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Articles on this Page
- 03/07/15--06:32: _Say Cheese, Huck!
- 03/11/15--06:50: _Lah Land
- 03/14/15--07:04: _Yogi Bear—Queen Bee...
- 03/16/15--06:54: _Flintstones Comics,...
- 03/19/15--12:09: _Fun With Frees
- 03/21/15--06:56: _Walking With Jinks
- 03/25/15--07:11: _Advice from Yogi an...
- 03/28/15--21:36: _Riding the Barbecue
- 04/01/15--07:00: _Yogi Bear Weekend C...
- 04/02/15--07:06: _Slumber Party Smart...
- 04/04/15--07:06: _Yogi Bear — Beast F...
- 04/07/15--07:08: _Astro's Writer Speaks
- 04/09/15--07:03: _Here Comes a Star o...
- 04/11/15--12:07: _The Making of Huck
- 04/15/15--07:06: _Flintstones Comics,...
- 04/18/15--07:01: _Yogi Time
- 04/22/15--06:56: _Harvey
- 04/25/15--12:08: _Yogi Bear — Bear Fo...
- 04/29/15--07:03: _Yowp Sightings
- 05/02/15--08:13: _Hit the Road, Huck
- 03/07/15--06:32: Say Cheese, Huck!
- 03/11/15--06:50: Lah Land
- 03/14/15--07:04: Yogi Bear—Queen Bee For a Day
- 03/16/15--06:54: Flintstones Comics, March 1965
- 03/19/15--12:09: Fun With Frees
- 03/21/15--06:56: Walking With Jinks
- 03/25/15--07:11: Advice from Yogi and Wilma
- 03/28/15--21:36: Riding the Barbecue
- 04/01/15--07:00: Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, April 1965
- 04/02/15--07:06: Slumber Party Smarty Pans
- 04/04/15--07:06: Yogi Bear — Beast Feast
- 04/07/15--07:08: Astro's Writer Speaks
- 04/09/15--07:03: Here Comes a Star or Six
- 04/11/15--12:07: The Making of Huck
- 04/15/15--07:06: Flintstones Comics, April 1965
- 04/18/15--07:01: Yogi Time
- 04/22/15--06:56: Harvey
- 04/25/15--12:08: Yogi Bear — Bear Foot Soldiers
- 04/29/15--07:03: Yowp Sightings
- 05/02/15--08:13: Hit the Road, Huck
“I’m pop-a-lar. Mighty pop-a-lar,” Huckleberry Hound might say. And he’d be right. Critics loved his show when it debuted in 1958; we’ve posted a number of old columns here. But Huck kind of became the Florence Lawrence of TV cartoons. Lawrence was the world’s first movie star identified by her real name, but she soon was eclipsed by Mary Pickford and other talent. Huck soon found himself taking a back seat at the Hanna-Barbera empire to Yogi Bear, then the Flintstones, then Scooby Doo, and, well, you get the idea. Despite that, the low-key Huck can still bring a smile in his best cartoons.
For the time the “Huckleberry Hound Show” was in first run, 1958 to 1962, Huck got a fair amount of publicity. Let’s go on a Huck treasure hunt (say, that’d be a great name for a show. Oh, wait. They gave it to Yogi) and see what publicity art we can find. You can click on each picture to enlarge it in a new tab.
Here’s our star with his creators in a publicity shot. I wonder how many of these cardboard stand-ups were hanging around the Hanna-Barbera studios? You’ve no doubt seen pictures of Daws next to a couple, and the voice actors of the Flintstones next to their characters. Note the little window on Huck’s nose. I wish I could see the photos on the wall. I guess this was taken at the Kling (formerly Chaplin, later AMCO) studio on La Brea, where Hanna-Barbera resided from July 1957 to April 1962.
This is from a 1959 TV Guide. It would seem the ad was designed to have Yogi and Boo Boo on a page to the left, but this ad has only one page.
This is from a post card and features the original main cast of the Huck show. I don’t know if Dick Bickenbach or Art Goble did the writing but it looks original, not the retro style that popped up after the Cartoon Network debuted in the U.S., so this would be from some time in the late ‘50s. I suspect Bick did the artwork. A lovely rendering of the characters. (A side gripe: it appears to be a hard cartoon art rule today that each character must, without exception, have a huge open grinning mouth. What’s wrong with a smile, like you see here?).
These photos I grabbed off eBay (hence the marring watermark) are what prompted this post. I saw them and decided to hunt through the Chicago Tribune’s on-line archives to find the articles they went with. Unfortunately, the folks at the Trib didn’t scan the “T.V. Pictorial” supplement so the articles are unavailable.
The first publicity photo is dated October 3, 1962 and the caption reads: “Hollywood, California- - Huckleberry Hound, a firm believer in dogma that every hound must have its day has boned up on the closing baseball season and is once again ready to embark on his annual All Star K-Nine. Skowron, Jay, Moran, Wills, Davenport, Berra and N.Y. Mets among those mentioned by mentioned by Huck.” Well, naturally, Berra would be mentioned!
The second one features what is a drawing based on “Lion Tamer Huck” but there was never a cartoon (unless it was unmade or one of those cartoons-between-the-cartoons) featuring Huck and a fish (designed similarly to the Wily Trout in Yogi’s “The Stout Trout”). There’s a date written on the picture, presumably when the story appeared on page 6 of Chicago’s American TV Pictorial. There are also dates on the back of October 21, 1959 and November 9, 1961 but I can’t find articles about Huck in the papers of those dates, let alone the picture.
The third photo is stamped May 17, 1961 on the reserve but it’s obviously from 1960 judging by the suggested caption from Screen Gems in New York City (with misplaced punctuation): “Fast talker....Huckleberry Hound (right) introduces Hokey (center), the glib wolf who assumes co-star status in January, replacing Yogi Bear, who gets to head up his own show. With Hokey is Ding A Ling (left), a nebbish wolf who believes almost everything Hokey says. “Huckleberry Hound,” the Emmy winning animated series, is produced for Screen Gems by Hanna-Barbera. Productions and telecast on 180 TV stations in the U.S.” The first Hokey cartoon I can find in TV listings is for the week of March 23, 1961; I admit I don’t have listings for the previous three weeks of the Huck show.
But I did find this in the Tribune of June 3, 1961, congratulating the editor of the Saturday TV Week section on its fifth anniversary.
Since we’re passing on Huck stuff, here are a couple of more things you might like.
The cover of a ViewMaster booklet, 1960. It’d be nice if someone took the time to digitise all those old slides from the early Hanna-Barbera days. A few are on-line and we’ve posted some here.
A letter from Huckleberry Hound? This envelope is from the Huckleberry Hound Fan Club from way back years ago. I wonder if the New York address was marketing man Ed Justin’s, who was based in New York.
The first time I saw this version of the Huck intro, I was disappointed. Where’s the rooster? Isn’t he supposed to be doing this? This drawing is from the re-done animation when Huck was first placed in syndication without a Kellogg’s sponsorship, 1966 I’m led to believe.
Lastly, a sketch for what appears to be a greeting card from long after Huck was in first-run.
This post is dedicated to Greg Chenoweth, who has proclaimed on many occasions to be the world’s biggest Huckleberry Hound fan. If Greg wasn’t the first reader of this blog six years ago, he was pretty close to being the first. Greg’s “purty nice people,” as Huck might say, and that could be why he has an affinity with a purty nice blue hound dog.
Mike Lah was quoted in Didier Ghez’ Walt’s People, Vol. 11 that he was freelancing at Quartet Films in 1957 after the MGM cartoon studio closed and “was supposed to be a part” of the ownership group of Hanna-Barbera when it began in July that year. Presumably he didn’t have enough money to invest in it. But he ended up doing layouts and animation, sometimes uncredited, on the first season of The Huckleberry Hound Show and, I suspect, on Ruff and Reddy. Animator Mike Kazaleh says Lah did inserts in some of the cartoons, sometimes up to 90 seconds of animation taking up one or two gags.
Lah’s animation is distinctive. Compare these two drawings. The first is by Carlo Vinci, the second is by Lah.
Granted, the head positions aren’t the same, but you can see Lah preferred rounder eyes with rounder pupils and more whites (he liked drawing a big nose on Yogi).
Both the above frames are from “Big Bad Bully.” Lah sometimes liked to animate in profile with most of the head stationary with the mouth moving around on the side of the face. Occasionally, there are two or three upper teeth, generally no tongue and a long upper line to indicate the top of the mouth.
The drawing of Boo Boo above is from “Pie Pirates,” the first cartoon put into production for the Huck show. Lah animated from his own layouts. Boo Boo has kind of a goofy look; some of Lah’s characters are either a little cross-eyed or one eye is a different shape or size than the other. Here are a few more from that cartoon. He drew conjoined eyes (I don’t believe anyone else did), or had them overlapping a bit. He animated characters the same way at MGM, including characters running off screen at the same angle you see below.
These frames don’t show off Lah’s best work at Hanna-Barbera. He seemed to get more of his share of pain and shock takes and the drawings are very funny.
For whatever reason, Lah didn’t animate any more cartoons for the studio after 1958. He continued freelancing and at some point, set up his own company called Cinema Ad.
