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Stuff about early Hanna-Barbera cartoons

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  • 01/14/14--12:02: Suing Jonny Quest
  • You wouldn’t think anyone would mistake TV’s first action-adventure cartoon with a show that had human mouths superimposed over inanimate drawings. But someone did.

    “Jonny Quest” had problems from the beginning. Variety announced on December 25, 1963 that Screen Gems sales boss John Mitchell negotiated a 26-week deal with ABC for the show, which was described as “a candidate for the Friday night 7:30 period next season (following the departure of the current tenant, ‘77 Sunset Strip’). Series has been bought at $60,000 per copy off the story board as a firm commitment.”

    But now ABC had to sell it. Variety reported on January 29, 1964: “With General Mills, which was offered first opportunity to sponsor the series, having turned it down, ABC is looking for other prospects.” ABC had sales problems in general; the April 29th Weekly Variety revealed the network had six shows with no advertising and one with a minute. That was “Jonny Quest.”

    Meanwhile, production trundled along. On May 12th, Variety told that Hoyt Curtin had been signed to compose and conduct the show’s theme and incidental music. He used 22 pieces. Not all episodes were completed when “Mystery of the Lizard Men” debuted on September 17th. A week later, Variety listed the writers assigned to the show: Joanna Lee, Walter Black, Herb Finn, Alan Dinehart, Stuart Jerome, Alex Lovy, Frank Rhylick, Beryl Ferguson, W. D. Hamilton, Kin Platt, Tony Benedict, Charles Hoffman and Doug Wildey (Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, Wildey and Lovy got credit for the teleplay of the opener).

    Today, fans know that Wildey was the show’s creator. In 1964, all we knew was he was the “Supervising Art Director” in the end credits (with a box around his name, like Milt Caniff). Wildey come from Cambria Studios which produced the least-animated cartoons in history. Double-exposed live-action mouths moved when characters didn’t. And Cambria wasn’t too happy with what it saw in “Jonny Quest.” It called in the corporate lawyers.

    Variety published this story on January 26, 1965.

    $1,050,000 Piracy Suit Filed Against ‘Jonny Quest’
    Cambria Studios Inc. has bright legal action in Superior Court over the Hanna-Barbara tv series, “Jonny Quest,” in which damages totalling $1,050,000 were asked. Named as co-defendants with H-B were Screen Gems and ABC, on charges of plagiarism, misappropriation of trade secrets, inducing breach of contract and false advertising.
    Complaint filed by attorney Irwin O. Spiegel alleged that the “Jonny Quest” series uses, copies and appropriates substantial parts and portions of Cambria's “Clutch Cargo” and its pilot film, “Captain Fathom,” including their principal cartoon characters. Defendants, according to complaint, misappropriated Cambria's new, original techniques and know- how in the use of illustration or comic strip art in production of animated films, and that Hanna-Barbera induced former Cambria employes to reveal this confidential information in breach of employment contracts.
    Suit also asked for an injunction to prevent further dissemination of allegedly false and misleading statements that Hanna-Barbera are the originators of the use of comic strip art in the animated cartoon medium

    Wildey wasn’t the only ex-Cambria employee to move over to Hanna-Barbera. Alex Toth and Warren Tufts joined him and the two worked on a number of series in the ‘60s.

    There’s no word in Variety how the suit ended, but it didn’t affect Jonny Quest’s future in the slightest. The show didn’t have one, not in prime time anyway. Not enough people were watching. Jonny, Race and Bandit won their time slot in their series debut, but were last in the Arbitron ratings the following week behind “Rawhide” (CBS) and the memorable “International Showtime” (NBC). Things were even worse for “The Flintstones,” which was getting hammered by “The Munsters” (CBS) with more than three times the audience on the season opener. So a decision was made; Variety reported on December 14th that ABC was switching the the two half-hour cartoons on its schedule. Jonny was sacrificed for Fred and Barney. “The Flintstones” remained on the air next season. “Jonny Quest” was cancelled by mid-March. Incidentally, it was one of only seven night-time shows ABC broadcast in colour, though Variety questioned (February 24th, 1965) whether many stations aired it that way.

    But, if I may be allowed an opinion, Jonny was a good show. Fred Silverman at CBS evidently thought so, too, as he bought the rerun rights and put it on the Saturday morning schedule on September 9, 1967. And there it flourished. It later begat “New Adventures” and “Real Adventures,” neither of which resulted in lawsuits by Cambria.

    Incidentally, Hanna-Barbera was already in court at the time the Cambria suit was filed, as a trial was getting under way over damages to Morey Amsterdam and Pat Carroll for being let go as the voices of George and Jane Jetson. And the studio had met up once before with Cambria’s legal representative, Irwin O. Spiegel, in another lawsuit over a half-hour prime-time show. We’ll try to get to that in a future post.

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    Time to study Fred’s expressions in the final panels of “The Flintstones” Sunday newspaper comics 50 years ago this month. The final two comics have a wavy-mouthed Fred, and the first one has a teeth-and-wavy mouthed Fred. The other comic has great layouts of Fred and Dino being attacked.

    Either the Flintstones have a new pet or someone has forgotten how to draw Baby Puss in the January 5th comic. Baby Puss doesn’t have stripes. Whoever the cat is in the opening panel, (s)he’s playing with a wind-up mouse. Good use of foreground and background in the various panels.

    Don’t you love how there’s ice and snow on the ground in Bedrock but it never affects anyone’s feet? A derby and a turtle neck in cartoons is a sure sign of trouble, isn’t it? The pineapple design on the tough guy’s dinosaur in the January 12th is unique. Fred has a wavy mouth when he flips over in the last panel of the second row. The week before, Barney developed two heads when looking from side to side. Fred does it this week.

    No, Fred, chivalry isn’t dead. It hasn’t been born yet. Setting aside the anachronism, there are nice expressions in the January 19th comic. Note the bottom left-hand panel with Barney’s half-closed eyes giving him a sceptical look.

    We’ve had to hunt around to come up with all three rows of the January 26th comic. That’s why it’s plain the rows came from different on-line sources. Ma looks to be a distant relative of Wilma. Judging by the leg positions in the final panel, being overcharged for parking makes you need to go to the bathroom. There’s the shock halo around Fred and Wilma like the one around Fred and Barney three week later. Another silhouette drawing with an interesting angle on the car in the top row.

    As usual, click on any of the comics to make it bigger.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Don Patterson; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Written by Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Horse McGonigle; Newscaster, Boo Boo, Ranger Smith – Don Messick. Mugger – Doug Young.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961.
    Plot: A pair of bank robbers disguised as grannies hide their loot in a picnic basket that Yogi wants.

    Do these look like typical Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters to you?

    These guys in “Disguise and Gals” look like they could appear on “The Flintstones.” Or “Secret Squirrel.” Or “Precious Pupp.” Meh, as the kids say. It seems to me the artwork was a lot more interesting in the earlier Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Take, for example, the bank robbers in “Big Brave Bear” made only three years before.

    I don’t know whether it was Ed Benedict’s influence waning but it seems there was a conscious decision to modify the designs at the studio. Even the backgrounds are a little more abstract and fun in “Big Brave Bear.” I really like the sponge-work and the tree outlines in that cartoon. There’s nothing really wrong with the backgrounds in this cartoon; I just enjoy the work on the first year of Yogi cartoons a lot more. Here’s part of a background by Bob Gentle. The rolling hills remind me more of Art Lozzi.

    Here’s part of another background drawing which gets a lot of use in the cartoon. Various overlays are used on it, like a couple to create an entrance to Jellystone Park.

    Don Patterson’s at work here. In “Space Bear,” he draws Ranger Smith with really wide pants. He does it again in this cartoon.

    He draws closed eyes like the eye-lids are little triangles.

    And this is another cartoon where he draws a little crook for a closed mouth.

    Unfortunately, Patterson doesn’t have any outrageous takes in this cartoon. The story doesn’t really call for any. But he has Yogi wagging his head from side to side and up and down, so he’s at least trying to make it look better than the rigid-character-blinks-eye that you see in other animator’s work.

    Patterson does cheat a bit in the scene where Yogi and the bandits crash through the roof of the Ranger Station. We don’t actually see them go through the roof, but it happens so fast, you don’t really notice. What Patterson did was have the trio disappear, and add some small boards in the next number of drawings that he moved around. Combined with the camera shake, it looks like the characters crashed through. These are consecutive drawings.

