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Stuff about early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Bob Carr; Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Written by Warren Foster; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Narrator, Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, black-haired Scout – Don Messick; Yogi Bear, Scout lighting fire, tall ranger, red-haired Scout, Scoutmaster – Daws Butler.
    Music: Jack Shaindlin; Spencer Moore; Bill Loose/John Seely.
    First aired: week of February 6, 1961 (Yogi Bear Show)
    Plot: Yogi and Boo Boo disguise themselves as members of the Bear Patrol to get food from camping Boy Scouts.

    When Warren Foster had Bugs Bunny draw a line in the sand and dare Yosemite Sam to step across it, you knew it would end in disaster for Sam and something pretty funny. In “Cub Scout Boo Boo), Warren Foster has Ranger Smith draw a line and, well, it’s kind of forgotten as the plot wears on.

    Not only does Yogi blatantly ignore the law (Smith), but he takes food from innocent children by impersonation. And he gets away with it.

    We’ll let do-gooder groups stew over that for a bit. In the meantime, there’s not an awful lot to say about this particular cartoon. The animation’s basic (Bob Carr saves work in some walking sequences by only showing the upper part of the body, negating the need to animate leg movements), Tony Rivera designs characters with pipe-stem legs and Dick Thomas sticks with a basic colour scheme (sky is blue, grass is green, wood is brown). I do like one background where he’s got various shades of green to indicate rows of trees going into the distance.

    And Foster’s story line starts typically. Opening narration over some of Thomas’ paintings (with some effect animation), a medium pan over a background drawing (snipped together; you can see the jump in it) and a bunch of Yogi rhymes. The premise is Bill Hanna’s beloved Boy Scouts are holding a jamboree at Jellystone. The smell of their campout wafts into Yogi and Boo Boo’s cave. The first gag is Yogi breathing in the fumes as he snores and exhaling them (seems I saw something similar in an early Fleischer Talkartoon). Yogi runs for the food. “A weenie roast is the very most. And a hamburger bun is a lot of fun,” rhymes Yogi. And we get some plays on words “And just like their motto ‘Be Prepared’,” says the bear, “I’m prepared to be their o-fficial food taster.” Then when the Ranger draws his line in the grass, Yogi observes: “It’s not very straight, sir.” “Well, get this straight,” replies the Ranger, followed by a “clamp you in irons” threat. “Heavens!” is the best Foster can muster in a response for Yogi.

    Actually, the “line” business isn’t really needed. It doesn’t enter into the plot again. Yogi simply steals some ranger clothes drying on a line outside the Ranger Station (hey, our house had a clothesline in 1961, too), declared them Boy Scout outfits and tells Boo Boo he’s now a Cub Scout (Bear, Cub. Get it?) and a member of the Bear Patrol. “How about the ranger? He isn’t going to like this,” obligatorially says Boo Boo. “Don’t worry, Boob. The ranger thinks Boy Scouts are tops.” Well, certainly Bill Hanna felt that way and it can cynically be suggested that’s one reason this cartoon was made.

    An innocuous plot-advancing scene takes place between Yogi and a cub scout trying to light a fire with a stick. In fact, the next couple of scenes aren’t loaded with funny dialogue. Ranger Smith dumps on two rangers for having their uniforms stolen (Smith’s head rotates a bit during dialogue, like Dick Lundy did on occasion), checks Yogi’s cave, sees that Yogi stole the uniforms, then walks up to the fire-lighting Scout to find out where Yogi is. The Scout has the best bit in the cartoon actually, “I can’t even get these sticks warm. I don’t they’ll ever replace matches,” he says before giving up. “Back to the cold beans again,” the boy adds after picking up a can.

    Next scene. Smith walks, stops and shakes his head. Cut to Yogi walking on his hands, eight-drawing cycle on twos. Time for Yogi to mooch “another hamburger to give me strength.” Cut back to the Ranger getting praise from the real Scoutmaster of the Bear Patrol for sending over “mascots” and a promise of a nice report to his superiors. Yogi promises to “explain everything” to the ranger, but it isn’t necessary. Ranger Smith is a defeated man, walking off, whimpering to himself “I gotta admit it. He’s smarter than the average bear.” Yogi’s closing pun: “Mr. Ranger ain’t such bad scout after all.” Daws Butler pauses before “bad scout” to let the pun sink in.

    This cartoon, according to the Los Angeles Times, aired on the second edition of the Yogi Bear Show, along with “Yakky Doodle Duck” and “Zoom-Zoom Blabber.” I don’t know what Yakky cartoon the paper means but the presence of a Snooper and Blabber cartoon shows that not all the Snagglepuss shorts were ready by the time the show reached the air on the last week of January 1961. I haven’t been able to find if it aired on the Huckleberry Hound Show before Yogi got his own half-hour.

    The sound cutter pretty well uses one cue per scene and back-times Jack Shaindlin’s “Lickety Split” so it ends when the cartoon does.

    0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin-Shows-Hanna-Barbera).
    0:25 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – Opening narration, Yogi-Boo Boo bed scene.
    1:34 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) – Yogi runs.
    1:43 - C-14 DOMESTIC LIGHT (Loose) – Yogi pops out of bushes, Yogi-Ranger scene.
    2:41 - L-1139 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Yogi walks, gets an idea.
    3:04 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin)– Yogi runs into cave, “What is it Yogi?”
    3:11 - LAF-10-7 GROTESQUE No 2 (Shaindlin) – Yogi and Boo Boo in cave, Yogi talks to scout lighting fire, walks away.
    4:18 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Smith with rangers, Smith in cave, walks away.
    5:01 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Smith-scout scene.
    5:33 - LAF-4-6 PIXIE PRANKS (Shaindlin) – Smith walks, stops.
    5:48 - TC-437 SHINING DAY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi walks on hands, Scoutmaster thanks Ranger, “I gotta admit it.”
    6:55 - LICKETY SPLIT (Shaindlin) – “He’s smarter than the average bear,” Yogi laughs.
    7:10 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

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    Gene Hazelton and his crew handling the Flintstones newspaper comics decided to go off in a different direction from the TV show. Such isn’t usual in Comic Land. The Bugs Bunny comic books, for instance, feature Petunia and Cicero Pig, and have Sylvester calling others “Guv’ner” all the time. Fans, I guess, accept the two different worlds, just as they accept the 493 versions of the Spider-Man story that are out there today.

    So it is that Hazelton and whoever else handling stories for him felt it would be a great idea to have the infant Pebbles talk. Not out loud, but to herself. And they thought it’d be nifty to have her and Dino have kind of an ESP with each other. There are valid reasons for it if you’re a writer. It opens up more avenues for plots and punch-lines. As a reader, I’m not so sure if I’m crazy about Fred Flintstone being a straight-man to a baby. But I’m not crazy about the Pebbles character to begin with, so I suppose it personally doesn’t really make a difference.

    Pebbles started chatting with herself in 1960s American English in the weekend newspaper comics 50 years ago this month. You can click on each comic to enlarge it. The quality, as usual, isn’t terrific, as these were scans of photocopied newspapers.

    Did you know Fred invented water skiing? According to the August 4th comic, he did. Of course, he was too cheap to get a Johnston seahorse outboard motor for his boat. The last panel has a nicely composed layout. Fred still isn’t saying “Yabba Dabba Doo” in the comics yet.

    August 11th features Pebbles “talking” to Dino (who doesn’t answer back).

    Wilma’s acting more like the Wilma of the early Flintstones seasons in the August 18th. An unusual rear view in the first panel of the middle row. The small lettering in the final panel seems odd; I guess that’s how the letterer is showing Fred talking to himself.

    Silhouette drawings highlight the August 25th comic. I especially like the two panels at the bottom where Fred rides off into the distance. There’s a TV antenna on a house in the first panel in the second row. Notice that Clarence actually has a tail light. That’s clever.

    Alas, no Baby Puss again this month. The poor cat’s been forgotten, just like in the cartoons. I can’t remember if I posted this one before, but I really like some of the drawings that ran when papers publicised that they were adding the Flintstones to their comic section. I didn’t make a note which paper ran this but it doesn’t really matter. It’s a fun drawing.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: none; Layout – Dick Bickenbach, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Doggie Daddy, Roger – Doug Young; Augie, Captain Plasma, Roger’s wife, sailor, captain – Daws Butler.
    Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin, Harry Bluestone-Emil Cadkin, unknown.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw M-038, Production J-117.
    First Aired: 1961.
    Plot: A parrot teaches Doggie Daddy how to be a pirate.
    (Note: dubs of this cartoon are circulating on-line with a 1959 title card. It belongs to another cartoon).

    Jokes about Confederate money were still commonplace when this cartoon was made, almost 100 years after the start of the American Civil War. The impression I got was as a kid when this cartoon aired is the countryside in the U.S. was littered with the stuff. That may have been the case, but the gag was that all those mounds of bills were absolutely worthless. And that’s the gag which ends this cartoon.

    Mike Maltese draws on some old favourites of his to come up with a nice little story. We get a string of Wile E. Coyote/failure gags. There’s the proof-through-quizzing routine featuring far-too-obvious, but wrong, answers, like Maltese used in the Quick Draw McGraw cartoon “Treasure of El Kabong.” And Doggie Daddy favours us with silly words and phrases we don’t expect.

    The short opens with a pan across Augie’s cluttered bedroom. Bob Gentle’s fussy angles and warps look quite different from his literal pastel-coloured homescapes at MGM 20 years earlier. The swirling trees in the background are the same he drew in “Plutocrat Cat.”

    I like the little talking-to-the-camera bit in this scene. Doggie Daddy shouts “Oh, Augie, my boy!” then gives an aside to himself—“Who’s never around when I want him”—and continues, “Where are ya?” Augie answers: “Here I am, dear old dad,” then turns to the camera and says as an aside to us “Who never knows where to find me.” Augie’s carrying a pick and a shovel and quickly explains why. He has a pirate friend who’ll tell him where there’s buried treasure. A parrot with a blue pirate hat. Maltese has named him “Captain Plasma” which, I can only presume, is a pun on Errol Flynn’s swashbuckling “Captain Blood.” This situation is concerning to Doggie Daddy, who gets out the “child psy-co-co-logical book.”

    Fade to the next scene, as Daddy reads the index that Maltese has filled with entries of escalating improbability. “Beatin’ up on kid brothers. Paintin’ the cat blue. Invitin’ crocodiles for tea. Ah, here it is! Boys hangin’ around with pirate parrots.” The ridiculous theory in the book: “Sometimes, a boy shows his gratitude to his dad by bringin’ him a treasure, which only a pirate parrot can help him find.” His book-reading is interrupted by counting outside. Daddy zooms to the window in a rare (for 1960) piece of smear animation. There’s the sound of digging.

    Daddy: Augie, wait! You’re ruinin’ my night-bloomin’ nasterniums, (turns to audience) not to mention my spring-bloomin’ avunculars.

    Daddy walks to a hole in the ground. Augie pops up his head. “Oh, the shame of it! Mine own male parent prefers nasteriums to pieces of eight.” Daddy relents when Augie and parrot decide to go hunting on Treasure Island instead. The cartoon’s half over.

    Cut to a bunch of holes with no treasure in them. “If I don’t do somethin’ soon,” says Daddy, “My yard will look like somethin’ to throw old razor blades in.” Huh? Maltese comes up with a better line when Daddy emerges wearing a pirate hat. “Well, If you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em. Then ya can lick ‘em.” The parrot is sceptical that Daddy’s a pirate. Daddy demands to be quizzed.

