Articles on this Page
- 01/17/15--07:32: _Pixie and Dixie — H...
- 01/21/15--07:05: _Why Did “The Jetson...
- 01/24/15--06:52: _Lion-Hearted Huck B...
- 01/30/15--04:59: _Can a Show Compare ...
- 01/31/15--07:07: _Yogi Bear — Batty Bear
- 02/04/15--06:37: _A Slice of the Life...
- 02/05/15--07:07: _Yogi Bear Weekend C...
- 02/07/15--07:01: _Run, Pixie, Run!
- 02/09/15--07:05: _The Iwao Book, Livi...
- 02/11/15--06:57: _Bill Schipek
- 02/14/15--07:08: _The Huck's Hack Comic
- 02/15/15--06:47: _He's Insegrevious
- 02/16/15--07:04: _Flintstones Comics,...
- 02/18/15--07:16: _Let’s Start a Carto...
- 02/21/15--06:53: _Yogi Bear — Threadb...
- 02/25/15--07:06: _H-B Odds and Sods
- 02/26/15--07:04: _Hey There, It's Mel...
- 02/28/15--07:28: _Pixie and Dixie's U...
- 03/02/15--07:11: _Yogi Bear Comics, M...
- 03/04/15--07:12: _They Sang For Fred ...
- 01/17/15--07:32: Pixie and Dixie — Home Flea Storyboard
- 01/21/15--07:05: Why Did “The Jetsons” Fail?
- 01/24/15--06:52: Lion-Hearted Huck Backgrounds
- 01/30/15--04:59: Can a Show Compare to Yogi Bear? Hey, Hey, Hey!
- 01/31/15--07:07: Yogi Bear — Batty Bear
- 02/04/15--06:37: A Slice of the Life of Janet Waldo
- 02/05/15--07:07: Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, February 1965
- 02/07/15--07:01: Run, Pixie, Run!
- 02/09/15--07:05: The Iwao Book, Living With A Legend
- 02/11/15--06:57: Bill Schipek
- 02/14/15--07:08: The Huck's Hack Comic
- 02/15/15--06:47: He's Insegrevious
- 02/16/15--07:04: Flintstones Comics, February 1965
- 02/18/15--07:16: Let’s Start a Cartoon Studio
- 02/21/15--06:53: Yogi Bear — Threadbare Bear
- 02/25/15--07:06: H-B Odds and Sods
- 02/26/15--07:04: Hey There, It's Mel Crawford
- 02/28/15--07:28: Pixie and Dixie's Unmade Uncle Egghead
- 03/02/15--07:11: Yogi Bear Comics, March 1965
- 03/04/15--07:12: They Sang For Fred Flintstone
“Home Flea” was one of the last Pixie and Dixie cartoons put into production for the 1961-62 season. It underwent a few changes from conception to finished cartoon. For one thing, it was originally titled “Mitey Mite.” But there had already been a Pixie and Dixie cartoon called “Mighty Mite” two seasons earlier, so it would appear a name change was in order. It’s not a very strong (pardon the pun) cartoon and even the play on the term “home free” is pretty weak.
Reader Adel Khan, who’s responsible for finding excellent copies of Pixie and Dixie and Huckleberry Hound cartoons that we’ve used on the blog, pointed out the complete storyboard for “Home Flea” is for sale on eBay, with scans of all the story panels. The story was by Warren Foster, though I don’t think he drew this board. There are instructions to the layout man who, in this cartoon, was Jim Carmichael. Judging by the writing, I believe the first note to Carmichael was added by Joe Barbera.
It’s a shame the scans are, for the most part, pretty small, because it’s tough to impossible to read some of the instructions on the board. For example, on the top of the first sheet is the notation to Carmichael “We have flea model change enuf [?] to give strong man appearance.” And, indeed, the cartoon doesn’t have the rotund, bulbous-nosed flea you see in the story. Compare the frame above to what you see in panel 7, which is the corresponding one in the story.
Even though they’re only sketches, I like Jinks’ expressions. In the cartoon, John Boersma draws the cat with the eyelids partly closed; some of the story drawings has taken fully open and bigger. And, as per the instructions on the board, the water dish was eliminated for the cartoon.
The cartoon follows what you see on the story panels. Daws Butler changes a few words here and there. And the sound effect instruction about the taut wire is what you hear on the audio track.
Whoever put up these boards on eBay was nice enough to have the last four sets of panels posted individually so we can get a much better look at them. Barbera’s instruction in panel 111 “Cut to eliminate hole” wasn’t followed when the cartoon was shot. I asked Tony Benedict about some of the instructions. His notes:
● Panel 109 probably "one second" refers to a hold after dialogue and before cut.
● Panel 114"six seconds" most likely refers to the length of the dialogue plus action. Timing notes may have been added to the board after recording.
● Panel 116 NS may be referring to North South action achieved by alternating top and bottom pegs for camera jar effect. LS may refer to longer shot. Scratched out note on panel 116 refers to "longer shot."
Here we end the cartoon. The shots from 137 to the end aren’t as tight as indicated in the inset boxes. And Boersma or Carmichael have changed Jinks’ position from what you see in panels 120 and 126.
If you want to try a little exercise in voice acting, play the cartoon in the background and read Mitey Mite’s dialogue from the panels. You’ll quickly notice how Don Messick’s delivery is slow and expressive, far more so than a regular conversation.
My thanks to Adel for finding this storyboard.
It seems odd calling the show a failure. New episodes were made in the ‘80s. There was an animated feature film. And it’s still part of the popular culture for people of certain ages. References to the show, although clichéd by now, crop up in news stories about flying cars or labour-saving technology of the future.
But it was a failure in one aspect. George, Jane, Judy, Elroy et al only lasted a season in prime time before becoming nostalgia fodder through season after season of Saturday morning reruns. So that brings us back to why. It could have been because three family shows were battling for the 7:30 p.m. Sunday time slot (Disney’s “Wonderful World of Color” on NBC easily won the ratings war, knocking CBS’ “Dennis the Menace” out of prime time and into Saturday reruns along with the “The Jetsons”). It could have been because the prime-time cartoon craze had passed (even “The Flintstones” fell from 23rd to 30th). It could have been economics, specifically ABC guaranteeing co-sponsors American Home and Colgate-Palmolive (and later Minnesota Mining and Dow Chemical) a minimum number of adult viewers for a specified number of dollars. Or it could have been viewers thought it was an inverse of “The Flintstones” and one Flintstones was enough for them (the theory expounded by Television magazine in its April 1963 issue). Whatever the reason, Broadcasting magazine reported on April 1, 1963 that “The Jetsons” were moving to kid-friendly rerun time. Marx Toys, which began making licensed Rosey the Robot toys even before the show began airing, bought the time. (As a side note, Television reported in its July 1963 edition “The Jetsons” was consistently in the top five in Japan).
There were high hopes in TV Land for the show. Here’s a syndicated column picked out of a newspaper of September 5, 1962.
New Cartoon Series Set By ABC
By CHARLES WlTBECK
HOLLYWOOD - The big duds last season were the animated cartoon series. This fall only one new one sneaks in, “The Jetsons” beginning Sunday, Sept. 23 on ABC. Are the grownups going to push the kids aside to watch "The Jetsons," a family who live in the next century? Of course, Hanna and Barbers, producers of "Huckleberry Hound" and "The Flintstones," hope the little darlings will dial in "The Jetsons" to see how life is 100 years from now and kindly include their parents.
This could happen because "The Jetsons" may attract would-be inventors and dreamers. The show is going to be full of mechanical gadgets that we don't have around yet. The writers are sitting up all night playing Thomas Edison. What will be possible in 2062?
Push Button Dominates
The dominating influence will, of course, be the push button. There'll even be push buttons exercises for weak fingers. Maybe the forefinger will double in size. For instance. Jane Jetson pushes buttons for food, reading and transportation. When she sends Elroy, age 8, to school she merely pushes the button labelled grammar school, and off he goes down the chute of the Sky Pad Apartment. If it's raining she'll spray a raincoat on the boy. If she pushes the wrong button for him, Elroy will soon return, marked Reject.
The Sky Pad Apartments are equipped with "high level, adjustable living." The Jetsons can adjust their apartment at any level and can even rise above the log or smog. The showers are like our car wash establishments.
Father Jetson will step on a slidewalk moving into a shower. Then he'll enter a dry spin and end up in the talcum and finishing touch area. If he feels tired at the end of a day, he'll take a "husband pacifier." Soft music is heard, cocktails are whipped out and the man is soothed by gentle murmurs.
When George Jetson wants entertainment he'll attend a football game where the players are robots who come apart at the seams with a jarring tackle. The coach merely pushes buttons and in rush Sullivan and Wojahowski, fighting robots to the bitter end.
The idea with "The Jetsons" is to have reasonable inventions that could come from our present culture.
