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Stuff about early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

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    Occasionally, an unexpected name pops up in the credits of Hanna-Barbera cartoons around 1960. Clarke Mallery, Phil Duncan and Gil Turner come to mind. Turner, for example, was at UPA and Format Films around the same time. You might wonder whether he had trouble holding a job but that may not have been the case at all.

    Variety of June 7, 1960 had a lengthy article on a lack of animators in Hollywood. Hanna-Barbera was humming with two syndicated half-hour shows on the air (Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw) and had “The Flintstones” in production for a fall debut on ABC. Al Brodax had subcontracted for a pile of new made-for-TV Popeye cartoons. Limited animated versions of Dick Tracy and Mr Magoo were on the small screen. Larry Harmon was making Bozo cartoons. And some portions of Jay Ward’s beloved “Rocky and His Friends” were being drawn in the U.S. There were only so many animators to go around and it appears some were working at more than one studio simultaneously. That may explain some of the more unexpected animator credits.

    Here’s the story from
    Variety. It was, more or less, reprinted in the weekly edition from New York eight days later.

    Shortage Of Animators Due To Videmand,
    Producers Ask Art Inst. To Teach The Art

    A far-reaching program of “laying down a vintage of talent” for the animation film industry has been underway locally with “at least” 15 independent animation film producers sponsoring the plan to ease the shortage of trained help.
    According to producers Jay Ward and Bill Scott of Ward Productions, “there are only about 1,000 persons trained in the field, and the industry could use at least 2,500 right now.” In some cases, it has necessitated producers going out of the country, notably to Japan and Mexico to have their work done.
    “The issue is so critical,” declared Herb Klynn of Format Films, “we have grouped together and are meeting Thursday night with the Chouinard Art Institute in an effort to have a four-year course set up which will somewhat ease the shortage in the foreseeable future. At the rate of progress this phase of the industry is growing, we can now only barely meet our 1961 commitments and will certainly not be able to expand our programming unless we ‘rob’ talent from each other.”
    At the moment, it is known that considerable “moonlighting” is going on, with talent working at one studio during the day and performing for others at night. Television spot commercials have increased the demand but it is in area of the half-hour animated cartoons that the shortage is most seriously felt.
    “Cartooning is an essential part of television programming,” said Scott, and a successful cartoon series is “worth $7 million dollars.”
    As more talented people entered the field, it became obvious the need for knowledge in the basic crafts was known by but a few, and there has not yet been found a training ground for those who wish to enter the industry. Jay Ward Productions, planning a one-hour special for this fall, will combine live and cartoon talent in “The Magic of Christmas.” However, since the company is already committed to three other shows, it has found it necessary to use animators and artists in Mexico.
    “This has proved unsatisfactory,” Ward stated, “due to the language barrier. We can’t seem to communicate our exact feelings of satire to them and the result is usually not comical or funny but either ludicrous or grotesque.”
    Among the producers who have banded together to find a practicable solution to the shortage of help, are: Quartet Films, Play house Pictures, Hanna-Barbera, Ray Patin Productions, TV Spots, Larry Harmon and Jay Ward. The group has made surveys within its own ranks and because they have been “vying for particular talent,” and they are now “at least 150 people short in key situations and can use 1,000 more right away.”
    At Chouinard Art Institute, Mr. Mitchell A. Wilder, director, claims there is no such instruction given in any of the universities on the West Coast.
    “It is a long-range program to satisfy a particular need,” he said “and we are meeting with the producers to determine exactly the course of instruction during a four-year course.”
    The producers have stated they will pay part of the cost of such a program by assigning one of their top executives to teach one day per week, thus providing an adequate faculty to any school program set up.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Bill Keil, Layout –Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Fernando Montealegre, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, General – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Fired Soldier, Driver – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Yogi, Boo Boo and Ranger accidentally launch themselves into space.

    Jay Ward cartoons were known for taking shots at things. Hanna-Barbera cartoons were not. This cartoon is about as satirical as Hanna-Barbera would get. The cracks at the U.S. military are the highlight of the cartoon. Not an awful lot else happens.

    It opens with a general at a secret briefing in Washington, D.C., revealing how a rocket shot from Jellystone Park (a national park?!) will put a man in orbit for the first time. “We’re using an entirely new system of rocket launching,” says the general. “This new system is to launch the rocket first then talk about it. We’ve never done it this way before, but it’s worth a try.”

    Yogi, Boo Boo and Ranger Smith end up in the rocket and accidentally make it lift off. A guard, who didn’t notice the three goes inside, watches the blast off. “Typical operation,” he says to the camera. “The enlisted man’s never told a thing.”

    He reports the launch to the general. “The rocket? That is impossible. It would take hours to press the right buttons, pull the right switches, in the exact sequence. Even we don’t know how. That’s why we’ve been delayed.”

    The three try to figure out how to get back to Earth. Boo Boo remembers reading about an escape hatch in a magazine article. Ranger Smith clasps his hands. “Thank goodness there are no military secrets in this country.”

    The general fires the guard who reported the launch. The guard’s so delighted his helmet jumps off in excitement. “Fired?” From the Army? Mabel, baby’s coming home!” says the guard. So much for dedication for the serving the country.

    The rest of the cartoon is the typical. It’s yet another cartoon where Yogi hibernates. It’s yet another cartoon where Boo Boo is “the good bear.” It’s another cartoon that ends with Ranger Smith promising Yogi a picnic basket if he won’t do something, in this case publicise the rocket launch (Yogi, ever the iconoclast, is willing to disobey the general’s “order” to keep quiet about it, while the uniformed, ex-military Smith is happy to comply). And it’s another cartoon that ends in a rhyme: “You’ve a lot of cheek, but when it comes to pic-a-nic baskets, I’m very, very weak,” says Yogi after the Ranger bribes him into silence with food. I do like the bit that Yogi is awoken from his sleep because Ranger Smith hadn’t finished singing the lullabye to him.

    Let’s look at some background drawings.

    The credits say Monty did the backgrounds for this cartoon. Monty’s stuff was much flatter in the earlier cartoons. The frame below has a tree with the fronds hanging down. Art Lozzi drew trees like that, so it’s possible he contributed some backgrounds. Lozzi once mentioned that the credits weren’t altogether accurate.

    Bill Keil animates Yogi with a little line from the nose to the lip, with the head slightly turned.

    Hoyt Curtin’s underscore is typical for 1961. For whatever reason, the ranger is humming Brahms’ Lullaby while one of Curtin’s tunes is playing. It clashes.

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  • 12/02/14--06:56: Mr. Jinks Knuckle Run
  • Carlo Vinci created some unique run cycles for characters, sometimes giving them more than one type of run in the cartoon, depending on the character’s mood.

    Here’s a great four-drawing cycle in “Mark of the Mouse,” a first-season Pixie and Dixie cartoon, where Jinks is self-satisfied as he puts one over on Dixie. Look what Carlo does with Jinks’ knuckles.

    And here’s the run slowed down. I’ve removed some stuff from the background to try to make it appear more like an endless cycle. As you can see, Jinks’ head is on one cel, the body drawings on others.

