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 | .... | 24 | 25 | (Page 26) | 27 | 28 | .... | 38 | newer

    0 0

    Time for another commercial break. And my guess is this commercial was for English television.

    If you can read the dialogue in the first panel, Mr Jinks is plugging Kellogg’s Coco Pops. I don’t think that name was used in North America; at least I only remember Cocoa Krispies from when I was a kid.

    Anyway, I love the sketchiness of the drawings. I wish I could tell you who drew this and when. And if you read along, you might hear the Kellogg’s jingle in your head.

    The last set of panels may have been for a live-action insert; it’s just a guess.


    0 0

    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Don Patterson, Layout – Lance Nolley, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Direction – Art Lozzi, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snagglepuss, P.J., Sampson, Hunter, Circus Master – Daws Butler; Mailman, Dimwitty, Tarzan, Circus Helper – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
    Plot: Snagglepuss is cast in a TV show from which he eventually exits, stage right.

    Snagglepuss is pretty much in top form here, spewing mock theatrical prose, twisting phrases and dropping his catchphrases on the audience. If I quoted all the fun stuff, I’d be transcribing almost the entire cartoon.

    The secondary characters get in on the fun, too. Here’s P.J. the TV studio boss and Dimwitty the director. Writer Mike Maltese gets a shot in at the insanely fast pace of TV production and the ubiquitousness of TV westerns in 1961.

    P.J.– Why haven’t you finished those 22 pictures, Dimwitty? You’ve had three days.
    Dim – I know, P.J. But I asked for one measly lion, and look what the casting department sent me.
    (Cut to shot of elephants. One trumpets).
    P.J.– Sorry, Dimwitty, but you’ve goofed up the schedule, and you know the penalty.
    Dim – You mean go back to Westerns? No, no, P.J. Please! Have a heart. Anything but that.
    P.J.– I am a lenient man, Dimwitty. I’ll give you (short pause) two minutes to produce a lion.
    Dim – But, P.J. That would take a miracle. Even for TV.
    (Sound of door knocking)
    Dim – Who is it? And get out.
    Snag(at the door)– What light on yonder doorway breaks? ‘Tis I, Hamlet A. Snagglepuss. The “A” stands for “applause.” Thunderous, even.



    Snagglepuss gets to mangle Shakespeare earlier in the cartoon. The mailman brings him a book and (blog readers have assured me this happened in real life at one time) blows a whistle.
    Snag– Hark! What whistle through yonder windward breaks? It is the east. And the mailman is the sun. With the mail, even.
    He opens the book and then Daws Butler shows why he was one of Hollywood’s top voice actors. Snagglepuss reads Yogi Bear’s, Baba Louie’s and Quick Draw McGraw’s catchphrases in their voices—but sounding like Snagglepuss doing impersonations of them. It takes incredible talent for an actor to have one of his characters do an impression of another one of his characters and include the vocal qualities of both. It would have been easier just for Daws to do Yogi when Snagglepuss read the Yogi lines, but including the breathiness and pitch of Snagglepuss is a lot funnier.



    Snagglepuss is hired by the TV production company. You’ve seen enough cartoons so you know how things are going to end up. Snagglepuss gets the worst of it. But first, one more exchange of dialogue as Snagglepuss storms across the stage to complain to the director.

    Snag– What’s the idea? What’s the idea?
    Dim– Why? What’s wrong?
    Snag– There’s no star on ma dressin’ room door. Paragraph 32 of my contract clearly states that the party of the first whereas, in due abrogation of professional entities, does hereby exclude and nullify tangent reclamations as referred to in paragraph 20. 21, even. Do you know what that means, buster? Hmmm?
    Dim– No.
    Snag– That’s a relief. I was beginnin’ to think I was the only dimwit around here.


    First up, Snagglepuss evidently hasn’t read the script. He doesn’t realise a large brute named Sampson is the film to throw him against a wall (after which he sees the stars for his dressing room door). Next, he chases a hunter through the jungle but is attacked by a Tarzan-ish character with Don Messick doing a Tarzanish yell. Finally, he plays an escaped circus lion who hides in a dark shack and lights a match (Dimwitty: “Get it?” Snagglepuss: “No. But I got a sneaky feelin’ I’m gonna”). Snagglepuss ends up in the wrong shack. It’s full of dynamite.



    Director Dimwitty really is dimwitty. He laughs like a nutcase because they ran out of film and the whole thing will have to be shot all over again. “You’re a brave lion, aren’t you?” asks Dimwitty. Snagglepuss proclaims he’s chicken. “What light through yonder window breaks! It is the exit for all us chickens. So exit, cluckin’ all the way, stage left.” And Snagglepuss ends the cartoon running past the same tree 12 times, flapping his arms, clucking, and adding a rooster crow for good measure.



    Art Lozzi provides the aforementioned same tree. Here’s the (reconstructed) repeating background in question from one end to the other.



    More backgrounds. As usual the foreground layer of rock of the cave is on an overlay. Lozzi really goes for blue rocks and trees.



    Don Patterson animates this cartoon. This is a pretty workmanlike job for him. His characters were more expressively drawn in The Flintstones. It would have been neat to have seen Patterson give Snagglepuss some of the kinds of takes he gave Woody Woodpecker in the early ‘50s but Hanna-Barbera wasn’t into that (and Maltese had come from years of working with Chuck Jones, whose idea of a take is to shift a pupil or raise an eyebrow). We get Patterson’s standard bit-lip “f” mouth animation. He also draws Snagglepuss in a couple scenes staring straight at the camera, wagging his head diagonally while talking.



    Hoyt Curtin’s music fits the moods of the various scenes.

    We haven’t posted an endless run cycle for a while, so here’s an actor playing a circus hand (“The ferocious lion has escaped. After him, Quick. I mean, ‘After him! Quick!’”). The run cycle is on eight drawings on ones. It takes two cycles for the background to repeat; that is, 16 frames or a second of film. (Unfortunately, there aren’t 16 frames with the character’s mouth closed).


    0 0

    Considering my favourite Flintstones episode is “Dino Goes Hollyrock,” where the hammy Dino gets a showcase, you can guess which comic I liked that appeared in newspapers 50 years ago this month. And considering my least-favourite Flintstones is that wretched one where Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are singing that annoying, sugary sunshine song, you can guess which comic I don’t like.

    (That preposterous Bewitched cross-over is right up there, too, but let’s stick to the subject).

    Actually, there is a Pebbles panel I like this month. It’s the opener in the September 18th comic where she’s waving to the little dinosaur being walked by its owner. Both the Yogi and Flintstones weekend comics, at least for the first number of years, have little bits of side action going on in some of the larger panels. It adds a lot. Another example is the traffic cop in background of the long panel in the middle row. (A “duplicate hat”-type gag is used in an October comic as a punch line).

    Judging by the September 25th comic, Pebbles gets her appetite from her father’s side of the family.

    Richard Holliss was kind enough to supply colour versions of the September 18th and 25th comics.


