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Stuff about early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

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  • 11/29/17--07:08: Moon Mice
  • Where there’s cheese, there are mice. Where there is green cheese, there are mice (not necessarily green ones). And where is there green cheese? On the moon.

    So it is that Mr. Jinks unexpectedly ends up on the moon and discovers green cheese...and you know what else.

    This is a Dell comic, cover dated May-July 1962. We’ve added a one-pager at the end. The artists are unknown.

    You can click each page to read it better.



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  • 12/02/17--07:00: Yakky Doodle in Beach Brawl
  • Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Don Patterson, Layout – Jack Huber, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Chopper – Vance Colvig; Fibber Fox, Shark – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Episode: Production R-61 (aired in last episode of the first season).
    Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
    Plot: Fibber tries to catch Yakky on a beach outing, but Chopper and a shark get in the way.

    Mike Maltese couldn’t get away from the idea of disguises and French romantics. At Warner Bros. he developed Pepé Le Pew, the French skunk who chased after a cat disguised as a skunk. In one of his first Hanna-Barbera stories, Lamb Chopped (1959), a French ram rushes into the picture to romance Quick Draw McGraw disguised as a sheep. And in this cartoon, a French shark tries to woo Fibber Fox disguised as a shark. How Mssr. Shark concludes Fibber is of the female gender is one of those plot holes you just have to ignore.

    Maltese also loaded up on air-coming-out gags in this cartoon. He has three of them. Yakky’s rubber horse is punctured by Fibber’s hook. Chopper sticks a pin in a beach ball that Fibber’s hiding in and explodes it. And Chopper pulls the plug out of an inner tube Fibber is on and shrinks it.

    The story is pretty straight-forward. Chopper is taking a day off from his watchdogging duties to lie on the beach. He covers himself with sun-tan oil (over his fur?!) and then buries himself in the sand. Yakky comes along with his inflatable beach horse. Meanwhile, Fibber Fox is fishing off a peer. All he’s catching is old boots. Yakky floats over. “Well! Shiver me hungry timbers. It’s a sea-going type duck. Ready for plucking, canning and picnicking,” exclaims Fibber. Yakky and he have a nice little conversation. “The fishing’s great, it’s the catching that’s awful,” says the fox, who then declares “the duck season just opened” and snags the horsie with his hook. “Hey! What’s the big idea?” cries Yakky. But Fibber rips a hole in the beach toy when he pulls out the hook, and Yakky jets out of the picture. “Now just a duck-roasting minute!” yells Fibber. “I haven’t told you the big idea.”

    Yakky yells for Chopper and the cartoon takes a familiar turn. “Oh come on!” shouts Fibber, chasing after the duck on the beach. “Don’t get full of sand. It gets in my teeth.” Yakky is instructed by Chopper to close his itty-bitty eyes. Punch! Fibber lands inside a beach umbrella that Chopper tosses into the water.



    Fibber puts a fin on his back and swims toward Yakky. That’s when the French shark shows up. “ ‘Allo baby doll! Where have you been all my life,” he parlez while hugging the fox, as a Hoyt Curtin solo piano cue plays in the background. “You are different from the other girl sharks, no?” Fibber runs away on the water in terror. “Aw well,” says the shark to the camera. “There are other girl fish in the sea, yes?” The gag ends with Chopper handing Fibber a “life saver”—which is really a set of barbells. Splash! Curtin’s xylophone cue based on a few bars of “Entrance of the Gladiators” is heard to end the gag.



    Fibber hides in a huge white beach ball. He can’t reach Yakky through a little flap in it (for some reason, the ball doesn’t deflate when it’s open). Chopper kicks it. Fibber screams in pain. “Hey! Who said ‘Yow-wow-ouch’?” wonders Chopper who, after a bit of dialogue with Fibber inside, punctures the ball which zooms into the sky and explodes. Crash to the ground. End scene.

    Next, Fibber blows up an inner tube. “We’re going to launch for a lunch. Nice and quiet. Now just the barely discernible swish of an oar in the water,” he says as he paddles next to the duck fishing in a boat. Chopper swims underwater and pulls the plug on the inner tube. Purely for the sake of convenience, Yakky and his boat are no longer there when the shot cuts back to the fox on the shrunken tube. Convenient, because the shark returns, looking for l’amours. The irritated Fibber bashes him on the head with the oar. “Sacroiliac! Then you are not the girl shark after all,” growls the shark. Fibber quickly sinks into the water and then realises the position he’s in. “Now then,” says the angered shark. “We have a score to settle, yes?” Fibber swims quickly to shore (with boat motor sound in the background, the one in the opening of the Wally Gator cartoons) with the shark after him. Crash into a huge rock on the beach. End scene.



    The cartoon ends with a pun. Chopper and Yakky are baking a fish on the beach. Chopper wonders what Fibber’s eating. Cut to Fibber on the pier, holding a stick with boots over an open campfire (on a wooden pier?!). “Well, for heaven’s sake,” he asks us. “Haven’t you heard of a shoes-kabob?” Yakky and Chopper laugh. Fade out.



    There’s not much else to say. The shark design (by Jack Huber) is good. The sound cutter opens things with a nice little tenor sax/guitar cue that evokes Hawaii. Actually, all the music suits the cartoon.

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  • 12/05/17--07:13: Giving Credit
  • I sure miss Earl Kress.

    Earl, if you don’t know, was a writer for Hanna-Barbera and other cartoon studios. He loved old cartoons and was a great student of them. He probably knew more about the early H-B cartoons than anyone else at the time of his death. The same with the Capitol Hi-Q and Langlois Filmmusic libraries that he went hunting for to have the Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw music from them released on CD by Rhino (in the end, he could only get nine cues by Phil Green cleared and never did find a clean copy of his favourite Langlois cue by Jack Shaindlin). I could go on and on about his work on DVDs but we’ll take a pass on that for a moment.

    Earl was gracious enough to carry on e-mail and forum conversations with many people, myself included. At the end, I had no idea how sick he was but he was still volunteering to hunt around his home office looking for information he couldn’t recall off the top of his head.

    The other day, Earl’s widow Denise sent me a parcel with papers that have been sitting in the office since Earl passed away in 2011. One thing I’m happy to receive is a photocopy of files from Leo Burnett (Kellogg’s agency) with production information about the Huck and Yogi shows; I imagine Earl got this when the Huck and Yogi DVDs were being assembled. There are also selected pages of cue sheets for The Flintstones; again, I believe Earl was trying to get information about specific songs used on the show; he has pages which list “The Car Hop Song” and “Bedrock Twitch,” for example.

    To the right is a page which I post for a couple of reasons. You’ll notice three things. One is there is absolutely no mention of Hoyt Curtin. With Hanna and Barbera listed as the composers, they get the royalties. Period. I can’t help but wonder if something changed contractually after this; you’ll find Curtin’s name included in compositions if you check out the current BMI catalogue.

    Another thing is Earl has used a pen to notate “Main Title” as “Rise and Shine.” It’s obvious the cue wasn’t called “Rise and Shine” until some time after it was composed; it was called “Main Title” when the series began in 1960. It could very well be, though I don’t know, that when a vocal version of the cue was released on Goldentone Records in 1962 (along with “Meet the Flintstones”) that lyrics and a new name were written then. But, again, I don’t know. Bill Hanna’s autobiography recalls that Curtin wrote the music first and he wrote the lyrics to match it, but whether he’s talking about “Rise and Shine” or “Meet the Flintstones” (which was used starting in the third season in 1962), he’s not clear. Hanna makes no mention of a change in theme songs.

    The other thing of note is that Curtin didn’t assign names to instrumental cues at all. You’ll see they’re simple labelled “File #” (As a side note, the cue sheet for P-140 “Surfin’ Fred” lists two separate cues “Wax Up Your Boards” and “Surf’s Up” by Phil Sloan and Steve Barri, who were—are you surprised?—on the music staff at Screen Gems. The cues are both variations on “Surfin’ Craze,” the “Surfin’ USA” knock-off heard on the cartoon).

    It’s with a great deal of trepidation I post the document to the right because there are people who will want hijack this post into a discussion about the song or cartoon in question. No comments, please. The songs in the memo about “No Biz Like Show Biz” were both released on Hanna-Barbera Records, sung by “Pebbles” and “Bamm-Bamm” (aka Rebecca and Ricky Page).

    Let’s turn our attention to something a little more pleasant and, in a moment, bring in Earl Kress to answer a question a number of readers have asked. When The Flintstones changed themes in 1962, the opening and closing title animation was completely redone. When the show went into syndication in 1966, the original animation was stripped from the first two seasons of the show and the newer animation was substituted. Unfortunately, the credits from the originals disappeared with the old animation, and one set of credits from a later episode was used for all cartoons from the first two seasons.

    When the Flintstones DVDs were being assembled, Earl dug through the H-B archives, found some lovely opening/closing animation that accompanied the original “Rise and Shine” theme, had gang credits superimposed and attached it all to the first two seasons’ worth of cartoons. It was nice to see the 1960 animation in colour but, unfortunately, the original credits for each show were unable to be re-created. However, occasionally, one of the original 16mm Flintstones films which has everything, including commercials and credits, appears. Such is the case for the first season episode P-20 “Arthur Quarry’s Dance Class.” So we now know, officially, who worked on the cartoon; the fans-make-it-up websites are maddeningly wrong (and unsourced) a lot of the time.

    Before we get to the credits, announcer Bill Baldwin reminds us that the Flintstones are brought to you by a certain product that Alan Reed sings off-key about; I wonder if smoking ruined his singing voice. Anyway, you know the scene. Ken Muse animates Fred getting locked out of the house after he tries to put Baby Puss out for the night. There are several cuts to a flashing sponsor sign. Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna alternated whose name went first on the credits; it was Barbera’s turn this time.



    If you have the DVD version with the re-created titles, you’ll notice something else. The billboard in the foreground with the flashing Winston is missing. And the little scene with the mouth-less sleeping Wilma is also missing. The original has the animation of Bedrock fade into the scene from the commercial.



