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Stuff about early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Brad Case; Layout – Don Sheppard; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Written by Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, Martian on phone – Daws Butler; Mailman, Martian, Door, Monkey – Don Messick.
    Music: Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green.
    First Aired: week of June 12, 1961.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-041, Production J-120.
    Plot: Snooper and Blabber travel to Mars to capture a thieving monkey.

    In the 1940s, there was something advertised on the radio called ‘Serutan.’ Listeners were reminded “It’s ‘natures’ spelled backwards.” Such a silly concept was just begging to be spoofed. Pretty soon, Jack Benny, Bob Hope and other radio comedians were doing routines about words spelled backwards. Evidently Mike Maltese thought the idea was funny, too, because he uses it as a running gag in this cartoon, though he beats it into the ground a bit.

    Maltese also grabs a concept he used over on the Augie Doggie series, namely Augie talking in some gibberish language to outer space creatures he has somehow befriended (Augie and dear old dad end up on Mars in “Vacation Tripped” in 1962). In this case, Blabber has somehow come in contact with Martians along the way. The odd thing is the Martians don’t speak backwards. So why all the reverse English in the cartoon?

    Hanna-Barbera fans may be interested in this cartoon from a design standpoint. Part of it is set in outer space, so it’s a little reminiscent of The Jetsons. True, The Jetsons wasn’t an outer space show, but there was a futurism/life-in-space cross-over in the 50’s and early ‘60s. We posted a bit about it HERE. Don Sheppard came up with the designs, based on Alex Lovy’s storyboards from Maltese’s thumbnail drawings. Whether Sheppard worked on The Jetson is unclear—credits for individual episodes have been gone for ages—but it’s possible.

    Here are Snoop and Blab riding a “saucer cycle.” You can picture this on The Jetsons can’t you?

    Wasn’t there a disintegrator gun on a Jetsons’ episode, too? (I don’t mean the ‘80s revival; the show ended in 1963 as far as I’m concerned). Note the portrait of the King of Mars on the wall in the background.

    And here’s the spacecraft that arrived on Earth to take Snooper and Blabber to Mars to capture an Earth monkey that landed there and stole the royal ruby from the Martian king’s palace.

    Let’s show off a few more of Sheppard’s settings painted by Dick Thomas. The private eye-ball found in most of the Snooper and Blabber cartoons is on a window this time. It’s nicely framed by a tree.

    And Snooper and Blabber’s office is run-down. Even the bulb in the overhead light is a warped shape. Snooper has a picture of a cop on the wall for some reason.

    Brad Case is the animator. A couple of times he indulges in the outline/brush strokes drawings when characters move off scene, like in “Crew Cat” we reviewed earlier.

    And, as usual, the cartoon features Maltese’s silly and punny dialogue, mainly from the mouth of Snooper. Snoop says, besides “What in carnation” (borrowed from Ed Gardner’s Archie, the main inspiration for Snooper’s voice) and the catchphrases “Drop that ybur in the name of the Private Eye Telescope and Chowder Society!” and “Elementary school, me dear Blab”:
    ● Ah, spring-time! When we can remove our shoes and run barefoot through fields of beautiful avunculars.
    ● Leave us not be nave (a Warners Bros fan can tell us which cartoon Bugs Bunny mispronounced “naïve.”)
    ● A ‘1207’? That means “Old Ladies Stealin’ Kumquats.”
    ● Uh, ask him to stop with the rock ‘n’ roll and give us a clue (after excited Martian jumps up and down).
    ● Help! I’m being attacked by Martian saucers (after monkey throws plates at him). Blab: Poor Snoop. He’s bein’ dishwacked.
    ● Just in the nicholas of time.

    There are two dialogue short scenes with a robotic voice at the door of the Layor Ecalap. “Wipe your feet,” the voice helpfully tells our heroes, adding “This is a recording.” The “recording” line must have been fairly new around 1960. My guess is it was invented when automated phone systems came into being.

    So Snooper and Blabber get taken to Mars, get the Royal Ruby from the earth monkey who crash-landed on the planet (and, presumably, the 12,000,000-crymolian reward) but Blab stays behind because the Martians made him their leader. (What about the old leader in the portrait?) Snoop grants him a month’s leave of absence without pay. Blab expresses his gratitude, kind of like in a routine between Jack Benny and Rochester.

    The cartoon ends with the kind of pun I hated as a kid. It shows the monkey in a trenchcoat, sitting on a pile of peanuts. Snoop tells someone on the phone that the monkey’s filling in for Blab “And, what’s more, he works for peanuts.” Said young I to the TV set: “Well, I could come up with that one.” As a cartoon viewer, I like clever puns, stuff I’d never think of. If the pun is going to be tired and obvious, it’s best to make fun of it, like Tex Avery used to in his cartoons.

    Looking at the production numbers available on a couple of internet sites, this cartoon was the last Snooper and Blabber to feature music from the Capitol Hi-Q (Phil Green) and Langlois Filmusic (Jack Shaindlin) libraries. And it’s the only Hanna-Barbera cartoon with stock music recently released on DVD. We get a good portion of the happy, skippy cue that opens the cartoon, including the introduction, and the full version of Shaindlin’s “Asinine.” The first two cues take up almost half the cartoon.

    0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera).
    0:27 - jaunty bassoon and skipping strings (Shaindlin) – Snoop and Blab in office, phone scene.
    2:16 - ASININE (Shaindlin) – Blab points, space ship, land on Mars, Blab talks to Martian, monkey runs into building, Snoop and Blab skid to a stop.
    3:32 - GR-255 PUPPETRY COMEDY (Green) – “Just hold it a sec,” conversation at door, monkey behind dishes.
    4:10 - SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – Snoop runs down hall, “…the royal Ruby,”
    4:31 - GR-98 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO BRIDGE No 2 (Green) – “That’s layor ybur…”
    4:40 - SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – Monkey with gun, saucer cycle scene, crash land.
    5:47 - GR-248 STREETS OF THE CITY (Green) – Blab on top of Snoop, Blab and monkey chat, Blab stays, Snoop on phone.
    7:00 - ‘Fireman’ (Shaindlin) – Shot of monkey, Snoop “peanuts” joke.
    7:09 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin).

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    “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” was not the original title of Hanna-Barbera’s first foray into feature cartoon production. Associated Press reporter Bob Thomas revealed in a column in June 1963 the film was called “Whistle Your Way Back Home.” Evidently someone came to the smart conclusion if you’ve got a star like Yogi Bear, why not use his name in the title? So the studio did.

    But the original title seems to have hung around for a bit. It’s referred in a Yogi Bear newspaper comic 50 years ago this month. Of note—there was no Christmas colour comic in 1963, and Boo Boo only makes brief appearances in two of the five weekend comics. And the seasons change awfully fast.

    You’ll notice in the December 1st cartoon a reference on the camera in the opening panel to “H-B Prod.” and Columbia Pictures (Hanna-Barbera’s bankroller when the studio opened in 1957) on the clapboard in the first panel of the middle row. The last panel seems to have a real ranger station on a set with a real swimming pool. It’s been years since I’ve seen the Yogi movie, but I don’t recall beach babes being in it.

    A week later, December 8th, and it’s suddenly not swimming pool weather any more. It’s winter in the next four comics. How did the weather change so quickly? Must have been global warming in 1963. Notice how Boo Boo is a nice bear, accepting Yogi for what he is, instead of ol’ sour puss Smith.

    Sorry for the lousy scan of the December 15th comic. The same snowy-covered first from the week before are back. The composition in the first panel of the middle row is just great. Characters on either side in the foreground, action in between them in the middle ground and a ski lift to fill the dead spots in the background. The final panel has some good varying perspectives, too. The silhouette of the phone booth is a nice touch.

    Oh, another one of the über-cute kids again. She evidently takes after Mrs. Smith. The two only appear to fill the top row of the December 22nd comic; neither play a role in the story. Nice variations of angles on that rickety old two-seater prop plane. You’ve really got to appreciate Harvey Eisenberg. He can draw a funny animal, a cute kid and a realistic-looking plane, and all in the same cartoon. He’s also using jagged dialogue balloons, presumably to express changing emotions. The less said about the rhymes, the better.

    Why can’t Yogi help the kid in the December 29th? Isn’t he smarter-than-the-average bear and can, therefore, solve problem? Ah, well. That would spoil the plot. It appears Ranger Smith has a pet lynx, judging by the opening panel. Look at the size of the cat. Angled fireplace and wood panelling are very attractive. I like Ranger Smith’s boyhood flashback. He looks like a munchkin instead of a little boy. The drawing of the rabbit is an interesting way of getting a change in visuals during dialogue. No rhymes this time.

    As usual, you can head to Mark Kausler’s site where he’s taken the time to post the bottom two rows of each of these cartoons in colour.

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  • 12/04/13--07:38: The Many Fingers of Snuffles
  • Who doesn’t love Snuffles? Right! We all do. So let’s look at some drawings courtesy of the internet.

    Here’s what I presume (due to a lack of dialogue underneath) is a layout drawing from “Bow-Wow Bandit,” the first Snuffles cartoon. The layout man on this cartoon was Walt Clinton. To compare, here’s the closest matching animation by Ken Muse. The production number of the cartoon was J-30 (the 30th cartoon on the Quick Draw show to put into production) but it was the fourth Quick Draw McGraw cartoon to air. I suspect it was aired early at the behest of the sponsor, as Kellogg’s loved Snuffles and used him to push its Gro-Pup Dog Food and Dog Biscuits (evidently, Yowp was not deemed a suitable spokes-dog). I will show my ignorance of animation production by telling you have no idea what the “8FC” stands for; I presume it’s some kind of instruction.

    Next we have another Snuffles (outlined in green) with some colour notations.

