Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

Stuff about early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

older | 1 | .... | 20 | 21 | (Page 22) | 23 | 24 | .... | 38 | newer

    0 0

    When you think of Hanna-Barbera and music, you probably think of Hoyt Curtin and those terrific background pieces he wrote for Jonny Quest and Top Cat. Personally, I also think of those great stock music libraries written for (or released by) the Capitol Hi-Q and Langlois Filmusic series heard in the earliest cartoons. You likely don’t think of the Hogs. Or the Guilloteens. Or the Thirteenth Floor Elevators. But you should.

    All three were among the bands signed in the mid-60s to contracts with Hanna-Barbera Records.

    Yes, in late 1964, while Jonny Quest was teetering on the brink of prime-time cancellation and Secret Squirrel and Atom Ant were in development, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera decided to get into the record business.

    Bill and Joe had been somewhat involved with record labels before. Golden Records in New York had produced and released knock-offs of Hanna-Barbera cartoon themes (and a few other songs based on characters to fill out the sides). And Colpix, Columbia Pictures’ TV music arm, released some cartoon soundtracks (minus the Hi-Q music for contractual reasons) and characters narrating stories. But this was different. The company created a subsidiary to release its own artists. And we don’t mean Daws Butler singing as Wally Gator.

    Neither Hanna nor Barbera (unless I missed it) talked about the short-lived venture in their autobiographies, leaving it up to others to explain why they got into music business. Billboard in its issue of January 15, 1965 stated it stemmed from the cartoon producers’ belief “that the promotional sales value of records had hardly been tapped.” The story quoted Don Bohanan, the head of the brand-new subsidiary, that the division not only wanted to release “a powerful children’s line” but “develop strong representation in the popular music field.” And since it was 1965, pop music was starting to change from the yeah-yeah-yeah “bug music,” as it was satirically called on The Flintstones. That meant garage rock and psychedelia, and that’s what Hanna-Barbera Records got into, as Bohanan promised the label “intended to release a minimum of 20 LP’s and 50 to 70 singles a year in the pop music.” The wonderful Spectropop site has more on some of the rather odd releases.

    (Billboard reported on December 24, 1964 that since November 1963, Bohanon had been marketing director at Liberty Records, the label that brought you the Chipmunks, and had started with Coral Records around 1954).

    What happened to Hanna-Barbera Records? The same thing that happened to Hanna-Barbera Productions. It was officially sold to Taft Broadcasting on December 28, 1966. Within a month a decision was made to have to have any record product concentrate solely on cross-promoting cartoons. The days of a separate subsidiary were done. The company gave up its independent distribution set-up. Bohanan quit (Billboard, May 13, 1967) and by the following December, Paul DeKorte was named supervisor of production for children’s records under Hanna-Barbera Productions, released by the Sunset Records arm of Liberty.

    More than 8½ years ago, Kliph Nesteroff wrote a pretty detailed treatise on Hanna-Barbera Records which you can read HERE. You’d figure nothing else was left to be said. But no! Now that Kliph has finished uncovering the sex, drugs and rock-and-roll of stand-up comedy in his new book The Comedians, he’s turning his attention back to Hanna-Barbera Records. Did he dredge up more sex, drugs and rock-and-roll in his research? Well, we know he found the last of the three. And Kliph’s pretty thorough in his interviews and other research, so you can bet he found a lot of other things. He has written a five-thousand word article which, we hope, may be the prelude to another book. You can go to his fine blog site and read about it.

    0 0
  • 01/02/16--07:06: Cop and Saucer Storyboard
  • “Cop and Saucer” is among my least favourite Huckleberry Hound cartoons. Instead of being naïve, Huck is just plain stupid. Yes, he’s slow and a little gullible but I have trouble believing he is so dumb he would mistake a metallic thing on a wheel for a human being. But it seems a dope-ish Huck what was writer Warren Foster had in mind at the outset, judging by the storyboard for the cartoon.

    That gracious champion of old animation, Mark Kausler, has sent me a copy of the board with this notation:

    It's the Huck Hound cartoon "Cop and Saucer" Prod. E83. A month or two ago, you posted some excerpted Huck Hound boards and this artist's style was in a few of the pages. It's a very unusual, almost amateurish style with professional camera directions. This artist drew Huck Hound to look very goofy and kind of "soft", not the hard edged crisp line style that we're used to. The variations in style regarding the look of the metal space man seem to suggest there might be more than one story artist working on this board.
    Mark doesn’t believe the drawings are Foster’s, which leaves Alex Lovy and Dan Gordon as suspects, though I’m sure Mark would recognise their styles. But you can tell looking at the pages that some are quickly sketched out with no dialogue while the first page is pretty carefully rendered.

    Some of the boards Mark has sent us follow the finished cartoon pretty closely. But this first page sure doesn’t. The opening gag with sirens, crying and the cat stealing milk never made it into the cartoon. And it strikes me that whoever made the drawings weren’t familiar with Hanna-Barbera’s cost-saving techniques. You see buildings (and apparently animation to go with it) in perspective and animation of a cat and his shadow. All of it seems to me to be way too complicated for what the studio was putting on TV. The finished opening narration cuts to the quick. We hear the first line, then Foster substitutes what’s on the rest of the page for two lines and then cuts to introducing Huck as per the second page. To the right you see part of Joe Montell’s background for the opening scene.


    Can someone explain to me what’s funny about hat size numbers? The 6 7/8 gag was done to death in cartoons. Fortunately, in the actual cartoon it’s substituted for a variation on the Frank Fontaine sweepstakes winner gag with a number that keeps going on and on.

    The radio announcer dialogue (centre panel) is kept but Tony Rivera’s layout is quite different. And the finished cartoon has different dialogue following and Huck screaming up to the saucer in his cruiser. I like the line “Everything looks identified here...” but it got chucked.




    You can see how Rivera redesigned the metallic alien. No feet. No mouth speaker. And he doesn’t talk in “reverse track.” Instead, Don Messick invents a kind of electronic noise and “speaks” through the antennae on the alien’s head. The whole dialogue concept of drunk driving was not used; Huck instead wonders who’s illegally parked, asks the alien about the saucer then demands to see his driver’s license. I think the original dialogue’s better. And atypical for Huck, he turns to talk to the audience about the situation.


    Other than Huck talks about a license instead of a key, the routine on this page stays intact (including the line of dialogue in the last panel). However, the director cuts to a close shot of Huck during the laser gunfire. And Huck doesn’t go inside the alien and toss out the toy gun. But he does get grabbed by the alien (with a claw instead of a hand), bashed around to pad for time and then tossed against a tree, where he says his judo hold line. And Foster’s weak rock/drinking fountain gag gets cut.




    The dialogue isn’t the same but the basis of the bashing and chained to the police car gags are kept. Huck ends the observation to the audience with “I gots ta remember to leave off mah break the next time.”


    The duelling/bus gag, the shoot at the camera gag (so old, it’s in 1903’s The Great Train Robbery) and disintegrating mallet head don’t make it into the cartoon. Instead, Huck writes a ticket and the alien’s gun burns a hole in it. Huck hides in the garbage can, not behind it. The tree and brick wall gags die on the storyboard as well. (The “X” next to some panels indicate a fade out-fade in).