    There’s not much to say about Warren Foster’s story. He’s got some clever bits of dialogue. After seeing the “old ladies” drive by, Ranger Smith talks to himself about their carefree lifestyle and adds “They really know how to count their blessings.” Cut to the next scene where they’re counting, all right. The money they’ve stashed in the picnic basket. Then there’s the irony when Yogi is running away with the robbers’ picnic basket and one yells “Come back here, you crook!” And there’s the inevitable Yogi rhyme when he runs onto a ski slide to escape. “Without snow, I don’t wanna go.” But go he does after the disguised crooks run into him and down the snow-less slide they go. The characters start in silhouette at the top of the slide but as they reach the middle, the silhouette disappears and you can see the three of them. The slide scene isn’t done horizontally across the screen; it’s done at an angle with the characters coming towards the audience. It’s more interesting visually.

    While all this is going on, Ranger Smith is looking at a “Wanted’ poster of the crooks in his office, saying “it’ll be a feather in the cap of whoever captures them.” That turns out to be Yogi when the three crash into the ranger station. A couple of Smith expressions. The contemplative one is a nice extra; Patterson’s trying to get a bit more personality out of Smith than letting him stand there.

    Now the last scene, where Boo Boo remarks to Yogi: “It sure was a feather in your cap capturing those robbers. Cut to Yogi with a feather in his cap.” Yogi: “Maybe so, Boo Boo. But I don’t think it does a thing for me.” Whoa. That’s the ending?

    Foster named one of the robbers in this “Mugger.” The studio ended up recycling the name in the feature film “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” for one of innumerable snickering dogs. I’ve listened over and over to Mugger’s voice in this, and I’ve come to the tentative conclusion it’s Doug Young. Daws Butler did a character that sounded similar (especially in “Fractured Fairy Tales” at the Jay Ward studio) but it doesn’t have the same qualities. Young’s cadence as Ding-a-ling Wolf was similar to Mugger, hence my very-much-hedged identification. The same voice was used in later H-B cartoons.

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  • 01/22/14--07:19: It's Not the Sierra Madre

  • Hanna-Barbera had stopped making Quick Draw McGraw cartoons by 1962, but there was one new Quick Draw release that year—on record. That’s when The Treasure of Sarah’s Mattress was put out by Colpix, the music arm of Screen Gems (the TV arm of Columbia Pictures).

    The best part about it is the real cast members were in front of the microphone to cut the LP. No cheap imitations. Daws Butler is Quick Draw. Don Messick is Chief Crazy Coyote. Doug Young is Augie Doggie. In fact, they play all the parts. And the record was written by Daws and Don M. You can click on the liner notes to read more.

    Want to listen? Then just click on the arrow for each of the cuts.

    CUT 1

    CUT 2

    CUT 3

    CUT 4

    CUT 5

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall; Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Augie Doggie, Aromatique – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy, Red coated Knight, Pathos, Horse – Doug Young; Narrator, Green coated Knight, Porthole – Don Messick.
    Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin, Harry Bluestone/Emil Cadkin, Hecky Krasnow.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-033, Production J-104.
    First Aired: week of January 23, 1961.
    Plot: Doggie Daddy lies to Augie about once being a member of the famous Musketeers.

    While watching this cartoon, the first question you may ask yourself is what are Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy doing in 17th Century France, especially with Augie wearing his mid-20th Century T-shirt.

    The answer is—it’s irrelevant. After all, if Huckleberry Hound can exist in different centuries, why can’t a suburban single father and his son?

    Mike Maltese’s story starts much like a number of his Quick Draw cartoons. A narrator sets up the time and place and some incidental characters engage in a pun or a gag. Then, the main story begins. Doggie Daddy isn’t as clueless as Quick Draw in this, but he’s about as equally inept. One can picture Quick Draw in the big show-off scene where he ends up crashing at the bottom of a cliff while demonstrating a patently false story about one of his heroic adventures as a Musketeer.

    Maltese’s version of Musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis are Pathos, Porthole and Aromatique.

    The situation’s pleasant enough. Doggie Daddy brags to Augie that he was the Fourth Musketeer. Naturally, he confides in us, “da truth is I wouldn’t know the Three Musketeers from the Three Blind Mice.” Augie, set off by Daddy “like a young bird trying out his wings...on his big adventure” according to the Narrator, meets the Musketeers. They, of course, have never heard of Doggie Daddy. “Fibber father of the year” assures annoyed Augie that he really was a Musketeer, and after getting his butt handed to him when he tries to bluff the Musketeers, works out a deal where they’ll pretend he was part of their group so Augie won’t “grow up with a complexion—whatever that is.” The cartoon ends with the fake Musketeer thoroughly botching his phoney re-enactment of saving the King (like failing to grab a chandelier in mid-jump) and being led home exhausted by Augie atop his son’s horse.

    Maltese echoes his dialogue, as he tends to do in many of his early H-B cartoons. The first scene involves a rusty sword. The next scene has the Narrator informing us “a momentous event was taking place.” Cut to Doggie and Augie. “Augie, my son, my son,” says Daddy. “This is a momentous event.” Daddy hands him his sword. “Treat it well. And don’t let it get rusty.” “Dear Old Time-Payment Dad” adds the reason is because he’s got three more payments to make on it.

    Maltese had horse-riding Augie sing a little song. Not as great as “The Flower of Gower Gulch” that he gave to Daffy Duck a few years earlier:

    Oh, I’m brave and bold and I know no fear
    ‘Cause I’m soon to be a Musketeer.

    The horse is attacked by some kind of bug. I have no idea what it’s supposed to be. It’s not a bee. It’s not a mosquito.

    Tony Rivera is the layout artist. He are a couple of his panels.

    And here’s a drawing by Lew Marshall. Notice the parallel lines indicating the H-B 5 O’clock Shadow™.

    Marshall stretches the horse and leaves multiples when it zips out of the scene.

    Dick Thomas’ small village background drawing partly looks like this.

    The sound cutter uses lots of little cues on this one. You should recognise all of them if you’ve seen enough Augie Doggie cartoons. There’s no music, stock or other kind, when Augie sings.

    0:00 - Augie Doggie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin).
    0:25 - tick tock/flute music (Shaindlin) – Narrator scene with swordsmen, pan to house.
    0:55 - GR-253 TOYLAND PARADE (Green) – Daddy and Augie sword scene.
    1:36 - GR-65 BUSH BABY (Green) – Augie on horse, Dad bids farewell.
    1:48 - PG-161H LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – Augie gallops away, Daddy admission.
    1:59 - PG-177C LIGHT COMEDY MOVEMENT (Green) – Narrator with Augie on horse.
    2:07 - GR-248 STREETS OF THE CITY (Green) – Musketeers walk, shout.
    2:28 - no music. Augie sings song.
    2:32 - LFU-117-1 MAD RUSH No 1 (Shaindlin) – Bug arrives, stabs horse, “Gosh!”
    2:45 - tick tock/flute music (Shaindlin) – “That’s the Three Musketeers,” Musketeers send Augie away.
    3:37 - CB-85A STEALTHY MOUSE (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Augie and Daddy in living room.
    4:33 - GR-255 PUPPETRY COMEDY (Green) – Musketeers laugh, toss out Daddy, Musketeers agree to keep secret.
    5:42 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Augie standing, runs off scene.
    5:51 - GR-346 FIRST BUDS (Green) – Daddy pins Musketeers, Daddy zips off scene.
    6:11 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Daddy runs up stairs, lands on horse, crash.
    6:42 - THE HAPPY COBBLER (Krasnow) – Musketeers invite Daddy to stay, end of cartoon.
    7:10 - Augie Doggie End Title theme (Curtin).

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  • 01/26/14--20:07: Walt Clinton's Calvin
  • That funny cartoonist and H-B lover Mark Christiansen has pointed out a just-concluded auction on eBay for several comic strips drawn by Hanna-Barbera layout artist Walt Clinton.

    No one seems to know anything about them. “Calvin,” as far as anyone knows, never appeared in any newspaper. Clinton could have been drawing some demos for one of the syndicates. The character designs are pretty familiar looking, aren’t they.