Dress Try-on Trick
Designers have already made dresses of paper that can be worn once and thrown away. That will be old hat in the future. In this series Jane Jetson will go shopping, but instead of trying on dresses, she'll merely take one to a mirror that will show how she looks in the dress. The telephone will have a TV screen so Jane Jetson can put on a "morning mask" If she doesn't want to be seen without her makeup on.
While the gadgets will be the come-on, the family will still be the endearing factor. They have real hearts and they don't eat pills instead of food. George Jetson it hard working and lovable, especially by his big dog Astro who has his own way of talking and always sits next to George.
Then there's wife, Jane, 33, a little homemaker, always pushing buttons and always talking to her mother. Judy, 15, and Elroy, 8, round out this All-American family of the future.
One thing hasn't changed—the humor. Evidently it's the same 100 years from now. No one's figured out what the gang will laugh at then.
Daily Variety liked “The Jetsons,” too. Here’s Helm’s review from the edition of September 25, 1962. ABC fed the show in colour to all owned and operated stations as well as any affiliates that wanted a colourcast. The network ate the A.T. and T. colour charge.
THE JETSONS (Rosey The Robot)
Sun., 7:30 p.m., KABC-TV (Reviewed In Color)
Filmed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
It's one of the rarities of television that a producing studio, using the same formula, can follow one hit with another. More to the credit of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera that it's a cartoon. Many another tried to capitalize on the popularity of H&B's “Flintstones” but none achieved its high estate. By the simple device of looking ahead with “The Jetsons” whereas “Flinty” looks back into the Stone Age, they achieved a new delight for the young 'uns and plenty of looking over their shoulders in this early evening fun show for the tyke monopoly on the home sets. Into the Space Age a few hundred years hence are propelled the Jetsons, whose family life is so simplified that the press of a button can do a thousand chores. When the whatchamacallit goes on the blink a maid is hired and Rosey the Robot directs traffic when the boss is invited to dinner. Every gimmick to imply speed and the easy life is employed with hilarious effect. For a color cast on ABC-TV for its own and other equipped stations, it was a huge success. The tint was clear and inviting and a big plus for sales of color sets. Voices of the characters, many doubling from “Flintstones,” were perfectly matched and the animation finely drawn. Helm.
One thing that dawned on me reading these two pieces is that there’s more talk about gadgets than characters and that may have been another reason the show didn’t work in prime time. TV was moving to more outrageous lead characters—hillbillies, talking horses, witches and so on. George Jetson wasn’t over-the-top. He wasn’t supposed to be. The idea behind the show was to put a stereotypical ‘50s dad and his family in a time that ‘50s science and technology magazines thought the future would be like. With a humorous twist.
Whatever the reason, the prime time failure of “The Jetsons” worked to its advantage. Moving to Saturday mornings put it squarely within reach of the show’s main demographic. Kids liked it and watched the same episodes over and over, just like they did the same Bugs Bunny and Popeye cartoons during the weekday. “The Jetsons” just kept rolling along, attracting three generations of kids. I’m sure it’s the kind of failure most cartoon producers would like to have.
Fernando Montealegre was one of a number of MGM émigrés to the new Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio in 1957; he had received credits for background art in the Droopy cartoons directed by Mike Lah during Metro’s last days.
His name appears frequently on “The Huckleberry Hound Show” in 1958 but seems to show up less often in 1959 when the studio put “The Quick Draw McGraw Show” into production (it was still working on a reduced number of Hucks and Ruff and Reddys).
One of his cartoons was “Lion-Hearted Huck,” which aired the week of October 6, 1958. There are only ten backgrounds in the whole cartoon. The one seen most often is this junglescape.
This is one of those famous Hanna-Barbera repeating backgrounds. During the opening narration, Huck drives past that dark tree seven times before director Joe Barbera cuts to a close-up shot. You probably know how this works. That dark tree is at both ends of the drawing. The background moves and when the cameraman gets to one end of the drawing, he moves it back to the other end. The trees are supposed to match so the drawing looks seamless. In the early cartoons, things didn’t always match up exactly but viewers didn’t notice. Look at these two consecutive frames. See how the lines on the dark tree aren’t the same? This is where the background drawing is moved back.
Here are some more of Monty’s backgrounds.
From the opening of the cartoon.
This is the TV set where a little monkey monitors big-game hunter Huck driving in his jeep. It was designed by Dick Bickenbach, who laid out the cartoon.
These two feature cel overlays. The second one is a little more obvious. The first drawing is used when the monkey runs into the tree, the second when Le Roy the lion reaches for a phone inside the tree.
Here’s another jungle background; the blue rock on the right is on an overlay, as is the square patch of dirt. There’s a pan from one to the other but I couldn’t get the colours to match to recreate the full drawing, so you’ll have to settle for both ends.
This is a pretty typical Huck cartoon. He gets smashed and even chomped by a huge trap but thinks it’s all kind of funny. He doesn’t get his lion, though. One of Le Roy’s pranks backfires and the cartoon ends with the lion in the sky, screaming for help.
When we reviewed this cartoon ages ago, the stock music cues were enumerated but we didn’t have links to them available then. So let’s provide them now. Most of the music is by Jack Shaindlin. A hunt for a copy of ‘On The Run’ has been fruitless (the late Earl Kress made a concerted effort to find it but could not. Apparently the current rights holders don’t even have it). Spencer Moore’s ‘Animation Comedy’ consists of little bassoon parts that could be used as production elements.
0:00 - Huck sub-main title Dixieland theme (Hoyt Curtin).
0:26 - ZR-49 LIGHT EERIE (Geordie Hormel) - Monkey warns lion that Huck is looking for game.
2:01 - LAF-1-1 FISHY STORY (Shaindlin) - Huck follows tracks, chases lion into cave, digs hole.
4:00 - L-1158 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) - Lion starts bulldozer.
4:06 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) - Lion covers hole, snares Huck, tosses tacks in path of Huck’s jeep.
5:13 - LAF-21-3 RECESS (Shaindlin) - Lion jacks up jeep, Huck caught in trap, lion steals motor.
6:48 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) - Lion rides motor in sky.
7:12 - Huck sub-end title Dixieland theme (Curtin).
TV critics loved Yogi Bear twice. They fawned with delight when he debuted on “The Huckleberry Hound Show” in 1958 and then again when he got his own show in 1961.
Today marks 54 years since “The Yogi Bear Show” first appeared on TV (WPIX New York was among the stations which broadcast it on Monday, January 30, 1961).
The Yogi show came about because a deal fell apart between UPA and ad agency Leo Burnett over a half-hour syndicated Mr. Magoo show to be sponsored in the early evening hours by Kellogg’s. The cereal maker quickly turned to two guys named Bill and Joe, and trade papers announced in October 1960 that Yogi would be filling the time instead. That gave Hanna-Barbera roughly 3 1/2 months to write, draw and shoot secondary cartoons to put in the two non-Yogi slots on the show, and the studio assigned to Mike Maltese to bang out some stories (Tony Benedict eventually replaced Maltese on one series). But time ran out so, for the first while, not all of Yogi’s advertised stable-mates (Yakky Doodle and Snagglepuss) appeared on the first few Yogi shows (similarly, Yogi remained on the Huck show for a time after his own show’s debut because the Hokey Wolf cartoons apparently weren’t ready to replace him).
Here’s Variety’s review of the Yogi premiere, published in the daily edition on February 3, 1961 and the weekly edition on February 15th by the pseudonymous “Tube.”
YOGI BEARIf you own the DVD of “The Yogi Bear Show,” you’ll notice something is amiss. The DVD has something billed “the original pilot episode,” but that doesn’t appear to be the case. For one thing, no Augie cartoon is included on the DVD. For another, the animation credits in Variety include Brad Case and La Verne Harding. Neither are credited on any cartoons in the DVD “pilot” and Case’s name isn’t mentioned in the credits at all. Neither is Doug Young’s, while the DVD end credits show Vance Colvig and Jimmy Weldon even though Yakky wasn’t, according to Variety, on the debut show. The DVD appears to be using closing animation with gang credits made some time later.
KTTV, Los Angeles (film)
Producer: Hanna-Barbera Productions; Production Supervisor: Howard Hanson; Animators: Lew Marshall, Laverne Harding, Brad Case; Voices: Daws Butler, Don Messick, Doug Young; Writers: Warren Foster, Mike Maltese; Distributor: Screen Gems; 30 Mins.; Thurs., 7 p. m.
Funniest and most inspired of all the charming, contagious Bill Hanna-Joe Barbera cartoon characters is Yogi Bear, lovable veteran of H-B's “Huck Hound” series hereby elevated to star status. Enormously popular in support, he should be an even bigger favorite in his new prestige category. The beauty of “Yogi,” as well as most of the other H-B creations, is that he can be appreciated wholeheartedly by adults as well as children. In the world of animated animals, he has no peer.
