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Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, November 1962

Jellystone Park is the setting for all four weekend newspaper comics in the Yogi Bear series 50 years ago this month, though Ranger Smith and Boo Boo both get a weekend off.

These are taken from the Ottawa Citizen; for a change, someone decided to photocopy and scan the colour comic sections for that month and post them on-line (we’re out of luck for the following month). In Yogi’s case, there’s one comic per page, so that’s why there are four rows instead of three (if you were lucky) like in American papers (which fit two strips on a page). This wasn’t unusual; the Vancouver papers did the same thing then.

Someone will, I hope, identify which of these are drawn by Harvey Eisenberg (I suspect the first one, at least). And you can click on each comic to enlarge it.

November 4th has some great little touches. Note the ranger flapping his feet in mid-air in the opening panel as a woodchuck looks on. Yogi’s reacting beautifully with his whole body, not just standing there. Later, Yogi’s pic-a-nic basket meal is interrupted by the plot; I don’t know how often that happened. The “fur coat” line sounds like something Warren Foster would throw into the animated show.

Everyone was in a Lodge in the 1950s and ‘60s, it seems. Rangers included. November 11th features a meeting of the Royal Order of Rangers. Being refined gentlemen, no one wears a hat during the meeting. Again, the opening panel has a nice layout with an interesting perspective. A shame that newspapers skipped the optional top row (always written so if it wasn’t printed, the plot wouldn’t be disrupted). Boo Boo appears solely for reaction purposes in the final panel.

Yogi bounces with his legs up in excitement at the prospect of food in the November 18th strip (see the second panel). There’s a silhouette panel as well, and the food vendor has the collar-height ear Walt Clinton gave characters in the H-B TV cartoons.

Ranger Smith’s wife makes an appearance for the first time since February in the November 25th comic. She’s changed her hair-style in the interim. I love the reclining, vibrating cow in the final panel. Smith’s boss “Captain”? Shouldn’t he be “Superintendent”? By the way, notice how the ranger station is at about the same angle as the food vendor’s cart in the previous week’s comic? You get a good look at two sides.

My sources to get copies of these comics (and the various news stories you’ve read over the years here) have dried up so it will be tough to continue presenting these; another reason the blog will cease once material in my archive is used up.

Pixie and Dixie — Price For Mice

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ken Muse; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Fernando Montealegre; Story – Warren Foster; Story Direction – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Pixie, Flat Head Scientist – Don Messick; Jinks, Dixie, Egg Head Scientist, Irish Cop – Daws Butler.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Spencer Moore, Bill Loose/John Seely, Geordie Hormel, David Buttolph.
First Aired: unknown (aired week of April 3, 1961).
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-041.
Plot: Mr Jinks tricks the meeces to be painted white so he can sell them to a science lab for a trip to the moon.

Warren Foster had a bit of an outer space fetish when it came to Pixie and Dixie cartoons during the series’ third season. This cartoon involves a trip to the moon by the meeces. So does High Jinks. Light Headed Cat involves scientists and a trip to Planet X. And Missile Bound Cat centres around Space Cat hauling Jinks to another planet.

None of them are science fiction movie parodies and Missile Bound Cat only lightly spoofs TV space adventure shows (something Mike Maltese did better in both the Augie Doggie and Snooper and Blabber series). But the space race between the U.S. and the Soviets was in full swing by the time this cartoon was made, which was between the time the Ruskies put a dog in orbit (1957) and a human in space (1961), so Foster took advantage of the topicality.

My favourite gag demonstrates the either weakness of the Pixie and Dixie characters or the nature of story-writing for television animation. The space scientists who bought the meece are about to conduct a simple intelligence test on them. Had Foster been writing this for, say, Daffy Duck, Daffy would have suddenly done something crazy and the surprise would have made the scene funnier. Here, Pixie and Dixie talk about what they’re going to do, which telegraphs the gag a bit and makes it less funny than it could have been. Foster’s H-B cartoons tended to be talky; it’s cheaper writing for standard mouth movements than action. On the other hand, Pixie and Dixie aren’t tricky characters like Daffy or Bugs Bunny who instantly do things to get out of situations. So they have to talk. Still, the cross-eyed hopping the meece engage in works, partly thanks to the sound effects that accompany it, partly thanks to the fact the audience isn’t quite sure specifically what they’re going to do, and partly thanks to the juxtaposition of what the audience would normally expect out of run-through-the-maze type of test and what the meece actually do.

Walt Clinton handles the layouts in this one and you can tell by the design of his incidental characters. They have collar-height ears, and there’s one Quick Draw McGraw cartoon where he used a similar egghead design that one of the scientists has. The animator is Ken Muse. You can partly tell by the partial upper row of thin teeth, though new animators hired for the 1960-61 drew that way as well. But every once in a while, Jinks is drawn kind of like a stylised Tom at MGM, especially when he closes his eyes and laughs, just like Muse did at Metro.

Fernando Montealegre paints the backgrounds in this cartoon. Maybe it’s my imagination, but I don’t recall seeing Monty’s name an awful lot on the shorts after the 1958-59 season. Of course many of the 1959-60 cartoons (especially on the Quick Draw show) aren’t circulating with credits. He uses colour very well, though it would have shown up in shades of grey on TV sets in 1961. One background is merely a card of brush strokes in several shades of blue-grey (used for close-up shots). His various exteriors of what is apparently a scientific lab complex have varying shades of light blue and green. The same with the back lawn of the Jinks/Meeces property. The tree has two different shades of green leaves, and the wood is a lot darker colour than other background artists tended to use, with lines of a lighter colour for contrast and depth (Dick Thomas, for example, seemed to like white fences; Bob Gentle’s sometimes had boards that were more abstract).

Foster starts out his dialogue with some small-time corn. Jinks is in his wicker basket reading the classified “advertis-tizements” in the paper and commenting on them to the camera. “Here’s another beaut. ‘Man with fryin’ pan would like to meet lady with cow. Object: hamburgers.’ Uh, you know, that figures.” As you can see, Jinks’ commentary is weak. The funniest part is the way Daws Butler plays with words like “hippotamus-sus-sus-ses.” Then he happens on an ad where a science lab will pay for white mice. Pixie and Dixie are grey. But Jinks has a plan.

Jinks starts his sales pitch:

I was just, you know, perusin’ here in the paper about the latest styles from Paris, France. And, uh, all the French cotour-oor-ouriers agree that the fashion for cats this season is, uh, white meeces. That just means that, uh, you two are out. O-W-T, out. Grey meeces are, uh, obsolete, like, you know, the Charleston and, uh, “knock knock, who’s there.”

