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Stuff about early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

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  • 07/04/15--07:02: Spacely’s a Stupe!
  • Six year old kids don’t know much about corporate backstabbing. But they do know when someone is being treated like crap and shouldn’t be. So it was that young me had a pretty good idea what was going on in The Jetsons cartoon, “Uniblab,” my favourite of the series.

    Is there a more quotable episode?



    “Name your game! Jupiter Gin! Jupiter Gin! Planet Poker! Planet Poker! Five Card Satellite! Five Card Satellite!”



    “Spacely’s a stupe! Stupe! Stupe!”



    “Not only is Spacely a stupe, he’s the king of the old crabs.”

    Here are some of the reaction drawings of George kicking Uniblab. They’re used again at the end of the cartoon. This beady-eyed version of George surfaces in various parts of the cartoon. Hugh Fraser, perhaps?



    Hanna-Barbera brushwork. George takes the tube to his apartment.



    A guess on my part is Carlo Vinci worked on this cartoon. In some scenes, the characters talk with that three-angle head tilt that he used in dialogue in the Huck series. In one shot, Spacely has a bar-row of teeth similar to what he drew in his earlier cartoons at H-B (though much thinner). And it seems to me he drew characters with longer faces in several series. Here’s an example with George Jetson. I’ll accept any corrections from people who are more knowledgeable about this.



    The earliest Hanna-Barbera cartoons had some pretty neat extreme poses. Things had become more lacklustre by the time The Jetsons were on the air. When Uniblab becomes a drunken mess in the cartoon’s climax and starts dancing to the “Jetsons Twist” cue, the animators could have gone a lot wilder. Instead, the movements are not too extreme, and drawings are shot on twos, with the background moved to mimic the appearance of dancing. Still, the scene works because the idea is funny and Don Messick gives a terrific performance as the drunk robot. But it could have been better.

    I understand why the Hanna-Barbera cartoons used limited animation and try not to criticise the concept too much. But one scene doesn’t work. Uniblab shoots coffee at Spacely and the company’s higher executives. They don’t do anything. They just stand there. Even if the coffee wasn’t scalding them, couldn’t Bill Hanna have sprung for even two or three drawings that could have been used in a cycle showing them reacting to becoming wet? This is prime time, after all.



    Still, Barry Blitzer came up with good story. The bad guy gets his comeuppance (how Henry got into the Spacely Sprockets building is left for viewers to imagine on their own) and there’s the twist at the end. If someone can think of a better episode, feel free to post a comment.

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  • 07/07/15--07:17: Toons in Toyland
  • Did your parents buy you stuff featuring your favourite animated cartoon characters? Considering how huge the cartoon merchandising business is, the answer must surely be “yes.” And as we’ve shown in a number of posts over the years, there was no end of stuff pumped out under license by Hanna-Barbera—games, toys, comics, colouring books, records, and more.

    No one’s really documented all this cartoon merchandise and collated it into one place—until now. Tim Hollis is out with a book called Toons In Toyland, published by University Press of Mississippi. I’m amazed at the sheer amount of research that had to go into writing it, and bowled over by the number of delightful photos of toys, records, and so on. There’s at least one picture on almost every page. You’ll see stuff that if you didn’t have it as a kid, you may want it now. The book is worth it just for the pictures alone.

    The Hanna-Barbera studio got started in 1957 with financial help of the family that owned Columbia Pictures. As a result, Columbia/Screen Gems had all kinds of marketing rights to the first Hanna-Barbera characters, all managed out of New York City by a chap named “Honest” Ed Justin. Tim will tell you a bit about him. You’ll learn about the start of the Jellystone theme parks (with exclusive pictures), Yogi Bear Honey Fried Chicken restaurants, and how H-B characters came to be in comic books, on records, and in vitamin bottles.

    And, no, the book doesn’t focus only on Hanna-Barbera. You can see and read about putting the Peanuts gang, Popeye, Bullwinkle, Woody Woodpecker, Mr. Magoo and many others in the merchandising game. The book is worth your while if you want to know more about a lucrative sidelight of your favourite animated characters. There’s even a picture of little old Yowp (okay, it’s small, and I’m with other characters, but it’s still something).

    Go to the University Press of Mississippi’s web site to read more about it. Here’s a link to Amazon (no, I do not get paid for this).



    P.S.: After writing this short post, I noticed Tim has pointed to this blog in his bibliography. Thanks, Tim.

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  • 07/09/15--07:08: The Great Maltese
  • Is there any doubt that Mike Maltese was the best cartoon writer of all? Not for me, there isn’t. Some of the funniest stories ever concocted at Warners Bros. were his, and he somehow managed to pump out 79 cartoons (all in the Quick Draw series and one Huckleberry Hound) in his first year after being hired at Hanna-Barbera. Variety announced on December 4, 1958 his arrival at H-B to be the head of its new story department.



    From the collection of former H-B writer Tony Benedict comes this picture of Maltese with another of the greats of the cartoon writing business, Warren Foster. Both of them were native New Yorkers, both worked for the Fleischer studio in the 1930s and it was on Maltese’s recommendation (the story goes) that Foster was hired at Warner Bros.; Maltese was an assistant animator at the time. Foster was hired at Hanna-Barbera on April 14, 1959, so it seems likely Maltese hired him there, too. Foster had left Warners in November 1957 for John Sutherland Productions.

    The insightful critic John Crosby interviewed Maltese toward the end of 1959 when the Quick Draw McGraw Show was on the air. We reprinted it some time ago but you can click HERE to read it.

    Another indispensable interview with Maltese is in Joe Adamson’s essential book Tex Avery, King of Cartoons. We await the day when historian Michael Barrier publishes his in-depth interviews with Maltese, snippets of which appear in his book Hollywood Cartoons.

    Hanna-Barbera was in the Kling Studios (the former Chaplin Studio at 1416 La Brea) when Maltese arrived but he apparently worked from home until the company opened its own building easily recognisable by fans at 3400 Cahuenga Blvd. in August 1963 (plans were announced in March 1962).

    Maltese’s “The Flintstone Flyer” episode of The Flintstones, co-written with Joe Barbera and Dan Gordon, was the first to air in September 1960. His name can also be found on the first Yogi Bear Show to air in January 1961. Whether Maltese was freelancing for Chuck Jones at Warners at the time is unclear. His name can be found on “The Mouse on 57th Street,” released in 1961. It’s hard to believe the story was completed before Maltese left for Hanna-Barbera in 1958, but it is possible. Maltese was listed as a writer on “five new half-hour animation projects” for H-B (Variety, December 13, 1961). What they were is unknown. The trade paper the following September mentioned Maltese was assigned to work on The Flintstones and The Jetsons, but I don’t believe he worked on any Jetsons episodes.

    It appears Maltese came and went from Hanna-Barbera several times. Variety of August 30, 1963 revealed that he would be working with Jones again, this time on the Tom and Jerry theatricals to be released by MGM. Two days earlier, the trade paper announced Norm Prescott was producing a four-part satire called “How The West Was Lost (Almost)” featuring characterisations of the Marx brothers with Maltese handling “pictorial layouts.” The project languished until February 1966 when Variety mentioned Prescott’s Filmation had found a distributor for the series, Groucho Marx would be a technical advisor, and Maltese was credited as a writer. It never did air.