    The question has been raised a number of times: why does Wilma have no mouth? Was this intentional? Was it accidental? Earl may be with us no longer, but he did provide an answer about the mouth-less scene when the DVDs came out.
    “This actually never aired this way, because they only ever aired the version that had the sponsor plug in it. So this generic version was filmed but never used.”
    However, I’m not so certain that Earl is correct. He would be if he’s talking about the United States. But The Flintstones aired in foreign countries, Canada being one of them. For example in 1961, the show aired Sunday afternoons at 5 on Channel 10 in London, Ontario. It would not have been sponsored by Winstons as American cigarettes were not (and I don’t believe are today) sold in Canada. So there would have to be a different ending. My memory doesn’t go back far enough about The Flintstones, but I do recall the CBC had a different ending to the Huckleberry Hound Show with a theme that wasn’t quite the same as the Kellogg’s references were all deleted. So it could be that the animation you see on DVD aired in Canada or Great Britain or Australia or some other place. It’s a shame Earl isn’t around to talk about it. I miss him. But it was kind and generous of Denise Kress to send some of Earl’s files to me. In a way, it’s a little like he’s still here and helping us learn more.

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    Chickens. Puppies. Zebras. Mice. Grumbling Bears. Yes, they’re all in the Yogi Bear newspaper comics 50 years ago this month, along with Santa Yogi.


    Okay, maybe not chickens. It’s a peacock, Sorry this December 3rd comic isn’t in colour or a better scan. I’ve looked and this is the best version I can find. Little Kevin the Boy Scout has been replaced by little Jennie the Girl Scout in this comic. Even Farmer Harold is fed up with Yogi’s bad puns. Nice expression on the bear in that second-row panel, though.



    Interesting design on the lumpy little dog in the December 10th comic. Ranger Smith only appears in this comic this month. He’s named “Bill” this time. I don’t understand how the Ranger doesn’t trust Yogi but he’s agreeable to let him take off with the family pet. And why doesn’t Mrs. Ranger know how much a clipping costs so she doesn’t short-change Yogi? Hasn’t she taken him for a clipping before. Yogi keeps it down to one rhyme in this comic.


    The Girl Scouts are back with a neat little collection of animals in the December 17th comic. I like the giraffe layout as well as the Yogi expression at the end.


    A very nice silhouette panel is among the highlights of the comic published Christmas Eve day 1967. The end panel is a bit of a groaner gag. That’s the clearest Malt Mix I’ve ever seen.



    The panels with the bear family in the December 31st comic were in the top row of the three-row version (and not at all in the two-row version) and don’t have anything to do with the rest of the cartoon. You can tell they’re real bears because they’re not wearing clothing. The gag in this one didn’t really do anything for me.

    You’ll notice Boo Boo doesn’t appear at all this month.

    Thanks to Richard Holliss for sending copies of the colour comics.

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  • 12/09/17--07:06: Snagglepuss in Fight Fright
  • Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Bob Carr, Layout – Jack Huber, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Lew Marshall, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snagglepuss, Crowd – Daws Butler; K.O. Kangy, Barker, Referee, Crowd – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Episode: Production R-66 (aired in last episode of season). Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
    Plot: Snagglepuss agrees to fight a boxing kangaroo.

    Let’s see...what Warner Bros. cartoons did Mike Maltese draw from for this one?

    1. A giant mouse is actually a kangaroo (any Sylvester vs Hippety Hopper short),
    2. Riding an imaginary bicycle in the boxing ring (Porky and Daffy),
    3. Boxer asking if something violent is illegal, demonstrating it on someone and then the ref saying it’s not allowed (To Duck or Not to Duck),
    4. Failing at something, then trying it again, listing each step as it happens (Robin Hood Daffy).

    Snagglepuss starts this cartoon bopped with baseballs as a target in a circus midway booth. He ends it that same way after deciding it’s safer than being bashed by a boxing kangaroo like in the rest of the cartoon. I kept thinking Snagglepuss would turn to the camera at the end and say “It’s a living,” but Maltese avoided borrowing that idea from the old Warners’ story chest.

    (If you’re new here, Maltese worked for Warner Bros., mostly as a storyman, starting in May 1937 and left for Hanna-Barbera in November 1958, though he moved over to the Walter Lantz studio for around a year beginning in mid-1953).

    Mercifully, Maltese only uses the “giant mouse” bit as bait, and briefly, instead of beating it into the ground like in a Warners cartoon.

    Let’s quickly go through the story. As mentioned earlier, Snagglepuss has his head stuck through a hole in a ball-toss booth at a county fair circus. He only “took this job on a trial basis. Temporary, even.” But he’s had enough of having his snoot crushed by baseballs, so he exits and runs past the same pink-striped tent five times.


    Meanwhile, in another tent, the scene cuts to a boxing ring announcer/promoter. The champ has run out on his fight with K.O. Kangy, the boxing kangaroo. Messick uses the worst Australian accent for the promoter while the kangaroo has that wavering voice he generally gave to aliens. The promoter cons the job-seeking Snagglepuss (“I happen to be financially embarrassed. Mortified, even...I’m a diamond setter. A gold smelter. A ruby polisher. And I scale fishes...I have initiative, brains, also sweet breads, ambition, and I’ve been vaccinated”) by offering a job boxing (“Boxing what? Oranges? Kumquats? Goquats, even?”) a “mouse from Australia” for $10, though he warns him the mouse is rather large. “Heavens to Lilliput! How large can a mouse get?” asks Snagglepuss. He quickly finds out.

    He has trouble before the fight even starts, getting tied up in the ropes (“Don’t think the Boxin’ Commission ain’t gonna hear about this”), and spouting more typical lines such as “Heavens to giant economy size!” and referring to “Marquis of Queensborough Bridge” rules. K.O. asks if he can squeeze Snagglepuss’ nose or stomp on him. The answer’s “no.” But that doesn’t stop him from demonstrating before he hears it.



    The bell rings. Snagglepuss looks confident as he says his game plan to himself. “Spar, spar. Hmm. Hmmm. Fake with your right. Fake with your left. Sucker him into an openin’ and then...” Snagglepuss gets punched in the face. He goes through the routine again, except he blocks the punch (“I haven’t lost my cunning’. Sneaky, even”). But K.O. tricks him and it’s wham again. Next, Snagglepuss tries his “marble-izing propeller punch” where his fist turns into a propeller. But it sends Snagglepuss up and then down as he drills a hole in the mat.



    After being kicked into the ropes (with a rubber band sound effect) several times, Snagglepuss beats “a strategic retreat” on his bicycle. An invisible one. Maltese wastes a real chance for comedy, unless it was cut out by Lew Marshall after the story stage. He treats the gag as a throwaway. Snagglepuss just cycles out of the scene. He could have done all kinds of different things (especially as the bike is invisible, it can’t be animated) but that was the end of the gag.

    After Snagglepuss is mushed into a heap in a pail (K.O. is revolted when he throws it out), our hero exists stage left and we find him back getting hit by baseballs in cycle animation to end the cartoon.



    Actually, animator Bob Carr gets a bit of a footage break. His cycle of K.O. bouncing up and down and back and forth gets used several times.

    Art Lozzi is the background artist. His work is pretty simple in this cartoon.



    Hoyt Curtin’s calliope (I suspect it’s actually an organ) version of “Man on the Flying Trapeze” opens the cartoon and during the scene where Snagglepuss is sproinged against the ropes, there’s a sax, doo-wop style rock-and-roll riff.

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  • 12/14/17--04:26: Ruff and Reddy Turn 60
  • 60 years ago today, the first handiwork of the Hanna-Barbera studio beamed into homes via television. It was the debut of Ruff and Reddy. And the series almost didn’t get made.

    Hanna-Barbera Enterprises officially formed on July 7, 1957. H-B President George Sidney, the head of the Directors Guild of America, picked up the phone and within weeks, the company had worked out a deal with Columbia Pictures on the strength of a storyboard. Bill Hanna wrote in his autobiography that it cost 20% of the company but, in return, the Columbia’s Screen Gems TV operation gave H-B an option to produce five five-minute cartoons, the first two for $2,700, the second two for $2,800 and the fifth for $3,000.

    Hanna wrote more about production methods and such, but omitted a tale of how it almost all got away. Joe Barbera, known for his flair for the dramatic, outlined what he remembered in his book. Columbia head Harry Cohn called to get a first-hand progress report on Ruff and Reddy. A pencil test of one of the cartoons was screened for him. Cohn’s comment to Screen Gems sales head John Mitchell about Hanna and Barbera: “Get rid of ‘em.” Cohn, having coped with Columbia’s own troubled cartoon studio in the ‘40s, the ups and downs of dealing with UPA in the ‘50s and then with cut-rate cartoon producer Sam Singer earlier in the year, wanted no part of Hanna and Barbera’s dog and cat.

    But Barbera recalled: “We were destined to be saved by the slimmest of threads. A man in New York named Roger Muir, who had a children's TV show on NBC, heard about ‘Ruff and Reddy’ and wanted to use the cartoons much as we had originally planned—as bookends between which the hoary theatricals would be run. Muir’s offer kept us alive, and Screen Gems went ahead with the deal.”

    A deal with NBC wasn’t announced until a New York Times story of November 11th (trade papers had similar stories within days) so you’ll have to figure out the timeline, unless Barbera was stretching the truth a bit.

    It seems insane that a network could sign a Saturday morning show in November and begin airing it in December but that’s the way things worked back then. Saturday daytime programming in 1957 was filler. NBC didn’t even sign on until 10 a.m., CBS signed on at 9 a.m., and ABC didn’t start network programming until 7:30 p.m. In fact, none of the networks had any regular programming between 2 and 7:30! (at least on the East Coast).

    So it was that Ruff and Reddy debuted in glorious black and white on December 14, 1957 at 10:30 a.m. (9 a.m. in Los Angeles) on a revamped Saturday daytime line-up on NBC (it offered three hours of programming until 1 p.m.). General Foods, which was already sponsoring Mighty Mouse on CBS during the same time slot, picked up alternate weeks of sponsorship on Ruff and Reddy, meaning the network filled ad time with NBC promos every other week during its first season. How Saturday mornings have changed.

    Ruff and Reddy wasn’t just Ruff and Reddy. There was a person, Jimmy Blaine, who did schtick. And two old theatrical cartoons from Columbia’s Screen Gems studio were aired. I haven’t been able to find which two cartoons were on the first episode, but the first two Ruff and Reddy episodes were “Planet Pirates” and “Night Flight Fright.” Let’s look at the very first one. Unfortunately, the R&R series has never been restored and put on home video, and I doubt it ever will be, so you’ll have to pardon the fuzzy frame grabs.

