up by the tail (what strength!) and bash him to the ground over and over as the cartoon ends.
The high point for me comes as Pixie decides to move to a hole in another room so he can be alone and plot to win over the girl. Daws Butler and Don Messick volley the lines quickly back and forth with phoney sincerity. They give great performances in this cartoon.
Dixie: Sure was.
Pixie: We’ll see each other around.
Dixie: Sure. We’ll have lunch together some time.
Pixie: Sure. I’ll call ya.
Dixie: Don’t forget.
Pixie: Forget what?
Dixie: To call me.
Pixie: What for?
Dixie: I forget.
Pixie: It doesn’t matter.
Ken O’Brien is the credited animator. He draws a wide mouth on Jinks and even tilts the cat’s head at times like Carlo Vinci. He likes crossing Jinks’ eyes, too.
It’s unclear when this cartoon was made. It is copyright 1962. O’Brien was hired by March 1961 as supervising animator at Arnold Gillespie’s Quartet Films. Dan Gordon left Hanna-Barbera at the same time to work for the company. O’Brien had been at Disney for a number of years and was an animator on some of the most attractive cartoons ever produced by Walter Lantz (with his buddy Fred Moore in the late ‘40s). He animated on the stylish John Sutherland propaganda short “Destination Earth” (1956), and spent some thankless years toiling on such dreck as the TV Magoos (he joined UPA in August 1960) and “He-Man.” He also worked on animatronics in the mid-‘60s at WED and taught at Cal Arts. O’Brien was from Butte, Montana, spent some teenaged years in Seattle and was supporting his widowed mother on a Disney salary by 1940. He died January 17, 1990 at age 84.
There’s nothing of note about the underscore cobbled together in this cartoon. They’re the same cues you hear in all the short cartoons produced around this time. Tina has a mechanical sound effect when she’s walking that you should recognise as later belonging that great character on “The Jetsons,” Uniblab, who was about as likely to fall in love as Pixie or Dixie. And it might be funnier than this cartoon if he did.
It’s a tribute to Hanna-Barbera studio that today, when we refer to the future, we refer to the past as well. Read a newspaper or web story about a technologically advanced home or kitchen gadget or car (especially the flying variety), there will likely be a reference to “The Jetsons.”
It can be argued the stars of “The Jetsons” weren’t the Jetsons at all, but all those gadgets designed to make Life In The Future so much less of a burden. They were beautifully conceived by the designers and layout artists at the studio.
Ah, the gadgets weren’t enough. Nor was the comic relief of Astro or the corporate suck-up Uniblab. The show didn’t resonate with enough parents. It lasted one season in prime time. When it was moved to Saturday mornings in fall 1963, it settled in for seeming endless reruns (the first season, it ran opposite “Mighty Mouse” and “Fireball XL-5,” at least in New York; “Mighty Mouse” and “Fury”, in the Pacific Northwest).
The show debuted 52 years ago today. Here’s what Daily Variety out of Los Angeles wrote about the season opener in its edition of September 25, 1962. Virtually all the reviews I’ve read are optimistic and positive. This one is by “Helm” and I believe I’ve clipped together the full review.
Filmed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera; producers, directors, Hanna and Barbera; associate producer, Alex Lovy; teleplay, Larry Markes; animators, Irv Spence, Don Lusk, Grant Simmons, Ray Patterson; film editor, Joe Ruby.
Cast: Voices of George O'Hanlon, Penny Singleton, Janet Waldo, Daws Butler, Don Messick, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl.
It's one of the rarities of television that a producing studio, using the same formula, can follow one hit with another. More to the credit of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera that it's a cartoon. Many tried to capitalize on the popularity of H&B's "Flintstones" but none achieved its high estate. By the simple device of looking ahead with The Jetsons, whereas "Flinty" looks back into the Stone Age, they achieved a new delight for the young 'uns and plenty of [parents] looking over their shoulders in this early evening fun show for the tyke monopoly on the home sets.
Into the Space Age a few hundred years hence are propelled the Jetsons, whose family life is so simplified that the press of a button can do a thousand chores. When the whatchamacallit goes on the blink a maid is hired and Rosey the Robot directs traffic when the boss is invited to dinner. Every gimmick to imply speed and the easy life is employed with hilarious effect. For a color cast on ABC-TV for its own and other equipped stations, it was a huge success. The tint was clear and inviting and a big plus or sales of color sets.
Voices of the characters, many doubling from "Flintstones," were perfectly matched and the animation finely drawn. Helm.
Oh, and unoptimistic and negative review? The following day, Weekly Variety had these words (mind you, it sourly spoke about the other shows it reviewed on the same page, too):
THE JETSONS PARTICIPATING ABC-TV (film, color)
Producers-Directors: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera; Writer: Larry Markes; 30 Mins.; Sun., 7: 30 p. m.