    I’m at a loss to tell you which cartoon used this drawing. I’ve watched all seven cartoons on the Quick Draw show that Snuffles was in and none have him running with his feet in that position. The production numbers I have for the second season are not accurate (they are from a web site), as J-86 supposed to be a Snooper and Blabber cartoon. J-86 would have been in the 1960-61 season, which included Snuffles appearances in “Ali-Baba Looey” and “Scooter Rabbit.” The only run cycle in the latter doesn’t look anything like this drawing, though there’s walk cycle where Snuffles has the same wavy-mouthed expression. Note that Snuffles is running behind “BG10.” Perhaps it is from a deleted scene. No, I don’t know the significance of “Dog Driven;” there was no Quick Draw cartoon with that name.

    Here’s a comparison of some of the animators’ work on Snuffles pointing.

    Ken Muse animated “Bow-Wow Bandits.” Snuffles isn’t named in this cartoon and he doesn’t float up, either. The story has Snuffles pointing a couple of times but Muse didn’t re-use the animation.

    Here’s Muse again in “Bronco Bustin’ Boobs,” a second-season cartoon.

    Dick Lundy drew Snuffles in “Cattle Battle Rattled” in the first season.

    This is Lundy again, from the second-season “Ali-Baba Looey.” Note the teeth and the leash attached to the collar. The leash disappears during the ecstasy part; just the ring on the collar remains.

    Bob Bentley’s version of pointing Snuffles from “Scooter Rabbit,” a second-season cartoon. Like Muse, Bentley doesn’t re-use animation later in the cartoon when Snuffles points at himself while facing the other direction. He draws Snuffles with three or four spots on his muzzle then.

    This is from “Dynamite Fright,” animated by Hicks Lokey in the third season. Sure looks the same as Lundy’s from “Ali-Baba Looey” but it’s not. Maybe Lokey re-worked Lundy’s drawings but the crook of the finger isn’t the same and Lokey’s mouth is a little wider.

    Finally, here’s Bob Bentley again, this time from “Mine Your Manners,” Snuffles’ last appearance on the Quick Draw show. I’ve cheated as I’ve flipped the drawing for a better comparison. His snout is horizontal while his open mouth is at a bit on an angle.

    This is from later in the cartoon. Other than the arm position, it looks like re-used drawings from the Lokey cartoon, which seem to be based on Lundy’s drawings.

    I’ve never had a chance to compare the hugging and floating animation from the last two seasons but at first glance, it appears the animation was re-used. I’ll try to compare those drawings in a future post.

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  • 12/07/13--07:28: Yogi Bear — A Bear Living
  • Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Art Davis, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Dad with Camera, Charlie’s Buddy, Maître d’ – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Boy Scout, Charlie – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961.
    Plot: Yogi decides to build a wishing well to earn money to buy food.

    There’s not a lot of laugh-out-loud comedy in the Yogi Bear cartoons exclusively for his own show in the 1961-62 season. Most of them are amusing at best and pleasant at worse. “A Bear Living” is pleasant.

    The cartoons had devolved to a point where the plots were mainly Yogi-vs-Ranger Smith, usually involving food or park rules. This cartoon contains both. Warren Foster’s story is well-constructed but the dialogue merely services the plot. There’s nothing I would really call hilarious. Even Yogi’s rhymes are at a minimum (“My conscience is clear. I have nothing to fear,” he tells Boo Boo). It’s tough to blame Foster, though. He was busy writing “The Flintstones” at the time and the workload doing that series and a dozen-or-so Yogis (plus Huckleberry Hound, plus Pixie and Dixie, plus Hockey Wolf, plus some Loopy De Loops) is just mind-boggling. A lesser writer would come up with disjointed crap like any “Bucky and Pepito” story.

    Foster’s dialogue isn’t the only thing that’s tamer here. The animation is by the great Art Davis. But if you compare it to what he did on the Quick Draw McGraw cartoon “El Kabong, Jr.” the previous season, which has some neat angular poses and stylisation, there’s a lot of talking and walking and not a lot else. Davis tends to curve up the mouth high into the face in his Hanna-Barbera cartoons around this time. Here are a couple of examples.

    Davis left behind some eyes when Yogi zips out of the scene.

    I’ve mentioned before how the positions of the characters don’t match after cuts. Here’s a good example of consecutive frames. The shot cuts from two characters to three (I gather in layout, these are considered separate scenes).

    Bob Gentle doesn’t get a chance to shine. Like the dialogue, the backgrounds service the plot. In fact, 40 seconds of screen time features a background that’s a greenish-tan coloured card. That’s it. Here are two of his drawings that are in the clear.

    And here’s a basic drawing of the Ranger Station to open the cartoon. Gentle gets some varied angles in it.

    There aren’t any of the isosceles triangle-shaped trees that you normally see when Tony Rivera is the layout artist. Rivera designed the cars in this.

    The straight-forward story starts with Ranger Smith holding up a park rule book and telling Yogi that’s what he’s going to follow. Yogi apparently thought the Ranger was a preacher with a Bible. “But for a minute, I thought you were going to marry us.” Even Boo Boo laughs as that, not realising that a couple of generations later, people with too much time on their hands would try to read something into his relationship with Yogi. “This book won’t sell big amongst us bears,” Yogi tells the Ranger.

    Ah, but smarter-than-the average Yogi has found a loophole. It doesn’t say bears can’t buy food at the park. So he decides to construct a wishing well (as a “Flintstones” bassoon underscore plays in the background) and make some cash from the coins dropped in (“The Ranger isn’t going to like that, Yogi). It’s visited by characters with pipe-stem legs (Rivera’s favourite), including a Boy Scout (Bill Hanna’s favourite) with 5 o’clock shadow.

    The income from the well must be incredible. Yogi makes enough to not only eat everything on the menu the park inn “twice-t,” he can afford a sports car. After a ho-hum car chase scene, Yogi tells Ranger Smith “I got a little thing goin’ for me, sir. It’s a regular gold mine.” The ranger takes it literally, thinking there’s a mine in the park that will attract prospectors. The ranger’s offer—if Yogi fills up the “gold mine,” he’ll throw away the rule book and the bear can do whatever he wants (until the next cartoon). Before the well is bashed apart with a sledgehammer in the final scene, Boo Boo makes a wish—that the ranger never finds out about the wishing well. “That’s a good one, Boo Boo” Yogi says, looking at the camera, “because if he does, we’ll wish he hadn’t. Nyea, hey, hey, hey, eee.”

    We mentioned one cue you’ll recall from “The Flintstones.” The rest of Hoyt Curtin’s music should be familiar from Touché Turtle and Wally Gator cartoons.

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    Sometimes Fred Flintstone’s schemes work. Sometimes they don’t. We get examples of both in the Sunday comics (Saturday in Canada) 50 years ago this month. And, no, there’s no Christmas story this time, but we do get a bunch of mastodons.

    Mastodon No. 1 shows up in the December 1st comic. The poor beast’s expression in the last panel is nice. There’s a rarity here, and I don’t mean the fact the plot revolves around Bamm Bamm. I’m referring to the opening panel. Usually, it’s longer with scenery. Not this time. Well, I suppose there’s another rarity in that Wilma doesn’t appear.

    Aw. If the December 8th comic were animated, the triceratops would have a wise-crack to end things. Instead, it’s Fred. I love the confident look in the lower left-hand panel.

    Here’s another comic where Fred thinks he knows best and doesn’t. The best frames are the ones with the shocked expressions of the dinosaur and sabre-tooth tiger. You’ll notice another mastodon in the background. Dino’s wearing ear-muffs in the opening panel of the December 15th comic but it doesn’t appear he went skiing with Fred and Barney.

    Fred’s scheme works in the December 22nd comic. Maybe it’s a gift from the story writer to Fred.

    Ah, Fred’s scheme doesn’t work in the December 29th comic. He kind of had the right idea, though the weight of the ice might have cracked the roof. I like the snow on the Flintstones’ logo. I presume those buckets in the first panel were filled with water to make Charlie’s ice pond. Lots of angle changes in the characters in this one.

    As usual, you can click on any of the comics to make them larger to see.

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    “Ruff and Reddy” isn’t among my favourite cartoon series, but it did start the Hanna-Barbera empire and it debuted on tomorrow’s date in 1957, so we’ll mark the anniversary with a short post.

    If you haven’t read the background before, you can go to this blog post. To boil it down, H-B Enterprises signed a deal with NBC to broadcast its new made-for-TV cartoons, which ran alongside old Columbia/Screen Gems theatrical cartoons (due to H-B’s bankrolling by Screen Gems), with a human host introducing everything.

    The cartoons were wisely filmed in colour, though NBC originally broadcast them in black and white, like almost all its programming in 1957. When did the network begin to show them in colour? The answer’s in a column by J. Don Schlaerth in the Buffalo Courier-Express of June 27, 1959. I presume he was a local columnist.

    COLOR SHOWS — NBC-TV will add two new color shows to its schedule today. "Buffalo Bob" Smith and his "Howdy Doody" show will be given the tinted treatment starting at 10 this morning on Ch. 2. The "Ruff and Reddy Show" cartoon series also will be in color following at 10:30. . . . The Trendex rating service indicates that the audience of color television programs in color TV equipped homes is twice as large as the audience in homes with black and white sets. The survey was conducted in five major cities.
    Pressure groups basically screwed up kids cartoons shows, but that wasn’t for a few more years yet. Hanna-Barbera cartoons in the ‘50s received nothing but plaudits. “Ruff and Reddy” was among them. Here’s the pertinent part of a squib from the Lockport Union-Sun and Journal of December 3, 1959:
    PTA Turns Critical Gaze On TV
    The National Parent - Teacher, the official publication of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, in its new program on TV evaluations, turned its critical gaze on nine more continuing shows for children and adults. The magazine's official viewers generally beamed on "Here's Geraldine" (ABC) and "Ruff and Reddy" (NBC), while taking a much dimmer view of the CBS "Heckle and Jeckle" and ''Lunchtime Little Theater" (independent) as adequate fare for children.
    Despite that, NBC took “Ruff and Reddy” off the air less than a year later. Whether it was contractual, I don’t know. However, the network brought it back. Broadcasting magazine of July 2, 1962 reported:
    'Ruff and Reddy' returns
    The Ruff and Reddy Show, a former NBC –TV morning children's show, is returning to the network as a color series Saturday, Sept. 29. It replaces Pip the Piper in the 9:30 -10 a.m. time -spot. Previously shown on NBC from December 1957- October 1960, the Ruff and Reddy Show is a Hanna -Barbera cartoon production, distributed by Screen Gems. It will be sponsored by Marx Toys, New York, through Ted Bates; Horsman Dolls, Columbia, S. C., through Manchester Organizations, and Selchow & Richter Games, New York, through Doner- Harrison.
    To show you how times have changed, NBC offered no network service on Saturday mornings until “Ruff and Reddy” aired and ABC didn’t sign on until 10:30.