    The birdhouse gag is modified. You can see how it ended up in the cartoon. I kind of like how the storyboard has Huck imitating a bird to try to fool the alien. The boat gag’s handled differently, with Huck saying “Nothin’ like the peace and quiet of a lake when you gots to do some thinkin’.” The storyline doesn’t follow the various scenes which make up the gag but the end result is the same, though the layout is different. Compare the second panel in the 14th page to what’s in the cartoon. The alien doesn’t run after Huck up the side of the dried lake in the cartoon, the scene cuts to Huck running and deciding to call the sergeant and then dissolves into the next scene where Huck is in his cruiser.


    The finished dialogue: “That did it. That did it! That’s police property you just discom-booberated. Now, yer goin’ to have ta take us both to the station in your car.” (Cut to next scene of alien carrying Huck) “I hates ta have to crack down like this, but you asked for it.” You can see the difference in how Rivera handles Huck being taken into the spaceship from what’s in the story panel.


    Rivera’s layout sticks to the first story panel on the final page. The cartoon doesn’t cut away to the WBLZ announcer (with a turntable in his studio and a sharp-nosed, bullet-headed operator in the booth), we just hear the dialogue off camera as Huck looks out of the porthole. The camera direction isn’t mentioned on the story board, but the drawing of the Earth and various space objects turns as the camera trucks back. And Huck laugh/cries to end the cartoon.




    It’s hard to say if the storyboard version of the cartoon is better than the final product. But it’ll remain a mystery about why so many gags and scenes were changed and who changed them. You can read a review of the cartoon in this post.

    0 0

    It’s winter in Jellystone Park and four of the five comics that appeared in weekend newspapers 50 years ago this month reflect that. Three are on the ice and two involve ice fishing. One featuring birds on a clothesline could have appeared at any time during the year.

    Guest appearances every once in a while are nice and we get some this month from Yogi’s “Kellogg’s” comrades and the not-in-animated-cartoons Mrs. Ranger. Boo Boo gets the last two weeks off. Yogi shows his inventiveness in one comic and there’s another rescue comic this month.


    Quick Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound stop in on Jellystone Park in the January 2nd comic. Note the little bird perched atop the “Yogi Bear” lettering in the opening panel. Yogi and Quick Draw have neat scarves while Boo Boo and Huck keep their bow ties. Apparently, Quick Draw is smarter than the average bear in this comic.


    Yogi has his scarf AND his tie in the January 9th comic. It’s a good thing the kid is named “Hugh.” The line wouldn’t have rhymed if he were named Finster. Nice google eyes as Yogi falls through the ice in the centre row.


    The friendly denizens of nature once again agree to help Yogi in the January 16th comic. You’d figure if one of the birds was named Bill, another should be named Joe. The way the copyright line is interwoven in the blanket is unique.


    The January 23rd comic is my favourite, especially with the tangle of dogs and people in the final panel. That’s an awful lot of drawing. The expressions are nice, too. I like the FOINGG panel next to it. Some more nice expressions. I’ll take a pass on the poetry in the right panel, top row.


    Snow bunnies appear to watch the action in the opening panel of the January 30th comic. The panel’s nicely laid out with the ranger station and jeep in the background framing Ranger Smith and Yogi on one side and fir trees framing them on the other. And there’s silhouette action in the middle row. A lot of thought went into these comics.

    Next month, a rock band and skateboards. Fortunately, it’s not “Yo Yogi!” (Whew!)

    0 0

    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – C.L. Hartman, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Chopper – Vance Colvig; Robin, Cat – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.

    Have you watched those horrible made-for-TV Popeye cartoons from the early ‘60s where a character is in one position and then when the scene cuts to a close-up, they’re in a completely different position? Rushed and sloppy, right? Well, there’s one of those in “Duck the Music,” with animation by C.L. Hartman, who worked on some of those god-awful Popeyes. These are consecutive frames. Even the bushes in the background disappear.



    There are some amusing premises in this cartoon but I get fed up with the pity-party duck. “Woe is me. Woe is me!” Yakky moans, walking with his head down. Later in the cartoon: “I’m a disgrace to birdland. So long” and “You promised I could sing on TV. Oh, well. My dreams are shattered.”

    The duck can’t handle it when he’s told he can’t sing. Oh, suck it up. So you can’t sing. Big deal. Move on. Honestly, what a whiner.

    Mike Maltese finds ways for Chopper to manage to avoid telling Yakky his singing blows. I especially like the one toward the end. Chopper is about to punch the cat.

    Chopper: Any last words?
    Cat: Go ahead. Get it over with.
    (Yakky sings “Clementine”)
    Cat: If you can honestly call that good singin’, eh, then you can punch me right in the nose.
    Chopper: Uh....I couldn’t be that dishonest.
    Fade in to the final sequence where Yakky is in an emptied out TV set, butchering “Camptown Races.” Cut to cats looking as horrified as you can in limited animation of 1961. Cut to Chopper with a nicely timed sight gag.



    Chopper ends the cartoon by revealing he’s wearing ear plugs so he can’t hear the duck’s off-key shouts.

    Colvig’s performance is pretty good here as he tries to hide his discomfort and avoid expressing how he really feels about Yakky’s caterwauling. And Jimmy Weldon’s off-key singing is good, too (you have to be able to sing to be able to sing off-key like he does).

    We mentioned that Yakky sang “Clementine.” He also treats (?) us to a chorus of “(That’s) Quick Draw McGraw.” It’s an inside gag that for viewers should be pleasingly appropriate. If you want to think a bit too much about it, it’s a little odd that the latter sequence shows Yakky riding a make-shift horse when Quick Draw is, of course, a horse who didn’t make a habit of riding his own kind.

    If you should feel sorry for anyone in the cartoon, it’s not the self-pitying duck, it’s the cat. All he wants to do is get some sleep. Instead, his ear drums are assaulted by screeching and the rest of him is assaulted by Chopper. Mind you, he threw a tin can at Yakky to shut him up which isn’t all that nice but is likely quite satisfying to those in the audience who aren’t Yakky Doodle fans.

    Chopper (after beating up cat off-camera): What are you, a duck hater?
    Cat: No, I’m a music lover. (Cat drops backwards to the ground with a thud).
    Chopper: Uh, go look at the pretty flowers Yakky. You shouldn’t oughta see this.
    Cat: All of a sudden, there’s a duck in my mouth. Ha, ha, ha, ha.
    (Chopper punches him in the snout)
    Cat: How’s about that? All of a sudden, there’s a fist in my face. (Cat drops backwards to the ground with a thud).
    C.L. Hartman’s animation is really jerky in this in spots. The reason seems to be a combination of the cat’s limb movement and odd timing (by Paul Sommer?). The piece of footage below (close to the speed in the actual cartoon) has seven drawings. The second and third are held for two frames, the next (when the cat stares into the dog house) is held for eight, then the next two for two frames.



    Daws gives the cat a toned down version of his Jerry Lewis voice (without the inflections and syllable accents). The sound cutter wisely keeps Hoyt Curtin’s stock music (much of it from The Flintstones) off the soundtrack when Yakky is singing.

