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Stuff about early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

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    Our source for full, three-row Yogi Bear Sunday newspaper comics dried up a month ago. At that time, we suggested you could see the full-colour, two-row versions for April 1965 on Mark Kausler’s web site, from his own personal collection. Once again, we direct you to visit Mark at THIS LINK to see the comics from 50 years ago this month.

    However, our source has provided some final three-row Yogis, so we’ll post them below as Mark only has the truncated versions of them.

    Before we get there, a few random musings...

    The newspaper version of Jellystone Park is an odd place, though I suppose it’s less odd than having military manoeuvres and a missile launching site like on the TV show. Native Indians seem to live in the park. And above, you see a couple of seniors in the May 30, 1965 comic. Perhaps it’s a case of Yogi wandering off the grounds of Jellystone and into nearby reserves and wooded residential areas. Yes, I know he couldn’t escape from the park in “Yogi Bear’s Big Break,” but there weren’t internet continuity freaks in those days. So let’s assume Yogi made strolls outside the park boundaries on occasion.

    The May 2, 1965 comic with a blond woman and one of those cutsy, maybe-Hazelton-designed kids named Kevin. Their identities aren’t revealed, but I’ll assume they’re Ranger Smith’s wife and kid, since he had such in earlier newspaper adventures. Their look varied. No continuity, remember.

    In 1964, prime-time television was graced with “The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo,” where his character would portray historical or literary characters. Well, here we are on May 9, 1965 where Yogi portrays historical characters in ancestral form. Hey, why is Ranger Smith chopping down a tree? The comic has a neat twist ending (Dale Hale, is this one of yours?). And Great Shades of Charlie Shows! This may be the first Yogi comic where he doesn’t rhyme. Isn’t that a crime? Hey, hey, hey!

    You’d think a teenaged girl would be listening to the Beatles or some parody name version of them. Nope. This chick’s groovin’ on...Andy Williams?! Well, parts of the animated cartoon world were never friendly to rock music. Until I found the top row of the May 16th comic, I figured Yogi appeared for a second time without rhyming. I should have known better. The birds are nicely rendered; there are pretty good drawings of birds in a few of the other Yogi comics. Perhaps they’re like Humboldt in that Augie Doggie cartoon and they’re humming “Swanee River.”

    Speaking of Augie, here he is in the first panel of the May 23rd comic, making a cameo appearance with his dear old dad and Huck, Quick Draw and Baba Looey. Then they vanish. We get Indian stereotypes instead. A shame that first row is poorly scanned; I like the composition.

    Mark has the May 30th comic with all three rows in colour. “Mom, who’s Tom Dewey?” I can hear the young newspaper readers of America asking when they first saw this comic.

    In June, 1965, the last paper I was able to find the three-row Yogis dropped them in favour of some Disney strips, Peanuts and a suburban comic featuring arguing neighbours and mother-in-law jokes. So you’ll have to check out Mark’s site toward the end of each month for Yogi.

    Wait a minute. I’ve just been handed this late bulletin. We may have found a new source for the three-row Yogis, the archives of the Buffalo Courier-Express. The scans aren’t great and have a line through the middle of the comics, but we’ll see how things look next month.

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  • 05/06/15--06:59: Mom, I Won a Trip to Teheran
  • All across the U.S., in the first half of 1964, I would be willing to wager there were receptionists at TV stations going home from work, mumbling to themselves about how they got nothing done because their day was interrupted by kids staring at a large glass jar and their mothers either making small talk or asking silly questions.

    The jars were supplied by the folks at Screen Gems, pushing a cartoon character that was already in permanent reruns—Yogi Bear.

    Here’s Broadcasting magazine from January 13, 1964.

    Kids to bare talents at bean guessing
    Screen Gems Inc. reported last week that 130 of 150 TV stations carrying the Yogi Bear cartoon series have agreed to participate in “Yogi Bear’s Jellybean Sweepstakes,” in which 10 youngsters under 12 and their parents will win an all-expenses paid trip abroad next summer.
    The contest opened officially last Saturday (Jan. 11) and will continue through March 7. Stations have been supplied with jars and jellybeans. Each station puts a certain number of jellybeans in the jars and the children are asked to send in postcards guessing the number. The first postcard with the winning number in each city will be eligible for the grand contest. In turn, names of the winners will be eligible for a second drawing, at which time 10 names will be selected for the overseas trip.
    The grand prize winners and their parents will be flown to Tokyo, Rome, London, Moscow, Sydney, Singapore and other cities to be chosen. Each child also will be given a live bear cub to be presented to a zoo in the city he visits on behalf of the children of America. Consolation prizes of Yogi Bear games, toys, books and records and dolls will be awarded to local winners. Screen Gems has supplied stations with an extensive array of promotional and merchandising materials.
    We can only imagine the reaction of parents who won a trip to the Soviet Union.

    What prompted this unusual contest? Well, the year was 1964. That was the year Hanna-Barbera came out with Hey, There, It’s Yogi Bear. Counting jellybeans (they kind of look like jelly stones, don’t they?) was all part of the hype, as an edition of Film Bulletin explained in a story:

    There’s a bear of a campaign to herald that great new Hollywood movie star, Yogi Bear, in Hanna-Barbera’s first feature-length animated film. The 20-point merchandising program includes a Kellogg’s premium offer via the backs of 45 million Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies boxes which will be promoted via a one-minute commercial on Kellogg sponsored TV shows and targeting on the youth market.
    A tremendous variety of “Yogi Bear” character merchandise is available from more than 50 manufacturers.
    Yogi’s Sunday comic page, appearing in 190 major markets, will carry for six weeks his Hollywood adventures while making “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear.” Colpix is issuing a “Yogi Bear” soundtrack album and a single featuring the theme music.
    Also: P.A. tours of Yogi-Bear and Boo-Boo costumes, a book promotion including three Golden Book story books, a comic book, Whitman Publishing Co. games, a national tie-in with the Yogi Bear Jelly Bean Sweepstakes, Yogi...
    Well, you get the idea. The Film Daily, on May 8, 1964, went even further in its description of the push, saying Screen Gems even engaged in a “Special mailing to clergy, educators, opinion makers and parents stressing the film’s family entertainment.” You think Disney did the same thing for “Lady and the Tramp”?

    But back to jellybeans. Having read about this contest, you might wonder who won it. The Lodi News-Sentinel of March 13, 1964 revealed one of the preliminary winners who had appeared at the reception desk of Channel 13.

    Lodi Youth Yogi Bear TV Winner
    A 12-year-old Lodi youth yesterday learned that he had correctly guessed the number of jelly beans in Yogi Bear’s jar.
    Mark Olsen, 339 Maple St., is the winner of $100 in prizes and games in the Channel 13 contest, having out-guessed some 6,000 entrants in the area-wide contest. He correctly estimated that the jar contained 427 jelly beans.
    In addition to his prizes, which will be presented on the Yogi Bear program sometime next week, Mark will received a year’s free pass to Yellowstone National Park, and will be made an honorary ranger.
    Biggest prize of all, however, is the opportunity to compete in a national drawing among the 115 area winners for ten all-expense paid, round-the-world trips for the winner and his family.
    If Mark’s name comes out of the hat in the national drawing, he and his parents will be guests of British Overseas Airwaves on one of its 707 jets on a tour of Rome, London, Moscow, Paris, Frankfurt, Teheran, New Delhi, Bangkok, Sydney and Tokyo.
    Each of the ten winners will take with him an official Yogi Bear cub, furnished through the courtesy of the Duluth, Minn. zoo, to be presented to one of the cities along the travel route.
    “Wait a minute,” you’re wondering. “Did I read twice about a kid taking along a real, live bear, Yowp?”

    Yes, loyal reader, you did. Thus spake Variety on June 10, 1964:

    KDAL Loaded for Bear
    Duluth, June 9.
    They’re hunting for bear in the woods around this northland town.
    The search, at the behest of the local zoo and KDAL-TV hopes to produce 10 foundling bear cubs for donation to cities aboard this summer. They’ll be chaperoned by youngsters who were regional winners in the Yogi Bear jellybean sweeps contest staged by Screen Gems for its off-network cartooner.
    You can, no doubt, picture the smiling faces of Iranians as a P.R. flack from Screen Gems says “Here’s your bear, Teheran.” And you thought you saw a Hanna-Barbera international incident when Yogi Bear demanded ketchup on his filett mignonnies in that restaurant in Paris.

    Anyway, there are several pictures on the internet of one young man, clutching a Yogi doll and a BOAC travel bag, who must have won one of the grand prizes. But each has a huge, ugly watermark across it. So the best we can do is reprint this picture-less story from Boxoffice magazine of June 8, 1964:

    Jacksonville Girls Wins In Yogi Bear Contest
    JACKSONVILLE—Seven-year-old Katherine Edwards, the daughter of a Duval County police patrolman, became the winner of one of ten national first prizes awarded in the Yogi Bear Jelly Beans Sweepstakes conducted by Columbia Pictures in the advance promotion for “Hey, There, It’s Yogi Bear,” the new feature cartoon picture starring Yogi Bear, a character loved by millions of American youngsters through television and comic strip outlets.
    Katherine’s prize is an all-expense trip to Zurich, Switzerland, with her mother and father accompanying her. She will present to the mayor of Zurich a bear cub donated by the Duluth, Minn., zoo and she will present letters of introduction from Florida’s governor and U.S. senators.
    She was treated to a preview shooting of “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear,” at the local Studio Theatre, as the guest of Art Castner, manager of the Edgewood Theatre, where the movie will have its north Florida premiere.
    Ed McLaughlin, Columbia manager here, revealed that 750,000 children in 127 American cities and towns competed for the ten top prizes in the sweepstakes. Katherine also received a treasure chest filled with Yogi Bear novelty toys. Her trip overseas and back will be made in Rolls Royce jetliners of BOAC. Local TV station WJXT, Channel 4, cooperated in conducting the sweepstakes here with the assistance of Ranger Hal, child favorite.
    Katherine, if you’re reading, let us know how the trip went.