    “Ruff and Reddy” left the network again after September 26, 1964, replaced with “Hector Heathcote.” By the following March 15th, Screen Gems was offering all 156 “Ruff and Reddy” cartoons (along with 156 Lippy the Lion/Touché Turtle/Wally Gator) in syndication. Interestingly, Broadcasting magazine reported in a September 20, 1965 story on syndicated shows:
    Robert Seidelman, vice president for syndication for SG [Screen Gems], conceded that demand by local stations is high, but said the company has no immediate plans for producing first -run syndicated series in color because of economic considerations.
    That shows you how things had changed. Hanna-Barbera built its name on syndication with “The Huckleberry Hound Show.” But most of its syndicated deals up to 1965 had involved a co-sponsor, Kellogg’s on the Huck-Quick Draw-Yogi shows and Ideal Toys with “Magilla Gorilla” and “Peter Potamus.” Screen Gems apparently decided for, or was told by, Hanna-Barbera that even joint deals such those couldn’t bring in the necessary cash to make TV cartoons profitable. Ironic, considering H-B got into the business because it could produce cartoons cheaply enough for television.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy; Layout – Paul Sommer; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Written by Mike Maltese; Story Direction – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Augie Doggie, Radio Announcer, Irish Cop, Guy in Window – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy – Doug Young.
    Music: Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, Harry Bluestone/Emil Cadkin.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-039, Production J-111.
    First Aired: week of March 27, 1961.
    Plot: Augie invents an invisible playmate whom Doggie Daddy keeps offending.

    The best pun in “Playmate Pup” is completely unintentional. Doggie Daddy climbs up the side of a building next to a window. The guy inside it says “What’d you lose, Mac—a parakeet?” The thing is, for two frames, the guy has lost something. His head. The cel with the head on it is missing for two frames. A mouth is in mid-air.

    I don’t know if the cartoon would have been any funnier by having a character without a head for no particular reason. It would have fit, though. The cartoon is based on an invisible friend of Augie’s. The whole cartoon is a set-up to one joke at the end. Doggie Daddy has read in a “child sick-ol-lo-logical book” (almost halfway into the cartoon) that kids make up imaginary friends but it turns out Lonesome Leonard isn’t imaginary. He’s just invisible.

    Mike Maltese’s story contains elements we’re all too familiar with in the Augie Doggie series:

    ● Augie imitating Sylvester, Jr. with an “Oh, the shame of it” line. In this one, it’s “Oh, the shame of it. My father would rather patch up his neglected and seedy-looking home-sweet-home than play ball with his only devoted son.” The home-sweet-home line is a verbatim repeat of what dear old dad has just said, another example of Maltese’s echoing dialogue.
    ● Daddy goes along with Augie’s whim because that’s what a good dad does.
    ● Daddy gets bashed around for his trouble.
    ● A disbelieving Irish cop comes to a sudden realisation, decides he’s sick and makes a crack to the camera.
    ● The “after all, how many” tag-line at the end of the cartoon. In this one, it’s “After all, how many boys have pals who don’t eat?”

    Add to that Maltese’s (mis)use of the word “avuncular”. In this cartoon, it’s “Come to think of it, Augie, we don’t have an old oak tree. Will an old avuncular bush do?”

    And Maltese dredges up the old cartoon routine of the radio that talks back to the characters. I’ve always liked it. The radio in this cartoon sounds like Fibber Fox. Here’s the dialogue, as Daddy is about ready to play baseball with Augie:

    Radio: Friends, this is Repair Your Home Week. Does your house need painting?
    Daddy: It does.
    Radio:: Is your garage a mess?
    Daddy: It is.
    Radio: Is your front yard the scandal of the neighbourhood?
    Daddy: Well, people are beginning to talk. Heh heh heh heh.
    Radio: Are your children ashamed to bring their little friends home because you let it get rundown and seedy?
    Daddy: I never tought about dat.
    Radio: Well, think about it.
    Daddy: I’m thinkin’.
    Radio: Are you through thinking?
    Daddy: I think so.
    Radio: Well, take off that silly-looking baseball outfit and do something about it.

    So here’s the story. Daddy’s set to play baseball with his son but he’s convinced by the radio to fix up their home because it’s suggesting Augie isn’t bringing friends over because of it. Daddy thinks disappointed Augie has reacted by inventing a friend. The friend is a jerk but Daddy puts up with it because a book tells him to do it. The friend, Lonesome Leonard, doesn’t put up a ladder to stop Daddy from falling, then demands a “thank-you.” Then he wants to lie down under the shade of an oak tree after Daddy sits on him (because Daddy can’t see him). Only an oak tree will do. Daddy and Augie carry him all over the place for an hour to find an oak tree. They find the sceptical cop instead. The cop’s reaction? He takes off his cop hat, puts on a fireman’s helmet and says “It’s the fireman’s life for me.”

    No sooner do they get to the tree that Lonesome decides “to leave forever.” Daddy chases after him up a phone pole, across a phone wire and then up a building which ends with dear old dad chatting with the missing-head guy before yelling for help. The wind up of the cartoon has invisible Lonesome forgiving Dad then sucking up spaghetti from a plate, proving he exists after all. “How about dat? A fig-a-ment of dee imagination. With an appetite.”

    Dick Lundy is the animator. Here are some poses. Daddy gives us a blank stare in one.

    Art Lozzi’s backgrounds aren’t as interesting as some of the things he did on Yogi Bear or even Loopy De Loop cartoons. Daddy likes pictures in his home. In fact, he has the same couch and large picture in two spots in his home. Well, he walks past it twice in the cartoon.

    And here’s a bit of a cityscape. Sorry for the lousy screen grabs. See the house with the door in the middle of the second storey? Daddy runs past it four times to catch Leonard after he and Augie carry him past it three times. I like how he changes the grey tone of the pavement, much like he and other H-B artists (Bob Gentle, particularly), had more than one colour on a wall to break up the monotony (you can’t tell too well but when Daddy walks by the couch above, the wall has a loop of a different shade in the upper-left-hand corner). By my count, Lozzi drew 18 backgrounds for this cartoon.

    You’ll know doubt recognise the music in this cartoon. It’s pretty standard Augie Doggie fare.

    0:00 - Augie Doggie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin).
    0:25 - CB-90 HAPPY HOME (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Augie wants to play baseball, radio talks to Daddy, Daddy starts walking.
    1:11 - CB-83A MR TIPPY TOES (Cadkin-Bluestone) – “No boy of mine…”, Daddy hit by baseball, Daddy holds onto gutter, “Gettin’ awfully tired.”
    2:30 - PG-160G LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – “Tanks, Lonesome,” Daddy drops, Augie turns head.
    2:46 - GR-155 PARKS AND GARDENS (Green) – “What’s that, Lonesome?,” Daddy reads book, sits on Leonard, “I didn’t see him.”
    4:18 - CB-89A ROMANTIC JAUNT (Cadkin-Bluestone) – “And dat’s da trut,” Augie and Daddy carry Leonard, Irish cop scene.
    5:27 - GR-334 BUSTLING BRIDGE (Green) – Scene fades, Dad and Augie at tree.
    5:33 - GR-253 TOYLAND PARADE (Green) – “Look, dad,” Augie points.
    6:04 - Medium circus march (Shaindlin) – Daddy runs, climbs pole, climbs building.
    6:19 - GR-348 EARLY MORNING (Green) – Guy in window scene.
    6:41 - GR-65 BUSH BABY (Green) – Augie and Daddy have dinner, spaghetti disappears.
    7:01 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – “How about dat?” iris out.
    7:10 - Augie Doggie End Title theme (Curtin).

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  • 12/17/13--07:36: Play With Huck
  • There seems to have been no end of merchandise for kids featuring the Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and it wasn’t just put on store shelves for Christmas. To the right, you see a newspaper ad from August 1960. The U.S government copyright catalogue states the playbook was copyrighted on June 28, 1960 while a similar Yogi book was copyrighted August 16. Whitman had a couple of other products that year. A Huckleberry Hound magic slate was copyrighted August 25 (it allowed kids to colour, wipe off and colour again), and there was a Quick Draw McGraw sticker book that was registered on May 13.

    We’ve mentioned a number of times when the Huck show was first aired in 1958, the studio didn’t just use its stars in merchandise. It just didn’t have enough stars with only one show on the air. So that’s why you’ll notice in the ad that Li’l Tom Tom, Ziggy the crow and Iddy Biddy Buddy are advertised as if they’re on the same level of fame as Huck and Yogi. Well, Biddy later became Yakky Doodle (though in early publicity material, he was known as “Doodles Duck.”