    September 4, 1966


    September 11, 1966


    September 18, 1966


    September 25, 1966

    0 0
  • 09/24/16--06:45: El Ka-Ouch
  • We haven’t talked a lot lately about my favourite Hanna-Barbera cartoon character, Quick Draw McGraw, lately for a couple of reasons. One is all of his cartoons have been reviewed. The other is the series has never been, nor ever will be, released on home video. It means the copies of the cartoons I have are TV dubs with a low resolution and marred with bugs slapped on by cable channels. Removing the bugs is, frankly, too time consuming and not always very satisfactory.

    But I want to do a short post involving El Kabong, Quick Draw’s possibly more inept alter ego inspired by writer Mike Maltese’s love of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. as Zorro. Maltese borrowed a few things from his old Warners days to round out El Kabong’s costume. Quick Draw changes into the wrong costume a few times; the same thing happened in Super Rabbit (1943, written by Tedd Pierce). And much like Robin Hood Daffy (1958, written by Maltese), El Kabong swings from a rope (attached to who knows what) only to bash into something instead of landing on his target.

    Those cartoons were made back in the days of full animation. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, of course, engaged in what they liked to sell as “planned animation”, a silly term because no animation, by the late 1950s, was unplanned. There were at Hanna-Barbera times—and they increased as the years rolled on—where characters stood rigid as drawings of mouth positions moved across a face, or an arm lifted up and down in two or three positions. But there were other times when a character had to be drawn in full from frame-to-frame; in other words, full animation.

    Here’s an example from El Kabong (1959). The animator is Lew Marshall, who was apparently Ray Patterson’s assistant at MGM in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. The villainous Don Chilada engages El Kabong in a sword duel (after assuring the good guy gets a stubby sword). Chilada stabs El Kabong in the butt. The reaction is done in full animation.

    There are ten drawings. The first drawing is held for four frames for establishment. Marshall (from story director Alex Lovy or possibly Joe Barbera himself) staggers the timing on the remaining frames. The drawings are held for 2, 3, 2, 3, 2, 2, 3, 2 and 3 frames respectively, judging by the copy of the cartoon I have. That’s a little under two seconds. Here are the drawings.



    This is close to the speed the action plays out on the screen.



    The drawings work fine for the way the gag is presented, but I don’t know why Quick Draw doesn’t stop and have a funny take that’s held for a few frames before taking off into the air. Tex Avery was a master of wild takes. Chuck Jones was a master of subtle ones. Bill Hanna could milk a take at MGM, too (ah, those Irv Spence scenes!). Nothing like that is tried here. Even in the previous season, Huckleberry Hound or Mr. Jinks would react to something and you could see the reaction before the character zoomed off screen or there was a cut to the next scene. To me, it’s a bit of a wasted opportunity to make the cartoon even funnier, though there was never anything wrong with El Kabong to begin with.

    We reviewed this cartoon way-back-when. You can read the post here. But let’s post a kabongggg! just for fun.



    0 0
  • 09/28/16--07:09: To the Moon, Huck!
  • Here’s a lovely Golden Book from 1960, as Huckleberry Hound leads a failed mission to the Moon, though he never knows it.

    The artwork is great. Hawley Pratt, Friz Freleng’s long-time layout artist, did this work on the side from his career at Warner Bros. The story’s cute, too, one that young kids would enjoy. Mr. Jinks doesn’t chase the meece in this and actually turns out to be the smart one in the group.



    0 0
  • 10/01/16--07:08: Flintstone By Vinci
  • The Flintstone Flyer is known for two things—it was the first Flintstones cartoon to appear on TV (the 56th anniversary was yesterday), and it features Fred Flintstone’s tippy-toe bowling animation.

    The whole cartoon was animated by Carlo Vinci from what looks like layouts by Walt Clinton. Carlo, as you may know, was brought out to MGM by Joe Barbera in 1956 and was one of the first employees of Hanna-Barbera Enterprises when it was set up in 1957. Clinton was a layout man and animator for Tex Avery at MGM until the Avery unit closed in March 1953, then worked as an animation director for Kling Studios at the very address where Hanna-Barbera set up shop in 1957.

    Carlo’s first go-around with Fred Flintstone doesn’t look as polished as the Flintstones cartoons became. But he certainly is expressive. Carlo had some standard mouth shapes and angles he used on characters during his time at Hanna-Barbera that you can see below, though he shied away from churning out the same old extremes.



    Here are some poses from the scene where Fred realises that Barney’s pedal-copter really can fly. Carlo used diving exits like this all the time, going back to his days at Terrytoons.



    Here’s artwork from the scene where Alan Reed ad-libbed Fred yelling “Yabba dabba doo!”



    Fred flapping his fingers like a bird.



    Some frames from another exit.



    And another. Carlo gives us three different versions of Fred rushing out of frame in the first half of the cartoon. (Ignore the DVNR on the last frame).



    You can find Carlo’s big teeth in Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw cartoons. I don’t think he used them very often after this Flintstones cartoon.



    I could post all kinds of frames from the cartoon but we’ll end with some drawings of Fred faking a head injury to get out of going to the opera with Wilma.



    Not only was Carlo one of the star animators at Hanna-Barbera at the time, he could turn out footage quickly. He was ideal for a half-hour series. He animated a number of other Flintstones cartoons that first season, all on his own—The Split Personality, At the Races and The Golf Champion among them.

    Carlo Vinci died in 1993 but he’s getting recognition all these many years later. Not only on animation blogs and websites, but there was recently an exhibition of some of his work in Tucson. You can read about it here.

    0 0

    Yogi goes from outsmarted-than-the-average to smarter-than-the average in the course of the Sunday newspaper comics 50 years ago this month. Each comic is full of the usual excellent drawings and layouts and there’s plenty of little detail.

    Richard Holliss was again kind enough to supply coloured tabloid versions from his British collection. The black-and-whites are from a newspaper in upstate New York. One’s unfortunately a little too lightly scanned. (I don’t know about Great Britain, but the Lord’s Day Act in Canada prohibited the publication of newspapers on Sundays. These comics were seen in Canada in Saturday papers. The law was changed some time in the early ‘80s).



    Guest appearances by Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw and Yogi Bear highlight the October 2nd comics. For the sake of the groaner in the final frame, I’m willing to buy Boo Boo didn’t see he hadn’t pulled the ball out of the hole. Boo Boo gives us a look like “I can’t believe Ranger Smith said that.” Five characters are in the panel, each with his own logical expression considering the turn of events.


    Perhaps the October 9th comic was inspired by the Pebbles birthday party episode of The Flintstones, when long-legged dancing girls jumped out a cake. I’d rather not think about what it’s like crouched inside a piece of cooked meat. How did she fit in the turkey, anyway? (It seems to change size from panel to panel).



    Did Iwao Takamoto draw the October 16th comic? Some of the little old ladies bear a resemblance to Granny Sweet, and I believe he was the one who designed her (Granny would be seen on Saturday morning TV by this time in the Precious Pupp cartoons). Ranger Smith doesn’t look too impressed in that final panel). A hopping rabbit makes a cameo appearance in the middle row.