    I suspect he lettered these himself. The italicized wail of the cat in the first panel looks really similar to the lettering on model sheets done in the later ‘40s when Clinton was working in Tex Avery’s unit at MGM. And is a coincidence that the family is named “Dibble”? (By the way, Clinton’s wife was named “Wilma”).

    All of the strips have Clinton’s address of “2756 Angus St. L.A. 34” on them. I suspect they’re from the late ‘50s or early ‘60s.

    The funny thing about reading these, I can hear cartoon voice actors in my head: Hal Smith for Bagby, Herb Vigran for Herb and Marian Richman for the wife. Calvin bears a resemblance to George Jetson but I can hear Don Messick instead of George O’Hanlon.

    Clinton arrived at Hanna-Barbera when it got underway in 1957 and retired in 1969 at age 63. He and Dick Bickenbach were among the layout artists on the “Cattanooga Cats” show; that apparently was his final work for the studio.

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  • 01/29/14--12:45: Hux Pix Yux
  • Praise for “The Huckleberry Hound Show” came from many places right after it debuted in 1958 and one of them was the show-biz bible, Variety. It published two reviews of Huck’s debut show, one from Los Angeles (in Daily Variety) and another from New York (in Weekly Variety). The trade paper didn’t use its favourite self-invented words “boffo” and “socko” to describe the show, but the reviews were pretty favourable.

    The first review, from the West Coast, was published October 9th; the series’ Los Angeles debut was on September 30th. You’ll notice a few names are misspelled.

    Filmed by H. B. Enterprises for the Kellogg Co.
    Producers-directors, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera; animation, Kenneth Muse, Lewis Marshall, Carlo Vinci; backgrounds, Monte Alegre, Art Lozzi; layout, Dick Beckenbach; story sketches, Dan Gordon; voice characterizations, Daws Butler, Don Messick; titles, Laurence Gobel; additional dialogue, Charles Shows; music, Hanna, Barbera, Hoyt Curtain.
    KNXT, Tues., 6:30 p.m. Running time: 30 mins.
    Buoyed by an effective musical score and an abundance of snappy dialog, "Huckleberry Hound" emerges as a bright new cartoon series that should please not only the kiddies, but an occasional adult who is exposed to tv when the youngsters are busy monopolizing the set.
    Although the situations depicted fall into the classic cat-and-mouse mold, they are peppered with sympathetically-conceived animated heroes who should win a quick new following from the Donald Duck set. If there is anything tired about this series, it is that recourse to the time-worn story line that finds the little rodents outwitting the feline and the tiny duck giving the big bear a hard time. But series is smartly conceived in that no live emcee is needed; the bridges between the trio of short cartoons are gapped capably by Huck Hound and his friends. The only interruptions are the Kellogg commercials, and even these are easy to take.
    Most of the credit must go to producers-directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, whose versatility enabled them to script most of the sharp, up-to-date dialog and score most of the original music, which is fresh and rewarding for a cartoon teleseries. Voice characterizations provided by vocally versatile Daws Butler and Don Messick are convincing and well-differentiated. Animation and backgrounds are also plusses. Already screening in 170 videomarkets, "Huckleberry Hound" should meet with sufficient enthusiasm from viewers. It is better-than-average cartoon fare for the little screen.

    This shorter review from Weekly Variety was published October 15th. Leo Burnett was the Kellogg ad agency. The end of the story is cut off on the version I have.

    KELLOGG, WPIX, N. Y. (film). Producers-Directors: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera; Story Sketches: Dan Gordon; 30 Mins.; Thurs.; 6:30 p. m. (Leo Burnett).
    Moppet set should get some fun out of this half-hour animated series turned out by the talented duo William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Distributed by Screen Gems and bought by Kellogg for a national spot spread, it represents one of the few made-for-tv animated shorts.
    Judging from the opener, Huck Hound and his animal friends, should carve a niche in the viewing habits of the small fry. Team of Hanna and Barbera did the "Tom and Jerry" theatrical cartoon series. Yap, there's a cat and mouse episode in "Huck Hound." But for the tele-version, the producers have used the semi-animation method made famous by UPA. It was effective in spots, but in other sequences the abbreviated animation detracted.
    Characterizations were funny for the most part and the musical score enlivened the proceedings. One sequence about the bear and the small duck was marred by a difficult to understand voice for the duck. Story line in all the sequences was amusing and the whole thing was done so that It also has some appeal for adult [viewers].

    As it turns out, there was more than the “occasional” adult tuning in, as you’ve read in posts on the blog. Several universities held Huck Hound Days. A bar and grill in Seattle was named for him. Employees at an aircraft plant made him the company mascot, to give you a few examples.

    Both reviews praise the music in the cartoons, apparently unaware that Hanna-Barbera was using stock music libraries for everything except the openings, closings and bumpers. Evidently, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera agreed with the New York reviewer about the characters popping from pose to pose. That was, more or less, eliminated as the season wore on.

    The reference to the duck character is interesting. For one thing, poor Red Coffee/Coffey doesn’t appear to have been listed in the voice credits, if what was published was complete. For another, the reviewer is right. Coffey is hard to understand at times. When the duck changed into Yakky Doodle, Jimmy Weldon’s delivery was much clearer than Coffey’s. The other thing is the duck appeared in “Slumber Party Smarty.” It’s generally conceded the first Yogi cartoon to appear on TV was “Yogi Bear’s Big Break.” But the reviews show that wasn’t the case at all.

    Variety doesn’t appear to have reviewed a lot of new TV shows, but it not only editorialised about the Huck show, it also reviewed the debuts of “The Quick Draw McGraw Show,” “The Yogi Bear Show” and “The Flintstones.” Like many critics, the people at Variety loved Quick Draw and Yogi but weren’t all that crazy about Fred Flintstone. We’ll try to pass on what they had to say in future posts.

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  • 01/30/14--06:33: Lefty Callahan
  • Jack Nicholson had to buy his first car from someone. And that someone was Lefty Callahan.

    The two worked at the MGM cartoon studio together. Nicholson was an office boy who was told by his boss Bill Hanna he should maybe sign up for acting classes. Callahan was an assistant animator in the Hanna-Barbera unit. At a staff meeting in late 1956 to address rumours of the studio’s demise, they were told by chief Fred Quimby that, no, the operation was “like the Rock of Gibraltar.” Two weeks later, Lefty got his layoff notice because MGM was closing the studio.

    We’ve received word from former Hanna-Barbera animator Don Parmele that Lefty Callahan passed away on January 21st at age 84.

    Oliver Edward Callahan was born on June 30, 1929 in Fresno, California to La Vaughn and Marjorie (Richardson) Callahan. The family moved to Seattle when Lefty was young but were in Glendale in 1940 where his parents owned a restaurant. At MGM, he assisted Irv Spence and, on the side, sold his ‘49 Chevy to Nicholson for five easy pieces $400.

    When MGM closed, Lefty went to Animation, Inc. (Broadcasting magazine, Jan. 21, 1957) animating commercials, apparently including some for Johnson’s Wax. He then spent time at John Sutherland Productions; his name appears on “A Missile Named Mac” (1962). But he ended up working for his old boss again by 1964. He first shows up in H-B credits on “Jonny Quest.” Lefty brought life to characters on “The Secret Squirrel Show” (“Atom Ant” had an entirely different set of animators) and toiled on many of the studio’s shows through the ‘60s and into the early ‘90s , first as an animator and then a director. Lefty did a bit of work on the side as well, including a couple of Peanuts cartoons for Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez.

    I profess my complete ignorance on most matters surrounding Scooby Doo, but I understand an incidental character was named for him in one of the Scooby series. He worked on most of them.

    Lefty served his country as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.

    He’s survived by older sister Jackie and other family members. Our condolences to his kin, friends and co-workers.

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    Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
    Credits: None. Animation – Hicks Lokey, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Quick Draw McGraw, Baba Looey, Lollypop Boy, Newspaper Boy, Teacher, Girl – Daws Butler; Narrator, Editor, Bat Belfry, Boy – Don Messick.
    Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin, Harry Blustone-Emil Cadkin, Hoyt Curtin, Louis De Francesco?
    First Aired: week of February 6, 1961.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-035, Production J-112.
    Plot: Quick Draw takes on Bat Belfry, scourge of a crusading newspaper publisher.

