Articles on this Page
- 01/07/17--07:47: _Yakky Doodle in Hor...
- 01/11/17--07:07: _Growing and Selling...
- 01/14/17--07:27: _A Date With Jet Scr...
- 01/18/17--03:47: _Flintstones England
- 01/18/17--07:08: _Flintstones Weekend...
- 01/21/17--07:18: _Snagglepuss in Rent...
- 01/25/17--07:15: _Well, Don't That Be...
- 01/28/17--07:05: _Composing For the F...
- 02/01/17--07:28: _Yogi Bear Weekend C...
- 02/04/17--07:39: _Yakky Doodle in Wit...
- 02/05/17--07:27: _Yogi Bear, the News...
- 02/08/17--06:41: _Snooper and Blabber...
- 02/11/17--13:34: _Mr Jinks in Have a ...
- 02/14/17--02:48: _Aw. An H-B Valentine
- 02/15/17--06:46: _Flintstones Weekend...
- 02/18/17--07:21: _Snagglepuss – Knigh...
- 02/22/17--07:46: _Popular Huck
- 02/25/17--07:29: _The Jetsons – Elroy...
- 03/01/17--07:15: _Yogi Bear Weekend C...
- 03/04/17--06:52: _Yakky Doodle in Out...
- 01/07/17--07:47: Yakky Doodle in Horse Collared
- 01/11/17--07:07: Growing and Selling a Cartoon Studio
- 01/14/17--07:27: A Date With Jet Screamer, Part 2
- 01/18/17--03:47: Flintstones England
- 01/18/17--07:08: Flintstones Weekend Comics, January 1967
- 01/21/17--07:18: Snagglepuss in Rent and Rave
- 01/25/17--07:15: Well, Don't That Beat All
- 01/28/17--07:05: Composing For the Flintstones
- 02/01/17--07:28: Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, February 1967
- 02/04/17--07:39: Yakky Doodle in Witch Duck-Ter
- 02/05/17--07:27: Yogi Bear, the Newspaper Star
- 02/08/17--06:41: Snooper and Blabber in Gopher Trap
- 02/11/17--13:34: Mr Jinks in Have a Ball
- 02/14/17--02:48: Aw. An H-B Valentine
- 02/15/17--06:46: Flintstones Weekend Comics, February 1967
- 02/18/17--07:21: Snagglepuss – Knights and Daze
- 02/22/17--07:46: Popular Huck
- 02/25/17--07:29: The Jetsons – Elroy’s Pal
- 03/01/17--07:15: Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, March 1967
- 03/04/17--06:52: Yakky Doodle in Out of Luck Duck
Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Lance Nolley, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Gobles, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Farmer, Charlie, Hunter, Circus Barker, TV director, Indians, Announcer – Daws Butler; Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Yakky protects an old horse that a farmer wants to put out to pasture.
Does Yakky Doodle have a split personality?
In some cartoons, he’s helpless, naïve, even ignorant, and would surely be eaten or shot to death if Chopper didn’t come along to help him. But there are other cartoons where he’s the aware one, suddenly developing wits to save others around him.
This is one of those cartoons.
In this case, the poor character in need of assistance is a “kinda beat up looking old horse” as he’s referred to throughout the cartoon; Mike Maltese is big on repeating strings of adjectives. The gag ideas in the cartoon are fine but Maltese could have used some stronger dialogue to punch up things as too many scenes just fade out after a weak punchline. Yakky hides Charlie Horse under water, in a tree (the branch Charlie’s clinging to falls down and he lands on a farmer in animation reused later), dresses him as a moose (who unexpectedly learns it’s moose hunting season), disguises him as a wooden merry-go-round horse (smoke from the farmer’s pipe makes him sneeze) and finally gallops him into the filming of a TV western. Charlie is mistaken shot in the butt with arrows (real) by Indian braves (actors). His painful dance (the arrows mysteriously vanish) impresses the movie’s director and the cartoon ends with Charlie repeating it on the farmer’s television, having been signed to a contract as Yakky Doodle Buckaroodle and his wonder horse Flashie. (Exclaims the director: “Wow!! That is the best horsin’ rider like I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen several).
The cartoon got a lot of use of the one background drawing of rolling block of red and orange with sticks of trees, accompanied by a fence. Charlie rides past a large tree in it seven times in one scene and ten in another. The colour technique is nice. Neenah Maxwell is responsible. She was the daughter of Max Maxwell, the production manager at the MGM cartoon studio, and niece of Howard Hanson, the assistant production manager at MGM and the production supervisor at Hanna-Barbera when it opened.
A couple of other backgrounds. It’s a shame these cartoons were in black-and-white for years; people wouldn’t have seen the purple trees.
Veteran Hicks Lokey got the animation assignment on this one. Here’s how he zips Charlie off screen when moose hunters start firing at him.
Other than Yakky, Daws Butler handles the characters. He digs out his Ed Sullivan voice for the TV announcer. The farmer, as you can see to the right, owns a generic brand television set.
It’s fascinating to see how the Hanna-Barbera studio tried to turn its disadvantages into selling points using public relations via the press.
To hear Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera and PR whiz Arnie Carr tell it, there was no difference between the wonderful violence animation by Irv Spence in a Tom and Jerry cartoon and a shot of a background painting of Mr. Jinks’ living room while Frank Paiker shakes the camera.
I suppose in a way they were right. Both scenes got laughs. But I can think of plenty of occasions watching old H-B cartoons and thinking how much better something would have played in full animation. Especially as the 1960s wore on.
The term “planned animation” the studio insisted on using was more PR. All animation is planned. But “planned” sounds better than “limited.”