    Screen credit was never given on the Ruff and Reddy cartoons, but we do know Charlie Shows, Dick Bickenbach and Howard Hanson were employed at H-B Enterprises on Day One. So it’s safe to assume Bickenbach did the layouts on the first episode, Shows provided dialogue (the alliteration and rhyming gives it away) and Hanson handled the production schedule. Who animated those first two cartoons? It’s very tough to say because, besides mouth movements, there’s extremely little animation. Whoever did this 13-part adventure has the teeth filling the entire mouth in solid white during some of the dialogue. As for the backgrounds, my wild guess is Fernando Montealegre painted them (nice sponge-work on the trees and clouds). And, of course, the voices were provided by Daws Butler and Don Messick.



    “Planet Pirates” opens with Reddy reading the “Daily Screech” which tells us about a “saucer shaped ship sighted by sheepherder.” The lounging Ruff has to explain to Reddy what a UFO is. No matter, Reddy is ready for “those flyin’ saucer fellers” with a space helmet and water pistol he won on Captain Comet’s TV show poetry contest.



    The dialogue is interrupted by a news bulletin from a TV inside the house, with the announcer (Daws Butler) stating rumours of mysterious flying objects and a saucer-shaped ship are untrue.

    Cut to a space ship moving left across a background drawing. Now we hear Don Messick’s narrator for the first time. “Well, I don’t like to argue, but,” he says calmly, “that’s no bicycle streaking through the skies right now. In fact, if I wasn’t afraid of being laughed at, I’d say that was a flying saucer.”



    Hanna cuts to a close-up of the saucer (it’s still a cell sliding over a background), then to the “creepy creatures” from another planet “spying on our world.” Note the colour separation on their bodies. One of the aliens starts talking to the other, with that wavering voice that Messick used on The Herculoids and other shows. (He must have moved his tongue inside his mouth a lot to get that voice).



    “According to my interplanetary dictionary,” continues the narrator, “these space men have come to Earth to find two typical Earth people to take back to their planet.” Yes, you can guess who they pick up on their viewer. Cut to Reddy, who promises to disintegrate any spacemen who come around and shoots his water gun for good measure. He and Ruff fall asleep then a ray lifts them both into the space ship. Again, there’s no animation, just characters on a cel slid upward. I really like the angles on some of the layouts. You rarely see this even in the Huck series a year later. Too bad.



    Cut to a shot of space over Earth. “And away they go!” says our quiet narrator. “But where is this mystery ship taking our friends? And why?” The narrator plugs the next episode, followed by the end tag music.

    Hanna-Barbera paid for the use of the Capitol Hi-Q library for this series, but only two cues are used. The first one was only used once outside Ruff and Reddy (on the third Pixie and Dixie cartoon), while the second may sound familiar from B-grade ‘50s science fiction films.


    0:00 – Ruff and Reddy Sub Main Title theme (Hoyt Curtin)
    0:06 – TC 304A FOX TROT (Bill Loose-John Seely) – Ruff reads paper, squirts gun, “There’s no such animal as a flyin’ saucer.”
    1:15 – No Music – TV newsman broadcasts, Ruff pleased with the news.
    1:38 – L-1203 EERIE HEAVY ECHO (Spencer Moore) – Saucer flies around, Ruff and Reddy kidnapped, saucer zooms away from Earth.
    3:35 – Ruff and Reddy Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

    You can more about Ruff and Reddy’s creation in this post, this post, this post and even this post.

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  • 12/14/17--18:22: Bob Givens
  • There weren’t many people who worked on Walt Disney’s Snow White, the first real Bugs Bunny cartoon and the original Quick Draw McGraw series. There was just one.

    Bob Givens. Bob passed away today. He would have been 100 next March.

    To old-time animation fans, he is best known as the man who drew the first model sheet of Bugs Bunny for Tex Avery in 1940; Avery being the director of A Wild Hare. But he had stops at a number of studios on the West Coast, working as a layout man, storyboard artist and designer. He left Warners when it shut down in June 1953 and returned to the studio some time in 1958 it appears. He made his way to Hanna-Barbera in November that year when Mike Maltese also quit Warners to work for the studio.

    In 2008, Givens had a long, recorded chat with Mike Fontanelli, Will Finn and Steve Worth, and spoke a little bit about arriving at Hanna-Barbera and his work there. He gets his “day” and “week” mixed up when it comes to footage by the animators, but he once said Ken Muse was doing a picture a week, so that would work out to 100 feet a day. He was at the original H-B studio where the best cartoons were made.

    Oh, yeah, when they were over on La Brea on the Chaplin lot. Everything was right there in the house, camera, everything. We didn’t send anything anywhere, except to Technicolor.

    I laid out the things, the Quick Draws, we’d put ‘em on the floor. [Bill] Hanna’s over there muttering something. Joe [Barbera] and I are going through the thing and fixing little, simple, things. Joe was easy. “Fix the gun, the kids’ll remember what the gun looks like.” So easy changes. We had one a week of those things, 500 feet a week I was laying out.

    Mike [Maltese] and I went over there as a team. We left Warners to go over there... [About why people liked Hanna-Barbera’s early cartoons] They were simple, that’s why. Later they got complicated with thousands of people. I guess they had to to keep the network happy. But that’s what was so great about those Quick Draws, they were simple. Dan Gordon did the stories and they were simple. [Baba Looey] was a take off on the Cuban [Desi Arnaz], “Queekstraw. I’ll do the thinnin’ around here.” That’s Joe Barbera. That’s his humour. “Thinnin’.” He can’t even say “thinking.”

    Oh, yeah, yeah, [Barbera contributed a lot of gags] he was on top of everything. You didn’t get past him. Even on the way to the men’s room, he was right there watching. He was in ink and paint. He was the old tycoon. That’s what the old studios were so great, they had one tycoon like Harry Cohn. They were bastards but they were smart bastards. Also you worked for them, you knew where the tamale was, the boss was.

    Well, Bill was doing the timing. In fact, they were partners. I found out that they weren’t really buddies at all. They were foils for each other. They needed each other. Joe would say, “For [] sake, Bill, we’re trying to work here. Will you keep it quiet, for []’s sake?” (meekly) “Okay, Joe.” That’s how it was, a friendly love affair. But I thought they were buddies from the word go, but not so.

    I worked with Carlo [Vinci]. He was the one who was animating my little first Hanna-Barbera things, Augie Doggie. He was a good animator. Carlo was doing about 50 feet a week. Ken Muse was doing 100 feet a week at a dollar a foot. I was laying out 500 feet a week, but I was making more than that, about $250 a week, which was pretty good then, in 1958.

    But he was doing 100 feet a day. Imagine that, just putting it on the sheets. Carlo was a slow guy, he was only doing 50 feet a day. “I can’t catch up with that damn Muse.” And that’s tremendous, you know. Putting it on the sheets would take you that long. But Ken was deaf as a coot. He’s turn his hearing down and he’s got his bottle of booze and (drinking sound) and he’d do a scene. And I was sitting right next to him and handing him drawings and he’s animating them before I can initial them. “Where’s the next one?” “Well, okay.” There was one other guy there animating at the time, Lew Marshall, and he was doing 40 feet a week. He was a real slow guy. 40 feet a week. “How does Ken do 100 feet a week? I have to work nights just to catch up.” But that’s when he was paying a buck a foot. It’s gone up a little since then.

    I worked in that brick building when Hanna-Barbera was there [3501 Cahuenga]. It was a small place, about 30 people there. I had the little room next to the entrance there. Carlo was down the hall, Ken Muse was across the way. Dan Gordon was working at home but he’d come in once in a while. A big booze problem, you know. And his kid worked there for a while.
    He repeated many of these memories in an interview in 2011 with Steve Hulett of the animation union, and mentioned a few other things.
    I left there one time because they were missing payrolls. So I left and went back over to TV Spots to work on commercials. I was there about a week and a guy called me and I said “Who’s this?” He says “Joe.” I said “Joe who?” He says “Barbera. Hey, kid, I got the money, come on back.” So I quit and went on back, I got a raise by quitting. Joe says “Hey, welcome back.”

    At one time I was walking by the side when Joe came in in his new car and he honked at me, almost ran over me. “Hey hold it there!” I says “I’ll back up and you can run over me, Joe, and then I can sue you.” And he laughed. He was great to work with, though, he had a sense of humor. Hanna was the opposite...he was the business guy.

    They had some guys from Disney that came over and they were not used to this limited animation, so you know how they solved the problem? They animated just like they did at Disney’s then they pulled drawings....Joe said “Why didn’t I think of that?”

    The early Hanna-Barbera stuff, before they started doing the super heroes, the Augie Doggies, they were kind of fun to do.
    At H-B, Bob laid out:

    Foxhound Hounded Fox– Augie Doggie (animator, Lew Marshall), Production J-16
    In the Picnic of Time– Augie Doggie (Marshall), J-19
    Dizzy Desperado– Quick Draw McGraw (Marshall), J-21
    Pup Plays Pop– Augie Doggie (Ken Muse), J-unknown
    Tee Vee or not Tee Vee– Augie Doggie (Carlo Vinci), J-unknown
    Big Top Pop– Augie Doggie (Gerard Baldwin), J-29
    Six Gun Spook– Quick Draw McGraw (Baldwin), J-32
    Monkey Wrenched– Snooper and Blabber (Baldwin), J-44

    Givens left the studio some time in 1959 or 1960; he was not included in the “thank yous” to staff in a Variety ad taken out by Bill and Joe in June that year after The Huckleberry Hound Show became the first syndicated show to win an Emmy. His name can be found on the credits of TV Popeyes produced by Jack Kinney and on TV Magoos at UPA in 1960.

    His last screen credit was in 2001.

    You can read a bit more about Bob Givens’ career at Hanna-Barbera in this post (unfortunately, the video link is dead) and his interview with the Animation Guild here and here. My condolences to Mariana and the rest of the family. Bob was not in good health for a while but he gave it a good fight.

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  • 12/16/17--07:30: Night Flight Fright
  • Ruff and Reddy was different from the Hanna-Barbera cartoons that came after it. Like Crusader Rabbit before them, Ruff and Reddy went on adventures that ended with a cliff-hanger. There were two R & R cartoons in a half hour and each adventure went for 13 cartoons.

    The first adventure began with “Planet Pirates” and “Night Flight Fright.” Each cartoon was budgeted at $2,700. The second (through thirteenth, actually) had a bit of an advantage money-wise. It started with a 25-second recap of the previous cartoon, so money was saved on animating (and, presumably, inking and painting).

    Don Messick opens “Night Flight Flight” by explaining a mysterious flying saucer manned by two strange mechanical space men beamed the sleeping Ruff and Reddy into the craft and zoomed off for outer space. Charlie Shows wrote the dialogue which has his playing take on words: “We hope Ruff and Reddy are ready, ‘cause things look mighty rough.” Messick’s narrator is slow and calm; after all, this is a programme for children.