Animators on this premiere were Lew Marshall, Laverne Harding and Brad Case. First-rate character voicing is by Daws Butler, Don Messick and Doug Young. Music is incorporated with taste and sense by Hanna and Hoyt Curtin. Production supervisor is Howard Hanson. Series should be a winner for sponsor Kellogg's and is, of course, a merchandiser's delight. Tube
So what cartoons were on that first show? To add to the confusion, there’s this favourable review from Harry Harris’ column in the Philadelphia Inquirer of February 14, 1961. Yogi debuted a week later in Philadelphia than in other parts of the U.S.
ANTI-MONOPOLY probers—and the Society for the Prevention of Unemployment for Human Actors—might take a look at Friday nights, wheret the Hanna-Barbera cartoon factory has staked out claims on three—count 'em—three time slots.So now Snagglepuss is missing, but Snooper and Blabber appear. My only thought is the Philadelphia station, since it started a week late, debuted with the second Yogi show sent to stations. We do know the cartoons in the third (February 13th onward) and fourth (February 20th onward) weeks of the show. The third week featured Yogi, Snagglepuss and Augie while the fourth aired Yogi, Yakky and Snooper cartoons. So it appears there was a bit of a rotation until enough Snagglepuss and Yakky cartoons were available (which was no later than the week of April 17, 1961).
There's "Quick Draw McGraw" on Channel 6 at 7:30, "The Flintstones" on the same station at 8:30 and, as of last week, "Yogi Bear" on Channel 3 at 7.
Don't get us wrong. We don't begrudge Yogi, the picnic basket-swiping Scourge of Jellystone Park a show of his own. He’s far and away one of the most ingratiating performers on TV today, and such fun-making talent should be encouraged and rewarded. But isn’t three pen-and-ink entries from the same shop on the same night a little too much, fellows?
Besides, it’s a long time between laughs from Tuesdays at 7:30 when their stablemate, “Huckleberry Hound,” cavorts on Channel 10. Why not spread the jollity? And jollity is what the new “Yogi Bear” program dispenses. In addition to the adventures of Yogi and his sidekick, Booboo, there will be segments about Yakky Doodle, a trusting little duck, and his dog pal Chopper, and about Snagglepuss, a Bert Lahr-like lion.
On last week’s premiere, Snagglepuss’s segment was pre-empted for a “Snooper and Blabber” episode, in which the mouse sleuth, subbing for TV hero Capt. Zoom-Zoom, halted a “human fly burglar” seeking to steal the Paskoonyak sapphire first by squeaking “Stop in the name of Channel 32,” and then by wielding a huge fly swatter.
Such antic are a darn sight more imaginative than what’s being dished up in TV’s people-only situation comedies—and a darn sight funnier.
Well, enough of the confusing cartoon historical archaeology. Yogi may not be getting the 1961 kind of exposure he had on TV every week or on cereal boxes, but no one can claim he’s not popular today. Do a search of Twitter and you’ll find references, albeit rather unorthodox ones, to the character’s name (why do people name pet dogs after a bear?). Do a search of news sites and his name pops up, too, usually in stories involving rogue bears stealing food in residential areas. A Yogi Bear balloon was part of the Hollywood Christmas Parade. A recent limited edition print of Yogi and denizens of Jellystone Park by Andrew Kolb sold out. Smokey and Paddington may disagree, but it couldn’t have happened to a nicer bear.
Credits: Animation – Bob Bentley, Layout – Ernie Nordli, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Bat Guy, White Hat Tourist – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Announcer – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Yogi dresses as Bat Guy to steal picnic baskets.
Want to see a cartoon with what became the quintessential Yogi Bear plot? This is it. Yogi tries to steal picnic baskets and Ranger Smith tries to stop him. The sceptical ranger disbelieves calls reporting the thefts until he sees something for himself. The gimmick this time is Warren Foster has dressed it up in TV kids show super hero garb, a plot device not unknown at Hanna-Barbera.
The cartoon has its moments. Bat Guy addresses his fickle young TV viewers:
Yogi’s outfit arrives in the mail.
Yogi: It fits, Boo Boo. How do I look?
Boo Boo: With that mask on, Yogi, you look like a fat raccoon.
Yogi lets the comment slide. Not even an annoyed reaction take. Too bad.
Once airborne like a bat, Yogi flies toward the picnic area.
Yogi: The batty bear moves in on his prey. Hey, hey, hey!
Boo Boo (to himself): “Batty bear” is right.
Boo Boo doesn’t make observations very often, but they’re funny when he does. Mike Maltese always had Blabber or Baba Looey make comments about the starring character to the camera but the tone was kind of bemused. Foster uses a different attitude. Boo Boo’s making a verbal eye roll at Yogi, essentially saying “Yogi’s being an idiot again.” When he was at his best, Foster’s writing at Hanna-Barbera strikes me as more cynical than Maltese’s, who was quite content with oddball wordplay instead. As a side note, Don Messick turns in another fine performance. His read of Boo Boo’s line here couldn’t be better, and I love his vocal attitude change when Ranger Smith becomes clearly annoyed at getting a phoned complaint about a flying bear (“Gonna stick with it, eh?”).
Art Lozzi is the background artist. Here’s his Jellystone background used in a number of scenes, with rocks on an overlay.
More Lozzi. The vines over the cave entrance are a nice touch. And we all missed those colours in the shot of the bluff when watching this in 1961.
Ernie Nordli, who did some wonderful work for Chuck Jones at Warners, laid out the cartoon. My favourite layout is the scene from Yogi’s perspective looking down at Boo Boo on the bluff. Yogi, in shadow, crosses the screen. I wish the studio did this kind of thing more often instead of treating the action as an audience watching a stage with characters moving horizontally. A nice setting by Lozzi, too.
Yogi and Boo Boo have rounded jaws in profile. Bob Bentley is the animator.
Back to the plot. It’s a draw. Yogi agrees to give back the picnic baskets he stole if Ranger Smith doesn’t write a report about what he did. The tag scene has Ranger Smith trying on the Bat Guy suit to see if he can fly because of the “strong up-draught” at Lover’s Leap. It doesn’t work. Smith crashes to the sound effect of a ratting garbage can. Bentley gives us teeth.
“That Lover’s Leap is mighty steep. Nyea-hey-hey!” Yogi rhymes to end the cartoon. The solo trumpet cue accompanying it doesn’t really work me; I’d expect something with a positive, major chord to finish things off. I’m not crazy about the “March of the Duplicate Fred Flintstones” cue used when Ranger Smith’s on the phone. I mentioned earlier the ranger’s mood changes; the mood of the music doesn’t change to match it. A hazard of using a cue library.
I’ve avoided a comparison to Batman in this review. There really isn’t one. Foster’s story owes something to Superman (Batman didn’t fly, did he?), but it’s more inspired by the 1940s radio and TV late afternoon kid shows where the main character would hawk premiums. The mention of box tops is more a cultural reference, and a brief one, than a parody. Mustn’t upset that nice sponsor Kellogg or its ad agency. The Jay Ward studio, with its counterfeit box top plot-line on “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” learned that the hard way.
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It’s perhaps a little odd that Janet Waldo is celebrating a birthday today because she really is ageless. She sounds no different in the last interview I heard her give than she did when she was enthusiastically squealing to radio audiences as Corliss Archer back in the 1940s.
Janet, as I don’t need to tell you, is the voice of Judy Jetson. But she was a star on the air long before that as Corliss, and appeared in a supporting role on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” My favourite story surrounding her gig on that show comes from the Radio and Television Mirror of July 1950:
While Ozzie claims he is the world's worst business man, there are those who will argue the question — among them Bing Crosby.Janet’s connection with Bing went back long before that. Crosby is credited with discovering her as a university co-ed in Seattle and bringing her to Paramount in January 1938. She seems to have done more photo shoots like the one you see to the right (from 1938) than movies, but she worked for a couple of studios before jumping full-time into radio.
When Ozzie gave Janet Waldo permission to appear on the Crosby show, he cautioned her about the squeal she has made so popular on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.
"I don't know if they want you to squeal," Ozzie said, "but if they do, just be sure that they call you Emmy Lou."
Sure enough, Janet did squeal on the Crosby show. And in the signoff, Bing acknowledged his debt to Ozzie.
"The squeal by Janet Waldo," the groaner announced, "was heard through the courtesy of Ozzie Nelson."
Janet appeared on camera when network TV rolled around (though she passed on playing Corliss on the tube) and was given a co-starring shot after her time on “The Jetsons” on the series “Valentine’s Day.” Here’s a syndicated column from July 14, 1964 talking about it. The picture of her with the Laura Petrie hair accompanied the article.
Janet Waldo, Franciosa Team Up
By HARVEY PACK
NEW YORK — Janet Waldo, who will play Tony Franciosa's secretary on ABC's new Friday night series "Valentine's Day," is a veteran radio actress who, in spite of being the mother of two children, 12 and 8, hardly looks old enough to have owned a radio set.
Born in Grandview, Washington and reared in Seattle, Janet and her mother descended on Hollywood after Janet had scored in local high school shows and wanted a theatrical career. Almost immediately she was signed to play the role of "Corliss Archer," a precocious teen-ager originally created by F. Hugh Herbert for his play "Kiss and Tell". Janet was Corliss until she was in the sixth month of pregnancy at which time little Corliss took a maternity leave.