    There are some great poses in this cartoon, and this is another time where the emotional Jinks looks like one of Carlo’s frightened cats from a Mighty Mouse cartoon (which he worked on at Terrytoons for almost 15 years). We’ll post some drawings from a piece of Vinci animation from another first season cartoon next week.

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    “Yowp” is a fan site. It’s here to yowp about old Hanna-Barbera TV cartoons. It’s not here to sell you anything so it’s rare that I link to a commercial site or crowd-funding campaign (Tony Benedict’s Kickstarter campaign was a notable exception because of its historic importance). But occasionally I’ll lift art from a web site and link back to it.

    Today’s one of those days. I stumbled across this quite by accident on the internet. This web site has a bunch of newly-drawn posters “celebrating cartoon classics” from Hanna-Barbera. To the right you see a one-sheet by illustrator Andrew Kolb. I’m usually not one for stylised versions of the H-B characters, but these are pretty nice. I like the Art Lozzi-esque take on Jellystone Park, though the backgrounds in the cartoon in question were by Bob Gentle. And the calligraphy is very much in the Art Goble vein.

    Here’s a Jonny Quest poster by Matthew Woodson. The running characters are just perfect. It could have been original publicity art from 1964, it looks so authentic. Oh, if only Race could run over Bandit! Matthew’s perspective in the lab drawing is great; I’d have loved to have seen him try an action scene.

    The other posters are meh, as the kids say, at least to me. Check them out if you’d like by clicking on the highlighted link above. I have nothing to do with the site and make nothing from this post.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – John Boersma; Layout – James Carmichael; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Written by Warren Foster; Story Direction – John Freeman; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Mr. Jinks, Dixie – Daws Butler; Pixie, Mighty Mite – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1962
    Plot: Pixie and Dixie invite a strong-man flea to live on Mr. Jinks’ fur.

    What a talky, lacklustre cartoon.

    Warren Foster wrote “Strong Mouse” for Pixie and Dixie in the 1961-62 season, featuring a circus mouse with huge amounts of strength. Then he wrote this one, featuring a circus flea with huge amounts of strength. It’s like Foster had some extra strength gags from the first cartoon, so he used them to cobble together this cartoon.

    The first two minutes and ten seconds consist of nothing but a conversation between the flea who is looking for a dog (in a mouse hole?) on which he can live and the meece, who are sceptical about the flea’s claims until he twirls Dixie in mid-air. The meece convince him Mr. Jinks is as docile as a dog and a perfect home.

    Next is a 30-second scene where the meece put Mighty Mite on Jinks. The flea offers to help them if they need it some day. Jinks realises someone has “invaded my privacy” but can’t see anyone so it must be a “mental aberration.” Foster now brings the old wet broom into the story for Jinks to clobber the meeces with (“Beats me how one cat can be so two-faced,” he chortles to us). The flea comes to their rescue by flipping Jinks onto the floor by his tail, and then doing it every time the cat touches the broom to discouraging him from using it again. Naturally, we don’t see most of the violence. We almost always see the meeces’ reaction as the camera shakes. In between reactions, Jinks talks non-stop to the audience. At no time does Jinks realise the flea is there. “I must, uh, have lost my balance,” he explains to himself. “That’s it. Some, uh, you know, minor disturbance of the eustachian canal in, like, my inner ear. Yeah. That makes a certain amount of sense.” (Jinks, evidently, graduated in anatomy).

    The cartoon ends with Jinks turning down the meeces’ offer to bash them with a wet broom. “Uh, I’m, like, through with that game, you guys. But, eh, I’ll figure out another game for you miserable meeces. (Turns to camera) I, like, always do.” Jinks chuckles as the iris closes.

    Jinks doesn’t let out with his “I hate meeces to pieces!” catchphrase in this cartoon.

    Mighty Mite has one of Don Messick’s growly voices. It’s not as low as it is in other cartoons.

    The animation credit is given to John Boersma in this cartoon and I’ve had real trouble figuring out his style. In some cartoons, his mouth animation is the same as Ken Muse’s, with a little half-row of upper teeth and a small tongue moving around. In other cartoons, there are no teeth, and he draws characters with a little point on the bottom lip. This is one of them. He gives Jinks a wide mouth much of the time.

    There’s nothing distinctive about the music selections. Dick Thomas’ backgrounds are exclusively interiors. Kids had black and white TV sets in 1962 so they wouldn’t have known Thomas decorated the Jinks/Meeces residence with purple walls and green floors (and a sink in the living room). That being the case, I shudder to think what Thomas’ own home looked like.

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    Transportation seems to have been the recurring in the Yogi Bear comics in Sunday newspapers of 50 years ago this month. Two of the modes are stolen (being winter, there are no picnic baskets to purloin). What you see below aren’t the best scans to view some of the reaction drawings, so I urge you to check out Mark Kausler’s site HERE, as he has the bottom two rows of each of these cartoons (at least that’s the anticipation at the time this post was written). Mark has saved clippings of these comics all these years.

    Ranger and Mrs. Smith makes a short appearance in the top row of the December 6, 1964 comic, the row that newspapers could delete without the plot of the comic being affected. Ranger Smith is “Bill” this month. Next month, he’s “Joe.” Sense a pattern, folks? The final panel has one of the embarrassed Yogi grin poses that the animators never really used. Sorry I can’t find a better version.

    The best drawing in the December 13th comic is Yogi being whacked on the head with a mallet held by a little Yogi. Ranger Smith’s winter jacket has chequers which stay in place, regardless of movement. You’d see this in animated cartoons (especially in the late ’50); I presume the character was drawn with the clothing pattern on a cel underneath.

    Bill Hanna receives a Christmas present from Gene Hazelton or whoever wrote the story for the December 20th comic in the form of a plug for his beloved Boy Scouts (Hanna was extremely proud of his membership in the Scouts and received honours from the group in adulthood). The helicopter theft/tree-top cutting is a steal from the 1958 cartoon “The Buzzin’ Bear.” Note the rhyme in the opening panel. I’d like to think it’s a little tribute to Lew Marshall, one of the original H-B animators who rose through the ranks. He would have worked with Hazelton at the MGM cartoon studio in the ‘40s.
    Man, even Ranger Smith is rhyming in this one.

    Alas, Santa doesn’t visit Yogi and Boo Boo this year. Instead, Boo Boo gets a present via the Jellystone Mail Truck in the December 27th comic. Another great little-pupilled Yogi expression in the last panel of the middle row. Yogi goes rhyming nuts in the last row. The artist (Harvey Eisenberg?) throws in some cute chipmunks in the last panel. I like how they’re in the foreground while Yogi and Boo Boo are further back. You can always feel the perspective in these comics; there’s a foreground, background and various medium grounds, not like they’re on a stage with a scrim backdrop.

    Click on any of the comics to enlarge them.

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  • 12/11/14--07:07: Boo Boo Surprise
  • Boo Boo didn’t do a lot of acting in the Yogi Bear cartoons. About all he’s known for is being the voice of caution, warning “The Ranger won’t like it, Yogi,” or words to that effect.