    0 0
  • 01/13/16--07:12: Folly That Car!
  • Extreme continuity was never important in the world of television until maybe the 1980s when fans could tape their favourite programmes at home and obsess over every little detail. Before then, who cared? I didn’t. I still don’t when it comes to the small stuff. In some cases, I find it interesting. Especially in the area of design.

    In the early days at Hanna-Barbera in the late ‘50s, story artists came up with panels of drawings of outlining the plot of a cartoon. It would be turned into a finished storyboard by someone like Dan Gordon or Alex Lovy that a layout artist like, say Walt Clinton, could work from and make drawings for the animators. The layout artist was responsible for incidental character designs and props. So it was that things like the Flintstones’ house could vary from cartoon to cartoon, depending on the whim of the layout artist.

    The ‘50s may have been a peak when it came to designs of cars. They got pretty tame in the ‘60s, but the previous decade, all kinds of interior and exterior gimmicks were tried by automakers to beat the large number of competitors. Tex Avery satirised the whole thing in Car of Tomorrow (1951). Hanna-Barbera didn’t satirise the auto industry but, instead, reflected it, with layout artists designing cars for cartoons that looked like cars of the late ‘50s but didn’t actually copy any specific makes or models.

    Snooper and Blabber was probably more car dependent than any other early Hanna-Barbera series; detectives need transportation to do their job. Snooper and Blabber never had the same car from cartoon to cartoon, but it wasn’t because they had a huge fleet. The layout men simply designed what they felt like. Let’s see how different the cars were.

    (Unfortunately, copies of almost all Snooper and Blabber cartoons available on line were taken off TV some years ago and uploaded at a low bit-rate. The quality of the screen grabs isn’t all that good).

    1959-60 SEASON

    PUSS N’ BOOTY (layout by Walt Clinton)


    SWITCH WITCH (Dick Bickenbach)
    Bick wasn’t much on doors on quite a number of cars he designed.


    REAL GONE GHOSTS (Dick Bickenbach)
    The car seems to have lost its doors at the end of the cartoon.


    FLEA AND ME (Dick Bickenbach)



    DISAPPEARING INC. (Walt Clinton)
    The bad guy’s sports car is the second drawing.


    BABY RATTLED (Bickenbach)
    This is the bad guy’s car. Snooper and Blabber are on foot.


    NOT SO DUMMY (Bickenbach)


    FEE-FI-FO-FUMBLE (Bickenbach)


    MASQUERADER RAIDER (Clinton)


    MOTOR KNOWS BEST (Ed Benedict)
    This was an auto race cartoon.


    MONKEY WRENCHED (Bob Givens)


    ADVENTURE IS MY HOBBY (Clinton)


    SNAP HAPPY SAPS (Clinton)


    THE LION IS BUSY (Clinton)


    THE CASE OF THE PURLOINED PARROT (Bickenbach)


    POODLE TOODLE-OO (Bickenbach)
    Random car driving past


    DOGGONE DOG, GONE (Clinton)


    WILD MAN, WILD! (Benedict)

    1960-61 SEASON



    ALA-KAZOOP! (unknown layout artist)


    HOP TO IT (Clinton)


    BIG CAT CAPER (Paul Sommer)


    PRINCE OF A FELLA (Sommer)


    FLEA FOR ALL (Don Sheppard)


    SURPRISED PARTY (Sommer)

    1961-62 Season


    ZOOM ZOOM BLABBER (Sheppard)


    CHILLY CHILLER (Jerry Eisenberg)

    Note that there were 26 cartoons in the first season, 13 in the second and six in the last.

    0 0

    The Flintstones had a cub scout episode. Yogi Bear had a cub scout episode. And the Jetsons had one, too. Whether it had to do with the fact that Bill Hanna was a lifelong supporter of the Boy Scouts, I don’t know, but the Jetsons’ effort is pretty weak.

    Larry Markes’ story is here and there. It opens with a superfluous act about folding clothes, has Mr. Spacely’s son Arthur as a whiny jerk, then suddenly being friendly for the rest of the cartoon, and ends with Spacely concluding George Jetson is brilliant (as a child psychologist), which strikes me as a little out of character for the abusive boss.

    The stars of this cartoon are the layout and background artists, unfortunately unidentified as the Jetsons cartoons now in circulation are ‘80s prints with all but writer credits removed. They created wonderful buildings and settings in this episode. Also unfortunately, my Jetsons DVD set has a huge gouge in the first disc so it won’t play and I’ve had to get a fuzzy, compressed version of “The Good Little Scouts” off the internet. The frame grab quality isn’t that great.

    There are at least two animators on this cartoon. Ken Muse is easy to spot in the second half. The first one is Don Patterson, judging by the eye blinks and bit lips. His Yogi Bear cartoons feature the same kind of drawing.



    Patterson is also animating dialogue with stretched necks jutting up.



    I’m not an expert in identifying animators so I can’t tell you if someone else worked on this cartoon. It looks like there’s someone in mid-cartoon after Jetson and the scouts land on the moon.

    Dick Beals plays Arthur Spacely and two Martian cub scouts, all with different voices. Jean Vander Pyl gets in a pyl of voices, including her Ma Rugg and snooty matron voices for two of the mothers and a sultry Lana Luna, the Siri-esque voice of the Galaxy Spacelines stewardess, who is “a transcribed announcement.” Evidently people in the future know what a transcription is. Mel Blanc and Don Messick also get “Other Voices” credits, while Penny Singleton doubles as cub scout Orbit’s mother. Among Messick’s voices is RUDI (Referential Universal Digital Indexer), the computer that beats Jetson at cards. It’s that wavering voice Don M. uses for aliens in other cartoons (Yogi Bear, Augie Doggie, eg.). Since this is the 1960s version of the computing future, RUDI runs on tapes and is half the size of a room.



    Markes comes up with a cub scout song around the melody of that futuristic hit The Caissons Go Rolling Along. I can’t make out all the lyrics (this is a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, after all), but the first two verses are:

    We are strong, we are brave,
    In ten years, we’ll even shave.
    We’re the space cubs of Troop 54!

    Through the storm, through the sleet
    Draggin’ grandmas through the street.
    We’re the space cubs of Troop 54!


    Inventions: the talking clothes folder/repairer, the visi-phone and some kind of litter vacuum that is used on the lunar surface.



    The premise of the cartoon is George is forced, somehow, by Spacely to take a troop of cub scouts on a field trip to the moon. Here are some of the great exteriors. I’ve snipped together some backgrounds that are panned. The first drawing is of Grand Central Space-tion; I can’t put together the whole thing because there’s an overlay (you see part of it to the left).


    You can click on the backgrounds above to make them bigger. I sure wish I knew who designed them.

    The moon is a blue-ish, stalagmitish place, as you can see below (the kids and Martians get in the way of one of the frames below). I love the see-through tents the cub scouts use.



    And here’s the version of the Spacely Sprockets exterior shot. While it may appear the same painting was used in all the cartoons, there are subtle differences. This one has cars in a parking lot (and artificial green turf, it would seem).



    Whoever the background artist was this time added some modern art on the wall and plants outside the apartment window.



    That’s it for this post. If you can decipher verse three of the “Troop 54” song, leave the lyrics in the comment section.

    0 0

    Winter plays a role in all five Flintstones comics that appeared in newspapers on weekends 50 years ago this month. Pebbles is in four of them, presumably she didn’t appear in the fifth one because it was past her bedtime. They all feature the usual fine artwork from Gene Hazelton and his crew.