So Jinks convinces Pixie and Dixie to get painted white so he can keep them. Of course, it’s special paint that only works on mice bodies. The colour of their clothes is left perfectly intact. Beatnik Jinks immediately takes them in the next scene to Space Age Laboratory. “Why anyone would pay for white meeces is, like way out. Way out, man. Like, uh, crazy.”

Inside the lab, the scientists treat Pixie and Dixie like lab rats, setting up an experiment to see if the meeces are intelligent enough to put in a rocket to the moon. Why mice would need intelligence to be blasted into space isn’t clear, and it’s odd the scientists don’t realise the meeces can understand what’s going to happen to them, considering they gave a talking cat some green dollar bills for Pixie and Dixie. But that gets in the way of the plot. The test is simple. The meeces are released from a box. They’re supposed to find a hidden piece of cheese. One would think that involves a sense of smell instead of intellect, but let’s set that aside. The meeces now play dumb and bounce around cross-eyed instead of going for the cheese.

Scientist 1: Now, what do you make of that manifestation, doctor?
Scientist 2: It’s very simple. They’re nuts.

The scientists reject using Pixie and Dixie for the moon launch (with Daws Butler’s voice accidently coming out of both scientists). “Curios-tity” gets to Jinks and he watches all this through the window from outside. He’s had enough. “No refund you guys,” he tells the scientists. “I couldn’t help it those meeces were like, uh, you know, inept.” The scientists realise they have a smart cat on their hands (“I am the smartest cat in the world,” he informs them). “Looks like Jinksie is talkin’ himself into a trip to the moon,” Dixie correctly observes. “He doesn’t even know what it’s for,” Pixie adds as Jinks is conned into putting on a space suit. (“Well, you know, it’s a little lumpy, but, uh, a good tailor would fix it,” Jinks observes). Jinks finally catches on to what’s happening when he’s asked to memorise a card containing a radio message which ends with “I have landed on the moon.” He stares at the audience before running out of the lab. But he’s corralled off camera by an Irish cop who thinks Jinks is a mechanical toy.

So Rocket X1 blasts off. 36 hours later, the scientists pick up a radio message. What is it? Cut to a shot of Jinks sitting on a crescent moon. “I hate meeces to pieces!!! Over and out, like.” Foster ended a number of cartoons with Jinks’ catchphrase. It’s a pretty simple way to cap a story when the plot’s done.

Notice the different colours Monty gets in the sky as the rocket blasts off, and the white outline around Jinks’ head in the final shot. Compare it with the brownish-grey head outline when Jinks realises he’s going to the moon.

There are occasions on the soundtrack when the background cues overlap a bit. The sound cutter dredges up David Buttolph’s “The Cockeyed Colonel” from the Sam Fox library. It didn’t get a lot of use at Hanna-Barbera, certainly not by the third season of the Huck show. Geordie Hormel’s “ZR-48 Light Movement” is an odd choice when the meece are coming out of their hole. The tempo’s fast and works best for quick movement on the screen. The action’s too casual to match it. The rest of the music works pretty well.

0:00 - Pixie and Dixie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin-Shows).
0:13 - TC-301 ZANY WALTZ (Loose-Seely) – Jinks in basket reads paper.
1:13 - ZR-48 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Jinks calls to meeces, meeces come out of hole and talk to Jinks.
1:30 - LAF-27-6 UNTITLED TUNE (Shaindlin) – Jinks reads paper to meeces, cons meeces.
2:23 - LAF-10-7 GROTESQUE No 2 (Shaindlin) – Back yard scene, Jinks walks away with cash.
2:57 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Scientists talk about meeces, P&D decide to fail test, scientist bob-walks carrying meeces.
3:36 - L-81 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Jinks at window, meeces fail test, scientists decide Jinks should go into space, Jinks “no refund” speech.
4:56 - SF-14 THE COCKEYED COLONEL (Buttolph) – “Not smart like you…”, Jinks puts on suit, scientist holds up card.
5:35 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – “…Memorise this message,” Jinks runs away, caught by cop, Jinks on moon.
6:57 - Pixie and Dixie End Title theme (Curtin).

Yowp note: There weren't supposed to be more cartoon reviews on the blog as things are winding down here. However, I put away reviews months ago for posting later and am discovering stuff I forgot about.

White House Huck, Part 2

Election Day. A day of triumph. A day of disappointment. For Huckleberry Hound, it was a bit of both in Election Year, 1960.

Huck’s presidential campaign took off that year, thanks to an off-handed comment by Hanna-Barbera’s licensing guy in New York, Ed Justin. You can read how it all happened in this blog post. Huck (in costume) made personal appearances. Campaign buttons were made; they were even referred to in the October 18, 1960 panel of The Family Circus (my thanks to Mike Kazaleh for sending me the comic). Huck’s journey on the hustings was documented in the pages of Dell Comic 1141, published in 1960. We posted Part One here. Let’s go on to Part Two.

None of the mini-stories in the second half of the comic originated on the animated cartoon show; they were apparently original to the comic. It was drawn by Harvey Eisenberg, who was the layout artist for a time in the Hanna-Barbera unit at MGM and did some freelancing with Barbera in comics in the late ‘40s. He did some uncredited work at the Hanna-Barbera studio where his son Jerry worked.

You can see there’s an unrelated Yogi Bear page at the end. We’ve left it in.

We speculate Huck wasn’t too disappointed in dropping out of his bid for the White House. It seems the anchor knocked some sense into him. The golf and piano references may be confusing to modern-day readers. President Ike Eisenhower spent chunks of time on the golf course, while President Harry Truman’s piano playing in the White House was the subject of jokes on radio and TV shows and animated cartoons. FDR was an avid fishermen and once landed a 100-pound sailfin without hooking it.

The Yogi campaign at the end of the comic book was remarkably prescient. Yogi decided to go for the presidency the following election, but had a cartoon character challenger—Magilla Gorilla. As your humble correspondent appeared in three Yogi cartoons and wasn’t permitted to set foot in one of Magilla’s, you can guess who I voted for.

The cartoon character campaign gimmick was a nice way to entertain comic-reading kids every four years. But it serves a purpose for adults today. Let them read the pages of the comic book and laugh at the ridiculous situation. “Ridiculous” is better than “ridicule,” and there’s far too much of that going on amongst supposed friends just because they don’t share the same political beliefs.

‘Splainin’ the Flintstones

It seems only natural that Joe Barbera would be the one to help sell Hanna-Barbera cartoons to prospective sponsors and viewers. Selling is telling a persuasive story. Barbera had been responsible for the stories of almost all the Tom and Jerry cartoons at MGM, then maintained his involvement in story work when he and Bill Hanna formed their own studio.