    Now to the present. Ruff opens one eye, looks through the window of the space and thinks Reddy has left the TV on again. There’s a nice perspective Ruff in somewhat of a shadow with his back to us. H-B cartoons didn’t do this kind of thing even in 1958.



    There’s a shock take cycle (three drawings on twos) as Ruff realises where they are. Ruff wakes up Reddy who is half asleep and not comprehending what’s going on. He decides to leave the space ship. We don’t actually see it. The camera cuts to an open door (with a looping background of space seen through it) then cuts to Reddy holding onto the edge of the space ship. Ruff finally pulls him back in after a four-drawing cycle of feet animation and more only-the-mouth moves animation.



    Back in the spaceship, Ruff is scared off by one of the spacemen (he needs only one in-between to turn from one direction to the other), only to be captured. Says the dog: “Hey, Ruff, will you come back here? I was talkin’ to you. Where’s your polite?” We might ask you the same thing, Reddy. Through great portions of the series, he’s an arrogant blowhard who always thinks he’s right (until he needs to be bailed out from his mistakes). I simply don’t like the character.

    Anyway, Reddy finally realises what Ruff is trying to tell him and rushes out of the scene being chased by the spaceman. More brushwork from the studio’s small ink and paint department.



    Reddy grabs the cat out of the spaceman’s extended claw, runs into a room and slams the door shut. The design of the robots is pretty cool. And Ed Benedict (or whoever) doesn’t put legs on them so they can be inked to a cel and then just slid across the background without the need to animate them.

    The two are in the control room and realise the robot spacemen are outside the door so no one is flying the craft. Reddy takes command. Naturally, he has no clue what he’s doing. But director Bill Hanna does. He cuts to a shot of the control panel for a full five seconds of budget-saving non-animation, with the camera trucking back a bit to simulate movement. The same with the falling spaceship. It’s on a cel tilted back and forth behind overlays of clouds. “Poor Ruff and Reddy,” earnestly explains the narrator. “They’re in double trouble. Millions of miles from home and falling helplessly through space. How will they get out of this spot?”



    We’re enjoined to tune into the next episode. Well, since we’re only reviewing the first show of the series, we can tell you Ruff and Reddy end up on the planet Muni-Mula (“That’s ‘aluminum’ spelled backwards,” the narrator informs us), meet up with Professor Gizmo is a manner that makes no sense and they eventually crash their crippled rocket, the S.S. Gizmo (steam ship?!?) on Mt. Cucamonga. Then it’s on to a new adventure.

    There are only three music cues used in the cartoon (besides the opening/closing theme). I can’t find the first one in my Capitol Hi-Q collection as I don’t have copies of all the ‘D’ series cues. I’m pretty sure it’s by Spencer Moore. The other two are by Bill Loose and John Seely and were later used in the Huck Hound show.

    0:00 – Ruff and Reddy Sub-Main title (Curtin)
    0:08 – space mysterioso music (Moore) – Recap, Reddy walks out of spacecraft.
    1:26 – no music – Ruff looks out door, rescues Reddy. “I wonder where they’re takin’ us.”
    1:58 – TC-219A CHASE MEDIUM (Loose-Seely) – Ruff runs, Reddy rescues him, closes door on control room.
    2:35 – no music – Ruff and Reddy in control room.
    2:46 – TC-215A CHASE MEDIUM (Loose-Seely) – Spacecraft weaves through clouds. Narrator closes episode.
    3:28 – Ruff and Reddy Sub-End title (Curtin).

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    Pretty early in the Flintstones newspaper comic run, both in the daily and weekend strips, the story would involve some kind of invention and end with the question “What will they think of next?” There were a number of comics in this vein, and apparently if was deliberate. 50 years ago this month, Gene Hazleton (who was in charge of H-B’s syndicated comic run) started a little contest. Perhaps he was looking for free story ideas. But the “think of” concept highlighted one of the Sunday comics.


    Noise gag in the December 5th comic. Look! It’s Baby Puss (last panel, second row). Betty is referred to but neither she nor Barney appear this month. I guess I should make reference to the Bedroom Fire Department in the second row, clearly based on the appearance in an early episode.


    It appears the Bedrock Auto Show is sponsored by the Water Buffaloes. This is the December 12th comic. Skunk gag.


    Sorry the scan is so poor for this county fair comic of December 19th. Some very nice panels here, especially the one with the merry-go-round. Such detail.


    As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, a girl who rhymes like a poet I spy. This comic, appropriately, appeared on December 24th.


    Oh, that scamp Pebbles! This December 31st comic couldn’t figure out a way to add “stone” or “rock” to the Rose or Orange Bowls without it being too contrived. Mind you, considering some of the ridiculous names for bowl games today thanks to corporate sponsorship....

    We haven’t seen Pops for too months, but don’t worry, he’ll be back next month.

    My thanks, once again, to Richard Holliss for supplying the colour comics.

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  • 12/23/17--07:02: Double Sarsparilla
  • Quick McGraw McGraw turns western bartender in this little cartoon between the cartoons on his show. Augie Doggie places his order—a double sarsaparilla sundae. Is sarsaparilla an old-timey thing? I’ve never heard anyone ordering it and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it on a menu.



    Anyway, here are a couple of in-betweens.



    Quick Draw flings it down the bar. For whatever reason, Augie doesn’t even reach for it. The sundae flies off the end of the bar. We see suds.



    Cut to Doggie Daddy. Nothing bothers him. “I was going to order tutti frutti, but this will do.” Fade out.



    Don Patterson animated this bumper with backgrounds by Fernando Montealegre.

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  • 12/25/17--07:02: Music For Alley and Cat
  • Christmas was Fred Flintstone’s favourite time of year, sang Alan Reed on a cartoon show quite some years ago, and it may be yours, too. So allow me to thank you for visiting this blog and, again, give you a little gift.


    No, this isn’t the gift, but it has been sitting in my computer for a while. Evidently the cast of the Huckleberry Hound Show got sweaters from Perry Como for Christmas. They look like they’re ready to go out as a barber shop quartet (plus one). I don’t know who drew this or what Golden Bubble Bath is, but it’s an attractive drawing.

    How about something from Dan Gordon?


    Yes, it would be nice to have the full storyboard for Elephant Boy Oh Boy, but only the last page turned up somewhere in my travels. Mike Maltese wrote the story. He would make thumbnail sketches and then Gordon would take them and turn them into something that you see above.

    I would like to be able to say I have more stock music from the original Hanna-Barbera series from the Langlois and Capitol Hi-Q libraries to post, but I don’t. Actually, I do have two cues I have not digitised from the Sam Fox library and, to be honest, I doubt I’ll have time to do it. However, thanks to reader J.J. Pidgeon (at least I believe he gave me these), we have some more background music from Top Cat.

    I’ve mentioned before I’m not a fan of the series but my favourite H-B cues were written for it. Curtin needed city music for characters with names that evoked Damon Runyon, so he came up with cues with arrangements that evoke George Gershwin and George Shearing. T-10 and T-32 are really good metro chase cues with strings, clarinet and piano. T-113 has a neat jazz trumpet (Pete Candoli, I suspect). T-21 has a great little string line coupled with a baritone sax, while T-27 features an alto sax with piano chords in the background.

    There are a few other cues I’ve tossed in because you may have heard them in different H-B shows. T-45 is a violin cue heard in my favourite Flintstones cartoon, Dino Goes Hollyrock, during the sequence where Dino is in studio watching Sassie and her arrogant co-stars shoot a heart-warming scene, and later when Dino films a scene with them.

    One cue doesn’t fit in with the rest. Q-11 is a solo flute. You’ll recognise it is playing the Augie Doggie theme and you may recognise it as the music Mr. Jinks played to force the meeces to dance in Pied Piper Pipe (1960). The names are all from Hoyt Curtin’s sessions, except “Pizzi-Cat-o,” which is such a bad pun, it had to be used.

    If you’d like to revisit some of our old Christmas posts, go to 2016 here, 2015 here, 2014 here and 2013 here.

    T-3

    T-4 Pizzi-Cat-o

    T-9

    T-10

    T-21 Top Cat Sunset

    T-23 Screwy Ideas

    T-27 Lonely Alto

    T-32 City Streets

    T-34

    T-44

    T-45

    T-101

    T-110

    T-113

    Q-11


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    The debut of The Flintstones may have been the highlight for Hanna-Barbera in 1960 but other things were going on at the studio as well. For one thing, they left the Kling Studios on La Brea you see to the right and moved into a windowless, concrete bunker at 3501 Cahuenga, which still stands. It couldn’t possibly hold the expanding operation so a lot of people worked from home, such as inkers and painters, and even writer Mike Maltese. For another, Screen Gems marketing guru Ed Justin worked out a cross-level promotional campaign for Huckleberry Hound, who “ran” for president.

    But Huck’s sun was setting. Yogi Bear was eclipsing him as a star as, in 1960, a Yogi movie was planned before Jellystone Park’s best-known bruin even had a TV show—which was also created in 1960, thanks to a deal with Kellogg’s.

    Here are some clippings from Variety for that year. They include mention of our old friend Harebrain Hare, who died on the drawing board that year, a factious column by “Huckleberry Hound” (beware of groaner puns), as well as a review of a Flintstones episode, complete with credits. Someone (sorry, I’ve forgotten who) asked me if I had information about actor Bob Hopkins who appeared in it. I really don’t. Hopkins was an impressionist who worked in the night clubs in the ‘40s and ’50, as well as appearing with Ken Murray on stage and on television. When Steve Allen left KNX for New York in 1950, Hopkins replaced him—but not for very long. He later ended up at KLAC. He wrote a couple of songs, too. He was 44 when he died of leukaemia on October 5, 1962. The other actor in the credits who may be unfamiliar to you is Jerry Mann. We posted about him here.

    Poor Bea Benaderet’s name continues to be misspelled.


    April 4, 1960
    Alan Reed has been cast opposite Bea Benadaret and Jean Vander Pyl in Hanna-Barbera's new ABC-TV series, "The Flintstones."
    Miles Lab and Reynolds Tobacco sponsor.

