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Stuff about early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

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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 – Daws Butler; Ranger Smith, Boo Boo – Don Messick; Iron Hand Jones – Doug Young.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First aired: 1961-62 season (rerun, week of Nov. 26, 1962).
    Plot: Yogi tries to outwit a fill-in, disciplinary ranger, Iron Hand Jones.

    Warren Foster became a master of the 6½-minute sitcom on the Yogi Bear series. In his better cartoons, he knew how to stretch a storyline just long enough, climax it, then come up with a little tag on the end. His best cartoons had satire woven in which, unfortunately, wasn’t often enough.

    The “Iron Hand Jones” plot is put together very nicely. There aren’t a lot of yuks but the viewer’s hooked to see how, or if, Yogi will work his way out of his latest predicament. In this cartoon, he does. But he outsmarts himself and is back where he started as the cartoon fades out at the end. This fit Foster’s philosophy about how the Yogi series should be written. He once told the New York Times“[T]here is the problem of what to do about the morality of thievery. So we let him [Yogi] get his picnic basket—and then we get him punished.”

    This is also another cartoon where Ranger Smith is a complete jerk at the beginning. Smith admits later in the cartoon “Yogi’s a problem but he’s not a bad bear.” Later, he calls him “my favourite bear” (ahead of Boo Boo?!). But when Yogi goes into his office to ask what’s going on, Smith snaps “Yogi, at any other time, I’d resent your insolence.” Geez, Ranger Smith, he was just asking a question. This is how you treat your favourite bear? Anyway, the deal is the ranger is going on holidays and being replaced for the duration by Iron Hand Jones, a former paratrooper. He’s not called Iron Hand for nothing, he tells us, and smashes his fist into his hand, with the camera shaking and a clang noise filling the soundtrack. Jones decides to whip Yogi into shape (he likes “well-conditioned bears, with nice shiny coats”). My favourite little bit is when Iron Hand orders Boo Boo out of the ranger station. Boo Boo finds the quickest exit. He jumps through the window.

    Before long, Jones has Yogi quick-time marching around the park. “I don’t remember signin’ anything but, somehow, I’ve joined the army.” So he concocts a clever plan. He leaves a path of bear tracks to a lake and places his hat at the edge. “It can only lead to one conclusion,” he tells us, “There’s one less bear in the army.” And that’s the conclusion Ranger Smith reaches when he gets back, though Yogi has actually just hoisted himself into a tree next to the lake (or, as he puts it, “a friendly tree is the place for me”).

    Smith kicks Iron Hand out of the park for driving Yogi “to a watery you-know-what.” The phone rings. Picnic baskets are disappearing by the lake. “Yogi has figured out a way to strike from beyond the Twilight Zone,” he determines. It’s a shame licensing issues (and money) prevented what would have been a great musical gag—using the Twilight Zone theme as an accent. Instead, we get Hoyt Curtin’s xylophones and woodwinds that toddle along during the whole scene.

    Smith goes to the lake and addresses Yogi in “that Jellystone in the sky”. “You’re welcome to any picnic baskets you can get, Yogi,” he promises. But when Yogi appears, Smith becomes a jerk again. Evidently bitter that he’s been deceived, the cartoon ends with Yogi quick-time marching around the park (to “The Flintstones” theme in march time). “It seems to me I should have stayed in my tree,” he tells us as the cartoon ends. The whole tree thing is a little odd if you stop to think about it. For one thing, Yogi is sitting in the branches with four, full picnic baskets. You mean he’d leave them untouched during the whole time four sets of tourists would lunch under the tree? And if he’s in the tree, why does he walk into the scene from the right side of the frame? Well, the baskets are needed in the tree to emphasize the story, and it was probably easier animating a walk cycle than a climb (and certainly takes up less screen time).

    Bill Keil is the animator in this cartoon. He draws dialogue in profile with the mouth—and in Yogi’s case, the snout—slightly to the side (you’ll notice a line leading from Yogi’s nose to the mouth that you wouldn’t see in a true profile). That means he animates mouth movements on the face, but he does raise Yogi’s nose for a bit of variety).

    There seem to be occasional shot-matching problems at H-B. Here are consecutive frames. When the camera switches to a medium shot of Ranger Smith and Iron Hand Jones, they’re in different positions than the longer shot.


    Jones: So, you call yourself a bear, eh?
    Yogi: If I’m not, it’s a pretty good disguise, right, sir?
    Jones: Quiet!!!
    Here’s Keil’s reaction drawing.

    As mentioned earlier, you’ll hear what later became the Flintstones theme in the cartoon, including when Smith is puttering along (there’s a putter sound effect) in his 1961 Rivera Jeep (Tony Rivera, that is). Dick Thomas adds a bit of colour in the main background with some flowers in addition to his usual scratchy grass and bushes that are angled to the right.

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    Time to clean out the old computer and post sundry Hanna-Barbera-related pictures corralled from various parts of the internet over the last few years. My apologies if any of these are yours and I haven’t credited you. Ardent fans have likely seen these posted elsewhere but it’s nice to look at them again. You can click on any of them to make them bigger.

    I can’t say that I watched ‘The Mighty Mightor.’ It debuted at 11 a.m. on a Saturday morning in fall 1967 as part of a show called ‘Moby Dick.’ The idea of a crime-fighter whale (weren’t there “teen companions” on that one?) would have been too ridiculous even for 10-year-old me. I see the competition on the tube where I lived were ‘The Beatles,’ ‘Top Cat’ and ‘Spider Man.’ I probably watched ‘The Beatles’ if anything (‘George of the Jungle’ was the lead-in), though during baseball season, Dad took over the TV.

    The drawing above is by Alex Toth and the date gives you an idea when the show may have been put into production.

    My favourite H-B cartoon. I’ve rummaged through my head trying to think of an episode where Quick Draw was on roller skates. I can’t think of one off-hand, and the production number has me baffled (the Quick Draw show cartoons all started with “J”). Note: See the answer in the comment section.

    Lovely drawing of El Kabong. My less-than-educated guess is it was for promotional purposes.

    This sheet by Dick Bickenbach is dated almost ten months before “The Quick Draw McGraw Show” debuted. The show was in production by December 16, 1958, as that’s when Daily Variety reported production on it would be halted over the holidays.

    A cel from the closing animation for “The Quick Draw McGraw Show.” There’s cycle animation of the characters riding the stagecoach but none of it contains a drawing where Baba has his feet together and Quick Draw’s whip has two loops under his hand. The closest I can find in the closing animation is when the stagecoach emerges from its little side-journey and rejoins the galloping horses that are supposed to be pulling it.

    Two sheets of Ranger Smith. The top one is from after “The Yogi Bear Show” went on the air. The second one is from 1963, so I gather it’s for the Yogi Bear movie. The design hews closer to what Gene Hazelton et al were using in the Yogi Bear newspaper comics. It’s initialled by Alex Lovy.

    Layout of Reddy. He seemed to have his fists up in a bunch of episodes, so I can’t guess which one this is from.

    Yogi and Cindy have procreated in this 1962 drawing. If anyone knows the origin of this drawing, let me know.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve posted this story sketch before. It’s from one of the cartoons-between-the-cartoons on “The Huckleberry Hound Show.”

    More artwork from a cartoon-between-the-cartoons on “The Huckleberry Hound Show,” as best as I can tell.

    And this neat drawing is by Gene Hazelton. Gene loved golf and lived adjacent to a golf course. Gene ended up being in charge of the Hanna-Barbera comic strips syndicated by McClatchy. He had worked with Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera at MGM (and Tex Avery as well) and also spent time in the 1940s at Disney and Warner Bros. Gene was respected and admired by his co-workers. Bravo for Gene.

    There are probably a few more wayward drawings buried in old files. I’ll try to post them when I get a chance.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Jerry Eisenberg, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, George – Daws Butler; Warden, Quick Change Quentin – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1962.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-043, Production J-134.
    Plot: Snooper and Blabber try to stop Quick Change Quentin from escaping from Sing Song Prison.

    If you want a good idea of how Mike Maltese’s mind worked, you can find it during the plot of this cartoon. Most cartoon writers would have a quick change artist turn into another person, or maybe an animal like a dog or a horse. Maltese has a quick change artist turn into a piece of rope. And it’s accepted as perfectly normal by the other characters. Maltese, at his best, could come up with something really off-the-wall like that.

