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Stuff about early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

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    Until the networks started bowing to pressure groups that wanted to dictate what every kid should watch on TV, cartoons on Saturday morning meant action-adventure as well as comedy.

    Hanna-Barbera was at the forefront of this type of cartoon with the prime time airing of Jonny Quest in 1964. Others followed on Saturday mornings. The only one I really watched was The Herculoids because of the odd collection of characters (my sister, not being impressed with the character’s names, made fun of Dorno by calling him “Doorknob”). I couldn’t tell you a plot of any of the episodes, to be honest.

    Doug Wildey is quoted in a documentary on Jonny Quest that the series was, in his estimation, a failure. Did he expect it to feature the kind of elaborate, posed comic book artwork that could never be duplicated on a TV budget?

    Wildey was certainly good at it. So was Alex Toth, who joined the studio to work on Quest. Their impressive presentation art has been all over the internet, and now one of the on-line web auction sites has some of it for sale. Let me repost some of it here.

    First off, Jonny Quest. These are credited to Wildey. The “File 0-37” was used for a brief period when the show was in development before it was decided to go back to just “Jonny Quest.”

    More artwork. Quest fans may recognise the episodes that used the ideas contained in some of these drawings.

    Now, some from The Herculoids by Toth. I presume these were done for the series and not later commissions.

    A secret agent show called Danger Plus Two made it to the presentation stage. Here’s Doug Wildey again.

    Two more proposed shows. Yankee Doodle Daring is signed by Alex Toth.

    And from The Great Undersea Race proposal by Doug Wildey, as well as a second, unidentified piece of art.

    You can see the full catalogue by clicking here. There’s some great work by Eyvind Earle at Disney and items that were owned by the late Stan Freberg.

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  • 11/16/16--04:40: Daws at 100
  • There’s no doubt about it. Daws Butler was the backbone of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio.

    The Huckleberry Hound Show was an instant success in 1958, and from it the studio grew and prospered. Daws performed all the major characters, infusing them with likability and good cheer.

    In a way, Daws was his characters. “Likability” and “good cheer” might be used to describe him. Everyone liked Daws Butler. He gave up his time to help others who wanted to follow his career path. He lived his life quietly. He was a nice man off the screen, and a funny man on the screen. He was one of the reasons—maybe the main one—I looked forward to “tuning up” the TV set to watch Huckleberry Hound and those other early Hanna-Barbera cartoons. I can’t think of what they would have been like without him.

    Daws would turn 100 years old if he were with us today. Let’s mark the day with a couple of newspaper clippings. The first is from the Atlanta Journal Constitution of March 16, 1959. It may be the earliest recognition of Daws’ work. There’s no byline, so it may have been provided by the studio. The second is a combination of stories in the Los Angeles Times of October 10 and 24, 1976. The Times piece includes quotes by Stan Freberg. He and Daws worked together through the 1950s until Freberg moved into stardom on his own (and then advertising) and Daws got work at Hanna-Barbera. Freberg rightfully points out the voices Daws did for H-B—including Huck and Mr. Jinks—had made earlier appearances on records, on radio or on animated TV commercials. And while Daws may not have been hired at Warner Bros. after auditioning for Johnny Burton, a few years later he did begin to provide voices for cartoons for the studio.

    No Temperament on This Show
    There’s one studio in Hollywood which doesn’t have to worry about temperamental actors.
    Producers at this studio simply wipe the frowns off an actor’s face with a bottle of ink eradicator.
    William Hanna and Joseph Barbera are the producers in this company which turns out the howlingly funny “Huckleberry Hound” and “Ruff and Reddy” cartoons for TV. Their “Tom and Jerry” cartoon comedies have long been favorites with motion picture audiences.
    As creators of the comedies they make sure their cartoon progeny are happy and zany characters who have only one aim—to entertain and make people happy.
    Obviously their characters make people—old people and young people—happy. Because Huckleberry Hound, the central character in the TV cartoon series of that name, is one of the biggest stars on television. He’s the biggest, that is, if you can judge his popularity by the fan mail he gets.
    LOVEABLE HUCK gets huge stacks of mail each week from throughout the United States, Canada, England and Mexico. Second only to him in the fan mail department is Yogi Bear, another of the stars in the 30-minute cartoon show.
    The bulk of the mail does not come from the youngsters, either, Hanna points out. Many of the letters request photographs of the stars. They come from the small fry and from grown-ups alike, sure proof of the family popularity of the sagacious pooch.
    While the happy faces of the cartoon animals are responsible in a large measure for the popularity of the shows, Hanna recognizes that the happy voices play a big part in the “happiness” of the shows.
    Many of the voices on the shows belong to Daws Butler, a vocal impersonator who has fooled the sharpest ears in the country. Since the advent of TV, he has been the voice of some 200 commercial cartoon characters. Today he runs riot on both “Ruff” and “Huck.” He voices Harry Safari, Killer Diller and Pinkie the Elephant on the “Reddy” show and he is the voice of Huck, Yogi Bear, Mr. Jinks and Dixie on “Huck.”
    THE STORY of how Daws began impersonating various voices is almost as intriguing as the stories contained in the cartoons.
    Daws says it all began when, as a younger, he discovered that he was uncomfortably shy and retiring.
    “I decided to combat this shyness with a self-inflicted therapy,” says Daws. “While in high school in Oak Park, a Chicago suburb, I forced myself to appear before groups at amateur contests. My repertoire at the time consisted of a Ford starting on a cold day, President Roosevelt and Rudy Vallee. The theory worked and I found it easier to be extroverted.”
    But although he forced himself to become an extrovert, he admits that he is happiest when doing a voice which gives him complete anonymity.
    Many record fans might not know it but Daws collaborated with Stan Freberg on a phonograph record which sold more than one million copies. It was “St. George and the Dragnet.” [sic]
    It was after the success of this popular recording that Daws moved into the field of animation, writing and voicing many of the cartoon commercial messages.