    Ah, but don’t tell that to Carlo Vinci.

    The Yogi cartoons eventually settled into a routine, but the first season (1958-59) was a bit of a free-for-all as the characters were still new. Carlo decided to give Boo Boo a bit of body emotion in “The Buzzin’ Bear” (first aired the week of December 21, 1958). All but the first and last drawings you see below are on twos (each drawing was shot by the camera twice). Boo Boo’s reacting to Yogi accidentally getting a Jellystone Park helicopter airborne.

    This isn’t the kind of animation Hanna-Barbera became known for. The body isn’t on one cel for endless frames while the head drawings are slightly changed. Carlo has made 11 separate drawings. Look at the hands and see the sense of balance. This may be my favourite Boo Boo scene.

    As Hanna-Barbera pumped out more and more cartoons, more and more animation short-cuts were made, and the cartoons leaned more and more on the writers’ snappy dialogue. But for the first little while after the Huck show went on the air in September of 1958, there were lots of neat bits of animation by Carlo and Mike Lah and the rest. This is one of them.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – La Verne Harding; Layout – Noel Tucker; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Written by Tony Benedict; Story Director – Paul Sommer; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Narrator, Leprechaun, Huckleberry Hound, Editor – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: week of Dec. 4, 1961 (rerun, week of Oct. 22, 1962).
    Plot: Photographer Huck tries to take a picture of a leprechaun.

    Huck treads some familiar ground in this cartoon but, this time, the difference is the ground is the Auld Sod. Huck chats with the people watching him at home, mangles the local dialect, generally shrugs off the violence against him and chuckles about his ultimate failure during the final frames. But in this cartoon, Huck has a new job as a magazine photographer and has been planted on the emerald green of Ireland—“land of legends, folklore and magic,” the intoning narrator tells us at the beginning.

    Here’s Bob Gentle’s opening background that is panned by the camera as the narration sets up the cartoon. And this is where I bemoan that the final year of the Huck series is not on DVD where you’d be able to see a version of this without digital fuzziness.

    The opening may be yet another repeat of the Huck format, but it’s not stale. We learn from the intoning narrator that Huck is an “ace photographer, Strife Magazine.” At that point, Huck lifts his hat, turns to the camera and says “Howdy, folks, that’s me.” I always enjoy it when Huck or some other character has some byplay with either the narrator or provides plot commentary for the viewer. Come to think of it, those are things the studio started doing less and less. Characters just talked to themselves or each other. An added little bonus to this scene is Huck’s jeep needs an alignment job and the back of it kicks up into the air as it motors along. Huck closes his eyes, feeling the impact, in La Verne Harding’s artwork.

    Huck expounds on his assignment to us: “Ain’t nobody ever photygraphed one of them lepracorns before.” Naturally, when Huck comes across a leprechaun, he doesn’t realise that’s what it is, even after he reads a description of one while chatting with the little fellow. Huck decides to try to mix in with the locals. “Uh, top-of-the-mornin,’ you-all. Begorrah, begosh and Erin Go Bragh,” he says, then turns to us and adds “That’s Irish talk for ‘Howdy’. You got to know all the gimmicks in this game.” And so the plot unfolds, with the leprechaun using magic to beat up on Huck, who wants to take his picture for Strife.

    First, the leprechaun pulls Huck’s hat over his head and then gives him a hot foot (which burns his body). But then Huck realises who the green-suited man is. “The Irish jig is up,” he puns. The two agree the leprechaun will have his picture taken if Huck can catch him (“I’ll just meet him at the glen,” Huck tells us, “That’s more Irish talk meanin’ ‘Head ‘im off the pass’.”). That brings on a series of violence gags.

    ● Huck doesn’t run into the door of the leprechaun’s cave. The leprechaun then opens it on him.
    ● The old “just-step-back-and-back-some-more” bit. Huck falls back into a well.
    ● The old “stand-in-mid-air-for-only-a-while” routine. Huck plummets to the bottom of a cliff.
    ● The leprechaun pretends to have been roped at the top of other cliff by Huck, who can’t see that high. Huck’s roped “the blarney stone” and pulls it down onto himself.

    “He’s just going to laugh himself sick. I hope,” the annoyed Huck-under-a-large-rock says to us. But the leprechaun has outsmarted himself. As he cackles, the cliff gives way, and Huck captures him when he drops to the bottom. So Huck gets to take his picture in a variety of poses, especially after the leprechaun hears it’s for the cover of Strife.

    Cut to the final scene. The Strife editor is enthusiastic until he looks at the blank photos. “A leprechaun just doesn’t register on film,” he says. Ah, but that’s not the problem. Huck confides is us over the closing music that he forgot to take the cover off the lens, then gives us a limited animation version of a shamed look.

    Miscellany: Daws Butler supplies all the voices in this cartoon...The sound cutter found one running sound effect for Huck and another for the leprechaun...There are no Irish-sounding cues in the underscore...The box around “Hanna-Barbera” in the episode title card was also used in “Ben Huck” and “Jinks’ Jinx.” I haven’t checked to see if there were others but the graphic idea was obviously short-lived.

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    Finding decent-looking full versions of the Flintstones Sunday comics on-line has become impossible, but I’ve stumbled on some Flintstones dailies that I’ll pass along. These are for 50 years ago this month.

    I’m not crazy about the Pebbles-centricity. The Flintstones cartoon series, to me, wasn’t about a talking baby. And the newspaper comics, by 1964, have both Pebbles and Dino talking to themselves in thought balloons. But you might be interested in looking at these, so here they are. The artwork is very attractive.

    The Christmas season cartoons have been posted on the blog before, but I’ve put them up again just so the whole month is intact. And it gives us all another chance to see Baby Puss.

    Click on each week of comics to make it larger.

    November 30-December 5, 1964

    December 7-12, 1964

    December 14-19, 1964

    December 21-26, 1964

    December 28-31, 1964

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    Want to know what would have made a great half-hour Hanna-Barbera Christmas special? The story in this Yogi Bear Jellystone Jollies Gold Key comic with a cover date of January 1963.

    It’s a simple tale, one not overloaded with characters, and with a nice little message toward the end. Add a little bit more comic dialogue to fill it out to 23 minutes and you’re all set. You don’t need a friendly ghost from another cartoon studio that you bought the rights to use, a guy in a Davey Crockett skunk-skin cap, everyone in the Hanna-Barbera funny animal universe clogging the proceedings or cheesy holiday/winter songs that bring the cartoon to an abrupt stop (okay, maybe one to close out the first act if it advances the plot, with a reprise near the end).

    As you read along, I’ll bet you can hear Daws Butler, Don Messick and Hal Smith (as Santa and Goodello). Perhaps you’ll notice as well the dynamic of the characters changes without Ranger Smith being present. Frankly, I welcome it.

    No, I don’t know why Yogi is calling himself “Budgewick Bear.”