    May 31, 1960
    Jack Hellman column
    YOU PROBABLY HAVEN'T HEARD MUCH ABOUT BILL HANNA or Joe Barbera because they'd rather push what they do than who they are. Sure you've heard about Walt Disney but did you know that Hanna-Barbera Productions is the biggest cartoon studio in the world with a staff of 185 (most of them over 50) ? You've also heard about Roy Rogers and his merchandise tieups, but did you know that H-B's "Huckleberry Hound" and "Quick Draw McGraw" gross 20 million a year in kid items? Betcha didn't know that the "Tom and Jerry" cartoons they did at Metro for 20 years has won seven Academy awards and never missed a year in 18 being nominated? Pat Weaver and Fred Wile (ex-NBC) won't believe this, but neither Bill nor Joe ever write a memo to a staffer. They just go over and talk to them. You'll be hearing a lot come autumn about their "Flintstones," an animated half hour which they like to call "an adult cartoon," which was bought off the story board by ABC and sold immediately to two sponsors. And they didn't quibble about price — $65,000 a week. From a humble start of eight 6-min. cartoons a year, they will have four half-hours a week on network or in syndication next season. Partners since 1939, Barbera is the one who hatches out the ideas, Warren Foster looks after the continuity and dialog, and Hanna directs the finished product. The voices you'll hear on "The Flintstones" are those of Mel Blanc, Alan Reed, Bea Benadaret, Daws Butler, Paul Frees, Bill Thompson and Jean Vanderpyl. Said Hanna, "anyone could live quite comfortably off their residuals."

    July 19, 1960
    Help Wanted
    Animation artists here are hard to come by, with cartooning on tv in the midst of a boom.
    Situation is such that Hanna-Barbera Productions, for example, hires vet freelancers who may elect to work at home. Many of the freelancers are women who were either laid off by the major studios or are too busy raising a family to punch a clock.

    July 20, 1960
    Hanna-Barbera’s Animation Spree; New Studio Set in Coast Expansion
    Hollywood, July 19. - Hanna-Barbera Productions, the cartoonery which zoomed from nowhere in three years to become the major in the tv field, is opening up new studios here next month.
    Hanna-Barbera's latest entry is "Flintstones," due to bow on ABC-TV this fall. Half-hour weekly series is the first animated adult comedy and is due to be watched closely as a trend pacer.
    Other Hanna-Barbera entries, all distributed by Screen Gems, include "Quick-Draw McGraw," and "Huckleberry Hound," both sponsored on a national spot basis by Kellogg; and "Ruff and Reddy," NBC-TV.
    With so much production underway and new projects being blueprinted, outfit estimates that currently it employs about 50% of the animators on the Coast. Principals Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera started out in '57, clinching a deal with SG after being turned down on their planned animation idea by virtually all the major tv outfits in the biz. Hanna and Barbera came to tv after about 20 years with MGM, where they worked as a team on the "Tom and Jerry" cartoons. When the motion picture biz dipped and short subjects got the short end of the stick as a result, they decided to peddle their own idea.
    Planned animation, as opposed to full animation, relies strongly on story and dialog. It utilizes from 10,000 to 12,000 drawings per half-hour as opposed to 40,000 drawings which' would be needed in full animation. When Hanna and Barbera tried to pitch their planned animation initially, they were told it just couldn't stand up against full animation, represented on tv by the oldie cartoons. Economic impossibility of full animation in tv is underlined by the costs—full animation of a six-minute short subject runs to about $50,000.
    Their planned animation policy worked out, for success of "Ruff and Reddy" was followed by "Huck" and "McGraw." In fact, Hanna and Barbera do theatrical shorts as well for Columbia release. "Loopy Deloop" is the title of their theatrical shorts. Hanna-Barbera's reentrance into the theatrical end finds the principals turning full circle.
    Additional, outfit, which now employs 175 people, is in the commercial animated film field.

    August 3, 1960
    ‘Huck’ Hound as SG’s ‘Man Who—’
    What started out as a gag at Screen Gems—running cartoon character Huckleberry (Huck) Hound for President—has assumed "I-give-you-the-man-who" dimensions. It's still too early to tell whether Huck poses a real threat, BUT A PLATFORM IS BEING BUILT.
    Plank: At a recent Hawaii electioneering junket, 10,000 people (more than turned out to greet President Eisenhower last month) were on hand at the Honolulu airport to greet Huck. (Huck being indisposed in an ink bottle couldn't make it himself, but sent an emissary, dressed in his likeness.)
    Plank: Some 5,000,000 "Huck for President" campaign buttons have been run off; there's a comic book on the same theme; disk putting the theme to music; banners, picket signs, etc.
    Plank: In the heartland of the United States of America— midway between Alaska, Hawaii and Brooklyn—in Mason City, Ia., the State Fair will feature a "Huck for President" rally. Similar rallies have been and are being conducted elsewhere in the country.
    Plank: Huck is three years old.
    Plank: Television stations, aware of Huck's friendly disposition to the industry, are lending their support with on-the-air endorsements for his nomination. (It's not only his particular paid-for show.) Some tv stations have been real sneaky about it. They slotted the Presidential Huck free plugs in local breaks during the recent convention coverage. When other candidates complained, station execs played it deadpan. "We want to add a light note to the business on hand," they stated.
    Ed Justin, Screen Gems' merchandising director who started what he considered to be a gag, couldn't be reached for comment. Last seen, he was jetting for outer space, wondering where it would end (the campaign, that is).

    Aug. 31, 1960
    JUST FOR VARIETY
    BY HUCKLEBERRY HOUND

    A DOG'S EYE VIEW OF HOLLYWOOD
    AS TOLD TO JOE BARBERA AND BILL HANNA
    (WHO PASSED IT ALONG TO ARMY ARCHERD— WHO IS ON VACATION)
    GOOD MORNING, y’ all . . . These are known as dog days, which is probably why Army Archerd asked me to do this column . . . or maybe he was just dog-tired and didn't realize what he was doing . . . in any case, Hollywood is a great town for canines . . . it's the only place where a man can produce a dog . . . at least, that's what one producer called his last movie.
    Cartoon heroes, like yours truly, have a hard time getting into the gossip columns . . . Yogi Bear is bigger than Clint Walker, louder than Milton Berle, and even wilder than Louis Prima, but has yet to be itemed in the tabloids . . . Quick Draw McGraw was seen hoof-holding with a glamorous filly out of the Screen Gems stable, but no one mentioned it . . .
    Actually, Quick Draw is being influenced by other western heroes in Hollywood . . . the equine star recently asked for a salary hike to $6,000 per cartoon . . . Bosses Hanna and Barbera dueted, "That ain't hay," and McGraw may be replaced by an elephant . . . they're big, but they'll work for peanuts . . . and they never get trunk with power. I've been busy myself campaigning for President . . . was very gratified by the 'Huck for President' rally in Honolulu at which 60,000 people showed up . . . it's a great country where a Hound Dog can grow up to be President — and come to think of it — many a President's been in the dog house from time to time . . . Yogi Bear says the reason I'm presidential timber is because I know such a lot about trees . . .
    Yogi's been running my campaign . . . says I've got to get out and shake paws with my constituents . . . It's turned me into a pooped pup . . . woke up this morning and my nose was warmer than Brigitte Bardot's guest towels . . .
    Ran into Baba Looey, the burro who gets big laughs on "The Quick Draw McGraw" show, and he tells me he's very excited about his upcoming vidstint with David Susskind on "Open End" discussing "The Social Responsibility of the Animated Cartoon in the Atomic Age" . . . he's also been pacted to do the voice of Desi Arnaz . . .
    Augie Doggy has taken time out from his picture, "The Canine Mutiny," to cut an album of all-time great canine tunes . . . songs include "The Bassett Things in Life Are Free" . . . "Purple Puppy Eater" . . . "The Beagle Gall Rag" . . . "I've Got the World On A Leash" . . . "I'm Going To Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Litter" . . . and a tear jerker, "Mastiffs in the Cold, Cold Ground" . . . Doggy Daddy more involved with serious projects . . . wants to play "Hamlet" because he hears he was a great Dane . . . or at least Sir Walter Raleigh who laid his cloak over a wet poodle in the street . . .
    Yogi Bear, whose last flick was the "Bear Foot Contessa," jets back to Jellystone National Park this week after negotiations for the starring role in "West Side Story" fell through . . . Bear's fancy footwork brought him to the attention of director Jerome Bobbins . . . but Yogi got carried away in a love scene with Natalie Wood and gave her a big bear hug . . . she'll be out of the hospital in a few weeks . . . Rin Tin Tin finally admitted he uses a double for the tough stunt scenes . . . Pal, the Collie who plays Lassie on tv, confessed exclusively to this reporter, he's sick and tired of his stint as a female impersonator . . . wants to get a Yul Brynner haircut and play a Mexican Hairless . . . Boo-Boo Bear, Yogi's Jellystone Park pal, has set up his own producing company — Boo Boo Productions. Three studios have filed suit against the company claiming they have been making Boo Boo's for years . . .
    Big talk among the cartoon colony in Hollywood this week is "The Flintstones," first adult situation comedy in cartoon form . . . Heroes of the opus which won a Friday night slot on ABC-TV are Fred and Wilma Flintstone and Betty and Barney Rubble . . . supplying the voices are the talented Alan Reed, Bea Benadaret, Mel Blanc and Jean Vander Pyl . . . Y.C.M.A. (Young Cave Men's Association) planning huge demonstration for series debut . . . vidfilm series loaded with caveman gimmicks ranging from a dinosaur which doubles as a steam shovel, a Stoneway piano, to a suburban development complete with split-level caves . . . This is definitely the most ambitious project yet developed for the living-room monster and producers Hanna and Barbera have kept their brand-spanking new cartoon factory going on a round-the-clock schedule . . . It's tough to curl up in an ink bottle and go to sleep anymore . . . That's about it from Hollywood's cartoon colony . . . see you next year in Army's space with items you won't get from any other columnist in town . . . meanwhile, back to the drawing board.