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  • 05/09/15--07:09: A Phi Beta Katta
  • Here’s a storyboard for one of those great cartoons-between-the-cartoons on the “Huckleberry Hound Show.” If I had to guess, I’d say this is the work of Dan Gordon, just judging by the No. 10 drawing of Mr. Jinks, although the gag and thumbnail of scene 13A may have been added by Joe Barbera.

    I’m sure you can hear Hoyt Curtin’s brassy Huck theme in the background when you read the captions. I believe you can click to enlarge it.

    To the best of my knowledge, the finished cartoon didn’t make it onto the Huckleberry Hound DVD released a number of years ago.

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  • 05/13/15--07:05: Flintstones Comics, May 1965
  • 1960s issues hit the Stone Age in the Flintstones newspaper comics of May 1965. Long hair on boys (May 12th) and environmental conservation (May 28th). And we have the old 1940s comedy standby—the door-to-door salesman (May 25th) that Chic Young loved to toss into his Blondie comics on occasion.

    Was the writer inspired by Chuck Jones’ Now Hear This (1962) in the May 11th comic? The gag’s a little surreal for the Flintstones.

    Some other things...
    ● Pebbles meets up with the postman again (May 24).
    ● Barney loves hats (May 8, 17, 19, in addition to his Lodge hat and hard hat).
    ● Ethnic gags two strips in a row (Chinese, May 3; Italian, May 4).
    ● Betty makes two appearances this month. Meanwhile, there’s at least one Pebbles-centric comic every week.
    ● Where’s Baby Puss?
    ● Dino has thought balloons (May 18).

    The comics are batched in weeks, Monday through Saturday: May 3rd to 8th, May 10th to 15th, May 17th to 22nd and May 24th to 29th.

    One of the Sunday Flintstones is missing in action; I can’t find a version of the May 9th comic. Nor can I find any with all three rows. The scans aren’t the best, but aren’t the animals in these great?

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  • 05/16/15--07:02: The High-Fallutin’-est
  • Hanna-Barbera fans have their favourite characters, and yours truly is no exception. You’ve probably figured out from this blog I really love the early cartoon series the best. The writing was clever, the characters likeable, the artwork attractive, the voice casting pretty much perfect and even the stock music set the right mood. (Conversely, I don’t think all these elements were found in the studio’s cartoons later on, and were maddeningly lacking in some, but to each their own).

    Picking a favourite character is pretty easy. It’s Quick Draw McGraw.

    I’m not a fan of westerns but I enjoy seeing how the Quick Draw series makes fun of western film clichés. Quick Draw himself isn’t an absolute moron and I don’t think his cartoons would have been as fun if he had been. In most cases, he has the right idea of how to go about things but something fails miserably in the execution. Writer Mike Maltese fills up the story with something other than tired chatter. Quick Draw (and virtually every other character) talks to the narrator or the audience. The dialogue features surprising non sequiturs, self-references and corny puns. The series was kept fresh by Quick Draw occasionally assuming the guise of El Kabong, Maltese’s concept of “What if Zorro were inept?” And need I mention the appearances of Snuffles, who carried out the idea of a dog’s enthusiastic love of treats to a ridiculous and somewhat logical conclusion?

    The Huckleberry Hound Show was a tough act for Hanna-Barbera to follow. Huck and Yogi were a smash hit and Huck even inspired a fad following in 1958 and 1959. But Hanna-Barbera came up with the idea of parodying TV genres—television was old enough and familiar enough for it to work—and the Quick Draw show won praise from critics and gained a loyal audience. Here’s a story from the Los Angeles Times of November 1, 1959, about five weeks after Quick Draw galloped all the way onto the air.

    Quick Draw McGraw Satire Shoots Up Westerns
    Recently, a careful count revealed there are no less than 29 westerns on television at prime time during the week. That’s saturation, ponder.
    Correct this erroneous report. There are actually 30!
    The statistician who made the survey neglected to include the rip-roaringest, gol-darnedest western of all, a show that stars the fastest gun alive—especially when he’s a horse.
    His name is Quick Draw McGraw, a cartoon hero created by those master animators, Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna, who gave you Huckleberry Hound. Quick Draw is on our cover this week.
    Each Monday Channel 11 at 7 p.m., lets Quick Draw out of his corral with his friends, who include some of the real pioneers of the Old West.
    Quick Draw (a horse, you’ll remember) is possibly the only western hero alive with a burro as a sidekick. His burro, or ponder, goes by the name of Baba Looey and sounds strangely like Desi Arnaz.
    The Quick Draw series satirizes the pants off TV’s westerns. And what better way to do it than with a horse as the hero? What could be more fitting? They talk about true-life cowboys with saddlesores, smelling of the open range. Well, Quick Draw has a built-in danger with natural saddlesores.
    Quick Draw has a real cast of characters with him—appearing in other segments of Hanna and Barbera’s classic cartoon. There’s the private eye duo of Snooper and Blabber, a cat-and-mouse team. Tomorrow, for example, Snooper and Blabber hunt down Light Fingers Farouk, who is disguised as a dog. Here, too, is wonderful satire.
    McGraw is actually designed for adult viewing although the animation pleases the children equally. But the dialogue is delivered with tongue in cheek. Only the big kids understand it fully.
    It’s really a break for the adults. Most of ‘em can’t understand the other 29 westerns anyhow.
    Just how big of a hit was Quick Draw? This story from the May 11, 1960 edition of Weekly Variety has the answer. You can click on the ratings charts to get a better look at some of the specific numbers.
    Kiddie Shows Build Up Unusual Strength in Top 10 Vidpix Survey
    Kiddie vidfilm shows are cutting come fancy rating capers, some evidencing a remarkable consistency in market after market.
    Checkdown of the ARB-VARIETY charts appearing in this issue, shows "Huckleberry Hound,""Popeye,""Quick Draw McGraw," and "Three Stooges" placing among the top 10 in a multiplicity of markets.
    Some of the ratings are imposing. In Seattle-Tacoma, "Huckleberry Hound" copped a 36.6 for its Thursday at 6 p.m. slot on KING. It was number one in the market, followed by "Three Stooges" with a 30.9 on KOMO. In Philadelphia, "Popeye" was the number one syndicated show in the market. The "Popeye" series there is stripped Monday through Saturday from 6 to 6:30 p.m.
    Cartoons making the top 10 syndicated chart this week were as follows: "Huckleberry Hound," among the top 10 in Seattle-Tacoma, Washington, Pittsburgh, New-Orleans, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Atlanta, Baltimore.
    "Popeye" was among the top 10 in the following cities: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, New Orleans, Atlanta and Baltimore.
    "Quick Draw McGraw," placed among top 10 in following markets: Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Atlanta and Baltimore.
    "Three Stooges," a non-cartoon kiddie show, placed among the top 10 in the cities surveyed in the following markets: Seattle-Tacoma, San Francisco and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
    There are many five-minute cliff-hanger cartoons which are programmed in a general kiddie show.
    Such five-minute strips wouldn't show up in the ARB-Variety charts which measure half-hour programs, or shows of greater duration.

    The Quick Draw McGraw Show couldn’t have made the marketing department at Hanna-Barbera’s bankroller Screen Gems happier. H-B was only two years old at the time Quick Draw debuted and hadn’t built up a large stable of starring characters it could exploit, so it was forced to fill product catalogues with secondary characters like Li’l Tom Tom, Iggy and Ziggy and Yowp (you may cheer at this point). Now, the studio had six or seven new stars it could turn into toys, comic books, puzzles, games, dolls, etc. etc. etc. and could start phasing out its B-listers like, well, you know who (you may boo at this point). Quick Draw got a lot of attention, even taking part in the Huckleberry Hound presidential campaign of 1960 (see photo from Broadcasting magazine of October 24, 1960 to the right). But Quick Draw never got a newspaper comic like Yogi Bear, or a full-length movie like Yogi Bear, or was turned into a lousy CGI Rodney Dangerfield sound-alike years later like Yogi Bear. Clearly by 1960 Yogi had eclipsed Huck as the studio’s number one star and was soon joined by the Flintstones in the studio’s top echelon. But I’ll still take Quick Draw over all over them. How can you dislike someone who goes around bashing people with an out-of-tune guitar in the name of frontier justice?

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  • 05/16/15--19:14: John Stephenson
  • For years, cartoons came and went in the production line at Hanna-Barbera, but John Stephenson was always there, lending his voice to comic and not-so-comic characters.

    John Stephenson died last night at the age of 91, according to his son Roger. He had been in a care home and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s for some time.

    He was just as comfortable in front of the camera as in front of a microphone. He has a long list of credits on live-action shows, some in regular roles, and probably a longer list in cartoons. He graduated from radio to television with ease and was the first person who appeared on camera when “I Love Lucy” debuted in 1951 (Stephenson was the commercial pitch-man).

    For someone who failed an audition with Hanna-Barbera, he sure had a long career there.

    Stephenson had all kinds of roles at the studio but his most famous one is, arguably, Mr. Slate on “The Flintstones.” In the photo above, you see him hovering over Mel Blanc (and blocking Alan Reed) as Joe Barbera goes over the story with the Flintstones’ voice cast (the bald guy in the back is Associate Producer Alan Dinehart).

    Stephenson was from Kenosha, about 40 or so miles from Milwaukee, where the Journal felt he was local enough to profile in a feature article published February 13, 1963. This was after his first regular cartoon role as Fancy-Fancy on “Top Cat” had gone into Saturday morning reruns and well before he cropped up on seemingly every “Scooby-Doo” episode as a stumped law enforcement guy or a disguised villain who would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids and... well, you know the line.

    The article sums up Stephenson’s entertainment career, and has a surprise about the role at Hanna-Barbera he didn’t get.