    Why is Yogi looking for water? I suppose we really don’t need to know, but that’s what he’s doing on October 23rd. I suppose the newspaper that printed this decided to save money by going to two-tone colouring, although a green rabbit (second row) looks a little odd.



    Ah, that ingenious bear is at work in the October 30th comic. The writer sets up Yogi’s thievery as being justified because the guy he’s stealing the picnic basket from is a disrespectful jerk. How’s the bear going to get down from the tree without the couple seeing him?

    As usual, you can click on each comic to see a larger version.

    0 0

    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Art Davis, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Chopper – Vance Colvig, Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon, Hunter – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
    Plot: Chopper tries to stop Yakky from being shot by his owner.

    At one point during this cartoon, Yakky Doodle asks a hunter pointing a rifle at him “Are you going to take my picture?” then starts walking along the barrel of the weapon and continues “Hey! What kind of a camera is this? That’s a telephone lens, isn’t it? It is f/3.5 or f/1.9?”

    While it’s amusing to hear a little duck talk about apertures, why is it he knows about camera stops but he hasn’t a clue what a camera looks like? Or that has no idea what hunting season is? I realise Yakky is supposed to be naïve, but he should at least be consistent.

    The hunter is no Mensa member either. He has no idea that duck has climbed onto his rifle and is talking to him. He still thinks the duck is sitting at the end of his barrel, ready to be shot. Shouldn’t he be able to see the duck isn’t there? Oh, wait. Judging by the animation, he’s firing a gun with both eyes closed.

    While we’re at it, Chopper’s not exactly full of brain power, either. He doesn’t want to hurt Yakky’s feelings by telling him a hunter wants to kill him, so instead he tells the duck to get lost because they’re not friends any more. End result: he hurts Yakky’s feelings anyway. So why not be honest with the little duck and move the story in that direction?

    Well, enough of the plot holes. If you like Chopper’s loyalty to Yakky, you may like this cartoon. If you’re looking for comedy, well, there isn’t really much here. There are echoes of other cartoons. The hunter has a Southern accent, similar to the owner of Belvedere the dog in the Bugs Bunny cartoon Doggone South (1950, written by Mike Maltese). In fact, the line “Oh, Chopper! Come here, boy!” is lifted from it. Chopper’s protection of Yakky is faintly recollective of the Marc Antony and Pussyfoot cartoons at Warners (written by Maltese). Closer to home, the plot is lifted from the Yakky cartoon Duck Hunting, with Douglas the slow dog in the Chopper role. Yakky disguised as a wind-up toy to fool the hunter reminds me of a gag used somewhere else, while the character-in-the-mouth-lights-a-match came from any number of cartoons.

    The cartoon ends with everything aright. Chopper makes Yakky into a paper airplane and throws him into the sky. The hunter gets a bead on him. Chopper swings like Tarzan to pluck the duck from the sky. The hunter shoots apart Chopper’s rope. Chopper falls on top of his hunter/owner, who gives up and goes home. Chopper explains his actions to Yakky and their friendship is restored.



    Oh, there’s one other thing. The hunter’s gun sprayed buck shot all over Chopper’s butt. Yes, another Hanna-Barbera Butt Violation joke. “Takin’ out this buckshot with these tweezers is going to hurt me more than it does you,” says Yakky, who then laughs at his own lame and nonsensical joke. Art Davis gives the duck a sly little look. It’s the nicest part of his animation here. Earlier, he had Chopper breaking into sobs that looks so choppy, it’s like the camera department left out some of his drawings.

    The oddest thing about Mike Maltese’s plot is the presence of an owner. It’s clear from the doghouse and dish in other cartoons that someone owns Chopper, but generally he talks and walks around on two legs like a human. In this cartoon, he goes from an upright character when dealing with Yakky, to one on four legs like a real dog when he’s being ordered around by his owner.

    Dick Thomas painted the backgrounds and provides viewers some decorative fall flowers, though stations weren’t broadcasting prints of the show in colour in 1961.



    Hoyt Curtin’s music is familiar; the cartoon opens with his tinkly, interrupted version of “Brahms’ Lullaby.”

    0 0
  • 10/11/16--21:09: The Sounds of Jonny Quest
  • Hoyt Curtin’s crowning achievement at Hanna-Barbera may have been the tracking library he wrote for Jonny Quest. His cues evoked adventure, suspense, danger, triumph, exotic locations and whimsical comedy. And Warner Leighton, Larry Cowan, Ken Spears and the rest of the film editing crew did an incomparable job matching Curtin’s cues to the action on screen.

    Fans of the series have been puzzled for years why Rhino records or someone never released a CD of the Quest music, considering how incredibly popular it is among Hanna-Barbera fans. Surely it would be an instant seller. I once asked the late Earl Kress about it; Earl helped assemble the Hanna-Barbera Rhino CDs and had gone through the master recordings of the Quest cues. I can’t remember his answer but it doesn’t matter now. A release of the music is finally coming. Not a bootleg (there are several of them out there) but an official release.

    La-La Land Records is joining with Warner Bros., the company that owns the remnants of Hanna-Barbera, to release a two CD set of 106 pieces of music used in the series. Three producers and a re-masterer have worked on this project, which also includes liner notes by Jon Burlingame and Jeff Bond (ah, if only Earl were still with us). Originally, Curtin titled almost every cue with an alpha-numeric but this set has dubbed each one with a name.

    The complete Quest library has more than 106 pieces of music but I imagine the longer and best-known cues have been picked for release. (For example, the masters in the Hanna-Barbera music vault had alternate versions and inserts for the main title theme).

    I can’t vouch for the quality of the CDs because I haven’t heard them and, to be honest, I had never heard of the company until cartoon musicologist Greg Ehrbar alerted me to it. But people have been waiting for this music for a long time and I hope fans won’t be disappointed.

    Greg has provided a link to the releases here.

    I suspect fans will now be clamouring for Ted Nichols’ cues for Space Ghost and The Herculoids next. Nichols is overshadowed by Curtin but came up with solid work for the action-adventure shows of the mid-to-late ‘60s.








    Jonny Quest Main Title (without sfx)

    0 0

    At the start of 1960, there weren’t many options for a Canadian kid who wanted to watch cartoons on TV if their rooftop antenna or set-top rabbit ears didn’t pull in an American station. There was the CBC. That was it. Cartoons meant Quick Draw McGraw on late Monday afternoons and Huckleberry Hound on late Wednesday afternoons. Well, there was Disney, too, on Saturday nights, but cartoons appeared only on occasion. That was it.

    The Huck show was practically an instant hit in the U.S., and Screen Gems didn’t waste time having it distributed in foreign countries (and dubbed into other languages where needed). Canada was just one English-speaking land where kids laughed and smiled over the antics of the blue dog and a meece-hating cat. So was the United Kingdom.