With George O'Hanlon, Penny Singleton, Janet Waldo, Daws Butler, Jean Vander Pyl, Mel Blanc, Don Messick.
The cartoon cycle, which took off with the click of "The Flintstones" a couple of years ago, is still rolling fitfully. Although a couple of such series proved to be disappointments last season, ABC-TV is trying again this fall with "The Jetsons," another Hanna-Barbera pen-and-ink creation which is being used for the first ABC color telecasting on the web's o& o's on a limited number of affiliates.
Even more important than the absence of a fresh point of view is this cartoon's lack of style. The artistic approach was not ruffled by originality. Among the characters, the Jetson family was as standardized as a cereal box. Only the robot maid, "Rosey," had a glimmer of interest due to the thinly disguised takeoff on "Hazel." At 7: 30 p. m. Sunday nights, this series may succeed in attracting the less critical moppet audiences."
The artwork of the Skypad Apartments you see above is not from the debut; it’s the opening shot (panned up) of “Uniblab,” a tremendous cartoon where we learn that hypocritical, back-stabbing, corporate ladder-climbers in the future won’t be restricted to humankind. Hoyt Curtin came up with some spunky ‘60s electronica over the pan shot. The original credits were ripped off all of the episodes (but one) years ago, so I can’t say who was responsible for the lovely Skypad setting or who did the animation (if I had to guess, I’d say a tamed Carlo Vinci does some work on it). We have some experts reading here who probably can spot the animators
Writer Barry Blitzer beautifully sets up the plot through some memorable office scenes, only to hearken back to them in Uniblab’s alcohol-soaked fall from grace. And if you’re not a fan of Don Messick, listen to his performance as the drunken Uniblab. It’s priceless and couldn’t have been done better by anyone.
Credits: Animation – Ken Southworth, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Tony Benedict, Story Director – Lew Marshall, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Huckleberry Hound, Narrator, Pierre – Daws Butler.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Gendarme Huck tries to capture bank robber Powerful Pierre.
This is the fifth and final cartoon where Huckleberry Hound takes on Pierre. Pierre loses every time, though he brings down his own downfall in this one. And it’s deserved, as Pierre is arrogant and self-satisfied, as opposed to the affable Huck.
The plotline in this one pretty much follows the usual drill. A narrator sets up the plot, Huck goes through a series of failures, commenting to us all along the way, and either wins or loses in the end. One difference this time is Huck doesn’t talk to the narrator.
My favourite bit comes at the end of the cartoon. “Well, that just about wraps up another case,” Huck tells us. “ ‘Cept for this here stolen money. I just got to re-turn it to the right bank. Or was it the left bank?”
The pun here is Huck is in Paris, home of the Left Bank. But anyone who is geographically challenged can still appreciate the silly play on words.
But that’s the end. Let’s go through things in chronological order because, well, it reads better than the original draught of this post which contained random musings in no particular order.
Being in Paris evidently inspires Huck to Frenchify the lyrics for his chanson de choix.
Frère Jacques, frère Jacques,
Frere Jacques Clementine!
Frère Jacques, frère Jacques
And her shoes are number nine!
A cute bit is Huck having to remind himself he’s French in this cartoon. He picks up the police phone and says “Officer, uh, I mean Jond-army Huckleberry checkin’ in, sir.” Well, it’s kind of a police phone. Bank robber Pierre comes over and borrows it to talk to Louie at “zee hangout.” How the phone line manages to be connected to the police station, then the hangout, then the police station again is a finer point that writer Tony Benedict doesn’t worry about. It’s one of those cartoon things, I guess.
During this whole scene, Huck doesn’t clue in that the guy with the bag of money who borrowed the phone was Pierre. Nevertheless, he goes to “where most robbers holes up—77 Rue de la Strip.” It even has an awning, though it’s not triangular like the one outside 77 Sunset Strip where “you meet the highbrow and the hipster, the starlet and the phoney tipster” as the theme song says. No, at this 77, you meet Powerful Pierre, as he plays a Bugs-and-Elmer style non-recognition game where Huck reads out the description of Pierre but doesn’t realise that’s who he’s talking to until he gets the bum’s rush out of the place. “Oh, Gar-kon! That’s more French talk meanin’ ‘anybody home?’” Huck tells us.
Huck now tries to capture Pierre. He—
● crashes his bicycle into a door.
● uses his cape as a set of wings but smashes into a flagpole hanging from a building (“I guess this cape was just for looks after all.”)
● gets burned feet when he jumps through the chimney onto the roof into the fireplace below (Pierre lights the fire).
● makes a battering ram out of a log which bounces off Pierre’s stomach and sends him flying back onto the street.
● runs into a door after Pierre closes it.