    This was the 45th and final Snooper and Blabber cartoon put into production. Maltese brings back Quick Change Quentin from the first season’s “Masquerader Raider,” though Jerry Eisenberg’s design for him is quite different than the one in the original cartoon (this is the second of two Snooper and Blabbers that Eisenberg worked on). And Maltese revisits the idea of Blab being promoted to a full-fledged detective by Snooper, as in “Eenie, Genie, Minie, Mo!” though he’s a lot less successful in this cartoon than that one.

    The story in brief: Blab is promoted by Snooper, the two are called to stop Quick Change Quentin from breaking out of Sing Song Prison. Quentin disguises himself as a guard, a piece of rope, and then the Warden. The fake warden and real one are together. Snoop lets Blab pick the right one. Blab lets the disguised Quentin go free. For screwing up, the detectives are behind bars for 30 years. Iris out.

    Some random musings about this one...
    ● There’s no shot of an office door or window with a private eyeball on it.
    ● Snoop doesn’t yell “Halt in the name of the Private Eye (fill-in-silly-name)!” at the criminal this time. We do get “Stop in the limb of the law!”
    ● Quentin has the higher pitch voice that Don Messick gave to a bunch of bad guys, like Norton South in the Quick Draw McGraw series.
    ● Snooper and Blabber run past the same gated door eight times, then nine times when chasing Quentin after he changes back from George the guard.
    ● What’s the history of comic/cartoon characters shouting a catchphrase before doing something? Was it Bud Collyer’s Superman saying “Up, up and away”? Here, Quentin exclaims “Kazoots!” before each quick change. He didn’t do that in his first appearance two years earlier.
    ● Quentin takes on the Warden’s voice (by Daws Butler) when he changes into the Warden. But when he changes into George the Guard, he keeps his own voice.
    ● Snooper and Blabber are both carrying, and firing, guns in this cartoon. Offhand, I don’t recall if Snooper was ever armed in another cartoon.
    ● The title is a play on the Edward R. Murrow TV show “Person to Person.”
    ● Another TV reference: Snoop looks at both wardens and says “Will the real warden please stand up?” Unless you know that’s from the game show “To Tell the Truth,” the instruction from host Bud Collyer to separate a real person from two imposters, you’d think it was odd because both wardens are standing (I promise this will be the last Bud Collyer reference today).
    ● Dialogue: Snoop – “Stop, Quick Change, or it’s solitary refinement for ya!” Quick Change – “These guys are harder to shake than wet salt.”
    ● More Dialogue: Blab, when first he sees Quentin – “That crook! He should be arrested!”
    ● Confusion about the criminal charge. Snooper – “What is it, Blab?” Blab – “A 708. Let’s go, Snoop.” Snooper – “Whaddya mean ‘Let’s go’? A ‘708’ is an elderly Boy Scout trapped in a pup tent in Mesopotamia.” Blab – “I’m sorry, Snoop. I mean a 709.” Snooper – “Rumour of a jail break at Sing Song Prison, eh? Oooh, that’s different. Now, let’s go!” (If there’s a “Mesopotamia” reference in an H-B cartoon, you can probably bet Maltese wrote it).
    ● In the post on the previous Quentin appearance, we showed you some of the drawings of how animator La Verne Harding got Quentin to change from one guise to the next. Hicks Lokey did it the same way in this cartoon—with a swirl of lines, one character disappearing and the other appearing.

    ● Blab finishes the cartoon as any prisoner would—playing “Red River Valley” on the harmonica. Snoop asks “Do ya think you’ll ever learn to play that thing?” Actually, Blab’s playing it very well. No doubt it’s one of Hoyt Curtin’s session musicians who was called in.

    As for the rest of the music, you’ll recognise one of the fast urban chase cues from “Top Cat” when Quentin first appears in the cartoon. When Snoop and Blab start chasing Quentin, there’s a Flintstones cue that was used in “Dino Goes Hollywood” when Fred excitedly cries to Wilma that Dino has come home. The closing bit of music is a Flintstones cue called “Button” or “Extro.”

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  • 10/15/14--07:16: Skeeter Trouble Shakes
  • Carlo Vinci loved using an old trick from the silent animation days. He’d register emotion by alternating two different drawings of a character, one drawn normally, and the other in a jagged form with line around it. The drawings are then alternated.

    You can see it in various spots in “Skeeter Trouble,” where Huckleberry Hound’s camping trip to the country turns into a losing battle with a mosquito. In the Huck cartoon, the drawings are on twos.

    Here are some examples. I’ve slowed down the animation so you can see the drawings a little better.

    The mosquito (after changing his stinging) stabs the sleeping Huck in the nose. The hound’s reaction.

    It turns out the mosquito loves repellant and is eating it, despite claims of the narration. A Huck head shake.

    Huck has (he thinks) killed the pesky mosquito and kicks him out of the cabin. The mosquito summons an army of his buddies. Huck hears a loud sound of multiple buzzes outside.

    Huck thinks he’s stopped the mosquitoes from getting inside by nailing their stingers to the door. The mosquitoes rip off the door.

    This is a nice little cartoon. Hanna-Barbera cartoons are known today for their seemingly non-stop talk. But in the first season of the Huck show, there’s a lot less character dialogue and more sight gags; Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna spent years with mute characters, after all. Even in limited animation, you know what Huck and the mosquito are thinking, thanks to the fine work of Carlo Vinci.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Harry Holt, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Fernando Montealegre, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Lew Marshall, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Doggie Daddy – Doug Young, Augie Doggie, Harold – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-044, Production J-129.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Doggie Daddy tries to teach Augie how to be fun at parties.

    Here’s a cartoon with a great premise that, unfortunately, is victimised by being trapped by the confines of television animation. If Hanna-Barbera was producing, say, a dozen shorts a year, Mike Maltese would have had time to come up with punchier observations by Augie Doggie as his dad miserably fails at being an entertainer. And, of course, if budgets were in the theatrical range, someone like Ken Harris could have done a hilarious job of Daddy’s vaudevillian soft-shoe. But the studio had neither the time nor money, so it did what it could.

    Harry Holt is the animator on this one. Holt had been living in Portland in 1936 when he visited his mother in Los Angeles and, pretty much on a whim, applied at the Disney studio. There he stayed for 20 years. He worked in Chicago from 1956-60 (for Leo Burnett, perhaps?) and then came back to the West Coast for a job at Hanna-Barbera. He died in Florida in 2004 at the age of 93. You can read more about his life here.

    Holt animates Doggie Daddy with lots of head wagging and nodding and even a Dick Lundy-like snout roll at one point. A few times, he has Daddy look at the camera almost straight on. H-B’s animators tended to avoid doing it. Here are four drawings from a stunned reaction. Daddy has thick eyebrows in this cartoon, too.

    Doggie Daddy was kind of an animated Ozzie Nelson. “Ozzie and Harriet” was on the air for years. Ozzie was always able to support his family but he never went to work. Doggie Daddy doesn’t seem to have a job. In many cartoons, he’s sitting in a lounge chair reading a newspaper. At least in this cartoon, we know that Daddy did have a job at one time. He reveals he was in vaudeville. Considering his material, we suspect he didn’t play the big time. I can’t help but think besides Ozzie, there’s a little bit of Mike Maltese in this cartoon. Maltese could do a soft shoe dance and seems to have had a pining for performing at the Palace.

    The lounge chair in this cartoon is supplied by Monty, who didn’t work on a whole lot of short cartoons in 1961-62. I don’t have credits handy, but I imagine he was spending his time on “The Flintstones” and “Top Cat.” Monty also seems to have loved oval throw rugs in the Daddy residence.

    There’s rare interaction between Augie and a human child in this cartoons (“TV or Not TV,” for example, featured a humanised puppy as a neighbour). Here’s Tony Rivera’s design.

    The Augie in this cartoon is the boy genius version, who would rather continue his boy genius studies in solitude and avoid the other neighbourhood kids, partly because he doesn’t fit in with them. Today, he’s rechecking Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. “I do believe I caught old Albert in a slight error,” he tells “naïve dad.” His Monty-designed bedroom doesn’t have an “H-B” pennant this time.

    Daddy forces Augie to go to the party next door and then reminisces about his own days as young party-goer. They were genteel affairs, apparently, as Daddy recalls how he bowed for the ladies. That’s Augie’s cue to walk in blindfolded and stab Daddy in the butt (off-camera) with a tail from a pin-the-tail-on the donkey game.