There’s misinformation on some web sites that Lah was one of the founders of Quartet Films. He was a part-owner of the company, but that came in 1960. A story in Back Stage magazine marking the studio’s tenth anniversary stated Quartet was founded on June 14, 1956. Here’s a story from Broadcasting-Telecasting magazine from the following July 16th.
Quartet Films Organized, Will Use Storyboard SpaceAs Keith Scott’s book The Moose That Roared relates, Lah set up Shield Productions with Bill Hanna, MGM background artist Don Driscoll and Don McNamara to make some “Crusader Rabbit” cartoons on spec; the U.S. Government Catalog of Copyright Entries shows Ruff and Reddy were copyrighted by Shield on May 25, 1956. Evidently, ownership was transferred to H-B Enterprises from Shield (McNamara formed his own company in October 1956 with Driscoll as his art director).
ALTHOUGH Storyboard Inc. closed its Hollywood doors to business today (Monday), key West Coast executives of the tv commercial film production firm have taken over the entire facilities to offer the services of a new company they have formed, Quartet Films Inc., 8480 Melrose Ave., with Arthur Babbitt as president. Mr. Babbitt is former Storyboard animation director of the Snowdrift tv spot "John and Marsha," which took a Gold Medal at the Art Directors Club of New York [BT, June 4].
He is joined in formation of Quartet Films by Arnold Gillespie, who directed the award winning Diamond Crystal Salt commercial; Stan L. Walsh, whose Speedway gasoline and National Bohemian beer spots won awards in the eastern competition, and Les Goldman, former Storyboard production manager. Mr. Gillespie is vice president and secretary of Quartet while Mr. Walsh is vice president in charge of production. Quartet has hired members of the former Storyboard creative staff in Hollywood, Mr. Babbitt announced last week. Storyboard Inc. continues its New York office with John Hubley as president [BT, June 25]. Broadcasting July 16, 1956
Lah’s early background in a nutshell: he worked at Disney and Harman-Ising (assisting Mel Shaw) and animated for both the Hanna-Barbera and Tex Avery units at MGM, in addition to briefly co-directing with Preston Blair, then returned to the studio after being let go when the Avery unit disbanded in 1953, first as a freelancer and then as a director. He died on October 13, 1995.
He had another connection to the Hanna-Barbera studio besides being an employee. Alberta and Violet Wogatzke were twin sisters. Vi married Bill Hanna. Alberta married Mike Lah. The Wogatzkes’ brother Roy Wade was a cameraman at Hanna-Barbera, and MGM before that.
I wish I could supply some anecdotes about Mr. Lah (especially since he animated on the first Yowp cartoon) but I never knew him. Perhaps some readers can add something. You can read his interview in the Ghez book HERE.
Credits: Animation – Don Williams, Layout – Dan Noonan, Backgrounds – Nina Maxwell, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Etymologist, Man, Short Ranger, Bees – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Woman, Charlie, Bees – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: week of April 10, 1961?
Plot: Boo Boo, in a bee costume, tries to escape capture.
Warren Foster gets in some pretty good lines in this cartoon and they’re read, naturally, with the usual expert flair you expect out of Daws Butler and Don Messick.
After Ranger Smith tells a corny joke about dogs and fleas:
Etymologist (dryly, after a sarcastic chuckle): Very funny. I laugh at that joke every time I hear it.Then after Smith’s next bad joke:
Etymologist (to the camera): It must be the lonely existence that makes them crack up.Boo Boo, stuck in a giant bee costume, inexplicably makes a buzzing sound as he runs past a pair of husband and wife tourists, with Smith chasing him.
Smith (to the tourists): Don’t be alarmed, folks. It’s only a deadly Magnimus Rex.
Tourists (shocked): A Magnimus Rex!!
I like the fact that they just happen to know what a Magnimus Rex is, being a rare bee and all. In case you’re wondering, Magnimus is “great” and Rex “king” in Latin. I wonder if Foster thought using Regina (“queen”) would confuse the audience into wondering what Saskatchewan had to do with a bee.
The cartoon then cuts to a stream of vehicles rushing out of Jellystone to avoid the killer bee. Nice frosting on the trees.
And then there’s the scene where the bees form the shape of an arrow, get in the bear tuchus and then start laughing en masse.
Neenah Maxwell painted the backgrounds. Here’s one that’s used a number of times in the cartoon. You can see the same trees at both ends. It takes Yogi 16 frames (one foot of film) to run reach the same blue tree again.
Here’s another background. The bees go into the hole. The hole isn’t on an overlay, though. Don Williams animates a cycle of bees, eight drawings on ones.
Williams drew characters with odd eye shapes in other H-B cartoons; in some cases one eye was half-shut. That doesn’t happen in this cartoon, but note the eye shape on Boo Boo below. And Ranger Smith has an extremely short tie for some reason.
The cartoon in brief: for the umpteenth time, Ranger Smith tells Yogi to stay away from the picnic areas. Yogi rejects the idea of “natural bear food” until Boo Boo mentions honey. After being stung by bees, Yogi dresses Boo Boo in a queen bee costume to lure away the bees. Boo Boo gets stuck in the costume. Meanwhile a bug collector spots Boo Boo and being utterly clueless, thinks he’s found a real giant bee (the aforementioned Magnimus Rex)—one that can kill you with just one sting. After some running around, Yogi gets the bee costume off Boo Boo and lies to Ranger Smith that he’s killed the giant bee but has been stung in the process. Here’s Boo Boo’s look to the audience as Yogi lards on the BS to Mr. Ranger.
The duped and sympathetic ranger tells Yogi for the time he has left before going to that Big Jellystone in the Sky he can do whatever he wants. Fade into the last scene with Yogi chowing down on a sandwich (and celery?!). “Boo Boo, we’ll never eat that forest fare while I’m smarter than the av-er-age bear,” rhymes Yogi as the cartoon ends.
Someone screwed up something in this cartoon regarding colour. In the first scenes in Ranger Smith’s office, Smith’s 5 O’clock Shadow is darker than the rest of his head. I like it but, of course, painting two colours instead costs money and time (which also costs money), so he’s back to one tone in later scenes.
Hoyt Curtin’s music is put to good use here. The old pathetic trombone cue that got trotted out whenever Fred Flintstone told a (generally made-up) tale of woe appears when Yogi is making up the story about his impending death due to a bee sting. And the Flintstones trumpet and xylophone chase music is heard is heard when the Ranger is chasing the “bee” and the tourists are driving away from the park. And one of the Flintstones’ bridges (I don’t know the number; it’s not 1 or 9) accompanies the laughing bees.
Do you know a kid who sticks cookies through the mail slot for the mailman? Did you used to do it? Evidently Gene Hazelton, or whoever wrote the Flintstones newspaper comic strips must have. It’s a recurring theme in the daily comics 50 years ago this month. We see the Pebbles-postman gag on the 2nd, 16th, 17th, 23rd and 26th (it returns in April as well).
Other things of note:
● Baby Puss makes an appearance on March 1st.
● Fred’s calendar on the 1st is made of stone, while on the 20th, it’s made of paper.
● Bill Hanna’s beloved Boy Scouts anchor the gag on the 12th.
● Dino only appears on the 18th.
● Betty only shows up on the 6th.
● Gadget gags: Swordfish-Dino meatcutter (6th), bird stereo speakers (8th), mini-dragon lighter (9th), Pelican-Dino checkout counter (11th), electric eel x-ray machine (25th).
● Clerk in the comic on the 13th is reminiscent of the Jack Benny radio shows where Elliott Lewis played a rough guy at a store’s perfume counter.
Sorry I don’t have all three rows for the weekend comics. They’re impossible for me to find right now. Spot the hidden Quick Draw McGraw reference. Bill Hanna’s Boy Scouts are the topper of the March 28th comic. And the layouts are terrific in the top comic (March 7th).
Click to enlarge any of the comics.
Paul Frees was one of a kind. Paul Frees was larger than life. Clichés, yes, but both statements are true.
I love Frees. Arguably, his best cartoon work was done at the Jay Ward studio as Boris Badenov. And I’m not a Disney fan but his Ludwig Von Drake is really enjoyable. Ludwig’s voice is practically a musical instrument—loud, soft, high, low. His asides to himself were the best. My favourite Hanna-Barbera role of Frees’ is that of the Greenstreet-and-Bond inspired Yellow Pinkie on “The Secret Squirrel Show” (as a bonus, he tossed in his Eric Blore voice as Double Q, which was almost a carbon copy of Dudley Do-Right’s Inspector Fenwick).
Frees began his Hanna-Barbera career in 1959, voicing a dog with a design that owed something to Snuffles in the Loopy De Loop cartoon “Tale of a Wolf.” His cartoon acting career went back a few more years to Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera’s former employer, MGM. He was the voice of Barney Bear for Dick Lundy in the ‘50s and narrated several cartoons for Tex Avery after Frank Graham died. But there were claims he had been in animation before that.