    Parrot: All right, now. Name the Seven Seas.
    Daddy: Ha, that’s easy. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
    Parrot: All right. What’s a hatch?
    Daddy: A hatch is what a chicken does to an egg.
    Parrot: And me final question—what’s a Jolly Roger?
    Daddy: A happy fellow named Roger. What else?
    Augie: Hurray. You’ve passed 100 per cent, Seaworthy Dad.

    Ah, but now Daddy has to pass the pirate physical. “What do I have to do?” Daddy asks, then turns to the audience, “A question I’m sure I’ll be sorry I asked.”

    Test No. 1: Walking the plank. Daddy’s on a board sticking out a second storey window. The parrot stabs him with a sabre. Down he goes into a barrel of water. Ho hum.
    Test No. 2: Boarding an enemy vessel. This gag’s better because Maltese turns it into a running gag. Daddy swings from one of those Hanna-Barbera ropes that doesn’t seem to be attached to anything. In his best Robin Hood Daffy impression, he smashes into a tree on his property line. He comes down on the other side of the fence where his neighbours, a husband and wife, are resting in lounge chairs. I like how Augie and Daddy are surrounded by humans in their neighbourhood, who don’t think anything of the fact they live next to a pair of dogs.

    Wife: Roger, I do believe there is a pirate hanging from our sycamore tree.
    Daddy: Heh, heh. Have you read Treasure Island lately?

    The camera shakes and Daddy’s head crashes through the fence, sticking out in his own yard.

    Augie: Who did it, dad?
    Daddy: It was that Jolly Roger I was tellin’ you about.

    Test No. 3 – Sailing the bouncing main in search of swag. Daddy’s on a make-shift sailboat, made from a dolly with a brookstick for a mast. The parrot shoves him down a hill. He then rolls down a city street, passing the same skyscrapers eight times. Cut to a pier. Daddy rolls off it and into the ocean. He’s spotted by a naval shift which blasts him at close range.

    The scene jumps back to the Daddy back yard. Daddy returns with only some ruffled fur. But while he was gone, Augie and the parrot found a treasure chest “filled to the gills with bills.” “Jumpin’ government mint sauce!” exclaims Daddy, who takes a close look at the green cash and realises there’s only one thing that can be done with it. Cut to the final scene where there’s a quick pan across Augie’s bedroom. “After all,” catchphrases dear old dad. “How many boys are so rich, they can paper their walls with money? Confederate money, dat is.”Their treasure is worthless. But Daddy laughs at the end. It’s not like he lost anything.

    The sound cutter uses few cues in this one. We get the full Jack Shaindlin cue with the skipping strings, including the little introduction. And the symphonic sounding piece with a string section, which could be by Louis De Francesco from the Sam Fox library, gets a little extra tacked on to stretch it out.

    0:00 - Augie Doggie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin).
    0:25 - GR-65 BUSH BABY (Green) – Pan shot across bedroom, Augie-parrot scene, Daddy reads psychological book.
    2:00 - jaunty bassoon and skippy strings (Shaindlin) – Parrot counts, backyard scene.
    3:27 - CB-89A ROMANTIC JAUNT (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Augie in hole, Daddy answers pirate questions.
    4:47 - light symphonic strings (?) – Walk the plank test, rope swinging scene, makeshift ship scene, explosion.
    6:19 - EM-107D LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – Augie and Daddy in backyard, Daddy looks at money, “Confederate money, dat is.”
    7:05 - GR-79 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS SHORT BRIDGE No 2 (Green) – Doggie Daddy laughs.
    7:10 - Augie Doggie End Title theme (Curtin).

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  • 08/14/13--07:29: Almost New This Fall
  • Who would you rather watch—the Jetsons or Coo Coo Cat?

    We know ABC TV’s answer to that question. The Jetsons debuted on the network in fall 1962. Coo Coo remained in a filing cabinet at Hanna-Barbera, his opportunity for stardom never being fulfilled.

    Some time ago, Mark Christiansen posted a storyboard for a Coo Coo cartoon on his blog. We’ve dug around and found that Bill Hanna actually talked about the stillborn show with UPI Hollywood columnist Vernon Scott in 1961. That was the year where the success of The Flintstones wrought other night-time cartoon shows—none of which were renewed for a second prime time season.

    Hanna and Joe Barbera were prepared for that eventuality with some other shows, as we read in this column which appeared in newspapers on December 3, 1961. This version appeared in the Binghamton Sunday Press.

    So Cartoons Are Driving You Nutty—Blame Fred Flintstone
    Rash of New Ones Wins Kids but Adults Wince

    HOLLYWOOD -—If televised cartoons are driving you crazy, don’t throw a brick at your TV set, loft it in the direction of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Between them Hanna-Barbera are responsible for 2½ hours of weekly cartoon havoc, more than all other cartoon shows put together. The cartoon mania started last season with the runaway success of The Flintstones, on Channel 12 at 8:30 Friday nights.
    Sensing a good thing, a fistful of other characters with enough money for pen and ink rushed more animated abominations on the air this year. Hanna-Barbera, inspired by their own stroke of fortune, added a new one themselves, Top Cat.
    They should have quit while they were ahead.
    • • •
    TOP CAT stands a good chance of having a can tied to its tail before the season is over. Other H-B productions, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw are prospering.
    In the event Top Cat becomes a polecat, Hanna-Barbera have three new cartoon shows ready to take its place. Hanna, a gentlemanly individual, is sincerely devoted to providing televiewers with a batting average of four hits out of five, he’s doing pretty well.
    “To enjoy cartoons it should be understood that they are family entertainment—not just for children or limited to adults,” he said. “Children have introduced such characters as Huckleberry, and Yogi Bear to their parents. And now they all watch together.
    • • •
    “ONCE YOUNGSTERS introduce a cartoon series to their elders, and if the show has any merit at all, the adults are hooked and become fans themselves.”
    Waiting in the wings should Top Cat become a fallen feline are The Jetsons, The Gruesomes and a medley show starting Cops and Roberts, Bill and Coo Coo, and Casey Jones.
    Hanna said “The Jetsons are the opposite of the Flintstones. They live several centuries in the future and suffer the same nutty family problems as Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
    The Gruesomes are a family of sickniks who live in a haunted house—similar to the sort of wierdos found in the famed Charles Addams cartoons.
    The other offering is a grab bag of dogs, birds and other animal characters which seem to do better than animated human beings.
    “Animals generally are more whimsical than human characters,” Hanna said. “That’s why they've been more successful in the past. The Flintstone family proves people can be just as funny in cartoons.”
    Before leaving his Brown Derby lunch, Hanna predicted there would be fewer cartoon shows on the air next year, adding “there is no such thing as an ‘adult’ cartoon.”

    The Gruesomes should be familiar to Flintstones fans, as they finally landed in Bedrock as Stone Age neighbours. Interestingly, Hanna-Barbera showcased their predecessors, Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist, in three Snooper and Blabber cartoons, one Snagglepuss, and a comic book series, but there’s no mention of a series for them. As for “Cops and Roberts” and “Casey Jones,” if anyone has information about them, please post a comment. It’d be (get ready for this one) Coo Cool if an animated demo of the cartoon was made and is hiding in the H-B archives somewhere.

    One thing bugs me about Hanna’s comments to UPI. The Flintstones was built up in studio publicity, including TV ads, as an “adult cartoon.” Then, after it aired, critics pounced on the claim; one went so far as to suggest Quick Draw McGraw was more adult. Both Hanna and Joe Barbera backtracked, and you’ve just read Hanna’s denial the claim was even made. But, to be polite, he’s mistaken. Barbera flat out told syndicated columnist Charles Leavy just before The Flintstones debuted:
    “We had so much success our other cartoon characters — ‘Quick-draw McGraw’ and ‘Huckleberry Hound’ — and there was so much adult public reaction and acceptance that we decided to try an adult cartoon series.”
    Joe was known to, shall we say, somewhat modify his stories over the course of time. Regardless, the Flintstones still enjoy incredible success, 53 years after first appearing on television. Poor Coo Coo never got the chance.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: none. Animation – Ed Love, Layout – Walt Clinton, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Narrator, Billy the Kidder – Don Messick, Horse Face Harry – Doug Young; Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Warden – Daws Butler.
    Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin, Hoyt Curtin.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-029, Production J-85.
    First aired: week of January 30, 1961.
    Plot: Horse Face Harry, the unspeakable outlaw, looks exactly like the heroic mainstay of law and order, Quick Draw, and the lawman discovers a way to turn this to his advantage (LA Times summary).

    One of my favourite bits of Quick Draw dialogue is in this cartoon:

    Warden: Can you do it, Quick Draw?
    Quick Draw: Can a swim duck?

    Actually, there are a few other pieces of fun, silly dialogue sprinkled throughout the cartoon. A shame it ended on a weak pun. Mike Maltese seems to have set up a Quick Draw template whereby Baba Looey had to have the last word of the cartoon while looking at the camera. It was simply up to Maltese to fill in the blank with whatever he could think of.

    This is the third and final appearance of Horse Face Harry. Too bad, because he was a good character. There’s a bit of confusion about his name. A ‘Wanted’ poster in this cartoon calls him “Hoss-Face.” The voice actors use both “hoss” and “horse.” I’ve never seen the dialogue sheets, so I’m going with “horse.”

    There are no credits on the versions of this cartoon I have but it’s easy to pick out the animator. Ed Love likes little weird mouth shapes in dialogue. And Horse Face’s evil, toothy grin reminds me of what Ed did with Buzz Buzzard as the end of the Woody Woodpecker cartoon “Drooler’s Delight” about 10 years earlier.

    Walt Clinton is the layout artist. You can tell with the collar-height ears of the incidental characters.

    I won’t try to identify the background artist. I like the toned clouds; several H-B artists seem to have used this effect. I also like the idea of Billy the Kidder’s hideout being labelled “Hide Out.”

    But a pretty basic background drawing of the Western State Penitentiary opens the cartoon.

    Maltese gets into the silly dialogue right away. The narrator explains the notorious bank robber Billy the Kidder has been captured and is being grilled by the prison warden about the location of stolen money.

    Warden: Tell ya what. Talk, and you’ll get barbecued prairie dog every Sunday. Oh, joy!
    Billy: With sagebrush dumplin’s?
    Warden: Yes!
    Billy: And tumbleweed pie?
    Warden: Yes, yes!
    Billy: No, thanks. I’m not hungry.

    Yeah, it’s not as ridiculous as Maltese’s “Rabbit au gratin de gelatin under tooled leather” from the Warner’s cartoon Rabbit Fire, but it’s suitably Western.

    Warden Lock N. Keys locks away Billy for 99 years but gets an idea to con Billy into divulging the location of the stolen money, upon seeing a wanted poster for Billy’s partner, Horse Face Harry, and noticing the resemblance to Quick Draw McGraw (“I get it. You want me to impersonate this handsome fellow,” says Quick Draw). As an added touch, the warden sings the Quick Draw McGraw theme song while on the phone trying to reach our hero. Quick Draw’s main concern about being in the same cells as Billy: “I hope he doesn’t snore.” What about Baba Looey? “I don’t look like Horse Face Harry,” he protests. “I look like my grandmother.”