    January 2nd. Looks like Dino’s dreaming of Sassie in the first panel (she has a new wig, it appears). And Fred must still puffing on Winstons as there’s an ashtray next to his living room chair. Mr. Stone is his boss, not Mr. Slate. And apparently modern railways existed in the Stone Age, judging by the last panel. The night-time shadows are nice. I’d like to see how it was handled in colour. Wait! Aren’t the Flintstones in the suburbs? Where are all the other houses?


    January 9th. Betty appears. Bamm Bamm’s playing with cute wooden dinosaurs (left panel, bottom row). A relative of Barney’s in the picture on the wall has a turn-of-the-20th-century moustache. The end gag is a repeat of one in the dailies the previous month when a huge stone Christmas card falls on Barney. And there are hungry incidental bird characters in the first panel.


    January 16th. Dino has the best expressions in this one. He’s clobbered with a pillow (top row), gives Fred’s loud buddy a dirty look (middle row) and laughs his butt off (final row).


    January 23rd. A frozen steam spout from a volcano again this month (middle row). I like how there’s only dialogue in the final panel. You know that snowman isn’t going to last, Fred.


    January 30th. Another “what’ll they think of next” gag, found every once in a while in the daily Flintstones strips. The opening panel’s got some neat things, including snow-capped lettering, a lizardsaurus with a goofy smile watching things while the mastodon plow seems to have its eye on the lizardsaurus. I like the silhouette in the right column, first row. And there’s sure a lot of detail in the first panel of the middle row. Very nice.

    Click on any of the comics to make them bigger.

    0 0

    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voices: Snagglepuss, Adventurer’s Club M.C., Australian, Wildebeest Capturer – Daws Butler; Major Minor, Mongoose Capturer, Floorwalker – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Plot: The Major makes a deal with Snagglepuss to try to capture him to avoid being kicked out the Adventurers Club.

    Mike Maltese wrote the Quick Draw McGraw, Augie Doggie, Snooper and Blabber and Snagglepuss cartoons and many Yakky Doodles. One of the things the series have in common is none of them had a regular antagonist. Fibber Fox appeared in only some of the Yakky cartoons, giving Maltese some freedom in developing stories. The same was true with Snagglepuss. Major Minor didn’t show up in every cartoon. But, by Gadfrey!, Snagglepuss was loaded with catchphrases and standard routines and one of them involved the major.

    Witness this exchange from “Major Operation,” as the major walks through a zoo.

    Snagglepuss: Major! As I live to breathe, it is truly you.
    Major: By Gadfrey, it’s Snagglepuss. What are you doing in that cage?
    Snagglepuss: I was captured in Cambodia while cavortin’ with a Cambodian.
    Major: But didn’t I shoot you in the Mato Grosso?
    Snagglepuss: Negative. I believe you got me below the equator. Or was it in the left clavicle?
    Snagglepuss also likes disguises to fool his victim. In the course of this cartoon he rises up under a garbage can lid to make it look like a sugegasa, and turns himself into a Japanese stereotype. He even fits in the word “prease” as one of Hoyt Curtin’s Far East-sounding cues used on the ju jitsu/prowler episode of The Flintstones plays in the background. Oh, well. The war was still fresh on people’s minds, I guess.



    Better still is when Snagglepuss pretends to be a cop (with a London bobby hat, no less). “Stop,” he yells, “in the limb of the law. As Snooper would say.”

    Major: What’s the meaning of this, officer?
    Snagglepuss: I think I’ll book ya on a charge of grand lozenges and intent to commit mayhap.
    Major: You wouldn’t dare.
    Snagglepuss: Have you ever been booked?
    Major: I’ve been paged but never booked.
    Indeed, Snooper did say “Stop in the limb of the law” in “Big Cat Caper,” featuring the orange version of Snagglepuss, the white moustached version of Major Minor and the two sitting down to tea—which they do in this cartoon as well. Snagglepuss engages in tea-time conversation. Maltese pens an amazing mix of the songs “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?” and “Dear Old Donegal” and adds his own special rhymes and puns.
    Snagglepuss: How are things in Glocca Morra, Kilkenny and Kildare? How is Duffy, McGuffy, McCarthy, Malone? McCullough, McGillen, and lots of malarky? How’s your sister Kate down by the garden gate? Is she still swingin’? And your brother Paul behind the prison wall?
    This part of the cartoon ends with the major shooting at Snagglepuss but hitting some small plates instead, sending them skyward. “Major, look out for them flyin’ sausahs!” yells Snagglepuss. They crash (off camera) on top of the major. “By Jupiter,” he exclaims. “We’ve been invaded.”

    “Sausahs”? Yes, Daws gives Snagglepuss an unusual delivery in this one. The “r” sound comes out as “aw” or “ah” as in “Shall we stawt?” (instead of “start”) and “Pawdon me flowwalkah” (instead of “floorwalker”). Maybe he was going for the broad “a” as heard in the thea-tah but it sounds odd.

    And we get “Exit, stage left (or right)” and “Heavens to Murgatroyd,” though this is an early Snagglepuss so the lines aren’t as elaborate as they got later.

    Dick Thomas is the background artist and Paul Sommer came up with the incidental characters. Thomas’ interiors are the least stylised of any of Hanna-Barbera’s background people of the time.



    And a complete street-scape from one end to the other (sorry Major Minor is in the way).



    Lew Marshall’s the animator. Here’s one of his Snagglepuss exits, stage left.



    The cartoon ends with another deal. Snagglepuss agrees to be captured by the major, who keeps his Adventurers Club membership as a result, and have his head mounted on the wall, provided he gets every other Thursday off “to go to the Opry.” We presume Snagglepuss means the Metropolitan as opposed to the Grand Old.

    Hoyt Curtin’s stock library works pretty well in this cartoon. The sound cutter puts the Snagglepuss main title theme (edited) behind the final sequence in the Adventurers Club, which provides for a nice bridge to the end title theme.

    0 0
  • 01/27/16--07:08: If I Knew You Were Comin'...
  • Anyone familiar with the hit parade in 1950 would be able to complete the song lyric in the title of this post.

    You may have noticed there’s one Yogi Bear cartoon we have yet to review here—the half-hour birthday party episode. We’re not reviewing it today but this post is somewhat related.

    Some time ago, a friend on Facebook had a birthday and someone posted a great picture of a Tom and Jerry birthday cake. It got me to wondering if anyone had made a Yogi Bear cake. Well, the answer is “yes” and because it falls under the category of food, the internet is awash with pictures of these ursine confectionery creations. And they’re pretty creative. Hurray to the artists who created these, because cake decorating really is an art. Some of the photos are small so they don’t blow up all that well.



    Nuts and berries?!? This Yogi has a hitherto unknown craving for bananas.



    I’m not quite sure what those things are with Yogi and Boo Boo. Snails? Slugs?



    When Yogi first appeared on The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958, he was watched by not only kids, but by young adults. So it’s perhaps fitting someone got a Yogi Bear wedding cake.



    These delectable culinary desserts show that Yogi and Boo Boo are just as popular today as they ever were. And they sure look better on the cakes than in that movie a few years ago, don’t they?