    October 20, 1960
    HANNA-BARBERA DOUBLES PROD’N
    THEATRICAL AS WELL AS TV CARTOONS

    Hanna-Barbera Productions, already conceded to be the world's largest cartoonery, has launched a reorganization and expansion program for 1961, entailing a near 100% increase in its annual production budget. Blossoming includes two new teleseries, initial plans for a third and production of company's first feature-length theatrical film.
    For its 1961 schedule, H-B will spend more than $6,000,000, compared with the $3,500,000 laid out for its 1960 program. If current high ratings on "The Flintstones" hold up and a second brace of 26 segments is ordered, the total budget for '61 will run closer to $7,700,000.
    Additionally, company toppers Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera are looking for two acres of ground on which they'll build new facilities, including their own sound stage, which will involve an expenditure of $760,000.
    Expand — And Save
    In line with its reorganization, H-B has made considerable personnel changes, promoting several staff members and adding others. With its enlarged personnel roster, the company already is committed for production of at least 36 hours of television product for the '60-'61 season. Company has become well known for its "planned animation," a system involving quality action with fewer drawings and resulting in a 50% saving of money and a 65% saving of time. Were the 35-hour slate to be produced via the animation techniques Hanna and Barbera used while at Metro, the $5,000,000 program would cost more than $15,000,000, according to Hanna.
    H-B has just concluded a deal with Screen Gems for production of 104 five-minute segments for syndication. "All our shows have been planned for syndication," Barbera explained, "but so far all have been bought by single sponsors." Emphasizing the new five-minute shows definitely will be syndicated, Barbera revealed they will encompass two separate series, one starring "Lippy the Lion" and "Hardy Har Har" and the other starring "Hairbrain Hare" and "Dum Dum," all of them new H-B creations.
    'Yogi' Feature Star
    Company currently is in production on a "Yogi Bear" teleseries, bringing the character out of the "Huckleberry Hound" teleseries. "Yogi" also will be the star of H-B's first feature-length film, currently being written by Barbera and Warren Foster and being aimed for release next summer by Columbia. Barbera additionally revealed that success of the adult cartoon series, "The Flintstones" (now airing on ABC) has keyed interest in another family-type series. Talks already have been held with Screen Gems, and H-B currently is working on a character for the series which is expected to be ready for airing next fall.
    Animation company has been in its new Hollywood quarters for less than three months and already finds only half of its staff can be accommodated, the other half now working at home. Current roster numbers 140 and, as an example of expansion, was boosted by the addition of 17 new girls in the paint-and-ink department within the past four weeks. H-B also has added another $25,000 camera to its facility, bringing total to four.
    "And they're actually the equivalent of 12 cameras," said Barbera, "since they're in operation 24 hours a day."
    H-B's "Ruff 'n' Reddy" series has just completed three years on the air. "Huckleberry Hound" currently is in national syndication on 192 stations through Kellogg's, with similar syndication on "Quick Draw McGraw" and same system planned for "Yogi Bear." With "Flintstones" on ABC, H-B finds another network exposure on CBS' Saturday show "The Magic Land of AllaKasam" which integrates fourth-run H-B product.
    5-Year Col Deal
    Besides its commercial operation — involving budget of $300,000 to $500,000 per year — Hanna-Barbera also has a five-year exclusive deal with Columbia for production of "Loopy De Loop" theatrical cartoons. H-B also has just completed animated sequences for "Pepe," Columbia release of a production by George Sidney, who was instrumental in bringing Hanna and Barbera to Col and Screen Gems three years ago. Sidney has a financial interest in H-B.
    In line with its expansion, H-B has promoted to new posts: Alex Lovy and Dan Gordon, associate producers; Warren Foster, chief writer and story supervisor on "Huckleberry Hound"; Mike Maltese, chief writer and story supervisor on "Quick Draw McGraw"; Maltese and Foster, story supervisors on the new "Yogi Bear Show"; Tony Benedict and Kevin Gordon, upped to the story department; Bob Carr, from assistant animator to full animator; Guyla Avery to office manager; and Frank Paiker, head of camera department. They join Roberta Greutert, head of the paint-and-ink department; Greg Watson, head of the editorial staff; and Arnold Carr, head of promotion-advertising-publicity.

    November 7, 1960
    THE FLINTSTONES
    (The Monster From The Tar Pits)
    Fri., 8:30-9 p.m., KABC-TV)
    Those who first saw "The Flintstones" in its rounds of the ad agencies gave it a big plus to their clients. To see it again is to understand why it was snapped up by the William Esty agency and is now riding with the leaders in the Nielsen 20's. Those who labelled it a sleeper can take their places with the prophets of "Candid Camera." But rather, it's a wide-awaker in the idiom of Warren Foster's rollicking wordage for the inky characters.
    Doubters may well ask, "how-cum a cartoon goes over so big?" It has never happened before in tv in the night hours, week in and out. To isolate the cause and effect in last Friday's stanza was to turn the key to its success: a skilled amalgam of character, dialog, and story line. The drawings are uproarious, the voices expertly fitted and a story to tell that doesn't just ramble from one violent incident to another. It might even lead to Jack Benny or Red Skelton doing a show in caricature and Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera are the ones to do it. It could be the answer to the critics wailing for something new and different. "The Monster From The Tar Pits" was a broad burlesque of a picture company location. The gag lines could have been considerably helped by a laugh track, but here's at least one "honest" program. On the sight side were such zany inventions as an elephant's trunk used to vacuum a mom.
    It takes many hands to turn out a cartoon series to buck the night tide so successfully and the credits must be scattered so here they are: Producers, Hanna and Barbara [sic]; voices. Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl, Bea Benadaret, Bob Hopkins, Jerry Mann; below the line: Alan Dinehart, Foster, Howard Hanson. Kenneth Muse, Walt Clinton, Bob Gentle, Lawrence Goble, Donald Douglas, Norm Stainbach, Roy Wade, Hoyt Curtin.Helm.

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  • 12/30/17--07:00: Bearly a Wizard
  • Yogi Bear mixes “a magic potion that will turn me into a handsome prince of a fellow.”



    He says the magic words “Alaka-zee, alaka-zam.” Note the trance-like pupils.



    As you might expect, it doesn’t work.



    “I added too much yeast and turned beauty into a beast. Hey, hey, hee!”

    The little cartoon being over, it’s on to the main cartoon.

    I won’t venture a guess on who worked on this one.

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    Ah, the nippy chill of winter is in the air! Normally, that means hibernation for the ursine denizens of the forest. But not Yogi Bear.

    Three of the four comics published in weekend newspapers 50 years ago this month involve snow and cold. Boo Boo makes a reappearance finally after a number of weeks off.

    Two of the sources I was using for these Yogi comics don’t have Sunday editions on-line after 1967. So you’ll have to deal with not-so-good copies from Google News (the Flintstones are even more difficult to find readable versions with even two columns). Richard Holliss supplied the colour comic from his archive.



    Chuckle, chuckle. Art Linkletter knew it. Kids say the darndest things! Yogi learns that in the January 7th comic. There are birdies in the tree branch in the second panel. They didn’t fly south for the winter. Ranger Smith’s jeep has a license number of “3400.” What was the address of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio again?



    Why is Yogi complaining in the January 14th comic? He got his food, didn’t he? Hey bear, wait for it to thaw, then say hurrah. The use of space in the Yogi silhouette panel (second row) is very good. Apparently some evergreen trees are so hot, they keep the snow off.



    After reading the January 21st comic, I wonder what it is Yogi was trying to win. (I’d ask where he got the horse, but we’ll just accept that). The horse is very proud in the final panel.



    Flipped panels were used sparingly in the Yogi comics, but there’s one to communicate the punch line in the January 28th comic. He’s waving his large butt around in the middle panel, third row. There’s only one rhyme and Yogi stretches it out over two panels (the first two). And we have those southern-hating birds on a snowy branch again in this comic (second panel).

    We’ll have a bigger percentage of colour Yogis next month.

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  • 01/06/18--07:00: Yakky Doodle in Mad Mix Up
  • Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Bob Carr, Layout – Jack Huber, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Chopper – Vance Colvig; Yakky – Jimmy Weldon; Fibber Fox, Mad Scientist – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Episode: Production J-64 (final Yakky production of 1961 season).
    Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
    Plot: A mad scientist temporarily switches the brains of Yakky and Chopper, confusing Fibber Fox.

    The best part of this cartoon is Art Lozzi’s establishing shot. Excellent design and colour, and I like the brush strokes in the sky in the background. The next-best part is the takes and expressions that animator Bob Carr gives to Fibber Fox.

    The plot is pretty simple. A crazy scientist with a large head and a voice similar to Wally Gator wants to test his Switcho Brain Machine. Yakky and Chopper knock on his door. They’re thirsty from hiking. The scientist offers them Chinese tea (and “Chinese hats”) but switches their brains (and strength) instead. “Hurrah for me!” he shouts.



    Yakky and Chopper beat it out of the castle. The scientist tells us the effect only lasts an hour.

    The bulk of the rest of the cartoon is spent with Fibber Fox totally baffled about why Yakky can beat him up and Chopper is swimming like a duck.



    Anticipation and extremes.



    Fibber tries putting on glasses to make sure he’s not seeing anything. Fibber thinks he’s hallucinating (“Well, gosh, I’m entitled to a little hallucination now and then”) so he tries a cold shower, a little exercise and fresh air to snap out of it. Of course, it all fails.



    The effect wears off...



    Now Chopper as himself bashes Fibber to the ground. “Hallucination or no hallucination, I can go along with the gag.” Fibber starts acting like a dog and a duck. “Look, I’m a dog! Bark, bark, bark!” “I’m a duck! Quack, quack, quack!” (Fibber even flies for good measure).



    “Hey,” says Chopper. “What’s wrong with him?” “Maybe it’s something he didn’t eat,” suggests Yakky. Chopper unnecessarily repeats Yakky’s line, adds his “Now, ain’t that cute” catchphrase and the cartoon ends. And so does this post.

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  • 01/10/18--07:00: Wanna Buy a Huck?
  • There was, and I suppose still is, more to cartoons on TV than just watching them. Many kids wanted to carry on with their enjoyment of their favourite characters after the set was turned off. And cartoon studios were ready for you. And hoped your parents’ bank accounts were, too.

    Games and toys were all part of a cartoon studio’s bottom-line. The more successful characters a studio had, the more chances for successful merchandising. And marketing stuff to kids was a huge aspect of cartoondom; in reality, it went back to the silent days of the 1920s when mom could get you a stuffed Felix the Cat doll. In the ‘30s, Walt Disney started taking advantage of merchandising. And in the TV era, so did Hanna-Barbera.

    Daily Variety crunches the numbers about licensed products in this article from August 13, 1962. Mention is made of Marx’s Rosey toy. Marx signed a licensing deal and then apparently complained that it was making a huge investment only to discover Rosey wasn’t going to be a regular character. My guess is she was included in the end credit animation to placate Marx.

    The story also talks about the studio’s budget for the coming season and plans to leave the cinder block bunker studio at 3501 Cahuenga for larger and far nicer digs down the street.

    By the way, if my parents had ever bought me one of those Huckleberry Hound or Mr. Jinks dolls that Knickerbocker put out in 1959, I’d probably have asked them “Who’s that?”