    Daddy now decides to help Augie fit in with the other kids, so he gives him a riddle to tell the kids: “What has four eyes and but cannot see. The answer is Miss-Eye-Sippi.” Augie isn’t laughing. “The joke is based on a play on words, which makes it a childish pun,” he says. One wonders if Maltese was once told that at a story meeting. “I got a thousand of ‘em. A thousand of ‘em,” the Durante-like Daddy tells us (Durante’s line on radio was “I got a million of ‘em”). Augie returns with his head down.

    Daddy: Did you forget the funny joke?
    Augie: I wish I had, father of old vaudeville days.
    Daddy: Ya mean ya told it?
    Augie: I mean I told it and I laid a great big egg.
    Daddy: Well, maybe it was over their pointy little heads.
    Augie: Oh, no, they got it. But the new generation with their pointy little heads also have very sharp brains.

    Interestingly, Augie’s comment reflects Joe Barbera’s feelings in interviews about why kids got “adult” jokes in Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

    Undaunted, Daddy decides to teach Augie his old vaudeville routine to try on the kids, complete with his rickety-tick fancy dance. Maltese hands Daddy what may be the oldest one-liner in vaudeville—“Folks, on my way to de tee-a-ter, a panhandler stopped me and he said he hadn’t had a bite in a week. So, I bit him!” (“Tsk, tsk, tsk,” reacts Augie). “Go lay ‘em in the aisles,” Daddy tells him. “Why fight it?” Augie shrugs. He returns with Daddy’s straw hat broken over his head. “Another egg, my disappointed father. Rickety-tick and all.”

    Finally, dear old dad gives Augie the best advice—be yourself. Augie is. And he’s a hit, showing off the workings of a rocket to the kids next door. A rather nice ending to a well-rounded cartoon. I can’t help but think if this were “Yogi’s Gang” or some such ‘70s cartoon dreck, the “be yourself” message would be unsubtly and didactically hammered into viewers in the least entertaining manner possible.

    Daddy ends the cartoon with a Durante catchphrase paraphrase: “Dat’s my boy of tomorrow who said dat today!”

    Hoyt Curtin’s version of “While Strolling Through the Park One Day” makes an appearance during Daddy’s vaudeville routine. It’s preceded by an organ cue that I don’t believe was used too often.

    With this review, we bid farewell to Augie and dear old dad. All 45 cartoons made in the series have been reviewed.

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  • 10/22/14--07:00: Gentle Backgrounds
  • Hanna-Barbera had three background artists after the studio opened in 1957, one veteran and two relative newcomers to animation. The veteran was Bob Gentle who, like Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, worked at the MGM cartoon studio for the entirety of its 20-year life, excepting military service.

    Bob Gentle was one of a number of artists who married someone else in the animation industry and later had a child who ended up in the industry as well. The child in question is Drew Gentle.

    Today, Drew lives far from Hollywood in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I stumbled across a story in his local paper about an exhibition of his art. You can read it HERE. But allow me to quote portions of it because it has a little bit of biographical information about his father and talks about the Hanna-Barbera studio in the pre-Taft days.

    [Drew] Gentle's career as an artist started in 1965 when he was 17 years old. He had just graduated from high school and was thinking "I don't have to be anywhere on Monday" when his father ask[ed], "Do you want to come to the studio and be my assistant?"
    So Drew went to work the next Monday at Hanna-Barbara, where his father, Bob Gentle, was an artist. His take-home pay that summer was $70, Drew recalled, but the environment was incredibly rich.
    "I was working with people who had worked in the golden age of animation, the '30s, '40s and into the '50s," he said.
    Both of his parents had worked on the first feature-length animated movie, "Snow White" in the '30s for Disney, who pulled in artists from other studios when the financial backers threatened to close it down if it wasn't finished. Bob Gentle, who was a reconnaisance map maker for the Allied advance after D-Day, had worked with Bill Hanna before the war, including producing art for the "Tom and Jerry" cartoon movie shorts shown in theaters.
    The first series Drew Gentle worked on was "The Herculoids," he recalled, one of the action cartoons H-B was producing in the 1960s. He also remembers working on "Birdman" and "Thundarr." By the time he was working on "Quick Draw McGraw," censorship had caught up with children's programming.
    "They took away his gun," Drew said. "We weren't allowed to draw his gun."
    Drew recalled that his father used sponges to create the stones of the caves for the studio's prime-time hit, "The Flintstones."
    Drew's mother, Jane Parmele, who once dated Tex Avery and Bill Hanna, grew up in Hollywood and met Bob Gentle in art school.
    We’ve never posted a profile of Bob Gentle here, so let’s do it now.

    Robert Mac Gentle was born in Norfolk, Nebraska on February 15, 1914 to Burton Coe Gentle and Frances Davenport. His father was later deputy assessor for the County of Los Angeles. The Gentles arrived in Los Angeles around 1927. Bob attended the Otis Institute of Art in 1933, then eventually got a job at the Harman-Ising studio. When MGM dumped Harman-Ising and started making its own cartoons in 1937, Gentle made the jump to the new operation and ended up handling backgrounds for the Hanna-Barbera unit when it was formed a couple of years later.

    He enlisted in the military on January 23, 1941 and by April he was in an army uniform along with Metro artists Paul Fanning, Tom Ray and Sam Dawson. Gentle married Jane Virginia Parmele on December 13, 1943 while both were in the service. She was a widow, having married in 1938 (as a matter of record, both Hanna and Avery tied the knot with their wives in 1936). So it would appear by Drew’s account that Gentle did not work on MGM cartoons during the war years, which would explain why veteran Ernie Smythe was the background artist on the first Oscar-winning Tom and Jerry cartoon “Yankee Doodle Mouse” (1943). When Gentle returned to the studio is unclear.
    Variety reported on February 6, 1946:
    ‘Slap-Happy Lion’ newest Metro Star
    Fred Quimby returned yesterday from New York after a two-week business trip to confer with Metro officials and attend sales meetings. Quimby announced formation of a new cartoon unit at the studio, which will turn out “Slap-Happy Lion” inkers. Tex Avery is the director and personnel includes Bob Bently, George Crenshaw, Gil Turner, Bud Crabe, P. D. Eller, Johnnie Johnson and Bob Gentle.
    One wonders how accurate the story is as Avery already had a unit. Johnson was Avery’s background artist at Warners and followed him to MGM. Gentle did end up back in the Hanna-Barbara unit. When Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera opened their own studio in 1957, he made the jump again, working on all the early TV cartoon series. There appears to have been a bit of a gap in the mid-‘70s, but Gentle’s name can be found on the credits of the studio’s TV cartoons up to “The Flintstone Kids” (1986). He died on January 24, 1988.

    We’ve featured some reconstructed long backgrounds of Gentle’s on the site over the years. Let’s repost a few from the first season of the Huck show.

    “Tricky Trapper,” layout by Walt Clinton.

    “Sir Huckleberry Hound,” layout by Walt Clinton.

    “Jiggers...It’s Jinks,” layout by Ed Benedict.

    “Sheep-Shape Sheepherder,” layout by Dick Bickenbach.

    And, for comparison, here’s one from the MGM Cinemascope theatrical “Down Beat Bear,” layout by Dick Bickenbach, released in 1956. You can click on it to make it bigger.

    Gentle’s backgrounds were conservative compared to the work of Art Lozzi and Fernando Montealegre at Hanna-Barbera. But, just as he did at MGM, he provided effective settings for the characters to do to entertain us. And by doing that, he helped entertain us, too.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: none. Written by Mike Maltese, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Quick Draw McGraw, Baba Looey, Don Fateego, Sergeant, Yellow Kerchief Townsman – Daws Butler; Narrator, Generale Badguyos, Man in Sombrero, White Kerchief Townsman – Don Messick; Senorita Rita – Jean Vander Pyl.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-044, Production J-136.
    Plot: El Kabong takes on Generale Badguyos.

    This is the final Quick Draw McGraw cartoon ever made, and it’s one of the funniest. There is some great dialogue and a beautiful plot twist at the end where the people El Kabong is supposed to be saving are so fed up with his clumsiness, they turn against him.

    The credits attached to this cartoon in its DVD release are incorrect. ID expert Howard Fein says Bob Carr is the animator of this short. Carr arrived at Hanna-Barbera in March 1959 as an assistant animator. He was promoted to a full animator in September 1960 as “The Flintstones” was about to get on the air. Here’s Carr (at least I think it’s him) in a teeny cubicle at the windowless studio at 3501 Cahuenga Blvd., with Dick Lundy in the background and a piece of Carlo Vinci to the right.