    0 0

    You’re friends with your next door neighbour. He’s a nice guy, someone who invites you over to watch the game on TV and have a beer. You go out and have some laughs together. What would you think if the guy completely changed and became sullen and angry and anti-social? Someone who wasn’t the guy you knew and liked?

    You’d be pretty much turned off and likely want to avoid him if humanly possible.

    That’s how I feel about re-boots of cartoons.

    You may have heard read that D.C. Comics wants to reboot some of the great Hanna-Barbera characters of the 1960s. The Flintstones, Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, Scooby-Doo and others. D.C. Entertainment co-publisher Dan Didio is quoted on screenrant.com:

    “...these characters resonate with so much of our fanbase. It was so fun to go out and look at them, but not just bring back versions that existed 40, 50 years ago, and really look at it the way of saying, if these characters were created and interpreted today, how would they exist?”
    Here’s my question.

    Why?

    Why if the “characters resonate...so much,” why must they be changed to something that aren’t the same characters that resonated? And why would they be any different if they “were created and interpreted today”?

    Scooby Doo was about some fairly ordinary teenagers, with a comic-relief dog, getting to the bottom of mysteries. It wasn’t about tatted-up hipsters with “futuristic weapons,” so why should it be now? Granted, I’m not a big Scooby fan, but why not hue to the story structure of the original show that attracted millions of fans? And why does anyone think the way it was structured is neither entertaining nor relevant to today’s audience?

    And I’m sorry, the “classic look” of Fred Flintstone isn’t like some steroid monkey who gave up on the gym and decided to grow a gut by overeating. He’s supposed to look like Ralph Kramden. Or even Alan Reed.

    I realise there are fans who dote on anything if you slap the Hanna-Barbera name on it, no matter how misguided or inane. If they’re entertained by something, that’s their prerogative. I’m sure they’ll comment here and tell me I’m full of something or the old stand-by justifications “Give it a chance” or “You haven’t seen it yet.” But I just don’t see the need to take characters who are loved and then reinvent them so they’re not what anyone loved.

    Your next door neighbours don’t change drastically in real life. Why should they in comic books?

    0 0
  • 01/30/16--07:07: A Word From Our Sponsor
  • Hanna-Barbera’s cartoon work around 1960 wasn’t limited to those great half-hours shows we used to see at home in the late afternoon or early evening. There was the lacklustre Loopy De Loop theatrical series. And there were commercials. Not just ones related to Kellogg, Winston or whoever was sponsoring the various cartoons it seems.

    Here are some story panels for a series of spots for Oscar Mayer Weiners. The first one is almost complete, the other two are even less so; they were on an auction site which only posted these as examples of what was up for grabs. Opening of the “Bandits” 60-second commercial might remind you of the opening of a certain cartoon show. Did anyone see any of these? Did Dick Beals play the kid or was it Daws Butler? And I wonder if these aired on Bewitched, which had animated opening titles by you-know-who.



    A partial one by the same artist. Could it be Dan Gordon’s work?



    I presume this one was from a preliminary storyboard. I wonder if the dialogue included “Whoa, camel, whoa!”?



    This one’s really fun. More fun than the series, to be honest. I love the drawings. And it features Arnold Stang and Marvin Kaplan. There’s something wrong with anyone who dislikes those two guys. You’ll hear them when you read along. The dialogue has the feel of the other Kellogg’s spots that aired during the cartoon shows in that period.



    These faded panels, I suspect are, for the Kellogg’s ad that’s the second one you’ll see in the video below, which also includes the closing Top Cat animation (without credits) by Ken Muse.




    0 0

    That Yogi! He’s one hep-cat bear. Oh, we didn’t say “hep-cat” in the 1960s, did we? Well, you get what I mean.

    Yogi’s got all the latest dance and skateboard moves, as he demonstrates in the weekend newspaper comics 50 years ago this month. No overly cute tykes, no natives on a reserve-um, no cameos by Huck (oh, well).


    Dig those boss Gene Hazelton designs of the band in the February 6th comic, second panel. And Yogi and that matron can sure dance; there are some great poses in that second row. I thought the dance was called the “Mashed Potato” but I was a little young in 1966 and not going to dances. I guess the kids in the last panel are supposed to be teenagers but they look a little younger. See the expression on the matron in that panel.


    Genius or a nut? Well, Boo Boo, if Kellogg’s dumps him, he can always advertise Post Honeycomb cereal. Though it goes better with milk than flour. The February 13th comic features a silhouette panel in the top row; we get one for two weeks in a row. Evidently one Yogi’s schemes left him with money to buy stuff in a store.


    Papers that didn’t carry the top row on February 20th missed more nice poses. Gene Hazelton and his artist give us a head-on and profile view of the logging truck in the second row. We can hope someone isn’t logging in a national park. That last panel features a killer logging road. I don’t know if real ones get so close to a cliff (I think of logging roads being cut inside a forest on a mountain) but it sure looks authentic.


    Nice layout on the reveal gag at the end of the February 27th comic. Angles and perspective. We’ve got Ranger Joe. Is Ranger Smith “Bill”?

    No sooner did I find a nice source for these Yogi comics than it dries up for March 1966. We’ll see if we’re back in a month, time willing.

    0 0

    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Harry Holt, Layout – Walt Clinton, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Art Davis, Titles – Howard Hanson, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Chopper – Vance Colvig; Fibber Fox, Fernwood Fox – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Plot: Chopper helps Yakky convince Fibber that he’s a deadly judo expert.

    Today’s lesson in cartoon dialogue:

    Chopper: What’s the trouble, little feller? Fibber Fox after ya?
    Yakky: Oh, no, Chopper. (Laughs). I wish he was.
    Chopper: Ya wish he was? Why, Yakky?
    Yakky: Because, Chopper, I am now a judo expert. Here’s my diploma from judo school to prove it.
    Chopper: Your diploma from judo school?

    What’s the matter with you, Chopper? Are you deaf? Why are you repeating everything?

    This, in a nutshell, is one of the reasons Hanna-Barbera cartoons started going down the tubes. We all know Mike Maltese is a witty and talented writer of both dialogue and sight gags. Subjectively, he’s the best there ever was. Certainly, he’s my favourite. But either the workload or lack of inspiration sometimes gripped his cartoons. This is one of them. Maltese succumbs to the Little Sir Echo Syndrome, where characters repeat stuff for no comedic reason. Or they explain to the audience what they’re about to do, then they do it. Why? They’re padding for time. Padding usually isn’t very funny. And once the dialogue stops being funny, there isn’t a lot left in a TV cartoon.

    What’s that you say, Chuck Jones, famous Warner Bros. director? “Pretty soon the plots of our cartoons showed up at Hanna Barbera”? Well, yes, yes, they did, though they’re not always exactly the same. “Judo Ex-Expert” may remind you of the Sylvester cartoon Tree For Two where Spike thinks Sylvester’s beating him up but it’s really a black panther that he doesn’t see due to different circumstances. And then there’s a Pixie and Dixie cartoon Strong Mouse where boss cat Gus thinks he and his mugs have handed their kitty butts handed to them by Pixie when it’s really Hercules, the world’s strongest mouse.