    So off to jail goes Quick Draw as Horse Face who’s “meaner than a barrel of angry wildcats.” Quick Draw gives us a wildcat snarl for good measure. Typical Ed Love mouth drawing; unfortunately Ed’s stuff got toned down as Hanna-Barbera cartoons got toned down. Baba Looey breaks the two out of jail and they make a run for the hideout. “Hello, there, Hide Out,” says Quick Draw when Billy introduces him to the shack. Quick Draw asks Billy to get him “some hot bank money...Over easy.”

    “As fickle fate would have it,” the narrator begins, the real Horse Face shows up at the hideout. So the rest of the cartoon involves no one being able to tell Horse Face and Quick Draw apart. Billy hands the bag of stolen money to Horse Face and then runs back and forth between the two in different rooms of the hideout. “Must be that cactus cough medicine I’ve been takin’,” says the confused Billy, who decides to go back to jail and runs through the shack’s wall to get there. Then Baba thinks Horse Face is Quick Draw, thinking the heat is responsible for the change in voice (Horse Face is voiced by Doug Young). Baba grabs the cash (“Hey! He stole my stolen money!” yells Horse Face) and more identity confusion follows with Horse Face finally walking away with the money head to “San Francisco and a good time” (reminiscent of the bad guy in Quick Draw’s “Riverboat Shuffled” who announces he heading “to New Orleans, the Mardi Gras and some jolly fun”).

    Quick Draw skids into the scene. “Where’s the money?” he asks Baba. “You just took it,” he replies, “And there you go, Quickstraw.” “Hold on thar, Quick Draw McGraw!” shouts our hero. “Drat! It’s the good-lookin’ buttinsky Quick Draw McGraw,” opines Horse Face. Now the Warden appears and there’s still more confusion, which carries on to the end of the cartoon with Quick Draw and Horse Face both yelling “I’m Quick Draw McGraw” at each other. Maltese may have been tempted to finish the gag with a “rabbit season/duck season” turnabout like he wrote at Warner Bros. but Quick Draw simply isn’t a bright enough character to carry it off. Instead, he prefers to let them argue with Baba adding a weak pun gag line: “You know something? I think I am quickly withdrawing. Adios!” And the cartoon ends.

    I mentioned the Quick Draw theme on the piano making a quick appearance on the soundtrack. The rest of the music is pretty familiar.

    0:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub Main Title theme (Curtin).
    0:15 - GR-348 EARLY MORNING (Green) – Opening narration.
    0:33 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – Warden grills Billy the Kidder, dials phone.
    1:15 - (THAT’S) QUICK DRAW McGRAW (Curtin) – Warden sings Quick Draw theme.
    1:21 - GR-357 DR QUACK SHORT BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – “Why none other than Quick Draw McGraw.”
    1:26 - GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Green) – Quick Draw-Baba-Warden scene.
    2:22 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – Quick Draw walks to cell.
    2:35 - GR-99 THE DIDDLECOMB HUNT (Green) – Quick Draw put in cell, Baba saws window bars.
    2:59 - LFU-117-1 MAD RUSH No 1 (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw, Baba and Billy run.
    3:07 - GR-99 THE DIDDLECOMB HUNT (Green) – Quick Draw outside hideout, Billy goes to get money.
    3:28 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Horse Face walks, shoots at Billy.
    3:51 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Billy skids into room with Quick Draw, Billy goes back and forth, runs through wall.
    4:26 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Horse Face has money, talks to Baba, Baba grabs money and runs.
    4:50 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – “Hey!” Horse Face falls in cellar, Baba walks out of room.
    5:06 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Baba and Quick Draw talk about money, Baba runs out.
    5:29 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Horse Face grabs money, Baba realises who it is, Warden shoots at Quick Draw.
    6:24 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – (Shaindlin) – “Hold on thar, Warden!” Quick Draw and Horse Face argue.
    6:36 - GR-79 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS BRIDGE No 2 (Green) – Baba talks to camera.
    6:44 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

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    Shake-takes fell out of favour at Hanna-Barbera fairly quickly, and I don’t know why. You find them sprinkled throughout the first season of The Huckleberry Hound Show and only rarely after that. Maybe it had to do with the arrival of Mike Maltese, Warren Foster and Alex Lovy at the studio; stories got an awful lot more talky after that. Or maybe the takes were deemed too old-fashioned or clichéd.

    Carlo Vinci and Mike Lah were masters of these kinds of takes. Carlo wasn’t far removed from a 20-year career at Terrytoons and sometimes his artwork looks like it would fit in a Mighty Mouse cartoon with its thick ink-lines and unusual proportions. But he came up with some fun drawings.

    Here’s a Carlo take from “Cock-a-Doodle Huck.” A fox reaches into a chicken coop to grab a chicken. Instead, farmer Huck bashes his hand (paw?) with a hammer. The fox reacts in pain.

    Here are the anticipation drawings.

    Then, the fox stretches in pain. Carlo re-uses some of the drawings, but they’re not in a cycle. They’re exposed on twos.

    And then the take ends.

    Within a couple of years, a take in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon consisted of barely stretching the eyes into a large oval and opening the mouth. It’s like the cartoons regressed back to the mid-‘30s. Imagine how much funnier the later H-B cartoons would have been if animal characters had similar types of takes as the one above.

    Here’s a look at Carlo’s animation slowed down (though not all that well). Unfortunately, you have to put up with the jerky sound; I couldn’t mute it when making this clip.

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    The old “tie-a-tooth-to-the-door” routine must date to silent films. It gets trotted out by the author of a Yogi Bear comic strip that appeared in weekend newspapers 50 years ago this month. We also get a “boing” and a “voing,” but no guest appearances from other Hanna-Barbera characters.

    Kids in these comics were almost never neutral. They were either syrupy nice or real jerks. We get a real jerk in the August 4th comic. The oddest thing is he grows in size in the last panel.

    Yogi leads Ranger Smith on a wild goose chase for the sake of a corny pun on August 11th. I’m presuming this is a Harvey Eisenberg comic by the angular fir trees in the last panel and the cute little squirrel observing things in the first one. Note how Yogi’s gestures change from panel to panel. Somehow, Jellystone Park is high in the mountains, but also on the ocean, as there’s a guy with a surfboard.

    Oh, Cindy Bear! Yogi is fooling around on the side yet he can’t help it, as the final panel of the August 18th comic shows. The gag fits Yogi’s character nicely. Lots of wavy lined-mouths and little tongues.

    If I had to guess, I’d say Harvey Eisenberg also drew the August 25th comic with Yogi in a variety of nice poses. You can’t tell too well (Heh. A Yogi rhyme) from the lousy copy of this drawing that the Hanna-Barbera copyright notice is on the side of the Acme Transfer truck in the last panel. If anyone knows more about who drew what, please leave a note. It’s not exactly an area where I’m very knowledgeable.

    You can click on each comic to try to get a better look. Again, I don’t have good newspaper source copies for these and these versions were the best I could find out of maybe a half dozen.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.

    Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Story – Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Mr Jinks, Dixie, Space Cat – Daws Butler; Pixie, TV Announcer, Captain Mouse, Dispatcher, Exalted Leader – Don Messick.
    Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, Roger Roger, Raoul Kraushaar?, unknown.
    Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-48?
    First aired: week of January 30, 1961 (rerun, week of June 12, 1961).
    Plot: Mr Jinks discovers that Pixie and Dixie’s TV hero, Space Cat, is real.

    Warren Foster has all the elements of a good story in “Missile Bound Cat,” but something goes wrong. And I don’t mean the fact there’s no missile in the cartoon.

    The climax simply doesn’t deliver as well as it could. Mr. Jinks is brought before the mouse king of the cat planet. But there’s no real confrontation that builds between the two characters. Jinks simply grabs a broom and chases him. It’s like Foster realised he was running out of time so he had to wrap up the cartoon as soon as possible. And then he adds a second chase by the character Space Cat. Sorry, Warren, you’ve already pulled the gag. Granted, he included it to set up the final scene, though it would have worked just as well with Jinks handing Space Cat the broom and, implying the cat, fading to the final scene. The actual chase doesn’t make the scene funnier.

    Well, perhaps I’m being hyper-critical. Jinks gets in a few good lines and Lew Marshall tosses in some effective, though not elaborate, poses. Jinks emulates Daffy Duck in “This is a Life?” (released by Warner Bros., 1955) by saying “Easy, stomach” to himself. Hmm. Come to think of it, the writer of that cartoon was. . .

    Dick Thomas is the background artist and sticks to a traditional colour scheme. Wood is brown, the sky is blue, bushes are green, brick walls are grey and the TV is black-and-white. I like his shades of blue in outer space as Space Cat drags Jinks toward his planet. Space Cat blasts off, so supposedly he has a jet pack, but we don’t see one or a trail of exhaust. Saves money animating it, you know. Tony Rivera handled the layouts so he designed Space Cat and his effective disintegrator gun.

    The story premise is a good one. Pixie and Dixie have a favourite TV show—“Space Cat.” This cat goes around protecting mice. “Only those whose, uh, mentality has, like, been arrested would watch such drivel,” Jinks tells us after being woken up the noisy Space Cat theme. The meeces tell Jinks that Space Cat is their hero. “Space Cat is, like, just an imaginary from your figment. . . . You meece and your idiotcyncracies,” insists Jinks, who sets out to prove Space Cat isn’t real by yelling a challenge to him out the window. Jinks then chases the meeces with a green broom (he never does hit them) then shouts more defiance to Space Cat out the window.

    “Your hero is a zero,” says Jinks to Pixie and Dixie. But the scene is interrupted by thunder, with grey, white and black cards inserted between frames of Jinks to simulate lightning. There’s a breeze sound effect and Marshall draws a little cycle of three drawings of Pixie and Dixie’s heads with their eyes closed, indicating the wind is blowing them back into their hole. Space Cat then slides (without moving his feet) into the scene next to Jinks. Foster saves his best dialogue for now. “That, stranger, is, uh, a pip of an entrance,” says Jinks, “And don’t let anybody tell you diff-er-ent.” Jinks then makes fun of him. “Let me clue you in, Spacerooni-boy. You need a good tailor. Padded shoulders is out. Like hula hoops.” Space Cat responds by making Jinks’ head invisible with a disintegrator gun (shouldn’t his head disintegrate?) but makes it reappear with an atomiser bulb at the request of the meece (the sound editor wisely has Jinks’ voice muffled when his head is invisible).

    Space Cat decides to take Jinks back to his planet so the leader can decide his fate. So now we reach the climax scene where the leader is revealed to be a mouse who demands that Jinks kneel. At that point, Jinks grabs a convenient broom and starts chasing the king. Space Cat smiles. “Say! That looks like fun,” says Space Cat, who tries to clobber the expressionless king with the broom. That’s right. No shouting, crying in fear, nothing. Marshall just draws a six-drawing running cycle of the mute mouse with only the feet moving, flipping the drawings over the second time so he can run in the other direction. Pretty lame.

    Somehow, Jinks is back on Earth for the final scene, where he pretends to be asleep as Pixie and Dixie are about to watch their favourite show. They’re shocked to see Space Cat chasing the king on the screen. Well, “shock” is them shaking their heads and looking at the screen blankly. Not even a mild take, let alone a wild one. They’re interrupted by Jinks and his broom, who proposes “a rerun. Like, live.” This gives Jinks a chance to sound off with his “hate meeces to pieces” catchphrase just before the iris closes.