    Maltese was back at Hanna-Barbera in 1965, his name appears on screen as a co-writer on a Secret Squirrel/Atom Ant special, then on the Secret Squirrel Show itself. His last Tom and Jerry short for Jones was released in 1967 and his last project for Hanna-Barbera appears to have been in 1971 when he put together stories for the Funky Phantom, an unfortunate mixture of Snagglepuss and Scooby Doo. Toward the end of the decade, Maltese reunited with Jones for pale carbon copies of their Warner Bros. cartoons and, as the story goes, had his storyboard for the Duck Dodgers sequel tossed out by the director. Fortunately, Maltese lived into the era where old theatrical cartoons were written about and praised, and he was awarded by his peers before he died on February 22, 1981.

    Picking a favourite Maltese cartoon, even a favourite Maltese moment, at Hanna-Barbera is pretty much impossible. El Kabong bashing a bad guy with an out-of-tune guitar, Snuffles’ self-love and leap into the sky after eating a dog biscuit (made by sponsor Kellogg’s) are things the most casual cartoon watchers of a certain age remember, even if they don’t know the writer responsible. And people still quote the line Maltese handed to Snagglepuss: “Exit, stage right.”



    Here’s another shot of Maltese outside the concrete brick bunker studio at 3501 Cahuenga, where Hanna-Barbera was housed by August 1960. On the left are layout artist Dick Bickenbach and production supervisor Howard Hanson. On the right of Maltese is someone whose picture I don’t recall seeing before. He’s Paul Sommer, who was a story director at the studio. He would have been about 50 at the time this photo was taken and died in 2011 at the age of 99. The photo was provided by Tony Benedict, who was writing at Hanna-Barbera at the time.

    Mike’s daughter Brenda told the Los Angeles Times in 2008: “He was always funny . . . he had charisma . . . He would walk in a room and take over . . . He took a lot of [his ideas] from our animals. We had dogs and cats, and he would pick up on anything . . . I was that obnoxious girl [in the Bugs Bunny cartoon Little Red Riding Rabbit].” (Brenda used to shout “Ta have!” as a girl. Mike put it in the story).

    Wherever he got his ideas, they were brilliant at times. And he somehow coped with the huge workload at Hanna-Barbera. He really was the greatest of them all.

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    Poor Huckleberry Hound gets abused in a bunch of his cartoons, but he never really seems to mind. In Dragon-Slayer Huck (1958), for example, a purple dragon breathes fire in his face and smashes him into the ground with its huge tail. Cut to a close-up of Huck’s head popping out of the ground. “Leave us face it, that ol’ dragon’s got real spirit,” he says smilingly at the audience.

    The cartoon’s a good one. We reviewed it here. What we didn’t do was post a bunch of Ken Muse’s impact drawings. Muse used a jagged ovalular pattern to show impact. So let’s pair up a bunch of drawings to show you what I mean. Most of these are consecutive frames. And they are self-explanatory, I think.



    The dragon’s fire has burned the handle on the axe and the mace. That’s why they come crashing down on Huck.



    Here’s where the charging dragon and Huck’s horse meet.



    Whether this cartoon was somewhat inspired by One Droopy Knight, which Mike Lah had made at MGM when Bill Hanna and Jose Barbera were producing, may never be known. But it contains a horse-dragon collision and the king’s daughter is involved in the plots of both (although handled quite differently).

    And because we haven’t posted one in a while, here’s an endless loop. The horse’s gallop cycle is four drawings (shot one frame apiece) and it takes 16 frames for Huck to reach the same grove of trees in the background.



    This isn’t the same speed it is in the cartoon, but you get the idea.


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  • 07/13/15--06:56: Early Bedrock?
  • Flagstones concept art?

    Reader Pat Caldore has pointed out these pieces below were recently put up for auction at the Van Eaton Gallery in California. Nowhere does the site indicate who is responsible for the artwork or when it was drawn. Is it retro? Or was it actually drawn in 1959 or 1960 in preparation for The Flintstones? Sorry, but I don’t have the answers. But here’s the artwork, especially for fans of the ‘50s flat look that Ed Benedict liked so much.

    Note that the middle drawing has an ice-box pretty much like the one in the Kramden’s apartment in The Honeymooners


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    America’s fight to check the spread of Communism resulted in four pages in the Chicago Tribune 50 years ago this month listing the number of young men killed in Vietnam. Another page enumerated those missing in action. So it was that Americans (and others) could use a few laughs brought to them courtesy of that Modern Stone Age Family in the Tribune and other papers.

    It seems whoever was writing the “Pebbles and the Postman” mini-series got tired of it as the postman disappears from the daily comics for July 1965. What do we get instead?

    ● More “What will they think of next?” punchlines (July 7, 19, 28)
    ● Fun with baseball (July 8, 12, 22, 23, kind of 24)
    ● Golf (July 17, 26)
    ● Bowling (July 13)
    ● Silhouette drawing (July 9)
    ● Nostalgia isn’t just for 90s kids. It’s for infants (July 14)
    ● Is it a kangaroo or a shark-jumping hopperoo? (July 15)
    ● An animal commenting on a situation, just like in the TV cartoons. (July 28)

    Betty appears twice (July 5, 10) as does Dino (July 16, 23). No Baby Puss. Some nicely-rendered incidental character animals as usual; nice perspective on the dinosaur in the July 5th comic.





    Wonder what happened to those dancing girls (animated by Carlo Vinci) in the Pebbles’ birthday party episode? Well, in the weekend comics 50 years ago this month, they were in a nightclub. Sorry for the stripe down the middle of the comics; I couldn’t find better versions and could only locate two with all three rows. The final panels are always a treat, especially the one from July 12th with the amusement park mini-volcanos.

    Click on any of the comics to enlarge them.

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    Snagglepuss spent a good chunk of his cartoon career “exiting.” And his quick departure from the stage was handled differently depending on the animator. Ken Muse simply went from a full character drawing to a bunch of brush stroked lines (letting the ink and paint people do the work while he meets his footage quota). Carlo Vinci backed up a character then stretched him horizontally in mid-air before disappearing. Lew Marshall used full drawings but stretched body parts a bit. And Brad Case indicated the character with a partial or full outline with ink and paint adding colour.

    Actually, in Feud For Thought (first aired in 1961), there isn’t even really an outline, certainly not compared to his drawings in the Pixie and Dixie cartoon Crew Cat, also made in 1960. Here are two examples, first with Melvin Martin and then with Snagglepuss himself.



    The Hatfield-McCoy feud inspired who-knows-how-many cartoons (A Feud There Was and Hillbilly Hare were two at Warners). Here’s another one, which writer Mike Maltese combines with “Proposal Sunday.” Snagglepuss plays some Bugs Bunny-like head games with Martin and Calvin Cloy, who both want to kill him to give his skin to Suzy Sal, so they can win her “yes” to their marriage proposal. Suzy Sal has one of those Wilma Flintstone front swirls in her hair.