    My thanks to Prof. Grewbeard, as I stole these pictures from a five-year-old blog post of his. There were 80 pages in the comic but he didn’t post the two other stories involving Snagglepuss or Yakky Doodle, Chopper and Fibber Fox (why do I picture a mistletoe/fist-in-the-face/thud gag in that one?). In the comment section, Mark Kausler identifies the artist; a couple of others have sent me notes in agreement.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Ralph Somerville, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Neena Maxwell, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Art Davis, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Director, Actor on barrel – Daws Butler; Ranger Smith, Boo Boo, Producer C.G., Tex, Cameraman Charlie, actor leaning against saloon – Don Messick; Script Girl, Belle – Jean Vander Pyl.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961-62 season.
    Plot: Yogi horns his way into a TV Western being shot at Jellystone.

    So many fun elements have been packed into this cartoon that make it one of the best-ever Yogis. There’s the frustrated director who keeps having his shots ruined by intruders. There are the hammy and corny Yogi and Ranger Smith hoping to become TV stars. There’s wooden acting by the actors (Don Messick is evoking Gary Cooper with his delivery as the actor playing Tex). There’s a casual reference to Quick Draw McGraw. There’s Boo Boo saying “I’m getting far away from here” and disappearing for the remainder of the cartoon. And there’s writer Warren Foster taking pot-shots at the low calibre of westerns on television.

    There’s a funny little exchange at the beginning of the cartoon. I don’t know if it was intentional on Foster’s part. “Please, no Hollywood shenanigans from your troupe,” Ranger Smith tells the film moguls. And then sproings toward the script girl and gives her the eye. Hey, Mr. Ranger, ain’t
    that kind of a Hollywood shenanigan?

    Tony Rivera laid out this cartoon. The parallel jaw lines give it away. He would have designed the props, too, including cars and vans.

    The camera pans from left to right in this scene. I love Tex’s inept monotone delivery. “Indians couldn’t hold me with you here, Belle.” Bill Shatner stops and starts less often in a line of dialogue than this guy.

    And then Yogi, not realising there’s a film being made, comes out of his cave and slams the door on him.

    Neenah Maxwell is responsible for the backgrounds. Let’s look at some. Kids missed the nice colours on their 1961 black-and-white TVs.

    Oh, that cyncial Warren Foster!

    The less-than-subtle Ranger Smith asks if maybe there’s a part for him in the show.

    Director: Okay, okay. You’re in. Heh, heh. What’s your name?
    Ranger: Ranger Smith.
    Director: Oh, we’ll change that.
    Producer: I hope he doesn’t ruin it.
    Director: Are you kidding? Who could ruin a TV western?

    After Yogi interrupts the shooting, and jokes that “the nearest Indians are the Cleveland Indians ball club”:

    Director: Cut, cut! Get that bear out of here. Who’s got a gun? Shoot him!
    Cameraman: No! Chief, he’s government property, like the Grand Canyon or something.

    Ranger Smith, in costume, asks when his part is coming up.

    Director: We’re ready for the big fight. Go in there and when I yell ‘Action!’ start fighting. And make it look adequate. Don’t forget, this is for TV.

    And a Foster sight gag. Very Warner Bros.

    The climax of the story has Yogi and Ranger Smith, both in costume, duke it out in a fight scene in the saloon. They don’t know who the other is. There are some camera-shakes over backgrounds, but there are some impact drawings, too. When the two are offered a picture contract because their scene was so good, Ranger Smith discovers he’s been fighting Yogi and vice-versa. They zip off camera. Ralph Somerville is the animator, assisted by nice brushwork from the H-B ink and paint department (some of whom had worked at MGM with Joe and Bill). Note we have both blue wood and brown wood in the saloon.

    And the cartoon ends with an eternal chase over a repeating background.

    Miscellany: Nary a mention of pic-a-nic baskets in this one...Yogi’s response to an actor’s scripted line about it being a ghost town: “Sure. The show will be seen on a ghost-to-ghost network. Yuk, yuk, yuk!” He decided to add a little comedy relief...Yogi fits in the cartoon title with a rhyme: “Get along little dogie. Here’s droop-a-long Yogi!”...Hoyt Curtin supplies some western and country (with fiddle) cues for the underscore. They’re not lavishly orchestrated, but they fit nicely.

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  • 12/24/14--06:57: Santa Alan Reed
  • Alan Reed played Fred Flintstone playing Santa Claus in “Christmas Flintstone” in 1965. But ten years before that, the pre-Flintstone Reed had a different, real-life role—playing Santa’s helper.

    Network radio of the 1930s and ‘40s was good to Reed. He snagged regular weekly supporting roles as well as other work on major shows. When radio faded away in the ’50s, Reed survived on minor film and occasional television roles. He figured that he’d better find a source of regular income, and he got it by opening a novelty company. We talked about it in a Christmas season post a few years ago. The windfall days resumed in 1960, as he picked up a supporting part on the sitcom “Peter Loves Mary.” Oh, and there was also that cartoon show about a Stone Age family.

    But in the days between radio and Fred Flintstone, Reed found time to help kids at Christmas. Daily Variety reported on September 20, 1955 that Reed would tour 43 cities to plug his group that collected toys and gifts for underprivileged children. The goal was to collect 8,500,000 toys. Here’s a United Press story with more on what Reed hoped to do.

    TV Actor and Teddy Bear Shine as Helpers of Santa

    HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 18 (UP)—Old Kris Kringle has two new assistants this year, one is a fluffy white teddy bear and the other is actor Alan Reed, best remembered as Falstaff Openshaw on the Fred Allen show and Finnegan of “Duffy’s Tavern.”
    REED AND HIS miniature polar bear have formed the “Santa Claus Helpers’ Club” in 32 major cities. Purpose of the organization is to stimulate small fry into donating toys for other, less fortunate, children.
    “Up to now toy collections have been aimed at adults,” Reed says. “The kids of the country have been overlooked as contributors. So I began the Helpers’ Club with the slogans: ‘A Christmas Toy for Every Child in America,’ and ‘Learning the Pleasure of Giving by Participation.’ ”
    Symbol for the club is ‘Kewtee Bear’ who has made two recordings for Columbia Records and is the subject of a children’s book. Each child who brings a toy to collection centers is given a Kewtee Bear certificate and badge making him a member of the club.
    “WE HOPE THE little white bear will become the spirit of giving and sharing for youngsters at Christmastime,” Reed says. “It’s important that they know how much fun it is to give.”
    The stocky dialectician said he became interested in toy campaigns when he discovered the Marine Corps’ “Toys for Tots” program fell 2,000,000 toys short of its goal last year.
    “At first I tried to organize the Santa Claus Helpers’ Club to work with the Marines or some other national group. But I found that each city had its own independent toy gathering agency. So instead of coming in as a separate and competitive agency we have become a part of a dozen different groups.
    “In Cleveland we’re working with the fire department and Salvation Army,” Reed explained. “In Boston and Los Angeles it’s the YMCA, in Milwaukee the police department, and in a lot of cities it’s the Boy Scouts.
    “We’re also working with the Cincinnati Post Our partner in New York is the Police Athletic League. Next year we hope to add twice as many cities to the list.”
    THE HELPERS’ CLUB boosts toy campaigns with radio, TV and newspaper plugs. Disc jockeys play the Kewtee Bear records and then tell listeners where to take the toys. A three-minute film has been made for television.
    “I have no idea how many toys will be collected this year,” Reed concluded, “but I have a feeling our club will help millions of little boys and girls believe there really is a Santa Claus when they look in their stockings Christmas morning.”