    That brings us to this story in the London-based publication Television Mail, announcing what appears to be an expansion of Huck’s show in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It’s from the October 14, 1960 edition. There’s no byline, so the story could be from publicity materials. The last two paragraphs are pretty much what was contained in part of a United Press story quoting Joe Barbera published before this. (As an aside, Pattee Chapman’s name is mentioned. I can’t tell from the few samples of her voice that I’ve heard if she was the unidentified female voice in a few Yogi Bear cartoons during the 1958-59 season).

    Oddly, there’s no mention of The Flintstones, which was already on the air in North America by this time. And Barbera gets positively philosophical about children wishing to travel back in time. That’s ironic as there are a number of adults who want to travel back to when they were children, waxing on about cereal, lamenting the death of cartoons on Saturday mornings (even though they haven’t watched TV then in maybe 20 years) and getting weepy about some animated series which, really, were not very good. There should be no such nostalgia for Huck, Yogi and their late ‘50s Hanna-Barbera compatriots. The cartoons still stand on their own as entertainment. After all, adults watched them, too, way back when.

    For whatever odd reason, though the story is supposed to be about Huck and his show, the only drawing accompanying it was a set-up of Yogi Bear and Boo Boo from “Papa Yogi,” animated by George Nicholas.


    Huckleberry Hound Comes To ITV
    TELEVISION’S first exclusive cartoon character, Huckleberry Hound, has taken another big bite in the British market. A-R plans to show the Screen Gems series from October 21, with networking to Scotland and Ulster. Thirty-nine programmes will go out on Fridays at 5.25 p.m.
    The Hound’s creators, Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna, used to sketch eight “Tom and Jerry” shorts a year. Now, to satisfy television’s enormous appetite, they turn out more than 150 cartoons annually.
    Hanna and Barbera have built up a unique personality for each of a zoo of characters necessary to fill these films.
    Copes with all
    “Like Huckleberry Hound himself,” explains Barbera. “He’s slow-moving but nothing floors him. He takes on bank robbers, dragons and amorous cocker spaniels with the same steady determination.”
    Other personalities in the series include Yogi Bear, who continually tries to find some peace and quiet in a landscaped bedlam called Jellystone National Park. There there’s Mr. Jinks, a tomcat whose vocal inflections give evidence of his training at a “modern” acting school.
    “A cartoon hero is never limited by restrictions of space or time,” explains Barbera. “Yogi Bear can take enough buckshot in his hide to lay out a dozen real bears, then laugh in the hunter’s face. Huck Hound is anything he wants to be—a cowboy or cave man.”
    Barbera feels that this disrespect is what lends an animated cartoon its charm.
    “By a time a youngster is old enough to think for himself he has discovered that life has pretty strict boundaries. Touch something hot and you get burnt. Hit your head on the floor and you raise a nasty bump.
    “The child wishes it weren’t so. He would like to fly, travel back in time, or defeat a bully twice his size. But he can do these things only in fantasy. “In a cartoon, his fantasy is acted out before him—and he’s utterly delighted.”
    Like many other TV creators, Hanna and Barbera began their career in motion pictures. Before turning their interests to video, the two producers had already made their mark with “Tom and Jerry.” Together, Hanna and Barbera turned out over 200 of these cat-and-mouse adventures for MGM. It won for them seven Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscars.
    Hanna and Barbera Productions are now producing three TV cartoon series for Screen Gems, “Huckleberry Hound,” “Ruff and Ready,” [sic] and their newest cartoon brainchild, “Quick Draw McGraw.”
    Oddly enough, neither Hanna nor Barbera began their careers as cartoonists or artists. The former graduated as an engineer, but tired of this work and took an art course before joining a cartoon studio. They met later when Barbera joined the organisation from his job as trust accountant. [Barbera left Irving Trust to work at Van Beuren and Terrytoons before meeting Hanna at MGM].
    Twenty-one years after they teamed up the two men are still busily creating, and sharing the same office in one corner of a brick studio Charlie Chaplin built in Hollywood. The company today has more than 400 people on its payroll.
    With producer-director George Sidney, Hanna and Barbera Productions was formed in 1957, with a handful of employees.
    They entered TV at a time when it was considered impossible to produce original cartoons exclusively for television. The costly animation process remained a stumbling block. Consequently viewers of TV only saw old theatrical cartoons, many of which would fit into the economics of the medium—without sacrificing quality.
    Simplified
    Employing simplified processes, the Hanna-Barbera team brought the first successful original animation to television.
    The two men looked over hundreds of pen and ink illustrations (all their own) until they came upon Huck. In this rawboned pooch was the mixture of not 12 breeds, but at least 30 canine blood lines.
    After thousands of individual drawings of Huckleberry in various poses, and the voice of Daws Butler had been dubbed into the lungs of the canine creation, Huck was ready for his big moment.
    Success has bred success, and some of the most sought-after thespians in Hollywood are experts in characterisations.
    According to Barbera there is a real dearth of voices. People like Daws Butler, Don Messick, June Foray and Patty Chapman [sic] can name their terms and jobs, the demand for them is so acute. It stems from the new surge of cartoon production not only in TV cartoon shows but also for a rash of cartoon commercials. Hanna and Barbera Productions alone employ over 110 speaking characters!

    0 0

    The “Elroy’s Mob” episode of The Jetsons may be best known for one scene—when Kenny Countdown is watching “the billionth rerun of the Flintstones.” It’s a throwaway gag but it’s probably the most subtle commentary on TV cartoon programming.

    When this cartoon first aired in 1963, there weren’t a billion reruns of The Flintstones. Not even hundreds. Episodes had been repeated during the season they aired exactly once to fill up the summer prime time schedule. But other cartoons, Bugs Bunny, Popeye, and many of the other old theatricals, had been repeated endlessly on morning and afternoon kids shows. That’s where the money was. Hanna-Barbera knew that; the company built itself on syndicating Huckleberry Hound in 1958. So it was The Flintstones ended up in syndication in 1966. Today, in the Jetsons’ 21st Century, it seems like there have been a billion reruns of Fred, Barney, Dino and the rest. When this cartoon was made, that was nowhere near the case.

    The cartoon may be set in the future but there are still ‘60s reference-puns that those of us around then got. The crooks in this one are pretending to be a crew shooting “The Unspaceables” (“The Untouchables”). And the TV news reporter who just happens to be in the Jetsons’ neighbourhood to interview them is “Chet Sprinkley” (NBC’s anchors Chet Huntley and David Brinkley). No disrespect meant to writer Barry Blitzer, but these are weak. The Flintstones was ever worse for this; trying to make a comedic name by adding “stone” or “rock” or something like that. That doesn’t take any creativity, any more than adding arbitrarily adding “space” or “moon” to a name on The Jetsons.

    It seems as if Blitzer had the Flintstones on his mind when he wrote this cartoon. When Jane tells George to have fun with Astro, he responds: “Fun? I could have more fun with a sabre-tooth tiger.” A what? Doesn’t that joke belong on the other series?