    Here are a couple of background drawings. The first is the town San Chihuahua, and opens the cartoon. The rolling hills remind me of Art Lozzi’s work. The cacti, clouds and the rose-coloured mesas as well (compare them with Lozzi’s work in “Mine Your Manners.” The sign lettering is by Art Goble.

    Incidental character designs.

    A line of dialogue in this cartoon resulted in a complaint to a local TV station. I spotted it some time ago in an old newspaper. Unfortunately, virtually all the sources I had for on-line newspaper archives are behind paywalls and I can’t tell you which paper it was in. However, someone objected to the villain’s line “Like Santa Claus, there is no such a person as El Kabong.” Yowp says: “Get a life.”

    While we’re talking dialogue...

    Narrator: Tell me, Quick Draw, why do you hide behind the mask of El Kabong?
    Quick Draw: Because no one will take my unmasked face seriously.

    Quick Draw (singing off-key): Ohhhh, I won’t be at the round-up, Nellie, because I’m such a squaaaaare.

    Don Fateego: Who knocks at my fine old hacienda door?
    Generale: It is I, Generale Badguyos, (smiles at camera) friend of the people.
    Don Fateego: What do you want, you oppressor?
    Generale: I have come to ask for the hand of your beautiful daughter.
    Rita: For the 117th time, the answer is still “no,” (smiles coyly) you handsome villain.

    Generale: Anyone else daring putting me out? (points sword at Baba) How about you, shorty? Do you dare?
    Baba: Huh? Oh, you can stay for dinner for all I care.

    Rita: You have broken my final guitar on the gentleman’s head, you oaf!
    Quick Draw: Sorry, lady, but there are certain occupational hazards connected with being a masked hero.

    Mike Maltese glues adjectives that stick to everything. So Don Fateego has a “fine, old hacienda” and that’s how it’s referred to during the duration of the cartoon (Rita hears it so much, she calls her father “a fine, old hacienda” until correcting herself). El Kabong destroys a “fine old chandelier,” “a fine old expensive vase,” “fine old priceless antique table,” “fine old genuine bone-china teapot” and, finally, a “fine old imported window” during the climactic sword fight with the Generale. At one point, Baba acts like a golf caddy, complete with club bag, handing Quick Draw his “number five sword.”

    Naturally, we don’t see any of this stuff getting wrecked because it would cost too much to animate. So you get to imagine it, like on radio.

    Finally, Don Fateego and his daughter have had enough. They join Generale Badguyos in chasing El Kabong (in a long-shot silhouette). Since this is the final Quick Draw cartoon, they could be running after him to this very day.

    Since this is an El Kabong cartoon, we’d better show you a couple of ka-bongs.

    We’ve posted the storyboard for the cartoon HERE. You can see some of the things Mike Maltese wrote that had to be cut out, likely for time.

    Hoyt Curtin’s music that underscores the scene where we’re introduced to the father and his daughter sounds more calypso than something from the Spanish-tinged Old West. And the dueling scene to the end of the cartoon features a cue associated with “Top Cat.”

    Thus ends our reviews of the 45 Quick Draw McGraw cartoons. Quick Draw remains my favourite series out of the nine made by Hanna-Barbera for syndicated television in the 1950s.

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    Today’s subject header is not a real Variety headline, though it uses some of the peculiar colloquialisms found in the pages of that publication. But it could have been applied to the debut of “The Quick Draw McGraw Show” in The Show Biz Bible’s review of the debut broadcast.

    The trade paper noted in its August 13, 1959 edition that Kellogg’s had purchased national sponsorship of the half-hour cartoon and expected to place it on 180 stations. Other trades mentioned several months before this that Leo Burnett, Kellogg’s agency, had the show in its stable so it was pretty much a foregone conclusion the cereal maker would sponsor it—especially considering the ratings “The Huckleberry Hound Show” was getting.

    The Huck show was a huge success, “socko” or “boffo” if you’re still in a
    Variety vocabulary mood. We’ve posted Variety’s review of the premiere in 1958. And the trade publication liked Quick Draw and his cohorts even more when they hit the airwaves a year later. As I don’t have access to the full publication, this is the best that I can do cobbling together the review, published September 30, 1959.

    Filmed by Hanna-Barbera Productions for Kellogg's.
    Producers, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera; story director, Alex Lovy; writer, Michael Maltese; story sketches, Dan Gordon; titles, Lawrence Goble; production supervisor, Howard Hanson; animation, Kenneth Muse, Lewis Marshall, Carlo Vinci, Dick Lundy, George Nicholas, Don Patterson; music, Hanna, Barbera.
    KTTV, Mon., 7 p.m. Running time: 30 mins.
    Adults and children seeking something refreshing on their tv sets will find it in this new cartoon series out of the Hanna-Barbera stable. It's easily one of the most delightful and entertaining new programs to come along this season, and a worthy successor to H&B's own "Huckleberry Hound," which it surpasses. "Quick Draw McGraw" is no ordinary western hero. He's a horse. Lest anyone assume this is strictly child's play, it should be noted that "McGraw" is more adult than most so-called "adult westerns."
    Others who take turns on the three-parts-per-show format of the new offering are "Bobba Looey," a Mexican burro with a heart of gold; "Snagglepuss," a playful lion with a Bert Lahr inflection; "Snooper," a cat counterpart of Ed "Archie" Gardner; "Blabber," the first mouse to work in cahoots with a feline; "Augie Doggie," a potential juvenile delinquent dog who means well; Angle's dad, an older, bigger dog with a voice like Jimmy Durante; a goat whose voice and romantic outlook resemble that of Maurice Chevalier; and many others.
    Writer Michael Maltese brewed up a wonderful script on this initial outing, a script rich in mild satire but equally noteworthy for situations loaded with humorous possibilities and clever, crackling dialog. It's a zooful of laughs, strikingly animated by Kenneth Muse, Lewis Marshall, Carlo Vinci, Dick Lundy, George Nicholas and Don Patterson. Imaginative and well-differentiated voice characterizations are provided by Daws Butler, Don Messick and Doug Young. There's some appropriate, unobtrusive, original music by Hanna and Barbera.
    Sponsor Kellogg's has latched on to a good series and should be amply rewarded for a smart investment. Kiddies will love "Quick Draw McGraw," but come show time, they might have to race their mommas and poppas for front seats.

    The Copyright Catalogue reveals the first Quick Draw show (M-001) featured the following cartoons: “Baby Rattled” (Snooper and Blabber, production number J-14), “Million Dollar Robbery” (Augie Doggie, J-31) and “Lamb Chopped” (Quick Draw McGraw, J-11). The latter includes the orange, villainous version of Snagglepuss as well as the Chevalier goat (his only appearance). The first and last cartoons were animated by Muse, the middle one by Lundy; evidently the animator credits are gang credits.

    The production number on the Augie cartoon is comparatively high; the first Augie (“Foxhound Hounded Fox”) turned out to be the 16th cartoon of the show put into production. I can only speculate it’s because the studio couldn’t figure out what to call the characters until a few months after production on the show began in late 1958. That would have meant delaying the recording of the voice tracks and therefore the animation until after work had already begun on Quick Draw and Snooper.

    As in the Huck review a year earlier, the only music credit goes to Hanna and Barbera, with no mention of Hoyt Curtin’s themes (nor, not surprisingly, of the stock music during the cartoons).

    Quick Draw ran for three full seasons (1959-60, 1960-61, 1961-62) then rerun before being placed onto CBS’ Saturday morning schedule in 1966. It resumed life in syndication in fall of 1968 and appeared off and on in the U.S. until 1991, when the show found what should have been permanent life on the Cartoon Network. It didn’t. I can’t speak for Variety, but the Yowp rating for that is neither “socko” or “boffo.”

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    Huckleberry Hound never played in the World Series (though he did take on a giant in one cartoon) but that hasn’t stopped him from being part of the Grand Old Game.

    I don’t know how often ol’ Huck is on TV these days but he’s still being marketed as if he never went off the air. And part of the marketing involves baseball.

    The cap in the top two pictures are being sold by New Era. They also have Yogi Bear and Snagglepuss caps. I like the fact they’re using the calligraphy (by Art Goble?) that you find on the old title cards, as least for Huck.