    Reed’s tour might have been cut short; he began shooting “He Laughed Last” starring Frankie Laine for Columbia by the end of the year.

    Tim Hollis’ book Christmas Wishes: A Catalog of Vintage Holiday Treats and Treasures has more on Kewtee Bear. You can read it HERE. And you can listen to the Reed record by going to this page. Cartoon fans will recognise the actress with Reed.

    We now jump forward to 1965 and post a few background drawings with cycle animation of falling presents from “Christmas Flintstone.” Let’s not get into one of those “How was there Christmas in the Stone Age?” discussions. It’s a cartoon, not a documentary. Same with asking “How was there an Eiffel Tower or Leaning Tower of Pisa in the Stone Age?” or “Why can they speak American English in the Stone Age?” Just enjoy the drawings.

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    Your favourite Hanna-Barbera cartoon dog is in a festive mood (note the party hat in the picture of the napkin to your right sent by Rick Greene). And since this is a time for being with friends and giving, allow me to pass to you some H-B holiday(ish) items from around the internet. Maybe we’ll have a special gift, too.

    Before we get to some pictures, allow me to send a Wee Willie-sized thank you to all who have visited this blog over the years.

    Is this Mel Crawford artwork? It reminds me of the Hanna-Barbera Golden Books he illustrated in the early ‘60s. If anyone knows, please post a comment. It’s a great drawing. It’s odd seeing Baba Looey without Quick Draw. Perhaps he was busy battling a Typical Western Bad Guy as El Kabong and didn’t have time to sit for the portrait. Thanks to Keith Fisk for finding this.

    Who needs Santa when you can have a visit from Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound? Granted, you had to go to a department store to see them. And you had to ignore the fact that Yogi and Huck were really a couple of guys in fuzzy costumes. This is from the Philadelphia Inquirer before Christmas 1961.

    This fun drawing is publicity artwork for “Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper,” a 1982 special on CBS. It was written in 2½ days by Mark Evanier. Mark talks about it in this great post on his blog. The characters are expertly drawn by Scott Shaw.

    And at Christmas-time, if you didn’t get your fix of Hanna-Barbera characters by turning on your TV set, there was always the Golden Book series we mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, a copy of “Huckleberry Hound and the Christmas Sleigh” (1960) isn’t on-line, but some original artwork from the book is. The drawings are by C.W. Sattersfield. These are a few of them.

    If books weren’t enough of a fix, you could simply use your imagination. Assisted by Hanna-Barbera merchandise, of course. There were seemingly endless board games, Flintstones Building Boulders, a gin rummy card game (with Yowp on one of the cards), and so on, all available at your local department store just in time for Christmas. My brother got a Kenner Give-a-Show movie projector, though this Easy-Show you see to the right looks pretty cool. And only $4.69! Did you have a favourite H-B toy or game you got for Christmas one year?

    Since we’re talking about Christmas, allow me to re-gift a couple of drawings posted earlier. The first one is from Mark Christiansen’s collection. If I had to guess, I’d say it was from the pen of Dick Bickenbach. The second one with Quick Draw in the Christmas tree is from a Huckleberry Hound book by Whitman.

    In Decembers past, Santa Yowp has given the gift of music. Oh, how I wish I had more of Jack Shaindlin’s Langlois Filmusic stock music from the early cartoons to pass on, but I’ve given up hope I’ll ever find any. So you’ll have to make do with something else.

    Hoyt Curtin’s best work may have been done on “Jonny Quest,” but my favourite music of his was written for “Top Cat,” a series which has never done much for me. A number of years ago, 19½ minutes of Curtin’s music for the series was put out on CD. The majority of it has never been released. Here are some of the cues that have never been on CD. Judging by the sound quality, I suspect these were dubbed onto a cassette and put through Dolby noise reduction. I doubt the names of the cues are Curtin’s; they’re certainly not mine. You may recognise them from later H-B series. I hope you like them and you have an enjoyable holiday season.

    This is the City

    Tin Pan Alley Cat

    Honey Dumelon

    Whimsical Bit

    Love Under the Stars

    Dinosaur Love

    He Who Hesitates

    Nightclub Bridge

    Maison La Rock

    Gi-Gi Galaxy

    Hold Me in Your Arms

    The Nightclub Before Christmas

    Alto Swinger

    Sultry Strings

    Boston Bound Boogie Woogie

    Gee Daddy-O, It's a Wurlitzer

    Band Swinger

    Tinkle in Time

    Choo Choo's Bossa Nova

    Dance All Night

    Mr Lucky

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Ed Parks, Layout – Jerry Eisenberg, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – John Freeman, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Pixie, Muggs, Monster – Don Messick; Mr. Jinks, Dixie – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1962.
    Plot: Jinks uses a magic kit to make Pixie and Dixie disappear.

    That Mr. Jinks. What a phoney.

    His only intention during this cartoon is to rid his life of Pixie and Dixie. Miraculously, he succeeds (sort of), thanks to an incantation from a book of magic. But when he’s fed a line by the dog next door that the meeces have been left a million-dollar inheritance, he wants them back. For only one reason, of course. Soliloquises the cat: “My buddies, Pixie and Dixie. They have untolled wealth. And I made ‘em disappear before they could tell me.” So he tries a different magic phrase to bring them back. It doesn’t work. “No millionaires. I mean, no buddies,” he forlornly tells himself.

    This is the second cartoon where Jinks tries to make the meeces disappear. The first one was “Jinks’ Mice Device” in the first season. In that one, he turns them invisible and they decide to play some tricks on him. In this fourth season cartoon, Jinks’ magic phrase transports them from their basement to somewhere behind the house next door where Muggs the dog lives. How? Why? Who knows. Evidently Jinks isn’t following the instructions in the book for he somehow summons a blue creature when he tries to get them back. Jerry Eisenberg, being the layout artist, would have designed the dog and horned beast. The dog looks a lot like the huge-jawed one in the Huck cartoon “TV or Not TV,” or perhaps Chopper with different proportions, and the scale-backed creature (with a great voice by Don Messick) could have escaped from a Flintstones episode.

    The credits say Ed Park animated this cartoon and I really can’t say one way or another if that’s right or wrong. But a few weeks back, it was mentioned that John Boersma liked drawing characters with the hand extended flat and the pinkie crooked up. You can see that in this cartoon. Perhaps Boersma did part of the cartoon or it’s a drawing quirk that belonged to more than one H-B animator. The rest of the artwork doesn’t remind me of Boersma.

    There’s brushwork when characters zip out of the frame.