    Like Bugs, Snagglepuss uses disguises to hoodwink the dullards. He dresses up in a top hat and cape, like an 1890s melodrama villain, and then like a, well, he kind of looks like a TV anchor as he proposes to Suzy Sal.



    It’s a little creepy at the end of the cartoon when Snagglepuss takes off the human head, but still has human hands and is wearing a suit.

    Maltese adds his fun little dialogue redundancies:

    ● Calvin: Then make up yo’ brain-mind which one of us you is marriage-acceptin.’
    ● Calvin: Cut him equal evens, Melvin.
    ● Melvin: Where did the critter beast go, Calvin?
    ● Melvin: Feud fightin’ is a heap more fun than marriage fussin’ anyhow.

    Snagglepuss’ opening declamation: “Ah! ‘Tis autumn! ‘Ere the burnished leaves float earthward, and betoken the comin’ of winter, with its frosty winds and its driven snow.” Yes, “betoken” is a word. And we get shameless puns like “hold the lion” and “dotted lion.”

    It’s early in the series but Maltese is already making fun of Snagglepuss’ “exit” lines. Exclaims the mountain lion: “Exit, stage up,” “Exit, straight down,” and “Exit, stage nothin’.” And, at the end, Snagglepuss rejoices in his confirmed bachelorhood.

    Dick Thomas is the background artist. He’s using varying shades in this cartoon, though kids would have only seen it in black and white in 1961.



    Paul Sommer is the layout artist, Alex Lovy handled the story direction, and Daws Butler (Snagglepuss, Melvin), Jean Vander Pyl (Suzy Sal) and Doug Young (Calvin) provide voices.

    The cartoon isn’t one of the best in the series, but it’s okay. Snagglepuss fans and confirmed bachelors will like it.

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  • 07/22/15--07:02: Life At Hanna-Barbera
  • Hundreds of pictures of the Hanna-Barbera operation were taken for a Life magazine story published on November 21, 1961. We blogged about it HERE, linked to a copy of the original article and posted some of the photos that didn’t make the cut.

    Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera should be recognisable to anyone who’s a fan of the studio. But I wouldn’t expect many people to be able to look at photos and pick out very many who worked for the company. There were people in some of the shots I didn’t recognise, so I asked Tony Benedict, who was hired by the studio not long after the pictures were taken, to identify a few people. And he’s graciously done so.


    Here are Bill and Joe looking into a Moviola, used in the studio’s editing department. Joe is on the right, of course, with Bill next to him. To the left of Bill is Frank Paiker, the head of the camera department and an animation veteran. Paiker was a cameraman for J.R. Bray as early as 1925, at the age of 16, and he spent the ‘30s at the Fleischer studio (his nose was broken by animator Lou Appet during the strike at the studio), moving with the Fleischers to Florida. He was at MGM at the time its cartoon studio shut down and, presumably, moved over to Hanna-Barbera when it started in 1957.

    Paiker was born in Manhattan on January 21, 1909 and died in Santa Barbara, Calif., on January 26, 1989.


    Here’s Paiker at work shooting an early Flintstones cartoon. Whether this picture was taken the same day, I don’t know. You’ll note Paiker isn’t wearing a striped T-shirt in this photo.



    Paiker’s at work again. He’s shooting a scene from the episode “At the Races.” The disembodied heads and the dinosaurs are by Carlo Vinci.


    And speaking of Carlo, I believe that’s him on the left, speaking to Mr. B.


    Joe Barbera’s relaxing in his office. Sitting in the centre is Warren Foster, who wrote many of the Flintstones episodes in the first season. The guy behind the cardboard Fred is the same chap at the left of the first picture above. He’s not an artist, nor a voice actor, nor on the technical staff. He’s the studio’s publicity and promotion director, Arnie Carr.

    Carr worked for syndicator Ziv Television until September 1955, when he joined Irving Fein’s publicity staff at CBS radio in Los Angeles. There’s an inside joke on the network’s Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar; the name of a supposedly dead man in one of the episodes was named for him. Carr moved to KABC-TV in May 1957, then jumped to Screen Gems in August 1959 to promote its TV releases, including Ruff and Reddy, Huckleberry Hound (“and has two more series coming,” said Variety on August 3, 1959; one was obviously Quick Draw McGraw). Carr worked directly for Hanna-Barbera from May 1960 to September 1962, when he opened his own company and took in H-B as a client. Carr’s firm doesn’t appear to have lasted long; in 1966 he was co-producing a TV show starring, of all people, catty fashion commentator Mr. Blackwell.

    Since we’re posting pictures from the Life shoot, let’s pass on a few more.


    Bill Hanna’s chatting with someone during the recording of a Flintstones voice track. Marking his copy in the background is Fred himself, Alan Reed.



    At the time of the photo shoot, Hanna-Barbera had recently moved from the Kling studio on La Brea to a small building at 3501 Cahuenga, not far from where their future complex would be built. Many staffers—even animators—worked from home. Here’s an inker in her kitchen. Do they still make bread boxes?



    Here’s Carlo again, getting the right mouth position for Fred Flintstone. The record player, I suspect, is to listen to the voice track. Cheap-looking desks, aren’t they? You can see a layout drawing from “The Golf Champion,” with Fred and Barney fighting over the trophy. In the background (next to Dick Lundy’s desk), there is a model sheet of Fred and Barney, and another of Betty and Wilma. Here’s a copy of the Fred/Barney one.



    Now, back to the Life pictures.


    Bill Hanna, story sketch artist Dan Gordon and Joe Barbera. An ashtray that’s empty? I smell staged photo for some reason.


    The 1960 Los Angeles phone directory has Joe Barbera listed in an apartment at 1745 North Orange Drive. I suspect this poolside shot was taken elsewhere. Barbera and his wife Dorothy had three kids—Jayne, Neal and Lynn. The couple divorced in June 1963. Jayne and Neal later worked at the studio. Incidentally, one of the other tenants of that Orange Drive apartment building may have saved up enough for his own pool, too. He was an actor named Bernie Kopell.


    Life had a few external pictures of the H-B studio but not a full one. Here’s how 3501 Cahuenga looks today.

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  • 07/24/15--21:39: Yowp Artist Writes Book
  • How many people who animated your favourite cartoon dog Yowp are still alive? Here’s a hint: it’s the same answer to the question “How many animators who worked at Hanna-Barbera before 1960 are still alive?”

    The correct answer is “One.” That person is Gerard Baldwin.

    Mr. Baldwin had two tours of duty at the studio. The first one was brief. He worked on a handful of cartoons on The Huckleberry Hound Show and The Quick Draw McGraw Show in 1959 before he left for a job with Jay Ward working on a new series called Rocky and His Friends (a Hanna-Barbera background artist named Joe Montell left around the same time for the same reason). He returned 20 years later to toil on programmes like The Smurfs, where he was a supervising producer. In between, he lent his talents to Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, the first animated TV special, the wonderful Super Chicken and numerous other shows and commercials.

    There are so few of the old-time animators left that it’s getting rarer and rarer to hear first-hand accounts of what went on in the growing days of television cartoons. But not only is Gerard Baldwin around, he’s written a book. It was published last December but I’ve just learned about it now. Whether he discusses his first go-around at Hanna-Barbera and the excitement of animating a Yowp cartoon, I don’t know. But it does take him through his start at UPA in the early ‘50s and beyond. You can read a little more about it HERE.