    There are some odd choices and inspired ones when it comes to the stock music used in this cartoon. Space Cat has his own little fanfare and percussion theme but I can’t find it in my collection. There’s a nice little chase theme when Space Cat comes to the rescue of Captain Mouse and I suspect it’s on a Capitol Hi-Q ‘D’ Series reel I’m missing; it sounds similar to other cues I have and I believe it was used in one other cartoon. The cartoon inexplicably opens with Roger Roger’s “Chopsticks” which doesn’t seem to fit. And what I think is a mysterioso theme by Raoul Kraushaar is put underneath a chase scene where the counterpoint oboes don’t work at all. During the King Mouse chase scene, another unfamiliar cue is heard which sounds like Jack Shaindlin’s work.

    0:00 - Pixie and Dixie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin-Shows).
    0:14 - CHOPSTICKS (Roger) – Pixie and Dixie wake up, Jinks snores.
    0:30 - Period Fanfare (?) – Jinks wakes up, Pixie and Dixie watch TV, Jinks clenches fists.
    0:48 - EM-147 DOCUMENTARY MAIN TITLE (Green) – Jinks talks to camera, Mouse captain cries to be saved.
    1:15 - dramatic chase cue (?) – “Hold on, Captain Mouse,” … “arrived just in time.”
    1:28 - Period Fanfare (?) – Announcer, “easy stomach.”
    1:38 - EM-147 DOCUMENTARY MAIN TITLE (Green) – “Tune in next week,” “protect mice from harm.”
    2:02 - TC-204A WISTFUL COMEDY (Loose-Seely) - Jinks “proves” there is no Space Cat.
    2:31 - creepy reverb trumpet music (Raoul Kraushaar?) – Jinks looks at meeces, chases them with broom, yells out window.
    3:01 - L-81 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Jinks turns to meeces in hole, lightning, “Pixie, look!”
    3:24 - Period Fanfare (?) – Jinks blows in wind, Space Cat enters.
    3:29 - creepy reverb trumpet music (Raoul Kraushaar?) – Jinks complements Space Cat on entry, Jinks head disintegrated.
    4:02 - LAF-25-3 zig zag strings and bassoon (Shaindlin) – Meeces plead, Space Cat and Jinks blast off.
    4:36 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) – Space Cat and Jinks in space.
    4:47 - TC-432 HOLLY DAY (Loose-Seely) – Jinks in throne room, grabs broom.
    5:18 - busy street scene music (Shaindlin?) – Jinks chases King, Space Cat chases King.
    5:48 - creepy reverb trumpet music (Raoul Kraushaar?) – Jinks chuckles, “back to earth.”
    5:57 - LAF-27-6 UNTITLED TUNE (Shaindlin) – Jinks snoozing, Pixie and Dixie talk.
    6:11 - Period Fanfare (?) – TV announcer, meece shake head.
    6:18 - dramatic chase cue (?) – Space Cat on TV, Pixie and Dixie shake heads
    6:34 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shandlin) - Jinks with broom, hates meeces, chuckles.
    6:58 - Pixie and Dixie End Title theme (Curtin).

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  • 08/28/13--06:58: Hunter Huck Storyboard
  • Here’s a post where we get to combine two fun things—storyboards and the little cartoons between the cartoons on the old half-hour syndicated shows.

    Here are storyboard drawings I snagged a long time ago for one of the Huck bumpers. I’ve blown them up about as much as I can before they get too fuzzy. Notice some colour instructions. I don’t know who the artist is; it don’t think it’s Dan Gordon or Warren Foster. Huck looks pretty good here. I like the poses on Jinks. He was funnier in these mini-cartoons than he was in some of the longer ones. (Note: see the comment section for more on this).

    These little cartoons added a lot to the enjoyment of watching the Huck, Yogi or Quick Draw half hours. If you’ve seen the Huck DVD, you’ll notice more care was put into animating some of them than the actual cartoons; there’s far more body movement. Here’s one you’ve probably seen before. I’ve been told Ed Love animated this and others, although he did no cartoons in Huck’s first season, and his style is a lot jerkier in his first H-B cartoons (see Mike Kazaleh’s comment on who actually animated this).

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall; Layout – Paul Sommer; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Story – Warren Foster; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Huckleberry Hound, Instructor, Herald (off-screen), Blond Knight, Moustached Knight, Grey-Haired Knight – Daws Butler; Narrator, King Arthur, Dragon, Bearded Knight, Brown-Haired Knight, One-Card Knight – Don Messick.
    Music: Jack Shaindlin, Geordie Hormel, Bill Loose/John Seely, Spencer Moore.
    Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show No. K-043
    First Aired: week of April 24, 1961.
    Plot: Huck earns his membership in the Knights of the Round Table.

    Huckleberry Hound is a pleasant guy so his cartoons are pleasant, even when there’s nothing uproariously funny going on. There are a few good moments in “Knight School,” but it’s not a laugh-out-loud fest. Still, the cartoon’s hard to dislike because Huck’s personable enough to carry it off.

    “Knight School” consists of an introduction and three vignettes. The last one is a reworking of the Huck vs Dragon idea in the first season cartoon “Dragon-Slayer Huck,” which, frankly, was more enjoyable than this little film. It involved a contest between Huck and a funny fire-breathing dragon that sold dragon souvenirs. Here, the dialogue-less dragon burns Huck a couple of times before his flame gets put out (an almost predictable conclusion) and he runs away. The humour in this scene is fairly typical of Huck—it depends mainly on Warren Foster giving him funny lines for his commentary to the audience about what’s happening in the cartoon. “He’d make a ginger-peachy cigarette lighter,” Huck tells us and “You don’t frighten me, Mr. Dragon with all your smart-alecky flamin’ and roarin’.” But there’s also talk for the sake of talk. “I think I’d better get out of here,” Huck says. As he has turned around and is running away, we can already see he’s “getting out of here.” It’s dialogue for dialogue’s sake.

    The first vignette comes after a nice establishing shot of a Dick Thomas background (with transparent clouds) and a narrator telling us young men from far and wide desired to be knights of the Round Table. Huck corrects the narrator. He doesn’t want to become one. “I was drafted,” he says. I didn’t realise there was a draft at the time the cartoon was made that would be the subject of humour.

    Huck goes to the Knight School that’s the title of the cartoon. “Hmm. Knight school in the daytime. It’s gettin’ confusin’ already,” he inevitably puns to us. “Private” Huck gets crushed a couple of times and comments to the camera. Foster pulls out the old “Just call me Shorty” line. The instructor has Daws Butler’s Phil Silvers voice except he adds kind of an English tinge to it at times. The vignette ends with a scene a fight we don’t see (it’s off-stage) that’s indicated by sounds and a shaking camera. But there is animation; Lew Marshall has the English sergeant turn to the camera and give us a goofy look. Huck wins the fight. Turns out a fat guy fell on him and by the time he got up, the rest had of the would-be knights beat each other up.

    So the King knights Huck and leaves him with a bump on the head. “You ever think about usin’ an aluminum sword, sir?” Huck asks.

    The second vignette is the best. The knights cut cards and the high-card holder must slay the fire-breathing dragon of Shropshire. “Thanks, your majesty,” says the nervous Huck, “But I never play cards.” Huck draws a three. But it turns out to be the high card. Three knights draw twos. One draws a one. Not an ace. A one. The card has a one on it.

    The third vignette has the dragon non-fight and then the wind-up scene has another card-cutting for the honour of doing battle with an ogre in Chettingham. Huck is ready this time. “You know, you cain’t have a card lower than a zero,” he tells us as he pulls out a card with a zero on it. Ah, but this time, the low number goes. “Shucks. No wonder they use a round table. Nothin’s on the square around here,” laments Huck. And, with that, the cartoon ends.

    The artwork is serviceable. Lew Marshall’s nose-bobs, though not as pronounced as in Huck’s first season, are still there. He avoids anything resembling a medium-sized take. When the sergeant is shocked to see Huck has survived the fight amongst the would-be knights, the guard’s eyes don’t grow big. Marshall merely has the guard lift his head up two positions with a blank expression (two frames per drawing), close his eyes for three frames then drop his head back down to where to was before. Marshall saves drawing, too. When the dragon shoots flames out of his nostrils at Huck, the drawings of the the dragon are merely flipped over and inked on the other side. Sommer’s layouts are never daring; his character designs and props work fine (though he has an Englishman wearing American sergeant stripes in the Middle Ages). I like his chairs and red drapes in the chamber of the round table. Dick Thomas takes the time to put a varnish shine on the various background drawings of the table.

    I suspect the knights are not marked individually in the script. Two of the knights change voices in mid-scene; one talks like Daws Butler then Don Messick later in the scene and the other vice versa.

    The sound cutter edits the stock music, when necessary, so it fits in a scene. Hanna-Barbera used three of the cues from the X-9 reel that contained Olde England-invoking cues and they’re all in this cartoon.

    0:00 - Huckleberry Hound Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin).
    0:22 - ZR-126 ENGLISH MAIN TITLE (Hormel) – Opening narration scene.
    1:00 - LAF-10-7 GROTESQUE No. 2 (Shaindlin) – Huck reads sign, shield scene, helmet scene.
    2:23 - LAF-25-3 bassoon and zig zag strings (Shaindlin) – graduate fight scene.
    3:01 - ZR-103 PERIOD MAIN TITLE (Hormel) – Huck knighted.
    3:23 - TC-303 ZANY COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Knights at table, card cutting scene.
    4:44 - C-19 LIGHT ACTIVITY (Loose) – Huck on horse.
    5:11 - ZR-127 PERIOD CHASE (Hormel) – Dragon appears, attacks Huck, Huck jumps in lake.
    6:00 - L-78 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Dragon puts head in lake, Huck: “And what do they do?”
    6:23 - ZR-48 FAST MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Dragon runs away.
    6:31 - LAF-25-3 bassoon and zig zag strings (Shaindlin) – Huck at round table.

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    Kids, kids and more kids. Ordinary kids, puffy-cheeked kids, First kids. Readers got them all if they opened the weekend comic section of the paper and read Yogi Bear in September 50 years ago. Click on each comic to enlarge.

    What detail we get in the September 1st comic! The bubbles in the final panel are great but the left panel in the middle row is really well thought-out. Note that the basement wall isn’t completely stone-faced. It’s partially blackened, because it’s a dark basement, but there’s enough light to see Yogi at work. Good balance on the ranger in the lower left hand panel.

    Yogi met up with J.F.K. and Caroline Kennedy in a comic a year earlier. Now he chats with J.F.K., Jr. on September 8th. Less than three months later, the real J.F.K., Jr. would lose his father. Nice contrasting angles on the White House and the fence in the last drawing. The TV cartoons, unfortunately, would settle for something that looks like a flat stage setting; it would be easier to move characters horizontally that way. Boo Boo appears to have been forced to stay back at Jellystone.

    On September 8th, we got “Lad, sad.” On September 15th, we get “Sad, lad.” Nice of Yogi to get mashed just help the forgetful kid. Ranger Smith’s kinda of a jerk in the last two comics. Maybe he’s still annoyed about the bubble joke in the first comic. Note the silhouette panel.

    The September 22nd comic features Mr. Magoo McRidge. Nice reveal gag at the end. It seems there was still one railroad left in North America that used 1930s steam engines.

    Again, some very nice angular layouts on the September 29th comic featuring an inventive Dutch trailer. The silhouette framing in the bottom left panel is attractive, too. Ranger Smith disappears after the top row. All just as well. He’s being pretty sour this month. Well, he’s sour next month, too. And we get an explanation for those native Indian stereotypes in Jellystone park.