    Seldom Seen, Often Heard
    Ex-Kenoshan With Versatile Vocal Cords Provides Voices for the Cartoon Characters You See on TV
    By J.D. SPIRO
    Journal Special Correspondence
    Hollywood, Calif.—In Hollywood’s TV cartoon workshops, one of the major tasks is to find the right voices for the characters that pop out of the inkwells. Since not only features and shorts but also an increasing number of commercials employ these unseen performers, there is a growing need for them, and the opportunities are attracting more and more actors with vocal versatility.
    Among the better known and highly regarded members of this group is John Stephenson, 39, from Kenosha, Wis., who finds working in this field more rewarding and exciting than anything he ever did in his previous show business experience.
    “It has been keeping me so busy,” he said, “that from a dollar and cents point of view I can no longer afford to make motion pictures.”
    In ‘The Flintstones’
    Stephenson has been the voice of innumerable characters in such shows at “The Flintstones,” “Top Cat” and others. “The Flintstones,” he said, “was my first animated series. I auditioned for both Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble when they were still on the drawing boards. But I ended up doing various other roles, such as Garry Granite, Perry Gunnite, Boss Slate, Mrs. Slate, Joe Rockhead and more.”
    In “Top Cat,” Stephenson, besides doing other parts, has a starring vocal role as Fancy-Fancy, the ladies man of the back alley set.
    “I tried to make him come across as a kind of Brooklyn Cary Grant,” he explained.
    In the cartoon studios, Stephenson is known for his creativeness and his broad range. Where dialects are needed he can do English, French, German, Italian and Russian besides the typical accents of the different sections of the United States. He also has a talent for trick voices.
    Champ in Oratory
    “Sometimes in the animated cartoon field,” he said, “I also do impersonations of widely known people. For these I often audition on the phone. The other day a producer called up and wanted to know whether I could impersonate W.C. Fields. I replied by doing it for him while we were talking.”
    Stephenson, whose parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Stephenson, now live at 1029 E. Idaho st., Milwaukee, first became interested in acting while attending Kenosha high school and studying speech under John Davies, who encouraged him to give it a try. In his senior year (1941) he became Wisconsin state champion in oratory and dramatic declamation in the National Forensic league competitions. He was runnerup when the various state winners met at Terre Haute, Ind.
    The next fall, Stephenson entered Ripon college, where he was active in campus drama. His intention then, however, was to become a lawyer, and after finishing at Ripon, to take a law course at the University of Wisconsin. After Pearl Harbor, World War II interrupted his studies and he became a radio operator and gunner in the air corps. By the time he got out of uniform he had decided to be an actor. Because of this change of plans, he took a course in speech and drama at Northwestern university, and he began his professional career in Chicago radio while still a student.
    In 1948, with only three months to go before getting his M.A. degree, Stephenson came to Hollywood for a visit. Here he fell in with some actors he had worked with in Chicago. They encouraged him to try his luck in Hollywood radio. It proved so promising he decided to stay. He appeared in “It’s Always Sunday,” and played the title role in another, “The Count of Monte Cristo.”
    After Hollywood television began to flourish in the early 1950’s Stephenson turned to it not only as an actor but also as an announcer and host-narrator. He did his first announcing with “I Love Lucy.” Later he played a continuing role in “People’s Choice,” starring Jackie Cooper—the part of Roger Crutcher, a rival for the affections of Pat Breslin. Following a year with Cooper, he became host-narrator of “Bold Journey,” then returned to acting in various shows.
    Does Commercials
    Stephenson also appears, or is heard as an off camera voice, in many TV commercials. Recently he went to Detroit to do one for the Ford Motor Co., intended for use in connection with the Leonard Bernstein-New York Philharmonic specials, and he filmed two others for Ford here.
    “The one in Detroit, which we did at the Dearborn testing grounds,” he said, “was only two minutes long but it took a week to shoot.”
    In TV, Stephenson also speaks for Bell & Howell in their specials and is heard in a number of other commercials. Besides his radio and TV roles, he has done six movies, the latest “Spartacus.”
    With his wife, Jean, and two children, Roger, 5, and Katie, 2, the former Wisconsin actor lives in the Woodland Hills district of the San Fernando Valley.

    Once Stephenson landed at Hanna-Barbera, Joe Barbera, Alan Dinehart, Gordon Hunt and the other recording directors wouldn’t let him go. It seems like he provided voices for just about every H-B series for the next couple of decades (the original “Jetsons” being a notable exception). 30-plus years after his arrival, his rumbling yell of “Flint-stone!” from the mouth of Mr Slate was still being recorded for soundtracks, this time for TV movies of the Modern Stone Age Family.

    We offer our condolences to his family. I’m sure his countless fans do, too.

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  • 05/20/15--07:00: A Story of Stang
  • Arnold Stang was no stranger to voice acting, cartoon or otherwise, when either Joe Barbera or Alan Dinehart decided the guy they hired as Top Cat just wasn’t right and someone else was needed. (Dinehart was the voice director on the show). In the early ‘40s, he subtracted a few years off his age and won auditions for a variety of juvenile roles on network radio before graduating to The Henry Morgan Show as the somewhat apathetic Gerard. As for cartoons, he played Popeye’s accident-prone buddy Shorty in a few shorts before he and Sid Raymond co-starred in the long-running Herman and Katnip series released by Paramount, uncredited the whole time.

    People only familiar with his work on Top Cat may not be aware of the busy career Stang had in the ‘40s and ’50s. So here he is talking about it to the Philadelphia Inquirer of April 29, 1962. About six weeks earlier, it was announced the show was leaving prime-time and going into Saturday morning reruns.

    'The Arnold Stang-Type', In Person
    ARNOLD STANG is a walking, talking zoo. Currently furnishing the voice of the title tabby in "Top Cat," ABC's animated comic strip Wednesdays at 8:30 P. M. (Channel 6), he has impersonated a Noah's Arkful of non-humans.
    For some five years he was Hoiman the mouse in a "Funday Funnies" cartoon series. He was Aristotle, the philosophic turtle, in Ray Bolger's "Washington Square," speaking for a look-alike Bil Baird puppet. He has also portrayed Jasper, a 900-pound gorilla.
    "Jasper was on radio," he told us with deceptive mildness (although he's now earning a weekly stipend purring like a cat, he can, when launched on a favorite topic, rotor like a lion). "I couldn't play a 900-pound gorilla on television very convincingly. I only weigh 103."
    On records he's been cast as the White Rabbit in "Alice in Wonderland," an elephant who couldn't remember, a seal who didn't want to eat with his flippers and a merry-go-round horse tired of going round and round ("He wanted to go up and down for a change?). He has narrated "Peter and the Wolf" and "Ferdinand the Bull."
    He played the title role in radio's "Eager Beaver," but he wasn't a beaver—"just a young fellow with a lot of ginger," and he won critical praise for his serious movie acting as the non-bird Sparrow in "The Man with the Golden Arm."
    Also, he's continually being likened—because of his size (5'4) and the popping eyes behind the horn-rimmed specs—to chipmunk and owl.
    The Bilko-like T. C. in "Top Cat" (Stang resents the comparison, growling, "You might just as well say Aldous Huxley is like me because he wears glasses!") marks his first stint as a cat.
    "Of course," he adds, "the character doesn't think of himself as a cat. He thinks of himself as a very intelligent person."
    Stang was tapped for the assignment after a long list of "names" had auditioned and first Daws Butler, whose voice is used in many of the other Hanna-Barbera cartoon shows, and then Michael O'Shea had been selected.
    "They had made five episodes with Daws and then five with O'Shea," Stang reports, "but they weren't satisfied. When they decided to use me, they discarded the earlier animation. They felt I brought a new quality to the part, a sort of seedy grandeur, a shabby aristocracy.
    "So they changed and redrew the character. Instead of a torn hat, he wore a straw with an Ivy League band. Instead of old clothes, he was given a colored weskit and an old school tie, so that he achieved a kind of shabby sophistication."
    Although T C. doesn't look like Stang, he has acquired gestures and mannerisms usually associated with what Arnold terms disparagingly "an Arnold Stang thing.""There is an 'Arnold Stang type'," he concedes.
    "I have a collection of scripts, a 15-foot shelf, from shows I've never done in. which a character is described as 'Arnold Stang type.' In many cases they're far away from my conception, but the phrase has become part of television and radio show business language.
    "I'm usually thought of in terms of Gerard, the part I played with Henry Morgan, or of Francis, with Milton Berle, but they weren't at all alike. Gerard was soft-spoken, introverted, quite naive, but with a native sophistication. Francis was a loud, extroverted cynic.
    "One's talk was just monosyllabic. The other used the jargon of Broadway. You can't get characters any farther apart.
    "Depending on the show, the 'Arnold Stang' character is usually Gerard or Francis.
    I'm often called in for these parts and in each case have a definite conception of how I should play it. Often it's opposite what other people had in mind. "I try to stay as far away from any one type as I can. I have never considered myself a comic or a second banana. I have always been an actor. I always do character lines, never jokes. I analyze every show, and I prepare the same way for comedy or tragedy. I have carefully diversified my efforts.
    "Comic or serious, I have no preference. If I had my 'druthers, I'd divide my time between the serious and the light.
    "Whatever I'm doing currently, I enjoy. I enjoy being a working member of show business. I like everything, even panel shows. They're very stimulating."
    His greatest impact on the public, he believes, came from his association with Berle, but he considers his best comedy efforts his work on Morgan's radio and TV shows.
    "I see Henry whenever I can," he says. "He's a brilliant man, though like many gifted men a difficult guy to get to know. He's well-read, intelligent, a fine judge of comedy and a helluva performer. Limiting him to sitting on a panel is a terrible waste."
    Other favorites of Stang, who considers himself "a good audience, but not a loud one. for comedians; I can appreciate, but I don't guffaw," are Red Skelton, Jonathan Winters and Art Carney.
    If "Arnold Stang type" has entered the show biz lexicon, many a word or phrase Stang introduced during extended engagements with Morgan, Berle, Perry Como, Ed Sullivan, "December Bride" (he played the then-unseen Gladys' brother Marvin) and other programs have become popular parlance.
    Samples: "Hoo-hah!""What's to like?""Big deal!""Oh, I'm dying!"
    "One of the biggest yocks I ever got," he recalls, "was from an ad lib on Morgan's radio show—my first 'Ikkhh!'
    "On the Berle show 'chip-chip-chip' stopped the show cold, and I had to use it from then on. I even had fan clubs that called themselves the Three Chip Clubs, I used 'You're sick!' with Berle on radio, and suddenly "sick' was all over and Frank Sinatra was taking out 'Sick, Sick, Sick' ads."
    The former Seymour in "The Goldbergs" and Harold Harcleroad in "Duffy's Tavern" once won a "best actor" award for portraying a halfwit murderer in Ring Lardner's "Haircut." He's pleased that his "Top Cat" working schedule allows him time to accept outside movie and TV jobs, including "Wagon Train,""Bonanza" and "Checkmate" stints.
    Now 38, Massachusetts-born Stang [Yowp note, he was actually 43 and born in New York] has been a performer ever since he auditioned for New York's "Children's Hour" with a serious reading of Poe's "The Raven." His voice was changing, everybody roared and he was offered comedy parts.
    "My wife," he notes, "says I've been discovered more times than cures for the common cold. First I was discovered as a kid and had parts in three pictures and a lead on Broadway.
    "Suddenly I was discovered as another thing, as if I were just out of bed. There was a lot of radio, and I don't think there's been a time that I wasn't involved in television in some way.
    "I remember an experimental NBC show in 1936 with Hildegarde as m.c. I did a dramatic vignette with Gertrude Berg and George Tobias. Every 15 minutes they would stop the show and put on a spiral pattern—so the audience could rest its eyes. People thought then that constant looking at a TV screen might strain their eyes."
    Arnold lives in California with his wife Joanne, a former newspaperwoman who came to interview him, and their two children, David, 11, and Deborah, 10. Do the kids find him funny?
    "I suppose they've been amused at one time or another," says Stang, "but as a rule they take me very seriously!"