    In peering through the 1960 catalogue, there are a few other interesting items that are now memorabilia. Golden Press bought rights for some H-B products. A punch out book with Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy was copyright September 22. Pixie and Dixie had a stencil book (featuring Huckleberry Hound), copyright May 26. There were colouring books (one drawn by Harvey Eisenberg, another by Pete Alvarado, another by Chic Otterstrom) , comic books, Little Golden Books, a Huckleberry Hound stamp book and my particular favourite—the Quick Draw McGraw search game (for 2, 3 or 4 players), licensed by Milton Bradley and copyright February 27 (a little early for Christmas). And that’s just “books and pamphlets.” It doesn’t include dolls and other kinds of toys. All of which was no doubt designed with the idea that it could make people rich on eBay 50 years later.

    By the way, the newspaper ad doesn’t tell anyone, but one of the cutouts is of everyone’s favourite cartoon dog. Yes, one that goes “Yowp! Yowp!” I’m afraid this was about the end of the line for poor Yowp as a Hanna-Barbera product, except in cartoon reruns.

    Kids today weaned on every conceivable electronic thing they can wheedle out of their parents’ credit card might be puzzled by the attraction of a $1 playbook. All you do is push out the characters from the pages, slip the parts together and stand them up. That’s it. They stand there. They don’t do anything else. Well, in a way they do. They inspire a kid to use his/her imagination and make up their one little Hanna-Barbera cartoons on the spot as they play with the figures. $1 for imagination is a pretty good bargain.

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  • 12/20/13--03:14: Some Words From Top Cat
  • It’s been four years since the voice of Top Cat, Arnold Stang, passed away. There’s something about the show “Top Cat” that doesn’t do it for me, although I love Arnold Stang and I love Marvin Kaplan and think Hoyt Curtin’s music on the series is brilliant.

    Anyways, I won’t try to analyse the pros and cons of the show, which was Hanna-Barbara’s first real failure (in that it couldn’t make it in prime time). Instead, allow me to go into my Stang file and post some photos (some may have already been posted) and two interviews from the ‘60s. Unfortunately, he doesn’t touch on Top Cat, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy what he has to say nonetheless.

    This first interview was for the syndicated “TV Key” service, which provided newspapers with a Q-and-A style show biz column and an another written in the feature story format. This was published by the Binghamton Press on January 6, 1962, when “Top Cat” was in first-run. The fire, incidentally, was in Bel Air, California, in spite of the New York dateline.

    Radio Fine Medium, Stang Feels

    Arnold Stang was in New York recently between houses. The voice of ABC’s Top Cat was one of the many members of the movie colony burned out during the disastrous fire.
    “I was in Boston doing a show and my wife was in New York when it happened,” explained Stang. “It’s a funny thing, though, how people react to tragedy. My neighbor’s house was on fire and burning to the ground, and what do you think he was doing? He was on my roof spraying it with water hoping to protect my house. Of course when the news reached me my first thought was my children, but I must have forgotten how many wonderful friends I have.
    "When the kids came out of school that day three of our friends met them and prepared to to take them to their houses to live. I understand it almost ended, up a tug of war for possession of the Stang brood.”
    The first reaction from the public when they read about a fire like this is that everything is insured anyway. But as Arnold asked, “How much insurance do you think I carried on a gift I received from FDR? And could I insure a letter from Churchill? Not to mention hundreds of personal belongings and the scripts of every show I’ve ever done, plus recordings of many of them.”
    Although he only weighs in at 103 pounds and buys his suits at the boy’s department, Arnold Stang has better than 25 years experience in this business.
    He ran away from his home in Chelsea, Mass., at the age of 9 when he wrote a letter to a radio program in New York asking for an audition and they replied that they only audition on Saturday.
    Little Arnold hopped a bus, landed in New York, read a serious poem and was signed on as a boy comedian at $10 a week. He made a deal with his folks that he would never miss regular schooling if they’d let him pursue an acting career and he was off.
    “Radio had it all over TV,” said the veteran of the microphone.
    “The listener was able to draw his own mental images and the actors had the audience imagination working for them. Take Jack Benny’s safe . . . on radio you’d hear five minutes of sound effects including rattling chains, dungeon noises and creaking doors and it never failed to get laughs.
    “On TV Benny has to show you what goes on in his vault and, in spite of some wonderfully creative tricks, it’s never as effective.”
    Arnold’s favorite radio job was on the Henry Morgan show. No devotee of radio comedy could argue this point with him because, in spite of the nonsense Morgan subjects himself to on I've Got a Secret, his radio program was one of the outstanding achievements of radio’s final decade of supremacy in home entertainment Stang’s voice? In person it’s quite normal but a 103-pound actor with a normal voice could only play a jockey, and Arnold has a family to support.

    Prior to “Top Cat,” Stang’s cartoon career had mainly consisted of voicing Herman the Mouse for Famous Studios (which didn’t believe in giving fame to its voice actors as none were credited). He provided a voice in the 1961 feature, “Alakazam the Great,” which hit theatres just before T.C. debuted. But with “Top Cat,” his cartoon career had peaked. Unless someone thinks of “Pinocchio in Outer Space” (1965) as a high point in animation. Stang hit the publicity circuit to push that piece of animated dreck which he once called “a first-class Christmas release film which the kids will love and which will pleasantly surprise the parents.” This is the most complete version of the story I can find but it appears awfully brief.

    Cartoon Picture Drawn to Go With Voice
    United Press International

    NEW YORK, Jan. 26 [1966] (UPI) — When Arnold Stang speaks for a cartoon character, he doesn’t time his lines to fit the picture. They draw the picture to match his voice.
    The usual procedure in dubbing is for the actor to sit and watch it being projected and synchronize his voice as nearly as possible with the lip movements on the screen. Stang doesn’t work that way.
    “I find there are almost always changes I want to make in the lines, for reasons of style or characterization,” he said at lunch here recently. “Changes in words, changes in timing. No two actors ever read the same passage in exactly the same way.
    “So I have an understanding that, when I do a cartoon, I record the voice first and then the picture is drawn to conform to the lines.”
    Stang is perhaps best known just now as the voice of television’s “Top Cat.” He also spoke for Nurtle the Twurtle in “Pinocchio in Outer Space” a Universal Pictures’ release.
    (A twurtle is a space creature that looks the way a big turtle would if it were closely related to Arnold Stang.)
    The performing credits Stang has accumulated in 20-odd years include half a dozen Broadway plays, more than 20 records, nearly that many feature films and so many radio and television shows he has lost count.
    “I am usually called in on a guest basis (on television shows),” he says. “I have all the excitement and the public acceptance without the crushing responsibilities that plague comedians with their own programs.
    “Most people tell me they remember me best for one thing,” he says, “but it’s rare to find two people who remember the same thing.”

    This column is a little odd in that the soundtrack of a cartoon is generally recorded first; it certainly was at Hanna-Barbera. Some of the New York studios used to have the dialogue done last but I don’t know when that practice stopped. It had to be well before 1965.

    Stang had some experience as a turtle. He played the voice of Socrates, a turtle with 500 kids and a wife who looked like his brother, on a Sunday afternoon show called “Washington Square.” Ray Bolger starred and it aired every other week on NBC in the 1956-57 season. Interestingly, Stang once told TV columnist Steven H. Scheuer that it was originally supposed to be a cat puppet.

    There’s one connection between Hanna-Barbera and “Pinocchio in Outer Space” that’s so obscure, it’s really too geeky to mention. In the scene when Pinocchio first meets up with Stang’s twurtle on Mars, the soundtrack plays a toodling sweet-potato cue. It’s the same stock music cue on the Augie Doggie cartoon “Mars Little Precious” where the Martian baby climbs Doggie Daddy’s wall.

    Here are a couple of great TV magazine covers featuring T.C. The one on the left is courtesy of Jerry Beck; I apologise for not noting who sent me the one on the right.

    By all accounts, Stang enjoyed his time on “Top Cat.” Maybe one of the reasons was it played against his little runt type on camera. But it could well be because the soundtracks were recorded with all of the actors in a studio playing off each other, just like in radio. Radio was Stang’s favourite medium and one where he truly shone.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    No credits. Story – Mike Maltese, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Fly – Daws Butler; Narrator, Box Office Smash, Ticket Taker – Doug Young; Sage-Brush Sal – Julie Bennett.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin, Jack Shaindlin, Bill Loose/John Seely, Geordie Hormel, Lou De Francesco?, unknown.
    First aired: week of May 22, 1961.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-032, Production J-95.
    Plot: Quick Draw mixes with a dangerous theatre robber, Box Office Smash.

    There’s a little game you can play watching some of the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons, the Gee-That’s-Familiar Game. It’s a game when you sit watch a cartoon and, suddenly, it reminds you of something from an old theatrical cartoon you once saw. You can play it with “Shooting Room Only.”

    The idea of Box Office Smash sitting in the theatre firing off his guns in anticipation of his favourite act brings to mind the same kind of thing in “High Diving Hare” (released 1949), the great Bugs Bunny short written by Tedd Pierce. The scene of Box Office pretending to be an usher leading Quick Draw McGraw up and up numerous flights of stairs is pretty reminiscent of what Bugs pulled on Elmer Fudd in “Hare Do” (also Pierce from 1949). Of course, the gags aren’t identical, what with the confines of limited animation and all. And the ending is pretty much the same as Mike Maltese’s own Quick Draw cartoon “Masking For Trouble,” where Sagebrush Sally changes her mind at the end and runs off with the bad guy. In fact, those were the only two cartoons where Sal appeared.

    This is another one of those Quick Draw cartoons where our hero assumes another identity. There’s no real reason for the disguise, other than Maltese wants to make fun of TV westerns. So Quick Draw is the equivalent of Bat Masterton. Except, in this case, he’s Bumbershoot Bam, and instead of Masterton’s cane, he carries an umbrella “which he uses with great dexterity against his enemies,” as the narrator informs us in the opening. Naturally, he demonstrates that he doesn’t, as he clobbers himself and Baba Looey while trying to nab a fly. (Baba erupts in a string of faux Spanish, much like Ricky Ricardo did when he was disgusted with Lucy). And to complete the ineptness, Quick Draw shoots himself in the head after zipping off-stage to remove his disguise.