    The plot of “Elroy’s Mob” includes a really quaint concept—parents feeling shame because of something their child has done and (probably more importantly) how will it reflect on them. “What will I tell the PTA?” Jane wails as she’s told her son is now considered a mobster. It also includes a bit of a scary concept. You may have noticed police officers infest The Jetsons series. They’re here in this episode, too. Elroy and Astro are told by patrol cops to get home because “it’s after curfew.” Is the future so ridden with crime that police are everywhere and a curfew is necessary?

    A quick plot summary: Elroy brings home Kenny’s weekly magna-proofed (unerasable) report tape from school after Kenny switches them (four Ds, an F and an H) but his parents won’t believe it’s a mistake. When Kenny confesses via visiphone, George and Jane go to apologise but found Elroy and Astro have run away. The boy and dog get conned into helping Muggsy Megaton rob a jewelry store. Muggsy and his gang hide out at the Jetsons’. Astro gnaws through the rope tying him up and fetches the police who make the arrest. Astro histrionically explains to a TV interviewer how he helped catch the criminals. I like how Astro’s the hero here. Hmm. Cumbersome heroic dog that pronounces every word starting with an “r.” It appears that idea got filed away at Hanna-Barbera for future use.

    Fernando Montealegre, Rene Garcia and Fernando Arce painted the backgrounds.



    Sorry Elroy’s in the way, but you can still see the architecture in the background.



    Elroy’s bedroom.



    The animators of this cartoon are Carlo Vinci and Hugh Fraser. I can’t pick out all of Carlo’s work here, but it’s safe to say the side-to-side wagging heads and the walk cycles with the swinging butts are his (he animated the Flintstones scene in this one). Fraser is always tough for me, but the drawing below is definitely his. He drew a weird take where the eyes would stretch up. He doesn’t go as overboard here as he did in some of the TV Popeyes he animated in 1960.



    And here’s a neat vibrating bash take.



    This rubbery-nosed head shake ends with George’s little eyes.



    A shock take. It reminds me a bit of those fuzzy-hair takes that Jim Tyer drew at Terrytoons.



    Some exits.



    Camera error! Look at the kids’ eyes. This was part of a cycle so it shows up at least twice in the cartoon.



    Laughs? Well, I still like the gag where Astro describes the criminal to a sketch artist, who ultimately draws a picture of the desk sergeant. Old, obvious? Yeah. But I laughed anyway.



    Shep Menken guest stars as the voice of Muggsy Megaton. He’s one of those H-B bad guys with his hand in his pocket. Menken also plays the court sketch artist and Chet Sprinkly. Don Messick also guests as Astro, the giggling gorilla and various other characters. Janet Waldo gets to do an extra voice and appears as Miss Brainmocker, the robot teacher.



    Hoyt Curtin’s score includes “Rise and Shine,” the original Flintstones theme, when Kenny is watching Fred land on Barney in the swimming pool.

    Other credits:
    Animation Director – Charles Nichols.
    Layout – Irv Spector, Willie Ito, Jacques Rupp.
    Camera – Frank Paiker, Norm Stainback, Roy Wade, Chuck Flekal.
    Film Editor – Greg Watson, Joe Ruby.
    Story Supervision – Arthur Pierson.
    Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.

    Willie Ito and Joe Ruby are still with us.

    0 0

    Some people love the Hanna-Barbera characters so much, they amass collections. Some small, some big.

    Reader Evan Borisinkoff has been collecting Flintstones items for the last 15 years. He’s managed to get his collection organised enough to post pictures of it on the web.



    If you want to see more, you can go to this site.

    0 0

    What? How can people in the Stone Age celebrate Hallowe’en? It’s an outrage!!

    There! Now that I’ve gotten that out of your system, let’s carry on and look at what newspapers published, Flintstones comic-wise, 50 years ago this month. Besides Hallowe’en, we get sports—baseball and golf.

    The whole gang appears in the October 16th comic (the adults, two kids and Dino). I love Fred’s pose in the bottom left-hand comic and the nice from-above layout in the final comic. The gags are set up pretty well in all of them.

    Richard Holliss supplied the colour comics from his personal collection.


    October 2, 1966


    Octover 9, 1966.


    October 16, 1966.


    October 23, 1966.


    October 30, 1966.

    0 0

    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Gil Turner, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Fernando Montealegre, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snagglepuss, Manager – Daws Butler; Major Minor, Mr Leonard, Farnsworth Paradiddle – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
    Plot: Snagglepuss performs on stage while trying to avoid being shot by the Major.

    Here’s another great showcase for Snagglepuss’ theatricality, as Mike Maltese’s story takes him from the legitimate stage to small-time vaudeville, along with that fine foil, Major Minor. At one point, Snagglepuss leaves the Major baffled by turning into a late 19th century melodrama villain (complete with cape and top hat) and the cartoon ends with Snagglepuss and the Major arguing over who gets top billing (“That’s show business,” the theatre manager philosophically says to us viewers).

    Daws Butler adds to the fun by giving the manager an Ed Sullivan-style voice, while the actor whose feelings are hurt has a design based on the hawk nose of the stage great John Barrymore (designed by Tony Rivera).

    Dialogue? Where should we start? Snagglepuss opens the cartoon with a lament (“O, the stings and arrows of sharp fate!”) that he’s been reduced to the part of a trained lion whose owner sticks his head in his mouth. He’s interrupted by actor Farnsworth Paradiddle, who is no longer in the mood to thesp because his dressing room has not been sprayed with eau de cologne.


    Paradiddle: I can not go on.
    Manager: But the show must go on.
    Paradiddle: Oh? Why?
    Manager: Because I don’t want to give the audience their money back, what else?

    Snagglepuss throws us a switch on a hoary old joke:

    Snagglepuss: I, sir, shall replace Farnsworth Paradiddle.
    Manager: You? Read Shakespeare?
    Snag: Read Shakespeare?! I know Shakespeare backwards. Lis-ten. Eraepsekahs. Eraaaaepsekahs!
    Manager (to viewers): Say! That is Shakespeare backwards.

    Cut to Major Minor reading the Snagglepuss poster outside the theatre. He zips off scene and immediately returns in his hunting garb. Cut to the next scene with Snagglepuss on stage:

    Snagglepuss: A hamlet by any other name is still a ham. He who steals my purse steals cash. About a buck and a half.
    Major (raises rifle): By Gadfrey, Shakespeare would thank me for this.
    (fires shots)
    Manager: Pardon me, sir, but do you have a silencer for that gun?
    Major: No, by thunder.
    Manager: Then I’m afraid you’ll have to leave, sir.



    Snagglepuss and the major enact the balcony scene from Hamlet. Guess who is Juliette?

    Snagglepuss: Major! It’s you!
    Major: Yes. Didn’t I shoot you in the Veldt?
    Snag: I beg to differentiate. It was below the veldt. I couldn’t sit down for a week.

    The sequence ends oddly with the Major shooting and the cartoon fading out. There’s no real punch-line.