    You may be reading about Michael O’Shea as Top Cat for the first time. What happened? Read about it at this post from 2009. As for Daws, I suspect the reason he didn’t end up with the role was because of a comment that Joe Barbera made in the ‘60s (it appears on this blog somewhere) that Daws was responsible for too many of the studio’s main characters.

    Here’s a gallery of some publicity shots for Stang; some of them may have been posted here before. The one in the top left was used in 1941 when he was on The Goldbergs. The artist’s rendering was found in trade ads in 1943 and the one next to it is from 1954.

    It’s Stang as Juliet to Red Skelton’s Romeo in a Skelton TV show from April 2, 1957.

    T.C. never did appeared in drag on his show, but if it had carried on for a few more seasons, you never know. If it was good enough for Fred and Barney...

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  • 05/23/15--06:53: Everybody Knows The Music
  • Imagine what Hoyt Curtin’s career would have been like if there had been no Hanna-Barbera. Or what Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the ‘60s would have sounded like if there had been no Hoyt Curtin.

    I’ll bet you can’t. The two are wedded together in the musical memories of several generations. Doesn’t everyone recognise the theme to The Flintstones?

    In the ‘50s, Curtin was just another freelance composer, picking up work where he could find it; commercials, B movies, cartoons, it didn’t matter. But, as luck would have it, Curtin wrote music for a beer commercial being made at the MGM cartoon studio where Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were producing. That led to work composing theme songs when Hanna and Barbera struck out on their own and then being hired in 1959 (he was the in-house composer for the Raphael G. Wolff studio at the time) to compile a cue library for Loopy de Loop theatrical cartoons. Then came The Flintstones in 1960 (a company called Animation Associates had him write cues for its Q.T. Hush cartoons), followed by Top Cat, The Jetsons, Magilla Gorilla and Jonny Quest.

    Hanna-Barbera was licensing cues from at least three stock music libraries—Capitol Hi-Q, Langlois Filmusic and the Sam Fox Variety library—to underscore its cartoons when the company set up shop in 1957. But television was growing enough and becoming profitable enough for firms to be able to pay for their own, specific musical bridges, buttons and so on. That’s the direction Hanna-Barbera went in. The process didn’t change. Curtin didn’t score to the action, like Carl Stalling at Warner Bros. Instead, his compositions, just like the ones in the Hi-Q library, set a mood. Sound editors like Greg Watson or Joe Ruby picked from amongst the reels upon reels of his cues to find something appropriate to the atmosphere on screen.

    Bill Hanna has a reputation in some circles of being penurious, but he didn’t skimp when it came to music. Curtin wasn’t given a tacky three-piece combo to work with. He brought in top session musicians, more than 20 pieces. His scores and arrangements ran the gamut but he’s praised mainly for big band/jazz-inspired tunes, especially when it came to his theme songs.

    It seems odd that this blog has been around six years without devoting a post to Mr. Curtin. It’s because there are so many other places on line where you can easily find biographical material. There isn’t much for us to say. But I’ve found a couple of old news stories that may be able to add to the collective knowledge about him.

    First, a story from the weekly edition of Variety from December 9, 1964. Basically, it tells how Curtin hit the jackpot thanks to commercials. Oh, a cartoon studio helped his bank balance, too.

    Curtin Scores Bonanza As Teleblurb Cleffer And Cartoon Maestro
    Los Angeles, Dec. 8.
    Hoyt Curtin, the Hanna-Barbera music director who scores the 13 tv animated series, also has 136 teleblurbs currently airing. He estimates this adds up to two hours and 16 minutes of music daily. Naturally, his income has risen astronomically and he claims 75% of it is derived from blurb cleffing, which he prefers doing. And why not? Approximately 10% of total production budget on average 58-second blurb is allotted the musical director—or 10% of $30,000, according to Curtin.
    With union scale running $31.50 per hour for tooter and $63 per hour for batoneer, the musical director who does his own conducting (and Curtin does) stands to pocket at least $1,000 on a single assignment. During Harry James' Kleenex blurb, which Curtin scored, he was allotted better than 20% of cost.
    Curtin used a minimum of 22 pieces in scoring each of the following H-B shows; "The Flintstones,""Johnny Quest," [sic] "Huckleberry Hound,""Yogi Bear,""Touche Turtle,""Quick Draw McGraw,""Lippy The Lion,""Wally Gator,""Top Cat,""The Jetsons,""Magilla Gorilla,""Peter Potamus" and "Ruff 'N' Reddy."
    Ideally, In blurb scoring, "the music and spot are one entity," says Curtin, who gained immediate recognition in 1950-'51 when he scored the early Magoo cartoons.
    Curtin died on December 3, 2000. This was among the remembrances written a few days later.
    Appreciation; The Unsung Composer; Hoyt Curtin Put The Tune in 'Toons
    Hank Stuever, Washington Post Staff Writer [December 12, 2000]
    Hoyt Curtin, who wrote more than 400 pieces of music for Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera's manic cartoon factory, was the unheralded master of Saturday morning's musical cacophony.
    The clangs and crashes and stick-in-the-bucket rattles of the composer's distinctive jazz riffs are burned subconsciously into the sugared brains of three generations of kids: Fred Flintstone slides down a dinosaur tail to the sound of Curtin's hyped-up horn section--"Flintstones/ Meet the Flintstones/ They're the modern Stone Age family . . . "
    The world can hum that. Musicians still record it.
    Curtin, who died last week in California at age 78 after a long illness, was the king of the TV cartoon theme song, those 30 crucial seconds for a jingle to scream Hey, kids, don't touch that dial! Like most songwriters in Hollywood in the 1950s, Curtin labored in a particular kind of jangly schlock, where everything rhymed and bounced and had to be catchy.
    But it was also the incidental music--the little bits of complex and miraculous improv that went with the cartoons, adding up over three decades--that was a large part of his unknown genius. What is the music of poor Fred's damaged hubris after dropping a bowling rock on his toe? What is the music of Jonny Quest scuba-diving into a school of sharks?
    Curtin gave us that frenetic assault of strings that accompanied George Jetson through all that utopian sky-borne traffic between Spacely Sprockets and home. When the Scooby-Doo gang pulls up to a haunted house in their Mystery Machine van, we know, thanks to him, what the groovy-spooky mood is, and what that sounds like.
    Curtin had a long relationship with Hanna-Barbera, from the late '50s to 1992, almost all of it on an episode-by-episode basis. The studio would call him up and give him the gist of a new batch of cartoons: A bear wearing a porkpie hat lives in the woods and steals picnic baskets. ("Yogi Bear is smarter than the [beat] average bear / Yogi Bear is always in the [beat] ranger's hair.") A hillbilly dog with a bow tie has strange adventures. ("That oh-so-merry / Chuckleberry / Huckleberry How-wowwww-und.")
    Curtin would write the songs, hire the musicians, book the studio time, conduct the orchestras.
    As legend has it, he put the "Flintstones" theme together in a couple of collaborative phone calls with Bill Hanna in late 1959. He worked fast because that's how the cartoon factory worked. At Hanna-Barbera's peak, in the early 1970s, Curtin wrote original music for 10 new cartoons in one season. They paid him per show, and he would be dropping in music cues even as the drawings were being assembled by Korean artists.
    At the time, critical grown-ups lamented the decline of the cartoon. Saturday morning TV was nowhere near the quality, they said, of the cinema shorts of the 1930s and '40s. In a way they were right.
    It would be years before any of this would take on a post-boomer cachet. When Rhino Records reissued Curtin's work in 1995, he was semi-retired, living about an hour northwest of Los Angeles, at the end of a pretty cul-de-sac.
    He had invented a successful brand of underground lawn sprinklers. Fascinated by computer-generated sounds, he had converted his grown son's bedroom into a synthesizer studio. He was also working on his own brand of correspondence course for budding musicians--learn how to write songs the Hoyt Curtin way.
    A music historian who produced the Rhino series literally had to peel the soundtracks off the original celluloid films to get adequate masters of Curtin's themes and background music--no one had bothered to keep them after the shows were produced. There is, as far as anyone knows, no existing master for his most famous piece, the "Flintstones" theme.
    I went to meet Curtin in 1995, thinking his life would make a story. (It didn't.) He told me I could come, but warned me that he wasn't very interesting. Unlike some artists who realize that they've inadvertently created pop-culture legends, Curtin wasn't trying to get credit or back pay.
    He served on a destroyer in the Pacific during World War II. He studied music at the University of Southern California on the GI Bill and dreamed of writing scores for motion pictures. He settled for commercial jingles. His work on "Mr. Magoo" theater shorts in 1953 led to his association with Hanna-Barbera. The first cartoon they did together was "Ruff and Reddy."
    Among the last of Curtin's jobs was the music for "The Smurfs," ending in the early '90s. By then, his sound had strayed. It was less jazzy, too childlike. "It feels good not to be doing it anymore," he said to me then.
    We drove a few blocks to his country club and had lunch. He laughed a lot. He peppered his sentences with a jazzy "man" tacked on at the end. He said "soitenly," instead of "certainly," like a cartoon character would.
    I produced a photocopied picture of him in the early 1960s, conducting an orchestra. Judging from the number of violins, he guessed it was a session for "The Jetsons."
    "Very difficult to play," he said of that piece. "That's not anything you can jam on unless you play fiddle like Itzhak Perlman, man. Those fiddle parts were fingerbusters!"
    As it happened, Curtin heard Perlman play "The Flintstones" once in concert. He heard his music everywhere. Punk bands interpreted it. Among professional trombone players, "Jonny Quest" is still a measure of one's skill. It has six flat notes, produced at full slide.
    We spent part of the afternoon upstairs in his music room. Curtin played all my favorite cartoon songs on his keyboard. The ones he could remember, anyway. ("We've gotta gorilla for sale / Magilla Gorilla for sale," we sang.)
    When he couldn't remember them, he'd say, "How'd that one go? Remind me."
    He was also right: Nobody wanted to buy my article about him. "Everybody knows the music," he said. "Nobody knows the guy who wrote it."
    Curtin’s best work was on Jonny Quest, my favourite work of his was on Top Cat (a show I’m lukewarm at best about) but his Flintstones cues are fun, too. And you need to hear his version of “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In” in the clear to appreciate how much his horns smoked (was Pete Candoli in there?). Some of Curtin’s cartoon recordings found their way onto CDs released 20-or-so years ago by Rhino Records. The late Earl Kress went on a musical spelunking job trying to find material for the release. I asked him why more of Curtin’s Flintstones music hadn’t been put on disc because he had said there was plenty of it in the studio’s archives. He explained many of the cues were quite short and an album featuring a series quick of instrumentals wouldn’t really work; he felt Rhino had released the most memorable of Curtin’s little tunes. (Personally, I thought a CD of nothing but Jonny Quest cues could have been a big seller; I forgot what Earl mentioned when we discussed it).