Here’s a studio profile published in the Christian Science Monitor’s “Hollywood Letter” column of October 18, 1960. The studio history was now including the “underdog” factor, how it tried and tried and tried and tried to get someone to get someone to look at its TV cartoons when the fact was George Sidney, head of the Directors Guild of America, hooked up Hanna and Barbera with Columbia Pictures. Sidney invested in H-B Enterprises at the very start and was an officer of the company until it was sold to Taft, but his name seems to have vanished from newspaper stories on the studio as time progressed.
200 characters? Well, including fine secondary characters like Yowp (and why shouldn’t you?) and everyone else who ever appeared, I guess the number is as good as any. And “less dialogue”? Hanna-Barbera cartoons practically became nothing but dialogue, dependent on the great voice work of Daws Butler, Don Messick and a number of others. You’ll find a lot more character chatter once Warren Foster and Mike Maltese arrived than when Barbera, Dan Gordon and Charlie Shows were putting together stories for Huck and Yogi in 1958 (admittedly, the studio’s first series, Ruff and Reddy, was pretty wordy). Fortunately, Maltese and Foster were more than adept at funny dialogue and they somehow coped with the insane amount of story work they were required to do. And the article is right. The early Hanna-Barbera characters “captured the imagination” and their cartoons still amuse people today.
You’ll notice the reference to “Hairbreath Hare.” Ol’ Hairy became two characters. First, he morphed into a turtle named Touché. But one of his proposed designs was pulled out of a file a few years later and used for Ricochet Rabbit. Whether the other prime-time show referred to in the article was Top Cat, I don’t know. The studio seemed to have a lot of concepts being batted around, a number of which never reached the screen.
Home-Screen Animation Keeps Artists Doodling
By John C. Waugh
Huckleberry Hound is more than just a television star and a lovable, maddeningly mild-mannered Tennessee hillbilly dog. He’s a minor revolution.
And so is Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw and Auggie Dog and Boo-Boo the bear cub. And so are the Flintstones, those stone-age suburbanites who live in Bedrock.
This cast of TV cartoon characters has triggered a revolution in animated cartooning such as the entertainment world hasn’t seen since Walt Disney.
In only three years’ time Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, the originators of Huckleberry, Quick Draw, Yogi, and all the rest, have breathed new life into animation.
Three years ago no new animated cartoons at all were being made for television. It was considered too painstaking and costly. Major theatrical studios were laying off their cartoon staffs, and Walt Disney, the pioneer of the animated cartoon, was devoting nearly all his talents to real-life dramas, true-life dramas, and Disneyland.
Jobless, but armed with a raft of ideas and a precious cartoon technique developed out of two decades of experience, they headed for television. Producer after producer told them it couldn’t be done, that good animation is too expensive and anything less was too junky.
Mssrs. Hanna and Barbera finally sold Screen Gems on their ideas and overnight Hanna-Barbera Productions was formed, the first company ever to set up specifically to provide new cartoon material strictly for TV.
Now Huckleberry Hound leads a colorful parade of more than 200 cartoon characters weekly across the nation’s television screens. All spring from the deft pens and comic minds of Hanna-Barbera cartoonists. The company now employs over 50 per cent of the top cartoonists on the West Coast. And they produce more cartoons in two weeks than the major studios used to produce in a year.
They have fashioned their revolution in cartoonery with a new technique that is really as old as the art of animation itself. It is called “planned animation.” By caricature, by careful planning with more story, less dialogue, more close-ups, and less extraneous matter (sheaves of falling leaves, for instance), Hanna-Barbera cartoonists are able to eliminate 80 per cent of the drawing and still maintain high quality.
A tumble by Yogi Bear down the stairs, for example, is not shown, but merely mirrored on the face of a wincing Boo-Boo.
“We make 1,700 drawings instead of 17,000 for a sequence,” explains Mr. Barbera, “and we don’t lose a thing, not a thing.”
Hanna-Barbera now produces three half-hour shows a week for television: “Huckleberry Hound” and “Quick Draw McGraw” during the daylight hours, and the family-oriented situation cartoon, “The Flintstones,” for prime nighttime viewing (Fridays from 8:30 to 9 p.m. on NBC-TV).
And others are coming. Yogi Bear, longtime second fiddle to Huck, will soon star in his own half-hour show. And Hanna-Barbera is mapping still another half-hour show for prime-time family viewing.
In 1961, two five-minute syndicated shows will take to the air. One is “Hardy-Har-Har,” all about a sad hyena, and the other is the adventures of “Hairbreath Hare,” a swashbuckling rabbit.
These cartoon characters, oblivious of the revolution they represent, go about weekly charming an estimated 40,000,000 viewers, young and old. Huck, Yogi, and Quick Draw have captured the American imagination in a manner that Disney characters did two decades ago.
Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera evidently wanted to make the Jetsons episode A Date With Jet Screamer a special cartoon. The episode comes to a complete stop for a one-minute, 45-second song. Instead of cycle animation of Screamer singing and cuts to various shots of the audience screaming or snapping fingers, the studio brought in Bobe Cannon to work on a special sequence of images, some abstract, to be shown during much of the song.
Cannon’s animation career began at Warner Bros. where he was eventually put into the new Tex Avery unit in 1936. But his best-known work was at UPA, where he won an Oscar for Gerald McBoing Boing and directed some lesser cartoons featuring children.
Hanna-Barbera had many competent, veteran artists—even some from Disney—so Cannon’s hiring for one cartoon is puzzling. However, he ended up working with layout artist Jerry Eisenberg to create a sequence that’s likely unique in the studio’s life.