    Do postmen blow whistles any more after they leave mail at a home? Did they ever? It happens to open this cartoon. Jinks’ magic kit has, like, arrived (Mr. Jinks has his very own mailbox, labelled as such). Jinks tells the curious Pixie and Dixie to get back in their “meece-hole” and does a little angry stomp in place when he orders them. “I wonder what’s in that package, Dixie,” says Pixie. Dixie responds “I don’t know. But I’ve got a feeling we’re going to find out. During the scene, Pixie puts his right arm behind his back, making it look like he has only one arm. Oh, well. Not drawing a second arm saved some money.

    Fade to Jinks in the cellar, following the instructions in his do-it-your-self magic kit. He admits to us he only bought it “make those two miserable meeces go into, like, the Twilight Zone.” As Pixie and Dixie listen behind a closed door, Mr. Jinks practises his disappearing trick by twiddling his fingers (“it’s a certain twist of the wrist that does it”) and shouting “Crackey-Sackey-Nackey-Poof!” “I did it! Hurrah! I did it! The apple is gone!” he cries in success. The puzzled meeces look at each other. “The apple is gone?” says Pixie. “That’s not all that’s gone,” Dixie observes. Jinks follows with a song lyric. “I got it! I got that old black magic in my spell!”

    Jinks cons the meeces into taking part in his magic act and he makes them disappear (evidently he brought the magic stand upstairs because the background is a green living room wall, not the reddish confines of the cellar). Jinks nods his head at us in affirmation. But Pixie and Dixie don’t really disappear. They merely get transported to the neighbour’s back yard. Note the downward-pointing fronds on the bush. Art Lozzi at work.

    In “Party Pepper Jinks,” the neighbouring white bulldog who decided to help the meeces get revenge on Jinks was named Rocky. In this one, he’s named Muggs. And, as we’ve mentioned, he concocts a story about Pixie and Dixie being millionaires, so the desperate Jinks tries to bring them back with the magic words “Afraghani Whosistan.” Instead, he makes a snarking monster appear. There’s a really interesting take when it happens. Jinks is suspended in mid-air while he flaps his arms and feet, then crosses his feet. He tries to make it disappear—Daws has a really great delivery when Jinks puts the magic cloth on the creature’s horn and says “Gee, you look better already”—but he’s forgotten the magic words. The meeces can’t help because they’re forgotten the words, too. Instead of grabbing the instruction book and looking them up, Jinks simply runs. And the cartoon ends with another eternal chase, the monster running after Jinks as they pass the same tree eight times before the fade out.

    A side note for you youngsters reading: among the incorrect magic words that Jinks chants are “Ishkabibble” and “Cucamonga.” The former was the nickname of a cornet player and sidekick on Kay Kyser’s radio show. The latter is a town in California popularised on the Jack Benny radio show as part of a list of railroad stops shouted out by train announcer Mel Blanc.

    Hoyt Curtin had a bunch of electric organ cues (someone can tell me if it’s a Wurlitzer or a Hammond) that were plunked down in cartoons around this time. The underscore also has a couple of bridges popularised on “The Flintstones” and “Paddle faster, Hardy!” music closes the cartoon.

    I’m afraid we now bid adieu to Mr. Jinks and the miserable meeces. We’ve reviewed all 55 Pixie and Dixie cartoons.

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    The song says “Yogi Bear is smarter than the average bear.” Sometimes, the song is right. Some good examples can be found in the Yogi newspaper comics published on Sundays 50 years ago this month. And during the first two weeks, we get natives from the Jellystone Reservation who omit verbs when they talk.

    As usual, you can click on each comic to make it bigger.

    January 3rd features a little panel to open the top row for a change. Yogi’s in excellent form in the silhouette panel in the middle row.

    An alarm clock isn’t going to get you across the snow, is it? I don’t understand the logic of the deal in the January 10th comic. Notice how the lead dog is glaring at Yogi in the opening panel. The doggie expressions are good in all the panels, especially the last one; the ring of dogs is a nice idea.
    No one listens to Boo Boo, do they?

    Fine use of perspectives in the final panel of the January 17th comic. Yogi up front confiding in us, the angry animals and the bad guys further behind. It’s my panel pick for the month. The lettering in the first and second panels of the last row is great, too. Yogi doesn’t need a conscience or a ranger in this comic, so they’re both absent.

    January is Polar Bear Swim time, so I imagine that’s what triggered the January 24th comic where the ranger gets outsmarted again (though he likely doesn’t know it, seeing he’s not in the final panel. Ranger Smith is “Joe” again. The “Ranger General” in the top row even has a military general’s stars. I don’t understand why military titles are used by the U.S. Park Service in these Yogi comics. Yogi has only two lines of dialogue, but he rhymes in both of them.

    Yogi packs his own pic-a-nic lunch in the January 31st comic. Shouldn’t he be hibernating? Oh, yeah, there wouldn’t be a comic for about five months if that were the case. Boo Boo comes up with an amazingly obvious observation in the opening panel.

    If you want to get a look at the bottom two rows in colour, pop over to Mark Kausler’s blog. Check out Felix and Krazy Kat while you’re at it.

    Warnning: Do NOT Get Caught While Searching!!
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    Your ISP TRACKS Your Online Activity! Hide your IP ADDRESS with a VPN!
    Before you searching always remember to change your IP adress to not be followed!
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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – John Boersma; 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, Crowd – Daws Butler; Narrator, Loudspeaker Voice, Referee, Mad Barbarian, Lion, Crowd – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Production E-181.
    First Aired: week of February 5, 1962.
    Plot: In ancient Rome, Huck fights the Mad Barbarian.

    Note: The title card is missing a yellow-boxed “Hanna-Barbera” above the title. It was on a separate cel.

    Muttley and Precious Pupp snickered. But they didn’t wear out their welcome by snickering too often during a cartoon. This cartoon doesn’t have a dog (unless you count the humanised Huckleberry Hound) but it does have a Mad Barbarian who chuckles. And chuckles. And chuckles. 12 times in about five minutes. It’s too much. And it spoils the cartoon.

    Tony Benedict follows the 1961 Huck story format. A narrator sets up the cartoon over a pan of a background. Huck and the narrator chat. Huck then takes on another character in a series of spot gags, commenting to us as things go along. This one has the addition of the main story being told in flashback, and then returning to the present at the end. It’s similar to the Yogi Bear cartoon “Hide and Go Peek” (1959), where it turns out a pile of rocks is really a camouflaged elephant. The same sort of thing happens here; Huck is disguised as a statue.

    John Boersma receives the animation credit. I’m still trying to figure out whether he’s the only animator who draws the palm-facing-up, little-finger-pointing-upward, gesture. He uses it in a bunch of cartoons and he uses it in this one as well.

    Here’s Art Lozzi’s background that opens the cartoon. Tony’s story plunks Huck into the days of Ben Hur (from the 1959 movie of the same name).