George McCall commented on films on radio’s “The Old Gold Hour” and “The Kate Smith Summer Show” and decided to put together a touring revue called “Man About Hollywood.” One of the members of the troupe was an impressionist named Buddy Green, a young man who was born Solomon Hersh Frees. Weekly Variety, in its edition of November 20, 1940, remarks about Frees’ act:
Buddy Green, who, according to McCall, imitates the various stars for the Walt Disney cartoons.Frees’ son Fred confirms his dad was not at Disney that far back. But McCall claimed that all members of his revue were unknowns in Hollywood, so a past was invented that, in a delightful irony, proved prophetic.
Green/Frees’ impressions included Paul Muni, Wallace Beery, Ned Sparks, Jean Hersholt, Charles Boyer and Clyde McCoy playing Sugar Blues. He had been touring in 1940 another revue called “Hellzafire” (it was renamed “Funzafire” in 1940; Green himself wasn’t renamed yet) The following year, he landed an emcee job at the Club Fortune in Reno.
Frees’ career at Hanna-Barbera was comparatively short, mainly in the mid to late ‘60s. He moved to Tiberon, California in 1972 and told Back Stage magazine six years later he had given up his cartoon work with the exception of Rankin-Bass specials. So this post doesn’t deal with his work at Hanna-Barbera (sorry to disappoint all you Squiddly Diddley fans). Instead, allow me to re-print a couple of articles involving other parts of his career.
Frees was everywhere at one time. He appeared on radio dramas, television, movies and cartoons. He wrote songs. He directed a movie. He dubbed voices for films. He was Francis the Talking Mule (not on camera). He cut a record album for MGM as various stars, including Clark Gable crooning By The Time I Get To Phoenix. But his big money came from commercial voice overs. Here’s a syndicated column dated March 2, 1963. By that time, Frees had already appeared on the famous Rockenspiel episode of “The Flintstones,” a fairly minor accomplishment.
A Well-Spoken 'Millionaire'
By HANK GRANT
Frees was the voice of the unseen Tipton, but so concerned was the producer (and rightfully so) that the character be shrouded in mystery, his name didn't appear on the credits.
Frees, however, is on the road to becoming a millionaire himself. His is the voice of Walt Disney's Ludwig Van Drake, the only new cartoon character Disney has introduced on TV as a regular star. Dozens of other cartoon series, such as Bullwinkle, utilize the many-faceted Frees voice.
Frees is so flexible, he also dubs in the voices of live action actors, as he once did the narration voice of Jack Webb on Dragnet when Jack had laryngitis. There was also the instance In the "Battle Hymn" movie where a venerable 80-year-old Chinese supporting actor's voice didn't match the wisdom of his role. Frees supplied the voice.
There just weren't enough German-born actors in Hollywood to cast "A Time to Live and a Time to Die," the feature based on post-war Germany, American actors were cast, but in that movie, Frees did 17 different German voices!
Frees' bankroll is also being fattened by the fact producers of filmed TV commercials literally fight for his attention. During a recent commercial film festival in New York, he received nine out of the 37 awards.
Stranger even than Paul's paradoxical pinnacle of power without public glory is the story of how, by freak accident, his career was thrust on him by a kindly fate. It's a press agent's dream. And in Paul's case, it's true!
Prior to action in World War 2, Paul was an insignificant nightclub entertainer. He emerged from the war with a Purple Heart (a leg injury after the Normandy invasion) and a broken heart — his wife died while he was in the service.
"I was drifting, I didn't know what to do," he recalls. "When my morale had hit bottom, I happened to be standing in front of CBS in Hollywood. A radio producer-writer who introduced himself as Ray Buffum stopped to ask me where I got my Purple Heart, noticed my limp, and then asked if I could act. Mine was a doubtful answer, but he asked me into his office, gave me the part of an Australian to read and that was my first 'voice' job — in the regular role of 'Digger Slade' on the 'A Man Called Jordan' radio series.
"Since that time, I've imitated a thousand or more voices, but there's never been a warmer, more compassionate voice than that of the man who didn't need a word from me at a time when I felt like screaming 'Help!' My Purple Heart ribbon did my speaking for me!"
In the late ‘40s, Frees appeared on more radio shows than you’ll really want me to list. But as network radio began to die, Frees changed gears. He decided to become a local evening disc jockey. It was a short career, from September 11 to December 23, 1953 as best as I can discover. The Los Angeles Times wrote about it on October 3rd that year.
Parrot, Squeaking Door, All the Same to Emcee
BY WALTER AMES
Paul, along with the rest of his acting chores, recently decided to try his hand at being a disc jockey. It was one of the few things he hadn't already experimented with and the other day he said he's never had as much fun.
Being a master at dialects, voices and sound effects, Frees finds his radio show an excellent showcase for rehearsing roles. Thus if he has a squeaking door coming up you'll hear him opening doors for most of his guests during the evening.
I mentioned that you might hear a parrot. One of Paul's chores in the past has been to be the parrot on the old Sam Spade series. His toughest assignment was to play a squeaking French door. Ask him to do it some night.
Recently he was confined to Folsom Prison—strictly for business, however, as a featured player in the new flicker, "Riot in Cellblock Eleven." It was a drastic from his imitating roles because, as he says, everything about Folsom "is for keeps."
When Hanna-Barbera got a toe-hold in prime time, it appeared the studio had plans for Frees. A story in Variety of May 31, 1960 stated:
The voices you'll hear on “The Flintstones” are those of Mel Blanc, Alan Reed, Bea Benadaret, Daws Butler, Paul Frees, Bill Thompson and Jean Vanderpyl. Said Hanna, “anyone could live quite comfortably off their residuals.”It turned out neither Frees nor Thompson did a lot on the show. Variety of October 31, 1961 reported on some ambitious expansion plans for the studio, including an hour-long cartoon variety show with an animated emcee. It never came to pass. H-B had better luck with something else mentioned in the story: a new series syndicated through Screen Gems; 156 five-minute cartoons featuring
“Wally Gator,” “Touche Turtle And Dum Dum” and “Lippy The Lion And The Sad Hyenna.”Either Variety got it wrong or the H-B braintrust changed its mind and replaced Thompson and Frees on “Wally Gator” with Daws Butler and Don Messick; both Frees and Butler did an Ed Wynn-ish voice and Frees had already been using it as Captain Peter Peachfuzz on the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. Instead, Frees returned to the studio several years later to work on “Secret Squirrel,” “The Fantastic Four” and several other series.
“Gator” is voiced by Bill Thompson and Paul Frees. Thompson and Alan Reed do “Turtle,” Mel Blanc, “Lippy.”
Frees’ animated shows didn’t get panned often, though you don’t want to ask about my opinion of the Dick Tracy TV cartoons. Variety wasn’t impressed with a 1967 special called Who’s Afraid of Murakami-Wolf. The animation was attacked as not being as slick as Hanna-Barbera’s TV efforts but Frees’ narration came away unscathed.
Frees died of a heart attack on November 2, 1986. But, as always in the animation business, his characters lived on. And as long as corporations think there’s a buck in old cartoons, or as long as fans post them on-line, you’ll always hear Frees somewhere.
“Limited animation” doesn’t have to mean “uninteresting animation.” Lots of TV commercials produced in the 1950s proved that. And the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons had some interesting animation, too. Unfortunately, that changed within a few years.
Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about. Here’s Jinks walking in “Cousin Tex,” one of the first Pixie and Dixie cartoons produced in 1958. Carlo Vinci is the animator, at least of the drawings below. The walk cycle is eight drawings on twos, meaning the cycle takes up a foot of film. Jinks has a low crotch, so his steps are low. But Carlo’s tried to make the cycle interesting by flipping Jinks’ feet, and dropping a knee almost to the floor while raising the other leg. The cat’s butt sways as well. It’s a unique walk and nice to watch.
Now we’re back to the start of the cycle. See the position of the feet.
Compare that walk to this one Lew Marshall gave to Jinks in “Plutocrat Cat” a couple of seasons later. Again, it’s eight drawings on twos. The arms churn and the butt sways a bit, but it’s pretty conventional.
And we’re back to the start of the cycle.
It isn’t a case of Marshall being a lousy animator. He wasn’t. Marshall came up with some neat takes and poses on Jinks in the 1958-59 season. But as time wore on, the studio’s animation got less distinctive. No one talks about interesting animation when they discuss Lippy and Hardy, or Breezly and Sneezly, or even the Jetsons (design, yes, in the case of the latter). Was the studio just too busy to add little touches to its movement of drawings? Or weren’t they deemed desirable or necessary any more? Perhaps it was a manifestation of the suburban ‘50s, a decade which got blander and more conformist as it wore on. Whatever the case, it was too bad. The studio had the artists who could take some of the limits out of limited animation.
Here’s a little something for Daws Butler fans.
Hanna-Barbera got together with the U.S. National Safety Council in 1973 and put together a record featuring the studio’s characters giving safety advice to kids. (Adults should pay attention to some of this advice today). “Hear See Do” features Jean Vander Pyl as Wilma Flintstone and Daws as a large barrel-full of characters. A colouring book was included.