    Next, a fade-in to the Major and Snagglepuss doing an old double, vaudeville style.


    Snagglepuss: A funny thing happened to me on the way to the theatre.
    Major: You don’t say. What happened to you on the way to the theatre?
    Snag: A panhandler asked me for $10 for a cup of coffee.
    Major: $10? Isn’t that a lot of money for a cup of coffee?
    Snag: Well, he said he was a heavy tipper. Heh heh heh hehh. Get it?
    Major: By Gadfrey, I get it. And now, by Joe Miller, you’re going to get it.

    Snagglepuss tells the audience not to be worried explaining, much in the manner of Daffy Duck in a Chuck Jones cartoon of the later ‘50s, by the time the Major is set to fire his gun again, he’ll be miles away. The spiel takes so long the Major has time to blast Snagglepuss in the head.



    In the next sequence, Snagglepuss delves into the old Warner Bros. bag of tricks by pretending to be an old melodrama villain, demanding a mortgage payment from a “poor but honest farmer” (the Major). Unlike the pre-1950 Daffy Duck in a similar disguise, Snagglepuss still gets shot.

    Maltese doesn’t need to think of any more chasing gags. The manager stops the action on stage and decides to sign the two for his show. Snagglepuss and the Major argue over the billing until a rifle in the pink cat’s face ends the discussion.

    “Shakespeare would have wanted it that way,” he reluctantly says to us, and the cartoon ends.

    Gil Turner was the animator of this cartoon. We talked about him, and his work on this cartoon, in this post from 2013. Turner bounced from studio to studio, working at Warner Bros. (Freleng unit), UPA and Walter Lantz among a number of stops. He also drew comic books. Turner retired to Arizona in 1963 and died in 1967.

    Monte was the background artist. Here are the first two establishing shots.



    I like Monte’s background below. It shows what a run-down theatre Snagglepuss is appearing in, complete with an old brick building up against the window.



    Greg Watson or Joe Ruby or whoever the sound cutter was on this cartoon took advantage of Hoyt Curtin’s tracking library. The cartoon opens with his horns and light piano show-biz intro music, followed by the woodblock soft-shoe theme when Snagglepuss bemoans his fate in the entertainment world and Paradiddle quits. When the Major changes into his hunting outfit, we hear Curtin’s “A Hunting We Will Go”-inspired cue. The cartoon ends with Curtin’s ‘20s Charleston music.

    0 0

    Hanna-Barbera cartoons are loved the world over, and the proof is in a little list of the countries where our readers come from. At the time this post was written, the bulk of the people who stopped by to view this blog are in the United States. But the list shows readers in Denmark, Spain, Thailand, Luxembourg, Japan, Russia, Egypt and Ghana, among many other nations.

    Readers are nice enough to send notes; I’m sorry I don’t have time to answer most of them as I don’t really have time to maintain this blog. Here’s one I received quite some time ago, with the photos I’ve posted below. The following note was attached:


    Hi, I'm Alexander live in Brazil and I am a lover of Hanna Barbera. I have some things that I keep with great affection. This poster of original film and a Yogi Bear's Guide was released in Brazil in 1970 as well as comics launched in Brazil.



    Reader Rick Greene is a little closer to 3400 Cahuenga Blvd. He’s in the Los Angeles area and was a close friend of the ultimate Hanna-Barbera historian, the late Earl Kress. Some time ago, we posted about Yogi Bear being used as a public service figure. Rick passed along this from his collection. Sorry, he just sent the cover. It’s from 1984. Artist unknown. Bob Singer maybe?



    We also had a post about the 1961 Yogi’s Birthday Party TV special. Mike Rossi (not in Italy, despite his name) sent these pictures showing how Kellogg’s got involved in its cereal boxes:



    Steve Faul, one of a number of our readers in Ohio, e-mailed us these shots of a Whitman puzzle from 1963. He found it during an antiquing expedition. Evidently there was no room for Yogi Bear. Or maybe he was busy promoting cereal.

    And Dan Browne asked about the cel below. I cringe looking at the staples up top. The characters weren’t in the original drawing; you can see how the waves around the fishing line have been drawn in later. They may have been from one of the Huck show cartoons-between-the-cartoons. The background’s familiar, though. It’s from the Quick Draw McGraw cartoon Cattle Battled Rattled, co-starring Snuffles. The background is by Joe Montell.



    Here’s a frame grab from the cartoon. Dick Lundy animation from Ed Benedict layouts. I love the cows.



    My thanks to readers who have had time to send interesting items along with comments, additions and corrections. By the way, this is Yowp post number 1,001.

    0 0
  • 10/29/16--07:01: Run, Jinks, Run
  • One of the fun things about watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons 50 or so years ago was to see how many times characters ran past the same background. Repeating backgrounds were nothing new in animation; you can spot them in some of the great Warner Bros. cartoons and even in the far-more-primitive efforts of the Van Beuren shorts of the early ’30s. The difference is Hanna-Barbera used them often. Very often.

    Chase cartoons almost required them, and the series that specialised in chases in the early days was Pixie and Dixie. Here’s an endless chase loop of Mr. Jinks from “Bird Brained Cat” (first aired on the week of November 23, 1959). The animation is by Don Patterson. It’s a pretty simple cycle. He uses four drawings, and the cycle repeats itself four times (16 drawings, or one foot of animation) before Jinksie runs past the same door.

    Patterson uses foot multiples on the second and fourth drawings below to quicken the run.



    Here’s the run in an endless loop. The timing is close to what it is in the cartoon. The background is by Bob Gentle. Sorry for the digital fuzziness; this is a dub from a TV broadcast. It’s not like we’ll ever see this cartoon on home video.



    Patterson, by the way, imbues Mr. Jinks with some really funny expressions in this cartoon.

    We know how Mr. Jinks got his voice and delivery. Daws Butler borrowed it from his writing partner Stan Freberg. Freberg used it in his Capitol record send-up of “Sh-boom,” saying it was supposed to a satire on Marlon Brando’s mush-mouth method acting delivery. I’ve never noticed the similarity, but I’m not going to argue with the man who created it.

    Mr. Jinks’ name is more of a mystery. Some animation fans have decided to play connect-the-dots and invent their own facts based on the conclusion. They note that:

    a) Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera originally called Jerry Mouse “Jinx.”
    b) Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera socked away ideas for re-use, therefore
    c) Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera reused their name for Jerry Mouse for a cat character 18 years later.

    There’s absolutely no proof of this fanboy “fact.” For one thing, “Jinx” is not “Mr. Jinks.” Neither Hanna or Barbera ever said how they gave the cat his name. In fact, an early drawing is emblazoned with the name “Snooper” and Variety refers to a Hanna-Barbera “Snooper” series well before Snooper and Blabber were ever created.

    The name, however, was used generically in newspaper humour columns in the early part of the 20th Century. At least, they may have been humorous back then. They’re dumbfoundingly unfunny today. A few examples from some newspapers I’ve browsed through.