    In the late ‘50s, there was a TV western called “Jefferson Drum.” The short-lived series was based around the idea of a crusading newspaperman in the Old West. Perhaps that noted TV western parodist, Mike Maltese, had that show in mind when he came up with the story for “Extra-Special Extra.” Coincidentally, both “Jefferson Drum” and “Quick Draw McGraw” were distributed by Screen Gems.

    Well, it’s a little hard to say how “crusading” the unidentified newspaper editor is in this cartoon. He seems more gleeful about making fun of the bad guy than anything else. Looking at a freshly-printed newspaper, he reads to himself the headline: “Bat Belfry is a thievin’ polecat,” then breaks out into wild laughter. “He’ll flip when he reads this.” Regardless, he’s a fast editor. When Bat robs the local bank, there’s already a newspaper on a stand outside the bank reporting the hold-up.

    Maltese uses a running gag to tie the story together. The newspaper is called The Daily Blunder but through the cartoon, nobody can spell the word “Daily.” Finally a kid (who looks like a little man) fixes the name on the newspaper office window. The youthful intelligence scares Bat Belfry right out of the cartoon. That sets up a final scene in a classroom where Quick Draw can’t correctly guess the letter that comes after “A” and “B.” The only reason for the scene is because Maltese decided each Quick Draw cartoon should end with Baba Looey making a crack about Quick Draw’s attributes/failings. Why is Quick Draw in school anyway? Who put him there? Why isn’t the newspaper editor there? He was just as inept at spelling the name of his own paper.

    (For the record, Baba’s tag line is: “I like that Quickstraw. He may be too old for school but his brain is still in kindergarten.”)

    The Quick Draw McGraw theme song makes an appearance in the middle of the cartoon and it’s already the subject of parody. While Quick Draw is in silhouette rocking on a porch, the narrator begins singing “The high-falutin’-est, fastest-shootin’-est, Quick Draw…” then pauses to intone “who was vacationing on his beautiful ranch” then resumes singing “McGraw!”

    As for catchphrases, Quick Draw skips “I’ll do the thinnin’ around here” or “Hold on thar!” He comes up with “Oooo, that smarts” when he’s socked in the nose with a flying newspaper.

    Sample dialogue:

    Quick Draw: You’re Bats-in-the-Befrey, key-rect?
    Bat: No, I’m Bat Belfry. And don’t think I didn’t have trouble with that name in school.

    Bat: It’s sundown, McGraw. Come out, come out, wherever you are.
    Quick Draw: Your watch must be fast. I got a quarter till.

    We’ve posted screen grabs from this cartoon before. Here’s the opening background. There are no credits on the versions of cartoon I’ve seen. The rocks on top of the mesas were something Art Lozzi used in “Mine Your Manners” but I won’t try to identify a background or layout artist here.

    I suspect Hicks Lokey was the animator here (I will gladly accept a correction). Hicks used a wavy mouth and a pointed end at the bottom of the mouth.

    There are a couple of pieces of cycle animation. A running cycle of Bat is used twice, and so is a four-drawing newspaper crumple on twos.

    Hanna-Barbera cartoons are noted for characters just standing there and blinking. Some animators only draw a top eyelid coming down. Lokey uses both eye lids in certain situations.

    And this is Bat zipping out of the frame. He has two drawings of brush strokes on twos. This is one of them.

    The music in this cartoon consists mainly of a lot of short pieces. One cue is only three seconds long before it gets cut off.

    0:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub Main Title theme (Curtin).
    0:19 - Oh Susannah (trad.) – Editor arrives.
    0:29 - SF-11 LIGHT MOVEMENT (De Francesco?) – “Daley Blunder” scene.
    1:00 - GR-457 DR QUACK SHORT BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – Newspaper headline scene.
    1:14 - GR-98 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO BRIDGE No 2 (Green) – Belfry reads paper.
    1:24 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Belfry runs into office, camera shake.
    1:32 - CB-83A MR TIPPY TOES (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Wrecked press, “Dalee” scene.
    1:55 - GR-348 EARLY MORNING (Green) – Narrator over bank background.
    2:01 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Belfry runs from bank, destroys press.
    2:21 - GR-454 THE ARTFUL DODGER BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – “You still don’t know…” editor looks at press.
    2:29 - PG-161G LIGHT COMEDY MOVEMENT (Green) – Quick Draw in silhouette.
    2:32 - (That’s) Quick Draw McGraw (Curtin) – camera pulls in on Quick Draw.
    2:39 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw rocks, paper in snout, decides to apply for job.
    3:26 - jaunty bassoon and skippy strings (Shaindlin) – Quick Draw in office, “Daighly” scene.
    3:49 - GR-99 THE DIDDLECOMB HUNT (Green) – Hunt for news, Quick Draw interviews Bat, Bat shoots.
    4:44 - PG-181F MECHANICAL BRIDGE (Green) – Quick Draw stares at pencil, runs away.
    4:49 - GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Green) – Quick Draw looks at paper, Baba selling papers, papers crumpled.
    5:34 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – Quick Draw thinks, fight outside, Quick Draw falls backward.
    6:16 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – “Any more bright ideas…” sign fixed, Bat runs away.
    6:39 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Classroom scene.
    7:00 - Quick Draw McGraw Sub-End Title theme (Curtin).

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    Ranger Smith’s kid appears as much as Ranger Smith—twice—in the weekend Yogi Bear comics 50 years ago this month. He never existed in the animated world—certainly not in the original series, anyway—and neither did Mrs. Smith. But comic strips tend to create their own little worlds. At least the Ranger didn’t have four kids who spoke in rhyme. Then again, Yogi rhymes enough for everyone.

    Well, he doesn’t rhyme in the February 2nd comic. We get a corny old joke instead which, somehow, sounds less corny when a kid says it. The little bird in the opening panel sure shows that MGM-style design; compare his head to the canary’s in the Tom and Jerry cartoon “Kitty Foiled” (1949). A typical H-B floral-patterned arm chair shows up as well, much like you’d see in Augie Doggie cartoons.

    Time for some good old American patriotism on February 9th. Considering this came less than three months after J.F.K.’s assassination, perhaps celebrating another murdered American leader wasn’t such a bad idea. The push broom brush beard in the middle right panel is a creative touch.

    Ranger Smith looks like he has a combover in a couple of the middle row panels on February 16th. He’s named Frank in this comic and in several others. In the original series, Smith never had a first name (in one cartoon, identified himself as “Smith. Ranger Smith” as if “Ranger” was his first name). This may be the first time Yogi used footwear.

    So what if it’s franken-food? Yogi’ll eat it. February 23rd has a passel of cute guinea pigs that don’t want any more food, franken or otherwise. Harvey Eisenberg (I presume) even has them in silhouette on the bottom row. There’s nice use of space in the opening panel with items in the foreground (bears and dead tree), middle ground (gas station on an angle) and background (delivery truck, trees). Same in the first panel of the middle row. Lots of things but the composition doesn’t look cluttered.

    As usual, click on the cartoons to make them larger. We’ll see if we can do it again next month if I can find them.

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    It’s story time again, and today’s story is “The Mark of El Kabong.”

    A couple of auction web sites have story panels for what turned out to be the last Quick Draw McGraw cartoon put into production (J-136). It’s always interesting seeing what was cut out of a cartoon; the scenes that didn’t make it into the cartoon are covered with an X. It’s a shame they lost the “Tennis anyone” gag. It never dawned on me that the General was based on Basil Rathbone, probably because he doesn’t sound like him (an English accent just wouldn’t work), but it says so on the storyboard.

    The cartoon was released on DVD not long ago, and the credits are incorrect (the credits for “Lamb Chopped,” made two years earlier,” were put on the home video version). I would have guessed Art Davis came up with this board (from Mike Maltese’s story) simply because of the way the villain’s mouth is drawn in the first two sets of panels; Davis liked to draw characters with the mouth up that far on the face. But the Big Cartoon Database claims Paul Sommer was the story director, with Harry Holt animating. It could be right, but I’m used to Sommer having incidental characters with beady eyes, not with irises.

    Here are some drawings with colour notations. I really like the cheering townspeople. I’m presuming the notation on the right side of that drawing indicates cels for various parts of the characters.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Emil Carle; Layout – Jack Huber; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Written by Warren Foster; Story Direction – Paul Sommer; Titles – Lawrence Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Pixie, Howard – Don Messick; Pixie, Mr Jinks – Daws Butler.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961.
    Plot: Pixie and Dixie try to convince Jinks his black-cat friend is bad luck.