Frame grabs don’t give you anywhere near the full effect of the animation. The sequence opens with some symbols representing guitar playing with the lyrics moving across the screen, growing and shrinking.
Jet and Judy fly behind some kind of odd space fence and then meet “a man with a funny, funny face” whose body changes into the song lyrics.
“Come on, fly with me!” sings Jet. He sails from frame bottom to top with blue, star and planet-filled space in the distance.
Howard Morris voices Jet Screamer in his first job for Hanna-Barbera (his first cartoon work may have been in a public service short called Stop Driving Us Crazy!, released around 1960). Morris’ hiring is interesting. Joe Barbera didn’t go with a young, rock-and-roll sounding guy or even Duke Mitchell, who sang for Fred Flintstone during the 1960-61 season of The Flintstones. At the time, Morris was known mainly for over-the-top performances as part of Sid Caesar’s cast (his work on The Andy Griffith Show came the season after The Jetsons left prime time). Whatever reasoning resulted in his hiring, it’s hard to think of anyone else voicing Jet Screamer.
Because the end credits were lopped off all the original Jetsons shows when they were revived for syndication in the mid-1980s, there’s no indication who was responsible for the background art in this cartoon.
These young people are going into a lounge where Jet Screamer is performing live but the shot at the end of the song shows them all on a couch watching a big screen TV. Maybe this is a spill-over room or something.
This is a cloud that George (animated by Carlo Vinci) hides behind.
How’s this for a futuristic piano?
Judy’s expression. Hey, in the future, they still have newspaper photographers with little “press” tickets in their hats while taking pictures with flash cameras. Ret-ro!
A Date With Jet Screamer was the second Jetsons show to air, on September 29, 1962. Variety reported “a major upset” in the ratings, with the show winning the 7:30 p.m. time slot. It had an 18.9 share compared to 16.9 for the first half of Disney on NBC and 15.9 for the season premiere of Dennis the Menace on CBS. All those numbers are comparatively small. Compare them to Bonanza’s 31 audience number later in the evening. As it turned out, cartoon-loving kids aside, viewers already had one modern-family-in-different-era show and didn’t want another. By the end of the season, Uncle Walt’s wonderful world won the ratings war, and George, Jane, Judy and Elroy were dispatched to Saturday morning reruns. Despite some initial promise, and good work by Bobe Cannon, Jet Screamer would scream in prime time no longer.
Gene Hazelton or someone writing stories for Hanna-Barbera newspaper comics must have had rock-and-rolling nieces in mind. A Yogi Bear comic 50 years ago this month features one, and so does a Flintstones. We get golf in a couple, garbage in a couple and Fred drives four out of the five plots. Dino makes one incidental appearance and that’s in the opening panel of the January 1st comic. Barney shows up once and Betty not at all. The colour versions are courtesy of Richard Holliss.
January 1, 1967.
January 8, 1967. I like how wild dinosaurs stand around in the first panel, second row.
January 15, 1967. Nothing like a triceratops snow plow.
January 22, 1967.
January 29, 1967. Patty?! Shouldn’t her name be Rock-elle or Stone-ella or something like that?
Credits: Animation – Jack Ozark, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Neenah Maxwell, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Art Davis, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snagglepuss – Daws Butler; Lila – Jean Vander Pyl; Announcer – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Snagglepuss rents his home for some extra money, but his tenant is the constantly-demanding Lila.
Snagglepuss met up with the domineering mountain lioness Lila in three cartoons. They’re all pretty good. Unlike the other two, Lila isn’t attempting to land Snagglepuss as a husband in this one, nor is she as calculating. She’s just plain old bossy and self-absorbed. As in her debut cartoon, Spring Hits a Snag, she launches into a crying routine after Snagglepuss has had enough of her constant harping and tells her to shut up. Snagglepuss backs down. But only temporarily. He finally unleashes a torrent of tap water in her face (in reused animation), cuts away the annex to his home and happily floats down river on it. He’s seen the end of her at the end of the cartoon (well, until the next cartoon).
This cartoon was animated by Jack Ozark, who has a really odd way of drawing Snagglepuss at times. Ozark’s animation career began in 1932 at the Fleischer studio in New York. He arrived at Hanna-Barbera in 1961; he had spent the previous year animating Q.T. Hush cartoons for Animation Associates and then on the Dick Tracy TV animated series. He worked for several years at Hanna-Barbera before moving on to Filmation around 1966.
Here, Snagglepuss’ snout is thinner and longer than usual.
Snagglepuss has an inwardly curved forehead.
In some scenes, Snag has slanted oval eyes.
A head-shake scene leaves Snagglepuss with an oversized head.
And there are scenes where his eyes are a little farther apart than others. Carlo Vinci spaced eyes apart like this, too.
He also had Snagglepuss bending from the waist during dialogue in a number of places in the cartoon. Perhaps that was indicated on Tony Rivera’s layouts.
Shots from scene to scene didn’t always match in Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Here’s an example, though it’s not as bad as I’ve seen in some cartoons. These are consecutive frames. Snagglepuss should have the same mouth position.
There are places in the cartoons where Ozark is animating on ones, but the animation’s not altogether fluid. He also gives Snagglepuss a few hand gestures (in one scene, Snag wiggles his fingers in a little cycle).
There’s always some fun dialogue in a Snagglepuss cartoon. In this one, our hero has a conversation with his radio after lamenting he doesn’t have enough money for a South Seas vacation.