Barbera was not only persuasive, he was enthusiastic. And when selling his new cartoons to the media, even reporters noticed he was a little too enthusiastic.

UPI’s Phyllis Battelle mentioned it when she put together a column on the pending debut of The Flintstones. This is from papers of August 11, 1960.

Meet the “Flintstones”
By Phyllis Battelle

NEW YORK — Speaking of penetrating, daring, informative television shows (Well, the FCC spoke of them, anyway) the ABC network has come up with a new series of life among the neanderthal exurbanites.
Premiering next month, it will be the most costly half-hour series ($65,000 a show) in TV history. That takes care of the “daring” part, right there.
As the series, a satirical cartoon to be called “The Flintstones,” unfolds, the American public will learn first-hand:
1—How you can light cigars with two sticks.
2—What to do with money—use it like credit cards.
3—What it is like to live in a split-level cave.
4—How to differentiate between a dinasaur’s [sic] cough and a brontosaur’s mating call.
5—And many more fascinating and unvaluable lessons in stone age living.
Having heard much about the new series we went to see Joseph Barbera, co-producer (with William Hanna), and found him handsome, eager and excited. In his lapel was a round button recommending “Huckleberry Hound for President;” he explained that “H. Hound” was another of his and Hanna’s cartoon creations, along with “Tom and Jerry” and “Meet McGraw,” and the button was a gimmick left over from the Democratic campaign.
“WE’RE AWFULLY excited about The Flintstones,” he said. “Been working on it a year. It’s so splendidly goofy in concept, the sponsors bought it on the strength of the story-board alone. We didn’t have to draw a line. What’s it about?
“Well, it’s the story of Fred and Wilma Flintstone. Fred works for the Rockhead and Quarry Cave Construction company and is very active in the YCMA — the Young Cave Men’s association.
“Fred’s sort of like Jackie Gleason in ‘The Honeymooners’ and Wilma’s rather like Audrey Meadows; But they’re also something like Lucy and Desi. And sometimes there are undertones of Laurel and Hardy. They have a stoney-agey piano called, of course, a ‘Stoneway.’ And their next door neighbors are Betty and Barney Rubble.
“They live in the town of Bedrock — but they’re quite impressed with the glamor of Hollyrock. That’s where they make movies with those wonderful stars, Cary Granite and Rock Pile.”
Barbera could go on, talking like a proud idiot, for hours. But we asked him to get down to the technical aspects of this show — the first cartoon ever to be awarded prime evening time on a television network. He said that, thanks to a new, patented short-cut system he and Hanna have developed, they can now turn out 52 half-hour shows a year — whereas formerly their maximum output was 48 minutes of cartoon film annually.
EACH SHOW requires a staff of 180 artists, making 10,000 drawings. And 30 writers are needed to provide the necessary satire; “‘The Flintstones’ is a satire on anything and everything; It even satires satire.”
It could have been placed in a modern setting, but every time the artists tried to create a cartoon man and woman in modern clothes — “they came out looking like TV commercials. The moment we put them in lion skins, they got a chuckle.”
This is one television show that was dreamed up out of whole loin-cloth.

Regular readers to the blog will have noticed Joe wasn’t immune to a bit of hyperbole and this column was no exception (we’ll presume he knew the name of Quick Draw McGraw and the reporter didn’t).

Warren Foster might have busted a gut reading “30 writers.” Foster wrote the majority of the first season of The Flintstones by himself. Mike Maltese wrote a couple and a few sitcom writers were brought in to handle the rest. You couldn’t get 30 even if you added in all the story directors at the studio, sketch artist Dan Gordon (who sketched the Fred and Barney drawing above) and Barbera himself. And did 180 people really work on each show, including the ink and paint department? Take into consideration each of the early Flintstones half-hours that Barbera is talking about had one animator, one layout artist and one person painting all the backgrounds.

Anyone can readily see a chunk of The Honeymooners in The Flintstones. And it isn’t too much of a stretch to see a bit of Laurel and Hardy in the early relationship between Fred and Barney. But Lucy and Desi? Did Wilma lose a battle with a hastening conveyor belt full of chocolates? Scrunch up her face and go “Ehwwww”? Have Tallulah Bankhead-stone in her PTA play?

Okay, an animated Lucy and Desi created by the Hanna-Barbera unit at MGM opened I Love Lucy. And both shows hawked cigarettes, albeit different brands.

And, yes, Wilma and Betty once schemed together like Lucy and Ethel used to do about mink coats. Oh, and Wilma got pregnant like Lucy. But that was in the future and not on Joe Barbera’s mind (or Ideal Toys’) when he did this interview.

The real comparison with Lucy and Desi is something Joe Barbera could have only hoped about when he spoke with Phyllis Battelle in 1960—that of enduring popularity. Lucy is still justifiably loved by hoards of fans and I Love Lucy is on the air somewhere. The Flintstones remains a part of the popular culture, 52 years after the show’s debut, if a sampling of newspapers around North America in the last few weeks is any indication (as an example, click here to read of a front lawn Flintstones Hallowe’en display in Griffith, Indiana). And Fred, Barney, Dino and the rest continue to be financially viable; a DVD called The Flintstones: Prime-Time Specials Collection has recently been released (all I’ll say about it is I’d rather see Quick Draw McGraw and the remaining Huckleberry Hound Show cartoons on home video). The fact you and dozens of others have been reading this post shows that people are still interested in the grandpa of prime-time animated sitcoms.

Now if only Fred had taken some swigs of Vitametavegamin instead of Carnation Evaporated Milk. I’d love to have seen Carlo Vinci or Ed Love animate that.

Huckleberry Hound — Science Friction

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ed Love, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Story – Warren Foster, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Huckleberry Hound, Dr. Frankly Stein, Inspector Plumbottom, ‘arry – Daws Butler; Monster Schnitzel, Short Townsman – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Jack Shaindlin, Geordie Hormel, Spencer Moore, Raoul Kraushaar?, Lou De Francesco.
First Aired: Week of April 2, 1961.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-042.
Plot: Inspector Huckleberry is asked to bring in a monster, but mistakes the monster wiener schnitzel for a doctor.

A crazed, huge, wiener schnitzel monster has its creator pinned against a wall. It’s wielding an axe, ready to bring it down on the lab-coated scientist when Huckleberry Hound says: “Pardon me, doc, I kinda hates to interrupt you during surgery and all…”

Normally, I’d find it annoying that Huck would be so stupid, he can’t tell a monster wiener schnitzel from a doctor. But the premise of this cartoon is so ridiculous, and the idea that Huck would think an axing would be surgery, well, you can’t help but like it.