What’s interesting listening to this is how Daws handles characters normally voiced by other people at Hanna-Barbera. As you may know, he voiced Barney Rubble for several episodes of “The Flintstones” after Mel Blanc’s near-fatal car crash. But the Barney on the record doesn’t sound like the Barney he did in the cartoons. His version of Top Cat is, as you might expect, the Bilko-ish sound he gave to Hokey Wolf. His Fred Flintstone is a little more growly than the Gleason voice he used in the Flintstones demo cartoon (mistakenly called a “pilot”) as well as in various Hanna-Barbera and Jay Ward productions. Perhaps his oddest voice—and I haven’t listened to all of the cuts below—is the lisping version of Magilla Gorilla which doesn’t sound anything like the way Allan Melvin played him. Daws also speaks for Boo Boo, So-So and Ricochet Rabbit; it’s a shame Don Messick wasn’t hired to voice his own characters.
This wasn’t the only public service campaign the studio was involved with. In 1989, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were honoured by B’nai B’rith as ‘Men of the Year’ for their involvement in a long list of worthy causes, including such campaigns as A Drug Free America, Buckle Up For Safety, and Just Say No To Drugs (Variety also reported: “MCA prexy Sid Sheinberg, honorary chairman for the event, quipped that some people figure Hanna-Barbera is an “Italian woman with a Jewish first name.’”)
Anyway, listen and see what you think. It’s neat hearing the characters do something outside of cartoons. One of the cuts is missing. And I’m not quite sure what to make of that sabretooth mouse on the cover.
A1 The Safe Way To School
A2 Don’t Ride With Strangers
A3 How To Ride A Bike
A4 Obey The Safety Patrol
A5 Walking Where No Sidewalks Exist
A6 Lock Car Doors
A7 Don’t Take Chances
A8 Don’t Throw Stones
A9 Don’t Play With Strange Animals
A10 Walk, Don’t Run
A12 Keep Arms Inside Car And Bus
A13 Be Careful On Skateboards
A14 Be Careful With Knives, Scissors And Sharp Objects
A15 Keep Toys Off The Floor
A16 Don’t Run With Things In Your Mouth
A17 Store Poisons Properly
A18 Green Means Go, Red Stop
B1 Safety At Night, Wear White
B2 Play In A Safe Place
B3 Enter And Leave Cars On Curb Side
B4 Wet Hands And Electricity Don’t Mix
B5 Never Step From Behind Parked Cars
B6 Cross Streets At Corners
B7 Watch For Cars In Driveways
B8 Fasten Seat Belts, Don’t Stand Up
B9 Never Swim Alone
B10 Stop, Look, Listen
B11 Use Lights And Reflectors On Bicycles
B12 Don’t Play In Streets
B13 Look Both Ways Before Crossing Streets
B14 Correct Signals For Riding A Bike
B15 Don’t Ride Double On A Bike
B16 Remove Skates Before Crossing Streets
B17 Don’t Run Around Swimming Pools
B18 Prevent Forest Fires
Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were great borrowers. You’ve no doubt heard all kinds of debates about Flintstones/Honeymooners. Suffice it to say, Bill and Joe took basic concepts from wherever they could and built from there. So “The Flintstones” really isn’t “The Honeymooners” if you compare them to any great depth, but there’s no doubt the two have some basic elements in common. (I’ve run into one review of “The Honeymooners” when it first aired, claiming the show owed a lot to “The Bickersons” on radio. Before that, there was an argumentative husband-wife act the made the rounds in major vaudeville circuits in the late ‘20s. Is there really a lot that’s 100% original?).
One of the greatest cartoon directors of all time was Tex Avery, who spent a number of years working in the same movie studio as Hanna and Barbera. Avery had many accomplishments in animation, and one was picking up the overall tempo of the theatrical cartoon. It’s been acknowledged that once Avery did it, Hanna and Barbera did it in their Tom and Jerry cartoons to their benefit.
Hanna and Barbera weren’t above borrowing from Avery in other ways. Avery brought a voice actor into the MGM fold by the name of Daws Butler and, eventually, had him voicing a low-key Southern wolf in cartoons such as “Billy Boy.” Low key? Southern? Daws Butler? Sound familiar?
While animation fans like to make leaps of logic and invent lineages of cartoon influence, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that Barbera used this version of Avery’s wolf as the basis for Huckleberry Hound.
The nameless wolf whistled “Jubilo” as a kind of a theme song while Huck preferred singing “My Darling Clementine” to himself (Avery used “Clementine” in a couple of pre-Huck, MGM cartoons: “The Flea Circus” and the great “Magical Maestro”).
There’s another obscure Avery connection with Hanna-Barbera cartoons that lasted a long time, though it may be purely coincidental. Avery and writer Rich Hogan came up with a bulldog who wheezily laughed at someone else’s misfortune in “Bad Luck Blackie,” released in 1949. Wheezy laugh? You mean like Muttley? Well, there are similarities. It should be pointed out the laugh only happened in the first few minutes of the cartoon and “Blackie” was a one-shot cartoon and was only elevated to some kind of pinnacle of cartoondom after animation historians got a hold of it years later. It very well might not have been in Barbera’s consciousness when he and Charlie Shows wrote “Fireman Huck” (aired December 1958) and decided to give Huck an adversarial dog with a snicker that was used as a running gag.
This lengthy introduction brings us to the purpose of the post. Here’s Huck trying to escape from a snickering dog in “Barbecue Hound” (aired January 1959). He’s riding a barbecue in an endless loop (in the cartoon, he’s pulled over by a cop and tossed in jail with the snickering dog). It takes sixteen drawings (one foot of film) for the background to repeat. The animation is by Ken Muse and the background by Art Lozzi.
Poor Huck eventually became overshadowed by Yogi Bear. But those 1958-62 Huckleberry Hound cartoons still stand up and there aren’t too many duds. Thanks, Joe and Bill. Thanks, Charlie Shows, Warren Foster and Tony Benedict. Thanks, Daws. And thanks, Tex.
You all remember the cartoon “Stop That Bear!” where Dick Dastardly sent Muttley to Jellystone Park to capture Yogi.
Okay, it never happened. Before there was Muttley, there was Mugger, the snickering dog in the feature length cartoon “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear.” And that’s, presumably, who is chasing Yogi in this newspaper comic panel from April 4, 1965.
A month ago, I mentioned all my sources of the complete (three row) Sunday Yogi comics had dried up. Mark Kausler has been, for some months, posting two-row versions, in full colour, from his personal collection on his web site. There’s no point in me posting two-row black-and-white versions (which is all I can find for now) when he has them in colour. And I suspect he’ll be blogging longer than I will. So I’m defaulting to Mark and you can read the Yogi comics on his site by clicking HERE. Two of them feature Mugger; another is centred around Mr. and Mrs. Ranger Smith (Mr. Ranger is named “Bill” this time). And Mark can provide far better insight into the comics than I can.
We’ll see what else we can come up with for you this week.
Here are the opening two pan shots of “Slumber Party Smarty,” one of the earliest Yogi Bear cartoons put into production in 1958 (Yogi still has a mask around his eyes). Fernando Montealegre is responsible for the backgrounds in this cartoon from layouts by Dick Bickenbach.
On the horizontal pan shot below featuring Yogi, the pavement stones indicate the floor. Very '50s, UPA concept.
The bulk of the cartoon is shot inside Yogi’s cave. Here’s another interior. Nice window you’ve got, Yogi. Looking toward the left of the drawing, it appears the stones might be on an overlay. I think I can detect a line edge. Lew Marshall drew the sleep-walking bear.
This is a pre-formula cartoon. No picnic baskets, Boo Boo, Ranger Smith or endless chatter. Yogi may be in a generic cave, not Jellystone Park. Even today, fans love the Yogi formula but I still really like these early cartoons before Yogi’s setting was codified. And this one contains my favourite drawing of the self-pitying, manipulative duckling who later become the more upbeat Yakky Doodle. The drawer closes on his head. Now that’s comedy!
Here’s the full set of story panels for a Yogi Bear cartoon that was apparently never made. “Beast Feast” was given the production number of R-88, so it would have been written for “The Yogi Bear Show” instead of the Huck show.
It’s a good story and I’m baffled as to why it never appeared on TV. I love the beast design (there was an HB cartoon with a similar beast, right?) and there are some pretty nice settings that Dick Thomas could have rendered really well. The artwork is very attractive. Boo Boo trips the beast? A little pro-active for him, isn’t it? Jean Vander Pyl likely would have had a chance to pull out her old crone voice that she used for Winnie Witch a number of years later.
Warren Foster wrote the story (it’s safe to assume) but whether these are his story panels, or Alex Lovy’s, I don’t know. You’ll notice some changes were made to the dialogue, especially at the end. They appear to be in Joe Barbera’s hand-writing.
For those of us who watched our favourite cartoons over and over again in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the idea of being able to read about them from the people who made them was inconceivable. Life changes. Technology changes. Thanks to the internet, it’s not so inconceivable now. My favourite cartoons are from the mid-‘20s through the ‘60s so, unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of people who worked on them who are still around.
But Tony Benedict is.
Tony started at Disney toward the end of the Golden Age of theatrical cartoons and then got in at Hanna-Barbera when the studio was in my favourite period. New Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw shows were still being made. “The Flintstones” had become a hit. Loopy De Loop was... well, we can’t win them all.