    Intoning Narrator: Here amid the pomp and splendour of ancient Rome, stood many great monuments to the heroes of the Empire.
    (fade into next background drawing)

    Intoning Narrator: The great Caesar. The brilliant Augustus. And the most famous of all—Ben Huck.

    At this point, Hoyt Curtin’s fan-fare cue is cut off and replaced with a dissonant trumpet making a questioning sound (I can’t explain it, but you’ve heard it on “The Flintstones”). The “statue” says “Howdy, narrator” and kibitzes with the off-screen voice about why he’s “hidin’ out, kinda secret-like.” Then we go into the flashback.

    Huck’s off-key version of Clementine this time ends with the lyrics “And her shoes are triple Ceeeee!”

    The next little bit may be the best part of the cartoon. Huck arrives at the Roman Coliseum (as the background drawing spells it). “And I outta go on inside so’s that everyone can shout and throw me posies and all.” That’s what they do. “And there’s just one thing about this hero business,” Huck tells us, as flowers start to cover him. “You just got ta like posies.” That’s when he’s clocked with a flower pot containing posies. Tony tosses in some sign gags.

    The P.A. announcer/referee now introduces the Mad Barbarian from Gaul (they wear Viking horns in Gaul?) and Ben Huck, from Rome’s East Side. I guess it’s based on New York’s East Side which, judging by the context of the cartoon, must have been a tough place at one time. And, so, the battle is on. I’ll avoid going through all the gags. The inevitable lion shows up (spitting out Huck) and there’s the familiar “tunnel/low bridge” gag where Huck, standing up in a chariot, smashes into the top of the exit because he doesn’t duck.

    The cartoon ends with the cartoon back in the present with Barbarian still stalking Huck, who is above him atop a Doric pillar. “With that old Barbarian around loose,” Huck tells Mr. Narrator, “I might could be here a couple of thousand years. So I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t spread it around.” The iris closes to end the cartoon.

    Odds and ends...

    ● Huck’s vocabulary includes Bugs Bunny’s “stragedy.”
    ● Our hero mangles the language when he remarks about the Barbarian: “He must have a statistic sense of humor.”
    ● Daws doesn’t pronounce the “w” in “sword” like he did in countless cartoons, including at least one of Huck’s.
    ● For a moment, it sounds like Charlie Shows slipped into the writing room, as Huck asks “How about a truce, Bruce?”
    ● Near the end of the flashback, there’s a little bongo sound effect when the Barbarian runs in place before rushing off scene to find Huck.
    ● Hoyt Curtin’s trombone stomp that includes a sampling of “English Country Garden” as well as the minor key variation of the Flintstones’ “Rise and Shine” theme are included on the soundtrack.

    With this post, we’ve reviewed every cartoon that appeared on the Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw series.

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  • 01/07/15--07:06: A Pageant of Daws Butler
  • Could the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio have started out so successfully without Daws Butler?

    Daws was entrusted with almost all of H-B’s starring characters over the first three years of the studio’s life. They couldn’t have been in better hands, er, mouths.

    Daws didn’t do funny voices. He did voices of characters that said funny things. And, arguably, they may not have been funny if they came from the mouths of other actors. With maybe a rare exception, Daws always knew how to read what was put in front of him. And he could augment it to make it even more amusing.

    Hanna-Barbera’s original half-hour syndicated series were instant hits. People started wondering who it was that was playing Huckleberry Hound, or Yogi Bear, or Quick Draw McGraw. Magazines and newspaper wire services started writing about him.

    Here’s a portion of a story which ran in Pageant magazine in 1962. It’s only a portion because it was being sold on eBay, and the seller only posted a portion. But I’m putting it up because this may have been the first time Daws talked about doing the characters. And the article was accompanied by drawings of Daws’ characters, and Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. I’m sorry they’re so fuzzy but that’s the way they came off eBay and as the article was being sold, it’s understandable the scans aren't very high resolution. The Daws drawing doesn’t look all that much like Daws to me, to be honest. If anyone has a complete or better copy of this they have scanned and would like to e-mail me, I’d be happy to receive it and repost so everyone can see it.

    An original script by JANE ARDMORE with animation by BILL HANNA and JOE BARBERA.
    THE MAN who reaches more people than any other star on television is Daws Butler.
    Never heard of him?
    Well, 70 to 80 million people tune in on him weekly. He’s a 45-year-old, small-sized man with a large-sized voice, an expressive face, a puckish sense of humor and a built-in geniality.
    Give up?
    Daws Butler is the man behind the voices of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, and Quick Draw McGraw--three of the drollest cartoon-show heroes America’s ever had.
    “Huck” is a canine Don Quixote; Yogi is a smarter than “av-er-age” bear and the Number One citizen of Jellystone Park; Quick Draw is the slowest horse in the West.
    But these characters do not make up all of Daws Butler’s repertoire: He also dubs the voices of such creatures as Dixie, a precocious “meece”; Mr. Jinx [sic], a “stupidspicious” cat; Baba Looey, Quick Draw’s indispensable side-kick; Super Snooper, a far out feline private eye; and Blabber, his gullible aide, Auggie Doggie, a mischievous pup; Snagglepuss, a flamboyant lion; Hokey Wolf, a fast-dealing wolf; Elroy, boy-of-the-future in the new Jetsons series; and many other incidental cartoon comics in various TV episodes.
    So convincing is Butler in these roles that fan mail pours in to these wacky animals by the thousands. Originally, the parts of Hokey, Snagglepuss, and Yogi were minor until

    Yowp note: at this point, the article likely goes into how Hokey and Snagglepuss ended up with their own series and Yogi got his own show. And it then went into Daws’ childhood in Chicago, his nightclub act there in the 1930s with the Three Short Waves, his military service, his discharge after World War Two and thence his decision to go west and seek work in radio.