Janet, who looks like Donna Reed would look if she didn't spend so much time at the hairdressers, was not limited to the part of Corliss and she filled her time and bankbook by appearing on virtually every radio show in Hollywood. In March, 1949 she married writer Robert E. Lee and since then she has been a wife, mother, actress and confidant for the famous writing team of Lawrence and Lee, authors of such hits as "Inherit the Wind" and the stage version of "Auntie Mame".
She and Bob live in the San Fernando Valley (by choice, explained Janet, since her playwright husband can live on either coast) surrounded by many showbusiness neighbors including Shirley MacLaine, Steve Allen, Gale Storm and, most important of all, producer-director Hal Hanter of "Valentine's Day."
Food The Attraction
Although fans may not have noticed it, Janet Waldo has grown up on the air with the Nelson family right along with David and Ricky. Years ago, she played teen-ager Emmy Lou on the Nelson's radio show and on TV she has had the running role of Janet. Naturally, she and Bob are quite friendly with the Nelson clan.
Since she's not desperate for the money and her whole life is not wrapped up in her acting career, Janet picks and chooses her spots always with an eye for how much time it will mean away from Bob and the children. She does a lot of voices for cartoons and commercials and one of her favorites was Judy Jetson on ABC's "The Jetsons". Recently she did a sexy voice on a commercial and her words were joined up with a luscious former Playmate on the final film. "I had to see what the girl looked like," said Janet. "So I went out and bought the magazine where she was in the centerfold. Wow! And to think she needed my voice."
For Tony Franciosa, who used to be married to Shelley Winters, working with a girl like Janet Waldo should be a nice change of pace.
You have to chuckle at the reference to Janet doing the voice for a Playboy centrefold? Look at the photo to your right. It’s a publicity shot of Janet from 1943. Need I say more?
Needless to say, “Valentine’s Day” flopped. But Janet Waldo is no worse for it. When you think of her on camera, you likely think of her guest appearance on the top TV show of its day (and can likely quote the instructional line from Ricky Ricardo to Peggy about jiggling). She’ll always be eep-orping Judy Jetson to a few generations. And, best of all, she comes across in interviews as a genuine and happy person, unaffected by the problems that show biz fame can bring. She deserves a happy birthday today. I suspect she’ll have many more. She’s ageless, you know.
A guest appearance by Quick Draw McGraw highlights the Yogi Bear Sunday comics from 50 years ago this month.
I’ve come to the conclusion I’m in the minority. I like it when one of the Kellogg’s gang drops in once in a while on another one of the Kellogg’s gang; it probably stems from watching the shows years ago and all the Quick Draw characters would interact between the cartoons. And it’s okay for Huckleberry Hound to periodically meet with, say, Augie Doggie. I’ll even accept Top Cat; the designs have a similarity so aesthetically, it doesn’t look odd. But I’m not a fan of piles of characters constantly mingling with each other, merely for the artificial reason they’re made by the same studio. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up with Ark Larks and Galaxy Goof-ups and that sort of thing. But I don’t see why, say, Speed Buggy has any business being driven by the Hillbilly Bears in a race with the Jetson’s space car. But today you have a DC “Universe” and a Marvel “Universe,” so I guess fans want a Hanna-Barbera “Universe.” Count me as old-fashioned. I enjoy guest shots (when they make sense), but that’s about as far as I’ll go.
(I write this knowing full well there’s a guest contingent in March 1965)
So, let’s get to the comics. This post was written several months ago so I am assuming Mark Kausler has taken the time to post full-colour versions of these (bottom two rows only) from his childhood collection. Please see them HERE. You’ll appreciate the artwork more when you can see it better than you can here.
Overly cute kid? Endless rhymes? Talk like a stereotype? You betch-um, heap-big reader. It’s all here in the February 7th comic. I do like the fact the chief is watching a TV western.
Admirably designed merry-go-round in the February 14th comic. The refreshment stand sign in the opening panel is great; I’ll bet it looks better in full colour. This is Ranger Smith’s only appearance of the month. Kids missed it if their local paper only ran the bottom two rows (like the majority did, it seems). Does anyone think George has Daws Butler’s Henry Orbit voice?
Quick Draw appears in the February 21st comic. Somehow, I can picture the old western town with false-front stores not being far from Jellystone; I’m sure you can find the same sort of old town/park pairings in Colorado, Wyoming or even eastern British Columbia. Last week, there were a bunch of incidental characters. This week, only the two main characters. A couple of silhouette panels. Nice lettering as Quick Draw fires.
Boo Boo’s only appearance is on February 28th, along with atypical cutesy little animals. The van’s drawn at several different angles. It’s a modern looking vehicle, just like Quick Draw’s jeep the week before. The park drawings are very nice, especially the opening panel with its different depths. I wonder how Charlie Crow is going to pay for the gas. The park drawings are very nice. There’s actually a line where Yogi doesn’t rhyme.
Click on any comic to make it larger.
Hanna-Barbera didn’t invent the idea of characters running past the same window or houses or grove of trees over and over again, but it happened so often in the studio’s cartoons that even kids noticed. I don’t know whether it happened more often in Pixie and Dixie cartoons than others, but since chasing was part-and-parcel of the plot, it seemed like the meeces and Jinks legged it out past the same repeating objects more often than, say, Huck.
For those of you who like endless cycles, we’ve created a couple from “Jinks’ Flying Carpet,” an undistinguished cartoon from 1958.
Ken Muse was the animator. He came up with a couple of run cycles for Pixie and Dixie. One has four drawings, the other has six. I presume Bill Hanna indicated on the exposure sheet he wanted the runs done differently for timing purposes. Muse gets a bit of the break as the second run is used again. Pixie and Dixie run in the opposite direction, so the cels would have been painted on the opposite side.
Here are the positions Muse used for the four-drawing run early in the cartoon. The meece push off with their left heel and bring their left knee up.
And here are the positions Muse used for a later, more urgent run. Note the brush work around the legs.
Hanna timed the first scene so that the background would repeat after 16 drawings, or one foot of film. That means the run cycle was used three times before we got to see Pixie and Dixie run past the same curtains and window. In the cartoon, they go past the curtains four times, turn their heads (on a separate cel), run past the curtains again before Muse changes the drawings. Here is the run cycle slowed down to a healthy trot.
Jinks, on the titular flying carpet, chases after the meece. Again, Muse has two different cycles. The first has the back part of the carpet and Jinks’ tail animated while the rest of the cat’s body and the front end of the carpet are on a separate cel. The second has both ends of the carpet changing positions. In the first cycle, Jinks is flying past a set of double doors and it, again, takes 16 drawings before the background repeats. The cycle has four drawings, but shot on twos, so the cycle repeats after eight frames. Here are the drawings. The movement is pretty subtle.
When the scene is shot, you see the gentle movement of the carpet and tail. Here’s Jinks in an endless flying cycle.
Before we run (and not in a cycle), let me post some more of Muse’s work. Here’s Jinks getting up and running out of the scene. I’ve skipped some drawings but the first three are consecutive. Later cartoons would simply have brush lines as a character zoomed away, not what Muse did here.
Here’s an evil Jinks expression, with large pupils and thick eyebrows. I believe Muse drew the same sort of thing in another first-season cartoon but I can’t remember which one. This cartoon may have been lacklustre but there’s always something worth looking at.
If I had to pick my favourite character designer at Hanna-Barbera, it’d be no contest. This blog is devoted to the studio’s earliest cartoons, all of which were brightened by the hand and imagination of designer Ed Benedict. He’s responsible for Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Ruff and Reddy, Quick Draw McGraw, the Flintstones and the Rubbles and a bunch of alley cats (Top and otherwise). Rarely did he get screen credit at the time except for whenever he drew layouts. Benedict’s designs were, as someone put it to me, “made workable” for the animators by Dick Bickenbach, who put them on model sheets.
My bias toward Benedict and Bick doesn’t mean I don’t recognise the enormous contributions to the studio by Iwao Takamoto. Iwao arrived at H-B in 1961 and pretty soon made his mark. He designed Astro on “The Jetsons.” He’s responsible for a bunch of characters in the studio’s first feature “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear,” including a dog shaped like a canister-style vacuum cleaner that was named Mugger and later found life as Muttley. He came up with Dick Dastardly and Penelope Pitstop. Then there was a Great Dane...Scooby something-or-other. We’ll leave the list right there, but it’s a lengthy one.
Iwao co-wrote a great book (with Mike Mallory), published in 2009, about his life and his career at Hanna-Barbera. Some time ago, his step-daughter, Leslie E. Stern, mentioned to me she was going to write a book about Iwao. It’s been available for some time but, somehow, I missed a chance to tell you about it.