Radio: Friend, are you feeling a little pinched? Would a little money ease the pain? That extra cash for those little extra things you’ve always wanted, hmmm?Snagglepuss fits in his usual catchphrases and variations thereon (“Heavens to Hilton! It’s a tenant!” ... “Heavens to rental unit! I’ve been duplexed! Evacuated, even!” ... “I take leave of the landlord biz. Exit, to the rental unit, stage left.”), as well as puns (“She’s undoubted-tedly a school teacher. Or some such intellectual careerist. I can tell by the cut of her giblets.”)
Snagglepuss: Yes! Yes!
Radio: For a vacation. A new car. 500 pounds of putty.
Snagglepuss: How’s about a South Sea cruise?
Radio: Yes, even a South Seas cruise.
Snagglepuss: How do I get the money? How do I get the ditto?
Radio: By simply letting us build another room on your home. Then all you have to do is sit back and collect the rent.
Snagglepuss: I get it. Then I stand up and use the money for a South Seas cruise.
Radio (angrily): Not until you pay us $10,000 for building you the room.
Snagglepuss: Nothin’ doin’! (turns off radio) I’ll build my own room and thereby eliminate the middle man, little man.
Hoyt Curtin’s music should be familiar to those weened on H-B cartoons in 1961. The sound cutter finds a place for the Lippy the Lion/Touche Turtle running music when Snagglepuss is forced to lift and cart a piano around while Lila can’t make up her mind where to put it (“Heavens to slipped discs!”). A lot of the music is recognisable from the Flintstones; the Fred-working-in-the-quarry cue pops up when Snagglepuss is fixing the faucet.
Finally, another cycle. Eye pupil drawings 1, 2, 3, 2 create a take.
Huckleberry Hound won some and lost some. But he sure got bashed around a spell in them early days, as he might tell us.
In his first appearance on the air in Huckleberry Hound Meets Wee Willie, Officer Huck kind of captures an escaped gorilla, but it’s more like the gorilla captures him after a continual clobbering. In his what was apparently his second outing, Lion-Hearted Huck, African Hunter Huck gets abused by a practical joker lion until the end of the cartoon. The lion steals the engine out of Huck’s jeep and guffaws to himself about it. But when Huck starts the jeep, the disembodied engine unexpectedly starts and takes off through the air with the surprised and now-frightened lion riding it. Huck is calm about the whole thing, as he has been during pretty much the whole cartoon. “Well, don’t that beat all,” he says to himself, then turns to the TV audience and observes “That there lion’ll do anythin’ for a laugh.” (The music in the background is Jack Shaindlin’s “On the Run,” heard in many of the early Huck cartoons).
Hanna-Barbera had cycle animation galore. Let’s recreate Ken Muse’s animation of the lion riding the motor in an endless loop. There are 16 frames (a foot) of drawings before the lion reaches the same tree, though Muse uses only three drawings in the cycle, so it’s not quite as it appears in the actual cartoon. It’s also a little slower.
With the notable exception of Channel 2’s new-as-autumn Huckleberry Hound, any rundown of what’s new in children’s TV should really read “what’s old” . . . I’m pasting my own personal seal of approval right now on Huckleberry Hound, latest addition to the animated animal crowd. Frankly, I’m absolutely smitten. Freshness in music, voices, dialogue and characters—take a look Tuesday night at 6:30!This cartoon apparently debuted starting the week of Monday, October 6th and was repeated the week of Monday, April 6, 1959. It was quite some time ago that we reviewed this cartoon. You can read it in this post.
Hoyt Curtin, mused the late Earl Kress, “made the biggest impact on cartoon music since Carl Stalling...he is responsible for changing from a classical music sound to a big band flavor.” And Earl should know as he, with great delight, had access to the master music library at Hanna-Barbera when he helped compile CDs of the studio’s themes and incidental music for release by Rhino a number of years ago.
Not a lot seems to have been written in depth about Curtin—I’d love to find an interview he did in the September 1992 edition of Film Score Monthly—but what we’ve found, we’ve posted here. And another story has surfaced during a search; it’s from the Boston Globe, May 28, 1961. There’s no byline so it may have been a handout from H-B public relations man Arnie Carr.
I’ve never really thought about what Curtin mentions in the article. For one thing, the Flintstones’ music ended up on other Hanna-Barbera cartoons, so it’s not character-specific. I have noticed he wrote “B” underscore themes—on The Flintstones, it was the melody that later became the theme song; on The Jetsons, it’s a tune that was later adapted as the theme for Josie and the Pussycats. There are variations on each of the melodies—bridges, tags and so on—the same kind of thing you’ll find in the Capitol Hi-Q and other stock music libraries.
Perhaps Curtin was following the example of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera’s previous composer. As animator and historian Mark Kausler points out, Tom and Jerry each had their own little theme composed by Scott Bradley going back to their first cartoon, Puss Gets the Boot (1940). Sergei Prokofiev did the same thing with his symphony Peter and the Wolf.
It should be mentioned Curtin didn’t actually win the Emmy for Huck; the series won it.
Music Lovers, Be Seated
Do you detect the Wagnerian motif in the cartoon series, “The Flintstones”?
Musicman Hoyt Curtin, 38, put it in. As musical director for the cartoon favorite, Curtin believes this is the first time in any TV series that the Wagnerian approach has been applied so extensively to a score.
“For the devout, this is known as theming the characters. In other words, each main character has his own theme. This is them orchestrated and handled to fit the situation as it occurs. Each theme is woven into the musical pattern as a character identifying tag,” says Curtin.
The characters in the ABC cartoon strip include Wilma and Fred Flintstone and Betty and Barney Rubble. Each week they cavort through a series of hilarious adventures in Stone Age suburbia. Bea Benadaret [sic] and Mel Blanc, top entertainers in their own right, provide the voices for Betty and Barney. Jean Vander Pyl and Alan Reed are the voices behind Wilma and Fred.