    Nine Pixie and Dixie cartoons were made for the 1961-62 season and this is one of them. Hanna-Barbera now had two prime time shows on the air and more in development (only The Jetsons would make it to air), so the expansion meant new artists had to be brought in.

    Emil Carle has the animation credit on this cartoon. It would appear Emil was a paper boy for the Long Island Daily Press in 1934 (age 16 or so), then attended Brooklyn Technical High School and the Pratt Institute, where a number of people in the animation business received their schooling. The 1940 Census reveals (and there’s no doubt it’s the same Emil Carle) he was living in Woodhaven, N.Y. and was employed as an engineer in a machinist’s shop. In 1957, he was the associate producer for Charles Cahill and Associates, one of many industrial and commercial houses in Los Angeles. Broadcasting magazine once reported he had also worked for Son Ads but I wonder if that’s a typo for Song Ads, another mid-‘50s commercial studio. In late 1958, he was hired for TV Spots’ newly-formed commercial division (along with Norm Gottfredson, Cecil Beard and Fred Madison).

    This cartoon, apparently, was his first work for Hanna-Barbera; there are places on the internet that go into his future work at the studio. If one wishes to accept the credits, it would appear Carle imitated Ken Muse, at least when it comes to tongue/mouth movements and the thin, partial row of upper teeth he gave characters in this short. Somewhere on the blog, there’s a mouth position diagram (of Huckleberry Hound) that was drawn by Muse; it could be that Carle used it.

    Or it could be a case of more people worked on the cartoons than the credits suggest. Viewers are told Art Lozzi was responsible for the backgrounds. That could be, but there are lumps drawn on the carpet of the Jinks’ home and the grass outside that Dick Thomas put in his backgrounds. I don’t recall Lozzi doing it; and Lozzi once warned that the credits didn’t always accurately reflect who worked on cartoons.

    Jack Huber is the credited layout artist. He was newly-arrived at the studio, having worked for Walt Disney since at least 1940 (including layout work on “Sleeping Beauty”). At H-B, he laid out “The Flintstones,” “Top Cat,” “The Jetsons” and some far lesser cartoons as time wore on. He was born in Illinois on May 6, 1914 and died in Costa Mesa, California on May 12, 1998 (unfortunately, his Guild obit is no longer on-line).

    Warren Foster uses the first half of the story to set up the second half. Mr. Jinks is friends with Pixie and Dixie at the outset; the meeces have a daily habit of getting cheese from the fridge without the cat hassling them, let alone chasing them. He’s clearly annoyed, though, as he tells us “Shee. Those meeces are spoiled rotten. They have, like, uh, a distorted image of cat-mouse relationship.” That changes when Jinks’ old buddy Howard drops over and they reminisce about their alley-cat days as lightning-fast mouse catchers. Jinks decides he has to impress his friend that he hasn’t lost it. The meeces humour him (and run past the same light socket seven times) until they get fed up being tossed back and forth.

    The cartoon’s now half over and nothing really funny has happened; even Jinks’ dialogue is kind of lame. Now Dixie gets an idea—if they make Jinks think black-cat Howard is bad luck (“He’s sure been bad luck for us,” Pixie observes), he’ll kick Howard out of the house and things will be back to normal. So Dixie pleads with “stupid-sticious” Jinks and plants the idea of bad luck, then he and Pixie hide and pull off some stunts:

    ● A vase falls on Jinks’ head (pushed by Dixie).
    ● Jinks steps on a rake.
    ● A potted plant drops on Jinks.
    ● A fold-up bed folds up on Jinks (after Dixie jumps on a switch).
    ● Jinks trips on a cane.

    Howard goes zooming through the air out the front door. “Good riddance to bad luck.” Unfortunately, Dixie doesn’t realise it’s all over and pushes a china cabinet on Jinks. The cat clues in that the “miserable meeces” (he uses the term four times in the cartoon) are responsible for the “bad luck” and ends the cartoon by chasing them with a white broom, yelling “I hate you meeces to pieces!”

    Since this is Pixie and Dixie’s final season, Hoyt Curtin’s cues have replaced the Capitol Hi-Q stock music. His version of “Man on the Flying Trapeze” is among them; you’ll recognise the music from “The Flintstones” and the syndicated shorts like Wally Gator produced during this period of the studio’s life.

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  • 02/11/14--07:02: Say, That's Clinker-bell
  • Dave Detiege is best-known to animation fans as a writer at DePatie-Freleng and, before that, one of the latter-day storymen at Warner Bros. responsible for less-than-memorable cartoons such as “Mother Was a Rooster” and “Good Noose.”

    David Sam Detiege joined Walt Disney in 1942 at age 16 (if newspaper clippings are correct) and eventually became a writer in the Jack Hannah unit during the early 1950s. He also co-designed Fresh-Up Freddie for the studio’s 7-Up commercials. In 1954, he formed Bankson-Detiege-Jackson with writers Budd Bankson and Larry Jackson (PTA minstrel shows, a specialty) to produce TV shows, their first effort being a kids puppet series called “Sir Gadzooks.” Four years later, he and new wife Phyllis set up Detiege Productions. He also wrote a book called “Waldo, the Jumping Dragon.”

    He never worked at Hanna-Barbera. I suspect there was a pretty good reason. The reason was the Cloudhoppers.

    We mentioned in a previous blog post that the lawyer who represented Cambria Productions in a lawsuit against Hanna-Barbera had been involved in other litigation against the studio. In that case, Detiege was his client. The story is in Daily Variety, November 30, 1962.

    450G Piracy Suit Hurled At "Jetsons"

    Breach of contract and invasion of common law property rights are charged in $450,000 damage suit filed by Detiege Productions Wednesday against Screen Gems, Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera and ABC in Superior Court which asks additionally for an accounting of profits.
    Complaint filed by attorney Irwin O. Spiegel claims the Hanna-Barbera tv cartoon series, "The Jetsons," infringed on Detiege's program, "The Cloudhoppers," which had been submitted to ABC in 1961 in "narrative, dramatic and pictorial form." Complaint specifically stated that two episodes of "Jetsons" featuring a mechanical maid called "Rosie" that "copies and imitates plaintiff's original cartoon character called Clinker-bell, a robot maid with distinctive visual and mechanical characteristics," and that same relationship with other characters existed.
    Detiege also wants accounting of profits from merchandising contracts for the manufacture and sale of various products allegedly based upon plaintiff's program for mat[erial].

    What happened to the lawsuit? Variety doesn’t say so we may never know. I can’t see Detiege winning the case, simply because “The Jetsons” is a time-inversion of “The Flintstones.” Hanna-Barbera stole from itself (and not for the last time). Incidentally, I haven’t found any evidence Detiege copyrighted his Cloudhoppers characters or story synopses. For what it’s worth, Larry Markes wrote the teleplay for the Jetsons’ debut featuring Rosey. Markes wrote sitcoms but, interestingly, “Hazel” wasn’t among them.

    We’ve reprinted a bunch of newspaper articles on the impending arrival of the series, but missed this one from the TV Key syndication service. ABC took a chance on “The Jetsons” in prime time after “Top Cat” and a bunch of other new prime-time cartoons failed the previous season. And Arnie Carr, or whoever at Hanna-Barbera provided the information, pushed one of the things that had made “The Flintstones” a success—the gadgets. This was in a newspaper dated September 5, 1962, by which time Marx had signed a deal to make Rosey the Robot toys.