    Earl said he discovered when he researched the Flintstones cues, the bulk of them were not named like a song, they were similar to how Hi-Q would have a Bill Loose composition labelled “C-19.” I never asked him about the significance of the number, whether it indicated a session number or something like that. So here are some random cues with their numeric titles. You’ll hear what sounds like some cassette tape hiss. They may be running a touch off-speed. Cue 8-10 is the one used when Dino does his impromptu high-step and juggling audition in “Dino Goes Hollyrock.”

    CUE 6-1

    CUE 6-2

    CUE 6-4

    CUE 6-6

    CUE 6-9

    CUE 6-10

    CUE 6-14

    CUE 6-15

    CUE 6-16

    CUE 6-17

    CUE 6-27

    CUE 8-4

    CUE 8-6

    CUE 8-7

    CUE 8-8

    CUE 8-9

    CUE 8-10

    CUE 8-11

    And while we’re on the topic of cartoon music, we’d like to give you a heads-up that there’ll be a special broadcast about the subject on Stu’s Show this coming Wednesday at 4 p.m. Pacific time. You’ll want to tune in. His guests are Jerry Beck, who knows just about everything there is to know about theatrical cartoons, and Greg Erhbar, one of the most knowledgeable people you’ll find in the area of children’s records and their cartoon connections. You can expect them to touch on the careers of theatrical greats like Stalling, Bradley and Timberg and hopefully one of the unsung great early ‘30s composers—Van Beuren’s Gene Rodemich. And I imagine they’ll fit in a word or two about the stock music writers you’ve read about and heard here (cue Jack Shaindlin’s “Toboggan Run”)—and that undisputed master of the TV cartoon composition, Hoyt Curtin.

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  • 05/27/15--06:17: Raise the Curtin Tonight
  • Just a reminder you can hear about Hoyt Curtin and other cartoon composers on Stu’s Show today at 4 p.m. Pacific time. Stu Shostak’s guests are Jerry Beck, who knows more about cartoons than probably anyone, and Greg Ehrbar, who has an amazing breadth of knowledge about music and animation (especially kids’ records). Both are friendly and love sharing what they’ve learned with fans. If you have time to listen, I’m sure you’ll learn something and have fun.

    The only unfortunate thing is they’ll never cover all the ground they’ll want to. They could spend three hours on Carl Stalling alone and not get to everything. But Stu has promised an awful lot of work has gone into the show (finding Winston Sharples music in the clear seems to have been a challenge), so it’ll be worth your time to listen.

    Click right here to go to Stu’s site.

    On the subject of Curtin, an excellent piece about his work on The Jetsons was written several years ago in the book Music in Science Fiction Television. But authors Rebecca Coyle and Alex Mesker postulated that Curtin’s jazzy/big band scores were directly linked from MGM’s Scott Bradley through MGM director Bill Hanna, and I don’t know whether that’s true. It reminds me of one those “cartoon connections” that fanbois use and invent their own facts, eg: A) June Foray voiced Warners cartoons, B) That’s a woman’s voice in that Warner’s cartoon so C) It must be June Foray—even though it’s actually Marian Richman. Bradley used music appropriate to the raucousness and chases of the Tom and Jerry series; in the 1940s, that would have meant loud, big band orchestral horns (and that was only one of his many musical tricks). There’s no evidence I’ve seen that Hanna told Curtin to use that kind of music for the far more sedate Flintstones (or bland Loopy De Loop). Curtin himself once said Hanna’s directive, at least for the Ruff and Reddy series, was “Go write a tune and send it to us as fast as you can.” The decision seems to have been left up to Curtin about the type of music and arrangements to employ. But a Bradley connection is an interesting theory.

    And here are a few more unreleased Curtin cues from 1960 you may recognise.

    CUE 1-9

    CUE 1-11

    CUE 1-16

    CUE 1-35

    CUE 1-47

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    Let us now climb the creaking old steps to the virtual storage trunk in the Yowp cyber-attic to leisurely sift through fond memories of Hanna-Barbera past. In other words, I stole these images from internet sites and am re-posting them. Somehow, I like the wording of the first sentence better than the second.

    We have regular readers who joined the Huck Hound Club way-back-when. Some of you even kept your membership card and managed to prevent your mom from throwing out other stuff that Huck’s headquarters sent to you. This application form for the Huck Club from 1961 came from the back of a Gold Key comic. Look what you got for 15 cents! Decorate your clubhouse! (Can an offer be any more suburban than that?). Offer not available in Canada.

    Here’s a full-page ad from Weekly Variety, April 27, 1960. I suspect this is celebrating The Huckleberry Hound Show’s Emmy nomination (it won that June for Outstanding Children’s Program). What’s somewhat amazing is Huck never got a bad review; at least I haven’t been able to find one. The critics loved the show. You can read some of their comments in the ad. Too bad the blue on Huck is faded.

    Did Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera conceive of Baywatch long before it aired? Could this be darling Clementine? Whatever the case, the photo is from the collection of cartoonist and Chicago historian Jim Engle. Any origins before that are unclear.

    Someone decided to go out on Hallowe’en as Huck or is modelling the latest in bank robber fashion. Is that a ‘54 Pontiac in the car port? I’m guessing this photo is from the later ‘60s, being in colour and all. Someone posted it on Twitter.

    Decisions, decision. Should I go with the Oven ready Cornish style roasting chicken for dinner, or the Polish smoked Kielbassi? And what’s the difference between “Cornish” and “Cornish-style?” The fact Huck is holding a box of his sponsor’s product and he’s very much on-model tells me the artwork didn’t come from someone on the staff of the Lorain Journal. This is from 1962. You may pause a moment and sob about the difference in price compared to today.

    Another trade ad, this one from Television Age, March 7, 1960. It’s pushing ABC’s fall line-up. We post it because buried in the list of shows is The Flagstones. There aren’t many contemporary references to The Flintstones under its original name, and few ads. This is one of them. I thought I had saved a newspaper story I found with artwork that included a drawing of Fred Junior (no, this was not for a comic book, it was for the series) but I can’t find it amongst my megabytes of files. Grrr.
    Boy, ABC sure had some failures in ‘60, didn’t it?

    This needs no introduction.

    We’ve been posting some of the Flintstones dailies from the Chicago Tribune. Evidently, Fred and Barney were part of the 1960s round of the Great Chicago Newspaper Wars as they appeared in a different paper at one time. This is courtesy of Scott Awley, who was a character designer late in the life of H-B and has a terrific collection of artwork used to pitch some of the studio’s series. The year is unknown. Nice prehistoric mushroom next to Fred.

    Here’s an ABC publicity photo for Top Cat, specifically for the episode “Top Cat Falls in Love.” Oh, to have a full collection of stills for the four Hanna-Barbera prime-time shows on the network.

    Finally, we save the best to last. It’s a Huckleberry Hound lamp from 1960. Yes, the 10-inch plastic red Huck is a little disconcerting but the best part is, naturally, the lamp shade. Look at the second picture and see who’s on it. Hey, there’s no name next to me like everyone else!

    You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them. We now close the virtual storage trunk and allow it to gather dust until the next visit to the cyber attic.