I can’t give you a review because I haven’t read the book. However, Christine Pullara of channel 11 in Atlanta has, and she interviewed Leslie not that long ago. Watch their chat below by clicking on this link (I can’t embed it here without it automatically playing whenever you land on this post). And you can check out other reviews on Leslie’s site, including ones by Mallory, Jerry Beck and Leonard Maltin, all of whom are extremely well-versed in the Hanna-Barbera of the 1960s.
If you’re interested, and you should be, the book is available through Amazon.com.
“Bill and Joe trusted him implicitly with running their studio.”
That’s what cartoonist and animation layout man Pete Alvarado said about Bill Schipek, who spent a number of years as the production boss at the Hanna-Barbera studio.
I started writing this post because of a neat little fact I discovered and because I wanted to write about one of the behind-the-scenes people connected with the first Hanna-Barbara cartoons. But it turns out he may not have been connected with the studio in the beginning.
The Los Angeles Times had a short squib on Schipek in its edition of August 29, 1969.
Schipek Appointed to Hanna-Barbera PostIt turns out Schipek worked with Hanna and Barbera for a number of years past the late ‘30s. We’ll get there in just a moment.
Bill Schipek has been appointed general production supervisor of Hanna-Barbera Productions. Schipek rejoined Hanna-Barbera five years ago, after working with them during the late 1930s when the producers created the Tom and Jerry cartoon series.
Victor Oswald Schipek was born in Chicago to Victor Alexander Schipek and the former Bertha A. Hesselbacher; Oswald was the name of an uncle. Why he went by “Bill” is unclear, but he used the name as a boy; the 1920 census lists him as “Billy Schipek.” His parents divorced when he was a child and he lived with his mother and her parents.
Schipek graduated from Hyde Park High School in January 1930. Where he received art training, I haven’t been able to determine. He was still in Chicago in 1935. His name surfaces in Boxoffice magazine in 1937 in connection with a new cartoon studio Fred Quimby was ordered to start on the MGM lot. The June 26th edition tells how Quimby closed a deal to produce cartoons based on “The Captain and the Kids” newspaper strip. The story adds: “Already signed as story writers are William Hanna, Robert Allen, Fred McAlpin, H. Allen [Heck Allen], Charles Thorson and Victor Schipek.”
There’s a pretty good chance that Schipek got along well with Quimby. That’s because he married Quimby’s daughter, Elizabeth. When and where the wedding took place is to be discovered; the Quimbys had divorced and Elizabeth had been living with her re-married mother in Chicago at the same time Schipek was there.
Schipek moved from writing into animation at one point. Then his animation career was interrupted. Variety reported on August 24, 1942:
Eight members of Metro's cartoon department go into various branches of the service this week. Gene Moore, cameraman, has a second lieutenant's commission in the Army. William Schipek, animator, goes into the Navy [sic]. William Tracy, artist, goes into the Navy as a submarine radio operator, same post he held in previous war; Jack Zander, animator, becomes a master sergeant in animation division of Signal Corps. Julius Engel and Dan Karpan, animators, go into the Army and Navy, respectively. Robert Anderson and Karl Kahmann [were the other MGM cartoon employees shipped out].Variety, again, on November 9, 1945:
AT LIBERTY Tech. Sgt. V. O. Schipek, honorably discharged from the Marine Corps after 37 months' service, checked into the Metro cartoon department as animator.MGM brought romance as well. Schipek and the former Miss Quimby had divorced and in 1946, he married one of the young ladies in the ink and paint department. They remained married until his death. Along the way, he seems to have taken over the supervision of the in-betweeners at the studio. Dan Bessie, in his book, Reeling Through Hollywood, reveals how Schipek hired him and gave him some instructions on how to make drawings move properly. Bessie calls Schipek “kind,” even though his boss moved him away from the other in-betweeners for talking too much. Schipek also began to get on-screen credit as an animator, bouncing from the Hanna-Barbera unit to the Mike Lah unit.
In 1952, members of the Screen Cartoonists Guild voted to join IATSE. Variety reported on June 5th that Schipek had been elected the first president of the local. He carried on in that post for four years when he ran for business agent and lost to incumbent Don Hillary. That was reported on November 2, 1956. Within seven weeks, MGM announced it was closing its cartoon studio, leaving Schipek, Hanna, Barbera, Lah and the rest of the staff unemployed.
Schipek’s obituary in Variety of May 31, 1977 reads: “Services for Victor O. (Bill) Schipek, 64, production supervisor for Hanna-Barbera Prods., who died May 24, will be held today, 10:30 a.m., at Church of the Hills, Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. He had been associated with William Hanna and Joseph Barbera since 1937, when all were at MGM. He joined the partners when they formed their own studio in 1957.”
Schipek was also involved with a non-profit group that administered a number of programmes involving the movie and TV industries. Here’s Variety again, from August 16, 1968:
Animators Workshop At DePatie-FrelengI’m sorry you’ve been left with a pretty dry post. It would be enlivened greatly by some anecdotes of Schipek working with those great veterans of animation like Irv Spence or Carlo Vinci (not to mention two guys named Joe and Bill) but I don’t have any, except in the Bessie link above. I imagine being in middle management, some people might not have gotten along with him. Pete Alvarado had the first word in this post, so we’ll let him have the last one. He called Bill Schipek “a very nice guy” and that’s the way I’d like to think of the people who worked at Hanna-Barbera.
The first of a series of instructional workshops for young animators will be held at DePatie-Freleng Sept. 10, with the classes to rotate to other studios in subsequent sessions. Workshops are sponsored by the Contract Services Administration Trust Fund's Animation Workshop Committee, chaired by William Schipek.
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Huckleberry Hound appeared in Little Golden Books and Dell Comics, but he made another unexpected appearance in print.
Jack and Jill was a kids publication back in the days when people bought magazines. Among the many things it did, periodically, was present truncated versions of animated TV cartoons in comic form. And it did that with “Huck’s Hack,” which appeared on TV stations during the week of Monday, February 22, 1960 (along with “Space Bear” and “Puss in Boats”). A four-page comic version, in full colour, appeared in the February 1960 issue.
I’m guessing it was a contra deal. Hanna-Barbera or Screen Gems supplied the comic in exchange for a plug for the Huck cartoon show (the comic doesn’t mention Kellogg’s, so it’s likely the sponsor wasn’t involved). The story pretty much follows the cartoon and the some of the layouts are pretty close to Dick Bickenbach’s layouts in the animated version. Compare this drawing (by Don Patterson) to the panel in the lower right on page two. You can click on each page to see it better. (Note Monty’s textured cloud. I don’t think he was the only background artist who painted clouds this way).
Have a little read. I can’t begin to guess who the artist is; I’ll accept any educated conclusions, though. Somehow, Huck looks naked when he’s only wearing a hat.
This is one of my least favourite Huck cartoons. I don’t buy the basic plot. Huck’s a failure at times but I think he’s bright enough to tell a robber from a bank executive (Quick Draw McGraw, on the other hand...). We reviewed the animated version of this cartoon in this post.
How often Jack and Jill connected with Hanna-Barbera, I don’t know. There was an item in the March 1961 edition titled Huckleberry Hound Goes Traveling Around, and the November 1961 magazine features a “Yogi Bear Birthday Song” (the Yogi birthday show aired the previous September). But the magazine-studio tie-in was a good idea, benefiting both Hanna-Barbera and its fans.
“Space Ghost” was part of Hanna-Barbera’s all-too-brief run of adventure cartoons on Saturday mornings. Those cartoons still have extremely loyal fans. I’m not much of a “Space Ghost” fan—take away the kids and mandatory troublesome little animal and I might have been interested in it—and the show is a little later than the time frame this blog deals with, but I can’t let the death of Gary Owens pass without posting something.
Gary, of course, was Space Ghost. He was the narrator on “The Perils of Penelope Pitstop” and... well, I won’t get into a list of his cartoon shows and specials (which included work for Disney). His biggest fame is thanks to the now 47-year-old “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In,” where he seriously intoned silly announcements, the same kind of thing he brought to the narration of “Pitstop.”
He revelled in the ridiculous and was a wonderfully creative person. He began life as a radio newsman, becoming news editor at KOIL Omaha in November 1956 but somehow ended up as the station’s morning disc jockey before heading to KIMN Denver the following March to spin records. Broadcasting-Telecasting magazine reveals some of his early on-air hijinks:
“Top 60” is a record formula that has been succeeding well for disc jockey Gary Owens of KIMN Denver. Wondering if this program philosophy might not be a universal truth, Mr. Owens set out to telephone Radio Moscow. For two days he negotiated strike-bound domestic service, the Russian Embassy, the Atlantic Ocean and connecting points on the European continent, finally reaching a “Mr. Chekov” of Radio Moscow’s department of culture and music.
In English Mr. Chekov told the Denver d. j. that, no, Radio Moscow does not play “top tunes.” Nor do “the people” like rock -and -roll, Mr. Chekov told his interviewer. Listener requests are honored, however. Music by Prokofiev and Khachaturian leads the list of requests in the Red capital. The taped conversation was played on Mr. Owens’ show Sept. 13.