“The old ‘Dum-de-dum-dum’ theme of Dragnet and the Wyatt Earp music used some of the same technique,” Curtin commented. “But there is a tendency these days to score TV shows even closer to the main characters. This may be common practice in the near future,” he added.
Curtin works 60 hours a week at this sort of thing—applying music to characters. He has won an Emmy for “Huckleberry Hound” and an Oscar for “Magoo Flew.” Twenty-two bandmen are used for the music work on “The Flintstones.” Some have come from the hot jazz cliques, such as Buddy Cole, Nick Fatool and Pete Candoli. “We seek brightness in sound,” says Curtin, who received a Master’s Degree in composition at the University of Southern California in 1947.
For the men in the show—Fred and Barney—the dominant instrument is a bass clarinet.
For the women—Wilma and Betty—it’s woodwinds.
Picking the music and instrument to fit the character and situation of a Flintstone episode can be trying at time.
“After all, you have to figure out what kind of music does a cave man play? We decided it couldn’t be progressive jazz and not the sound of the 20’s, or Glenn Miller. Anything dates is out,” concluded Curtin.
Cartoons have certain rules. Rule 514 states that skunks must always smell. You can find it in animated cartoons going back to the silent days and I’ll bet it surfaced in some ancient Katzenjammer Kids comic strip. As you know, Chuck Jones and Mike Maltese were able to base an entire series of cartoons around le premise de skunque pueue. And we find it in the Yogi Bear newspaper comics 50 years ago this month.
But first, we start with that staple of sitcoms—the bratty kids. The comic of February 5, 1967 doesn’t have them directing their anti-social behaviour at Yogi, say in the manner of Mickey and Icky abusing Huckleberry Hound in Hookey Daze. They’re rambunctious. And Yogi deals with them in a manner that likely wouldn’t meet with approval in this day and age. Perhaps the writer felt Ranger Smith could only have well-behaved youngsters as we get a different ranger in this one. The flowered curtains are very much in the Monty background style.
Ranger Smith is back on February 12th. And, yeah, he’s being unfair to Yogi. I like how the receptionist doesn’t really know how to address Yogi when he barges in. And I still don’t understand the militarisation of the park with a one-star “general.”
Don’t get in a funk. It’s only a skunk. N-hey! Hey! Hee! The February 19th comic includes silhouette panels (of Boo Boo going into and coming out of Yogi’s cave, with something in the foreground), bluebirds and the aforementioned skunk.
Bill Hanna was a life-long supporter of the Boy Scouts, which found their way into a number of Yogi comics and even a Flintstones TV show. So the February 26th comic gives equal time to the Camp Fire Girls. Those of you growing up in the ‘60s will recall the public service messages on TV with the tune “Sing around the campfire. Join the Camp Fire Girls.” They’re still around but they’re not just for girls in today’s litigious society. A panel is missing here, but you get an interesting perspective in the final panel and a silhouette panel, too. You know, a spot-gag animated cartoon of Yogi battling ants for a pic-a-nic basket might have been pretty funny. Too bad the Yogi spot-gaggers ended when Charlie Shows left Hanna-Barbera in 1959.
Richard Holliss supplied the colour versions again this month.
Credits: Animation - Don Towsley, Layout - Noel Tucker, Backgrounds - Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director - John Freeman, Titles - Art Goble, Production Supervision - Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle, green duck - Jimmy Weldon; Chopper - Vance Colvig, Witch - Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: A witch tries to eat Yakky for her birthday dinner.
Vaudeville comedians got a lot of mileage out of jokes. They'd take a gag and "switch" it by changing the characters or location or whatever.
In animated cartoons, writers switched old gags or plots to make them seem a little different. Hanna-Barbera cartoons got to be awfully familiar after a while. Mike Maltese even switched from himself in this one.
Of course, some of these ideas pre-date the Warners cartoons mentioned above. It seems to me there was at least one cartoon (at another studio) with a recipe calling for "fresh crow meat."
Don Towsley is the animator in this cartoon. He has the witch staring directly at the viewer when she talks to the audience.
There's one scene where the witch supposedly bashes Chopper with her broom. He screams in pain, but the broom never touches him. It goes behind him to the floor.
Here are some brushwork examples during exits.
There are lots of background repeats in this cartoon. The witch chases Chopper past the same windows in the house seven times in one scene, then flies with Yakky past the aforementioned windows 12 times in another scene. The backgrounds are by Dick Thomas. Check out his establishing shot at the start.
And the ratty home.
Jean Vander Pyl uses her standard witch voice in this. Hoyt Curtin's music should be familiar; there's a xylophone chase theme heard from 5:22 to 6:10 that you'll recognise from The Flintstones.
Hanna-Barbera found a unique way to promote the Yogi Bear Show—with a comic strip.
Today marks the 56th anniversary of Yogi appearing in the weekend papers, six days after his TV show began airing across North America. The New York Herald Tribune reported on January 9, 1961:
Yogi Bear, the popular TV cartoon character, goes into the Sunday newspapers on Feb. 5. The McNaught Syndicate has lined up eighty newspapers, including the New York Herald Tribune, for the start of the Yogi Bear comic strip. The strip, in color, will be laid out for a half or third page. For the past two-and-a-half years, Yogi has been a featured played in the Emmy-winning “Huckleberry Hound” animated series. At the end of this month, Yogi will begin heading up his own show. It will be sponsored by Kellogg’s through Leo Burnett.