    Warnning: Do NOT Get Caught While Searching!!
    Your IP : - Country : - City:
    Your ISP TRACKS Your Online Activity! Hide your IP ADDRESS with a VPN!
    Before you searching always remember to change your IP adress to not be followed!
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  • 05/30/15--07:07: Yogi Bear — Ice Box Raider
  • Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Ed Love (incorrect), Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Ranger Jones, Tourist Drinking From Glass – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Woman Tourist, Tourist Wearing Hat – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961.
    Plot: Yogi fakes jumping from Lover’s Leap so Ranger Smith with nourish him back to health.

    Other than the words “pic-a-nic basket” aren’t heard, this cartoon has the formula anyone associates with the Yogi Bear series.
    ● Yogi eats food.
    ● Ranger Smith stops Yogi from eating food.
    ● Yogi gets revenge.
    ● Boo Boo stays out of it.
    ● Ranger Smith loses.
    ● Yogi eats food.

    Oh, and...
    ● Yogi rhymes a lot.

    “My plans are laid for an ice-box raid,” Yogi tells his little buddy at the outset of the cartoon. After Ranger Smith embarrasses him with a booby-trapped fridge, Yogi declares “I made me a double to cause some trouble.” And to close the cartoon, after Yogi embarrasses the rangers with the booby-trapped jeep: “That painter’s brush sure stopped their rush.”

    The credits on the DVD version of this cartoon are incorrect. These rangers look like they’re from Tony Rivera’s layouts, all right, but the animation isn’t anything like Ed Love would have employed. It’s a lot stiffer.

    Don’t you like how the fridge isn’t plugged in? Or how about this shot with the flagpole without a flag. Animating all that flag-waving costs money! (I know they could have had a limp flag and I’m not sure why they didn’t).

    My suspicions are that Dick Thomas is the background artist, not Art Lozzi as per the credits. Here’s a look at some of the backgrounds. The blue bushes in the first two are on overlays.

    Maybe it’s because of my lack of interest in the whole Yogi standard formula that I can’t get enthusiastic about this cartoon. Warren Foster’s story is solid enough. It starts with the booby-trapped, whitewashed bear and ends with the booby-trapped, whitewashed rangers.

    After Yogi is whitewashed, he turns and walks expressionless for three seconds while Hoyt Curtin’s happy music plays in the background. It doesn’t work for me (at least they cut to an angry Yogi in the next shot). And how, if Yogi had been holed up in his cave for a week, did he have time to booby-trap the jeep?

    Nice expression on Yogi here, after he sews a dummy of himself to pull down from the top of Lover’s Leap as part of his mistaken-identity scheme. I’ve seen it before but can’t remember which animator used it. Hicks Lokey liked that little shovel mouth you see.

    Incidental characters.

    Silhouette shot. The clouds look Lozzi-ish here.

    Pop Culture reference: Yogi shows off his dummy to Boo Boo and says “Now will the real Yogi Bear please stand up?” It’s from the game show To Tell The Truth which, since someone will no doubt point this out if I don’t mention it, once had Bill Hanna as a guest with Daws Butler doing his character voices in the introduction.

    Other than the one piece of music mentioned, the rest of Curtin’s underscore works fine. A few neutrals, and an urgent “Top Cat” cue when “Yogi” is about to “jump.”

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    J. Evil Scientist and family made their first appearance on a 1959 Snooper and Blabber when the detectives were hired to baby-sit “Junior.” Somebody at Hanna-Barbera loved the Charles Addams’ concept of creepy-is-normal because there was a proliferation of “scary” families as guests on several cartoon shows.

    We’ve found another one, this one exclusively in the Yogi Bear newspaper comics 50 years ago this month. Once again, the kid is named “Junior” and, once again, the stars of the show are called on to baby-sit.

    This month, readers also got a clumsy Yogi (times two), the native Indians that live on, or near, Jellystone Park, and Ranger Smith getting a rest for three comics in a row.

    Before we get to the comics, I’ll mention you can go on Mark Kausler’s web site and see the bottom two rows of each of these in full colour. And I’d especially like to praise the work of Tom Tryniski at the Fultonhistory.com website. Tom’s gift to the world is scanning and posting an insane number of old newspapers, mainly from New York State, all on his own time, and all at no cost to anyone but himself. Yes, his search engine is woefully outdated, but it’s liveable if you’re prepared to dig around and find things. Some of the cartoon and old-time radio stories found here and on the Tralfaz blog came through Tom’s scanning efforts. And so did the comics you’ll see below. You’ll have to ignore the line down the middle of them and the translation of dark colours into a black-and-white scale.

    I wonder if whoever wrote the June 6th comic sat down and tried to think of words that rhymed with “basket” and came up with “casket” then came up with this comic. As usual, the layout is excellent and filled with nice little touches, like the raven sitting on a noose, the skull with the arrow through it, and the ghostly “Yogi Bear” title in the first panel. I’m not quite sure how an unplugged TV is scary, but that’s the gag.

    Note the different ways Yogi and Boo Boo’s sense of balance is conveyed in the June 13th comic. (Someone will have to explain to me why some comics today feature characters in the same position in every panel. There’s one I’ve seen where all the characters are drawn at the same angle, either facing left or right, with the heads slightly tilted the exact same way. But I digress). It appears Yogi is riding atop Boo Boo in the final panel.

    I didn’t realise Yogi’s love for Cindy was so extreme. Top row for the June 20th comic is unavailable; maybe that adds something to the story.

    Well, at least the stereotypes aren’t speaking in dialect this time. You’ll notice in the June 27th comic there’s no snow on the mountain in the top panel. You may also notice the fir trees in the background are at a slight angle.

    Considering the inconsistency of finding a source for these comics, I won’t guarantee we’ll have them again next month. Actually, I’m surprised the blog is still going as I expected it to cease a few months ago. But we’ll see. Click on any of the comics to make them larger.

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  • 06/06/15--07:05: The Space Car
  • Get ready for bank interest payments of 44 3/4ths per cent. It’s going to happen. Why? Because it was on The Jetsons. And just about every other futuristic invention on that show is now a reality.

    This is the episode where George reads his news off a large screen, no different really than checking out innumerable news sites on the web.

    This is also the episode where Jane and her friend wear masks of their own faces so they don’t look like they just rolled out of bed. Oh, speaking of bed...

    Wait a minute! George and Jane are in the same bed. They can’t show that on TV in 1962! Oh, that’s right. It’s not 1962. It’s the future.

    Let’s post some exteriors from the cartoon. Unfortunately, the versions on DVD had the original credits taken off so I can’t tell you who handled the backgrounds. Here’s the opening pan shot.

    More buildings, bubble-top flying cars, some kind of asteroid/lunar body, and clouds that are royal blue.

    What’s fascinating is part of the plot involves George Jetson buying a new car. And that’s the plot of a John Sutherland industrial cartoon released in 1956 called “Your Safety First.” Not only does it parallel some of the story-line in the Jetsons cartoon, it also stars the voice of George O’Hanlon. In it, a family watches a Cinemascope-size TV which tells the story of the automobile. In this cartoon, George and Jane do the same thing at a car dealership.

    Barry Blitzer now strings together some car gags, reminiscent not only of Your Safety First but that fun adventure into automobiling of the future, Tex Avery’s Car of Tomorrow (released in 1951). The most Avery-esque gag in the Jetsons cartoon is the one about the special seat for the shrewish mother-in-law—which can be conveniently ejected when she gets too bossy. (The mother-in-law continues to badger her daughter in the car long after the seat has been detached and is floating toward Earth).

    Favourite gag? That’s easy. George being hauled before a TV screen where traffic judge appears to hand out justice—but first breaks for a commercial. The judge himself endorses the product, “Come Clean, the spot remover with the applicator top.”

    Blitzer caps the gag. The commercial ends. Says the judge: “Okay, Jetson, come clean. Uh, I mean guilty or not guilty.”

    I thought I detected a bit of Carlo Vinci animation (when George is attacked by an automatic mop and pail) but your guess is better than mine on who else might have worked on this cartoon.

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    When The Huckleberry Hound Show won the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Program in 1960, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera took out a full-page ad in the June 23, 1960 thanking members of the Television Academy for the honour.

    The ad also seems to include the names of all the people employed by the studio at the time. You can click on it to read it better.

    The list is as interesting for the names it includes as for those it doesn’t. For one thing, it’s missing both layout man Bob Givens (picture to the right from his UPA days, courtesy of Tony Benedict) and background artist Joe Montell. Givens worked on the Quick Draw show that season and Montell on the Huck series, but both had left the studio by the time the ad was published. Conversely, it includes Hi Mankin, who laid out only one cartoon at Hanna-Barbera that season (the Augie Doggie short Horse Fathers). Evidently animator La Verne Harding either had not arrived at the studio or was working freelance. And confirming what we reported in a post about Bill Schipek, he was not at Hanna-Barbera right from the start in 1957. His name is not on the list.

    In the 1958-59 season, Hanna-Barbera had three full-time animators, plus Mike Lah doing double duty. The following year, with the Quick Draw show and Loopy De Loop on the production schedule, the animation staff consisted of:
    ● Emil Carle
    ● Jack Carr
    ● Bob Carr
    ● Brad Case
    ● Ed DeMattia
    ● Hicks Lokey
    ● Ed Love
    ● Dick Lundy
    ● Lew Marshall
    ● Ken Muse
    ● George Nicholas
    ● Don Patterson
    ● Carlo Vinci
    ● Allen Wilzbach

    It was nice of the studio to include the main voice acting talent—Daws Butler, Don Messick, Hal Smith, Jean Vander Pyl and Doug Young. And it appears the entire ink and paint department got some recognition.

    Jean Stau is listed in Variety in 1960 as the casting director for Ruff ‘n’ Reddy. As the show’s cast had consisted of the team of Butler and Messick since 1957, one wonders how much Jean actually did. Alan Dinehart’s name appears. He had been hired to work on the production end, including voice casting, on The Flintstones, which had begun production a few months before this ad came out.

    An interesting name which I haven’t had time to research is that of Shirley Gillett. When you see the name “Gillett,” you think of Burt Gillett, director of The Three Little Pigs at Disney who seems to have vanished around 1940. Well, he did have a daughter named Shirley, born around 1936. Could it be the same person?