    There are elements of both in this cartoon. Yakky thinks passing a mail-order judo course means he can take care of Fibber Fox any time with a double flip over his shoulder. “I’d better help the little feller,” says the observing Chopper, who grabs the fox by the tail and flips him. Naturally, Fibber thinks Yakky’s responsible for it. Apparently he can’t feel his tail being grabbed and pulled up.



    Fernwood Fox comes along and is disgusted that Fibber is now afraid of a little duck. You’ve seen enough cartoons so you can accurately guess how the rest of the cartoon goes. (Trivia note: when Maltese first worked at the Leon Schlesinger studio, it was on the Warners lot at Fernwood and Van Ness).

    Time for an endless run cycle past the same white house, red barn and red silo. It takes 24 frames for the background to repeat. The run is on six drawings, shot on twos. The mouth movements are on separate cels from the cycle because Chopper’s talking. Harry Holt, an ex-Disneyite, is the animator. I’ve slowed this down so you can see the movement of the background vs the drawings clearly.



    When Yakky goes into the cave to a neat walk cycle with clenched fists to “beat up” Fibber and Fernwood, Holt gives him a neat little walk cycle with swinging clenched fists. I’d love to isolate it without the background and overlay (I’m technically inept and don’t know how to work Photoshop) but here are a couple of the posts.



    For the record, here are Fernwood and Fibber. Neither are wearing pants, though Fibber’s sweater is longer so you don’t notice is as much.



    Daws gives Fernwood a toned-down version of his punch-drunk Slapsy Maxie voice. You’ve heard it in a bunch of Fractured Fairy Tales for Jay Ward. Some of Jimmy Weldon’s grunts when Yakky is trying to flip the foxes are on a tape loop and are used over and over (does “flip the foxes” sound rude to you?).

    I don’t have production numbers for the series but if the Yogi DVD release is to be accepted as a source, this was the last Yakky cartoon to air in first run. It wasn’t the best way to end the series, but judging by the comments people leave every time I post notes about Yakky Doodle, he’s still liked by a number of TV animation fans.

    0 0
  • 02/10/16--06:47: People Are Sick of People
  • How many feature newspaper stories do you see today about the big names in cartoon voice acting?

    Right.

    And it was just as rare 60-or-so years ago. More improbably, too. Today, kids of at three generations have watched cartoons on the home screen. Animation scholars, historians and even fans have written about them in volume. Back in the 1950s, adults didn’t take cartoons all that seriously. They were considered filler on TV and in theatres, and exclusively for children.

    That changed thanks to Hanna-Barbera. Critics peered at The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958. They liked it. It was new, amusing, not too brash, and (importantly) fit for adults to enjoy. Columnists didn’t write for children, but they did write for adults, and since Huck and Yogi were fit for adults, stories about the cartoons appeared in print. And it was inevitable that someone, some time, would come up with the idea to write about the star of the show.

    Here’s a piece from columnist Leo Guild of the Philadelphia Inquirer of July 10, 1961 about Daws Butler. It’s debateable whether Daws was the greatest cartoon voice actor in television—some will vote for Paul Frees, and that’s difficult to argue against—but Daws is certainly my favourite. It’s not just because he was the man behind many of my favourite TV cartoon characters, but listening to how he used his voice shows a real master at work. He makes it sound easy. And, better still, the people who I’ve spoken to who knew Daws report no one ever had a bad thing to say about him. He was a nice man, a caring man, generous with his time. Incidentally, Joe Bevilacqua still has his tribute site to Daws on line that you can view HERE.

    A Look at TV
    Cartoon Voice Likes Obscurity
    I'M RICH and nobody knows me," chortles Daws Butler, who's the voice behind most of the characters in three Hanna-Barbera cartoon series, "Yogi Bear,""Huckleberry Hound" and "Quick Draw McGraw."
    Butler hates to be recognized, so he's delighted that his audio only activities bring him lots of loot, but little fan fuss. Reportedly one of the highest paid entertainers in TV, he is never seen on home screens.
    He's reluctant to discuss his earnings — one estimate of the fees earned by top "voices" is $1000 per show — but admits they're sizable.
    "Yes," he says, "I make a lot of money, because cartoons are suddenly popular on TV. I think people are sick of people. Audiences want to escape to cartoon characters in a world where no one is hurt, insulted or unhappy, and nothing is taken seriously."
    Father of four sons and hundreds of distinctive voices, Butler uses the hundreds to keep the four entertained.
    He has a strong respect for the capabilities of the human voice.
    "A voice," he says, "can have pathos, romance, pity — many emotions. But mostly a voice can be funny. Hanna-Barbera like gentle satire in their cartoons and, with the right inflections, that's what I give them."
    "Bill Hanna or Joe Barbera or an animator comes up with an idea for a character and I think up a voice for him to fit.
    "If it's an extrovert like Yogi, I give him a lot of breath, so he comes off big.
    "No matter what I dream up, the character has to be warm and friendly. That's the one rule about cartoon characters. Even a Yogi, who's a conceited fellow, must have charm."
    Daws got his training for his voice work as an impersonator in vaudeville in the early 40s.
    "Today I do a complete half show in an hour. And I usually do four a day.
    "I don't get a script until I come into the recording studio. I look over the storyboards so I get the sense of it.
    "It's seldom done perfectly the first time. Either something is too fast, not loud enough, too slow or the voice is wrong. That part is re-recorded."
    Money isn't everything, says Daws.
    "It loses meaning after a while.
    But it gives me freedom and the chance to turn down jobs I don't think are worthy. I write and do the voice for many commercials. Some commercials are so bad that no matter what the money, I turn them down.
    "Writing commercials is my hobby, and I work hard at it for my fun."
    Which is his favorite character?
    "Yogi," says Daws. "He's real to me. Sometimes it gives me the shudders, he's so real!"
    Daws may have thought people were sick of people (at least on TV), but I don’t think it can be disputed that anyone got sick of Daws Butler. You can still listen to him today and laugh.

    0 0

    The human characters in the Jetsons were never too over-the-top, so Astro was a welcome part to the cast. Being a dog, the studio treated him as a much broader character than any human on the show, and that boosted the comedy. Astro was used pretty well on the original series, both as a centrepiece character (such as in Millionaire Astro) or when paired up (such as in TV Or Not TV).

    Astro was the brainchild of writer Tony Benedict, who plunked him into the Jetsons home as a stray dog found by Elroy in The Coming of Astro. The main storyline of the cartoon—Astro vs. a nuclear-powered robot dog—owes something to a cartoon called Push Butty Kitty (1952) by the Hanna-Barbera unit at MGM, where the robot cat Mechano is brought in to replace lazy feline Tom. In a way, it’s a reworking of an earlier cartoon, Old Rockin’ Chair Tom (1948), but we’re getting off the subject here. The Coming of Astro is a fun cartoon by any standard as the cowardly, not-too-bright but affectionate Astro catches a cat burglar in the Jetsons’ home by pure happenstance (while the robot dog is programmed only to recognise a mask and not a burglar) and is allowed to stay.

    The cartoon is enlivened by the presence of Carlo Vinci, who animated at least the first half of it. Unfortunately, my DVD of this cartoon has a huge gouge in it so I can’t give you a frame-by-frame look at Carlo’s animation (the frame grabs you see here are from an internet version with ghosting between some of the frames). Below are frames from two different run cycles. Astro’s churning in the air in the first and kind of galloping in place in the second, and again in the third and fourth drawings, all from different scenes. Note the angles on Judy; you’ll see the same angles on other characters in other cartoons Carlo worked on.