(Sept. 23, 1957)
WNOE’s Owens Breaks Up N.O.
Gary Owens, WNOE New Orleans’ morning disc jockey, has teamed up with author Gerald Monday to produce a daily comic strip of the air. One Man's Frenzy, as the strip is called, satirizes various facets of the radio industry. Morning man Owens uses his versatile voice to portray eight different characters. The gimmick is now being sold to New Orleans sponsors, the station reports.
(Jan. 27, 1958)
WIL D.J.’s Club Gives Hope
“Failures” in the St. Louis area may feel they are unsuccessful but at least they are organized, thanks to d.j. Gray Owens’ [sic] “Complete Failure” club on WIL St. Louis. Mr. Owens has issued more than 10,000 membership cards which certify that “I ... am a complete failure because I listen to The Gary Owens Show on WIL Radio.” Club founder Owens presented the "Failure" award of the year to a 14-year-old boy at the St. Louis Auto Show. Among the prizes were a gold-plated plaque and “the gift that keeps on giving”—an amoeba.
(Dec. 29, 1958)
By May 1961, Broadcasting reported that Owens had joined the announcing staff at KFWB Los Angeles. Less than four months later, he was on strike with five other employees, including Elliot Field, the original voice of Blabber. The strike created a lot of rancour and Elliot recalls the damage. He left KFWB. So did Owens who, in September 1962, arrived at KMPC Los Angeles to replace Jerry Dexter, another name that should be familiar to Hanna-Barbera fans.
TV critics didn’t take Saturday morning cartoons all that seriously; until 1965 that time of day was devoted to either puppet shows or failed/old kid fodder. So no one was rushing to interview the star of “Space Ghost” when it debuted in 1966. Except one columnist from the National Enterprise Association, who included this in his column of August 4, 1966.
By DICK KLEINER
MEET THE MERRY moonlighter. His name is Gary Owens and everybody in Southern California knows him. His basic claim to fiscal solidarity is as a disc jockey on a local radio station, KMPC. He’s either the funniest disc jockey in the world or else the disc jockiest comedian, one or the other.
Now he’s branching out again. Again. He already has several branch vocations, but the new one is the biggest and branchiest. He’ll play a regular part on the new Green Hornet series on ABC. He’s also the announcer on Bewitched, he does a lot of voices for Hanna-Barbera cartoons, he does many commercials and he has two sons.
Owens comes from Plankinton, S.D., and not many moonlighters can make that claim he’s jockied discs in Omaha, Denver, San Antonio, New Orleans, St. Louis and San Francisco, but he always wanted to work here because the moon lighting is better.
“That’s why I came here,” he says.
Now he’s so busy with his moonlighting that there’s barely enough time to squeeze the sunlighting in. But Gary isn’t ambitious to be a big actor. What he wants to do is have a company to produce television commercials. He’s now working on his first venture in that direction, a cigarette pitch which will feature only hands.
Watch for Gary Owens on Green Hornet. To use his own favorite word, he’s insegrevious.
Along came “Laugh-In” in January 1968. Along came instant fame. There’s no way to understate just how big a hit it was. Here’s an unbylined syndicated newspaper story from August 7, 1968. Cartoons get a brief mention.
Disc Jockey To Appear In ‘Laugh-In’
“Laugh-In” demolished Lucy last spring in the ratings, and radio’s Gary Owens, the regular with the deep voice and the glasses who derisively calls himself Irving Whiteshoes, expects the show to be in the top five for at least another season. Free to take an occasional day off from his 3-to-6 p. m. Los Angeles radio show, Owens will appear in more blackouts and do more writing.
Though Schlatter has 14 writers on the payroll, Gary is allowed to slip funnies into the community hopper, tidbits scribbed between his radio program, commercial-making (one or two a week is the average), guest appearances around town and voice recording sessions of TV kiddie cartoons “Roger Ramjet” and “Space Ghost.”
TV commercial takeoffs, song titles like “On a Clear Day You Can See Claire Trevor,” and lines about beautiful Burbank are Owens contributions. Burbank has been the disc jockey’s joke property for a number of years, and when Schlatter called up Owens, inviting him to be a serious regular, the Burbank material went along with the deal.
The show even makes use of Gary’s cartooning ability in the monthly “Laugh-In” magazine, debuting on newstands in August and the disc jocky ought to be heard on the show’s first record album of sound tracks to be released in mid-summer.
All this exposure naturally can’t hurt Gary. Fans familiar with the voice can associate with Irving Whiteshoes, a bespectacled mid-westerner with hair combed back in the old Harold Teen style. Owens Junior of Chamber Commerce front hides a humming mind that shoots out material while the man spins records, forcing the disc jockey to keep note paper always within reach.
Now, The Voice contemplates making a slapstick movie along the lines of a “Pink Panther.” The improved, free-wheeling wonders of Buster Keaton, a former neighbor, and the “Keystone Kops” turn Gary on, and he declares that “Laugh-In” has inherited some of that tradition using gems made up by the cast during the taping.
Owens could survive by writing, yet he likes to perform, letting out the ham, and he might as well work his extra special vocal chords, emitting a rick, deep sound without the help of any lymph nodules, bumps that usually contribute to the reasonance of an Alexander Scourby. Like Mel Brooks, Dick Cavett who wrote for Jack Paar, Carl Reiner and Chris Beard, the Canadian ax dancer on the show, writer Owens slows on stage or before a mike, but he’ll always play himself. Richard Burton doesn’t have to worry.
Gary’s main effort these busy days is simply to be at the radio studio by air time. He left the “Jeannie” set at 2:45 and just beat the clock, and was seen a few weeks earlier, running for his life down Hollywood Boulevard trying to make his deadline. He’s never been late, but close calls are on the upswing. Gary’s cup is full, yet he has one problem. “I don’t know how to relax,” he says. “I must look into that some day.”
Owens had plenty of irons in the proverbial fire after this including humorous books, syndicated radio programmes, a stunningly unfunny TV show called “Letters To Laugh-In” (I stared at it in disbelief when I saw it in 1969) another venture called “The Gong Show” where he was just too professional to fit the amateur surroundings (the awkward and tic-ridden Chuck Barris was the perfect host) and even more cartoons such as “Dynomutt” and “Ren & Stimpy.”
One of the nice things to learn reading various tributes on the internet is that Gary Owens really was the upbeat, offbeat-loving guy he appeared on camera and universally liked. If you’d like to read more about him, there are so many places to go on the internet. Here are only two. Read this great interview with Kliph Nesteroff and this touching remembrance by baseball colour man and sitcom writer Ken Levine.
One of the fun things about “The Flintstones” on TV was an animal-turned-into-an-appliance turning to the audience and saying some tired crack about its job. We almost get that in the Flintstones daily comics 50 years ago today. But there’s not enough space. Wilma just shows off the pelican disposal to Betty, who replies “What will they think of next?” (It’s a punch-line that turned up occasionally in the dailies about this time).
I’ve also included the last two rows of the weekend comics. I can’t find any that have the top row, which usually has a long opening drawing, sometimes featuring characters not seen in the bottom two rows that most papers ran. So perhaps Baby Puss is hiding there. Are the weekend comics by Dick Bickenbach?
Dino isn’t talking this month, but he’s still tolerating abuse by the talking-to-herself Pebbles.
February 1-6, 1965 and February 8-13, 1965
February 15-20, 1965 and February 22-27, 1965
February 7, 1965
February 14, 1965
February 21, 1965
February 28, 1965
Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera didn’t just wake up one day and open a cartoon studio. I would hope everyone reading here knows the basic story—Bill and Joe weren’t shy in telling it over and over in the media—how they were (A) unemployed after MGM closed its animation division, but (B) went on to fame and fortune by creating a studio to make cartoons for TV.
Variety chronicled many of the developments from steps A to B. Let’s give you a little bit of Hanna-Barbera pre-history from the pages of the Show Biz Bible. I wish I had the daily Hollywood Reporter for the same period to see how its news stories compared.
Our story starts in 1955. Producer Fred Quimby leaves on an extended vacation (Variety, May 31), leaving Hanna and Barbera in charge of producing 18 cartoons in the pipeline. They begin hiring people (Variety, October 12) for a second unit that will be under Mike Lah. Quimby, quietly, retires from the studio. But we’ll hear from him later.
February 16, 1956Considering the future for both Hanna and Barbera, it’s significant that MGM staffers were being trained to make TV cartoons. Unfortunately for all those new hires, they would be unhired very shortly because MGM hired someone else: efficiency consultants.
Carlo Vinci Joins Cartoonery at Metro
Metro cartoonery yesterday hired Carlo Vinci as an animator. Initial assignments are on new Tom & Jerry and Spike and Tyke segments, under co-producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
June 4, 1956
MGM ADDING CARTOONERY MAN-POWER
Metro is allocating an additional $100,000 annually to its cartoon division to enhance its new training program.