    Can't Place the Face, but the Voice Is Sure Familiar

    Times Staff Writer
    It is one of the injustices of cartoon history that most of its great voices are anonymous men and women.
    Credits inevitably are given to the producer-director, frequently the animator, set designer, story developer, layout man, but seldom the man whose voice gives the character his distinctiveness.
    Of all the well-known cartoon voices, there is Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny, et al) and . . . who else? "That's about it," says Daws Butler. "Mel's the only one who has gotten screen credit consistently. I've never known why. It's just one of the practices of the industry.
    "I ask my students who is Daws Butler and, of course, they don't know," Butler said. "Then I mention Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear."
    And Quick-Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss, Blabber Mouse, Peter Potamus, Lippy Lion, Super Snooper, Augie Doggie, Loppy-de-Loop, Funky Phantom, Baba Looey and Cap'n Crunch, to name a few.
    Stan Freberg, Butler's friend of a quarter century, former collaborator and a cartoon voice himself, thinks the lack of credit is particularly shameful in Butler's case.
    "You have to realize that Hanna-Barbera worked backward from characterizations that Daws created to come up with Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear," he said.
    "He was those characters long before they ever hit the screen. Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear were walking, talking, visual adaptations of what he did for years."
    It is impossible to spend any time with Butler, when he lapses back into his famous characterizations to prove a thespian point, and not see that he is, indeed, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear or any of the other hundreds of cartoon characters he has done.
    It is equally impossible to detect in him any bitterness connected with the lack of recognition.
    "I never really was bothered by it," he said in the Beverly Hills home he has owned since 1950. "You just accepted the fact about the only one who was going to get credit consistently was Mel Blanc.
    "If I had an ego problem, it was early on in my career when I was known only as a voice. I felt I shouldn't have to go through life as Huckleberry Hound. But, then, I thought I shouldn't be ashamed of being known as Huckleberry Hound, either.
    "I've felt I was always a full actor. I do the characters physically when I am supplying the voices. In the early stages of developing the characters, I worked with the animators, who incorporated my voice and facial expressions into the character.
    "I'm proud of the fact that on any date there are three or four of my characters on television. Sometimes I watch them. I think they're still good."
    Butler, at 59, is by no means retired. As Cap'n Crunch, he has the second longest characterization in television (17 years, compared to Thurl Ravenscroft's Tony the Tiger, 20 years). He also is Pop on the Snap, Crackle and Pop commercial and the voice, again uncredited, on other cartoons.
    But he is branching out into teaching, a field that gives him enormous pleasure. He teaches an acting class Monday nights at the Beverly Hills Adult School and, starting Tuesday, Oct. 12, launches a course, "The Spoken Word: Using the Voice in Speech and Action," at Loyola Marymount University, Westchester. It will run through Dec. 14 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. He also conducts private workshops in a studio behind his home.
    "It dawned on me a few years ago that I have been acting all my life, he said. "All life to me is an impersonation, anyway. So, I thought, why not make it easier on the younger people on the way up? Maybe, I can give them some shortcuts in the business. I know I could have used them when I was starting out." That would be in Oak Park, Ill, where Butler was a shy, retiring youth who wanted a career as an artist or writer but got sidetracked into show business.
    "From the beginning, I was a sand-lot comic," he said. "I had a knack of making my friends laugh, but I was terribly shy around strangers and large groups.
    "To overcome my inhibitions, I forced myself to audition in night clubs in Chicago on Saturdays. I did up to 65 impersonations of Fred Allen, George Arliss, Paul Muni, Charles Laughton, Ronald Coleman, even Charlie McCarthy, and it was a traumatic experience. But I knew I had to do it. It was therapy to me."
    Butler earned a few bucks in this way, when he was in high school and after he was graduated. While going this painful route, he met two other guys in the same boat, Jack Lavin and Willard Owitz, and they formed an act called "The Short Waves." Butler is 5-2, the others about the same height.
    The group worked Chicago hotels like the Edgewater Beach and Palmer House and supper clubs like the Black Hawk Restaurant until World War II broke up the act. Butler was in naval intelligence during the war, Lavin was killed in Borneo while there with a USO troupe and Owitz toured war areas as a member of an acting group.
    Owitz decided after the war he didn't want to continue in show business and moved to Denver, where he is a bank executive.
    "Willard never really had the desire to make show business a career," Butler said. "He and his wife occasionally appear in amateur theater productions. That satisfies him. We keep in touch."
    Butler got out of the Navy in 1945 with a few dollars and a wife, Myrtis (a North Carolina woman whom he married in 1943), and piled her, their young son, David, and Butler's parents into a car and headed for an uncertain future in Southern California.
    "My mother had bronchitis and I figured the climate here would be good for her," Butler said. "As for me, I wanted to enroll in art school on the G.I. Bill. But all the good ones were filled.
    "On my father's suggestion, I enrolled instead in a radio school, which no longer exists, at Fairfax Ave. and Wilshire Blvd. From then on, nothing but good things started to happen."
    Barely into the school, Butler read for a radio part in the offices of McCann-Erickson, the advertising company, and got it. The man who gave it to him was Neil Reagan, brother of the former governor.
    "He didn't realize it at the time, but getting that part meant everything to me," Butler said. "It was 'Dr. Christian,' a series based on the doctor who delivered the Dionne quintuplets.
    "With that job, on national radio, incidentally, I got a credit, was able to join the union and go on to other jobs in radio.
    "The ironic thing, in the context of how my career developed, is that all the parts I got were serious. I wanted to do comedy but the closest I got to it was generating a laugh in a serious show.
    "It turned out to be a break for me, because it gave me versatility and depth as an actor, something lacking in so many people who want to do voices for cartoons today. They are a voice, and nothing else."
    After about a year of doing radio, Butler decided to try to break into the cartoon business and went to probably the worst imaginable place, Warner Bros. "I admired Mel Blanc and set up an audition there with Johnny Burton, who was in charge of cartoons at Warners," Butler said. "He told me, after the audition, that I was great, but Blanc did all their voices. Burton, did, however, recommend him to Tex Avery, who was animation director for MGM. After another audition, Avery hired him to do voices for cartoons he was producing and also occasionally on a series that was being started by two young animators, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. The series? "Tom and Jerry."
    Catching on at MGM and making the Hanna-Barbera connection is seen by Butler as one of the great breaks in his professional life."
    At the time, I didn't know what a break it was," Butler said. "Had I got the job at Warners, it's doubtful if there would have been a Huckleberry Hound or Yogi Bear. Certainly, I would not have been involved in them."
    But they came later in 1958, to be exact when MGM shut down its animation department, forcing Hanna and Barbera to form their own company. Out of that union came Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Quick-Draw McGraw, the latter two spinoffs from the first.
    "Norman Lear had nothing on us," Butler laughed. "Yogi and McGraw were our Maude and the Jeffersons."
    This was roughly between 1958 and 1964, described by Butler as his golden age and peak earning years.
    But one of Butler's fondest efforts occured long before that, in 1948, when television was a mere infant.
    Bill Clampett [sic], a television producer, came to Butler with an idea for a puppet series about a little boy and, among other characters, a sea serpent. Clampett's idea was to put the show on live.
    "I was to be the voice of the little boy," Butler said. "We needed a voice for the sea serpent. It turned out to be Stan Freberg."
    The concept developed, but all of the networks and all but one local station turned it down. Claus Landsberg, one of the most imaginative television owners, bought "A Time for Beanie," for KTLA.
    For five years, two of them at KTTV, Beanie, Cecil, Capt. Huffen-puff and a bewildering number of other characters cavorted on the Los Angeles television screen five nights a week, 52 weeks a year.
    Freberg, too, remembers the series vividly. "It was an incredible show," he said. "We had a circular set with different scenery and characters and Daws and I would move from one to the other, achieving live animation.
    "The animation was so real, people always thought the show was filmed. The setup was marvelous for Daws. Being short, he could move around the set without any problem. I'm over six feet and got a permanent crick in the back. I was hunched over for five years."
    The show was the beginning of a long and productive association between Butler and Freberg. They did commercials, comedy sketches for radio and produced one of the first comedy records to sell a million copies, "St. George and the Dragonet," based loosely on a hit series of the time, "Dragnet."
    It was an odd, but complementary relationship, Butter, the retiring, warm comic, and Freberg, the wild, far out satirist.
    "He is a funny, funny man," says Butler. "Collaboration is difficult, but we were always on the same wave length. What I didn't have, he gave me, what he didn't have, I gave him. He's just a brilliant guy."
    Freberg is equally laudatory about Butler and even a bit guilty that he got more publicity out of the relationship than his partner.
    “Here I was, pushy and overbearing,” Freberg said. “I was the extrovert, getting all the publicity I could. Daws has always been retiring, never willing to push himself.
    “The fact that he doesn’t crave publicity in a business that feeds on it says a lot about him as a man. You cannot dislike Daws. You can get a feel for him in the characters he created. They are warm and compassionate.
    “He is an incredibly talented man, whose humor is both subtle and profound. He has done some of the great work in this business. I think he could do a lot more if he would push himself. But that’s not his way.”