    Ed—“Mr. Jinks wants some repairs. Says the house has been settling.”
    Ned—“Can’t have ‘em. He hasn’t.” (1907)

    Mr. Links—“Now, Mr. Jinks, would you recognize the existence of a higher, or unwritten law?”
    Mr. Jinks—“No, sir. I’d try a millionaire just the same as I would a common laborer.”
    Mr. Links—“Talesman excused.” (1907)

    Mr. Jinks—I’m so awfully glad, don’t y’ know, to be able to offer you an umbrella to protect you from this deuced wet, don’t y’ know.
    Mrs. Winks—It’s so very kind of you, Mr. Jinks, don’t y’ know. I shall be very glad to return it to my husband. It is the one he left at the club last night, don’t y’ know. (1909)

    Mrs. Jinks—I notice you always speak to policemen, letter-carriers and motormen and conductors. Why?
    Mr. Jinks—I may go into politics one of these days. (1911)

    “I think Mr. Jinks is the cutest man,” gushed Miss Sweete. “Don’t you think that his humor is delicate?”
    “Yes,” replied the jealous Mr. Binks. “It is. He ought to take a tonic for it.” (1920)

    Mr. Jinks—Huh! You were no spring chicken when I married you!
    Mrs. Jinks—No. I was a little goose. (1923).
    I’ll pause to allow you to finish laughing.

    Here’s a comic from the St. Louis-Post Dispatch, June 1, 1910.


    Regardless of how he was named, Mr. Jinks is one of my favourite characters. You can read the review of “Bird Brained Cat” in this old post.

    0 0

    Surely you remember that great Hanna-Barbera series of the 1970s, Josie and the Pussycats—1,000,000 B.C.? You don’t? Well, that’s because it never got on the air.

    Starting with something called Nino From Coconino in late 1958, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, Dan Gordon and many others on staff over the years came up with proposals for animated series that were either reworked or just never managed to entice a network or a sponsor. The aforementioned Josie series was among them.

    Fortunately, some artwork from these unfulfilled projects was preserved and will be part of a wonderful exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum called Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning on view starting November 12th and running through May 29, 2017.

    Jeremy Clowe at the Museum describes it thusly:
    Hanna Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning will focus primarily on the golden years of the studio—from the premiere of their first cartoon, The Ruff and Reddy Show, in 1957 and The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958 to the debut of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in 1969. Hanna and Barbera’s early work on Tom and Jerry will be explored, in addition to the scores of TV and film animation and live-action projects created by the studio between 1970 and 2001. Included within the exhibition will be original animation art, sketches, model sheets, photographs, and archival materials that detail the process of bringing the studio’s creations to life. Also included in the exhibition, Hanna-Barbera-related toys and other commercial products, and an interactive installation that will draw from the vast library of sound effects created by the studio. An exhibition video, produced by Norman Rockwell Museum, will include commentary from original Hanna-Barbera animators Tony Benedict, Jerry Eisenberg, Willie Ito, and Bob Singer. An exhibition catalogue will include a foreword by Jayne Barbera, daughter of studio founder Joe Barbera, and essays by animation historians Jerry Beck and Michael Mallory.
    You can’t get better animation pedigrees than the people taking part. Mike Mallory knows as much about the studio’s early history as anybody. Tony Benedict was the fourth writer behind Charlie Shows, Mike Maltese and Warren Foster to be hired at the studio, having started his career at Disney before going to UPA. The other three spent time in the late ‘50s at Warner Bros. with Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, Bob McKimson and many great artists before moving on to Hanna-Barbera. And Jerry Beck? Well, he’s....uh....well, he’s done something. Can’t remember what, though.

    Fans should appreciate the artwork. The curators have found a couple of the single-panel cartoons that Joe Barbera drew on a freelance basis for Collier’s in 1934 and panels from one of his storyboards for Terrytoons after he left Van Beuren in 1936 (I believe they’re for a Kiko the Kangaroo cartoon). There are layout and production drawings from the Huckleberry Hound Show, concept drawings by Ed Benedict (including some for The Jetsons and Wally Gator that I’ve never seen before), and a script treatment and pitch art for proposals named Mysteries Five and Who’s S-s-scared? that became a series that is arguably the studio’s most popular. And a lot more.

    The Norman Rockwell Museum is in Stockbridge, Massachusetts on Route 183. If you’re within driving distance, I’d heartily recommend you take in this fine event and show Warner Bros. Consumer Products, which is co-sponsoring the exhibition, there is still plenty of life in the old Hanna-Barbera characters and we’d sure love to see those original cartoons on home video and when we tune up our TV sets.

    You can learn more about the showing by checking out the Museum web site.



    0 0

    Being the month of American Thanksgiving, it shouldn’t be surprising Yogi Bear has two turkey feasts in his weekend newspaper comics 50 years ago this month.

    Richard Holliss supplied the tabloid format colour comics from his personal collection. We had to fiddle with the black-and-white one to get panels and dialogue you can read.



    That opening panel in the November 6th comic is awfully plain. The gag is a variation of the old “wife-can’t-cook” routine. Note the duck appears in the second row, helping to set up the gag.



    Ah, the colonel who owns a circus and the moustachioed circus master! Not a cloud in the sky in the November 13th comic. A very nice trotting giraffe and toddling elephant in the top row.


    “We smoke-um peace pipe”?! Native American stereotypes return in November 20th comic. Yogi is smarter-than-the-average in this story. I like the silhouette panel in the bottom row.



    It’d be funny if the November 27th comic was inspired by Joe Barbera, Alan Dinehart or one of the recording engineers dropping a reel of newly-recorded dialogue. Take my word for it; those things can roll if you drop one. Fortunately, perhaps, everything is digital today so this whole story would be obsolete. Yogi’s writer rhymes “fur” and “sir.” And Jellystone Park, for reasons I still don’t understand, has a “general” in charge.

    Click on any of the comics to enlarge them.

    All of next month’s Yogis are in colour. The Christmas comic is particularly nice, but you’ll have to wait for it.

    0 0

    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Don Towsley, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Tony Benedict, Story Director – John Freeman, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yakky – Jimmy Weldon, Chopper – Vance Colvig, Alfie Gator – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Copyright 1962 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
    Plot: Alfie Gator tries to eat Yakky Doodle for dinner but Chopper gets in the way.

    “And so ends another happy tale with the villain vanquished. Namely (breathes) me.” So we, the audience, are told at the end of this cartoon by Alfie Gator, modelled by writer Tony Benedict on Alfred Hitchcock.

    Back when this cartoon was made, the famed director hosted a TV show called Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Benedict loved it so much, he parodied it in the Yakky Doodle cartoons. Hitchcock alerted his viewers, in elegant language, that he was about to pause for a commercial message, then welcomed them back when the ad break was finished. Alfie does the same thing. Daws Butler doesn’t imitate Hitchcock but borrows some of his vocal mannerisms (including heavy breaths during sentences) and takes the mush out of his mouth, leaving a detectable accent. Hitchcock arrived and departed in a silhouette. Alfie does the same (at least at the end of this cartoon).