    The bottom two photos are from a different company. The caps have those plastic nubs that make the cap adjustable. Whoever is selling them has a really cool Dino cap in purple as well.

    And what would a World Series be without a ring? Someone on eBay was selling a Huck ring, apparently licensed in 1959. It’s adjustable as well. I’m sure one of our collectable readers can weigh in with more about it.

    It’s nice to see that Huck is still worth marketing. I sure wish we could get the rest of his cartoons on home video, though.

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  • 10/31/14--07:05: Scary Junior
  • Snooper and Blabber ran into ghosts and a witch but the scariest characters they encountered were the J. Evil Scientist family.

    They appeared in four Snooper cartoons (and, later, in one Snagglepuss). The first was “Big Diaper Caper” (1959). Carlo Vinci’s the animator on it, and here’s one of his two-drawing fear takes (pardon the digital pixilation).

    Snooper then dashes out of the scene. He does one of those stretch-dive exits that Carlo drew all the time back then. Carlo occasionally made drawings that would have been at home in a Mighty Mouse cartoon; Vinci spent almost 20 years at Terrytoons. The first one below is a good example.

    J. Evil Scientist wasn’t really an evil scientist at all. He never concocted or experimented at all, though he had test tubes and creepy ingredients in his home. He and his wife liked the macabre (they were inspired by Charles Addams’ family, after all) but Junior was the one who did the scary stuff. So it’s appropriate that we salute him on this Hallowe’en.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Ed Love, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Cop, TV Newscaster, Crowd – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Narrator, Fireman, Toy Seller, Crowd – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Yogi finds himself in the city after falling asleep in a tourist’s trailer that leaves Jellystone Park.

    Someone could be killed? Who cares! There’s money to be made!!

    Warren Foster aims his cynical eye at crass commercialism in this cartoon. Yogi Bear is precariously perched on the ledge of an upper storey of an apartment building. He’s worried he could drop to his death, even though firemen have put out a safety net for him. Concerned bystanders on the pavement below point upward and chatter. Cut to a shot of a smiling guy hawking Yogi Bear dolls. “Here they are, folks!” he cries. “Get your souvenir bears here! Get ‘em before he jumps!”

    Is it my imagination, or did Foster start adding a satirical edge to some of his gags in the Yogi cartoons after he started working on the adult “Flintstones” series?

    Foster’s other great line in this cartoon shows the self-awareness the characters had on occasion. Yogi complains to Ranger Smith that the noise from a drip in the roof of his cave is keeping him from hibernating. Smith resorts to insult humour. “You go back into your cave and then,” Smith chuckles, “there’ll be two big drips in there.” Smith grabs Yogi’s shoulder and starts laughing. The bear gives him a dirty look. “You want to have a show of your own, sir?” he asks sarcastically.

    Tony Rivera laid out this cartoon and designed the props. He came up with some neat, stylised vehicles. The characters are stylised, too.

    The incidental characters elsewhere in the cartoon look like your regular Hanna-Barbera humans of the early ‘60s. Rivera sure loved those parallel jaw lines.

    The background assignment went to Art Lozzi in this cartoon. The downward-pointing tree fronds you can see when Yogi’s sleeping in the trailer is a dead giveaway. And Lozzi is still into his Blue Period. Hills are blue, some trees are a shade of blue and so on. Here’s part of the drawing that is panned to open the cartoon. As in other cartoons with backgrounds by Lozzi, the clouds hug the humps of the hills. A very attractive scene.

    Some other miscellaneous backgrounds.

    The animation in this cartoon is courtesy of Ed Love. We’ve talked about his head and body movements where he seems to have some part of a character moving in each frame, while other parts remain stationary until the next frame, or the frame after that. Here are a couple of neat drawings. The first one is part of a cycle when Yogi is caught in a revolving door and keeps revolving into a building (and up the elevator and then onto a ledge outside the building). The next is when Yogi is stops revolving in mid-air, realises he’s umpteen storeys up and zips back onto the ledge.

    Yogi would jump from the ledge into the safety net below but he has cold feet. Foster and Love follow with a punny sight gag.

    The basic story—it’s hibernation season at Jellystone Park (What? Again?!) and Yogi and Boo Boo retreat to their cave. A drip from the roof prevents Yogi from sleeping and he’s shooed out of a tourist cabin by Ranger Smith when he tries to get some shut-eye there. He sleeps in a tourist’s trailer, but the trailer is hauled back into city. He wakes up, walks out of the trailer, is chased by cars and, in a panic, ends up on an upper-floor ledge outside a skyscraper. Back at Jellystone, Ranger Smith is watching TV when a news bulletin interrupts programming (What? Again?!) and shows Yogi’s predicament. Smith rescues Yogi from the ledge by flying over the building in a helicopter with a picnic basket (What? Again?!) lowered down (Yogi is in silhouette in long shot sitting in the suspended basket as the helicopter flies back to Jellystone). A Yogi rhyme ends the cartoon: “On a first-class flight, they feed you right.”

    A nice little piano cue with tinkling, cascading notes opens the cartoon. You’ll hear some Flintstones music here, too, including the xylophone chase cue at the end.

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    Some nice Ranger Smith expressions and a boo-boo by Boo Boo highlight the Yogi comics in Sunday papers (Saturday in Canada) 50 years ago this month. The low-light may be the native American stereotyping at the end of the month.

    For some reason, a kid who has been hanging out with lice-ridden dogs doesn’t become infested but Yogi does. What kind of mother would have her kid cavorting with loused-up animals anyway? Oh, well. Let’s ignore that. The dogs are attractively designed and the joke is the Yogi-imitates-dogs in the final panel. Boo Boo gets the day off in the November 1st comic.

    This month, Ranger Smith is named Charlie. Next month, he’s named Bill. Go figure. The golf-cum-apple feed concept in the opening panel on November 8th is unique. Yogi’s personality switches back and forth from ingenious to ignorant in these comics. He’s ingenious for the next two weeks. Ranger Smith, meanwhile, is either authoritative or a putz. He’s the latter in this one. Boo Boo is gone again.

    Gene Simmons’ tongue has nothing on Ranger Smith’s in this November 15th comic (lower left hand panel). And Yogi has a real makeshift bed in this one, not like in the last few seasons of his TV cartoons. No silhouette panel in this comic. Note the angles on the kids in the opening panel. The wife has a four-inch waist.

    Sunday comics were, by 1964, made up of three rows and newspapers had the option of dropping the top row for space (“Li’l Abner” was a notable exception). So the comics had to be drawn with that in mind. The November 22nd comic is a good example. The bee character doesn’t appear in the bottom two rows and his little three-panel adventure could be easily dropped. Note the mid-air run pose on Yogi in the first panel of the second row.

    “Heap big”? “Injun-uity”? Pardon the eye-rolling. The extra legs on Yogi in the middle row are nice and Boo Boo shows good form in the skating panel of the top row in the November 29th comic.

    As always, you can click on these to make them bigger. At the time this post was written, Mark Kausler hadn’t posted the bottom two rows of each of these comics on his blog but I’ll bet they’re there now.

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  • 11/06/14--07:04: Frog Mouth
  • If you were to make a cartoon about a frog mouth, you couldn’t do better than to have George Nicholas animate it. He loved drawing big mouths with big floppy tongues.

    It just so happened the tenth Flintstones cartoon that aired, “Hollyrock, Here I Come,” involved Fred being cast in a TV show about a loud guy with a big mouth. Guess who animated it?

    Here are some of George’s poses. They’re a lot of fun. He liked drawing little beady eyes, too, when a character was excited or stunned, and cashew eyes in crying scenes.

    Animating a half-hour show (roughly the same footage as four Yogi shorts) solo was a bit of a chore, so some walk cycles and other animation are re-used. You’ll notice the last drawing is the same as an earlier drawing; it’s just turned over then inked and painted on the other side.

    Alan Reed does a really nice job on this cartoon. Next time you watch it, listen to how various emotions come through in the dialogue. And Jerry Mann’s pretty good, too, as the TV producer. Mann had been doing cartoon voices almost 20 years earlier but was never credited on screen and you likely don’t know a lot about him. We’ll have a post about him next week.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Carlo Vinci, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Pixie, Man Reading Newspaper, TV Newscaster – Don Messick; Dixie, Mr. Jinks, Sgt. McGrath – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1962.
    Plot: Jinks cons Pixie and Dixie to get into a makeshift hot air balloon to get them out of the house for good.