    for Hollywood. But it was tough going there in 1945. There were plenty of radio shows on which he would double in brass as a Western Union messenger, a Chinese cook, an aged panhandler, and a nervous newsboy. The tide began to turn with a successful voice-part in a popular children’s show called Time for Beany.
    Then Daws met Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, creators of the Tom and Jerry cartoons for MGM studios.
    The association has proved profitable for all. Aside from Wally Gator, two other new shows already are in the works for local-station viewing: Lippy the Lion and Touché Turtle. And Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear are now being seen in 35 foreign countries dubbed (not by Daws) in French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Japanese. Quick Draw, too, is seen in 14 countries.
    And for Daws Butler? Over the years, he has lost his shyness—and gained a salary reportedly in the over $100,000 a year class.
    As he explains his successful characterizations, “The quickest way to establish a voice is not to just think of how it’ll sound, but what personality it will convey. For Huckleberry, we wanted a comfortable voice. That’s why Joe and Bill sent for me. They remembered a voice I’d used some years before.
    “I love what we finally settled on for Huck’s accent; it’s like music—just right for a character who’s interested in everything, a friendly, unsophisticated homespun character who sees no evil, hears no evil, and is always on the brink of disaster. Let someone try to murder Huck; he’ll just think ‘That fella’s got a right good sense of humor, I guess. Just hope nobody gets hurt.’
    “For Huck, I use close to my own normal voice register, a middle baritone. For Hokey Wolf, on the same show, I switch to an upper baritone—a head tone for a fast-talking operator who dazzles you with his bridgework. Mr. Jinx, also on the same show, calls for my lowest register and not much push. This cat is pretty limited, reminiscent of the sort of actor who enrolls in a New York method school and comes out with the sweat shirt but no talent. And for Dixie, one of the ‘meece’ in the episode, I used my highest tenor—nasal, wistful, and innocent.”
    As he reads the lines, Daws changes physically. His movements, his gestures are totally in character. He feels for each of these animals, and, in the process, some of his own inherent human shyness carries over to endear them to his audience.
    Daws loves comedy, loves music, and often thinks out a characterization while listening to a Bach toccata or fugue. He has a warmth for every character, even for heavies, and as he thinks his lines it’s with—he says—a “smiling feeling.”
    It tickles him that he’s helped contribute something to the relaxation of adults, and, even more, the relaxation of children, whom he feels have been short-changed on the entertainment front. Daws never plays down. He doesn’t have to. Hanna-Barbera cartoons are devised not for children but for people.As Butler puts it, “We can’t stand intelligence not living up to its responsibility.”
    With additional new characters added to his repertoire this fall, Daws will be living up to his responsibility. And he’ll always be looking for the switch. Like Snagglepuss, he begs to differ; he’s a differ-begger.
    Daws Butler hopes to spend the rest of his life being heard and not seen.

    It’s a little sad reading this story to realise that Daws’ starring days, at least when it came to new roles, were in the past. Hanna-Barbera was about to change the face of Saturday morning TV with series after series of first-run, made-for-kids cartoons. Daws Butler didn’t star as Secret Squirrel or Atom Ant. Or even Squiddly Diddley. Or in the super hero/futuristic shows that came along a few years later. Nor he was a lead in Scooby Doo, the studio’s next monster hit. Other than borrowing from himself to play the Funky Phantom, Daws had to be content with revivals of his old characters in reconfigured new series.

    One of the things you’ll come away with reading this article is that Daws Butler was a genuine, friendly, unassuming man. And that’s the impression I get from anybody who knew him. He was generous and helpful. He was a true friend. And through his cartoons and other voice work, I’d like to think that part of him is still with us today.

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    We featured a Daws Butler story on the Yowp blog today while next door at the Tralfaz blog today, a Groucho Marx interview appeared. So, let’s combine the two.

    By a complete and delightful coincidence, the episode where Daws appeared on “You Bet Your Life” has been posted on the internet today. Tune in at around the 8:50 mark. As a bonus, Groucho does all his characters from “The Huckleberry Hound Show.”

    This was broadcast May 26, 1960.

    Since someone will point it out, Groucho’s announcer, George Fenneman, later landed a gig with Hanna-Barbera in 1963, hosting a half-hour special called “Here Comes a Star” that was a plug for the coming Magilla Gorilla show.

    Thanks to Dan Whitworth for spotting this.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Bob Carr; Layout – Ernie Nordli; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Written by Warren Foster; Story Director – Paul Sommer; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Narrator, Boo Boo, Ranger Smith – Don Messick; Yogi Bear, Bruno – Daws Butler; Cindy Bear – Julie Bennett.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1962.
    Plot: Yogi and Bruno battle for the hand of Cindy Bear.

    Yogi Bear
    c/o Jellystone Park, U.S.A.
    January 10, 1962

    Dear Yogi,

    I realise that we battled each other in a few cartoons and you’re now a big star while I’m languishing in animated obscurity. Let’s set that aside. Early Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters have to stick together. I want to give you some friendly advice.

    It’s about Cindy Bear.

    Are you out of your mind, Yogi? Did you scarf down some rotten egg sand-a-wiches from a pic-a-nic basket that rotted your brain? Cindy and her Southern debutante voice may have conned Boo Boo into thinking she’s “nice,” but you’re smarter than the average bear. When are you going to wise up and dump that witch? (Feel free to substitute a word that rhymes with “witch.” Warren Foster tells me you’re good with rhymes).

    She’s a liar—dare I say, a bear-faced liar—and the proof is in your cartoon “A Wooin’ Bruin.” Remember what she told you? “When you’re ready to go steady, just whistle. I’ll come a runnin,’ Yogi.”

    What happened next? Some bear you’d never seen before—one she was seeing behind your back, since she knew the guy—gave her flowers. You whistled. Did she “come a runnin’”? Not a chance. She danced with Bruno instead and didn’t even pay attention to you. Like I said, a lying witch (again, feel free to substitute words).

    And what about the game she played? “Whoever brings Cindy the best present is the winner,” she said. Give me something. Me, me, me. All she cares about is herself. You should have told it to stick it up her I-do-declare. But, no. What’d you do? She turned you into a common thief. Stealing a cake? A TV set? Ranger Smith’s car? Even Mr. Ranger knows you’re “not that kind of bear.” But you became that kind. And for what? For someone who fooled around on you behind your back. Yogi, Yogi, Yogi.

    Yeah, sure, at the end you won the game, used some wrestling moves to vanquish Bruno (who came away from the off-camera fight without even a scratch) and then took Cindy to the Lover’s Leap parking lot. But did you really win, Yogi? What’s to say she won’t bat her eyes at another bear. Maybe she’s juggling around a few already. Does she deserve your trust any more? I do declare she doesn’t.

    And telling Ranger Smith, after he found you inside his car at Lover’s Leap, that you deserve to punished? Where was Cindy to explain things so you didn’t get into trouble? She sure vanished, didn’t she (you’ll notice that you can see her in the car in one drawing but not in the next one for some reason)? Take a hint from “Lover’s Leap” and tell her to jump—if she really loves you. Watch her backtrack. She’s just using you for a role in that big picture of yours that’ll come out in 1964: “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear.” Even Huckleberry Hound is talking about it, and you know he never says anything bad about anyone.

    For your own sake, Yogi, give your love to a pic-a-nic basket, not that two-timing Cindy. Has a pic-a-nic basket ever resisted your charms? Never. Or love the beautiful scenery of Jellystone Park as rendered by Art Lozzi in the opening of “A Wooin’ Bruin.” Art’s great.

    By the way, did you really have to say: “...any bear that picks wild flowers is a little too tra-la-la for me.” Snagglepuss talked to me about that. He knows about that tra-la-la stuff, you know. He says the next time you see Cindy, take it on the lam. A lamb sandwich with fresh mint sauce, even.

    Take my advice, Yogi. Drop the fickle female. And if you have room for me in another cartoon, call right away.

    Your pal,

    P.S.: Yowp! Yowp!

    0 0

    What’s with the snakes? Several appearances by a snake highlight the Flintstones daily comics from 50 years ago this month, starting Monday, January 4th. Pebbles keeps bugging Dino, and there’s a Bamm-Bamm appearance. Barney only shows up once and there’s no Betty. And no Baby Puss. But plenty of snow.

    Click on each week to read it. The January 6, 1965 “La-La” panel is my favourite.

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