    Since we’re discussing Mr. Baldwin’s early H-B work, here are some frames of his drawings we’ve posted elsewhere.


    Bear Face Bear, layouts by Walt Clinton.


    Dog Gone Prairie Dog, layouts by Walt Clinton.


    Big Top Pop, layouts by Bob Givens.


    Adventure is My Hobby, layouts by Bob Givens.


    Monkey Wrenched, layouts by Bob Givens.


    Bear For Punishment, layouts by Tony Rivera.


    Six-Gun Spook, layouts by Bob Givens.

    P.S.: Givens and Sam Clayberger are still with us and worked on H-B cartoons before 1960, but Givens was in layout and Clayberger was a background artist. It’s a shame a Givens autobiography has never been published.

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    Put Quick Draw McGraw in a disguise, and you just know things are going to end badly. Take the episode “Masking For Trouble” (1959), for example. Poor Quick Draw tries to rescue a damsel from a pint-sized wimp only to have her change her mind after Baba Looey socks the little pest. Quick Draw gets punched and shot at for his trouble.

    We reviewed the cartoon in this post.

    Well, now, you can see the story panels for the cartoon. Mark Kausler sent them as a little present for you readers. The credits say the story was written by Mike Maltese, the story sketches were by Dan Gordon, and Dick Bickenbach drew the layouts.

    Most of Maltese’s dialogue was used verbatim, and the opening pan on the storyboard looks just like it does in the actual cartoon. What’s interesting is that part of the story was omitted; you’ll see puppet gags in Scene 8 about a loan shark and a hooded hyena (whose head reminds me of Astro, who had not been invented yet) that didn’t make it into the final cartoon. And, apparently, after the original storyboard was made, scenes 35A to K were added to the cartoon. Some of the drawings in the insert are pretty sketchy and you have to wonder whether they’re from Maltese himself.

    Animator Mike Kazaleh has pointed out that in the first season of the Huckleberry Hound Show (1958-59), footage was inserted in a number of cartoons and Mike Lah animated it. The following season, we have an insert in this cartoon. Lah was gone by this time, and it looks like Lew Marshall animated the insert, in addition to the rest of the cartoon.

    Only Mike Maltese could call a recalcitrant weapon a “mule-headed six-gun” (panel 27 of the insert). And the word “Ballooomm!” (panel 87) seems Maltesean to me.

    Baba Looey turns and waves to the audience in the final panel before an iris out. I like that better than the ending that was filmed, when Baba keeps looking to left of the frame while he runs before the cartoon fades.

    Click on any of the panels to make them bigger.





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  • 07/29/15--07:03: A Bear For Safety
  • Hanna-Barbera characters were used in a variety of public safety campaigns in various media, especially after pressure groups in the late ‘60s complained about cartoons being too violent. Perhaps you’ve seen on-line an old animated anti-smoking PSA with Yogi, Boo Boo, and a bouncing, coughing head. And we’ve linked to a record from 1973 featuring short safety tips for kids from the H-B characters, accompanied by familiar music from Hoyt Curtin.

    Below is a booklet called Bear Facts for Bike Drivers. It’s four pages, 8½ by 11, folded in half. It was made in cooperation with the California Highway Patrol, Valley Division, in Sacramento. Artist unknown, but it had to be someone at the studio.



    The Valley News of Van Nuys, California explained how it was used in its edition of November 28, 1972:

    BIKE SAFETY -- The California Highway Patrol has a new public service booklet out titled, "Bear Facts for Bike Drivers" featuring Yogi Bear. Concerned parents interested in safety-proofing young riders should urge them to visit the Bicycle Clinic Saturday from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. at the South Oaks Shopping Center, Soledad and White Canyon Roads, Canyon Country. The clinic will feature a skill test, vehicle inspection, education in basic safety procedures and laws, installation of reflectors as needed and provision for identification stickers and county licensing. Clinic sponsors include the California Highway Patrol, the Sheriff's Dept., the Automobile Club of Southern California, Santa Clarita Valley's two chambers of commerce plus fraternal and service groups. Honorary Mayors Tex Williams, Newhall Saugus Valencia, and Art Evans, Canyon Country, plus Honorary Sheriff Bob Ohler will he assisting with the clinic. Free hot dogs, soft drinks and entertainment will also be provided.
    It would have been cool to have someone dressed up in a Yogi costume there, but it wasn’t a studio event. And Yogi would have been liable to steal all the hot dogs anyway.

    Oh, and if you haven’t seen the anti-smoking PSA from 1968, here it is. The animator is revealed in the comments.


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    Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera weren’t the only ones trying to make it in the TV cartoon business in 1957, but they were the most successful. Everything fell into place for them. They needed a bankroller. They found one in Columbia Pictures, thanks to intermediary George Sidney (who got a piece of the action for hooking up the two with the studio. They figured out a way to make limited animation look less limited than Crusader Rabbit and made-for-television cartoons of the day, and do it affordably. And they came up with likeable characters, who they put in entertaining situations. The end result? Sponsors, viewers, critical praise and people buying merchandise. All that equalled, as Fred Flintstone later remarked, “Do-Re-Mi Money.”

    Hanna-Barbera’s success attracted attention in the trade press. Actually, the trades had been commenting on trends in animation for some time. What a difference a decade made. At the start of the 1950s, stories basically stated theatres saw no value in running cartoons and studios couldn’t make a profit on new ones. But then came expansion of television. Television needed programming. Old theatrical cartoons were sitting on the shelf, virtually worthless to the studios. The broadcast rights were sold to distributors—movie studios weren’t going to dirty themselves in something as mediocre as television, even if they had the mechanism—who proceeded to rake in small fortunes. Better and more desirable cartoons came on the market as the decade wore on, climaxing in two deals by AAP, one in early March 1956 to acquire pre-1948 Warner Bros. colour cartoons, and another about seven weeks to pick up 234 Popeye cartoons from King Features and Paramount (Billboard, Apr. 21, 1956). The airwaves became flooded with Bugs Bunny and Olive Oyl’s boyfriend as station after station after station eagerly snapped up the top-notch animated shorts. Having just about run out of old theatricals to put on TV, the idea of made-for-TV cartoons gained new traction. And that’s when Bill and Joe enter the story.

    Originally, Bill and his brother-in-law, Mike Lah, were hired to create new Crusader Rabbit cartoons. But through some legal slight-of-hand, the project was forced off the drawing boards. Hanna, Barbera and Lah then borrowed the Crusader continuing-adventure format, plugged some new characters into it, and Ruff and Reddy were born.

    Television Age magazine picks up the rest of the story for us, the story up until March 7, 1960, when the following was published. What’s great about this spotlight piece is not only were the Flintstones still into their “Flagstones” stage, but it’s the only publication I’ve found with a model drawing of Fred, Jr. You all know the character was dropped in development, and I can only presume it’s because Hanna and Barbera wanted a show based around the adults (Honeymooners, anyone?) and not a family. Of course, Ideal Toys’ bank account changed that later. Fred Jr. has the exact same design as Ubble Ubble from the Ruff and Reddy cartoons; Bill and Joe weren’t above borrowing from themselves (something that became all too apparent as the studio rolled on).