    The most unexpected name on the list is Jack Miller. If it’s the same Jack Miller, he was the New York-born Jack H. Miller who worked on stories for Harman-Ising and Leon Schlesinger in the late ‘30s and apparently died in 1973. His name also appears on some 1960s TV Popeyes, which also employed others who ended up doing work at Hanna-Barbera (Noel Tucker, for example). It’s the first I’ve heard of him being employed on either Huck or Quick Draw. His name never appeared in the credits. Could have he been providing story sketches along with Dan Gordon?

    Pat Helmuth was a checker, working at Disney and H-B from 1955 to 1982. I believe she freelanced after that. Pat died on May 14th in the Oakland area, so it’s fitting to dedicate this post to the inkers, painters, checkers and others who helped make those early Hanna-Barbera cartoons such fun to watch, but never seemed to get much credit.

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    It was dog-beat-dog at the Emmy Awards on June 20, 1960. Perennial favourite Lassie was up for the statue for Outstanding Children’s Program. But he didn’t win. Neither did Captain Kangaroo or Mr. Wizard, all three of them Peabody Award winners. Instead, the award went to The Huckleberry Hound Show. Somewhat surprisingly, The Quick Draw McGraw Show was also nominated, despite being on the air for less than a full season.

    To the right you see a congratulatory full-page ad taken out in Variety by Screen Gems, which distributed the syndicated Hanna-Barbera cartoons and had sewed up a pile of lucrative marketing rights to the shows’ characters.

    Over the years, we’ve posted our own reviews of each cartoon that appeared on The Huckleberry Hound Show. We’ve posted newspaper critiques and trade paper comments. Today, we’re going to post the opinion of a young fan.

    This story appeared on the young people’s page of the Newark Union Gazette of February 16, 1961. Huck was still in first-run then; the episode this teenager apparently is talking about the episode that aired on the week of January 30th that year, as that was the first time Space Cat (in Missile Bound Cat) appeared on TV. Yogi had just begun his own show but was still appearing with Huck until enough Hokey Wolf segments were ready to replace him a couple of months later.

    Huckleberry Hound
    It*s too early to start homework, too late to go outside, and it's too near supper time to start munching. What is left? What can a normal teenager do that won't require thinking, playing, or eating? The answer is television!
    With a bored sigh, you get up, traipse over to the television and kneel beside it. You turn on a certain knob here, touch a few knobs there and before you know it, this ingenious invention has presented you with an odd looking character named Huckleberry Hound.
    Confronted with this, you settle back, wondering what this creature, armed with a southern drawl, will do next. Now this distinguished master of ceremonies starts introducing you to his companions, Mr. Jinks, Dixie and Dixie, and our beloved Yogi Bear, who has risen to such heights he has acquired his own T.V. show.
    Each of these characters have one outstanding feature. Huck with his southern drawl. Mr. Jinks, a cat, with his deep, pseudo-hatred for mice (or meeces as he prefers to call them). Pixie and Dixie, a pair of mice that love to aggravate Mr. Jinks (or Jinksie) every chance they get. And Yogi Bear.
    Pixie. Dixie, and Jinks all live together in one big house. At first glance Mr. Jinks seems to be the villain of this series, but he soon proves to be a kind cat, even with the heavy burden of two mice resting on his furry shoulders. Coping with these two is a full time job for Jinks! His adventures have included being hypnotized by a moving watch, and for a short time he was switched from a mice-hater to a mice-lover. No respectable cat would do that.
    Several times "Space Cat," a creature deeply fond of mice, and devoted to them, has brought shame upon the face of Mr. Jinks. But Pixie and Dixie aren't without problems either. Do you remember the time Jinks loaned them to a cat that had just moved into the neighborhood, and didn't have his own mice? But in the end everything turns out all right and Pixie, Dixie, and Mr. Jinks live happily ever after—until the next cartoon.
    The next member of the cast you see on the screen is probably good old Huck! There is no telling what misadventures Huck will encounter, but after Pixie and Dixie you find you're ready for anything. On this particular day, Huck is telling the story of the pony express rider. Huck shows you the perils a rider had to face and you wonder how the mail ever got through. On his ride Huck meets a mixed-up Indian, named Crazy Coyotee. Crazy Coyotee follows Hick everywhere repeating, "Me want letter in pouch, me take-em." Somehow Huck manages to get the letter through, only to find he has to take it to—Chief Crazy Coyotee!
    It's commercial time now, which gives you a few moments to relax. On this show even the commercials you find are interesting. Kelloggs is the sponsor, and the cartoon characters advertise the product. Well, commercial is over, and it's time to get back to the show.
    Now, triumphant Yogi Bear occupies the screen. He is accompanied by Booboo, his loyal companion. Both of these reside in Jellystone Park. Yogi's main occupation is eating. He gets his food from picnic baskets and cabins. Ordinary bears eat nuts and berries, but not Yogi.
    So ends this program and all is quiet on the television screen. The aroma of food reaches you and you know it's time to eat supper, but at the dinner table do you discuss Huck Hound and his friends? No! You wouldn't want the rest of your family to think you watched that "children's" program. But when you notice your father and brother reaching for second helpings, you think of Yogi and a sly smile mysteriously crosses your lips!
    Joyce Vanderpool, 8th Grade.

    The Huckleberry Hound Show was nominated for an Emmy again the following year—Huck and Yogi appeared on the broadcast in a piece of animation I presume is lost—but lost to the type of show that special interest groups feel kids should watch, Young People’s Concerts: Aaron Copland’s Birthday Party (well, provided Copland’s sexuality wasn’t brought up). The following year, Huck was into permanent reruns in the U.S. and 41 foreign countries. Meanwhile, Yogi Bear had overtaken Huck as, erm, top dog in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon animal stable. Alas, the Emmy would avoid the blue hound for the rest of his career. But he still had the affection of young Joyce Vanderpool and millions of others around the world.

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    Pebbles and turtles. Pebbles and pelicans. Pebbles and postman. Yes, if you love Pebbles Flintstone, you got to see her two or three times a week in the comic pages of your daily paper 50 years ago this month. Oh, there was also Pebbles and Dino and Pebbles on her own. Fortunately, other characters from the TV show were the focus of other strips so there was a bit of variety.

    The sets of daily strips you see posted are for May 31st through June 5th (to the right), June 7th through 12th, June 14th through 19th, June 21st through 26th and June 28th through July 3rd. A few random thoughts...

    ● Another new-invention/what-will-they-think-of-next ending (June 7)
    ● Suburban clichés, including jealous wives (June 3), bad women drivers (June 16), women won’t shut up (June 22, July 1), wives want a fur coat (June 28), barbecuing (June 25), wives love shopping (June 14), marriage is the old ball-and-chain (June 19).
    ● Why isn’t Dino barking like on the TV show? (June 29).
    ● Another invention featuring birds doing all the work, this time the prehistoric typewriter (July 3). Does the repairman in the first panel look like Jack Gilford to you?
    ● Bamm Bamm makes an appearance (June 25).
    ● Mr. Slate still isn’t Fred’s boss in the comics (June 30).
    ● Best gag? Hard to say. I like the prehistoric snake yo-yos (June 11). And you can’t beat pre-historic creatures with tusks and spots (last panel, June 2).
    ● No Water Buffalo gags, but a golf gag appears. (June 24).

    Now, the weekend comics:

    June 6, 1965

    June 13, 1965

    June 20, 1965

    June 27, 1965

    The Chicago Tribune cancelled two of the four Flintstones Sunday comics for ads, so we’re relying on the Buffalo Courier-Express with its unfortunate stripe on the scanned images. Sorry for the darkness as well. They’re all pretty self-explanatory. The postman returns on June 20th. The last panel on the June 27th comic is fun. The earth’s tilted and the tree is bent under the weight of the sleepy pterodactyl.

    Click on any of the comics to make them full sized.

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  • 06/20/15--07:07: Snagglepuss in Royal Ruckus
  • Snagglepuss started out life as a world-weary and somewhat show-bizzy antagonist who was clearly smarter than Quick Draw McGraw and the others he took on. It was obvious he was a rounded character that the studio could do more with. But when they gave him his own series, he became a protagonist, so he had to undergo a personality (and colour) modification. He changed from orange to pink and became more enthusiastically theatrical, leaning on the Shakespearean side.

    That kind of characterisation was perfect in the hands of Mike Maltese. One of the funniest Bugs Bunny cartoons ever made was Maltese’s Rabbit Hood, where Bugs adopts a Shakespearean vocabularistic style as he easily outsmarts the Sheriff of Nottingham. Besides the natural silliness of streams of Mock Macbeth coming from a pink mountain lion, Maltese added a punny twist. While Warren Foster would settle for more obvious plays on words like “I caught him bare-handed. Yogi Bear-handed, that is,” Maltese would take a pun a bit further. “Forsooth. And five-sooth, even,” Snagglepuss would remark.

    In fact, such a remark came in Royal Ruckus, one of 32 cartoons in the Snagglepuss series. Its storyline is similar to Maltese’s Quick Draw McGraw cartoons. Snagglepuss dashes off stage to become a swordsman (he doesn’t change into the wrong costume by mistake; perhaps Maltese didn’t have time for that one in the story) and is so inept, the Queen has to rescue herself. At the beginning, there’s a rhyming narrator and the bad guy talks to the audience, like you’d find in an El Kabong cartoon.

    Fun With Dialogue:
    ● Snagglepuss recites a little poem. “ ‘Cause it’s the day to be happy and gay,” he declares. Today’s audience will read something into it.
    ● The King shoots Snagglepuss in the butt with an arrow. “Got him on the first shot. Just inches from the heart,” exudes His Majesty.