    Hanna-Barbera's Huge Merchandising Bonanza
    Merchandising, a handsome money-in-the-bank offshoot of vidpix, continues to flourish for those series which have caught on with the public, and makes millionaires out of producers.
    Latest illustration of the fancy dividends from the merchandising end is Hanna-Barbera Productions, which reports merchandising from its various cartoon characters grossed $39,000,000 past fiscal year.
    The H-B cut for licensing is 6%, and this is split with Screen Gems, which distribs the H-B series. The take thus will be $1,950,000 for H-B and as much for Screen Gems. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, partners in the animation telefilmery, say that Eddie Justin, head of merchandising for SG, estimates the gross on their merchandising will hit $50,000,000 in 1963.
    What manner of merchandise triggers such huge sales? Well, it ranges over quite a spectrum, including a Flintstones pool toy, a Huckleberry bath salts, Flintstones pajamas, Huckleberry sheets, pillowcases and drapes, pencil cups, Yogi Bear and Flintstones comic strips syndicated by McNaught in 238 newspapers, with the Flintstones also seen abroad. Over 60,000,000 comic and coloring books have been sold, over a million records.
    In Sweden, an enterprising candy manufacturer put out a Flintstones candy—rock candy, of course—and reported he sold 1,000,000 boxes the first day it was on the market. This year's royalty cut from merchandising is a record for H-B, topping the previous fiscal year considerably. In fiscal year ended June 1, 1961, their products merchandise grossed $22,000,000 which brought home a royalty pie of $1,100,000. If the SG estimate on the next fiscal year proves correct, the royalty dessert will add up to $2,500,000.
    The partners have issued over 700 licenses for various venders of their animated by-product. Strongest of the characters merchandisewise were The Flintstones and Yogi Bear, they report.
    As a rule, merchandising doesn't get underway until a series is on the air and a proven success—for obvious reasons—but on H-B's upcoming "The Jetsons," which bows this fall, a merchandising deal has already been made with toy manufacturer Louis Marx for a Jetson character, the maid, called "Rosey The Robot." Other Jetson characters are now being licensed also.
    In addition to their record take from merchandising, the Hanna-Barbera team is shelling out a record $8,500,000 for new product for the coming season. The breakdown goes like this: $2,000,000 for 26 "The Flintstones"; $2,000,000 for 24 "The Jetsons"; $1,900,000 for 156 syndicated five-min. cartoons on three series, "Lippy The Lion And Hardy Har-Har"; Touche Turtle And Dum-Dum" and "Wally Gator"; $140,000 for 12 "Loopy De Loop" cartoons for theatrical release via Columbia; $900,000 on commercials for their shows; $1,200,000 for a Yogi Bear feature for Columbia, to be released in June of 190%. Not included in this tabulation is a "Flintstones" feature planned for Columbia in June of 1964.
    Hanna and Barbera said they expect additional orders on "Huckleberry,""Yogi" and "Quick Draw McGraw" this fall, but even without these the production coin outlay is of record proportions.
    H&B's "Top Cat" series, which was on ABC-TV for only one season, will be seen on that web next season, on daytime, in reruns.
    H&B, because of their expanding operations, are going to construct a new building, one with 38,000 square feet. Near the present site, the structure will cost $1,100,000. It will be ready by Jan. 1.
    Expansion is the capper on a Hollywood success story not too often seen these days. Neither partner is a novice — each is 52 — and when they headed MGM's animation department they created the "Tom And Jerry" theatrical shorts series while there. In 1957 they exited MGM to go it on their own.
    Renting space at the old Chaplin studios, they spent three years there but began to build so rapidly they had offices in four different locations as well as the studio, before leaving for site between Hollywood and San Fernando Valley.
    But they're still growing, and are headquartered in nine separate buildings; hence the decision to construct one which will encompass all their activities. High production costs killed the once-prosperous field of theatrical cartoons, and for their upcoming theatrical product, H-B "have geared the cartoons to the present economy," they say.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Art Davis, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Vera Hanson, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snagglepuss – Daws Butler; Hunter, Joe, Sergeant – Doug Young; General, Men in Jeep – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Episode: Production R-17 (seventh cartoon in production).
    Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
    Plot: Snagglepuss, disguised as a soldier to escape a hunter, is mistaken for real one by the Army.

    Art Davis was looking forward to being in charge of a unit to direct commercials at Warner Bros. He had been promised it. He had begun to get staff together. But then he discovered someone else was brought in to do it. So he got out when the studio resumed operations in September 1960 after the usual two-week summer break. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do.

    Then he talked to Warren Foster, who was writing at Hanna-Barbera. The two had worked together in Friz Freleng’s unit at Warners. And Foster helped him get in to Warner Bros. as an animator, though he shouldn’t have needed much help. Davis had been in the cartoon business since the silent era so everyone must have known him.

    Davis arrived at a fortuitous time. In October, Kellogg’s signed a contract to sponsor a brand-new half-hour series to be part of its syndication distribution, The Yogi Bear Show. Hanna-Barbera needed new cartoons, pronto; the series had to be ready in about three months. Davis recalled he was in animation for about three weeks and then became a story director. Writer Tony Benedict, who was at the studio at the time, tells me the story director drew up the production board from the writers, then numbered the scenes, panels and backgrounds and timed out scenes for dialogue and action. This all followed the voice audio tracks. The production board then went to a layout artist.

    Artie had a peculiar way of animating dialogue in some H-B characters in side or almost three-quarters view, you can see it in his Yogi Bear and Yakky Doodle cartoons in addition to this cartoon. He had mouth lines curve way up into the face, with teeth represented by a few vertical lines (no uppers and lowers). I wish I could describe it better. See the drawing to the right. I don’t recall him animating anything like that in theatrical cartoons.

    There are plenty of mix-ups in this cartoon which ends with Snagglepuss being mischievous. It starts out with our hero being indignant at a poster announcing a $15 for his capture for attempted sheep stealing (which he never did in any of the cartoons in his own series) and adding he’s not too bright. “Why, I was so bright, my mother called me ‘Sunny’,” is Snagglepuss’ response. He decides to draw a huge handlebar moustache on his picture so no one will recognise him. Besides, it makes him look “Dis-ting-gay. Handsome, even!”

    Enter a hunter. I thought layout man Tony Rivera re-used him from another cartoon (he and Davis teamed up on Yakky Doodle’s Whistle-Stop and Go) but the other red-suited hunters I’ve spotted aren’t quite the same. Snagglepuss points to the poster and asks the hunter if he looks like that. The hunter draws a moustache on Snagglepuss. Time for an exit, stage left. Davis animates a mouth movement on the hunter, evidently forming two words, but there’s no voice on the soundtrack.



    We cut from Snagglepuss running to a soldier who is swimming in a lake. Snagglepuss reaches out from behind bushes on a cel overlay and decides to disguise himself and make a getaway in the back of an Army jeep. Incognito, even. The two soldiers in the jeep, for reasons of the plot, simply leave their friend in the lake and drive away from him.


    Some Tony Rivera designs. He really liked those jaw lines and overbites.



    The jeep roles into Fort Nitt but Snagglepuss somehow thinks he’s in a Boy Scout camp (“How healthy! How outdoorsy!”), that the noisy drill sergeant is a scoutmaster and the assembly of Rivera-designed soldiers are “just little kids.” “Temper, temper! T-sk, t-sk, t-sk!” he chides the sergeant (Daws Butler turns the word “tsk” into two syllables). Sarge assesses the situation as being a nightmare, caused by eating pickled cream puffs. Snagglepuss adeptly wraps him up in a rope while demonstrating “a few keen scout knots” namely the “double hitch quadruple grandma knot.”

    “Hiya, general. I see you’ve been eating pickled cream puffs, too.” Yes, the general enters the cartoon. Snagglepuss hears the word “army” and realises the situation he’s in, though the military people all think he’s a soldier. There’s a lot of running back and forth between the base and the hunter outside as Snagglepuss tries to escape bullets. “Caught between second and third,” he anxiously exclaims. Sarge stops the firing. “I’m going to recommend you for a medal, rampant with peanut clusters, even!” says Snagglepuss, who is then put on guard duty but refuses to let the general enter. The general puts Snagglpuss on K.P. “What’s K.P.?!” he demands. Cut to Snagglepuss peeling potatoes. “No wonder they don’t spell it out. Nobody would do it.” Sarge tells Snag the general likes his potatoes scalloped. “Who’s the general? Sittin’ Bull? Scalped indeed!”



    There’s more gunfire when Snagglepuss reveals himself to be a lion, as the Flintstones’ cue“Chase” (aka “Cue 3-1”) plays in the background. He shrugs philosophically as he runs away from the bullets.

    The final scenes take us to the lake. The general is now swimming. Snagglepuss grabs his clothes from behind the bushes. “I hope you enjoyed your swim, general, sir,” says the sergeant. “Immense-itively, sergeant. Immense-itively,” says Snagglepuss, now wearing the general’s uniform. And I hope I enjoy my scalped potatoes, even.” Cartoon ends.

    More on the music. The opening cue was originally written for the Loopy De Loop cartoons, but you’ll recognise some Flintstones music as well. For example, the piece when the sergeant has the soldiers marching is “Cue 6-14,” informally known as “A Putter to Drive With.” When Snagglepuss is thanking the sarge, the music is “Cue 8-11,” also called “Bouncy Fred,” and when he’s peeling the potatoes, it’s “Cue 8-6C,” aka “Sad Fred Dirge Pt. 3.”

    And some brushwork as Snagglepuss exits.



    Vera Hanson, the background artist, was married to Howard Hanson, the production supervisor. This is the only Snagglepuss cartoon she worked on.

    The blog has now reviewed all of the cartoons in the Snagglepuss series.

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    The forecast for Bedrock—rain or snow. At least, that’s the variety we get in the Flintstones weekend comics 50 years ago this month.

    Richard Holliss supplied the colour versions; apparently there were some comics in the paper he clipped that were in a red tone only.


    Fred wore a hat in the comics on occasion; I don’t recall him wearing one very often on the TV show. Here in the January 4th comic we see that golf is omnipresent in Fred’s mind, even when he doesn’t speak.


    Aw. Fred’s being a good daddy in the January 11th comic. Apparently the reader has seen enough of these that they’re supposed to recognise who Pops is, though he never appeared in the TV series.


    This is the best version I can find of the January 21st comic; my sources have dried up again (in other words, papers kept dropping the two Hanna-Barbera strips as the ‘60s wore on). You can’t see the mastodon bookends very well. The story is good, definitely not directed at kids.