    ■ ■ ■
    Cartoon comeback
    With planned technique and original story lines . . . Hanna-Barbera Productions gives animation new life

    Once upon a time Joe Barbera went out to the wonderful land of Hollywood to make cartoons. He worked very hard and was immensely gratified when theatregoers across the nation squealed like mice to see his Tom and Jerry run. A proud man, he would quietly observe that his output. eight seven -minute cartoons a year. was a heavy one. Then, one day, the pencil dropped. the ink dried: from high up in the tinselly towers of that mysterious world came a cry, echoing and re-echoing through the empty lots, the quiet streets, the vacant minds: enough! No more! And Joe Barbera, a storyteller without an audience, looked at his friend, Bill Hanna, an artist without a canvas, and they were both sad.
    That was in 1957. If Mr. Barbera, partner in Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc., looks at the past as though it were an especially poignant fairy tale, he has a right to, for the ending is in the best tradition of those narratives: the two protagonists lived busily ever after. As producers of Ruff & Reddy, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw and The Flagstones (which is scheduled for prime evening time over ABC-TV next season), Hanna-Barbera is nothing if not busy. Today the company can be considered the leading producer of new cartoons for television, an occupation which was considered irresponsible or worse a few years ago by the hardheaded, the extremely hardheaded businessmen of that era. It didn't make economic sense, they argued, good animation is too expensive. limited animation too shoddy.
    In developing a technique which was both good and economical the partners did to cartooning what the European small cars did to Detroit: initiated a minor revolution. That technique, called “planned animation” by Mr. Barbera, involves employing a rare commodity—experience—in the day-to-day operation. In his words, “you have to know when to cut and when not to cut. It's as simple as that. Limited animation is a mistake. Some people think they can save money and still come up with something good by taking cut-outs and moving them around a fixed background. It isn't that easy.”
    Planned animation caught on quickly. With Screen Gems acting as distributor, Ruff & Reddy, a story about a frisky cat and a dim-witted dog, went on the air over NBC -TV in 1957. Huckleberry Hound, the saga of a canine Don Quixote, was picked up by Kellogg's in a huge national spot spread in 1958, and was recently renewed. Quick Draw McGraw, which is about an obtuse horse and his more perceptive, Spanish-speaking burro sidekick, was purchased by Kellogg's last year as part of its national spot pattern. Just last month ABC-TV purchased The Flagstones, a satire on an exurbanite family in the Stone Age. The historical background is irresponsibly recreated.
    To make the cartoon-comeback circle complete, H-B has re-entered the theatrical-cartoon field—using its television technique. The company has signed a five -year exclusive contract with Columbia Pictures, parent company of Screen Gems. First theatrical cartoon series has been titled Loopy De Loop.
    If the concept of planned animation seems unnecessarily vague in that it is basically a common-sense approach to production problems, its execution is another matter. Mr. Barbera is a story man and artist, and Mr. Hanna is a technician. With this start, a technique was worked out whereby all cartoon story men have learned to draw well enough to do their scripts in sketch form. “If the scripts were typed up we'd have to call in a sketch man and in the last analysis end up with a compromise,” Mr. Barbera observes. A certain amount of freshness and spontaneity is preserved this way, and the savings in time and cost are obvious, he notes.
    Production is maintained at all times, and to avoid slowdowns an open -door policy is in effect at the shop (the Amco studios in Hollywood).
    “We have no executives here. Everyone is available, and everyone works. We make quick decisions: if a story man comes in with an idea he gets a yes or no, frequently within a matter of minutes.”
    H-B's production schedule demands this kind of concentration. Mr. Hanna and Mr. Barbera once did eight cartoons a year for theatrical release, and were proud of it. Today they do four cartoons a week for television, and all of them are in color. Another comparison: in 20 years of work for MGM the team turned out 120 Tom and Jerry cartoons; in two years in television they produced over 300 cartoons, and have orders totaling 700.
    Planned animation affords a savings of about half over full animation, says Mr. Barbera. Where the latter utilizes as much as 17,000 cels (individual pictorial units) in a seven-minute cartoon, only 1,000 to 2,000 are used in planned animation for the same length production, and for the same or greater number of scenes and characters. This, in turn, has attracted business: in its first full year of operation (1958) H-B grossed $1 million; in 1959 the figure more than doubled to $2.25 million; in 1960, current contracts guarantee a gross of at least $3 million.
    Curiously, the whole concept of planned animation grew out the studios of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. There, a technique was developed whereby a projected cartoon was done roughly at first, as a kind of preview. Mr. Barbera animated and drew and then broke the pictures into scenes, while Mr. Hanna timed it out. If it was found acceptable, a full cartoon was made. When MGM discontinued production of new cartoons, the partners took their wares elsewhere, convinced that a refinement of the preview technique could be adapted for television, and for motion-picture theatres, for that matter. Screen Gems, a partner in anything it finances of H-B's, agreed to distribute the product.
    Affable and relaxed, Mr. Barbera is something of a salesman himself. He has a contagious regard for the numerous characters he has created, and a good ear for inflections and intonations of speech. These qualities helped him sell Huckleberry Hound to the Leo Burnett people (for Kellogg's) with just three storyboards, and before the character of Huckleberry Hound had been created. (Initially, the program consisted of Yogi Bear, Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinx.) [sic] That was on July 7, 1957, exactly 20 years to the day he started with MGM.
    An emphasis on the purely technical aspects of the company's operation does not begin to explain its success. Mr. Barbera is quick to point out that “we can have the best staff in the world, but without story, characters, proper timing, we're doomed.”
    The approach to the cartoons, however, is what seems to distinguish H-B Productions from its competitors. It has been described as light satirization, or wholesome burlesques, of familiar situations. It is largely a civilized humor which has caught on with children, and with many adults. Although violence is used on occasion to right wrongs, there is no sadism, little of the prat-fall humor which characterizes many of Hollywood's cartoons. With this tenuous formula, Messrs. Hanna and Barbera can be expected to make a major contribution to children's programming, and a modest one to adult fare.
    ■ ■ ■

    Those last two paragraphs sum up why the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons have such appeal today.

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    Sorry, Yogi Bear fans, but my sources of half-page, three-row Yogi Bear newspaper comics has dried up again, so you’re stuck with the best versions I can find that are, unfortunately, missing the top row. Since you’ll want to see these in full colour, I suspect they’ll be at Mark Kausler’s blog by the time you see this post. Mark is trying to find excuses for me not to stop blogging by sending me scans of Hanna-Barbera storyboards from his personal collection for me to post here (including a Ruff and Reddy). But those are posts for another day.

    One thing noticeable about the Yogi comics from 50 years ago this month is the absence of Boo Boo and, with one exception, Ranger Smith (unless they’re in the missing top row). At the risk of harping on the point, I think Yogi was a stronger character in his first season cartoons (1958-59 TV season) when he was allowed to roam free without being saddled with Jellystone Park, Mr. Ranger and a bear-type buddy as necessities in each cartoon. A 6 ½-minute cartoon could have easily made surrounding a baseball game with kids like in the August 22nd newspaper comic. With the Capitol Hi-Q library, naturally.