You’ll recall Tony was hoping to put together a documentary telling of his time at Hanna-Barbera before Bill and Joe sold the studio to Taft Broadcasting. But there’s one slight problem. The studio’s current owner wants approval (and payment) to use its characters, even by the very people who drew them and wrote for them. And it’s a little difficult doing a documentary about Hanna-Barbera without any cartoon characters in it. I could listen to stories about Carlo Vinci, Daws Butler and Mike Maltese all day, but I suspect I’m in the minority—most people want to see Yogi Bear or Dino, even if only for a fleeting moment. So the documentary didn’t come out. Tony’s hoping to rework it into a film covering his own story about his decades in animation and have it ready for the fall.
A good thing in all this is Tony is blogging. You may have seen the link to The Last Cartoonery in the blog roll to your right. Click RIGHT HERE for it.
Tony’s featured some interesting artwork, including a storyboard from one of the “new” Jetsons episodes of the ‘80s (two decades earlier, Tony wrote the episode that brought the world Astro, my favourite Jetsons character that isn’t named Uniblab). Tony worked with almost all the great people who started the studio or arrived a year or two after. It’s an amazing list of talent. I hope he gets around to telling some stories about them on his blog. People like these:
Three great layout artists, Willie Ito, Jerry Eisenberg and Dick Bickenbach. This was taken while filming the TV special “Here Comes A Star” (1963), which includes shots of various departments of the Hanna-Barbera studio in their brand-new building making a cartoon. We’ll feature murky, fairly low-res screen grabs from that later this the week as Tony has graciously identified a pile of people in them. Tony also supplied some photos of his own (including the above) that are of much better quality. In the third picture below, barely visible behind Willie is Iwao Takamoto at the drawing board. If you click on that picture, you might spot the Punkin Puss model sheet to his left. I didn’t get a chance to ask Tony who the guy is in the first two photos. I want to say Dan Gordon, but I don’t think he had that much hair. Maybe it’s Art Pierson, the director of the special.
It’s a brilliant marketing concept if you think about it. A half-hour show, funded by one sponsor, that’s a commercial for a half-hour show funded by the same sponsor. That’s what Hanna-Barbera worked out when it came to Magilla Gorilla.
Magilla likely went into development around August 1963. That’s when Broadcasting magazine reported (August 26th) that Ideal had announced it would spend about $30,000,000 over five years to sponsor four animated cartoon shows on a 52-week basis, and that Hanna-Barbera would create the shows (Screen Gems was signed to distribute them). The names of the shows weren’t revealed at the time, but presumably Joe Barbera had to pitch something to Ideal. Variety revealed something about that half-hour commercial in its edition of Tuesday, November 19, 1963.
Toy Company Sponsors Hanna-Barbera SpecThe special got a name change before it aired on the “Ideal Network” in late December; for whatever reason, it was re-monikered “Here Comes a Star.” (In another stellar marketing move, the special was also shown in children’s hospitals across the U.S. Critics were invited to attend these hospital previews to see the reaction of children to Magilla, according to the Los Angeles Times of January 10, 1964).
Ideal Toy Co. has bought a half-hour entertainment - documentary, “The Magic World Of Hanna-Barbera,” planning to air the spec on 182 stations via Ideal's national syndication network in December. Show will deal with how a cartoon is made. George Fenneman is host-narrator, and Arthur Pierson will direct. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera will produce.
Of the names listed in the Variety blurb, there was really one person who might be considered a star. It wasn’t Hanna and Barbera. It wasn’t Art Pierson, who was a TV and movie director who started out as a juvenile actor in the late ‘20s; you’ll see his name in the credits of “The Flintstones” as a story supervisor. It was George Fenneman, best known as the announcer/straight man on the great radio and TV show “You Bet Your Life.” Fenneman (and Hanna-Barbera’s John Stephenson, for a time) also announced on “Dragnet.” But he wasn’t the star in the title, either. It was Magilla.
At least they were identified on camera or in the credits. As Variety intimated, the commercial was swathed in the clothing of a quasi-documentary on how TV cartoons were made. As the camera made its way around the studio, employees popped up in complete anonymity. You should recognise one below.
Yes, it’s young Tony Benedict sitting next to Dalton Sandifer (another writer) in a completely staged story meeting. If you’ve seen the special, you’ll notice Lew Marshall and Alex Lovy on the left side of the table with Dan Gordon standing up looking at a picture of Magilla on the wall. Tony was gracious enough to identify the other people with him in the scene, so I asked him if he could give the names of others who appeared on the special. And he quickly sent back some notes.
Here are three great layout men, Willie Ito, Jerry Eisenberg and Dick Bickenbach. I probably don’t have to go into the background of these men if you’re a regular reader. Willie had been an assistant animator at Warners and went to work for Bob Clampett’s Snowball, Inc. in 1961 before shuffling off to Hanna-Barbera. Highlights of Jerry’s lengthy career can be found in an interview he gave on this blog. Bick replaced Jerry’s dad Harvey doing layouts for the Hanna-Barbera unit at MGM starting in 1946. He was one of the original employees of H-B Enterprises in 1957 and reworked many of Ed Benedict’s characters into model sheets for the animators. Willie and Jerry are still with us, well respected in the industry.
This is Guyla Avery, billed in the special at Joe Barbera’s secretary. Iwao Takamoto recalled in his autobiography how Bill Hanna would ignore the intercom system put in to reach her and just yell out his door. The former Guyla Alleman was born in Kansas in 1927. Her second husband was H-B designer Alex Toth. She died in 1985.
Here are Jerry Hathcock and Nick Nichols. The two of them had worked at Disney, and Hathcock had also animated at MGM at the time Hanna and Barbera were coming up with Tom and Jerry.
Checking out this colour chart are, left to right, Jayne Barbera, Howard Hanson, Robert Greutert and an unidentified woman. Barbera was related to you-know-who and went on to a long career at her dad’s studio, culminating with the title “executive in charge of production.” We’ve profiled Howard Hanson before; he was an assistant animator at MGM and eventually became assistant production manager there below Max Maxwell. He was H-B’s first production manager from 1957 through most of the ‘60s. Roberta Greutert started as a painter at MGM in 1938 and became the assistant ink and paint supervisor under Art Goble there. The two ended up at H-B, where she ran the ink and paint department when the studio opened until retiring in September 1971. She was born in Tennessee in 1914 and died in 2007. Greutert was the name of her first husband (Henry Greutert, Jr. was a sculptor who worked on the main lot at MGM on films like “The Wizard of Oz”). Her married name at the time of her death was Marshall (as in Lew).
Tony’s stumped on who this is.
The first shot pans over to the second one. In the foreground you see background artist Ron Dias and in the background, Fernando Montealegre. That’s Monty in the second shot. Ron recently passed away. Monty did great work in those early seasons at Hanna-Barbera; he had worked at MGM and eventually was credited with backgrounds in the Mike Lah unit just before the studio closed.
I would have guessed this was Ken Spears. Tony says it’s actually Warner Leighton. I believe Leighton and Greg Watson (who had been at MGM) were the studio’s original film editors. Leighton had worked in live action prior to going to Hanna-Barbera; he began his career as sound editor on the first Cinerama production “South Seas Adventure.” He was born in 1930 and died in California in 2005. His middle name was “Elvon,” which was his father’s and grandfather’s name.
I didn’t ask Tony about these four shots. Joe Barbera’s in the first shot and I don’t want to take a chance and guess that’s Doug Wildey he’s talking with. “Jonny Quest” was just about sold to ABC at the time this special was produced. The second shot is of the control room recording the sound for cartoons (in the special, dialogue of Allan Melvin and Doug Young was added in post-production; stand-ins with their backs to the camera are used). As for the bottom photo, it’s a little dark, but my guess would be that’s Frank Paiker controlling the camera. Paiker’s animation career went back to the late ‘20s in New York and he spent the ‘30s with the Fleischers.
And you know who these two are.
Variety reported on December 23, 1963 that the studio had budgeted $4,200,000 for the Magilla and Peter Potamus shows; Potamus came later. The figure seems like a misquote. By comparison, “The Flintstones” were budgeted at $1,450,000 while Quest (called “high adventure series”) was earmarked at only $1,300,000.
“Magilla Gorilla” was the first Hanna-Barbera TV show I stopped watching. There are a bunch of reasons the series didn’t appeal to me, but it’s through no fault of the people who worked on it, many of them the same people who brought the world Quick Draw McGraw and Snagglepuss, both of whom were stronger characters than Magilla. The show struck me as copying too much of what I had seen (done better) in earlier Hanna-Barbera series. But to each his own. Variety’s Helm, in a review on January 20, 1964, called the debut show “another winner,” so what do I know?
In the writing credits for the first Magilla (preserved in the aforementioned Variety review) are Warren Foster, Sandy Sandifer and the man who helped with this post, Tony Benedict. My thanks to Tony for this and all the great work he did at Hanna-Barbera.