    If you want to see these in colour—the bottom two rows, anyway—Mark Kausler will be posting them on his blog, as usual. See his blog in the list to the right.

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  • 09/05/13--07:11: High Fly Lah
  • In some of the earliest cartoons on the Huckleberry Hound Show, Mike Lah was called on to animate one or two sequences. Lah tended to give his characters google eyes (or teeny pupils in shock takes) and move the mouth on the face during dialogue (occasionally giving a character two upper teeth).

    Lah animated all of the first Yogi cartoon put into production, “Pie Pirates.” I suspect “High Fly Guy” and “Tally Ho Ho Ho” were also early in the production run, as neither has “Yogi Bear in” on the title card (and there are some unique music cues). Lah worked on both.

    In “High Fly Guy,” Lah handles the scene where Yogi uses a teeter board to launch himself airborne, only to be clobbered with a giant boulder, then the next routine where Yogi screws himself into the ground with a beanie-copter hat.

    Lah always comes up with some simple but unique expressions. Here’s Yogi coming back down to earth after zooming up into the sky, only to bash his head against a tree branch. You’ll never find anything like this in a Yogi cartoon once he got his own series.

    Lah liked to draw Yogi running away with his arms out (see “Pie Pirates”). Notice how Yogi’s mouth is just a squiggly line.

    “Hey, little bird! Look out for that rock!” Yogi yells. Only the boulder crashes on him between the words “that” and “rock.” Here are the four drawings of the impact. Lah uses the second and third drawings on ones, then repeats them on twos before going to the last drawing for 11 frames.

    Lah moved on to bigger things after H-B (his own company, eventually). A shame he didn’t stay longer. It would have been interesting to see how he handled the characters the following season when it seems budgets picked up a bit.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Ed Love; Layout – Paul Sommer; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, Light Fingers François, Butler, Irish Cop – Daws Butler; Hazel, Mrs. Lavishly – Jean Vander Pyl; J.P. Lavishly, Parakeet, Insurance Agent, Bakery Clerk – Don Messick.
    Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin, Harry Bluestone-Emil Cadkin.
    First Aired: 1960-61 season.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-032, Production J-90.
    Plot: Snooper and Blabber guard the Boon De Ay Tiara.

    Yowp note: I am sorry for the poor screen grabs. If someone knows where I can find a decent copy of this cartoon, even in a language other than English, let me know.

    In his book “Chuck Amuck,” Chuck Jones relates a tale involving Mike Maltese as a boy in New York’s downtrodden Lower East Side dismissing the importance of wealth and station to some visiting society matrons from the Upper West Side. If it really happened, perhaps it prepared Maltese’s mind to write the lines in this cartoon spoken by Mrs. J.P. Lavishly after her birthday present was grabbed by a hand inside a cake.

    Mrs J.P.:: Oh, my expensive gift. It’s gone. Get someone to scream for me.
    J.P.: Don’t worry, my dear. It’s heavily insured.

    All the while, they maintain their stiff, upper-crust reserve as if it’s beneath them to behave otherwise.

    That little exchange may be the best one in the cartoon, but Maltese comes up with some other fun things in his story that make you overlook the dead spots. The idea of a guy disguised as a birthday cake for most of the cartoon is suitably off-centre and I still think it’s a stroke of punny genius to name the jewelled crown the Boon De Ay Tiara. There’s more silly dialogue in the scene with the predictably Irish cop (which ends in a predictable way) and Don Messick tosses in his voice inspired by Frank Nelson’s floorwalker on the Jack Benny radio show.

    Light Fingers François is back as Snooper and Blabber’s adversary. Just like in “Desperate Diamond Dimwits,” he’s in disguise for much of the cartoon. He never appeared again after this cartoon.

    The first scene is the weakest, though I like Prowl Cycle that Paul Sommer designed. It’s a bicycle built for two, except Blab can’t reach down to the pedals. It’s a not-great dialogue with Snoop’s secretary Hazel via a radio-telephone and the most amusing part may be when Hazel’s parakeet sneezes then thanks Snooper for saying “Gesundheit.” Snooper and Blabber ride past the same pair of brown buildings with lamp standards on either side 15 times before Sommer cuts to a close-up shot of Snoop.

    The second scene is in the office of the All Out Insurance Company (a shame Maltese didn’t try some kind of pun on All State’s “good hands” motto) where Snoop agrees to go undercover with Blab as butler and maid to guard the tiara from Light Fingers François. No real gags; it just sets up the opening shot of the third scene where Blab is dressed as a maid and the houseman lets the two of them into the Lavishly mansion. Blab remains in drag for the rest of the cartoon.

    The next scene opens with a long shot of J.P. Lavishly and his wife at the dinner table. It’s a long table and both are seated far apart from each other at either end. Lavishly rings for Snooper and asks him to take a birthday package to his wife. “Oh, J.P., you remembered!” gushes the wife. “I hope it’s expensive.” That’s when Blab brings in the cake and sings an off-key birthday song. It’s amazing how strong Blab is. He can lift the cake over his head with one hand even though François is inside. Of course, we don’t know that until François’ hand comes out of the cake and grabs the boxed gift and runs off. Snoop’s catchphrase this time: “Stop, thief, in the name of the Private Eye Group Insurance Plan!” Blab agrees because the high heels are killing him.

    Now we get the Sceptical Hanna-Barbera Irish Cop scene. You know how this plays out. Snooper gives explanation. Cop makes fun of him. Cop suddenly discovers it’s true. Cop is shaken and mutters something to himself. Fade out. This time the cop facetiously says: “Say, how would you like to come along with me and see an apple strudel that speaks Portuguese?” “Gee, that sounds like fun,” says the clueless Blab. Suddenly, the cop is lifted into the air by François; he’s standing on a manhole cover under which the crook has been hiding. The cop lands with a thud and the birthday cake runs away. “Sure it’s meself who’ll be talkin’ Portuguese to that apple strudel,” the cop says to himself and skips away, having been turned into a mental case.

    Cut to a drawing of a bakery shop, then back to the running Snooper and Blabber. “We’ve got him colder than a frozen custard pie, Blab,” says Snoop. By the way, the music playing underneath is Phil Green’s “Custard Pie Capers.”

    “Take your pick,” says the bakery clerk, enthusiastic about the store’s selection of birthday cakes. Snooper’s actually pretty clever. “I’ll take me pick with this pick,” he says, and jabs each cake until he shoves the pointy blade into the cake where François is hiding. Snoop has him “dead to lefts and rights.” Well, not really. François tosses a blueberry pie at Snooper (“it goes good with your complexion”) and dashes off. The clerk is ecstatic. “Did we bake that cake? Ooooo! Aren’t we clever?”

    Bill Hanna was no doubt delighted with the “folly that birthday cake” scene. Blabber tells us the cake jumped in a barrel to hide. We never actually see the jumping. The camera cuts to a background drawing of the barrel. But it closes in on the barrel (as indicated on Sommer’s layout perhaps) so there’s some kind of movement. Snooper has been running around all this time with bound sticks of dynamite which he “enlightens.” Kaboom. “[V]iola! No more barrel.” “My dear old mother always said I was a lot of noise,” Pierre tells us. “And she was right.” One wonders if Maltese’s mother told him the same thing once.

    Now Snooper’s not so clever. The cartoon winds up with reused animation of Blab carrying the cake (which, somehow wasn’t destroyed in the explosion), reprising his song, but changing the last line.

    Blab: Happy birthday, Mrs. J.P! Happy birthday, Mrs. J.P! Although you look like a million, you’re only 56.
    Mrs. J.P.: Uh, 55.
    Snoop: Leave us face it, Mrs. J.P., you’ll never see 60 again.

    Snooper gets the cake tossed in his face by Mrs. Lavishly. It would have been funnier if she commanded her husband to ring for someone to do it, but there wasn’t time left in the story and that would have been more expensive to animate. Blab’s tag line to end the cartoon isn’t even a pun: “Snoop always was a stickler for figures.”

    Snooper gets all his catchphrases in. As he doesn’t have a car or go to an office in this one, we don’t see the private eyeball on a door or window or so on.

    The sound cutter times the music cues to end when a scene does whether they’re ready or not. You can hear the edit in “Streets of the City” at the end of the first scene. That little solo flute cue appears again; I checked my Q-2 EMI Photoplay discs but can’t find it. Wisely, no music is playing when Blab is singing his birthday song.

    0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera).
    0:25 - GR-248 STREETS OF THE CITY (Green) – Prowl cycle scene.
    1:17 - GR-456 DR QUACK (Green) – Insurance office scene.
    2:16 - GR-453 THE ARTFUL DODGER (Green) – Blab in heels, scene at door.
    2:54 - GR-98 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO BRIDGE No. 2 (Green) – Lavishly and wife in dining room ring.
    3:05 - GR-74 POPCORN (Green) – Snoop at door, Blab with cake.
    3:25 - No music – Blab sings, puts down cake.
    3:36 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Hand in cake grabs present, cake runs.
    4:11 - CB-85A STEALTHY MOUSE (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Irish cop, lifted up by Francois, crash.
    4:55 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – “What in the world…” cop goes crazy, Snoop and Blab run.
    5:22 - GR-93 DRESSED TO KILL (Green) – Bakery scene, pie in Snoop’s face.
    5:53 - “FIREMAN” (Shaindlin) – Pie dripping, Snooper and Blabber run, dynamite explodes, Francois amongst barrel staves.
    6:43 - solo flute cue (Green) – Blab walks with cake.
    6:47 - No music – Blab sings, puts down cake.
    6:54 - GR-76 POPCORN SHORT BRIDGE No. 2 (Green) – Mrs. Lavishly says she’s 55, Snoop insults her, cake tossed in his face.
    7:00 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin).

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  • 09/11/13--07:05: Helpful Huck and Yogi
  • A lead character that’s a thief is a good example for kids?

    Today, someone would likely object, resulting in networks, producers and potential sponsors running around in fright, issuing panicked “cancel” orders to keep avoid upsetting even one crackpot. But in 1961, they gave the character his own show. His name was Yogi Bear.

    Yes, in 1961, cartoons could show Quick Draw McGraw shooting a gun in his own face. Doggie Daddy could be clobbered with a mallet. And Yogi Bear could steal someone else’s food and even get away with it. It was just fine. It was all innocent fun.

    Here’s a syndicated story that appeared in newspapers on December 15, 1960 praising the “child appropriateness” of the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

    Best News for Children Since Big Bad Wolf Days
    Newspaper Enterprise Assn.