    Daws’ birthday is being marked today by one of his former acting students, Joe Bevilacqua. One of a number of books he co-wrote, Daws Butler Characters Actor, is available today from Blackstone Audio, with Joe providing narration and doing his take on the characters you loved to hear Daws do. If there’s anyone on the internet who shows his love for Daws Butler and respect for Daws’ work, it’s Joe. I can’t find a link to the audio book, but Joe has a trove of Daws’ memorability on-line that you should really check out. You can find it by clicking here.

    Writer-voice director-etc. Mark Evanier knew Daws Butler as well as anyone. He wrote my favourite story about him. We’ve linked to it before, but let’s do it again. Click here.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Bob Bentley, Layout – Jack Huber, Backgrounds – Neenah Maxwell, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snagglepuss – Daws Butler; Mailman, Big Hombre, Little Hombre, Telegram Delivery Boy – Don Messick. Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
    Plot: Snagglepuss babysits the son of a Western bad guy.

    The orange, bad-guy Snagglepuss hung out in the Old West, so why can’t the pink, theatrical one? The first Snagglepuss pushed around Quick Draw McGraw. The later one got battered thanks to a bandit’s little son.

    Unlike a lot of cartoons, the boy in this one isn’t one of those “mean widdle kids” who’s talkative and sadistic. He can’t speak English, but it’s clear he’s capable of handling a gun.

    The cartoon’s pretty basic. A wanted Western bad guy who has decided to rob a bank orders Snagglepuss to take care of his son while he’s gone. As you might guess, everything backfires. Snagglepuss gets crushed by a falling rock after shoving the kid out of the way (one of the lines on the rock disappears during the cycle animation).

    Next, Snagglepuss tries to train the boy to be a Western TV star. A lesson in roping results in the youngster capturing a real bull that butts the mountain lion into a butte.

    Snagglepuss teaches the boy how to use a gun. But the lad is already well-versed. Snagglepuss runs off a cliff to escape the bullets. Finally, a goofy telegram boy delivers a message—the bad guy was captured during the bank robbery and Snagglepuss has to take care of his son until he gets out. The cartoon uses a routine from the Yogi Bear cartoon “Daffy Daddy” (1959) for its ending. The boy rides Snagglepuss like a horse, jabbing him with spurs on his feet. This prompts Snagglepuss to pun: “I ooch and ouch on the spur of the moment.”

    Writer Mike Maltese lards up on the catchphrases in this cartoon. Here’s a healthy sampling:
    “Heavens to bank balance!”
    “Heavens to snapshot!”
    “Heavens to safety pin!”
    “Heavens to hamburger! It’s a real bull.”
    “Heavens to Annie Oakley?”
    “Heavens to chariots!”
    “Heavens to papa! I’m apparently a parent.”

    And, my favourite, after the rock falls on Snagglepuss:
    “Heavens to vegetables! I’ve been squashed.”

    And there’s more:
    “Exit, back to the jungle, stage left.”
    “Exit, for child welfare, stage right.”
    “Exit, stampedin’ all the way, stage left.”
    “Exit, cowardly matador fashion.”
    “Exit, chickenin’ out, stage left.”

    Bob Bentley’s exit animation is reused in the cartoon (in one case, the same drawings are inked but the cels are painted on the other side). Bentley has Snagglepuss’ feet running in one direction and his head pointed in another before everything faces the same way and the character zips off screen.

    More catchphrases. I like the first play on words:
    “Perish forfend! I was merely admirin’ your picture. As a fatter of mact, I’d like to order a dozen prints. Glossies, even!”
    “Your youngin’? What youngin’, may I enquire? Ask, even.”
    “Say, who do you think you’re talkin’ to? Pushin’ around, even.”
    “Train ‘im to be a western TV star. Like Rock Crusher. Or Chuck Wagon, even.”

    Maltese treats us to a poem from our hero, to wit:

    Keep a word of cheer.
    Lend a helpin’ hand.
    I will dry your tear.
    I will understand.

    And my favourite line of the cartoon: “Fast on the draw, slow on the sympathy. It is your job to send me to Leavenworth. Or is it Twelveworth?”

    Maltese tosses in a cross-reference, as one of Snagglepuss’ injuries moves him to quote Quick Draw McGraw, remarking “Oooh. That smarts.”

    As story director, I gather Alex Lovy was responsible for timing. Lovy isn’t really all that expressive with his timing. Here’s a good example. Below are two drawings (an in-between is missing) of an eye-take. Bentley’s animation is okay, but Lovy times everything evenly. Each drawing is exposed two times, meaning the take isn’t much of a take. The timing’s not exaggerated so we don’t see the second drawing longer for better impact.