There are two stars here. One is Don Messick, who came up with goofy-but-insane laughter for the wiener schnitzel, and the other is Warren Foster, who provides moments of great dialogue, like during the opening narration (by Messick in his ultra-serious voice):

Around the turn of the century, it seemed that every village in Merrie Olde England had an old, abandoned castle in the neighbourhood. Cold, damp and forbidding, they would seem to be poor rental properties.

Foster spent part of the 1960-61 season reworking ideas from cartoons he wrote in the previous season. This is one of them. You’ll notice the similarity with “Picadilly Dilly”—Huck is once again an Inspector of Scotland Back Yard (with his Albemarle, North Carolina accent intact in 19th century England) called on to speak with an experiment-obsessed doctor, and mistaking a monstrous creation for the doctor. Both cartoons even have Englishmen commenting on the situation before Huck gets involved in the plot. In this case, the premise isn’t taken from Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but the horror classic of another British author—Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. However, as the bystanding villagers note that Dr. Frankly Stein has created four noisy monsters in one week—one’s okay, but four!—and they’ve had it. The situation is so disconcerting, it causes the characters to switch voices in mid-scene (oops).

Dick Thomas drew the backgrounds in this cartoon, working from Tony Rivera’s layouts. Thomas strikes me as the least daring of the background artists at the studio; compare his castle to the stylised fussiness of Bob Gentle’s in the opening of “Sir Huckleberry Hound” a couple of seasons earlier. This one’s fairly simple. The light of the moon gives off shadows from the homes and even on the bare branches (note the highlights). And below it the next animation-saving pan of the interior of the castle. The most interesting thing about it is there are pillars (you can see a teeny bit of one at the far left) on a foreground overlay moving at a different pan rate to add some depth to the shot. Hanna-Barbera didn’t go in for that very much, presumably because of the extra time (and, therefore, cost). It’s a pleasant surprise.

Ed Love is unmistakeably the animator on this cartoon. As usual, he has heads jerking up and down during dialogue and his two-teeth mouths he liked drawing during this stage of his career.

And Love animates a cute little slide-high step by Huck. Our English-via-North Carolina hero reads a “Beware of Monster” sign and “like in the music halls,” dances off camera and into the next scene, accompanied by a drum solo (presumably) by whoever was in Hoyt Curtin’s group (the same percussion effect was used in a Yogi Bear cartoon). Something’s more unusual. Huck is in silhouette the whole time until the castle door opens and the light from inside shines on him. Whether this was in Foster’s storyboard or Alex Lovy added it, I don’t know, but it’s a nice change from the usual stand-there-and-talk animation.

Anyway, back to the start of our story. Messick gravely intones about abandoned castles in Victorian England: “But they were all leased by a certain type of tenant. Yes, these castles were very big with mad scientists, who could work undisturbed on their weird experiments.” And then we’re introduced to a mad-but-calm scientist with one of Daws Butler’s German accents. He presses “the monster-makin’ button” and a giant wiener schnitzel strapped to a chair is turned into a monster. Of course, a transformation scene would blow Bill Hanna’s budget. Instead we get camera shakes, a bit of cycle animation on the machinery, and the camera man opening and closing the aperture so we get different amounts of light on the footage. The scientist remarks about his creation “He is one of good ones!”, a line Foster occasionally tossed in other cartoons.

A couple of townsmen hear the monster’s nutty laughter and call Scotland Back Yard. Inspector Plumbottom has virtually the same voice as the hunter that owned famous cartoon dog Yowp. He’s a typical reserved Englishman. “Complaint just received, Inspector,” he says to the nodding Huck. “Fourth monster up Shropshire way this week. Mad doctor. Old castle. Irate townspeople, all that sort of rot.” Those ex Warner Bros. writers sure loved Shropshire, didn’t they?

So Huck’s on the case. He divides his time commenting to the audience on the situation and talking to the monster who he, for what can only be comedic reasons, mistakes for the doctor. His plan to pretend he needs to see a doctor for a physical check-up backfires as the monster treats him like a basketball, stomps on him and throws him against a wall. Huck confronts him about a monster being in the castle. The monster gives off with the goony laugh. Great reaction dialogue from Huck to the audience: “I never could understand doctor-talk. All that Latin stuff.” (When this cartoon was made, doctors filled out prescriptions in Latin. Anyone learning pharmacy had to take a course in Latin). Huck chases after the monster but somehow loses him in a big, empty room. “Must be a secret door around here som’eres.” The monster comes out of a revolving stone door in the wall (Love animates all the action on ones). “Well, it’s no secret now,” Huck observes.

Huck won’t move until he takes the monster with him. He says this as he stands over a trap door that the monster opens by pulling a lever. “The doctor oughta fix that loose floor,” Huck tells us as he plummets into the floor. “A feller could take hisself a nasty fall.”

Cut to the scientist who has decided his next experiment is to turn the monster back into a wiener schnitzel. The monster doesn’t particularly like the prospect and chases the doctor with an axe. Huck runs to the rescue and handcuffs the scientist, thinking he’s the monster. Now the crazed former wiener schnitzel chases them both (though we only see the monster). Cut to a running cycle over an exterior background of Huck with the scientist being pulled in mid-air behind him. “Let’s get movin’!” Huck says to end the cartoon. “Them off-beat doctors are right sensitive about losin’ their monsters.” Poor Huck. He did better with a crazed monster potato in his third season than a crazed monster wiener.

The music selection’s pretty good here. One of Geordie Hormel’s Capitol Hi-Q “X” Series specialty cues gets the cartoon off to an appropriate start. We get the creepy muted wah-wah trumpet cue that may be from Raoul Kraushaar and a couple of other eerie pieces. Some of Jack Shaindlin’s faster cues and Lou De Francesco’s “Ski(ing) Galop” are used for running sequences. And we get a couple of bars of “My Darling Clementine” accompanied by the usual electric organ.