    NEW YORK - (NEA) –About the only good news for children since the Big Bad Wolf met up with the Small Smart Pig comes from Joe Barbera.
    Joe is half of Hanna-Barbera, the outfit which produces The Flintstones, for adults, and Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw for kids. The good news is that early in January, there will be a third children's show from Hanna-Barbera. Yogi Bear, one of the Huckleberry Hound people, will have his own show.
    Now what makes this good news is that the children have become the neglected people on television There are shows for men, shows for women and even shows for bowlers. But the poor tikes and tikettes get short shrift on a large screen.
    Of course, there have been exceptions. Peter Pan is one, even though it was on so late that by the time Captain Hook went over the side most of the youthful audience had conked out.
    But, on a regular basis, you can count on the fingers of one dimpled hand the programs which are halfway decent for children to watch. There are Lassie and Rin-Tin-Tin and perhaps National Velvet. There are Fury and Casey Jones and possibly Dennis the Menace. (OK, so this a six-fingered dimpled hand.)
    Then there is ‘The Shirley Temple Show,’ which generally provides a good story. But they had a ghastly slip a few weeks ago, when all of a sudden, in the middle of “Tom and Huck,” the plot thickened and we were in the middle of some business about grave-robbing.
    Did you ever try to explain the fine art of grave-robbing to a five-year-old? The best thing to do is switch over to another channel and give the kid some tranquilizers. And take a few yourself.
    But by far the majority of the programs which are supposedly designed for children should be shunned by all children and all but thick-skinned adults.
    There is violence by the bucketful, blood is thicker than water and the writers out-do each other in inventing novel ways of committing mayhem. All this, of course, has been commented on repeatedly without any noticeable improvement.
    And so it is pleasant to be able to report on Hanna-Barbera's progress. There is certainly nothing harmful for children in Huckleberry Hound & Co. In fact, it is all done with a good spirit and in language that doesn't talk down to children; these programs can be safely said to be helpful.
    I remember talking to Walt Disney about the problem of children's programs on TV. I asked him about the criticism of most of his works—there is almost always a part of the show that frightens children.
    "Children like to be frightened," Disney said, "and I actually think it's good for them. If they see the program with an adult, or go to the theater with an adult, they are OK. It's only the kids who watch by themselves who could be affected by it."
    That's all well and good, of course, if your TV set has a governor on it, and doesn't function unless there is an adult within squeezing distance of every child. But most TV sets are not that advanced in construction. They work no matter whose hand turns it on.
    And so we have the spectacle of kids watching old movies or new TV shows (about the same quality) and seeing things that children simply should not see.
    Parents, of course, should assume the responsibility of censoring the set, but frequently they don't—the TV set is the best baby-sitter ever invented, and many grown-ups let their children watch anything and everything. They must pay the price for their indulgence.
    It is the parents’ job, not the TV networks’. But the networks could, at least, hold a firmer hand over the programs which they bill as children's fare. If Hanna-Barbera can do it, so can the others.

    Tony Benedict was hired as the third writer at Hanna-Barbera around the time this column was published. What guidelines did he keep in mind when writing those helpful shows done in a good spirit?

    “I had to please Joe, he was the only one. And he spoke only to God.”

    Leaving the cartoon-making up to veteran cartoon makers. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? A shame it never stayed that way.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.

    Credits: Animation – Ed de Mattia, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Story – Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Blue Clothed Circus worker, Ranger 1, Voice in helicopter – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Elmo, Ranger Smith, ringmaster, Ranger 2 – Don Messick.
    Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Jack Shaindlin, Geordie Hormel, Spencer Moore.
    Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-047.
    First Aired: week of January 23, 1961.
    Plot: A vicious circus bear exchanges places with Yogi.

    Yogi Bear is a happy, rhyming schemer. Elmo the Circus Bear can’t talk; he just angrily growls. So how is it that people who know them can’t tell them apart? Are they that stupid?

    That’s something that’s always bothered me about this cartoon. Well, that and the ending. But at least it’s a change from the Yogi-vs.-Ranger Smith which stifled the series a bit. And if people could tell the two apart, it’d botch the story a bit.

    The trio of Rivera-de Mattia-Thomas from “Do or Diet” and “Huck Hound’s Tale” handled the artwork in this cartoon. Rivera’s parallel face lines and pipe-stem legs are evident here, as is his fixation with trees shaped like isosceles triangles.

    Ed de Mattia animated, as best as I can tell, four cartoons at Hanna-Barbera before being hired at commercial house Animation, Inc. in 1960 (unless he was merely freelancing at H-B). He has the same animation quirks in the two he did with Rivera. He spends the time to draw hand and finger gestures; there’s a nice bit of work where Elmo wiggles his fingers before grabbing Ranger Smith. Here’s an example with Yogi.

    The back of Yogi’s mouth is rounded in dialogue where he’s not smiling. He also like grilles of teeth to show some emotions, like anger. Here’s an example of Elmo. Note the fingers again.

    Some drawings just look odd; they’re a little more stylised than what you’d find in many Hanna-Barbera cartoons.. Check out these rangers. The one on the phone could almost fit in a Gene Deitch Tom and Jerry cartoon.

    We mentioned in the “Talky Hawky” post that it looked like de Mattia drew the close-ups at one time and the longer shots at another because the shots don’t always match. Here’s just one an example from this cartoon. The cartoon cuts from animation of Yogi and Boo Boo to a close-up of Yogi. But Yogi’s not in the same position from one frame to the next.

    Dick Thomas painted the backgrounds. Here’s part of the one used to open the cartoon.

    Warren Foster’s story starts with Elmo the Performing Bear breaking out of a circus train which is stopped at a siding. Elmo trudges his way into Yogi and Boo Boo’s cave, growling all the way. And leaving footprints. Until he gets inside Yogi’s cave. Miraculously, the mud instantly dries up. Or something. His expression changes, too. The snarling becomes a long-toothed grin. Elmo exchanges hats with the sleeping Yogi and trudges off again. Circus workers “folley” the footprints into the cave, bash Yogi on the head and carry him out. Boo Boo wakes up and follows. Yogi comes to in a circus train car with Boo Boo outside. “Boo Boo, what are you doin’ in my dream? Go find your own dream,” he says. Boo Boo jumps inside the car and assures him it’s not a dream. The car starts moving and the adventure is under way.

    A shot of the circus midway follows. Yogi’s told by the circus manager to get in the parade (Boo Boo carries a bass drum on his back as Yogi plays it) and then that he can’t go to Jellystone because he’s the star of the show, pointing to a sign. The manager thinks the genial Yogi is his foul-tempered star because they’re wearing the same hat. Meanwhile, the scene cuts to the circus bear eating out a picnic basket. He makes short work of the chiding Ranger Smith (shoving him in a picnic basket, off screen of course) and two generic rangers (slamming a car door down on them), who call for reinforcements as Elmo leaves the park. Except they all think it’s Yogi.

    Back at the circus, Yogi dives into a pitcher of water then comes crashing to the ground after putting on the brakes on his unicycle doing a loop-de-loop. Then the final stunt. “The odds are all with ya,” says the circus manager. “There’s 170 million people in the country, right? And, last year, not one person was injured gettin’ shot outside of a cannon.” “I wonder if this could be construed as shootin’ bears out of season,” Yogi muses to us as he flies through the air (and the tent) and crashes on the ground outside. Somehow, Boo Boo is there when he lands. Elmo then stomps into the scene, exchanges hats and stomps out.

    Yogi and Boo Boo arrive back at Jellystone. They’re shot from the waist up (Yogi looks awfully fat) so de Mattia doesn’t have to animate their legs. Nor does he animate the scuffle Yogi has with the police and state troopers who come to capture him. Fade to Yogi sitting in some kind of wooden cage. He’s been banished for 60 days—with talk of selling him to a circus. But why didn’t Boo Boo explain to Ranger Smith it’s all a case of mistaken identity? Isn’t that what a faithful friend would do? And wouldn’t the ranger have believed Boo Boo? Yogi ends up being punished for something he didn’t do just so Foster can get in an ironic finish to the cartoon.

    The sound-cutter evidently was going for an inside joke when he had Yogi dive into the water to the cue “Animation-Nautical” by Spencer Moore. There’s a piece of music that plays during the parade that may be part of the same Jack Shaindlin cue used in de Mattia’s circus outing with Huck, “Huck Hound’s Tale.” It’s tough to hear over all the sound effects and I don’t have a copy of it. And the cutter uses an odd cue when Elmo grabs the ranger. It features a loud, off-key piano chord as a stab. Hoyt Curtin wrote material like that (such as on “The Flintstones” when Fred suddenly stopped and realised something) so this may be something by Curtin. He had already written stock cues for Loopy de Loop which would soon find their way into Hanna-Barbera’s TV cartoons as well.

    0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin-Shows-Hanna-Barbera).
    0:28 - C-19 LIGHT ACTIVITY (Loose) – Pan over train, Elmo walks to cave.
    1:00 - LAF-25-3 bassoon and zig-zag strings (Shaindlin) – Yogi sleeping, hat switch, bash on head, Boo Boo leaves cave.
    1:43 - TC-303 ZANY COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Rail car scene.
    2:14 - medium fanfare/parade cue (Shaindlin?) – Shot of midway, Yogi told to get in parade, Yogi bangs bass drum, “Havin’ fun, Boo Boo?”
    2:36 - TC-202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – “Aw, Yogi,” Yogi sees billing, “my public awaits!” 3:20 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Close up of Boo Boo.
    3:25 - comedy flute and quack cue (Shaindlin) – Elmo eats from picnic basket.
    3:39 - surprise cue with piano and tuba (Curtin?) – Elmo raises arms and squeezes ranger.
    3:42 - ZR-48 FAST MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Elmo carries ranger, ranger in basket, rangers on phone.
    4:17 - fanfare (?) – Yogi on platform, “What are you waitin’ for?”
    4:22 - L-1121 ANIMATION NAUTICAL (Moore) – “There’s plenty of water,” Yogi dives.
    4:33 - LAF-72-2 RODEO DAY (Shaindlin) – Shot of empty platform, Yogi’s head in bottle, unicycle scene.
    5:20 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Yogi talks to “boss man,” shot from cannon.
    5:53 - LICKETY SPLIT (Shaindlin) – Yogi flies through air, Elmo exchanges hats, Yogi and Boo Boo decide to go home.
    6:30 - TC-437 SHOPPING DAY (Loose-Seely) – Helicopter, fight sounds.
    6:58 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) – Yogi in cage.
    7:11 - Yogi Bear Sub-End Title (Curtin).

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    Maybe Gene Hazleton and his freelance writing staff got tired of tossing Pebbles into the plots of the Flintstones Sunday comics. 50 years ago this month, she really only plays a role in one of the comics and doesn’t even appear in one of them. The last two for the month remind me a lot of the early Flintstones cartoons, especially the September 29th comic where Fred’s a know-it-all with the usual disastrous results.

    It’s a shame a number of papers only ran the last two rows of panels so they could fit in three comics per page instead of two. Readers missed some fun drawings. September 1st features an elaborate first panel with Dino on the top of the Flintmobile. Nice use of perspective. I like Fred and Barney’s wailing expressions in the final panel.

    Nice switch in the end gag on September 8th. Where’s that sign hanging from in the opening panel?

    Ah, women drivers! Where would 1950s and ‘60s nightclub acts have been without women-driver and mother-in-law jokes? Here’s one in the September 15th comic. Love the jagged CRASH panel. Can you hear the crashing sound effect with the tin cans?

    Is the September 22nd comic by Bick Bickenbach? The yawning Fred is great. I like the Dino throwaway gag in the opening panel. Too bad some readers missed that first row.

    Another great opening panel on September 29th with the astonished look on Dino. Wilma didn’t say “darn” on the TV show, did she? If this were a TV cartoon, Hoyt Curtin’s trumpet cue based on the William Tell overture would probably be played as Fred gallops to the doorway.

    You can click on any of the cartoons to enlarge them.

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  • 09/18/13--09:43: Mike Road
  • He played good guys and bad guys on a host of TV shows in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, but you never saw him in his biggest role. That’s because Mike Road played the voice of Race Bannon on the great action/adventure cartoon “Jonny Quest.”

    There’s a report on David McRobie’s blog that Mike Road has passed away. The post doesn’t say when it happened or how. I can’t verify the report as I haven’t seen it elsewhere, but wire services are sometimes notoriously late with stories about the deaths of people in animation.