    The versions of the cartoon I have don’t have credits. I don’t really want to venture a guess at the artists in it. I thought Brad Case might be the animator, but some internet site says it’s Lew Marshall. It could be, though I don’t know if he used the tornado exit for characters. Here are Quick Draw and Baba running out of the frame after Box Office.

    The little pipe-stem legs on Box Office make me think Tony Rivera supplied the layouts.

    And thin-armed Sal on stage.

    The pretty tame colour scheme could indicate Dick Thomas painted the backgrounds. His work is always solid but more lacklustre than, say, Art Lozzi or Monty.

    A few of the noteable things in the story:

    ● Quick Draw emulates spooneristic comic Roy Atwell to the narrator: “What I can I you for do? Foo for you? I mean, do for you?”
    ● The narrator sings the Quick Draw theme. Whether Doug Young can’t sing or was being intentionally bad, I don’t know. But his weak effort is kind of fun.
    ● Box Office at the theatre ticket window: “One in the front row. I’ll hold up the box office after I see the show.”
    ● Quick Draw tries to pawn off Baba as a child to get him a discounted ticket (Jack Benny did the same thing in a radio show with Dennis Day). The ticket seller is sceptical. Baba: “Sorry, Quickstraw. I forgot to shave this morning.”
    ● Our hero keeps having to buy tickets every time he has to come back into the theatre. It’s a routine I’ve seen somewhere.
    ● Quick Draw fits in a “Hold on thar!” and “That smarts” but no “I’ll do the thinnin’” this time.
    ● The best line is a throwaway when Box Office is leading Quick Draw up the stairs. “Just one more flight,” says Box Office. “Good,” replies Quick Draw. “My feet are gettin’ out of breath.”
    ● Sal’s recitation on stage is just bizarre. I don’t know what Maltese’s inspiration was. It goes:
       The boy stood on the burnin’ deck.
       His feet were full of blisters.
       He tore his pants on a rusty nail.
       And now he wears his sister’s.
    ● Quick Draw, as a magician (with Baba as his rabbit, complete with white ears), puts trick handcuffs on Box Office. The villain easily pulls them apart. “Well, what do you know, they are trick handcuffs,” observes Quick Draw.
    ● Sal casually and plaintively emits a “Help” cry as she’s carried away on a chair by Box Office and refuses to marry him, but instantly changes her mind when he promises her a gig at the Palace. A booking at the Palace Theatre in New York was considered the pinnacle of vaudeville.
    ● Cartoon ends with Quick Draw getting a show for his 47 tickets. Baba, wearing a wig, fills in for Sal. He interrupts his rendition of Sal’s recitation with “But that’s show business, I thin’.”

    Hoyt Curtin’s Quick Draw McGraw theme that’s used as background music for those little cartoons-in-between-the-cartoons shows up a few times on the soundtrack. It’s kind of a precursor to the following season, when Curtin’s music would completely replace the stock library music. I don’t know the origin of the old-time melodrama silent piano music behind Sal’s recitation. It could be a Jack Shaindlin cue; he wrote two albums of that kind of music for commercial release.

    0:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub Main Title theme (Curtin).
    0:15 - ZR-39A WESTERN SONG (Hormel) – Dry Gutch Junction pan, “Watch this lightning draw.”
    0:53 - TC-205 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Loose-Seely) – Quick Draw clobbers himself and Baba, “none other than…”
    1:14 - (That’s) QUICK DRAW McGRAW (Curtin) – Quick Draw zips off stage, comes back, shoots himself, Baba observation.
    1:29 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw talks to narrator, talks to ticket taker, Baba forgot to shave.
    2:27 - Medium circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Box Office shoots gun, Quick Draw in umbrella.
    3:04 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw at ticket window, falls out door, back at ticket window.
    3:44 - related to SPORTSCOPE (Shaindlin) – Box office shoots gun, curtain up.
    3:55 - silent piano music (Shaindlin?) – Sal monologue, curtain down.
    4:15 - sad trombone music (?) – Box Office gets teary, shoots gun.
    4:23 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw talks to Baba rabbit.
    4:38 - (That’s) QUICK DRAW McGRAW (Curtin) – Curtain up, trick handcuff scene.
    5:31 - Medium circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Shot of stage door, Quick Draw and Baba run.
    5:41 - SF-11 LIGHT MOVEMENT (De Francesco?) – Quick Draw at ticket window, Sal yells help, Quick Draw vows to see the show.
    6:38 - (That’s) QUICK DRAW McGRAW (Curtin) - Quick Draw in seat, Baba on stage.
    7:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

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    You know how it is when you turn on the TV over the Christmas holidays. You want to see your favourite old cartoons. “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” “Bucky and Pepito Help Santa Claus.” Okay, maybe not the last one (mercifully, such a cartoon never existed). But you love them and you watch them rerun year after year after year.

    Well, we at the Yowp blog are taking the same attitude this Christmas. In almost five years, we’ve HTMLd a number of Christmas posts. So allow us to rerun a few of them.

    CLICKING HERE will direct to a post on Alan Reed’s Christmas—before Fred Flintstone (Dino ball picture courtesy of Brian Miller).

    THIS LINK will allow you to listen to Yogi Bear sing “Have a Hap-Hap-Happy Christmas.” Well, it’s not really Yogi. It’s Frank Milano as Yogi Bear. Better still, you can read the Little Golden Book “A Christmas Visit” starring Yogi. The artwork is enjoyable.

    GO HERE to read the Whitman book “Yogi Bear Helps Santa,” drawn by Lee Branscombe.

    THIS POST is where you can find another Whitman book with two Huckleberry Hound Christmas stories and a great drawing of some of the other H-B characters in a Christmas tree.

    AND THIS LINK will take you to some background art from “Christmas Flintstone,” the second made-for-TV Christmas cartoon (yes, even before Charlie Brown).

    What you see above is a drawing from the collection of Mark Christiansen, one of so many people who have helped contribute not only to this blog, but our knowledge of the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Judging by the lettering on Yogi’s bag, I suspect this was drawn at the time all the characters were together on the Huckleberry Hound Show (that is, before 1961). I wonder if the bow-ties are pinned on Huck’s and Jinks’ throats.

    Since we’re showing off artwork I’ve purloined from elsewhere on the internet, allow me to pass on a few more things that are pretty neat.

    Isn’t this the perfect Christmas gift for your kids? Your little boy can look just like Yogi Bear. Or is it Corporal Agarn? And your little girl can be Huck. Or a leprechaun. Okay, the hats aren’t terrific. But they’re probably sturdier than what you can buy today. The picture is courtesy of John Cawley.

    Here’s what may be a draft drawing for a Colpix record cover passed on by Bill Wray, whose name you may recognise from Ren and Stimpy. Bill spent some time at Hanna-Barbera, though it was long after Cornelius the Kellogg’s Rooster (in the picture above) had left the premises.

    I gather these are two rough sketches for publicity art, likely from 1958-59. In the top drawing, you can see what looks like an Ed Benedict version of Yogi. The front-facing Boo Boo is a little unusual. The crow is Iggy, voiced by Don Messick. There’s Li’l Tom Tom in a typical pose and the unnamed fox caught by the wily Yowp in “Foxy Hound-Dog.”

    And look! There’s Yowp in the drawing below. The unnamed rabbit from the Li’l Tom Tom cartoon (“The Brave Little Brave”) is featured, along with Wee Willie the gorilla and both crows, Iggy and Ziggy. These drawings are from Bill Wray’s collection as well. Don Parmele posted his copy of the publicity photo that was made from the sketch. Don’s worked for a number of studios in a lengthy career.

    The day of unnamed foxes and rabbits being on publicity material was brief. Hanna-Barbera used/mentioned secondary characters for the first year of the Huckleberry Hound Show. When Quick Draw McGraw came along in 1959, there was a whole new set of starring characters that began replacing Iggy and Ziggy and Wee Willie in the studio’s P.R. campaigns. When the Yogi Bear Show premiered in January 1961, the studio had enough stars that it didn’t need Li’l Tom Tom or (sniff) Yowp in its publicity and merchandising any longer.

    Ah, but this is the Christmas, not the woe-be-unto-Yowp, season. So we wish you and those you love, the best to you each morning the best of the holiday season. If you’re reading this post at another time of the year, keep the Yuletide spirit of kindness and generosity all year long.

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    Can anyone identify the Hanna-Barbera cartoons that are depicted in the composite drawing below?

    This was posted on Facebook by possibly our only reader in Peru, Jeanpierre Enrique Robles Ramon. The different colours make it seem likely each drawing came from a different place but I have no idea if they were in a comic book, or colouring book, or what the source is. These are not drawings from cartoons themselves, but are based on scenes in them. (See the note from Joe Bev in the comments).

    At the top left, we have the two wolves from the Huckleberry Hound cartoon “Sheep-Shape Sheepherder” (1958-59 season). In the actual cartoon, we only see the barrel roll into the cave (the action is left-to-right) before the camera shakes. The wolves, I suspect, provided a bit of inspiration to the later Hokey Wolf and Ding-a-ling. The drawings probably look closer to Dick Bickenbach’s layouts to what Carlo Vinci did with them in the cartoon.

    Below the wolves is Iddy Biddy Buddy who swam in Mr. Jinks’ water dish in “A Wise Quack” (1960-61 season). Iddy, as we know, was based on a duck that Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera placed in a handful of MGM cartoons and then turned into Yakky Doodle in 1961.

    Underneath are Pixie and Dixie and the mouse fairy godmother in “A Good Good Fairy” (1959-60 season). It’s one of those bizarre transformation cartoons where the meeces end up as an apple and a banana at the end.