What did that first comic look like? You can see it below. The plot is borrowed from the TV episode “Do or Diet” (1960).
The signatures of Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera and Gene Hazelton, who was in charge of the studios newspaper comic output, were signed years after this was published.
When did the comic finish its run? I really don’t know, though I have some editions from 1971. If someone has the answer, leave a note.
Snooper and Blabber tangled (and lost miserably) with a gopher in Gopher Goofers. But it wasn;t the only time.
Here are the story panels from one of the mini-cartoons that preceded (and introduced) a Snooper and Blabber cartoon on the Quick Draw McGraw Show. It seems like very few drawings for 20 seconds of screen time.
There's no identification of the storyboard artist. The drawings come an animation auction house. You can check out what they have HERE.
Mr. Jinks may have said “I hate meeces to pieces” in the little cartoons between the cartoons on the Huckleberry Hound Show than he did in the main cartoons. That’s how this bumper ends.
In the opening scene, Jinks actually wiggles the bowling ball in his hand when he talks to Huck, which is a nice little touch. In the next scene, Dixie telegraphs to the audience what’s going to happen, telling the mute Pixie (no sense in paying Don Messick to voice something when you don’t have to) that sometime before the action appeared on screen, he put glue in Jinks’ bowling ball.
As you might expect, the crash isn’t seen. The camera simply shakes over a background drawing and there’s a cut.
The animation of the bowling ball toss is on twos. I like how Jinks simply turns into a fox head and brush strokes.
The drawing of Jinks in the last frame reminds me of John Boersma’s work but I don’t know who animated this.
Valentine’s Day isn’t an occasion I mark, but many people do. And greeting card companies are there to take advantage of it.
Here are a couple for those of you who get all romantic and lovey (as opposed to Lovy). Why Bamm-Bamm is serenading Dino is best left unanswered.
More Valentines in this old post. I don’t know how old they are.
For reasons I still don’t understand, Fred Flintstone’s boss in the newspaper comics was not Mr. Slate. 50 years ago this month, he was employed at a quarry by a Mr. Rockly, who seems to have been a little snooty but nonetheless had a better relationship with Fred than Slate ever did.
The comic of February 26th (25th in Canadian newspapers) may remind you of Tex Avery’s Symphony in Slang. Pebbles takes what she hears from her daddy literally, and conjures up all kinds of things. No, it doesn’t end with “Sabretooth cat got your tongue?” but there is a black sabretooth cat crossing Fred’s path in the February 5th comic.
February 5, 1967.
February 12, 1967.
February 19, 1967.
February 26, 1967.
Thanks to Richard Holliss for sending the colour versions from his archive.
Credits: Animation - La Verne Harding; Layout - Tony Rivera, Backgrounds - Bob Gentle; Written by Mike Maltese, Story Direction - Paul Sommer, Titles - Art Goble, Production Supervision - Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snagglepuss, Stormy Knight, Tour Guide, Knights - Daws Butler; Tourist, King Arthur, Sir Round - Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Snagglepuss is told he can become a Knight of the Round Table if he can bring back the sword belonging to the Stormy Knight.
“Then I shall Mildred forth. Or is it Sally forth? Or July 4th, even?”
The first is the weakest. Stormy uses a magnet to pick up Snagglepuss by the armour and then drop him to the ground. Next, he pretends to be a “travelling roundelay” in the best gag of the cartoon. I particularly like the marotte with the Snagglepuss head on it. A joust (“Joust a minute,” Maltese has the nerve to put into Snagglepuss’ mouth) follows, then a sword fight, where Snagglepuss reveals to King Arthur in the final scene that he’s in possession of the Knight’s sword (“What do you think this is?” he asks the king, pointing to the sword puncturing his butt, “A shiskabob?”).
The Stormy Knight uses weather metaphors in his exclamations, including “Buckets around in thunder! What churl doth knock at me castle door?” “By lightning and partly cloudy! This dolt must be dispensed with forthwith” and “By fog and smog!”
Snagglepuss lets out with three “Heavens to Murgatroyd!”s as well as variations on his usual catch-phrases, including, but not limited to a fare-thee-well with:
“Exit, rattlin’ all the way, stage right!”
“Exit, odd-bodkins-ing all the way, stage left!”
“Hold it. Hold it! Stop, even.”
“Heavens to Guinevere!”
“But where, prithee, doth the Stormy Knight dwelleth? Liveth, even?”
Maltese’s story is pretty well constructed. It starts in the present with a guide offering a tour of King Arthur’s castle (Daws Butler, playing the tour guide, doesn’t break down “castle” into two syllables, but we do get his “once-st” for “once”). A tourists asks about the pillows next to Arthur’s chair and then the rest of the cartoon is in flashback, ending with the sword-in-butt gag (Maltese then leaves the viewer to assume the connection between that and the pillows). As soon as I saw the drawing of the tourist with the jaw line dropping down from the nose, I thought “Tony Rivera.” Sure enough, Rivera is in the credits as the layout artist who designed the incidental characters.
Bob Gentle handled the backgrounds. Here are a few drawings.
Hoyt Curtin’s version of “London Bridge” is heard in the opening scenes of the castle. You’ll hear some Flintstones underscore music (some with a bassoon or contrabassoon) on the soundtrack as well.
In 1959-60, there were all kinds of newspaper stories talking about the popularity of The Huckleberry Hound Show, and all the crazy things it spawned, like the name of an island in the Antarctic and a club in England.
Here’s a short piece from the New York Herald Tribune of August 21, 1960. Huck was close to starting his third season by that point. There’s no byline, but there is a plug for The Flintstones and the Huck presidential campaign, which was a huge, coordinated publicity push that we’ve talked about in several posts, including this one.