    Warren Foster, evidently, didn’t think too much of the U.S. space programme. He took some shots at military incompetence surrounding rocket launches in “Missile-Bound Bear,” then came up with the story for this cartoon where balloon-travelling Pixie and Dixie are chased by military aircraft after being mistaken for a UFO. After their ordeal, they appear live on a TV newscast.

    Pixie: We made the flight as our contribution to our nation’s space effort.
    Dixie: I feel that, in these times, everyone should do their part to forward the space programme.
    Newscaster: (chuckles) And there you have it. Two patriotic Americans. We could all learn from those heroes.

    Mr. Jinks, watching this on TV, is outraged. He knows, and Warren Foster knows, it’s a lie. The meeces thought they were getting a free hot-air balloon ride, courtesy of Jinks, nothing more and nothing less. Instead, they publically spout military/government propaganda, with the tacit support of the news media. And Foster seems to anticipate the misapplication of the word “hero” to describe anyone so long as they appear to be doing something patriotic.

    Foster has more to say. The meece and their balloon float past the window of an apartment building, where a man inside is reading the paper. “Oh, no!” he cries. “It’s one of them! We’re being invaded!” He immediately decides aliens are invading and calls a sceptical cop. It’s the old doesn’t-believe-it-until-he-looks-out-the-window bit. “Quick, quick, get me the Air Force,” says the desperate officer into the phone. “H-hello, Air Force? You and your ‘no flying saucers.’ Okay, wise guys. Get this. With my own eyes.”

    Is Foster being glib about the U.S. government’s official policy of denial when it comes to the existence of UFOs? Or is he saying something about people who blindly believe “something is out there”? At no time do the guy in the apartment or the cop bother to get any facts. They can’t even tell the difference between a wicker basket (aloft due to a balloon) and a flying saucer. They see something and make a knee-jerk reaction, much like the many people who call in UFO sightings that prove to be easily explainable.

    The rest of the story is okay, and it climaxes with the jealous Jinks deciding he’ll show what “real” space travel is like by attaching a balloon to a garbage can. Unfortunately, the balloon is punctured by a sharp tree branch. Unfortunately, as well, Foster telegraphs the gag. “He’s headed for that tree,” yells Pixie. Then there’s a shot of the tree branch for a couple of seconds. Then we see Jinks slowly ascend into the frame. Then we see the puncture. Gags are funniest when they’re unexpected.

    Our tale opens as Mr. Jinks decides to put the meeces into a balloon and send them into the air forever after saying “they would not dare to come out [of their mouse hole] without my permission.” The next thing we hear is a crash and a cut to a shot of an open fridge with a broken milk bottle on the floor. “Think nothing of it, Dixie,” says Pixie. “Mr. Jinks will clean it up. Let’s take our cheese and go home.” Jinks decides to take a yellow broom (not wet) to “those miserable meeces” (and presumptuous ones as well; why should Jinks clean up their mess?). Pixie and Dixie zoom out of the scene with a stretch-dive, showing you that Carlo Vinci is at work. Jinks’ tilting head and wide mouth during dialogue should give it away early that Carlo is animating this one.

    Carlo has a nice rolling butt walk for Jinks in this cartoon. And here are a couple of consecutive drawings from a take when Jinks tries to shoot down the meeces’ balloon with a sling shot but runs into a rake instead.

    This is another cartoon where Jinks marvels at his scientific prowess as he builds his hydrogen-filled balloon. “For a pussycat, I have a surprising-like fund of scientific know-how” he tells us, as the meeces relax in their hole.

    Pixie and Dixie are in silhouette when shown in the basket in long shot. I suspect Foster indicated it in his story sketches (I don’t know if he or Paul Sommer made the finished boards). Dick Thomas provides the cityscape.

    The sound cutter chose one of the urban chase cues from “Top Cat” when the meece are airborne, and another one in the opening scenes from Jinks strolling to when the meece get swatted with the broom. The rest of the music was used on a variety of short cartoons around this time.

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  • 11/10/14--07:10: Carl Urbano Has Heart(s)
  • Pat Caldora brought my attention to this photo of Carl Urbano, the veteran animator who spent a good part of his career at Hanna-Barbera.

    The source of the photo is undetermined, though it sure looks like a Life magazine shot. As for the cartoon on the storyboard, that’s undetermined, too. Here’s my wild speculation, based on a note in Broadcasting magazine, July 19, 1965: “Courtney Anderson named to write screenplay The Wonder Engine which Hanna-Barbera is producing for American Heart Association. Carl Urbano and Arthur Pierson will co-produce.”

    Some personal background: Urbano was born in Chicago on December 20, 1910 to Urbano and Paolina (Ruffalo) Urbano. He was already animating when he got married for the first time in 1932. We’ll skip some marriage details other than to say as a young man, Urbano seems to have had a penchant for dancers, judging by Variety. Urbano worked for Harman-Ising and is responsible for the scene of a giant, bubbling, foaming wave sweeping toward the camera and forming into mer-babies in “Merbabies” (released by Disney in 1938). Like many ex H-I employees, he made the jump to MGM after it opened its own studio in 1937. By 1940, he was living on Olympic Boulevard, across the street from both Bill Hanna and Mike Lah (and making more than Lah). He was also active in the Screen Cartooonists Guild.

    Urbano left Metro and worked for at least the first half of 1944 in Mexico City. He spent the later part of the ‘40s and into the early ‘60s as a director for John Sutherland Productions, working on its greatest industrial cartoons, including my favourite “Destination Earth” (1956), and the studio’s opus “Rhapsody of Steel” (1959). He also sidelighted with a company formed in March 1957 called Le Ora Thompson and Associates. You can find a Hanna-Barbera filmography, at least for his TV work, elsewhere on-line. He retired in 1992 (after 60-plus years in the business) and died in California on October 17, 2003.

    C. Martin Kroker posted this 1987 commercial featuring Urbano. Take a look.

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  • 11/12/14--06:55: Jerry Mann
  • Dino talked.

    We’re referring to the first season episode where a snorkasaurus with a Phil Silvers voice surreptitiously hitches a ride and becomes the Flintstones’ pet/housekeeper. Who played him? If you watched the episode in syndication in the ‘60s and ‘70s, you never would have known as the closing animation was changed, meaning the voice credits were lopped off.

    Unfortunately, when the Flintstones’ DVD came out, the closing credits for each episode of the first and second season were not restored. But the late Earl Kress and others put together some gang credits over the original closing animation and included was the name of Jerry Mann.

    Mann appeared in a bunch of the early Flintstones’ episodes. And he was great at playing fast-talkers. That’s Mann as the producer who hires Fred as the Frog Mouth in “Hollyrock, Here I Come” and as the Ed Wynn-ish title character in “Hot Lips Hannigan.” So where did he come from and why did he disappear from the Hanna-Barbera roster of voice talents?

    The first question’s pretty easy to answer. Mann was well acquainted with Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera from the 1940s when he provided a few voices on Tom and Jerry cartoons. He was uncredited on screen, but did get mentioned in the occasional story in Variety:

    Columbia is scheduling a series of 'Cholly Polly' cartoons, to be produced under supervision of Dave Fleischer, department head. Voice for the bird is furnished by Jerry Mann, radio comic. (Nov. 17, 1942).

    Jerry Mason [sic] has concluded voice-dubbing for "Slicked Up Pup," MGM cartoon, and last night left town to join troupe of "Oklahoma," now touring Wyoming. (Aug. 16, 1949).

    Jerry Mann, from cast of "Oklahoma" current at Biltmore, will do voice of "Casanova Cat" in Metro Tom and Jerry cartoon, "Love in Gloom." (Jan. 27, 1950).
    Mann appeared in at least one other Tom and Jerry cartoon. He’s the voice of the radio announcer in “The Zoot Cat” (1944) and, I suspect, Tom’s voice in the “something’s burning” line. In “Casanova Cat,” he merely sings a couple of lines from “Over the Rainbow” (perhaps dialogue was cut). The squibs above may indicate why his voice acting career at Hanna-Barbera years later was short—he toured a lot and likely wasn’t around often enough to cut tracks for Joe Barbera.