    There’s an open-mouthed, long-eyed expression on Astro that Carlo used on other characters during his Hanna-Barbera career. And there’s one of those scene exits where characters lead with various parts of their bodies, similar to what he drew on The Flintstones in the early episodes.



    I don’t know who else animated on this cartoon but generally Hugh Fraser was paired with Carlo in the half-hour shows. It doesn’t look like Fraser in the final scene, though.

    The first portion of the cartoon has absolutely nothing to do with Astro. Either Tony Benedict needed to pay for time or he wanted to open with some sight gags. Jane goes to the hairdresser looking for a new style (“this old hair style doesn’t do a thing for me”). The topper of the routine is new style she picks is her old one. Here are some of the hair gags. Pierre the hairdresser looks like Dick Bickenbach design to me (note the fingers on Pierre, another Carlo animation trait at H-B).



    Some exteriors and interiors. I haven’t checked about the Skypad Apartments, but the drawing of the Spacely Sprockets background can be found in The Good Little Scouts, but painted differently. And the pet shop apparently sells roosters.



    The interior of the Jetsons’ apartment is turned into a gag. Judy is tired of Space Provincial and changes her room into Moon Moderne with the press of a button. Actually, it’s all on one background drawing that the cameraman slides as he films the cartoon.



    George has two computers in his office. Computers have apparently devolved in the future. They’re the size of a room, just like they were in the 1960s.



    You conspiracy theorists out there who think we’re turning into a police station can look no further than the Jetsons for proof. In the future, there are police officers everywhere. At least there seems to be one in just about every Jetsons cartoon, usually a traffic cop. In this cartoon, there’s just a patrol officer. He’s armed with a freeze gun that he uses on George Jetson because, simply put, he doesn’t believe George’s word that there’s a burglar in the Jetsons’ apartment. Shoot first, ask questions later. There’s no apology from the cop when he discovers George is not only right, but the cat burglar the local police force has been unable to nab has been caught by a not-too-smart civilian dog.

    Anyway, the cartoon ends happily, as all ‘60s sitcoms do. The robot dog is given to the police force and Astro has a home with the Jetsons. He’ll get a back story in a later cartoon that’s just as funny.

    The regular voice cast—George O’Hanlon, Penny Singleton, Janet Waldo and Daws Butler—doubles in a few other roles and is augmented by Don Messick as Astro, Don Messick as ‘Lectronimo, Don Messick as the cop and Don Messick as the police sergeant.

    0 0

    Pebbles is in all four of the Flintstones newspaper comics from 50 years ago this month, though she only drives the plot in three. The layouts and expressions are top-notch as usual.


    I don’t understand why the comics used “Abba” or “Aba” instead of “Yabba” like on the TV show, but that’s the way the dialogue appeared. The February 6th comic features the whole gang in the final panel, while the opening panel has a couple of kids and a Dino-like dinosaur as incidental characters.


    Dino doesn’t seem to mind having wooden blocks piled on his head in the opening panel on February 13th. The artist fits in a silhouette panel in the top row.


    The opening panel of the February 20th cartoon may be the best. I really like the clock and the stones that decorate the name. The jagged panic outlines in the “Oh, no!” are a nice idea, too.


    February 27th brings up a nice end panel with a mastodon powering a Bedrock city work crew. Note the silhouette Fred and Pebbles in the third panel in the second row.

    As I mentioned with the Yogi comics this month, the source I found with these nice scans has dried up for March. A Flintstones comic post next month may not happen for that and other reasons.

    0 0

    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbara.
    Credits: Animation – Allen Wilzbach, Layout – Don Sheppard, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – John Freeman, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Maiden Clarissa – Jean Vander Pyl; Snagglepuss, Irate Father – Daws Butler; Duke de Geese – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Plot: Snagglepuss pulls a Cyrano de Bergerac routine to win the hand of a maiden for a shy, French-accented Duke.

    Snagglepuss was a character with endless possibilities. Anything involving theatricality or the great dramatic works of literature could be easily woven into a plot for the stage rhetoric-loving mountain lion. Especially if costumes were involved. And if said works were familiar enough to be used as a vehicle of parody.

    So it is that Snagglepuss is plunked down into that cartoon land that isn’t quite Merrie Olde England, isn’t quite 18th Century France but isn’t quite the present, either, as writer Mike Maltese adapts the tale of Cyrano de Bergerac. Well, he adapts the best-known part of the novel, when Christian de Neuvillette proxies for the big-nosed de Bergerac to woo the lovely maiden Roxane.

    Maltese, noted for putting the language of romance into a stinky French skunk, concocted these mots d’amour for the cartoon’s version of the famous scene:

    What brings me riding hence—
    My poor heart all aflutter?
    Is it to build a fence?
    Or buy a pound of butter?

    Nay! I come ridin’ hence—
    I don’t need a shove—
    Tho’ the fare was 50 cents
    I come to woo my love.

    I will finish my rhyme.
    Now, wilt thou be mine?


    Part of the fun of this cartoon is it is like a stage, and everyone in it merely players, some of whom lapse out of character and switch from a stage declamatory style to give us asides in some lower-class American voice. Here’s an exchange after maiden Clarissa’s weight starts cracking the balcony she’s on and Snagglepuss hammers in a support beam.

    Snag: There! That ought to hold an elephant.
    Clarissa: Elephant! Who dares calleth me an elephant?
    Snag (playing a lute): I come a wooin’ thee, with heart so pure. I am lovesick, and you are my only cure.
    Clarissa: Who doth help and whine, as though t’were beneath my balcony?
    Snag: Not only does yon buxom belle lack shape, but she also has no ear for music.
    Clarissa: Do I hear the bleatings of a disenchanted donkey?
    Snag: Neether, neither, my fair lady. ‘Tis I, the Duck de Geese, come to woo ya with lover’s rhyme.
    Clarissa: Who, me? Are you sure you have the right address?
    Jean Vander Pyl is really great in this. Her chubby maiden talks like a really bad actress reading lines until she snaps out of character (as in the last sentence above).

    Snagglepuss’ wooing is interrupted by “the inevitable, ever-lovin’ irate father. The two get into a sabre duel. “Stop it! Wait!” shouts the maiden. “He is no burglar. He doth come to win my fair hand. (out of character) Don’t blow the chance of a life-time!”

    Anyway, it turns out Snagglepuss has the wrong address. “Sacroiliac! You are not zee lovely Lady Lavendish!” says the Duke after the maiden jumps off the balcony and splats onto his back. “Oh, that skinny thing? She moved last week. We’re the new tenants,” responds the chubby replacement. At this point, the Duke borrows Snagglepuss’ routine. “Exit, broken back, heart and all, stage left!” And the cartoon ends with the Hanna-Barbera eternal chase, with the Duke stabbing the running Snagglepuss with his sword. But why is it Snagglepuss’ fault? The Duke was the one who gave him the address. “Ouch, ouch, the Duke is a grouch” indeed.