There are some puzzling things in this story. Huck nearsighted? And “Hideous Huck?” I think that and the reference to TV bowling marathons come from the little cartoons between the cartoons, though Huck did star in “Ten Pin Alley” (1959).
Huckleberry Hound – top dog with the small fry
Recently, “Huck” won an Emmy as the best children’s show on TV, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. This inimitable pup has as nearly as many adult fans as he does small fry, a fact which is readily understandable when one analyzes the show and looks into its delightful satiric undertones.
Just what—or who—is Huckleberry Hound? A tenacious hound with an ingratiated manner and a Southern drawl. The show contains three segments; Huck—who also has a hand in the amusing commercials—appears in the first. The second stars Yogi Bear, a genial slow-thinker, leading citizen of Jellystone National Park, and the third features Mr. Jinks, method-actor “cool” cat who consorts with “meeces” (mice), Pixie and Dixie.
The show’s forte, and most appealing to adults, is fiendish glee in kidding some of TV’s favorite clichés. For example, witness Lonesome Huck, laziest gun west of Dodge City. And Officer Huck: He covers the big city. He’s a cop. He’s nearsighted. Three-Finger Huck: He stars on a half dozen TV bowling marathons. Hideous Huck, host of Horror Haven.
This far, colleges, societies, symphony orchestras and military units have gotten on the Huckleberry Hound bandwagon. He is the mascot of any number of organizations, the darling of a host of fan clubs who shout his praises throughout the country. At present, Huck is ostensibly running for the Presidency, and even has a Golden Records album out to that effect, together with some five million campaign buttons on tap.
One thing is certain: Huck will garner a lot of votes.
The blue hound didn’t end up in the White House. But about two weeks after the story you just read, the Trib reported that Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw were two of the two five sellers in board games made by Milton Bradley. It seems people voted for Huck with their wallets.
About all “Elroy’s Pal” is missing is an ending where George Reeves says “And they call ME Superman.”
You’ll recall the I Love Lucy episode where the TV Superman (Reeves) was supposed to show up at the Ricardo home to meet Little Ricky, and when he couldn’t, Lucy dressed up as an incompetent version of Superman. But then the real TV Superman changed his mind and went so he wouldn’t disappoint the child. (The episode ended with the line quoted above). Well, that’s pretty much the storyline of this Jetsons episode which aired about six years later.
The whole idea of a costumed space hero that could fly or do other kinds of Superman-type stuff was pretty much an anachronism when this episode aired in the U.S. on December 16, 1962. Nimbus the Great is based on characters found in shows like Captain Video or Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, which had been off the air for a number of years. You can trace their lineage back another 20-plus years to Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Pretty soon, Star Trek would change the nature of space adventure shows.
There’s another ancient reference in this cartoon, one I doubt any kids got in 1962. There’s a line about something going out with “high button space shoes.” What kid would know what high button shoes were? Jack Benny and other radio comedians were doing gags in the 1930s about them being old-fashioned then. The story in this cartoon was written by Walter Black, who penned a ton of stuff in the ‘60s and came out of radio.
Black was born Walter Bloch on April 13, 1916 in Munich, Germany, the son of American-born painter Albert Bloch. After graduating in 1936 from the University of Kansas, where he did a bit of acting, he served three years in the Pacific with the 13th U.S. Army Air Force. He went to New York after the war where he co-authored the musical comedies “The Man Who Stole Sixth Avenue” and “Mother Was a Halfback” (neither of which made it to the stage) and continued to act. In 1953, he co-created, co-wrote and won a National Laugh Foundation award for the best radio sitcom for My Son Jeep and was active with the Writers Guild of America when in New York in the 1950s. Black, incidentally, appeared in at least one episode of a Du Mont network show called Captain Video.
Added to the story is a gentle spoof on cereal box-top premiums (again, something that went back to radio days) and stuff that could be found on the backs of cereal boxes. Some cereal companies had cardboard records you could actually play. Elroy’s favourite cereal, Moonies, has a TV set. The televised Nimbus’ hands go outside the screen to hand it to Elroy to show him (a switch on another old gag, but a fun one nonetheless). Moonies are a parody themselves of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. They don’t snap, crackle and pop but they do make a lot of noise.
The most fun in this cartoon is for freeze framers, thanks to animator Hugh Fraser, who had spent the better part of the 1940s and ‘50s at Disney. Fraser had a particular way of stretching the head in takes. You can see it in this sneeze drawing.
Some more of Nimbus’ sneezing. Some of these drawings were exposed on two frames, others on one.
Carlo Vinci animates in this cartoon as well. Here are a couple of exit drawings of George Jetson that are pure Vinci.
I will not venture a guess about other animators on this cartoon.
● Running gag when characters see Nimbus: “No offence, but you look bigger on TV.” “Everybody does.”
● On fleeting television fame: “I’m the fifth Nimbus on the program in the last two years. Anybody can be Nimbus. It’s all in the costume.”
● And on how not everything in the future will be perfect: “We’ve conquered space, but we still haven’t learned to prevent the common cold.”
This must be one of the few Jetsons episodes which features a sequence of George at the office but Mr. Spacely is nowhere to be found.
The Jetsons’ home interiors are always great. It’s a shame the credits were removed from the cartoons when they went into syndication in the ‘80s. Here are a couple. Oh, how I wish the background drawings survived.