    Even if Mr. McRobie, who I don’t know, has been given the wrong information, this is a good opportunity to post something about Road on the internet as there isn’t really much gathered together in one place.

    Road was born Milton Brustin in Malden, Massachusetts in 1918; his World War Two Army enlistment record lists his occupation as an actor but the Census taken the year before in 1940 reveals he was making his living painting signs.

    His big TV break came in the summer replacement show “Buckskin” in 1958. The
    Boston Globe wrote about it in its edition of June 29, 1958.

    Former Malden Man Gets The Starring Role in “Buckskin”
    The resident director of the John Hancock Summer Theatre in 1952, Mike Road, has won a regular starring role in the new TV series “Buckskin” which will be seen every Thursday at 9:30 p.m. over ch. 4 and the NBC-TV network.

    Mike, a Maiden boy who started acting while a student at Lincoln Junior High and Malden High, is cast as Tom Sellers the Marshal of Buckskin, Montana, a frontier town which is the nerve center of a territory through which the displaced persons of the post-Civil War period are moving to make a new homes and fortunes in the West. Mike is shown here with Tommy Nolan who stars as Jody O'Connell, through whose eyes the rough life of the Montana frontier will be seen in “Buckskin.”
    The Malden thespian started acting doing "character parts" while still a student at Lincoln Junior High, Malden. At Malden High Mike decided on a professional career in the theatre despite discouraging advice from people who knew the theatre.
    "They told me I had talent, but that the acting business was too tough," Mike says. The young actor put the advice to the test and found the advice was sound. A series of jobs from waiter to truck driver, to usher kept him "not quite alive" for several years in New York while he looked for a Broadway part.
    The dearth of New York parts led to taking "room and a little board" jobs in New England summer stock companies. The background finally paid off and Mike was off and running—for three weeks in the Broadway play "The Moonvine." He shared a dressing room with another aspiring actor in "The Moonvine"— Yul Brynner.
    After the Broadway play closed came a Hollywood with RKO and jobs in "Tender Comrade" and "Hitler's Children." Mike returned to Broadway and the longest run of his career—14 months in "Dear Ruth."
    Directorial ambitions have kept the actor busy between engagements in recent years. In 1952 he was resident director at the John Hancock Summer Theatre at the John Hancock Hall. He has directed feature films in Sweden and an, as yet unsold, pilot film for American television.
    Mike is married to an actress Ruth Brady. They have a daughter, Donna Brady Road. Mike's brother, Charles Brustin, lives on Furnace Brook Parkway in Quincy.

    The Lewiston Evening Journal ran this syndicated squib on June 16, 1962 with a bit more about his career.

    Mike Road Got Start in Boston
    HOLLYWOOD—Mike Road made his acting debut as a teenager with a little theatre group in Boston and, later, while trying to connect on Broadway, accepted all kinds of jobs to keep himself in eating money. First, he was an usher at a theatre in the Yorkville section of New York while also acting with a stock company across the river in Hoboken. Other jobs included that of waiter, stock boy in a clothing store, elevator operator and sign painter.
    Mike made his Broadway debut in “Doodle Dandy of the U.S.A.,” which ran ten days. His next short-lived play was “The Moonvine.” Finally, however, he landed the leading male role in “Dear Ruth,” which ran six months.
    Hollywood beckoned, but lean times forced him again into sideline jobs such as house painter, delivery man for a florist and a hi-fi salesman. In time, he played leading roles in such plays as “Separate Rooms, “The Square Needle” and “Twin Beds.”
    His role of Marshal Sellers in the “Buckskin” TV series led to a variety of appearances in the medium, including some of the Warner Bros. headliners, “77 Sunset Strip,” “Lawman,” “Hawaiian Eye,” and “SurfSide 6.” The studio put him under contract in August, 1960.
    Prior to this, Road established himself as a director in the repertory and stock company field. His stars, here included Vincent Price, Ilona Massey, Luther Adler, Kim Hunter and Uta Hagen. In Sweden, he directed Signe Hasso in the feature film, “True and False.”
    He is a native of Boston, and is married to Ruth Brady (July 21, 1948). They have two daughters, Donna and Terry (by a previous marriage).

    Road was also one of the stars of “The Roaring 20’s,” a show about newspaper reporters and crime. The Towanda News of September 9, 1961 offered this bit of trivia.

    Mike Road Breaks Age-Old Tradition
    Mike Road, as Lt. Joe Switolski, crime-buster in ABC-TV's (Ch. 7) “The Roaring 20’s” series, has broken with tradition for this or any period by his refusal to play the role with a hat on his handsome head.
    “If the wardrobe man presents me with one of the snap-brim models during rehearsal, says Mike, "I have a convenient way of losing it before the scene is shot.
    “This is my ‘secret weapon’ as an actor — nothing more. I don’t hate hats, as such. I just thought it was a good gimmick to keep me from looking like all the other crime-busters in show business.”

    Road should have been busy elsewhere. In January, 1961, he and Peter Breck were announced as stars of a new Warners cop show called “Las Vegas File” for ABC but it never arrived on the fall schedule, despite word the following month that the network had purchased 26 one-hour episodes. Jonny Quest came along three years later and Road’s baritone was perfect for role. And, as you can see above, he had a bit of experience with the B-movie detective/Johnny Dollar-style dialogue that Race Bannon was given on necessary occasions. He was given a few other roles in H-B cartoons, notably Zandor in “The Herculoids” but Road, more or less, had one voice.

    By the mid-‘70s, he returned to stage directing in Los Angeles. Whether he preferred acting or directing hasn’t been revealed in available press clippings, but when you think of Mike Road, you’ll think of the white-haired guy who protected and befriended Dr. Benton Quest’s pre-teen son.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Carlo Vinci; Layout – Paul Sommer; Backgrounds – Fernando Montealegre; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Doggie Daddy, Filabert – Doug Young; Augie Doggie, Cat – Daws Butler.
    Music: Phil Green; Jack Shaindlin, Spencer Moore, Harry Bluestone-Emil Cadkin.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-028, Production J-83.
    First Aired: week of October 30, 1960.
    Plot: Augie deals with a sick mouse friend that a cat wants to catch.

    A white cat running from Augie Doggie and his broom slams right into Doggie Daddy, then tries to make pleasant small talk to avoid being clobbered.

    Cat: Oh, you look awfully familiar, sir. Didn’t we meet in Cincinnati?
    Daddy (to audience): If dere’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a wise-guy cat from Cincinnati.

    And, with that, Daddy drops him into the garbage can.

    It’s the best exchange in this cartoon. Mike Maltese tries hard with the mouse at the centre of everything but the character is just too wimpy and needy to be likeable. It’s not that he’s preying on Augie and Doggie Daddy with an act; he’s just a wuss. Maybe the two of them got sick of him, too, because this is the only cartoon he appeared in.

    Carlo Vinci’s your animator in this one and his tell-tale signs are all here. Here’s the wide-mouth on the cat.

    And diving exits off screen.

    And the big row of upper teeth.

    It’s the only Augie cartoon that Carlo worked on after the first season of The Quick Draw McGraw Show (1959-60). In fact, he only animated this and one Snooper and Blabber cartoon during the remaining two seasons. Perhaps he was too busy with The Flintstones. This was the second Augie put into production in the second season.

    This cartoon features the boy genius version of Augie. He’s mixing with his test-tubes at the start of the cartoon when he tells Filabert, the mouse who lives in a hole in their wall, to help himself to some cheese. “It’s good to have neighbours with miles and miles of heart,” says the wimpy mouse. Watching all this is a white cat with the voice Daws Butler later gave to Fibber Fox and he had used in several other cartoons. To sum up the scene, the cat fails to pounce on the mouse, who runs into its hole. Broom-wielding Augie chases the cat, who runs into Daddy carrying a snack. Daddy drops him in the garbage.

    “Alas, Augie, it was too much for me,” laments Filabert. “I’ve been forced to take to my little bed. I’m not too strong, you know. The pathetic mouse groans that he wish Augie could come into his hole and feed him “some strength-giving hot cheese soup.” I’d tell him to get a life, but genius Augie instead drinks what he’s been mixing (four litres of decalcitrating alum and one of tetrahetra) and shrinks, enabling him to take cheese from “generous dad…who shares and shares alike” to Filabert in his bed. “Observant dad, who’s more than a little flabbergasted” then notices Augie has shrunk and after failing to convince him to come out of Filabert’s hole, shrinks himself.

    The white cat is watching all this through the window and decides he can take advantage of the situation, being bigger than everyone now. He bashes Daddy onto the floor with his tail (“What a catastrophe!” says, Daddy, correctly pronouncing a word his inspiration, Jimmy Durante, never could). The shrunken dog hides in the barrel of his hunting rifle, which the cat fires, and Daddy rides the bullet into a bottle containing a ship. The cat then walks over to the bottle wearing an old British admiral’s hat and engages in some “Mr Christian” dialogue just for the sake of it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t realise the ship has a working cannon, which Daddy fires at the cat’s face (“That’s a heck of a way to treat an admiral,” is the singed cat’s verbal reaction).

    The next scene finds Doggie Daddy being chased by the cat, who tilts his arms in a four-drawing run cycle (one per frame). Augie comes to the rescue by drinking something to grow to normal size (Filabert moans he “can manage somehow” with Augie gone) and then cons the cat to drink some of the shrinking potion. Unfortunately the cat’s holding a firecracker, which explodes after he shrinks. Augie vanquishes the enemy.

    The final scene has Augie delivering “some hot liver soup to a sick friend.” “Dear old inquisitive but sensitive-to-others’-pain dad” then peers into the mouse hole. Both the cat and Filabert are in separate beds and thank Augie for his thoughtfulness. “After all,” Daddy says to us to wind up the cartoon, “how many boys can bring hot soup to a sick cat in a mouse hole?” So it is that everyone comes out a winner in this cartoon.

    As for the stock music, the cutter uses Spence Moore’s oboe workpart piece L-1158 Animation Comedy for the shrinking and growing, and Moore’s ‘Animation Nautical’ is heard during the ship-in-a-bottle scene.

    0:00 - Augie Doggie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin).
    0:24 - GR-65 BUSH BABY (Green) – Filabert walks, cat crashes to floor.
    0:55 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – cat slides to mouse hole, runs into Daddy, laughs.
    1:21 - GR-65 BUSH BABY (Green) – “You look awfully familiar,” Daddy tosses cat in garbage, Augie mixes and drinks formula.
    2:25 - L-1158 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Augie shrinks.
    2:26 - GR-255 PUPPETRY COMEDY (Green) – “It worked,” Augie takes cheese, Daddy sees he’s shrunk, Daddy drinks formula.
    3:31 - L-1158 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Daddy shrinks.
    3:33 - COMEDY SUSPENSE (Shaindlin) – “I guess dis is known…” Daddy picks up cat.
    4:00 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – “Hey!” Daddy hides in gun, rides bullet, lands in bottle.
    4:41 - L-1121 ANIMATION NAUTICAL (Moore) – Daddy falls to bottom of bottle, fires cannon at cat.
    5:17 - SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – Cat chases Daddy, Augie runs to rescue.
    5:38 - PG-161H LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – “This’ll make me big,” Augie drinks formula.
    5:45 - L-1158 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Augie grows.
    5:49 - CB-83A MR TIPPY TOES (Cadkin-Bluestone) Daddy in sugar bowl, cat drinks formula, explosion, Daddy watching TV, peers in mouse hole, “how many boys can bring hot soup…”
    7:01 - GR-79 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS BRIDGE No 2 (Green) – “to a sick cat…” iris out.
    7:10 - Augie Doggie End Title theme (Curtin).