Until Huckleberry Hound came around and started receiving universal raves, not an awful lot of attention was paid to TV cartoons by 1958. A notable exception was the “McBoing Boing Show” on CBS, but that’s because it was in prime time, producer UPA still had a cachet and incredible amounts of money were spent on it. Other than that, there were some syndicated cartoons buried in children’s shows that critics treated as TV filler, and “Ruff and Reddy” starting in late 1957 on Saturday mornings, when networks didn’t even provide full programming.
That’s why it’s a little odd to see Weekly Variety came out with a feature story on the Hanna-Barbera studio before the Huck show even aired. H-B was a pretty small operation then. But perhaps the idea of a nation-wide syndicated hook-up of a cartoon show piqued the interest of the trade paper, egged on by the Hanna-Barbera/Screen Gems publicity team looking for promo ink for their new show.
So here’s the story from the August 20, 1958 issue. It contains an early attempt by Joe Barbera to justify the aesthetics of the studio’s limited animation. Interestingly, one of the scenarios that Barbera calls “unnecessary” sounds like something out of the MGM cartoon “To Spring,” directed by one Bill Hanna. In a way, Barbera’s right. Good poses, much like you’d find in a comic strip, can put a gag across. Unfortunately, the studio came to rely on dialogue more and more.
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Cartoons a Pushbutton Pushover
Grinding Out More Footage in a Fortnight for TV Than Customary in a Year for Theatre Use
By BOB CHANDLER
Hollywood, Aug. 19.
Sweeping refinements and streamlining techniques in animated film production have enabled cartoon producers to turn out more footage in two weeks for television than they did in an entire year for theatrical use and at half the cost.
Prime example is H-B Enterprises, the partnership run by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, who pulled down seven Academy Awards during the 20 years they turned out the "Tom & Jerry" series for Metro and who are now operating strictly in the field of television cartoon production.
H-B is currently turning out two series, the group of 52 four-minute "Ruff & Reddy" cartoons for Screen Gems, now in its second year, and the new series of 26 half-hour cartoon shows, "Huckleberry Hound," which Screen Gems has sold to Kellogg for a fall bow.
Barbera recalls that at Metro, it would take eight weeks to turn out a six-minute cartoon, and the total output of the studio was eight such cartoons per year. Currently, H-B is turning out 30 minutes a week of animated footage, comprising three "Ruff & Reddy" segments a week, nearly two seven-minute cartoons a week for the new "Hound" series, plus bridges, billboards and intros connecting the "Hound" cartoons to form the half-hour.
All of this has been achieved, Barbera maintains, without "cheating," a term he applies to the herky-jerky money-saving techniques involved in so-called "limited animation." Savings have accrued through greater production which-cuts the overhead, and the major upbeat in production stems from what Barbera believes is a streamlined and intelligent approach to animation.
On the use of intelligence in approaching animation, Barbera points out that in the old days, studios would overdo their animation, to the point of using hundreds of separate drawings to show a sleeping man’s chest heaving up and down, for example. Or in a floral scene, many drawings would be made to show flowers swayed by the wind, or a leaf dropping. ‘Taint necessary, says Barbera, and it’s time-consuming and expensive.
Out Go the Frills
Idea is to use as few drawings as possible without loss of entertainment quality, he states, and it’s in the elimination of the frills that the increased production and savings have occurred. Moreover, in many cases he’s found that the elimination of needless drawings has made the animated action crisper and sharper, and often has served the purpose of humor.
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Interestingly, the article deals with cost and technique. It didn’t try to predict the end result. “Crusader Rabbit” and “Ruff and Reddy” may have come first, but it was Huck’s critical and financial success which jump-started the entire TV animation industry. Soon, trade papers would be reporting on new studios and new cartoon series, as well as charting the growing dollar-figures and expansion at Hanna-Barbera.
The preponderance of Pebbles and Postman continued in the Flintstones daily comics 50 years ago this month (this post actually starts with the comic of March 29, 1965). The writer(s) started using variations on the routine. They’re in the March 30, April 8, April 15 and April 23 comics.
We get a nicely drawn collection of mastodons and there’s a two-horned rhinosaurus-saurus as the gag in the March 29 comic.
Other observations about the dailies.
● Not only is Baby Puss forgotten this month, Dino doesn’t appear either.
● Betty makes only one appearance (April 30).
● Another “what will they think of next” final panel (April 12).
● TV antennas are still worth a gag (April 1).
● Love the snake ruler (April 2) and the huge Awakk bird (April 5).
● Fred and Barney would appear to work together at the quarry (April 3).
● The painter tied up Wilma?! (April 16).
● Fred has an eye for the ladies (April 10).
● It took me a while to figure out but that’s a golf club Fred wrapped around the lamp (April 22).
The weeks start on March 29th, April 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th.
Now, the Sunday comics (April 4, 11, 18 and 25). I really love the first one; nicely rendered animals, flora and volcanos. Whoever wrote it has a sense of irony, too. The animals became extinct anyway; there’s nothing “the city” could do about it. I like the idea of Fred talking about a fire extinguisher in the April 11th comic while he’s smoking a pipe. How about that last row in the April 18th comic? The remnants of the bird/Flintmobile collision are pretty imaginative. The final comic is missing a date. It’s from the Los Angeles Times and ran a week early. The Times ended up running the comic for the 18th the following week. The Chicago Tribune didn’t run the Flintstones at all on the 25th.
You should be able to click on each set to enlarge it.
When did Yogi Bear eclipse Huckleberry Hound as Hanna-Barbera’s number one star? 1960, I suspect. Huck may have been running for president that year (with Yogi as a campaign manager), but that was also the year it was announced Yogi was getting his own show on 150 stations, comics in 80 newspapers (as of February 5, 1961) and a feature-length film built around him and his newly-created girl-friend, Cindy.
Huck was relaxed and casual. Yogi was loud and brash. Noise attracts attention. But Yogi was a fairly well-rounded character as well. By the time he got his own show, his cartoons had a fairly set format, so writer Warren Foster allowed himself to explore Yogi’s personality around within those confines.
Here’s a story from the St. Petersburg Times of August 12, 1961. How many cartoon shows today would get this much newspaper space just by changing channels? Whether the paper used an Arnie Carr publicity handout as the basis of the story, I don’t know, but it sums up Yogi’s appeal. Sorry, Danny Thomas fans, we’re only re-printing the portion dealing with cartoons. Feel free to do a spit-take to make up for it.
Yogi Bear, Danny Thomas Featured In New Lineup On Local Stations
“Howdy and hot doggie!” These very familiar greetings are from three favorite cartoon characters, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw. They’re moving to WTVT, Channel 13, Tampa-St. Petersburg.
Monday has been proclaimed Yogi Bear Day, Yogi, first and foremost citizen of Jellystone Park, will introduce all the locally originated shows on WTVT as well as do all the station breaks. Yogi’s friends, Jellystone Park Ranger Smith, Boo Bear [sic], Cindy Bear, Yakky Duck [sic], Augie Doggie, Snooper, Blabber and Hokey Wolf will also help celebrate “his” day.
In the three short years Yogi has been in the public eye, he has become one of the world’s best known bears. He is always good-humored and somewhat patronizing toward the authorities’ wish that he give up his independent attitude and become a good, timid bear. Yogi’s comment to this is simply, “Never!” He refuses to sacrifice any of his dignity and refuses to conform, although he recognizes that a certain amount of tolerance is necessary.
Yogi’s dearest friend is his little bear buddy, Boo Boo, although he decries Boo Boo’s tendency to abide by all the rules. If Yogi has a conscience, it’s Boo Boo, and at times Yogi has been known to succumb to that small voice of the righteous.
All in all, Yogi is a unique creature of the wildwood—as loveable as they come. Perhaps his greatest pride is in his own canny intelligence. “Smarter than the av-er-age bear!” You’ll be able to see the “Yogi Bear” cartoons every Monday from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
Quick Draw McGraw will be featured every Tuesday from 5:30 to 6 p.m. And “Huckleberry Hound” has chosen Wednesday from 5:30 to 6 p.m. to perform. All three cartoons will be featured as the last half of “The Mary Ellen Show.” She’ll now be seen every weekday at 5 p.m., with cartoons, “Rescue 8” and “Highway Patrol” rounding out the last half hour portion of her show.
“Rescue 8,” incidentally, was distributed by Screen Gems. “Highway Patrol,” I would guess, inspired the title of the Huckleberry Hound cartoon “Freeway Patrol,” except Broderick Crawford was never as inept in the former as Huck was in the latter.
Since we’re posting about Yogi....
Isn’t this a great rendering of Yogi? It may remind you of those old ViewMaster slides of the H-B bear. Sure looks better than the Rodney Dangerfield-sounding, “3-D” Yogi in that feature film a few years back. I’d love to see some stop-motion animation with Yogi using this design.
Another full-page ad. I didn’t make a note of the year.
A drawing of Yogi from a publicity photo announcing his coming series in January 1961. (I thought I had posted this before but can’t find it). If I recall, this is based on one of those cartoons-between-the-cartoons where Yogi’s shadow punches him.
The mini-cartoons on the first season of the Huck show are terrific. Cornelius the Kellogg’s rooster drops from the sky (roosters can’t fly, can they?), knocks on a door, Huck comes out and meets each set of characters from the other cartoons on his show in some short gags. The animation is fuller on some and Mike Kazaleh tells me they were done by Phil Duncan, evidently on a freelance basis.