    Benedict mines humour in this cartoon from the Hitchcock show familiarity because the gags themselves aren’t all that strong. The first half of the cartoon is taken up with the well-worn scenario of a small character being invited for dinner, floating around in a pot of water on a stove and then being told he’s the dinner.

    Chopper: How can you eat that poor, little innocent duck?
    Alfie: (breathes) I force myself.


    One of the things that’s enjoyable about Alfie is his complete disdain for Chopper and the dog’s boorish, rough-housing attitude. It’s completely beneath his dignity, which he doesn’t hesitate to tell the audience. Of course, that doesn’t stop him from being pummelled.
    Chopper: Ya know what I’m gonna do?
    Alfie: (breathes) I suspect you are going to resort to some crude form (breathes) of physical vi-o-lence.
    Yes, that’s exactly what happens.




    The next gag involves Alfie leaving a trail of bread crumbs to catch the duck in a pot. But Chopper eats the crumbs instead. Alfie mistakenly clobbers Chopper with the pot. You kind of know what’s going to happen next.

    Alfie: I beg your pardon (breathes), but this constant interference is becoming quite annoying. I suppose now you will indulge in a childish temper tantrum. (Chopper clobbers Alfie with the pot). Disgusting trait to find in a fully-grown dog. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
    Next, Alfie uses a bow with a plunger attached to a rope as an arrow to “snare my duck dinner.” Yakky (if you’ll pardon the pun) ducks. Again, you know what’ll happen.
    Alfie: (to Chopper) Good heavens, it’s you. (to audience) He doesn’t seem to understand (breathes) that I find his presence disturbing. (to Chopper) Before you assault me with that plunger (breathes), I should like to grovel at your feet and (breathes) plead for mercy.
    Chopper: Aw, I wasn’t gonna hit you with this old plunger.
    Alfie: Good. I shall be forever grateful.
    And as you might have guessed, Chopper punches him in the nose instead.

    Those are the gags. Alfie ends the cartoon by fading away until next time, just like we might expect from Hitchcock himself.



    Hoyt Curtin wrote a cue based on Hitchcock’s theme “Dance of the Marionettes.” For whatever reason, the sound cutter doesn’t use it in this cartoon. But the music that is heard is familiar from The Flintstones and Hanna-Barbera short cartoons of this time period.

    There’s nothing distinctive or really very interesting in the artwork in this cartoon. And with that, I shall fade away until next time. Good night.

    0 0
  • 11/09/16--07:16: They Love Huck and Yogi
  • Hopalong Cassidy could do it. The Lone Ranger could do it. But you’d think it’d be difficult for cartoon stars to go on location and meet fans like human TV stars. After all, they’re drawings. Ah, but no. Honest Ed Justin at Screen Gems solved that problem by having costumes of Huckleberry Hound and so on made and sticking people in them.

    Justin’s team seems to have promoted them aggressively. Here’s a story from the Hartford Courant of May 15, 1960 that gives you an idea about how much the characters were pushed by the bankroller of the Hanna-Barbera studio. Of course, it helped that Huck and his syndicated colleagues were hugely popular when they first appeared on TV in the late ‘50s.


    Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear Gain World Fame; ‘Adult Cartoon’ Coming
    This year’s most widely traveled TV personalities are a blue dog with a deep southern drawn and an oversize bear sporting a pork-pie hat.
    The pair, Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear, have managed to accept 73 invitations since last August and still show up weekly on the “Huckleberry Hound” television series. What makes this possible is the fact that they’re cartoon characters, the creations of Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    “In the past eight months we’ve booked Huck and Yogi into department stores, shopping centers, football and baseball games, concerts, parades, factories and exhibitions,” said Ed Justin, who’s in charge of personal appearances at Screen Gems, which distributes the Hanna-Barbera shows.
    “Next month they are scheduled for the Memorial Day ‘500’ Race at the Indianapolis Speedway,” he added. “Fans will be released to hear that Huck does not plan to drive in the race.”
    Special Costumes
    Confronted with so many play-date opportunities for the cartoon stars, without a body to deliver, Justin had special Huck and Yogi costumes made, at a cost of several hundred dollars apiece. The costumes are filled with local heat and claustrophobia-resistant actors. Huckleberry Hound is thus the only TV star who travels by Air Express, who has made three live appearances simultaneously and who requires extensive repair work after each excursion.
    What led to the travels of the ubiquitous dog was the unusually wide-spread popularity of the “Huckleberry Hound” show that emerged soon after it went on the air. Some of the kudos came from rather far afield.
    Huck Hound Abroad
    In Hull, England, the traditional Jazz and Cycling Society changed its name to the Yogi Bear Club, and within a few months the membership doubled.
    Huckleberry Hound was invited to play for either side at the Stanford – Washington football game, but the offer was declined on the ground that no helmet would fit him. He would up a cheer leader for both teams.
    Huck was made a member of the ships’ companies of the USS Glacier, an icebreaker on Antarctic duty, and of the USS Acme, a minesweeper in the Pacific. The 5th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment at Huddersfield, England, asked for permission to make Yogi Bear the official mascot of the outfit. In Tucson, Arizona, an official questionnaire given to all police officers included the question: “Do you watch Huckleberry Hound on television?”
    Spacemen Favored
    As guest stars at the annual Childrens’ Concert of the Fort Wayne Symphony, Huck and Yogi were compared with such virtuosos as Jack Benny and Spike Jones.
    In West Seneca, N.Y., an organization known as Machemer’s Chestnut Lodge Yogi Bear Appreciation Society was founded.
    Seven scientists at the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico requested an El Paso, Texas, television station to show “Huckleberry Hound: at a later hour since they were too busy working on missile projects during its air time.
    The scholarly Yale Alumni Bulletin made a survey of undergraduate viewing tastes and revealed that “Huckleberry Hound” was among the four top programs with Yale men.
    Adult Cartoon On Way
    To Hanna and Barbera, these events were “very gratifying.” When the cartoonists announced three years ago that they intended to produce original cartoons for television, general opinion was that they were barking up the wrong tree.
    Now, they have a bustling cartoon studio in Hollywood which makes not only “Huckleberry Hound” but also “Quick Draw McGraw” and “Ruff and Reddy.” And, next season, they will unveil a new adult animated comedy, “The Flintstones,” on ABC-TV.
    As Joe Barbera frequently reminds Bill Hanna, “We’ve just got to give Huck and Yogi a raise.”

    Quick Draw McGraw went on location, too. Here are a couple of photos, courtesy of Kerry Cisneroz, I think. The Lone Ranger and Hoppy may have been more competent in the Old West than Quick Draw, but I’ll take the dumbbell horse over them any day. It would appear Quick Draw and Baba Looey are in a theatre. Maybe Bugs and Daffy couldn’t make it.


older | 1 | .... | 24 | 25 | (Page 26) | 27 | 28 | .... | 38 | newer