    There isn’t really much for me to say about these comics. Gene Hazelton—at least, I’ll presume he was responsible—shows a great sense of layout. I like his sense of perspective with many frames drawing your attention to something in the foreground as well as the background (and, sometimes, in between). The sprinkler truck panel on August 15th is a good example.


    Can anyone see the sweater in the August 1st comic and not think of Charlie Brown?


    Nice expressions on Yogi in the August 8th comics. Other than in profile, his eyes look different than the way Harvey Eisenberg drew them. They seem closer together. The angular fir trees are all over the place and we get a silhouette panel.


    The first panel in the August 15th comic is really well thought out. The hunters are in the background and Yogi’s not quite in the foreground, so the reader’s eye is automatically directed to the rifle which is at the centre of the plot. Nice angle on the truck in the last panel.


    The “alert” and “Bert” rhyme in the August 22nd comic couldn’t be much more contrived, could it?


    The squirrel talks! Yogi’s helping cutsy animals in the August 29th comic, which includes an appearance by that gym rat, Ranger Smith.

    Click on any of the comics to make them bigger, but I again suggest you do the same on Mark’s blog as they’re in colour.

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  • 08/06/15--07:06: Today's Health Advice
  • Ads masquerading as columns were not something unheard of in newspapers. In many cases, they were labelled as an ad (in small print).

    Here’s a blatant ad for Flintstones Vitamins pretending to be a news story about children’s health. It’s from the Carolina Times of February 28, 1970.

    And, it’s just a wild guess on my part, but I don’t believe the artwork came from the Hanna-Barbera studio.


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  • 08/08/15--08:28: Private Property
  • The plot of the Jetsons cartoon “Private Property” revolves around a set of blueprints that look exactly the same facing two different directions. So how is anyone supposed to be able to read them properly?

    I remember that going through my head as poor George Jetson gets unfairly blamed and verbally abused by Mr. Spacely throughout the cartoon, yet still wants to work for him. And Spacely demanding personal property (theatre tickets) of Jetsons? Evidently they didn’t have H.R. departments in this version of 21st Century corporate America.

    Ah, well. Not exactly my favourite Jetsons episode (even the title is weak). But it has given me an excuse to clip together this pan shot.


    Here’s another shot of Jetson’s office.



    Someone like Howard Fein will be able to tell you who animated this cartoon. Ken Muse did some of the animation but I’m stumped about the identity of the other animators (I thought I detected a bit of Ed Love but I’m not so sure). Here are some shock drawings of George, who has a long, thin nose.



    George races from the scene. The animator draws outlines. I like the little stardust plus-signs that the characters leave behind in their wake. Very ‘60s.



    And outlines of Cogswell.



    Alas, I can’t tell you who handled layouts and backgrounds (thanks for snipping off all the original titles in the ‘80s). But here are some exteriors and interiors. There are a couple of interiors I’d have liked to have snipped together but the colour isn’t consistent on the DVD frames.



    Howie Morris shows up as Harlan. Howie makes me smile every time I hear him on this show.

    Anyone know who’s doing Miss Asteroid? It sounds like Gerry Johnson but I don’t think she was at Hanna-Barbera that early. Variety reported on March 27, 1963: “Gerry Johnson checked off KNXT's "Panorama Pacific" for vocal assignments with Hanna-Barbera cartoons.” This cartoon appeared February 24, 1963 and the voice track likely would have been made some time in 1962. It’s not Janet Waldo.

    Best pun: “Oooh! Isn’t that a Christian Di-Orbit?”

    Spacely’s impression of Cogswell sounds more like a Flintstones bird-with-a-record-needle-beak than Cogswell.


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    The Quick Draw McGraw Show debuted on September 28, 1959 on the “Kellogg’s network.” Kellogg’s agency, Leo Burnett, placed the half-hour cartoon show on stations across the U.S. willing to air it. But after the Kellogg’s deal expired in 1966, Screen Gems syndicated the show (with animation re-drawn to delete any Kellogg’s references). The distributor took out two-page ads in the trades. Broadcasting magazine ran this on March 28, 1966. Judging by the copyright date, these drawings were used in earliest campaigns.



    The Quick Draw show got good reviews when it came out; critics liked the gentle satire on TV westerns, detective shows and klutzy father sitcoms. The Los Angeles Times put Quick Draw on its TV magazine cover a month after he debuted, though the typographer somehow managed to put the wrong year on it.



    Hanna-Barbera has been lashed over the years for its limited style of animation but I haven’t heard too many people criticise the studio’s bouncy theme songs (other than you can’t understand some of the lyrics the Randy Horn Singers are chirping out). Quick Draw had a great theme; it was lots of fun when characters in the cartoons broke into it to refer to Our Hero. Quick Draw’s lyrics have echoes of the Bugs Bunny theatrical shorts. It’s not improbable that Yosemite Sam would describe himself as the “high fallutin-est, fastest shootin’-est,” since he used similar rhymes in Bugs’ cartoons.

    Here’s a drawing from the opening animation. I don’t know who did the opening animation; I think someone mentioned Ken Muse’s name once (Muse definitely did the Top Cat opening and closing).



    Hanna-Barbera and Screen Gems never wasted time marketing their characters. Games, puzzles, Hallowe’en costumes and, of course, comic and colouring books. Here’s a back page of an early Quick Draw colouring book. I post it because it’s neat to see Harvey Eisenberg mentioned. John Carey worked in animation as well, moving from the Iwerks studio to Warners Bros., where he remained for the rest of the 1930s and through the ‘40s.



    This may be the oddest piece of Quick Draw merchandise. It was produced by Linemar in 1960. Why would Quick Draw be in a plane?



    If I recall correctly, El Kabong was featured in 10 of the 45 Quick Draw cartoons (I’ve posted a storyboard for another which never got made). I found this on the internet. I suspect it’s a piece of recent fan art, judging by the layout. Mike Maltese admitted he loved Douglas Fairbanks’ silent films and was determined to write a swashbuckler into the Quick Draw series.



    One of the great things about the Hanna-Barbera half-hour shows was the little cartoons between the cartoons when the characters on the show interacted. But we’ll never see them for the Quick Draw show because we’ll never see the Quick Draw show on DVD. So, we present a storyboard for one of them. I wish I knew the artist because these drawings are very well done.



    Look! Hanna-Barbera slippers! I don’t think I’ve seen boot-shaped slippers for kids since the ‘60s. Yogi in a T-shirt?!



    Why is Quick Draw such a good character? For one thing, he gets funny lines. “Shucks,” he tells the TV audience after shooting himself yet again at the start of Scary Prairie, “I had the bullet in backwards.”



    But the main reason Quick Draw is such a good character is he’s a perfect combination of heroism and incompetence.

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  • 08/15/15--07:07: Hoyt Curtin Scores
  • Other than reruns of The Jetsons, I can’t think of a single Hanna-Barbera cartoon I’d want to watch on a Saturday morning 40 years ago (the 1974-75 season). That’s despite the presence of some of H-B’s original people from 1957—Ken Muse, Lew Marshall, Daws Butler, Fernando Montealegre, just to name a few. Oh, and Hoyt Curtin.