    Neenah Maxwell, the daughter of former MGM production manager Max Maxwell, is the background painter. I got a little lazy and didn’t count how many backgrounds were painted for this cartoon, but one with mountains in the distance got a good workout. And here is the opening background with a mailbox and a blue cave on overlays.

    The sound cutter used familiar Hoyt Curtin music from the other short cartoons produced around this time, as well as a cue or two heard on The Flintstones. Nothing stands out, and Curtin’s Western themes are ignored for whatever reason.

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  • 11/22/16--12:46: Follow-ups to Earlier Posts
  • We talked about the very nice Hanna-Barbera exhibition on now at the Norman Rockwell Museum. Writer Tony Benedict (right), who was hired at the studio in 1960, was present for the opening of the exhibit. The opening remarks were recorded on video and if you want to see what Tony had to say, watch the video below. Tony appears at about the 23:57 mark.

    Tony was hired to work on The Flintstones to help punch up the scripts submitted by TV sitcom writers hired by Joe Barbera with cartoonish visual gags. He went on to write for Huckleberry Hound (in the original series for Kellogg’s) and many other cartoons.

    Daws Butler’s birthday has passed but there’s no reason we can’t hear from him. Here’s a neat phone interview with Daws conducted in 1985 by Ken Behrens of WJBC radio. It’s a half hour long but still way too short.

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    The concept behind The Flintstones was to create a modern Stone Age family; in other words, to adapt the world of today to Prehistoric Times. The series got pretty clever at times doing it. And so does whoever wrote the Flintstones’ newspaper comic of November 13, 1966.

    It’s kind of an obverse of Tex Avery’s animated cartoon “Car of Tomorrow.” The writer takes car concepts of the 1960s and imagines what they would be like in the Stone Age. I really like it. And when I was able to post the Flintstone daily strips, I pointed out the continual “What will they think of next?” punch line. It’s brought back here, with a chance for readers to send in their own ideas.

    The rest of the comics published 50 years ago this month deal with gossipy women, know-it-all husbands and Pebbles once again trying to tag along with older kids in the neighbourhood. Click on any comic to enlarge it.

    Richard Holliss supplied the only colour one available this month.

    November 6, 1966.

    November 13, 1966.

    November 20, 1966

    November 27, 1966.

    Warnning: Do NOT Get Caught While Searching!!
    Your IP : - Country : - City:
    Your ISP TRACKS Your Online Activity! Hide your IP ADDRESS with a VPN!
    Before you searching always remember to change your IP adress to not be followed!
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    You want to see drawings of Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Snagglepuss and Top Cat, right? Well, I’ll cut the yowping and get right to it.

    These are from one of the internet auction sites (click to view). Most of the rough drawings have been attributed to Dan Gordon. I don’t know about that (especially since one is initialled by Dick Bickenbach), but let’s take a look at them.

    To the right appears to be Quick Draw advertising one of the Kellogg’s Sugar Smacks. More Quick Draw, with Baba Looey. I love the Mr. Jinks drawing. I wonder if it was a game show parody, similar to the “What’s My Line?” send-up that Kellogg’s did with Snagglepuss in the early ‘60s.

    The drawing below looks more like it was for one of the cartoons than a commercial. I’m trying to think of a cartoon where he walked holding two guns.

    Here’s Snagglepuss, the pitch-cat for Cocoa Krispies.

    The first Top Cat looks like Dan Gordon’s. Is there animation around of the Kellogg’s tag from the Top Cat opening? I would bet that’s where the drawing comes from with the cereal company name on it.

    A few Flintstones items. The first is from “The Blessed Event.” I gather those are colour indications marked in ink. “Stop 13” must be a camera instruction. If anyone can tell me, post a comment.

    Now, two from the “Operation Barney” episode. Fred is “Dr. Sliprock.” I don’t know if Alex Lovy is responsible for the story panels or if Tony Benedict did them.

    Huck and Yogi plugging their favourite sponsor. Did other kids sing along with the jingle when they watched the Huck or Yogi shows?

    I love this promo drawing, though I’m puzzled about why it’s coloured in. There’s a rough version elsewhere on the blog where the cereal is just indicated. Yogi’s muzzle is rounded here; I’d love to know who drew this.

    Finally, from the Jerry Eisenberg collection. It’s an establishing background but I couldn’t tell you what cartoon it came from; I don’t know what series used “S” production numbers. It’s not from “Ben Huck.”

    As usual, you can click on the artwork to make it larger.

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    I watch an awful lot of old cartoons. It isn’t a case of pining for a childhood that is drifting further and further into the past. I don’t have nostalgia for it and really don’t think about it very much. I watch old cartoons because I still enjoy them. Forget the past. Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are funny today. So are Rocky and Bullwinkle. And so are Quick Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound. If they weren’t funny, I’d find something else to do with my time.

    Mike Redmond of Indianapolis Star mused about childhood, cartoons and the present in his column of May 9, 1998. He notes his mother’s opinion of cartoons. Mine was much the same, though I think she approved of Tom Terrific. She was annoyed at my delight in Daws Butler’s verbal wordplay. My father had to explain to her I said the word “sheeps” because it came from a cartoon and I wasn’t being serious (Daws used it in both the Quick Draw and Huck series, if I recall).

    Here’s what Mr. Redmond had to say. See if you agree with him.