    At the bottom we see the start of the peanut-pushing contest from “Papa Yogi” (1959-60 season), where Yogi cons his way into a Father-Son Picnic at Jellystone Park (Boo Boo is the unwilling “son”) to win all kinds of edible goodies. Here’s what the drawing looked like in the actual cartoon; layout by Walt Clinton and animation by George Nicholas.

    To the right is a series of drawings based on the Huckleberry Hound cartoon “A Bully Dog” (1959-60 season). The telegraph poles, stone fence, Huck on a wire and snickering dog next to the trampoline are all part of the cartoon but not all together in one frame. Here’s the drawing from the cartoon with the trampoline.

    This is the fourth cartoon with a dog with a wheezy laugh. These days, the character with that description who comes to mind is Muttley. You can read a bit about the lineage HERE. In fact, all the cartoons mentioned have been reviewed on the blog.

    The composite drawing has inspired a post looking back at part of one of these cartoons. It’ll be the first post of the new year.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Art Davis; Layout – Paul Sommer; Background – Bob Gentle; Written by Warren Foster; Story Direction – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Insurance Agent, Pixie, Bulldog (growling only) – Don Messick; Jinks, Dixie, Evil Jinks, Bulldog – Daws Butler.
    Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Jack Shaindlin, Spencer Moore, Geordie Hormel.
    Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show No. K-50.
    First Aired: week of February 20, 1961.
    Plot: Jinks buys an accident insurance policy for Pixie and Dixie.

    It’s a story which worked really well in the Woody Woodpecker cartoon “Wet Blanket Policy.” Buzz Buzzard takes out a life insurance policy on Woody, tries to kill him to collect the insurance, only to have the aggressive Woody bash the crap out of him instead. Warren Foster tries the same sort of thing in “Jinxed Jinks.” Of course, Mr. Jinks doesn’t want to kill the meeces—he’s not that nasty, after all—he just wants them injured in an accident to collect some cash.

    This cartoon also favours another well-worn routine, the appearance of an evil alter ego. Unlike a lot of cartoons, there’s no fight with a counter-balancing good alter ego. Despite the familiarity, and an ending you might be able to predict, the cartoon’s a pleasant enough 6½ minutes.

    There’s nothing really outstanding in the design, layout or animation. I like how the bad Jinks is in a white outline form. And background artist Bob Gentle gives us a yellow sky and blue-green clouds.

    Dialogue samples. First, when Jinks calls the meeces out of their hole:

    Jinks: I gather, like, uh, you two ginks kinda, like, uh, think I’m a tyrant-like, mm?
    Pixie: Well, uh, the impression...uh, there are times...uh...
    Dixie: He means “yes.”
    Jinks: Well, fellas, you are observing a changed Jinksie.
    Pixie (brightly): Gee, that’s wonderful!
    Dixie: Yeah. Any change will be an improvement.
    Jinks: I will overlook, uh, that snide-like observation, uh, because I have good news for you meeces.
    Pixie: I know! You’re going away on a long trip.
    Dixie: Or else you caught your tail in a ringer.
    Jinks (to the audience): I love meeces, you know, with a gift for sharp-like, uh, repartée.

    Then, when Jinks realises he’s wasted an insurance premium payment, and alter ego bad Jinks appears.

    Bad Jinks: It wouldn’t have to be wasted. You could speed up the inevitable.
    Jinks: Yeah. I could cut down the time lag. Uh, there’s nothin’ wrong in that. It’s the temp of the times, the speed-up. Yan-kee know-how. It’s almost like, you know, patriotic.
    Bad Jinks: Now you’re talking.

    Yup. Maiming someone to collect cold, hard, cash is The American Way. That’s Foster’s satire for the day.

    It takes about half of the cartoon to get into the violence gags. First, Jinks and the insurance agent-selling cat with Don Messick’s standard ‘growly’ voice facetiously exchange chatter over the need for a policy. (Cat: I hope nothin’ happens. But you never can tell. Jinks: Yeah, that’s right. ‘Cause, you know, the future is veiled, in a mist, like.”) Next, Jinks facetiously talks with the meeces about the policy. Then the scene with Bad Jinks as Dixie flies on top of a kite for some reason. The gags:

    ● Jinks throws an iron at the meeces. It misses.
    ● Inspired by Rube Goldberg, Jinks hooks up a trap whereby a bowling ball rolls along a plate-rail and through a hole and drops onto the meeces. Instead, when the meeces activate the trap, the bowling ball simply drops off the plate-rail, onto Jinks’ head and cracks apart.
    ● At the suggestion of his villainous alter ego, Jinks grabs a croquet mallet (well, this is‘60s suburbia) and hides in the bushes to bash the meeces as they pass by. Pixie and Dixie approach with a bulldog to tell the cat “the good news.” Jinks clobbers the bulldog on the head instead. “I have pulled, like, a faux pas,” he tells us as the scene fades out.

    We miss the violence which, of course, would blow Bill Hanna’s budget to animate. Instead, the camera fades in on Jinks in a hospital bed. The friendly, sincere meeces have a basket of goodies for the cat, and tell him the good news: they paid for it with the accident insurance policy they took out on Jinks. Cut to the outside door of the hospital (?) where Jinks chases them past the same light socket five times, hobbling on a leg cast, shouting “I hate you meeces to pieces” as the cartoon ends. It’s a shame Foster couldn’t fit in more gags but who knows if anyone was on his story board that had to be taken out.

    Jinks chases Pixie and Dixie to “On the Run” at the end of the cartoon. And the George Hormel cue “Light Eerie” works well when the bad version of Jinks appears.

    0:00 - Pixie and Dixie Main Title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera, Shows).
    0:13 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Jinks gets insurance policy, walks.
    1:08 - C-19 LIGHT ACTIVITY (Loose) – Jinks talks to meeces, Jinks looks up at kite.
    2:44 - ZR-49 LIGHT EERIE (Hormel) – Jinks talks to Evil Jinks.
    3:11 - LAF-4-6 PIXIE PRANKS (Shaindlin) – Pixie and Dixie walk, iron, Jinks demonstrates bowling ball set-up, ball clobbers Jinks, “You’re welcome.”
    4:49 - TC-300 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – “Excuse me fellas,” Jinks walks.
    5:04 - ZR-49 LIGHT EERIE (Hormel) – Jinks talks to Evil Jinks, Jinks with croquet mallet.
    5:45 - LAF-25-3 zig zag strings and bassoon (Shaindlin) – Pixie and Dixie with bulldog, mallet clobbers dog, “faux pas.”
    6:15 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – Jinks in hospital bed. “You what?”
    6:44 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Crashing sound, Jinks hobbles after meeces.
    6:57 - Pixie and Dixie End Title theme (Curtin).

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    The biggest problem Yogi Bear had in the newspaper comic pages to ring in 1964 may not have been kids, though they seem to have dominated the Sunday pages. It may have been in the editorial room at newspaper offices.

    I had four sources of half-page (three rows) of Yogi comics I could pick from for the start of 1963. For the start of 1964, I’m down to one. The other three papers dropped Yogi altogether. Maybe they think it’s winter so he’s hibernating. I don’t have figures about how many papers carried Yogi (or ‘The Flintstones’) at any given time. You’d figure with Yogi going into his own feature film, and his TV series still airing, that papers would have been signing up to run the comic.

    (As an aside, it’s a shame the one Hanna-Barbera cartoon begging for a Sunday comic treatment never got one. Can you imagine Doug Wildey drawing a weekend Jonny Quest comic?)

    Anyway, let’s get to Yogi and those little “ragged-muffins,” as Super Snooper used to call them. Say, it’s been quite some time since any guest appearances by H-B characters in the Yogi comics, hasn’t it?

    Well, Boo Boo’s being awfully crotchety in the January 5th comic, isn’t he? Usually it’s Mr. Ranger who’s Mr. Negative. The top row features the only silhouette drawing this month. Can anyone explain why there’s an orphanage in a national park?

    Hey, if a “frozen” gag works once, why not try it again? So that’s what’s happened in the January 12th comic. At least Boo Boo is in a better mood. No doubt Eagle Scout Bill Hanna would approve of the story-line. Feel free to click on the musical arrow below and read the final panel.

    Hanna-Barbera was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976 but, to the best of my knowledge, no H-B cartoon character was immortalised with foot prints outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Coincidentally, that’s the theatre where the recent Yogi Bear movie premiered (the real Yogi film, “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” didn’t debut until June 1964). I see Jellystone doesn’t have a “general” in the January 19th comic like it did in newspapers throughout 1963. “Chief” is generic enough to make sense.

    Since I was snipping these comics together at 4 in the morning, perhaps that’s why it took me a little while to get the gag in the January 26th comic. Yogi moves the school zone sign to warn people that children are throwing snowballs. Ranger Smith is named “Bill” again.

    As usual, click on each comic to enlarge it. I suspect colour versions of the bottom of two rows of each cartoon are, or will be, on Mark Kausler’s blog you see in the list to the right.

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  • 01/02/14--06:14: Walking With Wolves
  • How do you make a cartoon character turn 180 degrees? If you’re Carlo Vinci, you come up with some unique drawings.

    Carlo has a neat little walk cycle for “Chiefy,” the mastermind wolf in the Huckleberry Hound cartoon “Sheep-Shaped Sheepherder.” I enjoy Carlo’s work on the first season of the Huck show. He seemed to be looking to do something different. In this cartoon, he resorts to full animation when he turns the pacing Chiefy in the other direction. The drawings are used for one frame only.

    Chiefy has a high-leg walk as he practically stops and turns. Here are the drawings from the first turn.

    The eight drawings of Chiefy pacing are each shot on two consecutive frames but they’re not of a rigid head and body with only the legs animated, which is the kind of animation the studio acquired a reputation of doing. Each has the torso, head and even the cupped hands in different positions from drawing to drawing.

    Carlo does save drawings; this is a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, after all. The pace cycle (including the turn) is used in both directions, the ink and paint department simply used the same drawings and painted the cels on the other side. And the cartoon may have more of Carlo’s head-shakes than any other he worked on at H-B.