0:00 - Huckleberry Hound Sub Main-Title theme. (Curtin)
0:13 - ZR-126 ENGLISH MAIN TITLE (Hormel) – Narration, opening pan of village.
0:29 - TC-22 SUBLIME GHOST (Loose-Seely) – Camera trucks in on tower, flashing light from window, pan of castle interior, shot of room.
0:49 - creepy muted trumpet cue (Kraushaar?) – Scientist walks into room, turns weiner into monster.
1:28 - ZR-49 LIGHT EERIE (Hormel) – Townsmen scene.
1:56 - TC-202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Scene in inspector’s office.
2:38 - Clementine (Trad.) – Huck sings.
2:47 - L-81 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Huck on sidewalk, reads sign.
3:15 - drum kit effect – “This must be the place!”, Huck shuffles to the castle door.
3:22 - creepy muted trumpet cue (Kraushaar?) – Huck at castle door, goes inside, grabbed by monster and jerked off camera.
3:52 - SF-10 SKIING GALOP (De Francesco) – Huck as basketball.
4:01 - TC-300 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Huck against wall, talks to monster, pounded into floor.
4:46 - SF-10 SKIING GALOP (De Francesco) – Monster runs, Huck runs after him, gets caught in swirling door.
5:07 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Huck stares at wall, crashes into floor, doctor angers monster.
6:10 - rising scale music (Shaindlin) – “Halp!”, monster chases doctor, Huck slides into room.
6:30 - L-81 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – “Pardon me…”, Huck handcuffs doctor, monster zips out of frame.
6:44 - rising scale music (Shaindlin) – Monster runs with axe, Hucks runs with doctor.
6:47 - Huckleberry Hound Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

Farewell, Lucille Bliss

You see to your right two of the best-known cartoon voice actresses around the first decade of the modern era of television (1948 and later). At the left is wonderful June Foray. Sitting in the chair is someone whose career in TV animation actually pre-dates June’s. She’s the original voice of Crusader Rabbit, Lucille Bliss.

The photo is by noted Hanna-Barbera collector Dave Nimitz, a close friend of the two. He’s passed on word that Lucille has died at the age of 96. Facebook friend Doreen Mulman has learned Lucille had pneumonia and a staph infection.

Lucille was working in television children’s programming in San Francisco when Alex Anderson and Jay Ward had an idea to create a cartoon show specifically for TV. Thus Crusader Rabbit was born. Lucille then headed to Los Angeles and found theatrical cartoon voice work for Disney, MGM and Warner Bros. More importantly for this blog, the sound of some Hanna-Barbera cartoons could have been quite different had Lucille been able to keep jobs as Ruff in Ruff and Reddy and Elroy Jetson. But circumstances (and people) worked against her. She told what happened to an interviewer with the Archive of American Television. You can read what she said about Ruff and Reddy here and the Jetsons here.

Lucille later worked on Hanna-Barbera’s Space Kidettes (1966-67), more a curiosity today than anything, and then on shows long past my childhood such as The Smurfs and Invader Zim. She also lent a voice to one of the kids in the Flintstones’ episode “The Good Scout” (1961). To the right, you can see her as drawn by Carlo Vinci (I love Art Lozzi’s backgrounds in this one).

It sounds trite to say that was liked and respected by people in the animation industry but that was the case, as best as I can tell. You can see all of her interview mentioned above HERE and if you want to hear her story about how she didn’t get in on the ground floor at Hanna-Barbera because of some corporate hardball, watch below.

The Rug and Tumble World of Huck and Wally

Some of the most attractive drawings of the cast of The Huckleberry Hound Show aren’t to be found in the cartoons themselves. The Hanna-Barbera studio developed promotional art and product designs. Somewhere on-line, I found a couple with Huck so I’m including them in kind of a potpourri post as I clean out my computer’s photo folders.

Here’s the cast on a merry-go-round. What an attractive little layout. My default reaction is it’s by Dick Bickenbach, but I really don’t know. It seems the studio licensed the characters for carpets. Compare it with this picture of an actual rug.

So is the drawing some kind of pattern? I admit I’m not up on my carpetology.

Here’s another rug design. It was one of several. Another design, for a rug that’s about 38 x 21 inches, like a bathroom rug, featured Huck on his horse from “Sir Huckleberry Hound.”

Now, let’s move ahead a few years…

The model sheet of Wally Gator is signed by Bick. It’s apparently dated Oct. 3, 1961. Sorry I can’t make it any larger. Below it are what look like two drawings from the opening of the series. One of Hanna-Barbera’s everlasting great mysteries is why Wally Gator is a swinging alligator in the swamp in his theme song and opening animation but the series is set in a zoo.

And, finally, a couple of Huck cels. I think these came from the Van Eaton Gallery site, which is always worth a look. The first cel is from the final season’s “Huck’ Dé Paree” (1962), animated by Ken Southworth. The second one is from “Science Friction” (1961), animated by Ed Love. The background by Dick Thomas is from an earlier part of the cartoon.

Snooper and Blabber — Big Cat Caper

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, Snagglepuss – Daws Butler; Hazel – Jean Vander Pyl; Major, Elephant, Cop – Don Messick.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, Emil Cadkin/Harry Bluestone, unknown.
First Aired: week of January 17, 1961 (rerun, week of June 6, 1961).
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-034, Production J-97.
Plot: Snooper and Blabber are offered $5,000 to transport Snagglepuss to a zoo.

Snagglepuss mixed with other Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters in the cartoons-between-the-cartoons on the Yogi Bear Show, where he was starring in his own series starting in 1961. But before that, Mike Maltese mixed him with other H-B characters in the cartoons themselves. He gave Snagglepuss the role of an antagonist in several cartoons in each of the three series on the Quick Draw McGraw Show. This version of Snagglepuss was really funny as a lippy and flamboyant “bad guy” in three Quick Draw cartoons and it’s easy to see why he got his own show.

Of the seven pre-Snagglepuss series cartoons, Big Cat Caper is probably the weakest because it’s the most conventional. Maltese is getting all the elements in place that would ultimately be found in the series. There’s the Major (stouter in this one, thanks to Paul Sommer’s design) engaged in a punny-geographic tête–à–tête with Snagglepuss. There’s “Exit, Stage Right.” There’s “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” (which originated in Bert Lahr’s performance in the 1944 movie Meet the People). Snagglepuss is even treated, more or less, as a co-star, getting pounded by an incidental character. Unfortunately, the cartoon’s not as funny as when he confused Quick Draw McGraw by pretending to be his own twin brother in The Lyin’ Lion or scolded Augie Doggie for stepping on his line in The Party Lion. He was far more aggressive in those roles. And, to be honest, his series was likeable but not as funny, either.

The animator in this cartoon is Hicks Lokey, whose theatrical career started in New York City. He worked for Aesop’s Fables studio in the ‘20s (it became the Van Beuren studio, with Paul Terry leaving and opening his own studio), then at Fleischer’s where he supported the 1937 strike. The Fleischer brothers decided he could support himself elsewhere, so he moved to the west coast and worked for Walter Lantz before getting a job with the other Walter on Fantasia, with former Terry co-worker Norm Ferguson putting in a good word for him with Disney. He was an Army captain during the war. What he was doing after that is, no doubt, in someone’s aural history collection but he doesn’t appear to have worked in animation again until 1960, arriving on Hanna-Barbera’s doorstep and staying a couple of decades until retirement. Lokey’s drawing style is attractive in this cartoon. He’s much like Ed Love in dialogue, though less jerky. Snagglepuss’ head doesn’t have two positions (or seven, like Love); Lokey uses five. Snagglepuss has a flatter head in this cartoon and a pointed chin when he speaks certain vowels. And I like the mouth Lokey gives Blabber when Blab is doing his usual police siren impression.