    I took some time off, thinking I could get some things done around the house. Also, I had been a sustained bad mood, and staying away from the office for a few days was the least I could do for my co-workers.
    So I made plans. Good ones, too. I was going to take care of a little business, do a few chores, work in the garden. That first morning of vacation, I turned on the TV to see if the world had blown up overnight (it hadn't), and accidentally punched into the remote control a number that only a day before had been the Static Channel. This time, though, instead of snow and noise, the television was giving me picture and sound, and the picture and sound were of Quick Draw McGraw.
    Oh, happy day! The cable system upgrade had finally reached my neighborhood, and with it came the Cartoon Network.
    So much for getting some things done around the house. I sat down to watch, and the next thing I knew it was four days later and I had to go back to work.
    Now, I probably wouldn't have been so whacked out had I not stumbled into a Quick Draw cartoon. Of all the old Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters, Quick Draw is my favorite. And this wasn't just any Quick Draw cartoon, either, in this one, he was fighting crime as his masked alter ego, El Kabong. To a Quick Draw fan, El Kabong is one of the great characters in the history of Kid TV.
    El Kabonging the mind
    Since history is serious, grown-up, educational-type stuff, I was more or less obligated to watch, in order to better understand El Kabong's impact on 20th Century American Culture. That's what I decided to tell Mom, anyway, if she called.
    The truth is, it was the first time I could remember watching Quick Draw without Mom standing in front of the TV making a speech about how cartoons were going to turn my brain into mush. She did that a lot during my kidhood. As in daily.
    Now that I am in my alleged adulthood, I can see how Mom might have been right. What might I have done with my life had I not spent so much of it in front of the TV, zoned out and mouth-breathing, watching cartoons?
    Oh, well. Can I help it if I grew up in the Golden Age of Kid TV, when the cartoons were good?
    Fun therapy
    I don't watch today's cartoons much. They just don't compare to the old reliables. Oh, there are a couple of good ones – Pinky and the Brian comes to mind – but for the most part they all look about the same to me: On every show, evil aliens from the Planet Gorgonzola to take over the Earth, and the good guys stop them.
    Ridiculous. (Unlike, say, a show about a horse who walks on his hind legs, wears a 10-gallon hat and a six-shooter, talks like Red Skelton and occasionally dresses up as a masked avenger who hits people over the head with a guitar.)
    What I like about the old cartoons is that they are goofy for the sake of being goofy. They're intended to be funny, and that's it. I don't know about you guys, but these days I need all the funny I can get.
    So while it may have been silly to waste four days watching stuff that can turn your brain to mush, I can also say I came back to work considerably less grouchy than when I left. Cartoons are probably the reason why. I think that ought to count for something.
    And now, if you'll excuse me, I am going home. I feel another bad mood coming on and it's almost time for Huckleberry Hound.

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  • 12/03/16--11:06: Yakky Doodle in Dog Pounded
  • Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey; Layout – Jack Huber, Backgrounds – Neenah Maxwell, Written by Tony Benedict, Story Director – Lew Marshall, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Chopper – Vance Colvig; Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Dog Catcher, Radio newscaster – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
    Plot: Fibber Fox has Chopper taken away by a dog catcher and tries to cook Yakky Doodle.

    Fibber Fox has always been my favourite character in the Yakky Doodle cartoons. Generally, he gets off some funny observations on his own situation in the cartoon to the audience. In this one, not so much.

    There are a few neat lines. Maybe the best one comes right at the opening when Yakky is strolling along singing “Yankee Doodle.” Fibber clomps a bowl over him. “Well! A singing duck. How about that? I like some music with my meals,” Fibber tells us.

    Tony Benedict’s story incorporates the idea of a dog license (or lack thereof), which goes back to MGM cartoons like The Bodyguard and Give and Tyke (1958). Fibber steals Chopper’s dog tags and reports him to a dog catcher, imitating Yakky’s stretched-out laugh for good measure. With Chopper out of the way, Fibber spends more time talking to his captured prey than cooking him. The potential feast is interrupted a special news bulletin on the radio. “A very angry dog has just escaped from city pound. He vows vengeance on unnamed fox. That is all.”

    Yup, Chopper bashes in the door of Fibber’s cave. Fibber drops Yakky, hands over the dog tags, and runs into dog catcher, telling him he’s a dog and demanding to be taken to the pound. But Chopper then turns himself in so he can be locked in the same dog catcher van as Fibber. Before Chopper closes the door, he snickers just like you’re used to hearing out of Precious Pupp or Muttley. No, Tony Benedict didn’t invent the evil snicker. It was used by dogs in some Huckleberry Hound cartoons before this and goes back to Tex Avery’s Bad Luck Blackie at MGM. The cartoon ends with the van driving past the same lamp post 26 times (there seem to be a lot of repeating background pans in this cartoon).

    There’s nothing spectacular about Hicks Lokey’s animation or Neenah Maxwell’s backgrounds, though I do like the sponged tree greenery. The sound cutter uses a number of bridges and other music heard on The Flintstones. I wish I could be more enthusiastic about this cartoon but it doesn’t do too much for me.

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    What? Someone other than Yogi Bear emptying a house of food in a Yogi Bear cartoon? It happened 50 years ago this month when the Yogi weekend newspaper comics were graced with a guest appearance by Precious Pupp.

    Precious was Hanna-Barbera’s first starring character that had a wheezy snicker. There had been others who appeared as incidental characters in various cartoons put out by the studio. Just as Astro’s voice pattern was later borrowed by Scooby Doo, Precious’ laugh was made more famous a few years later by Muttley.

    At the time he appeared in the December 4, 1966 comic Precious would have been into his second season on the Atom Ant show. I don’t recall him being a heavy eater but he is in this comic. I do recall he wasn’t white like in the comic. Maybe it’s his winter fur.

    I don’t need to say much about the other comics of the month. I really like the evergreen tree pyjamas and nightcap that Ranger Smith wears in the Christmas comic. Note the references to Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw on packages under the tree in the opening panel.

    My thanks to Richard Holliss for supplying these full-colour comics from his collection.

    December 11, 1966.

    December 18, 1966.

    December 25, 1966.

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    There’s a wonderful naïveté about rock and roll of the future in what’s arguably the best-known of all the Jetsons cartoons. Rock star Jet Screamer is a clean-cut young guy. Remember, the cartoon was made before the British Invasion, let alone the long-haired, strung-out musicians and singers at the end of the 1960s. There’s no hint of sex, drugs or even rock-and-roll—or just barely one. The arrangements are a big band/jazz mix that Hanna-Barbera musical director Hoyt Curtin loved. Jet’s signature dance is the swivel, a parody of the twist. And the contest aspect of Harvey Bullock’s story (not to mention George Jetson as the anti-rock-and-roll father) faintly echoes that satire musical of the day, Bye Bye Birdie.

    This cartoon may have the best artwork of any Jetsons episode. Unfortunately, the original end credit animation was chopped off when the series went back into syndication in the 1980s so I can’t tell you who is responsible. Jerry Eisenberg told me he worked on the cartoon and laid out the “Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah” sequence with Bobe Cannon, who was brought in by Joe Barbera to work on it.

    Here are some of the interiors. Notice the transparent panels on overlays in the first two frames below, how the foliage is handled in the third frame and the geometric shapes in the final one.

    Note the drum kit. Yes, George plays the drums. Of course, he never played them before this cartoon and never played them again after. And if it strikes you as being out of character, well, you’re right as far as I’m concerned. It’s a contrived plot device, just as George’s instantly evaporating dislike for Jet Screamer.
    Getting back to the artwork, there’s a rare use of shadows in this cartoon.

    Even when Jet swirls inside the scene, a silhouette of him forms. Clearly, the attitude in this cartoon was “This is prime time. Let’s make the art special.”

    Some inventions of the future don’t look terribly futuristic to us today. Computers are still huge things with punch cards. And people still mail letters.