Here’s one gag from one of the little cartoons that ran during Yogi’s own show. It’s an old gag and pretty self-explanatory. Look at the expressions on Boo Boo. There’s weight to him. You can see he feels the pressure of turning on the water.
I want to say Ed Love drew this because Yogi’s head changes position constantly but I don’t recall him drawing Yogi with such a huge open mouth. (Note: Mark Kausler knows who it it. It’s another animation veteran. See his ID in the comment section).
The “HB” on the helmet is a nice touch. I think kids enjoyed spotting those inside jokes.
Here’s an example of the power of Yogi and Huck as salesmen. It’s from Sponsor magazine of August 14, 1961. Their half-hour shows were self-contained with Kellogg’s spots embedded in them, but stations could sell adjacencies. This one did. And the ad is selling potential clients on the idea of selling adjacencies. You can click on it to read the text better.
Finally, these are these two items I spotted on eBay that are said to have come from Bill Hanna’s personal collection and are purported to be pre-1970s. It’s Yogi and his sugary-sweet-looking kids. Gene Hazelton’s work? If anyone knows something about these, please leave a comment.
The picture to the right tells more about the future of animation than you may realise.
It is of the Terrytoons staff and was taken between late February and mid June 1936. Late February is when George Gordon was installed as head of the animation department. Mid June is when a number of animators arrived from the defunct Van Beuren studio, thus they are not in the photo. A bunch of them would get together and create television animation history. They included Carlo Vinci, Dan Gordon and Joe Barbera.
The three of them would get credits on theatrical and television cartoons. But there’s someone in crowd who worked along side them and never, ever got a screen credit (that I have been able to discover), yet he played an important role in animation. He’s in the middle of the middle row, with the moustache. He’s Harvey Eisenberg.
Harvey died 50 years ago today.
He began life in animation as an inker. The Gordons, Barbera, Jack Zander and others left Terrytoons in 1937 to help start the new MGM cartoon studio. Harvey joined them (Vinci arrived much later). Before long, he was the layout artist on Barbera’s Tom and Jerry cartoons, including “Mouse Trouble,” the first of seven Oscar winners for the Hanna-Barbera unit. Below is a snippet of his misspelled entry from the 1940 Census. His home was at 1123 Wooster Street in Los Angeles and MGM paid him $1,920 annually.
He left animation in 1946 and concentrated on cartoon characters in books and comic books. Well, let’s say he left animation temporarily. After his old compadres Hanna and Barbera opened their own studio in 1957, they called in Harvey to lend a hand when needed. He was responsible for the storyboard for “Yogi’s Birthday Party” (1961), where Yogi Bear was, for the first time, featured in the entire half hour of his own. He drew the presentation boards used to sell “Top Cat” (also 1961). And he was directly involved in the creation of one of top shows in TV animation history. Here’s how Iwao Takamoto described it in his book. John Mitchell was the sales chief at Screen Gems (Columbia Pictures’ TV subsidiary) and called some shots at Hanna-Barbera; Bill Hanna recollected Mitchell was the man who pushed for the studio to go into prime time.
[John] Mitchell was the catalyst for getting the show on the air, but the idea was born out of a rap session between Bill, Joe, Harvey, and probably a couple other people, all sitting together and kicking around thoughts and ideas. The directed had come down to put a family show on in the nighttime, and Joe was thinking of a format similar to “The Honeymooners,” involving two different couples. After tossing it around for a while, it was Harvey who finally arrived at the thought that maybe a stone-age family might work. He made a sketch of a caveman and showed it to Joe, but Joe, according to the story, was lukewarm about the idea. When Mitchell got a quick look at the sketch, though, he said: “This is it! This is what we’re going to do!”Harvey Eisenberg had more to do with the Hanna-Barbera characters than this. After leaving MGM, he plunged head-first into comic book art. When H-B decided to syndicate its new “Flintstones” and “Yogi Bear” series in newspaper comics, Gene Hazelton was placed in charge, but Harvey was brought in to do the Yogi Bear weekend cartoons. You’ve enjoyed them on this blog. But you can read to the right that someone in the New York Times book review section in 1951 wasn’t endeared with his work, at least when it came to something else. There has to be a dissenter in every crowd, I suppose.
It’s tempting to say that if medical science in the 1960s was like it is today, Harvey Eisenberg would have lived a long life. But the fact is a series of heart attacks felled him and he died in hospital at the age of 53.
Incidentally, if you looked carefully at the Census returns, you would have spotted the name “Jerome.” Jerry Eisenberg went into the animation business in the mid-1950s and carved out a nice career, a good portion of which was spent at Hanna-Barbera. Jerry is such a fun and friendly guy to talk to. I’ll bet his dad was, too.
Credits: Animation – Bob Bentley, Layout – Iwao Takamoto, Backgrounds – Neenah Maxwell, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Blue Lieutenant, Bear Soldier, Man Picknicker, Charlie, Ranger Schultz, Orange-Hair Ranger – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Blue General, Bear Sergeant, Woman Picnicker, Louie – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961-62.
Plot: Yogi Bear unwittingly becomes part of a war game in Jellystone Park.
The U.S. military is kind of clueless. Warren Foster buried that message—but not too deep—inside a number of Hanna-Barbera cartoons that aired in the 1961-62 season. Three of them have “missile” in the title (“Meece Missiles,” “Missile-Bound Bear” and “Missile Bound Yogi”). Then there’s this one.
Here we find military commanders and soldiers who are so wrapped up in their war, they can’t tell the difference between bears and guys in bear costumes, or park rangers and “enemy” soldiers dressed as rangers. In fact, there were no soldiers dressed as rangers in the cartoon. It was a snap judgement by the general in this cartoon based on his own version of military logic, the same kind of logic that breeds the attitude of “shoot first and ask questions later.”
Yogi: Uh, things must be pretty bad, Boo Boo, when they start draftin’ animals.
Boo Boo: I thought the next war was gonna be a push-button war.
Yogi: They must have run out of buttons, so they start pushin’ bears.
Yogi helpfully urges the hungry patrol to help themselves to picnic baskets. The armed outright thievery is heartily endorsed by the lieutenant. “Livin’ off the country is necessary sometimes,” he declares. Meanwhile, the bear patrol members fire their weapons at Ranger Smith, knowing full well he’s the park ranger, to “scare him off.”
All this does is result in a military escalation, with Smith and his armed rangers shooting at his country’s own soldiers. “But we scored first,” says the lieutenant, as if that were somehow important. The lieutenant orders Yogi and Boo Boo to get into a tank and chase the rangers. “An order’s an order,” says the unquestioning Yogi.
Suddenly, the military goes home.
Lieutenant(on phone): What’s that general? Call off the war game immediately? Uh, why sir? A new missile has made the Army obsolete? Yes, sir!”
And the lieutenant hangs up the phone as Hoyt Curtin’s soundtrack plays one bar in a minor key of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”
But no one tells Yogi. Cut to him in an out-of-control tank, firing at the rangers, who take refuge in their cabin. Smith’s heroic speech:
Smith: We’ll make our last stand here, men. And let us conduct ourselves so Ranger Station Number 4 will go down in history with Custer’s Last Stand, and the Alamo...
At this point the tank that threatens to mow down the ranger station stops in front of the door. Yogi praises Boo Boo for, in essence, saving the rangers’ lives. Don Messick was a wonderful tone in his voice, emphasizing the fact Boo Boo didn’t do anything. “It ran out of gas, Yogi,” he deadpans. The military didn’t provide the necessary fuel to “do the job” and Foster leaves the audience to draw its own conclusion.
“Missile-Bound Bear” ends with the Army trying to cover up its failed mission through intimidation (yet another military “order” of civilians), followed by a bribe by Ranger Smith to Yogi (who realises what it is but gladly complies since it means lots of picnic baskets). This cartoon ends with the rangers conspiring to cover up their own mistake (shooting at bear-costumed soldiers that some tourists told them were real bears) and bribing Yogi and Boo Boo into silence with picnic baskets.
There’s nothing much about the artwork in this cartoon that stands out. It’s one of the first that Iwao Takamoto worked on at Hanna-Barbera. Everything looks shot like it’s on a stage. Incidental characters have the studio’s “look.” The lieutenant could be a jar-headed distant relative of George Jetson.
Iwao’s designs for the military vehicles are solid (note that the dust whipped up by the moving tank is animated).
There’s a cute bit of animation by journeyman Bob Bentley. When Ranger Smith cries that the bears are “armed to the teeth,” he shows his teeth.
I also like how the lieutenant is standing at attention while talking with the general—even when he’s on the phone.
And what would a Hanna-Barbera cartoon be without a running cycle? Here are the three rangers, running past the same tree forever. The cycle is four drawings on ones. It takes 24 frames for the background to start over again. It’s a little slower than in the actual cartoon.
Incidentally, you’ll notice the middle ranger is out of step with the others, for aesthetic reasons I imagine.
Hi, Yowp here. You know my story. I appeared in three Yogi Bear cartoons. Then Joe Barbera told me, “We’re going in a different direction. Yogi, Ranger Smith, Boo Boo and Jellystone Park. No room for you.”