    The temperature has been warming up in Bedrock. It went from snow to rain and now it’s warm enough to make ice unstable in the January 28th. The old know-it-all Fred is in this comic. I like the opening panel. Pops shows up at the end. Sploot!

    Poor Dino isn’t around this month. They didn’t showcase him very much in the comics. Too bad. Maybe next month.

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  • 01/20/18--06:56: Judo Jinks
  • In the early days at Hanna-Barbera, one animator would be responsible for an entire cartoon, but there were exceptions. For whatever reason, Mike Lah would be brought in to handle a couple of minutes of footage.

    One of them was Judo Jack, which was the Pixie and Dixie cartoon that Joe Barbera remembered screening for Kellogg’s to try to get it to sponsor its nascent Huckleberry Hound Show.

    Lah liked weird little mouth shapes in dialogue. He moved the shapes across a character’s face, requiring no other animation. Here’s an example from one of my favourite drawings of Mr. Jinks, when Judo Jack turns him into a pretzel using “a pretzel hold.”



    Lah must have driven Ed Benedict nuts. Benedict once complained the Hanna-Barbera artists never stuck to the model sheets. Lah sure didn’t. Here’s Jinks again, being pulled under a door by the tail by Judo Jack. These are funny drawings.



    Lah had been animating on a freelance basis after MGM shut down its cartoon studio in early-ish 1957. He was supposed to be part of the original Hanna-Barbera partnership—his wife was the twin sister of Bill Hanna’s wife—but something happened to prevent it; possibly Lah didn’t have money to invest. His H-B career seems to have lasted into 1959. He bought into the ownership of Quartet in 1960 and eventually ran the company. Why he left H-B may be in hidden away in an unpublished interview, especially at a time when the studio was adding staff to make the Quick Draw McGraw Show, but it’s a shame he didn’t stay. A Lah Jetsons could have been pretty funny.

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    Which 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon starred Jim Backus?

    Give up? The answer is Mr. Leaf.

    You don’t recall Mr. Leaf? That wouldn’t be surprising. That’s because it never appeared on TV (to the best of my knowledge). It was one of the films made by Hanna-Barbera’s newly-organised industrial unit.

    You may remember when the company was first formed in July 1957, it announced plans to animate commercials and industrial films; no sense in limiting yourself when you’re looking for that first contract. But it doesn’t appear the studio really got into industrials until it was ready to move into its studio at 3400 Cahuenga. Variety reported on April 23, 1963 that Arthur Pierson had “joined the company as associate producer of its entertainment product, and head of its industrial films division.”

    Hanna-Barbera had grown to a position of not only being able to make animated industrials but live action ones; you may have read stories on the blog from this time period about how the studio wanted to move into live action. It ran into a bit of bad luck right away. Variety reported on May 17, 1963: “Construction begins Monday on sets for Hanna - Barbera industrial documentary ‘The Story Of Dr. Lister’ and for ‘Death Valley Days’ teleseries at the studio.” The studio in question happened to be the Producers Studio on Melrose near Van Ness. The day before the story, the Polar Palace ice arena next to the studio burned to the ground. Four sound stages were partly damaged and had to be constructed. Then Army Archerd reported in his column of November 14th that “Hanna-Barbera's initial live action lensing in their new building started with a bang — an electrical explosion sending one gaffer to the hospital. The film, ‘Here Comes A Star’ features both Hanna and Barbera as ‘live’ actors. The film was a half-hour commercial for the coming Magilla Gorilla show.

    Those were mere hiccoughs. The show went on. Here’s a short blurb from Business Screen Magazine of April 30, 1964.

    Notable Business Films Are Produced by Hanna-Barbera
    Known throughout the world for its animated cartoon features and TV characters, (Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound and The Jetsons), Hanna-Barbera Productions of Hollywood entered the field of industrial film production less than a year ago, creating both animation and live-action subjects for leading American companies.
    A biographical, all live-action film for Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical, The Story of Dr. Lister, is a noteworthy example. Made in association with Film Counselors and directed by Arthur Pierson, the film had a distinguished cast which included Richard Ney, Wanda Hendrix, John Hoyt, Sean McGlory, John Archer and Lloyd Bochner.
    The studio followed with Of Mutual Interest, covering the subject of mutual funds, with a cast headed by Donald Woods. An all-animation featurette for the National Association of Tobacco Distributors told the story of that industry in Mr. Leaf. With Jim Backus doing the voice of "Mr. Leaf," the film was premiered in Miami on April 4.
    One of the company's TV sponsors, Ideal Toy Company, also sponsored a combination live-action half hour film to introduce the character of Magilla Gorilla to television audiences. George Fenneman acted as the host of this film.
    The National Association of Tobacco Distributors appears to have liked Bill and Joe. It came back to them again, this time for a live-action film. From Back Stage, July 30, 1965:
    Hanna-Barbera Inks Paige For Tobacco Film
    Robert Paige has been signed by Hanna-Barbera to the lead in “Mind Your Own Business,” a live-action film being produced by J-B industrial film division for the National Association of Tobacco Distributors.
    Also named for cast are Herbert Anderson, Alice Backes, Robert Karnes, Ellen McCown, Hal Smith, Jerry Hausner, William Leslie, Anne Bellamy, Gregg Morris, John Goddard and Rance Howard.
    Arthur Pierson acts as producer-director, Lothrop Worth is cameraman, and Raoul Pagel is production manager on the color film.
    I realise some readers dote on lists and filmographies, but I’ll only point out it made sense to cast H-B voice artist Smith in its live-action films considering all the live action work he did.

    By the start of 1965, Ross Sutherland, brother of industrial film studio head John Sutherland, was brought in to beat the bushes for business. Hired to oversee the animation on these industrials was Carl Urbano, who had worked with Bill and Joe at MGM in the late ‘30s and early ‘40s. Besides his solid animation credentials, Urbano spent perhaps 15 years at John Sutherland Productions as one of the two staff directors.

    An ad in Business Screen in 1965 includes two other industrials, Of Mutual Interest for the Investment Company Institute, and Your Voice Is Showing for General Telephone & Electronics. Films made circa the 1966-68 period include Another Language (AT&T), Wings of Tomorrow (Boeing), Time for Decision (American Cancer Society), The Incredible Voyage of Mark O’Gulliver (U.S. Chamber of Commerce), Advertising 1967 (Anheuser Busch), More Than Ever Before (American Heart Assn.) and Yogi Bear, Fred Flintstone (American Cancer Society).

    Time For Decision was animated and an Oscar nominee in 1967; Business Screen reveals it was premiered in Jacksonville, Florida on January 5th. Syndicated columnist Bob Considine reported two weeks later: “The wealthy Shwayder family of Denver, luggage manufacturers, contributed $52,000 to the A.C.S. after seeing a preview of the film, to provide 1,300 prints to be shown at cancer drive rallies later in the year.” Another report stated the 16-minute short cost $92,000 to make. Photos from its production may be in this post. It may seem odd that Hanna-Barbera made films for the tobacco industry and anti-smoking films for the Cancer Society. Not at all. Business is business.

    Unfortunately, many industrial films are not available for viewing on-line. I’d love to see Backus’ Mr Leaf. However, Business Screen comes to the rescue when it comes to the O’Gulliver film. This anti-big government propaganda short is something Sutherland would have done in the ‘50s. The article was published in March 1967.

    A Humorous Parable on the Problem of BIG Government
    U. S. Chamber of Commerce Pictures a Congressman's Visit to "Animalia"

    THE Government of the United States is the biggest entity in the country today. It is the biggest employer. Biggest borrower. Biggest lender. It is the biggest landowner, the biggest tenant. It is the greatest single customer of this country's industrial production. It is the biggest in almost everything — and it is getting bigger all the time.
    Starting with these ominous facts, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, in association with Hanna-Barbera Studios, has produced an immensely amusing, but highly-significant film. The film's story takes the form of a humorous parable, in which a mythical U. S. Congressman, Mark O'Gulliver, becomes shopwrecked on a remote Pacific isle — among a community of hilarious animals whose society, unfortunately, is all too similar to our own. For in trying to find his way back to civilization, Mark O'Gulliver encounters all the frustrations, the obstacles, indeed, the paralysis which results from stuffy bureaucracy.
    Serious Note Beneath a Light Approach
    The 25-minute color film, an animated cartoon titled The Incredible Voyage of Mark O’Gulliver, is most entertaining. The animation is superb and the animal-characters are delightful. But, for all its humor and wit, the film poses some ominous questions about Big Government.
    As originally conceived, our society was to embrace a range of interests so vast that no one interest or branch of government could become the dominant power. This concept was embodied in our system of checks and balances, as everyone knows.
    But times have changed, and the composition of government has changed also. The administrative tasks of government have become so immense that a gigantic bureaucracy has grown up within the past fifty years.
    Now, a bureaucracy possesses certain features which automatically make it a hazard. First of all, a bureaucracy is hierarchy — a pyramid of authority, with power transferred from the pinnacle down toward the broader base. Second, all activities are governed by fixed, written rules. And finally people are hired to perform certain specialized functions which are impersonal and supposed to lie outside the political realm. All of this leads to inflexibility.
    The hazards of this kind of organization are vividly portrayed in the film. We see, for instance, how government by the true legislative process has become eroded with government by bureaucratic fiat. And the film illustrates other pitfalls inherent in big government: decision-making reduced to thoughtless routine; the self-perpetuation of bureaucratic inertia.
    Where to Obtain a Print of This Film
    The film may be used by local chambers of commerce, business groups, trade associations, schools, unions, church and civic groups interested in public affairs. It has been cleared for television showings.
    Prints and full information may be had from the Audio-Visual Department of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, 1615 H St.. N. W.. Washington. D. C. 20006. Film rental charges are $10 for three days, or the film may be purchased for $150.


    Thanks to the internet, the best-known Hanna-Barbera industrial is likely Advertising 1967, made for staff at Anheuser-Busch to inform them of the coming year’s sales campaign. Jean Vander Pyl was evidently unavailable so someone else voiced Wilma, while Gerry Mohr, who later played Reed Richards in the H-B version of The Fantastic Four, is the narrator. It promotes the idea that drinking a beer is like being stroked on the head by a woman’s hand. I’m pretty sure Carlo Vinci was one of the animators; someone mentioned to me once about Jerry Hathcock working on it but I really don’t know.

    Now if only Mr. Leaf turns up some day.

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