    New Cartoon Series Set By ABC

    HOLLYWOOD - The big duds last season were the animated cartoon series. This fall only one new one sneaks in, “The Jetsons,” beginning Sunday, Sept. 23 on ABC.
    Are the grownups going to push the kids aside to watch “The Jetsons,” a family who live in the next century? Of course, Hanna and Barbera, producers of “Huckleberry Hound” and “The Flintstones,” hope the little darlings will dial in “The Jetsons” to see how life is 100 years from now and kindly include their parents.
    This could happen because “The Jetsons” may attract would-be inventors and dreamers. The show is going to be full of mechanical gadgets that we don’t have around yet. The writers are sitting up all night playing Thomas Edison. What will be possible in 2062?
    Here are a few inventions the writers have come up with so far: a seeing eye vacuum cleaner that will occasionally lift the rug and sweep dirt under it; a mother-in-law car with a rear seat which moves out and up behind the car; a prober pill that will flash reports on a screen as it rolls through a person’s innards. Medically the writers can go crazy over gadgets and may have to restrain themselves.
    Push Button Dominates
    The dominating influence will, of course, be the push button. There’ll even be push buttons exercises for weak fingers. Maybe the forefinger will double in size. For instance, Jane Jetson pushes buttons for food, reading and transportation. When she sends Elroy, age 8, to school she merely pushes the button labelled grammar school, and off he goes down the chute of the Sky Pad Apartment. If it’s raining she’ll spray a raincoat on the boy. If she pushes the wrong button for him, Elroy will soon return, marked Reject.
    The Sky Pad Apartments are equipped with “high level, adjustable living.” The Jetsons can adjust their apartment at any level and can even rise above the log or smog. The showers are like our car wash establishments. Father Jetson will step on a slidewalk moving into a shower. Then he’ll enter a dry spin and end up in the talcum and finishing touch area. If he feels tired at the end of a day, he’ll take a “husband pacifier.” Soft music is heard, cocktails are whipped out and the man is soothed by gentle murmurs.
    When George Jetson wants entertainment he’ll attend a football game where the players are robots who come apart at the seams with a jarring tackle. The coach merely pushes buttons and in rush Sullivan and Wojahowski, fighting robots to the bitter end.
    The idea with “The Jetsons” is to have reasonable inventions that could come from our present culture.
    Dress Try-on Trick
    Designers have already made dresses of paper that can be worn once and thrown away. That will be old hat in the future. In this series Jane Jetson will go shopping, but instead of trying on dresses, she’ll merely take one to a mirror that will show how she looks in the dress. The telephone will have a TV screen so Jane Jetson can put on a “morning mask” if she doesn’t want to be seen without her makeup on.
    While the gadgets will be the come-on, the family will still be the endearing factor. They have real hearts and they don’t eat pills instead of food. George Jetson it hard working and lovable, especially by his big dog Astro who has his own way of talking and always sits next to George.
    Then there's wife, Jane, 33, a little homemaker, always pushing buttons and always talking to her mother. Judy, 15, and Elroy, 8, round out this All-American family of the future.
    One thing hasn't changed—the humor. Evidently it’s the same 100 years from now. No one’s figured out what the gang will laugh at then.

    “The Jetsons” has survived over 50 years and may be around 100 years after its creation to prove Witbeck correct. We can’t say the same thing for Clinker-bell.

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    Gene Hazelton’s Flintstones writers must have been briefly preoccupied with garbage. Two consecutive weekend comics deal with it 50 years ago this month.

    Trying to locate newspapers on-line that printed full versions of the comics has become challenging (just about all the papers I’ve been using in previous months dropped the Bedrock gang in 1964), but I’ve managed to find them. I may not be so lucky from here on.

    The first and last panels of the Sunday comics are probably the most interesting every week. The artists always manage to fit a lot in but there’s not too much going on. I like the layout of the opening panel on February 2nd. The action’s going on in the centre, you have two well-drawn shoppers kibitzing on the left and a quizzical Dino on the right. The street is circular. The artist could have drawn it like you might have seen in the cartoon series—two characters in medium shot with maybe a textured stone wall behind them. But the comics, at least at this period, always give you more.

    The middle row has different angles and perspectives on Fred’s car. And I like the triceratops rushing out of the rain. A funny little expression.

    Another nice use of space in the opening panel of the February 9th comic. The action is in right-hand two third. The artist chose not to waste space below the masthead in the other third and gives us a little Dino gag instead. Note the black background behind Wilma in the little panel in the bottom row.

    Nice story payoff on February 16th. Sounds like an H-B employee went outside his home to find a crunched-up garbage can and used it as the basis for a story.

    Nice use of perspective in the opening panel on February 23rd. We get a silhouette panel next to it. And is Fred kind of praying in the last panel?

    You’ll notice something is missing this month. I don’t mean Baby Puss; I’ve given up hope we’ll ever see the poor cat again in the weekend comics. I mean Pebbles. It’s nice to have the comics focusing on the adults. And Betty gets a bit of a spotlight in the final comic.

    Click on each comic to enlarge it.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Don Towsley; Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Written By Warren Foster; Story Director – John Freeman; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Huckleberry Hound – Daws Butler; Narrator, Woman on Phone, Dog – Don Messick.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1962?
    Plot: TV repairman Huck is stopped in his efforts to fix a set by a snickering dog.

    57 Huckleberry Hound cartoons were aired and “Two For Tee Vee” was, according to the unreliable internet, the final one put into production. Nine were produced for Huck’s final season (1961-62) with only two of those written by Warren Foster. This is one of them.

    “Two For Tee Vee” shows Foster’s cynicism toward television at the start, with Don Messick’s intoning narrator explaining without TV repairmen, “we would miss many of our favourite programmes that have become part of our daily life.” The “favourite programmes” turn out to be nothing more than old “B” and foreign films that were, at the time, constantly on TV because they were cheap for stations to buy from syndicators. Quality had nothing to do with it; filling air-time inexpensively did. The gag is a variation on the “nothing-but-westerns-on-TV’ routine that Tex Avery and Heck Allen pulled off in 1953’s “TV of Tomorrow” (the forest of antennae in the opening of this cartoon owes something to “TV of Tomorrow,” too).

    Foster doesn’t have much good to say about the intelligence of television viewers. “Yes, Lady?” says Huck to a customer on the phone, “Your set gets your programmes all mixed up, huh? Well, I mean, that wouldn’t have to be the set, ma’am, uh uh. Y’see, there are a lot of mixed up programmes.” Then he fits in a song reference: “The Texas Rangers get mixed up with the private eyes and it comes out the private eyes of Texas are upon us? That sounds like fun, ma’am.”

    After backing his rickety service van into a wall, Huck arrives at the customer’s home. The cartoon now switches to the main plot—a snickering dog in the house tries to stop Huck from doing his job. The idea was used in five previous Huck cartoons and then much later by the studio with Muttley and a number of other dogs.

    ● The dog plugs in the set to try to electrocute Huck.
    ● The dog steals the NACL-2504-HB-52-42 spare tube then chomps on Huck’s butt when he takes it back. The dog then grabs the tube back and leads Huck on a chase up a long flight of stairs then down a bannister.
    ● The dog digs a hole in the yard. Huck peers in. The dogs shoves him in and covers the hole with dirt. At least Huck gets the tube back.
    ● Huck’s installing the tube in the set. The dog chomps on his butt again. Huck jumps into the set and becomes trapped when the dog screws the cardboard cover on the back of the set. The cartoon ends with the dog watching Huck on TV and snickering for the ninth time.

    Assorted Huckisms:
    ● “They [customers] all get riled when we mention ‘shop.’ See, no matter what’s wrong, we’re supposed to fix it all spread out on the livin’ room floor.”
    ● “I likes to work with nobody around. No silly questions like, uh, ‘What are all the tubes for?’ As if anyone knows.”
    ● “On these kind of TV service calls, a fella don’t make a nickel.”

    Don Towsley animated this cartoon. He was born in Wisconsin in 1912, spent part of his youth in Atlanta and then worked through much of the ‘40s for Walt Disney. He freelanced on Bob Clampett’s “It’s a Grand Old Nag,” released in 1947. He was in New York City by 1952 and employed for Lee Blair’s Film Graphics, an industrial animation house. The April 1961 edition of “Top Cel,” the newsletter of animation’s union New York local, revealed Towsley was taking a three-month vacation in Mexico. The October edition states Towsley decided to stay at Hanna-Barbera but the December edition reported he was no longer at the studio. He later worked on the Chuck Jones’ Tom and Jerrys.

    He does his best to try to get some personality into the limited animation. He draws a little foot-stomping cycle on the bulldog during his snickering at the end of the cartoon. And he perks up Huck’s ears when the phone rings at the beginning. The ears go up when Huck’s moving his head back; it might have been more effective if the ears went up (like a take) after the head stopped moving. He also jerks the head back and forth during dialogue and varies the position of the head from side to side. His Huck’s actually pretty attractive but this is the only Huck cartoon he worked on.

    Here are a couple of Art Lozzi backgrounds.