Sommer’s layouts are very basic and scenes have characters travelling left to right, like on a stage (though they do cheat toward the camera, especially when talking to the audience). Even Bob Gentle’s backgrounds aren’t very elaborate; he tries to use a few different shades of green in trees but his buildings are simple squares and rectangles with blocks of colour for doors and windows.

Maltese had a sure-fire way of getting into the action of the cartoon quickly that he used a number of times, and he does it here. Snooper talks on the car radio to his secretary Hazel, who tells him what the next job is and the two exchange pleasantries before the call ends and Snoop and Blab zoom off into the next scene. In this cartoon, Snooper opens by butchering Hazel’s name and revealing he’s travelling on “Blab power.” Cut to Blabber pushing the car because the pair can’t afford gas. You can see the ‘50s are over. The car doesn’t have outrageously huge fins. It also has a door handle but no door. “Eurek-kee-ah!!” Snoop says when told about the job offer from the Major: $5,000 to transport Snagglepuss to the zoo. And he and Hazel get into it about her parakeet, previously mentioned in The Lion is Busy, the other Snooper-Snagglepuss cartoon. “The poor thing hasn’t eaten for so long, he’s shrunken to hummin’bird size,” Hazel drawls. “Well, you’ll get paid after this caper, Hazel. Meanwhile, give your parakeet hummin’ lessons.” The scene ends with Blab doing his police siren impression as he pushes the car.

Cut to the Major and the orange version of Snagglepuss (he wasn’t pink until his own series) drinking tea in the Adventurers Club, the setting of a number of later Snagglepuss cartoons. The mountain lion thinks the tea is “De-lish-shee-ous.” “I might even go so far-uh as to say it’s abom-in-a-ble,” says the caged animal. “Awfully decent of you, Snagglepuss,” replies the Major. Snooper and Blabber knock and come in. “Heavens to Murgatroyd! The things they leave out of cages these days,” Snagglepuss observes. Snoop wants to know how things are in Pick-a-Lily Square and tells the Major he’ll skip the “tea and trumpets.” Snagglepuss gets into an argument with the Major about whether he was caught in the Petawambi or the Zambezi. The Major lets Snagglepuss out of his cage to check a globe. Sure enough, it was the Zambezi (a river which divided the two Rhodesias; I don’t know if there is a “Petawambi”). “And that’s where I’m headed for. Exit, stage right!” Snoop gets his own catchphrase in: “Stop in the name of the $5000 fee!”

Snagglepuss ducks into a city park with a zoo (conveniently, the zoo where Snoop is being paid to deliver him). The Major organises a safari, complete with Blab playing the bongo drums which attract an elephant. Snagglepuss’ comment on Blab’s bongo playing: “Now, ain’t that a kick in the head” (the title of a Jimmy Van Heusen-Sammy Cahn song that came out a little more than six months after this cartoon appeared on TV). You’ve got to feel a little sorry for Hicks here. He animated part of the wonderful pink elephant dance in Dumbo, and he’s been reduced to drawing a limited animation elephant in this cartoon. One of his drawings of the elephant zooming out of his enclosure to meet up with Blab is just a red mass (on twos).

“Heavens to Murgatroyd!” Snagglepuss says again, this time with exasperation over the elephant being attracted by Blab’s “Simba, samba” chat and bongo playing. The elephant doesn’t take any crap. He uses his trunk to Snagglepuss up by the neck and throw him through a tree. Snagglepuss tells the elephant not to be so “Preterb-ed.”

Cut to the Major and Snooper. The Major vows to shoot Snagglepuss “right between the eyes.” He grazes him in the butt. Maltese wants us to make sure we get the butt joke by having the Major repeat his line. “Between the eyes? He must think I’m a midget” is the best response Maltese can come up with for Snagglepuss.

“Stop in the limb of the law!” It’s Snoop’s catchphrase time. And now we get the almost-patented sceptical cop scene. You know, where the heroes explain they’re dealing with an antagonist, the cop doesn’t believe them, then the antagonist shows up and the cop realises it’s true, usually ending his involvement with a phone call to “sarge” about how sick he is or a comment to the camera. The difference in this cartoon is the cop isn’t Irish (he has Don Messick’s growly voice used for brown cats in the Pixie and Dixie cartoons) and the cop makes his comment to Snagglepuss before running out of the scene. Maltese comes up with a groaner. Says the cop to the Major and Snooper: “A loose lion is it? Well, beat it before I loose my temper and run you in for lyin’.” But then he notices Snagglepuss is right in front of him and gulps. “You are kinda like a loose lion, aren’t ya?” “Well,” replies the lion, “I’m not a loose mongoose.” Must be the workload getting to Maltese; he’s been sillier than this.

The cop runs and, miraculously, his hat and nightstick stay suspended in mid-air for 16 frames. Now Snagglepuss pretends to be the cop, bashing Snooper and the Major on the top of the head before the Major shoots him. We get another “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” and more shots “between the eyes” before Blab holds open the cage door and tells Snagglepuss to run in for safety. “Clink!” goes the door and Blabber has himself a $5,000 reward.

The cartoon ends where it begins, except Snoop is now pushing the comparatively-wealthy Blab in the car. The gas station is only ten miles away (in the city?!). Blab agrees to help out. He makes the police siren sound as the cartoon fades out.

There’s a lot of Phil Green’s music in this cartoon, including Custard Pie Capers to once again end the action. My guess is the studio simply had someone record the bongo sounds instead of getting them off a music library. And we hear that light string symphonic music that’s used in a few chase scenes in several of the Snooper and Augie cartoons; I think it’s from the Sam Fox library.

0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera).
0:25 - GR-74 POPCORN (Green) – Snoop talks to Hazel.
1:14 - PG-168J FAST MOVEMENT (Green) – Blab pretends to be a siren.
1:22 - GR-155 PARKS AND GARDENS (Green) – Snag and Major drink tea, door opens.
1:38 - GR-93 DRESSED TO KILL (Green) – Snoop talks to Major, Snag talks about the Patawambi, “By Gadfry!”
2:14 - GR-456 DR QUACK (Green) – “I snagged you in the Zambesi,” Snagglepuss runs out out of scene.
2:42 - LFU-117-3 MAD RUSH No 2 (Shaindlin) – Snag runs out door, into park, “You go on ahead, Blabber.”
3:15 - CB-85A STEALTHY MOUSE (Cadkin-Bluestone) – “And flush him out,” Blab walks with bongo drum.
3:24 - bongo drum – Blab plays drum, “regular Gunga Din.”
3:43 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) - Elephant hears drums, puts trunk around Snag.
4:14 - GR-347 GATHERING THE PRODUCE (Green) - Elephant lifts up Snag, throws him through tree, Snagglepuss shot.
4:24 - GR-248 STREETS OF THE CITY (Green) – “By Gadfry!”, cop scene.
5:21 - jaunty bassoon and skippy strings (Shaindlin) – Snag puts on cop hat, Major shoots Snagglepuss, Snag runs out of scene.
6:06 - light symphonic string music (?) – Snagglepuss runs, into cage, Blab slams iron door, Snoop and Major skid to stop.
6:33 - GR-75 POPCORN SHORT BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – “Nice work…”, Blab offered reward.
6:47 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – Snoop pushes car.
7:11 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin).