My favourite invention in this cartoon is the spray that creates a plaid cushion for a lounge chair. Another button-pressing gizmo brings down a mechanical claw from the ceiling and carts someone elsewhere in the home (it was supposed to nab Elroy but gets George by mistake, since future tech never works in the Jetsons’ home). Snail mail still exists, except it’s delivered by a mailman in an airborne car. And the Jetsons sleep in separate beds (Whew! Morality is saved) but joined by the same headboard.
Overall, the cartoon’s pleasant, but all too familiar. Wholesale regurgitating of ideas had become a Hanna-Barbera fixture by 1962, to the studio’s detriment.
Kids, little animals and a cameo from Huckleberry Hound highlight the Yogi comics that appeared in Sunday newspapers 50 years ago this month. Winter also disappears in Jellystone Park after the first weekend.
These tabloid versions (four rows) come from Richard Holliss’ archives. They’re identical to the three-row broadsheet version except one thin frame in the first row is missing. Many papers never printed the first row to begin with, so the comic was written with the idea it could be deleted. Sometimes it consisted of a self-contained gag, sometimes it was a set-up, but it always fit the rest of the comic.
Skiiers are always told to be ready for conditions in the back country in case they get lost or into trouble. Today, they’re told to carry a phone. That was impossible in 1967, so Yogi puts his message on his skis. Very ingenious. And it was nice of Huck to show up in Jellystone. This comic is from March 5th. Note the lack of a background in the second panel.
Yogi comes to the rescue of some cute Gene Hazelton-designed kittens in the March 12th comic, with some help from the park “general.” The fins on the red car were way out of date by 1967. Note the “meow” on the bag in the first panel, third row. Boo Boo laughs in the final panel.
The rabbit in the March 19th comic isn’t quite the White Rabbit from the Alice TV special the year before, but he isn’t a cute little cartoon bunny equivalent of the kitten in the previous week’s comic. “Paunch and Judy”? “Hare restorer”? Oh, well.
Bill Hanna’s favourite organisation is represented in the comics once again on March 26th. Can anyone hear Dick Beals’ voice coming out of the kid at the top of the pyramid? The top panel uses varying distances very nicely.
Click on each comic to enlarge.
Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Chopper – Vance Colvig, Jr.; Cat – Daws Butler; Ducks – Daws Butler, Jimmy Weldon.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1960 by Hanna-Barbera Productions
Plot: Chopper the dog protects Yakky Doodle the duck from an unnamed cat.
There were at least two cartoons that showed how Yakky Doodle and Chopper met. There was no “story bible” or “canon” full of trivia back in the earliest days of TV cartoons. I suspect this was the first “origin” cartoon. For one thing, it’s the only cartoon where Chopper hints at how get got his name (he tells the trespassing duck “I’ll chomp you with my choppers”). For another, the cartoon is full of Hoyt Curtin piano and organ music I don’t recall hearing in any other cartoon. And still for another, I believe this is the only Yakky cartoon copyrighted in 1960 (send me a correction if I’m wrong).
Most of the music is fairly up tempo. There may be a reason for that. As you may know, Yakky Doodle is descended from a little duck character that first appeared in the Tom and Jerry cartoon Little Quacker (1950). Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera apparently loved the duckling and put him in more MGM cartoons, then brought him along to Hanna-Barbera where he annoyed Yogi Bear and a number of other characters. The character was almost always full of self pity, whining how he didn’t have a mother and no one loved him.
Let’s face it. Who wants that in a starring character? So when Yakky got his own series, there seems to have been a deliberate attempt to try to make him less pathetic. When you’ve got tinkly upbeat piano music, instead of sad violins, in the background, it lends a more positive tone to the story.
The story opens with the duck unable to keep up with other ducks flying south for the winter because he’s too tired. He drops from the sky into Chopper’s water dish, splashing the dog in the process. The duck introduces himself to the dog. “Bow wow. Bow wow wow!” is the response. “Oh, you’re a dog, aren’t you?” says the astute duck. Chopper flicks him out of the scene, telling him to beat it. Yakky then pulls the pity act. “All right for you. You’ll be sorry. I’ll get lost and everything, and nobody will find me. And then you’ll be sorry. All right for you,” moans the duck as the happy Wurlitzer plays in the background.
(I don’t understand why Yakky is so pathological about playing head games. After all, he was flying south for the winter. Why doesn’t he just pick up after resting and carry on with his journey?)
The plot now takes a turn as a cat decides to have Yakky for a snack and Chopper feels the need to defend the defenseless duck. Hanna-Barbera cartoons reused old concepts (such as Yakky) all the time. The cat had appeared in other forms, but with the same intent, in other H-B shorts, such as Hum Sweet Hum with Augie Doggie and Humboldt the bird. After this cartoon, Maltese eventually turned him into Fibber Fox.
Lew Marshall is the animator in this cartoon. Here are the drawings as he flips the cat at a 180 degree angle and has him zip out of the scene to capture the duck. Marshall has a few good expressions here.
And there are some other old friends. The cat plants a phoney kiss on Yakky just like Sylvester used to do on Tweety when Granny gave him what-for. Yakky is rolled up in the cat’s tongue, which strikes me as being a Tweety thing, too. And Chopper uses a balloon with a hook attached to lift a latch and get into a locked house. I can’t remember what cartoon that’s from, but I know I’ve seen it somewhere.
Dick Thomas’ backgrounds are functional. Some are just coloured cards. I like the brown fence with the orange outlines.
I’ve always like Daws Butler’s Fibber Fox voice and though I’m not a fan of the Yakky character, Jimmy Weldon provides him with a fairly expressive delivery, far more so than Red Coffey, who did the MGM and early H-B pitiable ducks, let alone Clarence Nash at Disney, who is a chore to comprehend.