    ● “You unmitigated churl!” Snagglepuss yells in response at the King.
    ● Snagglepuss demands proof he’s the King. “Make me a Duke. Or a Count. The Prince of Wales. Or Porpoises, even.”
    ● The kidnapped Queen cries for help from a carriage after the King promises her liberator will be “royally rewarded.” “Won’t somebody save me and royally rewarded thereon?” asks the Queen.
    ● Snagglepuss makes a quick change into a musketeer outfit. “Exit, touché-in’ all the way, stage left!” (Hmm. Remind you of a certain turtle?)
    ● My favourite line from Snagglepuss, reminiscent of one in a Bugs Bunny cartoon: “Drop that Queen, Jack!”
    ● Yes, Snagglepuss fits in a “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” and “...and all that jazz.”

    Sight gag:
    ● Snagglepuss engages in eager sword play with Count Down. Cut to shots of the Count sitting in a chair then another shot of him drinking tea, ignoring the whole situation.

    The animator is Don Patterson. It’s really not one of his better cartoons, but you can’t miss his bit lip and triangular closed eye lids.

    Dick Thomas is the background artist. Nice establishing shot to open the cartoon. Thomas’ swirling-line trees and scratchy grass are here, too.

    The layout artist is Paul Sommer. He designed the secondary characters.

    The voice actors are Daws Butler, Don Messick and Bea Benaderet. It’s probably her first non-Flintstones role for Hanna-Barbera.

    Hoyt Curtin’s background music is really awkward in places. The use of a variation of the Flintstones’ “Rise and Shine” and what later became the series’ theme is really distracting. The Snagglepuss dying scene features a Flintstones’ cue called “Walking,” far too light and breezy for the action on the screen. And when the coach with the kidnapped Queen (in silhouette) goes into the castle, the soundtrack plays the heavyish “Working in the Gravel Pit” from The Flintstones. It’s times like this I miss the old Capitol Hi-Q library and Geordie Hormel’s English period music.

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  • 06/24/15--07:07: Fun and Games With Huck
  • In 1960 or so, your fun with Huckleberry Hound didn’t have to end once his show went off the air for the week. You could play with him when the TV was off, you could eat with him, you could even learn things from him. It was all thanks to the marketing people at Hanna-Barbera and Screen Gems, who aggressively found partners eager to make a buck off the newest TV cartoon sensation.

    Once again, we have trudged up to the dusty cyber-attic and opened up the aged trunk of memories to see what kids could do with Huck some 55 years ago.

    The box says “age four to ten.” The box is a liar. Anyone of any age could play Hanna-Barbera board games; when Bill Hanna talked about “wholesome family entertainment,” he could have been talking about games as well as his cartoons. Milton Bradley made some great ones, but here are a couple from Transogram. Sorry you can’t enlarge the board itself too much to see the game better, but you get the idea. You can see the little Parents Magazine ribbon logo in the upper left-hand corner of the box that used to be so common way back when (much like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval) and it has the characters in a logo in the lower right-hand corner. The drawings of Mr. Jinks on the board are great. The game is from 1961.

    Would they even make a Break-a-Plate game today? Wouldn’t parents be all uptight that their kid would throw one of those small plastic baseballs and break something? You know, the parents that played with these same games as a kid (kind of like how some adults think it’s bad for kids to watch the same cartoons they watched as a kid)? Well, evidently parents in 1961 didn’t worry about it, judging by this Transogram game. You’ll notice it a blue Transogram Quality Inspection Slip. No, Tommy, don’t try this game with mom’s chinaware.

    The folks at Knickerbocker (No. Hollywood, Calif.) came up with this spinning target game in 1959. It’s 13 inches long and made from genuine tin. Says an ad for the toy in a 1961 edition of the Tucson Daily Citizen: “Try to hit plastic cartoon characters with suction-cup darts--watch them spin!”

    This is about as close as Walter Tetley ever got to appearing in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Tetley, you likely know, was the voice of Sherman in the Mr. Peabody cartoons and like Dick Beals (who did appear in Hanna-Barbera cartoons) he was afflicted with a medical condition that caused his voice to remain somewhat adolescent. He was also the voice of Reddy Kilowatt in some industrial cartoons made by Walter Lantz in the late 1940s (he was Andy Panda for the studio at the same time). Here, you can see Reddy sitting on a large boulder in the front page of this 18-page educational booklet for kids. The booklet is copyright 1961. The name of the local electric company that supplied this to, presumably, schools, was printed on the rock. Unfortunately, only one page of this has surfaced on-line, at least that I can find.

    Huck is saying “Bow Wowie”??

    Who knew that Dell made something other than comic books? Well, perhaps you did. It was news to me until I ran across this ad. The address fills us in that this is before the era of the Zip Code, so it’s from the early ‘60s. Dell made Disney squeeze toys, too, but who’d want them when you can have Huckleberry Hound riding a whale?

    When I was a kid, this is what “school lunch programme” meant. Mom would make something and you’d trundle off to class with it in a paper bag or, if your parents knew you liked Huck and Quick Draw, one of these. Aladdin of Nashville, Tennessee made these in 1961. Notice Snuffles in one of the little TV screens on the top?

    You can’t see the whole thermos here, but to left of Pixie and Dixie, that’s a bit of Blabber’s ear. Next to him is Snooper, then Baba Looey and Augie Doggie holding the rope behind Quick Draw. There’s a neat little cartoon strip (like it’s on perforated film) around the sides and bottom. You can read the safety message inside and the name of the owner of the lunch box, David Vos of New Orleans. Strangely enough, a gentleman named David Vos won a Daytime Emmy for a documentary he made in 2010 about New Orleans recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

    If you prefer Huck to be with you other than at lunch, how about tea time?

    I don’t know if I like the concept of riding Huckleberry Hound, but some company made this in 1960 (we’ve posted a picture of a similar riding toy of Yogi Bear). It’s 19.25" height x 21.5" length x 7.25" width with handles attached to the ears.

    Well, our sojourn in the cyber-attic must come to an end and back into the dusty trunk go our memories of play-times past for another day. Mom, is Yogi Bear on yet?

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  • 06/27/15--06:48: Huck and Augie Story Panels
  • One of the on-line auction sites was selling a couple of complete storyboards from two Hanna-Barbera cartoons produced in 1959, Huckleberry Hound’s “Huck’s Hack” and Augie Doggie’s “Cat Happy Pappy” (layouts for both by Dick Bickenbach). It’s a shame that not all 12 pages of each set of story panels was posted, but that’s understandable. However, four pages of nine panels were put on line and you can see them below.

    “Huck’s Hack” has a neat opening that wasn’t used in the cartoon. Instead, the first three story panels were replaced with cycle animation of a long shot of Huck’s cab moving along a street. The crook in the cartoon (animated by Don Patterson) is also taller and thinner and wears a mask. I can’t say for sure, but I wonder if these drawings are by Alex Lovy (who arrived at the studio in March 1959 from Lantz.

    The sketches in “Cat Happy Pappy” are by the great Dan Gordon. Looking at the first panel, I’m reminded of a layout drawing I saw of Tex Avery’s “Little Rural Riding Hood” where Tex crossed out a picture on a wall in the background. He wants his setting to be as uncluttered as possible for the characters read better. You’ll notice a picture on the wall behind Doggie Daddy. That didn’t make it into the finished cartoon (however, in the second panel, a light socket isn’t there but appeared on the wall in the cartoon). The drawing of the cat on the chart is what you see in the cartoon. Someone (Joe Barbera maybe?) apparently debated whether the little kitten should make its quick exit from the house at body level or head level. Notice how Mike Maltese has some of Daddy’s dialogue in Durante dialect, referring to “pernty teeth.” The dialogue is pretty close to the completed cartoon.

    It’s great how these sketches have survived after 60 years. It’s interested to see how a cartoon looked before it was produced.

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  • 07/01/15--07:01: Yogi Bear Comics, July 1965
  • What’s missing in the Yogi Bear comics that appeared in sundry newspapers 50 years ago this month? We’ll tell you later.

    Some familiar themes are explored—Yogi playing with cutesy kids, Yogi inventing his own version of American history, Bill Hanna’s beloved Boy Scouts making an appearance, and so does Huckleberry Hound.

    You can see the full-colour versions of these at Mark Kausler’s fine web site, from Mark’s personal collection. Perhaps he has half-page versions with all three rows. Newspapers tended to cut off the top row and comics were written with that in mind. You’ll notice I couldn’t find a full July 25th comic; a couple of newspapers chopped a few rows so they could fit in advertising cartoons; Pillsbury was buying space in comic sections that day for a Funny Face drink promotion (interestingly, the cherry flavour was just a generic “cherry;” “Chinese” had been dropped). On several Sundays, the Chicago Tribune dropped Yogi altogether in favour of ads.

    No, there was no flag-waving in the fourth of July comic It’s tough to see the first panel, but it’s a small one for a change. Attractive horse drawing. I’ll accept “Cape Jellystone” as being a play on words. I highly doubt there was a cape in the mountainous national park.

    Yogi’s fairly inventive in the July 11th comic, though I wonder if kids should be cutting down parks in a national park. Two silhouette drawings; I like the effect with the characters in the distance in silhouette as in the second row, far right. I hear Dick Beals as the dark-haired kid.

    The ragged edges around the panels when Yogi is talking about history is a nice effect. Yogi also looks like he stepped out of a barber shop quartet in the July 18th comic; the moustache is a very 1890s look.

    Sorry, the top row can’t be found for the July 25th comic, but we get a silhouette panel and Yogi being ingenious again. I like the happy porcupine design, too.

    What’s missing you ask? Well, unless he’s in that unavailable first row in the last comic, Ranger Smith is nowhere to be found this month. In fact, unless he’s in the top rows (which I haven’t checked out), he doesn’t show until the end of August 1965. Boo Boo only appears once in July and not at all in August. This brings about my usual lament that the TV cartoons settled into the Yogi-Ranger Smith-picnic basket-Boo Boo-as-conscience format after Warren Foster arrived to write them in 1959. Yogi was a far richer character, and proved that in these comics as well as the 1958 TV season when he wasn’t always placed in Jellystone and Ranger Smith hadn’t been invented. But Foster’s formula was incredibly successful, so there was no reason to deviate (had Yogi gone on for 2,354 seasons like The Simpsons, I suspect change would have come).

    We make no promises about another Yogi comic post next month.

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