    A few other things were re-used, too. Shorty, the henchman wolf, dresses up as a sheepdog. The design, other than the tail and placement of the ears, is identical to Wooly in the Ruff and Reddy cartoons. And the idea of a fast-talking wolf with a Phil Silvers voice was re-used in a number of cartoons and finally re-worked into the Hokey Wolf series in 1961. Carlo had pretty much moved on to the half-hour Hanna-Barbera shows at that point, leave the adventures of Huck to others.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Art Davis, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Huckleberry Hound, Gate Attendant 1, Spy with Clock, Spies – Daws Butler; Narrator, Chief, P.A. Announcer, Gate Attendant 2, Clock-Stealing Spy, Spy with Gun, Conductor, Spies – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-052.
    First Aired: week of March 27, 1961.
    Plot: Agent Huckleberry Hound is assigned to deliver a secret-filled briefcase to the country of Rutabaga.

    This spy spoof is really inspired. There are a lot of fun lines and lampooned situations from start to finish, too many to quote. Huckleberry Hound seems to have brought out the best in Warren Foster, perhaps because Huck could be plunked in a different situation in each cartoon, enabling Foster to make fun of something fresh.

    Interestingly, there are no Russian or eastern European accents in this cartoon, despite being loaded with spies and set in the Cold War days of 1961. Daws Butler and Don Messick pretty much keep to French accents, as the second half of the cartoon is set on a train from Paris to Rutabaga called the Rutabaga Express, a parody of the Orient Express on which a number of spy novels and films have been based. Well, it may be going to Rutabaga.

    The cartoon opens with a great back-and-forth between Huck and the narrator. Huck is an agent with the T.S. and S.L.T.T.—“Top Secrets and Stuff Like That There.” First, Huck looks around when the narrator firsts talks to him because he can’t see him. Then Agent Hound sets up a gag. “Sorry, Mr. Narrator,” he apologises, but information about his agency is classified. So is his next mission. And so is the book he’s carrying—the Classified Phone Directory. “Ain’t that a knee-slapper?” asks Huck. “I get it,” dourly replies the narrator, who finally gets angry when his joke to Huck goes over the spy’s head.

    Huck’s called “The Man With a Thousand Faces.” It turns out it’s not because Huck is a master of disguise. He demonstrates a face.

    Fade to Huck in the chief’s office (with a stylised painting of George Washington by Art Lozzi). Huck’s being assigned to deliver a briefcase to the Ambassador in Rutabaga. “Where is Rutabaga?” Huck asks. “That’s a good question,” says the chief, who now stops to think. “Rutabaga, rutabaga, let me see. I should know that. But these countries keep changing their names.” The chief was right. The cartoon was made during a period when French African colonies were becoming independent. The incompetent Huck tries to leave the office but walks into a broom closet, losing the briefcase in the process. “I’m off to Battaruga,” says Huck. “That’s Rutabaga, Rutabaga! Not Battaruga,” shouts the chief, who then ponders “Or is it? They could have changed the name again.”

    After someone tries to drop an anvil on Huck and then switch his briefcase with a lunch box, Huck is on a flight to Paris. He explains that sometimes, a lady spy will be planted in the next airplane seat to try to get him to talk. No sooner does Huck tell us a smart agent doesn’t do that, he blabs virtually everything (except he calls the country “Turnip”) and even invites the turbaned lady to peek in the briefcase before he realises what he’s said.

    The lady doesn’t figure into the plot; she’s just a gag device. Now we get spies galore on the Spy Special. Some have identical white trench coats and blue sunglasses. Huck’s briefcase gets stolen and everyone’s after it. They chase each other back and forth from left to right of the frame, laughing and screeching like crazy (though their mouths don’t move). Finally, Huck asks the conductor for help to get his briefcase back. It’s not forthcoming. The conductor explains: “This is the Spy Express. Everybody steals each other’s bag. That’s how the spies keep their job. So, take a bag, Monsieur. Any bag. They all have secrets in them.” So that’s just what he does when a blob of spies passes by him.

    The scene fades into the climax—the lumped group of spies chase Huck on top of the rail cars. A tunnel’s approaching. You can guess what happens. Huck’s smart enough to duck. The others aren’t. We don’t actually see them hit the top of the tunnel. Instead, the scene cuts from the group pointing ahead to stock animation of the impact of an explosion you’ve seen in countless H-B cartoons.

    The final scene is back in the chief’s office in the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Huck has captured all the briefcases the spies had. “Only the Man of a Thousand Faces could have pulled this off,” says the chief, admiringly. “I know,” replies the immodest Huck, who once again demonstrates the silly face he made to the Narrator earlier in the cartoon. Then he confides in us it’s the only face he can do, “it’s just lucky for me nobody ever asks to do another one.” Huck launches into an a cappella version of “Clementine” to end the cartoon (with the goony face tossed in for good measure). Art Lozzi put George Washington on the office wall. It looks like his other portrait belongs to President Dracula. Maybe that’s a sly comment by someone on the U.S. government sucking tax dollars.

    Speaking of Lozzi, here’s his streetscape, from start to finish.

    This was the last new Huckleberry Hound cartoon aired in the 1960-61 season. Unlike the others, it uses underscore music written by Hoyt Curtin, as would the nine Huck cartoons produced in the following, and last, season.

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  • 01/07/14--05:47: Tony Benedict on Stu's Show
  • You know how the theme song goes: “The show in town is Huckle Jerry Hound...”

    Okay, maybe not. But to the right you see Huckle Jerry Hound. Or, rather Hanna-Barbera layout artist Jerry Eisenberg drawn as Huckleberry Hound sent to me by former storyman Tony Benedict. The two of them worked on H-B cartoons through a good portions of the 1960s. Tony pretty much took over the Huck cartoons in the series’ final season, writing most of them.

    I’ve been quite fortunate to have had the chance to talk with both Jerry and Tony about their careers at Hanna-Barbera. Unfortunately, in Tony’s case, due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, we chatted for just under a half-hour and I never got a chance to ask him a pile of questions on my mind. However, someone else will get the opportunity, and I urge you to tune in and listen. It’ll be a lot longer than a half hour. And there’s Tony’s career at Disney and UPA we didn’t even discuss that I imagine they’ll touch on.

    Tony will be on the air on Stu’s show with Stu Shostak this Wednesday (the 8th) starting at 4 p.m. Pacific time. Stu generally goes two hours with his guests but tends to chat longer if the guest is willing and there’s still a bushel-full of questions to be answered. And I suspect there will be, certainly ones we never got a chance to touch on in my truncated interview.

    It goes without saying but Stu loves the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. He knows the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. And, better still, he isn’t a lazy interviewer. He does his research so he’ll ask intelligent stuff, stuff fans want to know about. So, you can bet Stu will ask him why the new version of “The Jetsons” in the ‘80s didn’t cut it (and maybe he’ll find out what the writers thought about that wretched little Orbity), and why the studio’s cartoons started to go downhill despite the presence of talented people.

    Other than Mike Lah (who was gone), Tony worked with all of the studio’s early greats—ex-MGM guys like Ray Patterson, Irv Spence, Kenny Muse, Bob Gentle, Art Lozzi, Monty and Walt Clinton. And with George Nicholas. And Art Davis. And Carlo Vinci. And the two greatest writers in cartoon history, Mike Maltese and Warren Foster. Well, the list could go on. Tony wrote the first cartoon with Astro. Same with Alfy Gator. He also came up with an idea for a spy spoof featuring a squirrel.

    As you know, Tony has been working on a documentary outlining the life of the studio while he was there and all the great people he worked with. A Kickstarter project didn’t get past the kicking stage. I suspect he’ll reveal what the future holds for it.

    So here’s how you listen to the interview. It’s not available in any stores on your local radio station. You’ll have to go to the Stu’s Show web site just as the show starts and then feed it through your media player on your computer. If you miss the show live, you can always download it not too many hours after the end of the broadcast for 99 cents. 99 cents for a couple of hours of one of the veterans of TV animation? Even Bill Hanna would pay more than that.

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    Mike Lah once said that if you were trained in Disney-style full animation, adjusting to Hanna-Barbera’s limited animation was fairly easy. But it was still a grind nonetheless. Ask Alex Lovy and Dan Gordon.

    Lovy (in the centre of the photo) and Gordon (standing) both worked at the Van Beuren studio in New York in the mid-‘30s before ending up out West by the end of the decade. So they had plenty of experience working in full theatrical animation. Gordon was hired when Hanna-Barbera opened in 1957 to make story sketches (though story man Charlie Shows was quite capable of drawing). Lovy came aboard H-B in March 1959 as a story director, working on storyboards. Both talked about their jobs in this brief newspaper feature story that appeared in the Binghamton Press on September 30, 1961.

    Monotony Is Biggest Peril to Cartoonists
    It’s a well established fact that a daily comic strip artist leads a rugged life, but the daily hassle of turning out animated cartoons for television is equally as hectic.
    Dan Gordon and Alex Lovy, story directors for Hanna-Barbera Productions, churn out close to 100 cartoons a day for The Flintstones.
    “We get the rough story idea from the writer," explains Alex, “then it’s up to us to bring it to life with pen and ink. We average 500 cartoons a week, all with dialogue, in order to keep up with production schedules.”
    The work demands precision and patience for one imperfect drawing can ruin an entire sequence and everyone down the line, from inkers to painters, gets thrown off their deadline.
    The biggest occupational hazard in a cartoonery is monotony, according to Dan Gordon.
    “It isn’t that you get bored,” Gordon points out, “but you can feel bogged down after a while when you’ve worked on one sequence too long.”
    If this happens, the fellows switch jobs, completing what the others had started.
    “Here’s an example of what we mean,” says Alex. “Imagine an artist having to sit at a desk and draw one figure on a celluoid [sic] plate. Then, when the basic picture is drawn, he has to draw a movement of an arm, leg or even the twitching of an eye. If a character points a pistol at an object, fires, then lowers his arm, an animator has to draw the various movements of the arm, which might be 25, 30 or even 40 frames. And the rub is that each movement has to be perfect. By the time you reach the 40th frame you’re a likely candidate for sillyville!” “What do you mean candidate?” injected Dan. “You have to live in sillyville to be a cartoonist!”