According to Hal Elias, business manager of department, current demand for animated shorts both in domestic and foreign market, and the scarcity of trained men in this field, has cued the Culver lot to intensify its training program. This also includes a production upbeat to 16 cartoons per year. Previously, Metro turned out nine.
In the past nine months, 25 staffers have been added to Metro's cartoonery. In addition to Elias, department heads include William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, who write-direct-produce, and director Michael Lah.
Both Hanna and Barbera are also training their men in the making of cartoons especially for television. Pair claim, while there are no present plans for the filming of cartoons for tv, they are readying for any eventuality.
Average Metro cartoon, which runs around seven minutes, is budgeted at between $30,000 and $70,000 and takes as long as 14 months to complete. Most popular of the Metro cartoon series are "Tom and Jerry,""Droopy" and "Spike and Tyke."
December 13, 1956One wonders what happened to all those commercial accounts after the MGM studio closed. It could be that Hanna and Barbera did them for MGM on a freelance basis. Or perhaps their studio ended up with the contracts. According to a later edition of Variety, the H-B studio animated Schlitz beer ads. The Schlitz account was the one where Hoyt Curtin was signed to write a jingle and was first introduced to Bill Hanna, resulting in his hiring by Hanna-Barbera to write themes and, later, underscores (Curtin was musical director at another commercial studio, Raphael G. Wolff).
MGM Cartoonery Prod'n Hiatus; 2-Year Backlog
Metro's cartoon department production is grinding to a halt, with no additional cartoons planned at this time after completion of the 12 now in process.
Studio has a two-year backlog of the briefies. Current batch—for the "Tom and Jerry,""Droopie" [sic] and "Spike and Tyke" series—will take another six-to-eight months to complete.
Contracts of MGM's two cartoon producers, Joseph Barbera and William Hanna, are up in the spring. Pair, however, have not been notified of any terminations of their services.
February 20, 1957
Metro's Knick Beer Com'ls
Knickerbocker Beer inked as the first account for Metro TV's newly-organized film commercial division. Deal, set via Warwick & Legler for Jacob Ruppert, calls for a series of 10 one-minute commercials. Films will be shot at Metro's studios.
Metro's Barbera and Hanna, creators of the Tom and Jerry cartoon characters, will handle special animation version of Knickerbocker trademark.
April 1, 1957
MGM TO DROP PRODUCTION OF CARTOONS
As part of its program to streamline studio operations, Metro will dissolve its cartoon production department in several weeks. Hal Elias, manager of the department; Joe Barbera and William Hanna, joint production toppers, and 44 cartoonists have received notices that the department will be discontinued as soon as it finishes the balance of 12 cartoons scheduled for this year. Continuing the pruning process is in keeping with recommendations made by Booz, Allen and Hamilton.
[story goes into pink-slippings at other departments at MGM]
April 5, 1957
MGM Teleblurbing For Standard Oil
MGM's cartoon department will create a series of six teleblurbs for Standard Oil of Indiana, under a pact just signed between the firm and Metro's tv department. Two of vidplugs will be fully animated and four partially cartooned. The Metro cartoonery is currently working on a teleblurb series for Ruppert Brewery and a third project, for Schlitz, was inked last week in Chi.
It would appear the studio was caput by the end of April as the staff was moving on.
May 8, 1957Marshall went on to work for Hanna-Barbera for many years. It’s been presumed he was part of the original staff. Vernick had spent a number of years working for the Fleischers. Letherman later toiled for Larry Harmon on the Bozo the Clown cartoons and died on February 10, 1961, age 35.
Animation Inc. has signed former Metro cartoonery employes Lew Marshall, Edith Vernick, Bill McGovern and Mark Letherman as staffers.
Finally we come to the birth of H-B Enterprises on July 7, 1957. It was reported in Variety. While everyone knows Hanna and Barbera today, they weren’t the big wheel behind the studio.
July 8, 1957Sidney couldn’t have been a better choice for Hanna and Barbera to hit up. He had clout. At the time, he was president of the Directors Guild of America. He had long roots in Hollywood; his uncle was a star in silent films. More importantly, he may have been one of the few people who was tight with Columbia boss Harry Cohn. The Cohns and Sidneys used to take vacations together. And Columbia’s Screen Gems subsidiary was hunting for TV product, including cartoons (Joe Barbera related in his autobiography how Cohn wasn’t happy with a deal signed with cut-rate cartoon producer Sam Singer in early 1957). It worked out all around. Sidney and Cohn got a chunk of Hanna-Barbera, Screen Gems got a nice percentage of the lucrative merchandising rights to H-B characters, and installed its sales (John Mitchell) and promotional (Ed Justin) gurus to make sure its investment was paying off.
Geo. Sidney Prexy Of New Cartoonery
Firm has plans for eventual theatrical cartoon features, but will do teleblurb and industrial animation work at present. Sidney is prexy, Hanna and Barbera veepees. Quarters are at Kling studios [see photo to right]. New outfit has no connection with George Sidney Productions, through which he makes pix for Columbia release.
Hanna and Barbera were first associated with Sidney in making of MGM's "Anchors Aweigh." Pair also made Metro's "Tom and Jerry" cartoons.
Hanna and Barbera might have had some competition for business and its staff from an unexpected source—their former boss. Witness this Variety story.
April 17, 1957What was the method? Who were the staffers? We’ll never know. The weekly edition of Variety regurgitated the same story two weeks later and that was the last anyone apparently ever heard of Quimby’s proposed cartoon studio. Quimby died in 1965 after surgery upon returning from a three-month trip to Europe.
Quimby to Open Indie Cartoonery
Fred Quimby, who organized Metro’s short subjects, program and cartoon department before he retired in December, 1955, after 30 years with MGM, is opening his own cartoon company.
Outfit will do commercials, both animated and live action, and also tv animation sequences. Vet animator, who copped eight Oscars for his Metro cartoons and developed such characters as Tom and Jerry, Barney Bear and Droopy, has now developed a new method of presentation for commercials, he said.
Quimby reports some of his old staffers from Metro will join him.
So Hanna-Barbera was off and running. The concept of Ruff and Reddy would be sold to NBC by early November 1957. Yogi, Huck and Mr. Jinks were in development around the same time. An empire was building. So much for MGM’s efficient consultants.
My thanks to Thad Komorowski for help in dredging up these articles.
Credits: Animation – Bob Bentley, Layout – Ernie Nordli, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Government Official, Radio announcer, Mayor – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Housewife – Don Messick.
Music – Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: week of February 5, 1962.
Plot: Yogi and Boo Boo escape after being shipped to the Cincinnati Zoo.
Did you know the U.S. government orders a count of bears in national parks, and then sends any excess number of bears to a zoo? It probably doesn’t, but it does in this cartoon because that sets up the plot.
I’m more than a little confused by the title and the title card. The story goes like this: a government official selects Yogi and Boo Boo to be sent to a zoo. After a misunderstanding, the bears are forced into a truck. They escape. They eat stuff. They’re shot at. Ranger Smith hears what’s happening on the radio. He rushes to a cave where Yogi and Boo Boo are hiding. He pretends to shoot and kill them and offers to take the “bear skins” back to the ranger station. So where does the “Threadbare” part come in? Is this a case, like “Ring a Ding Picnic Basket,” which started out with a different name? And why does the title card have the bears in a circus cage? They’re going to a zoo.
Bob Bentley is the animator. There’s nothing really distinctive in his work here other than this diagonal exit. These are consecutive drawings. Ernie Nordli designed the radio with the old-fashioned grid aerial.
We all know about Hanna-Barbera’s repeating backgrounds. There’s one in this cartoon. You can see where the spongework on the hills directly behind Ranger Smith is different from one frame to the network.
Art Lozzi gets the background credit. Note the blue tree trunks and downward-pointing pine fronds. Lozzi drew those no matter who the layout artist was. The bushes in the foreground of the first drawing is on an overlay and the back door of the truck is animated on cels.
Cartoon Miscellany: Yogi is Bear 14 and Boo Boo is Bear 37 . . . Jellystone has 52 bears . . . “Your bears have odd names,” observes the government guy . . . Ranger Smith isn’t happy to see Yogi to leave for a change . . . a jaunty version of (Meet) The Flintstones plays when Yogi and Boo Boo burst out of the truck. It’s not the theme for “The Flintstones” as yet . . . Yogi easily steals a huckleberry pie. He spent an entire cartoon three years earlier (“Pie Pirates”) failing to do the same thing . . . The studio had Don Messick do a housewife’s voice in falsetto. Why pay for Jean Vander Pyl when you don’t have to? . . . Yogi and Boo Boo escaped somewhere near Freeport.
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Time to post some Hanna-Barbera image files sitting in my computer. I’ve made no notations where I got some of them.
A sadistic kid rode Yogi Bear in “Daffy Daddy,” so I guess this toy that’s seen better days makes sense. Light bulbs? Beats me.
Has Yogi merchandise ever stopped being made? This looks like newer stuff, not from the late ‘50s. Okay, other than the milk mug.