    The Hoyt Curtin cues include two snippets of his piano-xylophone version of “English Country Garden” and a couple of versions of “Clementine,” including one with an arrangement with piano and bells. The longest cue is a 45-second electric organ piece meant to evoke a chase in silent films when Huck runs after the dog up, ending the dog digging in the yard. Feel free to let me know if it’s a Hammond or a Wurlitzer.

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  • 02/19/14--06:50: Fun With Huck
  • All the characters on the Huckleberry Hound show, even minor ones like everyone’s favourite dog Yowp, got a marketing push soon after the programme hit the air in 1958. Affable Huck was the bread-winner until he was usurped by the more aggressive Yogi Bear. Let’s peer around the internet and borrow some snapshots of some of the items a Huck fan 50-plus years ago might have wanted to get their mitts on. You can click on each picture to enlarge it.

    Here’s a Huckleberry Hound Cartoon Kit from Colorforms, made in 1960. Colorforms is still around; you can check out their web site HERE if you want to read the history of the company. Other than the meece, the characters on the cover look like they were modified from Bick’s publicity or model sheets. It’s a shame the swimming hole scene wasn’t designed by one of H-B’s background artists of the day. Their work was more attractive than what Colorforms buyers got.

    The Huck Hound Fan Club was still going in 1961 when this offer was made to kids (1961-62 was the last season new Huck cartoons were made). Check out more fan clubs stuff at THIS post.

    Apparently Dell was more than just a comic book company. It was in the toy business, too. This Huck toy is six inches tall and was advertised in a Chip ‘n’ Dale comic with a cover date of June 1960

    I suppose kids don’t play Cowboys and Indians any more. Well, they did when Harvell-Kilgore Sales Corp. of Bolivar, Tennessee made this in the 1960s. In this case, though, the kids might play Huck and Dirty Dalton. Wilma, don’t leave that gun around for Pebbles to play with!

    Yeah, I know, this has nothing to do with Huck, other than to point out Hanna-Barbera was marketing characters before the Huck show went on the air. Transogram had a number of erasable picture games in the late ‘50s, including Mickey Mouse and Rin Tin Tin. This is from 1958. Professor Gizmo, Crossbones Jones, a Muni-Mula robot, the pirate parrot (I can’t remember if he had a name in the series) and Pinky the elephant are included on the cover. Transogram had some other games we’ve posted here before, including a Yogi ring-toss and a Snagglepuss Picnic board game featuring that fine cartoon dog Yowp in one of his last appearances.

    If anyone has more information about these toys, please leave a note in the comment section.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Ken Muse, Layout – Walt Clinton, Backgrounds – Joe Montell, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Sketches – Dan Gordon, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, Evil J. Scientist, Junior, Crocodile – Daws Butler; Mrs. Scientist – Jean Vander Pyl.
    Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin.
    Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-019, Production J-57.
    First Aired: rerun, week of August 1, 1960.
    Plot: Snooper and Blabber are hired to take pictures of the creepy Evil Scientist family.

    Note: My supreme thanks to Andrew Morrice, who had a copy of this cartoon on video tape. He has digitised it to enable it to be reviewed.

    The situation is pretty much the gag in this cartoon, combined with Snooper’s mangling of the English language. The Scientist family (which is never “evil,” despite the name) finds delight in creepy and macabre things just like the Addams Family. Oh, you never noticed the resemblance? This is the second of two cartoons featuring the Scientists in the 1959-60 season of Snooper and Blabber. It ends in a similar way as “Prince of a Fella” the following season, with the detectives being turned into something else.

    There are a couple of oddities here, and I don’t mean the Scientists keeping a pet crocodile. The husband isn’t “Boris” as in the first cartoon, “The Big Diaper Caper.” But he’s not “J. Evil Scientist,” either.

    And Mrs. Scientist (who has no first name here) has a different design, one with a pony tail. I suspect Walt Clinton redesigned her for this cartoon.

    There are some neat expressions here; whether they’re from Mike Maltese’s thumbnails, Dan Gordon’s finished storyboard or Clinton’s layouts, I don’t know. But I like how Junior does an impression of Blab by pulling out his ears.

    And the expressions of the alligator are simple but effective.

    Kenny Muse churns out the footage on this cartoon. There always seems to be at least one scene in a Muse cartoon where there’s no animation. This one is no exception. Snoop walks off stage (upper half of body only; saves animating the legs) and we see a background drawing for about ten seconds while dialogue and sound effects fill the screen. Here’s Muse having the crocodile eat Blab. Animated on twos. It takes less than a second of screen time. See the difference in the crocodile’s position in the third and fourth drawing. It makes the chomp seem quicker than by having evenly-spaced in-betweens. Bill Hanna’s timing at work, I would guess.

    Joe Montell worked on five Snooper and Blabbers and this is one of them. Here are a few backgrounds, including the atypical opening shot of the private eye ball on the office door. Montell is usually pretty stylish. He soon moved to Gamma Productions in Mexico to work on the Jay Ward cartoons.

    Maltese’s dialogue...
    • Snooper, answering phone: “Snooper Detective Agency. We calm your fright if the fee is right.”
    • Snooper, after accepting the “five-grand thousand” offer: “Lady, you’re talkin’ to Snapshot Snoop, the Pride of Tintype-Pan Alley.”
    • Snooper, after pulling up in front of the Victorian mansion: “What’s to be scared? Where there’s a cuddly baby, there’s bound to be peace and tranquilizers.”
    • Snooper, as Junior pretends to be a dog: “Pretty cute, Blab. Reminds me of a pooch I used to know on Third Avenue.”
    • Snooper, after Blab thinks Junior is making a malt: “I think I’ll join you in a little tea-de-tout myself.”
    • Evil, after Junior transforms into a wolf boy: “Junior, you’ve been at the Wolf Man Extract again. (Junior croaks) And you promised your daddy. (Junior croaks twice) Now go change yourself back, or I’ll take away all your gargoyles. (Junior croaks three times) I’m sure he’ll behave himself. He loves those gargoyles.
    • Snooper to crocodile, who swallowed Blab: “All right, you fugitive from a hand-bag.”
    Snooper doesn’t say “Halt in the name of the Private Eye (fill in the blank)” in this cartoon.

    Maltese sets up the end gag in mid-cartoon by having Junior mix himself a potion with Wolf Man Extract. Here’s Muse’s transformation art. I believe there are six frames of the toothy drawing before Junior starts to sprout into the wolfboy.

    For a change, Snoop presumably collects his fat fee from the Scientists. Before he and Blab depart, they’re offered a “malt” by Junior. Cut to a final scene in the detective agency office. Yes, there was Wolf Man Extract in it and the private eyes are now wolves. It’ll wear off in 30 days. Snooper isn’t too concerned. He answers the phone “Snooper Detective Agency. We specialise in wolf disguises.” Unfortunately, just like the Quick Draw cartoons where Baba Looey almost always got the last word, Blabber has it in the Snooper cartoons whether or not there’s anything funny to say. This one’s lame. It ends “Let’s face it. Snoop’s the greatest. Right folks?” At least Baba usually came up with a pun, even if it was weak.

    Familiar Phil Green and Jack Shaindlin cues are on the soundtrack.

    0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera).
    0:25 - GR-74 POPCORN (Green) – Office scene.
    0:56 - LFU-117-1 MAD RUSH No. 1 (Shaindlin) - Car scene, street sign scene.
    1:27 - EXCITEMENT UNDER DIALOGUE (Shaindlin) – Scientist sign, doorbell, Junior talks.
    2:18 - GR-456 DR QUACK (Green) – “Hey, Snoop,” Junior bites Snoop, Junior turns into wolf creature.
    3:53 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Junior snarls, “I’m sure he’ll behave himself.”
    4:28 – skippy strings and jaunty bassoon (Shaindlin) – “He just loves those gargoyles,” crocodile eats Blab, newspaper snap sound off camera.
    5:32 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Crocodile roars, chases Snoop, skid to a stop.
    5:44 - GR-90 THE CHEEKIE CHAPPIE (Green) – Junior takes picture, group picture, scene at door, potion drinking scene.
    6:29 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Evil Scientist answers phone, Snoop and Blab in office.
    7:10 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin).

    Note: We have now reviewed all cartoons from the first two seasons of the Quick Draw McGraw Show.