    As for inventions of the future: the old stand-by, the Visiphone.

    A satellite tracker, kind of a GPS in reverse.

    A big screen TV.

    A home paper shredder.

    A conveyer contraption that automatically showers and dresses kids.

    A robot sweeper (Rosey must be off for the day). Wasn’t there one of these things in Doggone Modern, the Chuck Jones cartoon for Warners?

    A two-way radio to talk to people. Evidently, cell phones don’t reach Outer Plutonia. This is the same sort of thing Augie Doggie had to contact his buddy on Mars in Mars Little Precious.

    Another example of the Instant Watch Syndrome, when a watch is only worn for a portion of the cartoon necessary for the plot. This one uses the famous Señor Wences “S’all right” routine, best known from the ending of the Quick Draw McGraw Show.

    And my favourite invention of the future that belongs in the ‘60s: George’s automatic chair pulls him behind a screen and he emerges with a cigarette and a drink. Younger people today don’t understand how perfectly normal smoking was back then (the U.S. Surgeon General’s report that caused a big fuss in the media didn’t come out until 1964). And then there’s the attitude today that if a kid sees something like this, they’ll take up smoking and drinking.

    The cartoon contains a reference to “My Fair Lady” (George reciting “The rain on the plain”), the Indy Race (in the future, it’s the “Indianapolis 500,000”), and the shrinking work-week (down to three hours a day in the Jetsons’ time). And there’s the ubiquitous traffic cop, proving there’ll be some kind of police state in the future. Almost every Jetsons show seems to have police showing up.

    Ken Muse animates a good portion of the first third of the cartoon. He didn’t quite have the hang of the characters; Jane’s head looks really odd in some of his scenes. He also animates George’s head outside the bubble of his car. How can that happen?

    One other animator I can pick out is the great Carlo Vinci. This drawing of Judy, face-forward, with legs stretched, is pure Vinci. Nobody else at Hanna-Barbera drew like that.

    As for the Eep-Ork sequence, we’ll save that for another post.

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    Hanna-Barbera’s first full-length movie was a family film. “Family” meaning “parents with kids.” I can’t picture adults going to see Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear when it first appeared on the screen in 1964, unless they were movie reviewers. And in one case, a reviewer took his kid along to rate it.

    This is from the Christian Science Monitor, August 22, 1964. The movie is kind of brushed off as pleasant for kids but kind of drab. I’ve never thought of any aspect of Yogi as “salty.” And UPA wasn’t brimming with originality by 1964. By then, the new owners had parked their bread-winner, Mr. Magoo, and involved him in reconstituted versions of history.

    ‘Hey there, it’s Yogi Bear’
    By Louis Chapin
    Let no parent dread taking his children to see “Hey There, it’s Yogi Bear,” an amiable feature-length cartoon produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Some parts of the story may be stretched a bit thinner than others. The art work isn’t up to the UPA level of originality. But Yogi is a bear from “Jellystone Park” whose salty, affable opportunism shapes up not only into laughs but into a degree of character.
    This parent, however, to avoid any tinge of condescension, took along his five-year-old daughter as a co-reviewer. Later he questioned her as follows:
    Q. What’s Yogi like, anyway?
    A. He’s like a bear, except he’s a little sweeter. He doesn’t do growly.
    Q. What does he do in Jellystone Park?
    A. He steals food. (Hm—they’ll be surprised at that!) He wants some for himself.
    Q. Who else is there in the story?
    A. Boo-Boo is a little bear. Cindy is a little bigger than Boo-Boo and she has a particular feeling about Yogi.
    Q. Anybody else?
    A. Ranger Smith works in Jellystone Park. He doesn’t like Yogi, because he eats up picnic food. He tries to get him in the zoo.
    Q. What do you think Yogi does best?
    A. He likes parades.
    Q. How did you find that out?
    A. Because he made a parade himself, when there was another parade going on.
    Q. What else does he like?
    A. Other bears.
    Suffice it to add that Yogi, Boo-Boo, and Cindy, after adventures that take them as far afield as a New York skyscraper, return safely to Jellystone Park and to a new entente with Ranger Smith.
    Principle voices are supplied by Daws Butler, Don Messick and Julie Bennett; animation is directed by Charles A. Nichols. Ray Gilbert and Doug Goodwin’s songs, plus the title tune by David Gates, fall into place without strain, and James Darren sings one of them.
    One particularly taking character is a circus dog called Mugger, whose every growl sags into a world-weary wheeze. Mugger’s point of view is one which parents may find themselves appreciating even more readily than their co-reviewers.

    The movie didn’t do a lot for me when I saw it on TV many years ago. I noticed the animation was fuller, but couldn’t get into the romance story line. I preferred, and prefer, to see Yogi try to outsmart the Ranger. Or even a wily trout, though you’d have a tough time stretching that into a feature film. Still, Hey There is an awful lot better than Yogi as a teenaged mall rat (“Yo!”) or spending Christmas with the ever-insufferable Casper the Friendly Ghost. And more than an awful lot better than a creepy, vampire-toothed CGI bruin sounding like Rodney Dangerfield.

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  • 12/17/16--06:56: Snagglepuss in Tail Wag Snag
  • Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Allen Wilzbach, Dick Lundy (uncredited); Layout – Noel Tucker; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Written by Mike Maltese; Story Director – Lew Marshall; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snagglepuss, Snuffles, 2nd Adventurer – Daws Butler; Major Minor, 1st Adventurer – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Production R-72.
    Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
    Plot: The Major uses Snuffles to try to capture Snagglepuss.

    It seems as if Snuffles the biscuit loving dog was in a whole bunch of cartoons because he made such an impression on viewers, but he only appeared in eight. Seven were with Quick Draw McGraw, the eighth was this cartoon with Snagglepuss.

    The two characters work well together. Snuffles goes through an emotional battle in this one, with Major Minor bribing the dog with an increasing number of dog biscuits to capture Snagglepuss, while the mountain lion tries to stop it by appealing to his friendship. There’s an amusing sequence where Snagglepuss tries to distract Snuffles by jointly singing “While Strolling Through the Park One Day”, but after every line of the chorus the dog turns threatening.

    In the cartoon’s climax, the Major hands Snuffles the whole box of dog biscuits (with Hanna-Barbera kissing up to sponsor Kellogg’s by featuring its brand of dog biscuits in the carton). Snuffles goes into such ecstasy that he leaps through the roof of Snagglepuss’ cave. Then just as the rifle-bearing Major is getting a bead on the mountain lion, Snuffles crashes on top of him. Snagglepuss lives to see another cartoon.