    When Lovy says “cartoons,” I suspect he doesn’t mean a completed, 6½ minute cartoon. He must mean a story drawing. Still, if you have nine panels on a sheet and 16 sheets per cartoon, that’s a lot of drawing. And, of course, an awful lot more work is involved in a half-hour cartoon.

    Lovy had a long career at H-B after spending time directing at Walter Lantz and Columbia in the ‘40s and ‘50s, as well as opening his own company with Sid Marcus in 1947 called Scientalks. After story directing at H-B, he was promoted to Associate Producer in August 1960 and retired in 1988. Lovy died February 14, 1992. Gordon, too, directed cartoons in the ‘30s at Van Beuren and the ‘40s at Paramount’s Famous Studios in New York. He left Hanna-Barbera in the early ‘60s but returned to the studio a few years later. He was born in Philadelphia in 1902 to John J. and Margaret Gordon. T.R. Adams’ book on the studio, quoting Bill Hanna, says Gordon died in 1969, other sources say 1970, but I’ve found no record of it.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, J. Evil Scientist, Crocodile – Daws Butler; Junior, Monster – Don Messick, Mrs J. Evil Scientist – Jean Vander Pyl.
    Music: Phil Green, Harry Bluestone/Emil Cadkin, Jack Shaindlin, Clarence Wheeler?
    First Aired: 1960-61 season (rerun, week of Oct. 23, 1961).
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-037, Production J-108.
    Plot: Snooper and Blabber are hired to babysit by Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist.

    The J. Evil Scientist clan both pre-dated and post-dated the Addams Family. “Pre-dated” because the cartoons featuring the Scientists debuted a few years before the Addams TV series. “Post-dated” because the Family had appeared in one-panel cartoons in the New Yorker magazine for more than 20 years at that point. But the Scientists must have seemed fresh to much of the TV audience when they first appeared; after all, how many viewers were regular readers of the New Yorker?

    Despite their name, the Scientists really aren’t terribly evil. In fact, they barely appear in “Surprised Party.” The cartoon is kind of a reworking of their first appearance in “The Big Diaper Caper.” In their debut, they leave Snooper and Blabber to babysit their kid then return at the end of the cartoon. The same thing happens in “Surprised Party,” except writer Mike Maltese tosses in a birthday party angle.

    In a number of H-B cartoons, Maltese puts together a bushel of unrelated gags before getting to the main plot. This is one of them. The first minute and a half is taken up with a classroom setting which has nothing to do with the J. Evil Scientists. I wonder if Maltese did this simply because he didn’t have enough material to fill the actual story and figured he could string some amusing stuff together to come up with seven minutes. Whatever the reason, it works seamlessly in this cartoon.

    Snoop is giving Blab lessons in “strange, oddball capers,” pointing to different drawings to set up each bit of silly dialogue.

    Snoop: This is the leaning tower of pizza.
    Blab: What makes it lean, Snoop?
    Snoop: It doesn’t lean, Blab.
    Blab: Gosh, Snoop. It looks leany to me.
    Snoop: Me clever deductions prove that the ground leans, not the tower.


    Snoop: Me toughest caper was figurin’ out why bats hang upside down by their teeny feet.
    Blab: Did you solve it, Snoop?
    Snoop: Only after a scalp-tinglin’ solution. I hung by my feet for 37 days, lookin’ for a clue.
    Blab: And what did you get, Snoop?
    Snoop: A tingly scalp.

    After a bit more chit-chat, a call comes in. “Snooper Detective Agency. If your case is strange, we don’t work for small change,” says Snoop. It’s not a “strange odd-ball caper,” he assures Blab (there’s the tie-in between this scene and the rest of the cartoon). It’s a “1203—Guardin’ Birthday Gifts.” So they’re off to the old Scientists’ Victorian home. Here are some of Art Lozzi’s backgrounds. Sorry the screen grabs are so fuzzy, but they’ll do until the series is released on DVD (which means “never”). The mailbox is on a separate cel.

    The rest of the story is a typical J. Evil Scientist affair. The Scientists enjoy ghoulishness—J. Evil likes Snooper and Blabber’s heads and offers to shrink them; the couple is going to see “Ben Horror” at the movies—and Junior has detective-eating pets (in this case, a crocodile that comes up through a trap door in the “play penitentiary”). Snooper somehow (we don’t see it on camera) escapes from the “707” (“a crocky-dile on the loose”) and our heroes make a run for it.

    Snoop: Leave us get out of here!
    Blab: You’re right, Snoop. I don’t care about the $60,000, either.
    (The two skid to a stop)
    Snoop: I forgot about that.
    Blab: That’s a lot of forgettin’ to do.

    Snooper and Blabber make a permanent getaway past the returning parents after Junior puts together a “Do-It-Yourself Monster Kit” and the snarling metal monster walks toward them. Lew Marshall gives Mrs. Scientist (her first name is never mentioned) a neat little 12-drawing walk cycle where she thrusts out her tall leg, curves it, then plants it on the ground. If the copy of the cartoon was a little better, I’d try to embed it here. Needless to say, Snooper and Blabber, just like in “The Big Diaper Caper” run away without stopping to get paid. Unlike that cartoon, where J. Evil ended things laughing at the fact they never pay the people they hire, the Peter Lorre-evoking Scientist chortles about the “pile-up” in the chariot race in “Ben Horror.”

    The sound editor in this cartoon decided to use a fair number of cues. The Phil Green piece “EM-136I Eerie” (the name in the Capitol Hi-Q library) works really well here. The cue when Snooper is on the phone may be Clarence Wheeler’s “Woodwind Capers;” I haven’t been able to confirm it. The sound effects trample over the final cue but it’s discernible as one of Jack Shaindlin’s chase themes, “Six Day Bicycle Race.”

    0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera).
    0:27 - GR-93 DRESSED TO KILL (Green) – Classroom scene.
    1:52 - PG-161G LIGHT COMEDY MOVEMENT (Green) – Phone rings, “Snooper Detective Agency.”
    1:59 - WOODWIND CAPERS (Wheeler)? – “If your case is strange…,” it’s a “1203.”
    2:20 - GR-78 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS BRIDGE No. 1 (Green) – Snoop and Blab in car.
    2:25 - EM-136I EERIE (Green) – Shot of house, Snoop and Blab on sidewalk.
    2:43 - GR-453 THE ARTFUL DODGER (Green) – Snoop rings doorbell, door scene with J. Evil.
    3:14 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – Mrs. J. Evil conversation.
    3:58 - CB-85A STEALTHY MOUSE (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Where’s Junior scene, Junior comes out of trap door.
    4:15 - CAPERS (Jack Shaindlin) – Crocodile snarls, gets bashed.
    4:19 - GR-456 DR QUACK (Green) – “Here comes our guest of honour…” gunshot, “Look, Snoop!”
    4:57 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – Junior runs with cake, feeds cake to crocodile.
    5:08 - GR-346 FIRST BUDS (Green) – “Ragged-muffin,” crocodile bites Snoop, pulls him through trap door.
    5:28 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – “Help!” Snoop and Blab run, skid to stop.
    6:00 - GR-90 THE CHEEKIE CHAPPIE (Green) – Snoop talks to Junior, Junior builds monster.
    6:22 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – Monster walks, Snoop and Blab zoom out of scene.
    6:35 - SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – Mr and Mrs Scientist scene.
    7:10 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin).

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  • 01/12/14--18:54: O Maior Palhaço da Cidade
  • Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera must have known of the big coin that was brought in from international sales of their Tom and Jerry cartoons when they worked at MGM (and how the cut-off of overseas markets during the war hurt cartoon-makers, such as Disney). So it wasn’t long after they began syndicating “Huckleberry Hound” in North America in fall of 1958 that their company started peddling their animated wares elsewhere. And it worked. If you look on-line, you may find Huck, Yogi, Quick Draw and the rest in Spanish, Portuguese or Italian (if someone has a full run of “Snooper and Blabber” in Portuguese, let me know).

    Here’s a story from Weekly Variety of March 15, 1961, about Huck’s foreign adventures:

    ‘Hounds’ Around The Vidpix Globe; Big Latino Fave

    “Huckleberry Hound,” distributed by Screen Gems, has been sold in 25 countries and promises to be one of the most widely circulated shows in foreign distribution. SG’s current bestseller abroad is “Rin Tin Tin.”
    Animated series, produced by Hanna-Barbera, has been dubbed in five different languages: French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese. “Hound” started playing in Latin America a year and a half ago. That was the first time, according to SG, that regional dialects were deliberately used in the Spanish dubbing of the tv series, done for the purpose of emphasizing the varied characterizations of the cartoon personalities.
    In Latino market, series now is playing in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Other sales include England, Belgium, Finland, Spain, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. In many of these countries, “Quick Draw McGraw,” which in the U. S. started in the fall of ‘59, a year after “Hound,” has also begun telecasting in native tongues.
    “Flintstones,” latest out of H-B’s shop, already playing in English-speaking countries, is being readied for the international rounds.

    By May 24th, Variety reported Huck, Yogi and Quick Draw were in 29 countries.

    While the cartoons aired, the openings and closings made for the half-hour shows didn’t always. Reader Alfons Moliné has sent this along:

    Here is a rare opening for the Brazilian version of The Huckleberry Hound Show (or "Don Pixote", as Huck is called in Portuguese), where it used to be sponsored by Trol, a toy brand. This was done by some local animation studio; check the crude animation and the odd character designs:

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