    Mann was a veteran entertainer by the time he got to the MGM cartoon studio. He was born Jerome Wolfman on August 1, 1910 in New York City to Dr. Philip and Martha Wolfman. His Los Angeles Times obit states he began doing impressions when he was nine. The first report I can find of his act is in Variety, October 28, 1921:

    On Friday evening, Oct. 22, the Victoria Theatre of Ossining gave a big treat to the inmates of Sing Sing prison. We had their entire bill of vaudeville acts. They exceptionally good and were well received by our audience of 1,100.
    The first act was Jerome Mann, "The Wonder Child," better known as "Little Al Jolson." Eleven-year-old Jerome Mann is an exceptionally clever lad. He sang and danced and gave excellent imitations of Eddie Cantor, Eddie Leonard, singing “Roley Boley Eyes,” and Al Jolson.
    He reached the pinnacle of vaudeville, The Palace, while in his teens. But after a false start. Variety of October 7, 1925:
    Jerome Mann, the juvenile artist, was forced to cancel the Palace, New York, this week, due to the Gerry Society. Mann had previously appeared around New York at various picture houses as a member of Ben Bernie’s turn.
    The Palace management were forced to a last minute substitution, booking Eddie Miller and Ben Bernard to replace the youngster. Mann does a single act. He is said to be under 16 and under contract to the Shuberts.
    He ended up playing the Palace to, initially, not very good reviews in the Show Biz Bible: “[D]id only so-so” (Variety, Sept. 15, 1926), “Nothing new and not particularly well done” (April 27, 1927). But notices started improving. Vaudeville stars moved into radio, and Mann did, too. About 1935, he dropped “Jerome” in favour of “Jerry.” Variety still wasn’t always impressed with his impersonations: “[H]e does not rate with the toppers in this line. Needs more experience.” (Aug. 28, 1935).

    About this time, he was getting into a little trouble. Variety of May 1, 1935 announced a lawsuit, the results of which were published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 9, 1936:

    Jury Votes $1000 Balm Verdict to Night Club Singer
    A $1000 VERDICT was awarded to Harriet Asinoff, night club singer, yesterday, in one of the last breach of promise suits that Pennsylvania may ever know.
    The action, against Jerome Mann, stage impersonator of leading stars, was filed in July, 1934, a year prior to the State act outlawing breach of promise suits.
    The 22-year-old singer, known professionally as Harriet Wesley and Harriet Carr, had asked $25,000 in her suit. She testified that she met Mann, whose real name is Jerome Wolfman, in Boston in 1931.
    She said he was an ardent lover up to the point where she notified him that she was to become a mother. Then he lost interest. The suit was filed in consequence, at a time when she was under 21.
    Mann denied Miss Asinoff's testimony that he insisted she accompany him to his Boston hotel room at 1 A. M. He said "she lied" when she testified he visited her five... or six times a week.
    Like a lot of vaudevillians, Mann turned to radio in the ‘30s. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported in 1934: “Jerry Mann, nephew of Joe Weber of the team of Weber and Fields, makes his radio debut as an impersonator and comedian Wednesday evening, [July 25] 8:30, over WABC” [CBS] (his bio in the 1939-40 Variety Radio Directory claimed his first radio job was on “Lum and Abner” in 1934). The show was “Everett Marshall’s Broadway Varieties.” He appears to have lasted there for about a year. The Eagle later reported he would be appearing on a Sunday night oil show as of August 12th; presumably it was the Gulf Refining Show with Will Rogers on WJZ (NBC Blue). By October 7, he had moved over to “Manhattan Merry-Go-Round” on Sundays at 9 p.m. on WEAF (NBC Red), then debuted about 12 months later on “Hammerstein’s Music Hall,” Mondays at 8 p.m. on WEAF. The New York Sun reported he was to leave the show on January 14, 1937 after 82 consecutive broadcasts. In mid-1939, he was hosting a local, unsponsored half-hour variety show on WHN New York and had been working on a soap opera, and in 1940 was in Chicago on “Avalon Time” with Don McNeill. It’s unclear when Mann arrived on the West Coast, but he was there by September 1, 1941, when Broadcasting magazine reported he was writing for Rudy Vallee’s show. The aforementioned Variety directory stated he had also made some short films.

    It’s unclear exactly how many cartoons he voiced before heading overseas with the USO (he was in France six days after D Day). There were only two Cholly Polly cartoons made by Columbia, one released at the end of 1942 and the other at the start of 1944. Did he work on more? It’s information to be discovered. Same with his work at MGM (voice historian Keith Scott says it’s not him as the eagle in “Flirty Birdy,” nor is it Daws Butler, who wasn’t anywhere near California at the time it was made). In January 1945, he resumed his radio work on “The Chesterfield Supper Club” (Tuesdays, 8 p.m., NBC) with his wife Betty Linde appearing as well, but concentrated mainly on the stage for the rest of his career. Heart bypass surgery in 1973 slowed him down and a series of strokes left him in a convalescent hospital in California, where he died on December 6, 1987.

    His work on “The Flintstones,” according to Mann’s listing on a website (which has inaccuracies in his bio), consisted of:
    ● Hot Lips Hannigan
    ● The Monster From the Tar Pits
    ● Hollyrock, Here I Come
    ● The Girls’ Night Out
    ● The Snorkasaurus Hunter
    ● The Hypnotist
    ● Love Letters on the Rocks
    ● The Astra’Nuts
    ● Fred Flintstone, Before And After (all season one)
    ● Latin Lover (season two)

    Earl Kress once asked Joe Barbera about Mann but Mr. B., by that time, simply couldn’t recall him, and neither could anyone else who worked at Hanna-Barbera who Earl questioned. So we hope this post has filled in some blanks.

    Finally, here’s one of Jerry’s characters, the producer on “Hollywood, Here I Come.” George Nicholas came up with this walk cycle that’s used several times in the cartoon. Nicholas was one of several animators (Carlo Vinci and Don Patterson, included) who came up with unique walks for their characters. Note that the producer doesn’t have the same rigid upper body part on one cel used frame after frame. This is full animation, one complete drawing for each position.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Ken Southworth, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Tony Benedict, Story Director – John Freeman, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervisor – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Huckleberry Hound, Crowd – Daws Butler; Narrator, Bull, P.A. Announcer, Crowd – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: In Spain, Huck fights a bull.

    A staple of Hanna-Barbera cartoons was for characters to whisk themselves off-screen, followed by a camera shake and sound effects to indicate violence, and then a cut to a character in some kind of disarray. In this cartoon, there are a lot of impact drawings involving Huck and the bull he is fighting.

    The animation in the cartoon is by Ken Southworth, who settled in at Hanna-Barbera after bouncing around in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Thomas Kenneth Southworth was born in England in 1918 and came to the U.S. with his parents. They settled in Chicago where his dad Thomas was a janitor and Ken got a job as an office clerk at a wholesale grocer. He graduated from the Chicago Institute of the Arts then headed west to Disney. Southworth moved on to the Walter Lantz studio, then MGM (where he was in the Hanna-Barbera unit) and was introduced to the world of TV animation through Sam Singer Productions, the home of the astoundingly bad “Bucky and Pepito.”

    Southworth managed to escape thanks to a company called Animation Associates, set up by John Boersma, Lou Zukor and Rudy Cataldi to make animated commercials; Cataldi had worked for Singer. Variety reported the company had completed a pilot for a cartoon tele-series about a private eye. The trade paper then announced on August 19, 1960 the company had hired 11 animators to work on Q.T. Hush cartoons—the ten listed were Bill Carney, Xenia DeMattia, Jack Ozark, Dan Bessie, John Freeman, Clarke Mallery, Volus Jones, Don Williams, Ed Aardal and Virgil Ross—along with a second film cutter (Lucky Brown, in addition to Charles Hawes). On the 31st, Variety blurbed that Southworth had been hired by the company to direct 20 cartoons (as a side-note, the paper also revealed in the same edition that “Ruff and Reddy” would be replaced by “King Leonardo” on Saturday mornings in the fall). A number of these people ended up doing work, freelance or otherwise, at Hanna-Barbera soon after. Southworth’s career at the studio lasted into into the 1990s. He died in 2003 at the age of 89.

    This may be his best cartoon. He tries to a little something extra out of the limited animation. H-B almost always animated action horizontally or vertically. Here are two drawings of an angular run. Southworth either drew in perspective or a camera trick was used. Either way, the studio rarely did this.