    Continuity obsessors may now enthusiastically point to this cartoon and giddily spread the news on the internet that Snagglepuss’ real name is Cyril D. Snagglepuss, and point to this cartoon. The name was designed for a one-shot thing only, sorry. And you’ve got to appreciate Maltese calling the nobleman the Duke de Geese. Duke as in “Duck.”

    The animator of this cartoon is Allen Wilzbach. Whether he’s still alive, I don’t know, but he was born December 1, 1929 and grew up in Cheviot, Ohio where his dad drove a milk truck. He was still in Ohio in 1948 as he placed in an art competition in Cincinnati that year. I believe Greg Wilzbach, who worked at Disney, is his son. Wilzbach has his characters almost facing the camera during some of the dialogue in this cartoon. An odd thing he animates (which may have come from Maltese’s story) is little hearts breaking near the Duke. His heart isn’t broken at this time, so I’m not sure why they’d shatter like that.



    And before we taketh our leave, wouldst thou vieweth a stoney interior from Robert Mac Gentle, with our two heroes, bowin’ all the way, stage centre.


    0 0
  • 02/24/16--07:08: The Book of Huck
  • Have you seen some of your favourite cartoon characters that are victims of too much airbrushing? I have.

    I prefer the painting that makes them as flat as you see on screen, but I do like some of the airbrushed work in the Whitman and Golden books that came out more than 50 years ago. There was just enough of it to give the characters a bit of dimension without being distracting.

    One of the auction sites had this artwork from the cover of a Huckleberry Hound Giant Story Book published by Whitman in 1961, along with some of the drawings that must have been used therein. Very attractive.


    And below are some designs from the “Hanna-Barbera Huckleberry Hound Treasury” by Golden Press, copyright January 9, 1961. The copyright notice says additional designs (what you see below) were by Thelma Witmer and John Carey. Carey had been an animator at Warner Bros. then moved into comic books. Witmer had been employed for a number of years at Disney. The page on the right in the first set of drawings had a title over the first row and little drawings of a bowl-hat-wearing Huck gesturing.

    Fans of Ruff and Reddy and Loopy de Loop will be pleased to see them. Poor Loopy got comparatively little marketing as he appeared only in films and not on TV.



    The Treasury contained the following stories, copyright 1959 and 1960:

    Huckleberry Hound Builds a House / by Ann McGovern ; pictures by Harvey Eisenberg and Al White
    Ruff and Reddy / by Ann McGovern ; pictures by Harvey Eisenberg and Al White
    Huckleberry Hound and his Friends / by Pat Cherr ; pictures by Ben de Nunez and Bob Totten
    Quick Draw McGraw / by Carl Memling ; pictures by Hawley Pratt and Al White
    Yogi Bear / by S. Quentin Hyatt ; pictures by M. Kawaguchi and Bob Barritt
    Loopy de Loop / by Kathryn Hitte ; pictures by George Santos
    Huckleberry Hound and the Christmas Sleigh / by Pat Cherr ; pictures by C.W. Satterfield.

    This post was going to end here with a hope that, some day, pictures from the Treasury would show up, other than the Christmas Sleigh story which you can find on the blog. But they have! So here are drawings by Harvey Eisenberg and Al White as Huck builds a house. You can click to enlarge them. As this book was aimed at kids, it doesn’t feature the humour you find on the Huck TV show.



    There were a number of other Golden books of the Hanna-Barbera characters published around the same time. If we’re still here, we’ll bring you one next month.

    0 0
  • 02/27/16--07:27: Genial Genie Storyboard
  • Thank you to Mark Kausler for scanning and sending a number of Hanna-Barbera storyboards from his collection. Genial Genie is the last one.

    Mark believes the board is by Alex Lovy, who was the story director on this cartoon. Warren Foster wrote the story, as he did all but one of the Yogis after Charlie Shows left Hanna-Barbera in 1959. The cartoon pretty much sticks with the way the scenes are depicted on the storyboard. Lots of close shots of dialogue which, unfortunately, aren’t visually very interesting.

    Panel 8 has Yogi saying “bear-type buddy,” which is fairly typical. The cartoon substitutes “fuddy-duddy buddy,” a little odd considering Boo Boo isn’t really a fuddy-fuddy.


    You can see some X’ed off panels that didn’t make it into the cartoon for whatever reason. The dialogue in panel 17 is skipped. Too bad. The line works well.


    You can see some dialogue is cut in panels 22 and 27. And it appears some dialogue in pencil has been erased and written over.

    To the right is what panel 25 looks like in the finished cartoon. The stylised Boo Boo in the storyboard looks funnier, but the actual character is constructed quite a bit differently.



    Tsk. Someone can’t spell the word “Aladdin” (see panel 59). Fortunately, it was corrected in the actual cartoon, either in layout or by Art Goble, who was responsible for lettering in the early H-B cartoons.




    “Weird hum”? (panel 67) No, it’s just the usual Hanna-Barbera harp sound effect found in all kinds of cartoons. To the right is Lundy’s version of panel 69. You’ll notice that he turns Yogi’s head slightly so he’s not in profile. And in the cartoon, the genie doesn’t have hands in the equivalent of panel 70, though they appear in the next scene (panel 71). I presume the notations on panel 70 are for colours; the genie isn’t outlined in black like the other characters in the cartoon.



    Panel 115 has the notation “Re-Do Dial.” And they did. The line in the cartoon is “The North American Air Defence Command protects the entire North American continent from air attack, Senator.” In the cartoon, the Senator also parrots words as if to show he understands what he’s being told. So we get “Oh, yes, protects,” “Um, um, ring” and so on.




    Panel 127 says “Wing Thru Sc[ene].” That’s exactly what happens on screen. Three times. The third rolls up the flying carpet (panel 128). Note the difference in the angle on panel 130 compared with the cartoon (there’s also a note on 130 for a diagonal pan).


    And, yes, the cartoon irises out with Yogi crying as Jack Shaindlin’s “Rodeo Day” plays in the background.

    Again, thanks to Mark Kausler for supplying these complete storyboards for the last several months.

    0 0

    The winsome tykes, Mrs. Ranger Smith and native Indians are back in Jellystone Park in the Sunday newspaper comics 50 years ago this month.

    Unfortunately, our source of nicely scanned comics ran dry so the versions below vary in quality. There’s nothing we can do about it.


    March 6th features the General who runs Jellystone (note the stars on his shoulder). We still don’t know if Ranger Smith and Yogi went over the falls. Presumably not, as they both return.


    March 13th has owls decorating the name of the comic in the first panel. More of Bill Hanna’s cute little Boy Scouts are featured in the plot, along with a cute little raccoon catching a cute little fish. Boo Boo makes a late appearance. Because the scan is so poor, I can’t read what’s on the paper below the Boy Scouts of America pennant in the final panel.


    “You hear-um right”? Sigh. Stereotype time in the March 20th comic. The last panel proves that Crazy Eagle isn’t so crazy.


    Yogi’s on probation in the March 27th comic. Why? Who knows. It’s not all that relevant anyway as Yogi decides to show up the smug ranger who, if this were a few years later, might have John Stephenson playing him using a Joe Flynn voice. Even Boo Boo is laughing at him.

    Click on any one of the comics to enlarge it for a better look.

older | 1 | .... | 20 | 21 | (Page 22) | 23 | 24 | .... | 38 | newer