Ah, there was a time stardom seemed in my grasp. Hanna-Barbera included me in their marketing. Here are a couple of examples I’ve spotted.
Dynamic Toy, 109 Ainslie Street, Brooklyn 11, N.Y., made a number of these vegetable ink tattoo kits in 1961. There was one with the Flintstones and another with Disney characters. And there was this one with various characters from the Huck and Yogi shows.
Here they are. And look! Second row to the far left, there I am. All the other characters are identified except me. “Yowp, you don’t need an introduction,” said Joe. Smooth talker, that Barbera.
Now, here’s an odd mixture of characters—the TV version of Felix the Cat, the 1950s Famous Studios version of Popeye with people in the Popeye newspaper strip, and the cast of “The Yogi Bear Show.” And yours truly is there, too. Same design as in the Cockamamies. Who made these rubber stamps? I have no idea.
But my days were already numbered. The studio introduced the Flintstones in 1960 and Top Cat in 1961. Touché Turtle, Lippy and Hardy, and Wally Gator were around the corner. The studio now had plenty of starring characters to sell. And it did. Secondary characters like me became a memory. But we won’t quite fade away altogether, so long as you can see the fun old cartoons we were in.
And since we mentioned the Flintstones Cockamamies, here they are, including Baby Puss.
A 20-inch screen wasn’t enough to contain Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw and sidekicks. Hanna-Barbera’s characters appeared on and off the screen. The characters were available for public events, sometimes involving TV stations which broadcast their shows. Eventually, an act was worked by featuring Eddie Alberian, who had played Clarabell the clown on the Howdy Doody show after Bob Keeshan.
Trade publications gave some publicity to the characters’ whistlestops. Here’s what Broadcasting magazine wrote in its issue of January 9, 1961.
Any four-foot actors?Here are some other examples. You may recall the cartoon where Yogi Bear “helps” the Chicago Bears. A costumed Yogi actually appeared at a Bears game. But he was at other sporting events, too. From Broadcasting, November 6, 1961.
Four-foot-tall actors stand to pick up a little work around the country this year. In fact, there is a potential of more than 180 tv dates. That figure is approximately the station line-up for Kellogg’s Huckleberry Hound and other cartoons, and they all have been offered a new costume package for “personal appearances” by the cartoon characters.
The four-foot figure is a new member of the troupe, Baba Looie. The burro is sidekick to the star of Quick Draw McGraw, and the two are set to accompany Huck on one section of the promotional tour, the characters recreated at each date by local talent.
Costumes have been prepared in two packages by Ed Justin, merchandising director of Screen Gems, distributor of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons. The other package features Huck with Yogi Bear and his new girl friend, Cindy Bear. In the first few days after the costume acts were offered, 27 stations responded.
Each act employs tape for lip-sync dialog and new songs. One of them, “Yogi Bear, the Casanova of the Cave Set,” is a duet for two bears. The other is an equine duet, “Quick Draw’s A-Comin’ and Baba Looie Too.” Kits also contain suggested formats and production run-down.
Air dates are being coordinated with department store promotions which tie in cartoon merchandise with the tv shows. The distributor also is suggesting other angles, such as a sanitation department tie-in with Quick Draw declaring he’s “gonna clean up this here town.”
Baba Looie’s and Cindy Bear's outfits are new. Last year’s costumes covered more than 150 dates at department stores, football games, parades and other local events. In addition, Screen Gems has a professional Huck-Yogi act on the road each season.
Kellogg (through Leo Burnett Co.) has Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw on around 180 stations. The new Yogi Bear show starts this month for Kellogg on 130 stations replacing Woody Woodpecker.
Bear (Yogi) helps cheer Gophers over WolverinesFrom August 28, 1961:
Tv star Yogi Bear (who admits to being “better than the average football player”) and his cohorts Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw ambled over to the U. of Minnesota from WCCO-TV Minneapolis where each has a weekly show to stir up enthusiasm for the college's homecoming football game.
Yogi not only served as cheerleader and participant in half-time festivities but also “guaranteed” the Minnesota Gophers a win over the Michigan Wolverines. Indeed with the backing of the Prophet of Jellystone Park, the Gophers denned the Wolverines by a score of 23-20.
Youngsters visit zoo with Yogi and friendsAnd a couple of stories from Sponsor magazine, showing the power of Huck and Yogi as sales-characters. First, from January 30, 1960:
More than 45,000 youngsters and their parents attended WTOL-TV's “Day at the Zoo” event, which spotlighted a live telecast of the day's proceedings on Aug. 15 (2:30-3 p.m.).
The Toledo Zoo was officially renamed Jellystone Park (home of Yogi Bear) for a day and youngsters were treated to free movies in the park's indoor theater. A tie-in was arranged with the Kellogg Co., sponsor of Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound cartoon series on WTOL -TV, including the setting up of Jellystone express trains and Jellystone Ranger stations.
The animal characters were in costume and paraded through the crowd. Special guests of WTOL -TV were Fred Wilson, sales and promotion field representative for the Leo Burnett Co., agency for Kellogg; Verne Heeren, Gene Malone, Prem Kapur and Art Berla of H-R Television, representative for the station. In addition to the “Day at the Zoo” project, which is in its second year, WTOL -TV works with the zoo management on a year –round basis to stimulate interest through public service announcements and coverage of the zoo's other special events.
Capsule case history: Capwell's Department Store, one of the largest in Oakland, Calif. in connection with KTVU's (San Francisco) Huckleberry Hound, promoted a personal appearance at Capwells of Huck and Yogi, stars of the kid's show. Huckleberry Hound is seen Wednesdays from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Pete Watt, special events manager of Capwell's, reported that 350 children and parents were waiting for Huck and Yogi when they made their grand entrance onto the street level floor of the department store. And other people kept arriving as the half-hour event went on. Both during and after the appearance, Capwell's reported a multi-increase in general merchandise category. Another crowd was gathered in the store's basement toy department to greet the celebrities which also reflected in sales. “I feel that tv was responsible for the promotion's success, by getting the word out to the kids themselves—something a newspaper ad cannot do because kids don't read such ads,” said Watt.And from January 1, 1962:
Capsule case history: When GEM Stores in the new state of Hawaii booked Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Quick Graw McGraw for personal appearances to build store traffic and plug the stores' third anniversary promotion, an on-air schedule on KHVH-TV, Honolulu, was used to implement the program. Starting almost two months before the visit, a strong tv spot campaign was initiated to recruit numbers for the H. Hound fan club and plugging Huckleberry for President buttons. When Huck and his pals started at Honolulu International, about 10,000 of their loyal Hawaiian fans turned out to greet them-the largest crowd in the airport's history. At GEM, fans and customers, numbering 2,500, were on hand to welcome their heroes. Glenn Kya, general manager of GEM, reported that store sales were way up during their Honolulu junket. Results were especially record-breaking on their visits to other islands which are reached by KMVI-TV, Maui, and KHJK, Hilo.Finally, let’s pass on this story from Broadcasting magazine, January 23, 1961. Unfortunately, a picture didn’t accompany the story.
Tv to get mechanical man to promote ‘Flintstones’How long Hanna-Barbera had guys sweating in huge costumes show up at supermarket ribbon-cuttings and department store Christmas toy displays, I don’t know. Newspapers and trade publications eventually stopped covering small potatoes events like that. The studio expanded and pretty soon it stepped up to the ice-show and theme park business. By 1977, Eddie Alberian had moved on to play “Dokey the Good Food Clown,” mixing messages for kids into the entertainment. Seems to me some H-B characters who once had been in costume went in that direction on TV, too.
A newcomer to the Hanna-Barbera stable of cartoon talent distributed by Screen Gems is ready to hit the personal appearance trail. Fred Flintstone, who this season debuted with his wife in The Flintstones (ABC -TV, Fri., 8:30-9 p.m. EST), is ready to follow the promotional route pioneered by the syndicated Huckleberry Hound, followed by Yogi Bear, Baba Louie and others.
How to mount the Flintstone act posed some problems, though. Costumed people customarily portray the cartoon animals in local appearances, but it didn’t seem right to Ed Justin, merchandising manager of Screen Gems, to costume a real man to play a cartooned one. So he has come up with a mechanical man to do the Fred Flintstone bit around the country.
It is the cheapest act yet. A station has only to assign an announcer to ask questions, plug in Fred and let him talk. The other cartoon acts all require actors to fill animal suits. This one will be performed by an animated polyethylene statue executed by Silvestri Art Manufacturing Co. of Chicago, which has created similar representations of Screen Gems cartoon folk for department store displays. Recorded dialog for Fred Flintstone activates mechanical muscles, so the five-foot “personality” can do his own lip-sync act, including an original song to wind up the bit, “Abba Dabba Do,” based upon a favorite exclamation of the caveman character.
The act has been offered all ABC-TV affiliates. Thirty-five accepted immediately and the syndicator expects to hear from more. First stop on the national tour will be WBKB (TV) Chicago sometime next month when the “talent” is ready. Department-store bookings will follow later in the year after a new line of Flintstone toy merchandise debuts next March at the Toy Fair in New York.