    0 0

    Everyone wants to meet celebrities. It’s a little difficult when the celebrities are cartoon characters but someone figured out a way around that, probably in the silent days of Felix the cat—get people to dress up as the characters.

    To be honest, it seems kind of silly. You know someone in a six-foot costume isn’t really Huckleberry Hound. Huckleberry Hound is something drawn and on a screen. But I suppose if one can accept the fact a blue dog can drive a car, talk to you and be a knight in the Middle Ages, one can accept some guy in a costume as a character. And, like I say, everyone wants to meet celebrities.

    So it was that Screen Gems decided cartoons, comic books and merchandise wasn’t enough. They had to put Huck and Yogi (and later Quick Draw McGraw and others) out on the road. They eventually hit the county fair circuit with a human emcee, Eddie Alberian, with professional mimes in $800 outfits dancing and singing to the tape recorded dialogue of Daws Butler.

    Here’s a syndicated newspaper story, unbylined, published in the
    Binghamton Press of May 21, 1960. The Carlo Vinci drawing accompanied the story.

    That TV Hound Sure Gets Around
    Hollywood—Two of this year's most widely travelled TV personalities are a blue dog with a deep southern drawl and an oversize bear sporting a pork-pie hat.
    The pair, Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear, have managed to accept 73 invitations since last August and still show up weekly on the Huckleberry Hound television series.
    What makes this possible is the fact that they're cartoon characters, the creations of Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    "In the past eight months we've booked Huck and Yogi into department stores, shopping centers, football and baseball games, concerts, parades, factories and exhibitions," says Ed Justin of Screen Gems, who's in charge of the personal appearances.
    "They are scheduled for the Memorial Day '500' Race at the Indianapolis Speedway," he added. "Fans will be relieved to hear that Huck does not plan to drive in the race."

    Confronted with so many playdate opportunities for the cartoon stars, without a body to deliver, Justin had special Huck and Yogi costumes made, at a cost of several hundred dollars apiece. The costumes are filled by local heat-and claustrophobia-resistant actors.
    What led to the travels of the ubiquitous dog was the unusually widespread popularity of the Huckleberry Hound show that emerged soon after it went on the air. Some of the kudos came from rather far afield.
    In Hull, England, the traditional Jazz and Cycling Society changed its name to the Yogi Bear Club, and within a few months the membership doubled.
    Huckleberry Hound was invited to play for either side at the Stanford-Washington football game, but the offer was declined on the ground that no helmet would fit him. He wound up a cheer leader for both teams.
    The 57th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington's Regiment at Huddersfield, England, asked for permission to make Yogi Bear the official mascot of the outfit.
    In Tucson, Ariz., an official questionnaire given to all police officers included the question: "Do you watch Huckleberry Hound on television?"
    In West Seneca, N. Y., an organization known at Machemer's Chestnut Lodge Yogi Bear Appreciation Society was founded.
    Seven scientists at the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico requested an El Paso (Texas) television station to show Huckleberry Hound at a later hour since they were too busy working on missile projects during its air time.
    The scholarly Yale Alumni Bulletin made a survey of undergraduate viewing tastes and revealed that Huckleberry Hound was among the four top programs with Yale men.
    And the world's newest geographical designation is an Island off Antarctica named Huckleberry Hound, after the TV, cartoon hero. The island, located at 70° 40' West, was discovered a short time ago by the U. S. S. Glacier, an Icebreaker assigned to explore Bellingshausen Sea, the last uncharted area of the vast frozen continent.

    As you can see by the story, the Huckleberry Hound Show was an almost-instant fad after it debuted. At the time, television comedy consisted mainly of laugh-tracked domestic sitcoms and old radio stars hosting variety shows. The Huck show characters were new, wise-cracked to the audience and (fitting the leisurely, suburban 1950s) not too manic or goofy; they were in (generally) adult situations behaving like adults. It’s no wonder parents were attracted to the early shows just as much as kids.

    0 0

    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Lawrence Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Narrator, Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Snuffles, Deputy, Dodge City Sheriff, Wichita Sheriff, other town sheriffs – Daws Butler, Slinkerton deputy; Shadow Bandit, Laramie Sheriff, Abilene Sheriff, other town sheriffs, Slinkerton Agent – Don Messick.
    Music: Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, Harry Bluestone-Emil Cadkin.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-031, Production J-89.
    First aired: week of May 8, 1961.
    Plot: The Slinkerton Detective Agency enlists Quick Draw and Snuffles to find the Shadow Bandit.

    Was this cartoon a case of Mike Maltese coming up with a pun for a title and then building something on it? “Ali-Baba Looey” seems a little odd at first because you’d expect to have Quick Draw in Arabia. But the connection involves the part of the plot where the Shadow Bandit says “Open Sesame” to make the stone door to his secret cave rise to allow him in. You know, “Open Sesame” as in “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.”

    Of course, all that “open” and “close” stuff can’t fill a full seven minutes. So Maltese brings in one of the funniest cartoon dogs of all time, Snuffles. And he takes up about a third of the short with a running gag with the kind of word-turnaround you’d expect in one of his cartoons.

    Art Lozzi gives us a really nice background to open the cartoon. I can’t clip it together from screen grabs without ruining the colour. Lozzi uses a palette of reds in the sky behind the street welcoming us to Laramie, Wyoming. The camera pans past a gunsmith, livery stable, hotel and café before stopping at a bank. Incidentally, the TV Western series “Laramie” was into its second season on NBC when this cartoon aired.

    Daws Butler gets the opening narration job for a change in this cartoon, explaining the Shadow Bandit is on a bank robbing spree. For the first part of the cartoon, we only see him in silhouette.

    Note the background gag in the frame above. There’s a money bag for dollars and one for cents.

    Lawmen lose the bandit’s trail at the foot of a sheer cliff. The narrator tells us it leaves the sheriff “perplexed and puzzled.”

    Deputy: Where could he go, sheriff?
    Sheriff: Don’t ask me. I’m perplexed and puzzled.

    That’s the running gag. After each hold-up, the sheriff turns to the camera and tells us he’s perplexed and puzzled. Finally, the pay-off. After the last robbery, a crowd of lawmen with collar-length ears showing they were designed by Walt Clinton tells us “We’re all perpluxed and pezzled.”

    Finally, the Slinkerton Detective Agency sends for Quick Draw to solve the mystery. Quick Draw’s odd logic determines “this town” is where the bandit will strike next because all the towns he’s robbed spell “GIVE” on a map and “he’s got to come back and dot the ‘i’.” That’s even though the letters are all capitals.

    The rest of the scene is taken up with Snuffles going into his familiar ecstasy act after being fed a dog biscuit. The wavy and mouth and beady eyes look like George Nicholas’ work, but Dick Lundy is the credited animator on this and you can tell he worked on it (there’s some rolling-head dialogue earlier in the short), so I’ll presume Lundy did this. The Snuffles animation was re-used in “Scooter Rabbit” later that season.

    Quick Draw tells Snuffles he won’t give him another biscuit until he catches the crook. Snuffles, as usual, grumbles under his breath (“cheapskate” is one of the words that’s intelligible) then pulls Baba Looey along with him as he gallops after the crook. I love Quick Draw’s line: “Hold on thar, Shadow Bandit, Snuffles and Baba Looey! In that order.” Snuffles only screeches to a halt when Baba Looey tells him he’ll get no more biscuits. Baba flies over the dog and crash-lands on the dirt, then lets out a string of faux Spanish, just like Ricky Ricardo used to do when he was angry at Lucy. Ricky’s Spanish was real; Daws engages in gibberish for Baba, though we get the words “enchilada” and “Tijuana.”

    Baba sees the bandit (who is now fully visible) go in the cave and after Quick Draw arrives, tries to open it with the same secret words the bandit used. It’s reminiscent of the scenes in one of Maltese’s best-known cartoons, “Ali Baba Bunny” (released by Warner Bros. in 1957) where Hassan tries “Open Saddlesoap” and “Open Saskatchewan.” Baba’s are weaker because he uses Mexican cliché words but accidentally blurts out “says me” and that works. Quick Draw’s are funnier after the bandit closes the entrance; I particularly like “Open Mustard Plaster” because who knows how he came up with it.

    Quick Draw feeds Snuffles a biscuit (with reused animation) but demands three of them after the bandit points a gun at him. Quick Draw acquiesces, Snuffles lets out a Tarzan yell then crashes through the closed stone entrance to capture the crook. Quick Draw immediately hands Snuffles the full $10,000 reward (how’d he get it so fast?). Snuffles doesn’t realise he could buy a lot of biscuits with it. Instead, he wants one now and flings back Quick Draw’s offering with his contempt, grumbling again; Lundy uses different drawings than the first time. Baba tags out the cartoon, as usual, but it’s an obvious line without even a pun: “Money isn’t everything to Snuffles, that’s for sure.” Maltese locked himself into a formula ending cartoons with Baba Looey because he ran out of clever lines for the burro.

    The sound cutter tends to use short snippets of music in this cartoon; one cue lasts only four seconds. I don’t know where the tinkling bell music comes from that you hear when Snuffles comes back down to earth after eating a dog biscuit.

    0:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub Main Title theme (Curtin).
    0:15 - Oh, Susannah (?) – Narration over start of opening pan over Laramie.
    0:23 - Related to Excitement Under Dialogue (Shaindlin) – Gunfire, robbery, silhouette rides.
    0:45 - GR-454 THE ARTFUL DODGER BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – Sheriff and deputy approach closed cave.
    1:03 - EXCITEMENT UNDER DIALOGUE (Shaindlin) – Dodge City shooting, Abilene, Wichita, “perpluxed and puzzled.”
    1:45 - GR-348 EARLY MORNING (Green) – Outside of Slinkerton office.
    1:50 - GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Green) – Quick Draw dialogue with Slinkerton man, Snuffles leaps into air.
    2:57 - tinkling music (?) – Snuffles lands.
    3:02 - PG-160G LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – “He sure loves..” gunfire.
    3:08 - ticket tock/flute music (Shaindlin) – Head shakes, no dog biscuit, Snuffles dashes away.
    3:35 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Baba pulled off camera, Snuffles stops, Shadow bandit goes into cave, Quick Draw slides into scene, “What cave?”
    4:28 - GR-99 THE DIDDLECOMB HUNT (Green) – “Wait, I show you,” Baba accidentally opens cave, “Your mysterious getaways…”
    4:55 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw zips out of scene, crashes into cave, lands.
    5:02 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – “Open Mississippi…” Snuffles eats biscuit, leaps into sky.
    5:27 - tinkling music (?) – Snuffles lands.
    5:32 - CB-86A HIDE AND SEEK (Cadkin-Bluestone) – “Hurry it up will ya?” Snuffles dashes off.
    5:36 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Snuffles gallops into cave, eats dog biscuits, Tarzan yell, Snuffles on bandit.
    6:27 - GR-346 FIRST BUDS (Green) – Quick Draw offers reward, Snuffles throws bag of money back at Quick Draw.
    6:45 - related to Sportscope (Shaindlin) – Snuffles grumbles, Baba tag line, iris out.
    7:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

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