Flintstones Weekend Comics, November 1962

There are some really tremendous and enjoyable layouts in the Flintstones Sunday comics of November 50 years ago. Due to a lack of access to sources where I’ve been getting these, I doubt I’ll be posting any more. If I don’t, these will be a fitting swan song. The top rows come from one paper and the bottom two from another, hence the quality change. Click on any of them to enlarge them. I hope someone is able to, once again, come forward and identify the artist on these.

Fred’s expressions in the November 4th comic are great. I love the second last one with the huge floppy tongue like George Nicholas drew in the animated series. Dino is the incidental lounging character in this week’s opening panel.

The artist has even better layouts in November 11th. Look how the running Fred turns into speed lines. And the front view of Barney’s car, an angle I don’t think was ever used in on the series. The crooked car angle in the middle row is neat, too. We get not only another “Eeeoww” (see the previous comic) but a “Voing” sound effect. Just a great cartoon.

A shame the top row didn’t make it into a lot of newspapers. The November 18th comic has another great opening layout. Fred and Barney in the middle foreground and groups of people in the left and right backgrounds, but the groups are at different distances and one’s in silhouette to vary things. There’s another silhouette of Fred and Barney, but it doesn’t have them against a plain colour background. There are paintings. I like the composition of the last panel; three characters, an object and two word balloons but it’s not cluttered in the slightest. And Fred imagining himself in different sculpture guises is funny, too.

What? The Flintstones’ house gets wrecked twice in one month? It happens in the November 25th comic again. Wilma has changed her hair colour. Baby Puss makes an appearance in the opening panel. And there’s another dinosaur with a question mark over its head like in the comics last month; this time, it’s Dino in the last panel.

Betty got the month off. And perhaps little Amber has become stuck in some tar pits. We can hope.

Giving Credit

Those of you who have the Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear Show DVDs that were released several years ago will know that almost all the cartoons have more than a title card at the start. They have a couple of other cards with credits listed on them; not a full list, but one that shows the main people who worked on each cartoon. Yet those of us who recall when those shows first aired (as well as the Quick Draw McGraw Show) don’t remember ever seeing credits except in the stock closing animation at the end of the half hour.

So when were the cards made? Why? How accurate are they?

I’ve had people ask me that on several different occasions, with the opinion expressed that the credits were made up for syndication almost three decades after the cartoons originally aired because that’s the first time anyone remembers seeing them.

It’s times like this I miss that great friend of early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, Earl Kress. Earl was interested in the arcanum of the cartoons and I’m pretty sure he looked around and found an answer to the mystery. Earl passed away over a year ago. In his archives he had this:

This is a sheet that was used by the cameraman to shoot the titles. You can see that it has not just the one opening title card but all five of them we’re used to seeing now, including the credits, as well as footage allotted for fades. At the far right is the count in feet and inches, the number to the left of that is the frame count. So the opening titles took up 40 feet or 640 frames (there are 16 frames to a foot). If you compare the lettering, it was done by whoever lettered the actual cards.

The most interesting thing is the hand-written notation up top. The footage was shot in 35 millimetre and a date of March 11, 1959 is given for Take Number 1. So, is that when the credits were shot? There doesn’t appear to be a Production Number on the sheet that would indicate the cartoon itself was shot on that date.

I’m left to conclude that the credits were filmed when the cartoons were originally made and the footage was simply archived for the time when the shorts would be aired outside the Kellogg’s half-hours. It also appears a number of copies of the footage sheets were created in 1958 when the Hanna-Barbera credits included the one line for “Dialogue and Story Sketches.” When Charlie Shows left the studio, the credits for the 1959-60 TV season were changed so “Story” and “Story Sketches” were two separate credits (during mid-season, “Story Sketches” was eliminated and “Story Director” added, presumably because Alex Lovy had arrived at the studio from Walter Lantz). And, as indicated at the bottom, somewhere during the season, the bottom lettering on the credit title card was changed from “H-B Enterprises, Inc.” to “Hanna-Barbera Productions”; the final four Huck cartoons have the change, starting with “Piccadilly Dilly.” So the old categories are simply crossed off on the old sheets and new ones added by hand. Saves money instead of printing new forms. Bill Hanna would be delighted. My guess is the sheets were lettered by Art Goble, who got a credit for titles,

When did cartoons appear separately outside the Kellogg’s sponsored half hours? It wasn’t very long after they were made. It happened in 1960, October 15th to be precise. That’s when a show called “The Magic Land of Allakazam” began airing. It was, as the Jefferson City Post-Tribune called it, “…a new children’s world of television fun featuring a whole family of magicians, sleight of hand artistry, major feats of illusion, music, circus-type fun and animated cartoons…” Yes, cartoons. To quote from the paper again: “Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Jenks the Cat [sic], and those famous ‘meeces,’ Pixie and Dixie, will appear each week in a variety of Hanna-Barbara cartoons.”

Whether the cartoons shown on Mark Wilson’s Saturday afternoon magic show featured the full credits, I don’t know, but it’s obviously not true that the individual cartoons only appeared on TV some time during the 1970s or ‘80s. As for the accuracy, there only seem to be a few cartoons circulating that have the wrong credits. Yogi’s “Big Brave Bear” is one, unless Lew Marshall suddenly started drawing like Carlo Vinci. I have a version of Augie Doggie’s “Pint Giant” that is obviously incorrect. And there are a couple of others. Some of the earliest cartoons are incomplete. Mike Lah did partial uncredited animation on a bunch of them and two years later, Bob Carr handled footage on cartoons without his name appearing. But, generally, they’re accurate. What’s maddening is the cartoons circulating with no credits at all.

Incidentally, if you look at the top of the sheet you’ll see the hand-written initials “NS.” That stands for Norm Stainback, a cameraman at the studio from the early days through the late 1970s.