    Allen Wilzbach is the animator of this cartoon but it appears the Snuffles ecstasy animation toward the beginning was reused from an earlier Quick Draw McGraw cartoon animated by Dick Lundy. Wilzbach’s Snuffles has been apparently really been chowing down on the dog biscuits.

    Wilzbach really saves on Bill Hanna’s budget. Besides reusing drawings, there’s almost five seconds of the Major standing stiff with his eyes blinking three times. Some other randomly selected drawings.

    Art Lozzi is the background artist. Here is his establishing shot.

    Lozzi loved blue. You can find dark blue trees, mountains and rocks in a bunch of his cartoons around this time. Here is Snagglepuss’ cave.

    And Lozzi uses a sponge to create a textured background card. You can see the yellow spongework in Snagglepuss’ cave above.

    What would a Snagglepuss cartoon be without Maltese’s punny dialogue between our hero and his nemesis?

    Snag: It’s the Major! Come all the way from Tallahassee. Where he shat me in the high grassy. Or did he gun me in the Gloamin’ in ol’ Wyomin’?
    Major: Neither. I shot you in the county seat of old Mesquite.
    Snag: But none the nevertheless, I got away, diddled I?

    We don’t get a “Heavens to Murgatroyd” in this cartoon. We do get a “Heavens to first aid!” and “Heavens to astronaut!” Other catchphrases include:

    ● Exit, smartin’ all the way, stage left.
    ● Like Mother Hubbard, my cupboard is bare. Empty, even.
    ● For shame! Five shame, even!
    ● It’s me, your old pal, your buddy. Bosom, even.
    ● I don’t think I could stand it. Or sit it, even.
    ● Consider the quenceconses.

    The cartoon ends with Snagglepuss running past the same tree, telling us “Every dog has its day. And so has a lion. So has a lion. Kiwanis, even.” Here’s an endless run cycle to finish our post.

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  • 12/20/16--08:38: Mr. H. and Mr. B.
  • When the Hanna-Barbera studio first opened in 1957, Joe Barbera oversaw all the voice sessions. He was still doing it when the Jetsons were in production in 1962 but, by then, had hired Alan Dinehart to handle some of the workload.

    But maybe the best-known and respected of the studio’s voice directors was Gordon Hunt, who was first given screen credit in the 1974-75 season on the Waltons animated knock-off These Are the Days. Mr. Hunt’s time at Hanna-Barbera is after the period of the studio’s life this blog deals with, but we feel it’s appropriate to mention his death this past weekend.

    Hunt and Joe Barbera had a connection that pre-dated the cartoon studio. Joe fancied himself a playwright and penned a comedy called “The Maid and the Martian.” Barbera had aspirations of taking it to Broadway and, indeed, rights were optioned to do that. However, it made its bow at the Gallery Stage in Los Angeles on October 15, 1952. It was hastily mounted after the scheduled revue was cancelled four days earlier—at the suggestion of preview audiences! The director of Barbera’s play was one Gordon Hunt.

    “The Maid and the Martian” somehow morphed—without Barbera’s name attached—into a screenplay by Hunt and Al Burton that was snapped up by American-International Pictures in 1961 and turned into the beach film Pajama Party (1964).

    Hunt had a number of writing jobs around this time, some with actor Darryl Hickman, and Variety listed his occupation as a writer in its blurb about his marriage to Jane Morrison in Las Vegas on January 29, 1961. The marriage resulted in a daughter named Helen Hunt.

    He also did some voice acting as well; I’m sure you can find a list of his credits on-line.

    Maybe the funniest story about Gordon Hunt I’ve read is in Shirley Jones’ autobiography. She was married for a number of years to Marty Ingels, a comedy actor who decided to get into the star management business. One day, Marty was yammering on the phone about the wonders of a client when he was accidentally disconnected. He tried calling back but got a wrong number. He got Hunt. Out of nowhere, “We’ve got the rights to Pac-Man!” was the first thing Hunt said to him and before long, offered the job voicing the character to Ingels.

    Hunt wrote a book about auditioning; one of the contributors was Joe Barbera.

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    Two Christmas-time comics highlight the Flintstones’ Sunday strips that appeared in newspapers 50 years ago this month. Thank Richard Holliss for the coloured versions.

    No Dino? Well, everyone else shows up on December 4th.

    Nothing like striped Stone Age pants. I like the cupid hanging from the ceiling in the last panel in the second row. The punch line of the December 11th isn’t exactly for kids, is it?

    Floorboard it, Fred! How many times did Wilma ever say that? If you’re like me, you can hear the TV voice artists doing the characters, even the incidental ones. I hear Janet Waldo in her blustery battle-axe voice in the last panel, second row. This is from December 18th.

    This comic was published December 25th. Santa’s here! Some lovely bluish nighttime colouring. Note the Load Limit sign on Fred’s roof.

    Click on any of these comics to make them larger.

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  • 12/25/16--06:18: Dino and Christmas
  • Almost all the animated Christmas TV shows in the mid-1960s were specials. There was one exception—“A Christmas Flintstone,” just another episode in the 1964-65 TV season.

    Well, it was a little more than “just” another episode. A couple of original songs were ordered for it and some of the backgrounds are more elaborate than what you’ll find in a usual Flintstones show, at least in my opinion. Whether the Hanna-Barbera studio budgeted more for this show, I don’t know, but Bill Hanna found a way to save a bit of money.

    During the song “Dino the Dinosaur’s Christmas Tree,” there’s no animation at all. There are just dissolves from one piece of artwork to another. It’s actually a nice visual change from what’s been happening in the cartoon until that time.

    Below are the drawings. The lyrics are, as best I can transcribe Alan Reed,

    Dino the dinosaur heard some children say
    We don’t have a Christmas tree
    To trim for Christmas Day

    So Dino the dinosaur said “I mustn’t fail!”
    And he found a tree, and sawed it down
    With his funny tail.

    And the children were surprised and said
    “Who trimmed this lovely tree?”
    And who do you think just gave a wink
    And smiled secretly? He!

    Dino the dinosaur stood proud when Santa called
    “That’s the finest tree I ever did see,
    Merry Christmas one and all!”

    Merry Christmas one and all!”

    Now, as a bit of a Christmas present, here are a few short cues from the Flintstones, not available in any stores. They sound like cassette dubs so there a lot of top end and some hiss on them. Click on the title to download. Thanks to all who have read, and contributed to, this blog over the past year.