    When he draws Huck being ploughed into by the bull, Huck’s montera comes off his head and twirls end-over-end in the air. Southworth could just as easily have it fly from the frame or land on the ground and save work (in one scene, there are duplicate monteras for a couple of frames; it may be a camera error). Instead of straight run cycles, Southworth changes Huck’s body position, and he also stretches out the bull’s body, giving them some variety (and making it look like the characters are accelerating). There are also some little extras, like nostrils flaring in a little cycle, and the bull’s lips wavering in anger. And he actually gives a real startled take in the cartoon, not something lame like eyes getting a little wider. Huck pulls his sword on the bull. With perfect timing, the bull chomps on it. Huck’s body shows the surprise. It makes the scene funnier, though the drawing is on threes (two of them have brush lines) so it may not register as well as it could.

    Dick Thomas constructed the backgrounds. Here are a few.

    Tony Benedict’s story starts with the usual format. Off-screen narrator Don Messick sets up the scene. Huck is a matador in Spain. As usual, Huck butchers the native tongue as he chats with the viewers. “Bonus daisy!” he happily tells us. He arrives at the stadium. “Well, I’d better get into my purdy bullfightin’ suit, the embroidery and all like that,” he tells us. “Keep your eye on me, folks, ‘cause I gets terrible handsome once-t I get my bullfightin’ garments on.” And the version of “Clementine” he sings this time includes the word “Tory-dory” (as in “toreador”).

    As you’ve seen by the drawings, the bull pounds Huck pretty well. The crowd boos. “Folks around here always ‘boo’,” he explains to the viewers at home, “you know, to kindly show their contempt.” Then he adds, in Daws Butler talk, “But they don’t reas-lize that this is the basic matador stra-gedy.”

    Tony pulls off a funny little scene where Huck and the bull run out of the arena. That doesn’t faze the P.A. announcer one bit. “We shall continue with the audio version of the programme,” he decides. Then he continues with a play-by-play of the fight that’s completely made up. “Of course, I ad-lib just a little,” he confides in us. While he’s doing this, he’s oblivious that the bull and Huck are running back and forth behind him. Finally, they stop and look at him. When he realises where they are, he shouts “¡Ay, Chihuahua! I think it’s time for a station break!” and he dives right off the broadcast area (with the sound of crashing dishes). Huck turns to the bull and says “Let’s get on with the show, Toro.” And they do. Southworth, incidentally, doesn’t simply have the announcer’s body rigid on one cel during the play-by-play. He puts him in about four different positions, with hand-claps and an arm thrust. He’s trying to keep the scene from looking stagnant.

    Finally, the bull sends Huck crashing through the wooden barrier in the ring. “Does the matador have some last words for his fans about the moment of truth?” asks the announcer. “Just one thing, a-mygo” replies the pain-eyed Huck. “The moment of truth shore hurts.” At this point, the bull sticks his head in the frame and happily growls “Ain’t it de truth?” and gruntingly laughs as Huck turns his eyes to the audience to end the cartoon.

    There’s a camera error during one of the run cycles. The camera man has the background going in the wrong direction for four frames.

    The Hoyt Curtin underscore doesn’t include any Spanish-sounding music. Some short neutrals are used for the first minute and a bit. During one of the Huck-runs-from-bull scenes, there’s a Hammond organ piece used in a number of cartoons. You can also hear a short variation of the Flintstones “Rise and Shine” when Huck walks into the ring and before the bull comes out.

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  • 11/19/14--07:25: Little George Jetson

  • Above you see the opening background drawing for the Jetsons’ cartoon “The Little Man,” the 17th show put into production. And to the right, you see a dialogue page from the opening.

    Heritage Auctions had the latter up for auction awhile ago, along with some storyboard panels that you can see below (and click on to enlarge). The final dialogue in the cartoon isn’t exactly the same as what you can read on the panels. Lines have been added and subtracted. There’s a salt gag that’s not in the panels on sheet 21.

    The story was written by Tony Benedict and the sketches below are his. If you look at the numbering, you’ll observe that number 22 is broken down into four sheets: A, B, C and D. Whether the story was expanded later to include those scenes, I don’t know. And there’s a whole bedroom routine in the cartoon that takes place between the first and third panels of 22A.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – John Boersma, Layout – Jerry Eisenberg, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, J. Evil Scientist – Daws Butler; Mrs. J. Evil Scientist – Jean Vander Pyl; Ghost, Junior, Wolf Monster – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-044, Production J-128.
    First Aired: 1962.
    Plot: Snooper and Blabber are hired to evict the J. Evil Scientist family from a haunted house.

    Boris Karloff hosted a horror anthology series from 1960 to 1962 called “Thriller,” which featured a series of lines appearing on the screen and the word “Thriller” fading in as his face faded out.

    Something like couldn’t be passed up by Mike Maltese, who parodied it in “Chilly Chiller.” In the cartoon, the lines instead form a tic-tac-toe game before the word “Chiller” flashes on the screen.

    Your host for the show isn’t the ghostly-sounding Karloff, although there is a ghost in it. Snooper welcomes viewers with the words “Greetin’s, lovers of spine-chilling stories. If you are the scary type, do not watch this show. You had best go prune a daffodil, or something.” “Snoop is right, folks,” adds Blabber. “This is a real scaaaary story. Honest.”

    We’ll get to our story in just a moment. First, let’s check out some of Bob Gentle’s backgrounds. The haunted house exteriors are top notch and the overhead angle on Snooper’s office door is unique (perhaps it comes from Jerry Eisenberg’s layout).

    The story starts with Snooper admiring his “fabulous butterfly collection.” The phone rings. The detectives are called to Creepy Mountain House by someone who finally has to shout “Help!” into the phone to prove he needs them. “Now are you convinced?” says the phone. “Yeah. Especially me left ear.” The cartoon cuts back to the present and Snooper outlining the story. “So, after a visit to me left ear doctor...” he begins, then allows Blab to pick up the story. John Boersma animated the cartoon. See what he does with Snooper’s pinkie in one frame. You’ll see the same pinkie-crooked-up hand on Blab “Bronco Bluster,” Augie Doggie in “Vacation Tripped” and Huck Hound in “Bars and Stripes,” all Boersma cartoons. He liked gestures. See one of Blab’s below.

    Our heroes arrive at the spooky mansion to find its occupant, a ghost with the Professor Gizmo voice from “Ruff and Reddy,” can’t haunt it because the J. Evil Scientist family (though unnamed in this cartoon) has moved in and refuses to move out. J. Evil ignores Snooper’s “writ of habeas vacancy” so the detectives decide to remove the furniture from the home, starting with Junior’s crib. That brings on the gags. First, Junior pushes a button to zap Snooper with electricity. Then Junior pushes another button so Snoop falls through a trap door into the basement, where he fights a huge octopus with a chair (“What a dastardly tribulation experience,” says Snooper after closing the door on the creature.

    Next, Junior mixes a formula (with a cue used during the Pebbles birth episode of “The Flintstones” in the background) which he feeds to a mosquito. The insect grows to a huge size and smugly battles a sword-wielding Snoop (“That giant mosquita is going to shiska-blab us, Bob, I mean shiska-bob us, Blab”). After escaping, our heroes run from a wolf monster that Junior lets out of his TV set.

    “I’m not takin’ in every Tom, Dick and Scary Ghost,” says Snoop as their client wails that he’s now homeless. But the final scene has Snooper on the phone trying to sell his life story to a TV station. “It’s bein’ written now. By a ghost writer.” Cut to a shot of the ghost at a typewriter. Oh, but Mike Maltese’s groaners aren’t over. Blab observes: “When it comes to ghosts, Snoop has the right spirit.” With that truly cringe-worthy pun (and cringing is, no doubt, what Maltese had in mind), the cartoon ends.

    And, with that, we end our reviews of all 45 Snooper and Blabber cartoons.

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    Running and chasing are ingrained in the DNA of animated cartoons going back to the days of silent film. So it’s no surprise you find pursuits all over the place in Hanna-Barbera cartoons (especially past the same objects in a repeating background drawing). Run or walk cycles have the added advantage of allowing the studio to save money by reusing the same drawings.

    Some cycles were eight drawings, others were six or four. But Clarke Mallery came up with a three-drawing run cycle in “Hasty Tasty,” a 1961 Yakky Doodle cartoon.

    This cartoon features Fibber Fox and Alfy Gator both after Yakky. Here’s some nice brushwork as Fibber and Alfy zip out of the scene. The drawing is on threes.

    Let’s put together Mallery’s cycle in an endless loop. Go get that duck, Fibber!

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