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  • 02/27/14--06:15: Carlo Plays Hookey
  • 108 years ago today, one of my favourite early Hanna-Barbera animators was brought into the world. He toiled at the most B-list of cartoon studios in New York before a former co-worker rescued him. His arrival on the West Coast was heralded in the pages of Daily Variety of February 16, 1956.

    Carlo Vinci Joins Cartoonery at Metro
    Metro cartoonery yesterday hired Carlo Vinci as an animator. Initial assignments are on new Tom & Jerry and Spike and Tyke segments, under co-producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.

    Vinci and Barbera worked together at Van Beuren and when the studio closed in 1936, got jobs at Terrytoons in New Rochelle, N.Y. And that’s where Vinci stayed for 20 years until getting a call from Barbera to come west. His MGM career was comparatively short. Employees got the news around Christmas 1956 that the studio didn’t need them any more because of a backlog of cartoons. Barbera hired him after Hanna-Barbera Enterprises was created in July 1957.

    Carlo had some fun quirks in his animation in the earlier H-B cartoons. For whatever reason, he abandoned them after the ‘60s began. He had distinctive, jaunty walks for some of his lumbering characters like Yogi Bear. He liked to do a little two-drawing stomp before a character ran away. And fear or shock would be with a different kind of two-drawing cycle, with one drawing having a character scrunched up with lines around him.

    Let’s look at some of his work from “Hookey Days,” a cartoon from Huckleberry Hound’s first season. Here’s one of bratty kids stomping before taking off out of the scene.

    Here’s a nice series of drawings of Huck pitching a ball to one of the little brats. What’s “limited” about this animation? Not much, other than the last drawing only moves an arm. They’re even shot one drawing per frame, except for the second last one which is held for a second frame for timing. Carlo loves finger movements and you can see it here.

    Huck pitches the ball and the kid whacks it right back at him before he can move. Here’s one of those shock takes I mentioned.

    Did you ever see Touché Turtle react this way? Squiddly Diddley? Hong Kong Phooey? I think not. Too bad. Of course, Huck didn’t react like this by the end of his run, either. And certainly not in his “Cartoons-only-exist-to-teach-kids-a-lesson” phase in the ‘70s.

    My favourite Huck take ever is toward the end of the cartoon when our truant officer hero is tied to the toy railway tracks and sees a large train coming. Huck was never more expressive.

    You can see a few more of Carlo’s takes at this post from a few years ago. And there are other examples on individual posts featuring his work from the 1958-59 season.

    Since Carlo passed away a few years ago, it’s impossible to pass on birthday greetings or thank him for all the fun drawings. But his widow Margaret is still around so we can wish her continued good health and happiness.

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    Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
    Credits: Animation – Bob Carr; Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Neenah Maxwell; Written by Warren Foster; Story Director – Paul Sommer; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
    Voice Cast: Yogi, George – Daws Butler; Ranger Smith, Boo Boo – Don Messick; Fairy Godmother, George’s Wife – Jean Vander Pyl.
    Music: Hoyt Curtin.
    First Aired: 1961.
    Plot: Yogi is given the power to turn anything he touches into a picnic basket.

    The story of King Midas is a cautionary tale against greed. Yogi Bear is given “the King Midas touch” in this cartoon but he doesn’t learn a valuable lesson about greed. Why? Because he wasn’t greedy in the first place. All he wanted was one picnic basket. Instead, a fairy godmother arbitrarily decides on her own to give Yogi the uncontrollable ability to turn everything into a picnic basket. Then she has the gall to say “I never should have trusted him with that power.” Maybe you should have told him how to turn it off, eh, F.G.?

    I suppose we wouldn’t have had a cartoon if that was the case.

    Boo Boo turns into a picnic basket. But why? Yogi didn’t touch him, Boo Boo grabbed him by the wrist. And how come when Yogi took a sandwich out of a picnic basket, the sandwich didn’t turn into another picnic basket? He’s touching it, isn’t he?

    Hmm. We’re getting a little technical, aren’t we?

    This isn’t a great cartoon, though it is fun to see how Tony Rivera designed Ranger Smith as a picnic basket. The ranger hat on top of the handle is funny. But how about this dialogue after Yogi explains the basket he’s carrying is really Boo Boo.

    Ranger: It proves you’ve stripped your gears. You’re in orbit, Yogi.

    It’d have been funny if the ranger was using either of these as similes or metaphors. But he doesn’t. He just says them without any real point behind using those particular words. If Boo Boo were flying somewhere, the “you’re in orbit” line would at least make sense.

    And what is with Ranger Smith in this cartoon, anyway? He goes on to say:

    Ranger: “...and it’s bears like that they make bearskin rugs out of. You’ll look good in front of the fireplace at the inn this winter, Yogi. With the skiiers spilling hot toddies all over you.

    What?! The Ranger wishes death on Yogi? Shipping to a zoo, I can see. But a lifeless, tortured rug? That’s a little much for Mr. Ranger, don’t you think? Oh, well. Everything’s all right at the end, as the fairy godmother (who doesn’t notice Boo Boo is now a picnic basket) returns to un-do her un-wanted Midas spell, except Ranger Smith puts Yogi in a cave/jail for lipping off Smith. Yogi doesn’t mind. He’s sick of picnic baskets and there are none there.

    Still there are a couple of cute bits. When Yogi sees Boo Boo reading a book of fairy tales...

    Yogi: Don’t tell me you go for that kid stuff.
    Boo Boo: Giving Snow White a poison apple? Killin’ a mean old witch? That’s kid stuff?

    Walt Disney would have probably answered in the affirmative.

    And there’s the trusty old gag of the guy seeing something he doesn’t believe (in this case, a picnic basket with legs), and he sniffs his thermos container, as if it’s got strong booze making him hallucinate. Foster must have used that type of gag at Warner Bros.

    The artwork is pretty lacklustre. Yogi’s head cocked to the side, wagging back and forth in dialogue. In another scene, Yogi’s head is jerking backward when he speaks (the body, of course, is rigid on another cel). The fairy godmother looks like Yogi in drag.

    And there are zig-zag trees in the background, but Neenah Maxwell’s art isn’t as stylised as even a few years earlier, when Art Lozzi and Monty were drawing some neat settings. We get a coloured card in most of the medium shots when characters aren’t moving.

    Hoyt Curtin’s cues make me wonder when Fred and Barney are going to show up in the cartoon (particularly when the over-fed Yogi is laying against a tree). Sorry, H-B. I’ll take the Capitol Hi-Q library instead.

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    A kindly helpmate to little animals. That’s Yogi Bear. Well, 50 years ago this month, anyway.

    Yes, the writers of the Yogi Sunday comics locked up Ranger Smith’s wife and kid and, instead, gave us woodland creatures and chorus girls. The friend of cartoon fans everywhere, Mark Kausler, has final two rows of each comic for March 1964 in colour on his blog HERE. Below, you can see the full comic in the usual not-too-great scanned photocopies from one of America’s leading metropolitan newspapers.

    Boo Boo’s cheek ruffs in the March 1st don’t look like they do in the cartoon series, do they? There’s a silhouette panel and a food-gag punch-line. Interesting seeing the logo in a block in the first panel. I presume the only reason “Moen” was used as a name was to accommodate Yogi’s rhyme.

    The star of the March 8th comic is a cutsey-wootsey squirrel who would be beaten up in a Tex Avery cartoon. The opening panel has Yogi trying to fly with both feet together. The final panel has an aerial perspective which is quite appropriate. Ranger Smith gets the weekend off.

    The birds that are the focus of the March 15th comic aren’t very cartooney. But the comic works just the same. Another silhouette panel.

    Chorus girls doing the Jellystone Twist. Is that the highlight of the March 22nd comic? It’d be funny if the grey-haired guy from the resort in the middle row was a caricature of someone at Hanna-Barbera. The first panel’s great with its lit-up marquee and the casino with the horseshoe on top. Did the Horseshoe Casino in Vegas have one of those, circa 1964? The ranger’s being a jerk again until Yogi is literally in the chips.

    After being absent for a couple of weeks, Boo Boo is back on March 29th in a comic that has another food gag. There’s another silhouette panel, too.

    As usual, you can click on each cartoon to blow it up.

    P.S.: I wasn’t planning to do the Flintstones comics this month because all my sources for them dried up. However, I’ve found some of the comics so I’ll post them.

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