    Curtin wrote some wonderful background music for the prime time Hanna-Barbera cartoons, ones that were supposedly “adult.” But that was the early 1960s. Ten years later, the studio was churning out cartoons as Saturday morning companions for kids. No need for the Gershwin-esque melodies heard on Top Cat or the dramatic horns and drums on the Jonny Quest soundtracks. Something simpler would do. Of course, music styles had changed over the course of the ‘60s, too.

    Here’s Hoyt talking about scoring cartoons, mid-‘70s style, in a story in Billboard magazine of December 14, 1974. Remember that Curtin didn’t score to fit the action of each scene. He came up with a tracking library and the sound cutters would simply pick the music they felt would suit the mood of what was on the screen.


    KIDDIE ROCK: Hoyt Curtin Uses Today’s Sounds In His TV Programs
    LOS ANGELES—The dinosaur churns down the jungle path on Saturday morning television and, entwined with the shuddering sound effects of its footsteps, the music rises in the background like a rock record.
    “Kids want to hear the same kind of music that they are buying on records,” says Hoyt Curtin, who creates music for 16 and a half hours of television programming each week, week in and week out.
    “So, I have to stay tuned to trends in the music industry in order to give the listeners the sounds they like. Not that I would do rock music . . . in fact, that’s the challenge: To give them sounds they like without going overboard. Even the music to fit the coming of a dinosaur has to have a rock kind of beat.”
    Curtin is the head of Soundtrack Music and he spends 10 hours a week in recording studios creating anywhere from 50 to 75 minutes of original music. His music is heard mostly on Saturday morning kiddie TV shows, especially the Hanna-Barbera shows, but you can listen to Curtin music, too, on weeknights on “Wait ‘Til Your Father Gets Home.”
    Curtin composes the music; his firm has four arrangers working constantly on material. He is involved in the cartoons from the initial sketch stages. The music is suggested by the script and is paced along the lines of the action. The music is keyed to the public by digital metronomes, a device that makes clicks when Curtin and his musicians hear via headphones.
    The music is written to the tempo of the metronome and “if the music has been written properly, it will fit the picture.” Only about half the time does Curtin have the opportunity to see the film as he’s composing or conducting the music in the recording session.
    All music is written via a book that tells how many beats per length of film.
    “And the production schedule is so tight,” says Curtin, “there’s no time to redo anything; it has to be right the first time.”
    The other day, he says, a music editor was picking up the music “as we finished it in the studio to dub to film. It couldn’t have taken more than half an hour between the time we finished the music and it was on the film.”
    Among the sidemen that Curtin uses frequently on his recording sessions are Bud Brisbois, trumpet; Lloyd Ullyate, trombone; Tom Johnson, tuba; Pete Jolly, piano; Frankie Capp, drums; Andy Kostelas, woodwind. Paul DeKorte held in the booth during the sessions as music supervisor. “While I’m out there waving my arms, he’s making sure the music mix is good.”
    Curtin praises Jack Sterm, “my arranger. I’ve kept him chained to his desk in a cave and all he’s allowed to do is occasionally come out to look at the sun.” For his band, he demands all professionals. The same goes for his in-house crew. “Sometimes, I would like to try a new writer or musician, but there’s just not any time allowed for mistakes.”
    The cartoon field is extremely limited. Hanna-Barbera is the biggest supplier of animation. And Curtin feels there might be a couple of others of note. H-B just celebrated its 100th different series. Their ‘Last Of The Curtaws” and “The Runaways,” both of which Curtin did the music, have won Emmys.
    Curtin has been involved with H-B almost from the beginning. He’d worked with them on commercials and around 1957 they called one day and dictated some lyrics over the phone. He called back and gave them the music a while later. Since then, their business association has been “amazing.” Curtin says there’s no contract and no hemming and hawing. “Those two fellows say what they want and say if they like it or not.”
    A lot of his business was over the phone in the early days. “It wasn’t until ‘The Flintstones’ that we had a formal meeting about a particular show to decide what we were going to do.”
    Curtin, who had been primarily in music for commercials prior to H-B, still does commercials—the beers, Datsun.
    His aim is to be consistent in each show—“hopefully, you should be able to identify the show by the sound of the music.” It usually takes a three-hour session to do music for a half-hour TV show. The score for this show will weigh 40 pounds.
    On a recent Saturday morning, starting at 7 a.m., Curtin’s music was featured on “Addams Family,” “Yogi’s Gang,” “Chopper Bunch,” “Speed Buggy,” “Emergency Plus 4,” “Hong Kong Phooey,” “Scooby Doo,” “Jeannie, “Devlin,” “Partridge Family,” “Korg: 70,000 BC,” “Valley of the Dinosaurs,” “Super Friends,” and “These Are The Days,” which carried him through 11:30 a.m.

    I like Curtin’s careful phraseology that he wanted to give kids (I presume he means teenagers) the sound of music they buy, not the real thing, because he had no intention of writing rock music. Production music libraries of the ‘70s and beyond do the same sort of thing; they supply music that evokes a genre but it’s watered down enough not to distract anyone from the announcer’s voice reading the pitch over top.

    The last time a Curtin post popped up on the blog, it was accompanied by some of his unreleased music. So let the same thing happen again! If you think I’m going to post Curtin’s 1975 work, forget it. We mentioned The Jetsons off the top, so let’s give you some Jetsons cues. A number of people have pointed out the first two bars of the “B” melody used in various arrangements on the show was reworked as the start of the chorus of the theme to Josie and the Pussycats. The first tune below is a snappy little version that I don’t believe was actually used on The Jetsons. The second one is a big band-ish arrangement that is quintessential Curtin. Hoyt loved cues with button endings and you’ll hear a bunch of them below. These sound like they came from a cassette dub, so you’ll hear some tape hiss. These cues may have been from a second session; there’s another full set that start with “J.” Some were used in the first Jetsons cartoon. Only one of these cues has an alternate name besides an alpha-numeric.

    Click on the arrow to start or stop them.


    CUE V1








    CUE V2








    CUE V3








    CUE V4








    CUE V5








    CUE V101








    CUE V302








    CUE V304








    CUE V313








    CUE V315








    CUE V320








    CUE V322








    CUE V323








    CUE V324








    CUE V326








    CUE V328 OFF TO THE MARKET








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    The postman’s back—at least for one encounter with Pebbley-Poo—in the Flintstones daily comic strips from 50 years ago this month.

    There isn’t much to say about them; you can click on each week to make the comics bigger. Interestingly, the writer decided to do a string of Flintstones-on-vacation comics from August 10th through the 14th. There’s no Baby Puss but we do get an octopus twice (Aug. 3 and 10). Betty appears four times (Aug. 16, 19, 26, 27). There are a few Stone Age inventions as well (the hair dryer of August 16 is inventive), and there’s a Mickey Mantle (Aug. 6). I wonder if he’s related to Roger Marble, the rookie baseball slugger who appeared on the TV show (appropriately, Roger Maris and Mantle were teammates with the Yankees for a time). And two baby language barrier cartoons (Aug. 17 and 24) appear.