    CUE 1

    CUE 2

    CUE 3

    CUE 4

    CUE 5

    CUE 6

    CUE 7

    CUE 8

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  • 12/28/16--07:40: Ruff and Reddy Go to a Party
  • Ruff and Reddy made their TV debut 59 years ago this month but even though their show was named after them, they weren’t altogether the stars. There was a live-action host, Jimmy Blaine, introducing the various elements of the programme, which also included old theatrical cartoons made by the Screen Gems studio in the 1940s.

    The show aired on Saturday mornings and was strictly kids fare. Writer Charlie Shows came up with child-appealing rhyming titles, character names and, occasionally, dialogue. Still, it launched Hanna-Barbera Enterprises on its way, and the company took a huge leap the following year with its Kellogg’s-sponsored Huckleberry Hound Show, which appealed as much to adults and college students (and critics) as well as kids.

    Huck and his co-stars were quickly merchandised. To a small extent, Ruff and Reddy were, too. One of the first bits of merchandise, maybe the first, was the book Ruff and Reddy Go to a Party, published in 1958 by Whitman. It seems to have been aimed at the Grade One crowd. The TV show was an action/adventure series. There’s no action or adventure in the book. There’s a little girl and a little elephant (who appeared on the first R&R TV storyline).

    Harvey Eisenberg is responsible for some of the artwork here. Harvey was Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera’s layout man for several years at MGM and later drew some of the Yogi Bear and Flintstones comics that appeared in weekend newspapers. Donald Parmele tells me Neil Boyle was probably the artist that did the painting on Harvey Eisenberg's drawings, and says that’s usually the way the credits worked at Whitman/Western publishing.

    You can click on the pages to make them bigger.

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  • 12/30/16--13:39: Shrimpasaurus on the Barbie
  • The Flintstones were seen around the world (as Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera liked to point out in interviews) but the series seems to have made a distinct impression on one person in Australia.

    Frankie Davidson, among many talents, recorded novelty songs in the 1960s, such as I Hope Your Chooks Turn Into Emus, which—and I’ll stand corrected—doesn’t appear to have charted in North America. One of his other novelty songs was a tribute to The Flintstones called “Yabba Dabba Doo.”

    Here he is performing it back in the days of skinny ties and thin lapels on the TV series Australian Bandstand. The character cutouts in this performance are adapted from some of the original publicity drawings dating to the pre-Flintstones Flagstones period, designed by Ed Benedict.

    My great thanks to Mike Kazaleh for letting everyone know about this video snippet.

    You can read more about Davidson’s long career at this web page.

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    Huckleberry Hound trivia? Here’s a piece from Frank Rizzo, who interviewed various rock stars in 1985 about their first musical memory. The answer he got from Michael Stipe of REM:

    “It was ‘Moon River.’ It used to make me cry when I was a kid. I liked it a lot because there was a line in it about ‘Huckleberry friend.’ But I thought it was about Huckleberry Hound which would give you an idea of how young I was, about 5.
    With that, here are some drawings of Huck from the early days. Whether they’re Ed Benedict’s or Dick Bickenbach’s, I don’t know. The drawings of Huck in the Stone Age and the dinosaur come from Caveman Huck (about 1961), with layouts by Tony Rivera.

    And one other piece of Huck trivia. Bob Hope sneered at Huck’s TV audience. From the Wall Street Journal, April 2, 1963:
    CHICAGO—Bob Hope’s theory about the current ruckus over the accuracy of TV audience rating systems is that it all started “when Huckleberry Hound topped the President’s State of the Union message.”
    In Chicago to receive an award from the National Association of Broadcasters, Mr. Hope spotted Newton Minow, Federal Communications Commission chairman, in the audience, and commended him for his “needling, suggestions and constructive prodding.” These efforts, he said, have “led the industry up the path to the Beverly Hillbillies,” a popular situation comedy.
    “That’s all we needed,” Mr. Hope added, “an outhouse in the vast wasteland.”
    This is the same Bob Hope that brought you those highbrow TV specials featuring Charo, college football cheerleaders and obvious glances at cue cards.

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    Holy Ursine Secret Identity! Could the smarter-than-the-average Yogi Bear be a clever disguise for a super hero? Well, not quite. But Yogi does reveal his persona as Bat Bear in the weekend newspaper comics 50 years ago this month. Batman had already been on ABC for a year at that point. We also get food gags and a native Indian stereotype punchline.

    “Thump-a Boob A-Bump Chuck”? What kind of rock song had lines like that? And “Go Go-A-Diddle Doodle?” Did Ned Flanders write those lyrics? Rock music was treated like mere noise in a lot of pop culture in the pre-hippie ‘60s, likely by writers who were the bee’s knees over ‘20s jazz that was denounced by their parents as leading society in a gin-filled bathtub straight to Satan. Anyway, the January 1, 1967 comic featured Ranger Smith’s niece with a ten-inch waist groovin’ on the jump whap-a bla-bla and not paying attention to anything around her. Mr. Ranger’s named after Bill Hanna in this comic.

    A way to bear’s heart is ... well, it didn’t work again this time, Cindy. Apparently, Yogi drove a car over to Cindy’s place in the January 8th comic.

    You know how it is. Someone hands you their phone and asks you to take a picture with him but you don’t know how it’s supposed to work. Yogi has that problem in the January 15th comic. We presume that’s Mrs. Smith in the opening panel. A lot of solid colour backgrounds in this one.

    “Injun-unity”?? Let’s see some comic try to get away with that punch line today. Well, let’s see a comic today give a weapon, no matter how fake, to a child. (Funny how all this stuff was acceptable 50 years ago but rock music wasn’t). At least the kid is talking in full sentences and not like-um braves do on TV set, ugg. This comic is from January 22nd.

    In 1961, there was a Yogi Bear episode called Batty Bear, where Yogi sent away for a Bat Guy costume that he used to pilfer pic-a-nic baskets. This comic from January 29th is different. Yogi’s being helpful, rescuing a defenceless kitten from a bulldog. Why’s Ranger Smith rolling his eyes? Yogi’s just indulging in a little fun. That ranger’s such a wet blanket. This is Boo Boo’s only appearance of the month.

    Click on any of the comics to make them bigger. Richard Holliss graciously supplied the colour comics from his own collection.

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    Snooper and Blabber aren’t around to investigate this case, so leave us to ask you knowledgeable Yowp visitors about this.

    Reader Kamden Spies asked me which Flintstones episode this cel of Fred and Dino comes from. Does anyone have any idea? My DVD player no longer works (and my laptop died this morning as well) so I can’t review any episodes.

    It’s a nice expression on a bullet-shaped Fred.

    If you can identify the episode, please leave a comment.

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