Here’s one of those great Kellogg’s ads in full colour. What?! The offer’s not good in Canada? Yogi’s lasted a lot longer than Kellogg’s OKs, hasn’t he?
Here’s Yogi in a beautiful Cadillac. Yes, I know you thought he drove a Chrysler LeBear-on. Hyuk, hyuk.
Prime time cartoons make the covers of TV magazines. The artwork is right on. These are from the collection of Jerry Beck.
These eggs cups were made in England by Ridgway Potteries in 1960. Even a really off-model Li’l Tom Tom rates an appearance.
“Hilarious new character”? Don’t think so. But this is a nice little one sheet to push the H-B studio’s only series that actually made it into theatres (others were proposed). Thanks to Scott Shaw! for this poster.
Finally, an image maker for the Quick Draw McGraw show. These look like they were used for newspaper box ads; the local station call letters and channel would be substituted.
Click on any of the images to make it easier to see.
Mel Crawford didn’t animate any of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons, but he was intimately familiar with many of the studio’s early characters.
Word has come from Jerry Beck about Mel’s death. Read more at this post.
If you don’t know who Mel Crawford is, he illustrated a number of the Little Golden Books featuring Yogi Bear, Top Cat, the Flintstones and other H-B stars. His shadowing on the characters is very distinctive.
We’ve posted some of his work here before, but here’s what he drew for Golden’s adaptation of “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear.” We’ve grabbed these from the Golden Gems website. You can see more of Mel’s work by clicking HERE. Enjoy the layouts and the rest of the artwork.
Remember the cartoon where Pixie and Dixie called on their Uncle Egghead, who gives them an electromagnet that Jinks swallows (thinking it’s candy) and then all kinds of metal becomes attracted to him? You don’t? It’s probably because the cartoon never aired or copyrighted.
But a storyboard was made for it. You won’t see these small story sketches very well because that’s the size they were on a web site. I imagine the story is by Warren Foster; the sketches certainly aren’t Dan Gordon’s from the first season.
“I’m having a nightmare—only in the daytime,” says the cat, reminiscent of “Light-Headed Cat,” which has a similar plot, with an anti-gravity machine lifting Jinks airborne every time a button is pushed. Daws Butler uses the term “night-time mare” in that one, just like he did in the Pixie and Dixie cartoon “Batty Bat.” Frankly, neither of the aforementioned cartoons were that great. (“Night-time mare” was heard in two other Foster-written cartoons: the much funnier “Snow White Bear,” with Yogi, and the Pixie and Dixie short “Hi Fido”). The magnet-in-the-stomach-attracting-stuff idea was also utilised by Joe Barbera in the Tom and Jerry cartoon “Old Rockin’ Chair Tom.” And there’s a Twilight Zone reference in one of the story panels but really no great one-liners. The Pixie and Dixie cartoons don’t seem to have inspired Foster as much as Yogi or Huck.
Whether Foster drew the board, I don’t know. And when it was drawn, I couldn’t tell you. But it’s always interesting to find unmade cartoons (we posted story panels from Earl Kress’ collection of an unmade El Kabong cartoon here). You can click on them to try to see them but I don’t know how much bigger they’ll be.
We’ve got another full storyboard for an unmade cartoon we’ll endeavour to post some time in the future.
It’s always nice to see Huckleberry Hound pay a visit to Yogi Bear, though Huck probably wishes he hasn’t, judging by the punch line of the comic that ran in papers on the first weekend of March, 50 years ago (Saturdays in Canada, Sundays in the U.S.).
I’m not of the generation that watched those Hanna-Barbera competition cartoon shows where all manner of the studio’s funny characters were tossed in together like so many corn flakes in a Kellogg’s box. Since I grew up in the ‘60s, I like seeing the “Kellogg’s” characters kibbitz once in a while (Yogi, Huck, Quick Draw, etc.), but anyone else seems out of place. Top Cat doesn’t really belong with them, to me, but there he is nonetheless in the March 7th comic. I guess it just shows you T.C. was a bigger star than Super Snooper (since they’re in the mountains, Snagglepuss the mountain lion might have been a better choice). And I don’t think I’ve ever seen Top Cat wearing a tie before.
Some of Harvey Eisenberg’s silhouettes grace the March 14th comic. It’s hard to get the effect of the joke with this scan of a photocopy of the panels. I suspect Mark Kausler’s blog will have a full-colour version where you can get a better look. The top panel is the only appearance of Ranger Smith this month.
A rather large blue jay highlights the March 21st comic, with an interesting perspective layout in the final panel. We also get a cutsy-utsy squirrel who Screwy Squirrel would beat up. Instead, Yogi rhymes. “Squirms” and “worms”?
Pic-a-nic baskets? Nah. Yogi’s stealing hotel towels now. Maybe he got them on a tour pushing “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear.” All the hotels in the final frame of the March 28th comic are legit, as best as I can tell. The Mark Hopkins is on San Francisco’s Nob Hill.
Unfortunately, the last newspaper I could find running these comics in full no longer has its weekend comic section available on-line past March 1965. So this will be the final Yogi comic post.
Here’s Fred Flintstone peeking at the voice of Fred Flintstone, and he may be a little confused. That’s because the guy at the microphone isn’t Alan Reed, who provided Fred’s voice during the run of the original series from 1960 to 1966.
Well, Reed provided Fred’s speaking voice. There were a few cartoons where someone else was brought in to sing for Fred. Reed was a versatile dialectician during his days on network radio in the ‘30s and ‘40s but he was no swingin’ lounge cat.
But Duke Mitchell was. That’s Mitchell in the studio you see in the picture. He was tapped by Hanna-Barbera to sing jazzed-up versions of “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In” (in the “Hot Lips Hannigan” episode) and “Listen to the Mockingbird” (in “The Girls’ Night Out”) in the show’s first season. You can also hear him as Boppy Barrin in the half-hour “Yogi’s Birthday Party” (aired October 1961). The cartoon studio had other plans for Mitchell, too. Reported Variety on April 13, 1961:
[Palm Springs’] Ranch Club’s Duke Mitchell, the recorded singing voice of animated Fred Flintstone, will double as a hepcat when Hanna-Barbera roll “Five Cats” pilot next month.We presume the squib is referring to “Top Cat.” Nonetheless, Mitchell never got a voice role on the show. Perhaps his schedule didn’t allow for regular recording sessions.
DUKE MITCHELLThose of you who appreciate irony will like the fact that Mitchell performed in the late ‘60s at Dino’s Lodge in Hollywood (Dino as in Martin, not Flintstones pet). My favourite Duke Mitchell story, though, is post-Flintstones. Harrison Carroll had a couple of lines about it in his syndicated show biz column of July 9, 1963.
Magic Inn, Seattle
Duke Mitchell (formerly & Petrillo) shapes up as a good single act in his bow here, first date on his own. Small, but energetic, lad socks over blend of standard songs and sharp impressions for good response, scoring particularly with vignettes of Vaughn Monroe, Frankie Laine and Billy Daniels. Brief act could easily be expanded. Mitchell’s selling of “Rags to Riches” and “Got You Under My Skin” reveal savvy as a crowd pleaser, with reliance more on entertainment than on showcasing of voice.
In here for two weeks and should be good draw for Magic Inn, currently only spot in town using acts. Reed.
SINGER Duke Mitchell knocked two teeth out of a persistent heckler at the Marine Room of the Hotel Olympic in Seattle. Heckler was introduced as the son of one of the most important political figures in the country, but I think he was an impostor.Variety’s Army Archerd revealed about nine months earlier that Mitchell, who was 5’ 8” at best, tossed a 6’ 2” drunk out of one of his shows in a lounge in Beverly Hills.
Petrillo was on the road with partner Suzie Petrovic when Mitchell died in Hollywood on December 2, 1981.
There’s a blog devoted to Duke you can check out.
There’s one other cartoon where someone else “sang” for Fred. Kind of. In the third season, Fred enlists Rock Roll (played by Hal Smith) to perform at Wilma’s show but has to take the stage himself and do “The Twitch.” But neither Reed nor Smith is singing. Do you know who is? Since you don’t, here’s the answer, thanks to the April 18, 1962 edition of Variety:
Jerry Wallace exits Challenge [his record label] next month; reportedly "very unhappy." He's not unhappy over new Hanna-Barbera voice he'll do in "The Flintstones" though. He'll do "Rock Roll," latest character for the tv series, a "singer" yet!Like Mitchell, Wallace made his own cult movie in the ‘50s, starring in 1955’s obscure “Corn’s A-Poppin’” (gripping scene from the film to your right). Wallace has another connection with Hanna-Barbera. During the 1950s, he performed as half of a duo with Red Coffey, who provided the voice for a pestering little duck in the early Yogi Bear cartoons. The duck was modified a bit and became Yakky Doodle (voiced by Jimmy Weldon).
Note: I realise Henry Corden sang for Reed in the Alice special and elsewhere; this post just deals with the “Flintstones” series.
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