● lets a rope ladder down from a helicopter to try to get in through a window, but Pierre, leaning out the window, cuts the rope (“Touché! And even Three-ché!” says Pierre in a line worthy of Mike Maltese).
Finally, we get a reprise of the revised Clementine song to close the cartoon. Hanna-Barbera was known for short-cuts and there was one that could have been taken at the end, but wasn’t. Daws sang the same lyrics both times. The first version could easily have been used again and Ken Southworth’s animation reused. But because Daws sang the closing version a little differently, Southworth had to animate it differently to fit Daws’ mouth movements (the same repeating background drawing was used, and Huck walks past the same door four times).
I was hoping to snip together Art Lozzi’s streetscape but found the most unusual thing. The end of the background doesn’t match what’s supposed to be the same artwork at the front. You don’t notice because the buildings on the drawing are whizzing by quickly but if you look at these consecutive frames, you’ll see the green building on the left has suddenly developed two red chimneys.
Daws is solo in this cartoon, one of two Hucks this season where he handled all the voices. The music is familiar from both “Top Cat” (a good portion of the underscore) and “The Flintstones.” The cue “Working in the Gravel Pit” (aka “Slate Gravel Co.”) when Huck gets “plumb mad” and runs into the door.
I mentioned a number of weeks ago that the original voice of Blabber Mouse, Elliot Field, had written his autobiography. Here’s a little note about getting his book on-line (I make no money from this ad). It doesn’t deal a lot with his career at Hanna-Barbera, which was cut short in 1959 by a stay in hospital (he returned later to work on a couple of Flintstones episodes before moving to Detroit). It talks mainly about that era of radio when creative local disc jockeys took over from the Golden Age network shows.
Elliot can be heard as Blab in the cartoons “Puss ‘n’ Booty,” “Switch Witch” (he’s also the witch), “Real Gone Ghosts” and “Desperate Diamond Dimwits.” He also surfaces in the Quick Draw McGraw cartoon “Scary Prairie” (as both the narrator and the bad guy).
L.A. radio pioneer DJ reveals the genesis of Top 40 radio.
In 1958, Elliot Field was earning an unprecedented 31.8 share for his afternoon drive slot on LA’s #1 station. Field, one of the original seven Swingin’ Gentlemen of KFWB, Los Angeles, was there for the introduction of “Color Radio,” working along side other pioneers like Gordon McLendon and Chuck Blore. He has just released his autobiography titled, “Last of the Seven Swingin’ Gentlemen” available in paperback and as a Kindle book on Amazon.
Field also enjoyed a career as an actor and voiceover artist, creating memorable cartoon characters on Hanna-Barbara’s “Quick Draw McGraw” and “The Flintstones,” most famously as the voice of Alvin Brickrock, a spoof on Hitchcock.
An early victim of polio, Elliot has spent his life in leg braces, remaining active (and vertical) through it all. His stories, told in his straightforward voice, with touches of humor, are honest and inspiring. Elliot gives real meaning to the concept of the “last man standing.”
Published by Palm Springs Publishing.
Sold by Amazon Digital Services
Some smiles but no big laughs in the Yogi Bear Sunday comics (Saturday in Canada) 50 years ago this month. I suspect Harvey Eisenberg drew these; it’s a shame I can’t find better versions on the internet to show off his artwork. Boo Boo isn’t really needed so he only shows up in two of the four comics, and only briefly in one.
The optional top row (some papers didn’t carry it) in the October 4th comic is self-contained and has nothing to do with the other two rows. I keep waiting for the line “Oh, Magoo, you’ve done it again.”
Cindy Bear was redesigned for the movie “Hey, There, It’s Yogi Bear” (1964), so that’s the version we see in the October 11th comic. Even Cindy rhymes in this one. She doesn’t seem to appreciate Yogi’s talent for playing five instruments simultaneously. And did he steal all that food around Cindy in the final panel?
I wonder if they sold Yogi balloons like the one the kid has in the final panel of the October 18th comic. The lousy scan ruins the great pose of Ranger Smith at the end. Hazelton’s Law requires all kids in Yogi comics to have dots on the sides of their faces. Mr. Eisenberg seems to have liked varying his use of silhouettes; Yogi and Smith are in silhouette in the background of the top right-hand panel with the subjects clear in the foreground. In other comics, he’ll have the characters in silhouette in the foreground (see example below).
As a side note, I found this story in the supplement of the San Antonio Express for the above date:
NEW YORK—Fans of The Flintstones and Yogi Bear will be glad to hear (or sorry, if you’re a parent and have to spend the money) that dresses are being marketed for little girls that have “coloring book” characters from the shows printed on them, along with the material for the child to do her own coloring.
Odd looking zig-zag trees in the opening panel of October 25th comic. I like Ranger Smith’s moving fingers in the last panel.
Click to enlarge any of the comics.