    Sorry there are no Sunday comics available for you to read. Papers which had been printing them had no qualms about dropping them for advertising comics or, on August 1st, a feature that took up several pages drawn by Graham Place, who animated for a number of years for the Fleischer studio and its successors. The versions I have found are virtually unreadable due to poor copying onto microfilm many years ago.



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  • 08/22/15--07:09: Snagglepuss in Arrow Error
  • The best part of any Snagglepuss cartoon is the declamations made by the pink lion, generally near the start thereof. Witness this soliloquy from “Arrow Error.” It starts with Snagglepuss (supposedly) reading from Robin Hood, then acting out the part of Robin shooting arrows. It’s Mike Maltese at his best. Phoney Shakespearean English, puns, silliness and borrowing a catchphrase that was pretty well-known in 1961.

    “What ho, Sheriff of Nottingham. ‘Tis I, Robin Hood. He, who robbeth from the richeth, and giveth to the pooreth. Hand over the gold. And the charger plates. Or thou shalt feel my sturdy bow and arrow, even.”

    Ah, if Robin Hood were but alive today. To help the poor woodland creatures from the hunter’s gun. To assist ‘em, even. Whyyy not!

    With bow and arrow. Toing! He’d rescue the frightened katydid. Or is it katy-didn’t? No matter. The forest will re-vertebate with the sound of his toinging arrows. Toing, toing, toing! And again. Toing! The hunter will be put to rout. Scram, even. And the cheery chipmunk could one-st again chip amongst us. Unfrayed. Et cetera, et cetera.


    “Whyyy not!” was the exclamation by Dayton Allen during character sketches on The Steve Allen Show (as an aside, Allen was a cartoon voice actor himself, playing Heckle and Jeckle and numerous other characters at the Terrytoons studio from the ‘30s into the ‘50s).

    (A side-note: Hanna-Barbera had a character in development named Toing Tiger. One wonders if Maltese was responsible).

    So Snagglepuss decides to be Robin Hood, don a green felt hat and a quiver of arrows, and help the less fortunate. Naturally he comes up on the losing end. First he tries to save some ducks from a hunter (“Come back, little ducks! Returneth thou hence. Thou art safe now. Robin Hood sayeth so”). The ducks think he’s a hunter, steal his bow and arrows and attack him with them. Then he unexpectedly crashes into an elephant in a tree and decides to ensure the pachyderm (Wadsworth, by name) isn’t forced at gunpoint to return to the zoo. The enthusiastic, hero-worshipping elephant is reminiscent of Maltese’s Quick Draw McGraw cartoon “Elephant Boy Oh Boy.” In the end, the huge beast crushes Snagglepuss, who asks for asylum in said zoo.

    Other than the dialogue, there’s nothing really outstanding in the cartoon. Art Lozzi was responsible for the backgrounds; the blue tree trunks give it away. There’s a pan over a background to open the cartoon.


    Another from later in the cartoon.


    Walt Clinton handled the layouts and incidental character designs. As John Kricfalusi reminds you, look for the low ear. That means it’s more than likely a Clinton layout. The elephant is attractively designed, too.



    The animation is by veteran Hicks Lokey. He gives Snagglepuss an odd chin design in one profile shot.



    Let’s give you another endless cycle. Here are the ducks (one is named Charlie) running away with Snagglepuss’ bow and arrows. There are three drawings of wings shot on twos, meaning the cycle takes six frames (nothing else is animated). Story director Art Davis has timed the cycle so the ducks need 12 frames to pass the same trees in the background. This is a little slower than the animation in the cartoon.



    Other Snagglepuss dialogue nuggets:
    ● “The Audu-Bon-Bon Society shall hear of this, forthwith and to wit!” (after the ducks snatch the bow and arrows).
    ● There’s a “Heavens To Murgatroyd,” “Heavens to peanuts,” “Heavens to submarines” and “Heavens to mashed potaters!” (just before the elephant lands on him).
    ● “Exit, merrie as ever, stage left!” “Exit, forsooth, stage left!” “Exit, fractures and all, stage left!” “Exit, upside-downee, stage right.”
    ● “Hark! ‘Tis the voice of a lark in yon bark!” (after hearing a cry for help in a tree).

    Daws Butler, Don Messick and Doug Young all provide voices in this cartoon with familiar themes from Hoyt Curtin.

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  • 08/26/15--07:06: Snuffles the Model
  • One of many reasons that Quick Draw McGraw is my favourite Hanna-Barbera cartoon series—Snuffles!



    The poses on this sheet come from Snuffles’ first appearance in “Bow-Wow Bandit.” The animation is by Ken Muse, but the layout credits aren’t on available copies of the cartoon. Here are the closest poses I can find in the cartoon to the drawings in the upper corners.



    Interestingly, Snuffles isn’t named in the cartoon.



    Snuffles was featured in seven Quick Draw cartoons and one with Snagglepuss, “Tail Wag Snag,” (animated by Allen Wilzbach (with what looks to be Dick Lundy animation of Snuffles’ ecstasy leap). Snagglepuss shouts off-camera in the scene, so we don’t see his mouth open as wide in the actual cartoon.



    The sheet and rough drawing came from one of the internet auction sites—Van Eaton Gallery, I believe—along with what you see below.



    Does anyone think Pixie and Dixie were the stars of the Pixie and Dixie cartoons? Of course they weren’t. Mr. Jinks was. It might have been fun to see him in meece-less adventures, like trying and failing to join a band as the cool cats see through his phoney, like, hipster lingo. He could have ineptly bashed around the drum in this model sheet. I love Jinks’ expressions here. He got watered down toward the end of the series. Too bad, because he had lots of potential as a character. This Jinks sheet is signed by Dick Bickenbach.



    I really like Yogi’s stroll on this sheet, dated when the bear was still on the Huckleberry Hound Show. I wish I could tell you what cartoon it’s from. The stroll is different than the one in the opening animation of his own show in 1961 and it’s not as loose-limbed as the “bongo walk” in a couple of the first season Huck show cartoons from 1958.



    The cast of my favourite show. Ed Benedict’s designs modified by Dick Bickenbach, I suspect. The “Allen” written in the corner could be for “Allen Wilzbach.”



    This sheet can be seen on the wall next to Dick Lundy’s cubicle in the Life magazine spread on Hanna-Barbera published in 1960. Dino is another great character, and he was showcased wonderfully in “Dino Goes Hollyrock.”



    This looks like Bick’s work again. I haven’t a clue what all the numbers mean, other than the “P” is the production number. For example, “P-67” is “The Buffalo Convention” from the third Flintstones season.



    Are these Fred mouths by Jerry Hathcock?



    Layout drawings from Production V-16, “Millionaire Astro.” Frames from the finished cartoon below. Animator ID anyone?



    “Millionaire Astro” (aka “The Tralfaz Cartoon”) is a fun half-hour with some great interior backgrounds, squiggly-mouthed George Nicholas animation, the Jury-Vac and a judge that sounds like Cap’n Crunch. We’ll see if we can find time to post on it.

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