Yogi Bear — Bears and Bees

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Story – Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi, John, Sam, Bee, Henry, Health Inspector – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Red Kerchief Woman, White Hat Woman, Kid in Back Seat, Dark Haired Woman – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Spencer Moore, Raoul Kraushaar?, Jack Shaindlin.
First Aired: week of January 16, 1961.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-046.
Plot: Yogi finds some honey and sets up a stand to barter it for pic-a-nic type goodies.

Hanna-Barbera characters were known for their 5 o’clock shadow, especially on The Flintstones. It apparently made it easier to draw mouth movements on a separate cel from the rest of the character. It makes sense for Fred and Barney to have 5 o’clock shadow. But for a child? Believe it or not, there’s a kid with 5 o’clock shadow in Bears and Bees.

Wait. I think I figured out the reason. The scene cuts to signs along the highway. They’re just like Burma Shave signs. 5 o’clock shadow! Shave! Get it?

Okay, maybe that’s not it.

Tony Rivera is the layout artist on this cartoon, and he loved those heavy parallel face lines on his characters. He also seems to have liked no necks in profile, with body and head one, long tube shape, and little stem legs. To the left you see an example of this with Ranger Smith, who also has his jacket wider than his pants. Other layouts of the ranger have his jacket and pants as kind of a one-piece jump suit; it seems the ranger was treated like an incidental character so each layout artist/character designer came up with a model sheet for him in every cartoon.

Characters in Rivera’s Jellystone who wore glasses had really thick frames. Let’s look at his other incidental characters for this cartoon.

Here are some backgrounds that Rivera would have laid out from Warren Foster’s storyboard. The cars around Yogi’s honey stand have those oval, gridded grilles like early ‘50s Nashes, the ugliest cars on the face of the Earth. The silhouettes are a welcome change. In the ranger station background, the isosceles triangle trees are a Rivera specialty. The backgrounds were painted by Dick Thomas, who utilises a variety of greens. The grass is sponged. I like how the ranger’s jeep or some other vehicle has dug tire tracks in the grass.

The cartoon was animated by Hicks Lokey. I’m trying to find something visually distinctive about him. Reader Howard Fein says Hicks tended to draw facial features too big, and the only place I’ve seen that is in the scene where Yogi’s doing his beg-for-food act.

Otherwise, his Yogi and Boo Boo look fairly attractive (the characters had consistent model sheets by Dick Bickenbach). I like the close-up expressions as the ranger is shaming Yogi for trying to beg for pic-a-nic food. You’ll notice the eye dips below the top of the lighter brown face/muzzle.

Warren Foster’s story is the basic Yogi-Boo Boo-Ranger-Jellystone-Food battle of wits with only a few interesting bits of dialogue and a cop-out ending. Ranger Smith gets a call. Yogi and Boo Boo are on their way to the picnic area. Cut to the bears. Yogi, like the slob bear in the Walter Lantz cartoon Fodder and Son (1957) tries a couple of guises to get food. He puts on a sash and pretends to be the Jellystone Ambassador of Good Will, exempt from “Do Not Feed” rules (“The Ranger won’t like it, Yogi.” “You better not do it, Yogi,” says Boo Boo, Yogi’s conscience stand-in) but leaves after a threat to call the ranger. Then he tries his begging act (“Gosh, this is embarrassing,” Boo Boo tells us). Yogi’s monologue includes: “They spend billions on missiles, but not a penny on us. Bears don’t need missiles. They need morsels.” Yogi’s histrionics end quickly when he notices a pair of khaki pants and looks up to see Ranger Smith.

With calm disgust, the Ranger spouts off with his bears/noble creatures/don’t-need-man’s-food speech. You’ve heard it in other cartoons. Evidently Yogi has, too, though he lets the ranger think he’s swallowed it by commenting, in a paraphrase of Sir Winston Churchill: “If bears live for a thousand years, they shall say that this was their finest hour.”

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Yogi feels a need to explain sex to Boo Boo. What?! Why? Oh, it’s Foster’s ham-handed way of getting into the second part of the cartoon. He’s explaining the birds and the bees. Boo Boo sees a bee. Yogi flicks it away. The angry bee zooms into the air and then back down to sting him in the you-know-where.. At that point, Yogi discovers the bee has made honey in the hollow log he and Boo Boo are sitting on and that gives him an idea.

The scene cuts to the car with the kid who needs the shave. And the Burma Shave-type signs read by dad in a Daws Butler voice that sounds like a relaxed Cap’n Crunch:

When you eat
Beneath the trees
Eat Yogi’s Honey
From contented bees.

Yogi’s exchanging his honey, which Boo Boo is pouring with a gooping sound effect into glass jars from the log, for tourist food. Cut to the health inspector talking to Ranger Smith. “This honey that bear is selling in these second-hand bottles isn’t healthy. They’re full of ants, twigs, bits of leaves and bark. You’d better stop this pinch-penny racket of yours or else.” Cut back to Yogi with the ranger standing behind him. Of course, Yogi doesn’t realise it as he atypically brags to Boo Boo that he’s “smarter than the average ranger.” And then he turns around. You’ve seen this bit before.

The ranger follows behind as Yogi and Boo Boo carry the log back to where they found it. “Let that be a lesson to you, Yogi,” says the ranger. “And remember one thing. He who laughs last, laughs best.” Then the ranger starts laughing. The yucks are ended by the annoyed bee who stings the ranger in the you-know-where. What?! What did the ranger do to the bee to deserve it? He even brought back the bee’s honey. I guess a turn-around gag is all Foster could come up with. Yogi laughs last to end the cartoon.

The music of Spencer Moore and the team of Bill Loose and John Seely dominate the cartoon. The cues generally fill a scene, though “Pixie Comedy” starts up in mid-cue in mid-sentence when John’s wife is annoyed at Yogi’s ambassador act. The cue ends when the scene ends and then starts all over at the beginning when the next scene starts. The reverbed muted trumpet cue that may be by Raoul Kraushaar also makes an appearance and Jack Shaindlin’s “Lickety Split” is back-timed to end the cartoon.

0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin-Shows-Hanna-Barbera).
0:30 - TC-432 HOLLY DAY (Loose-Seely) – Shot of ranger station, Yogi talks to Boo Boo, puts on sash, “Get rid of that dusty animal.”
1:31 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – “He’s shedding”, Yogi walks away.
1:59 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi talks to Boo Boo, Yogi begs, “Khaki pants!?”
2:55 - creepy muted reverb trumpet music (Kraushaar?) – Yogi stares at audience, up shot of Ranger Smith.
3:05 - L-78 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Ranger Smith shaming scene.
3:30 - TC-202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi and Boo Boo walk away, talk near tree.
4:14 - TC-437 SHOPPING DAY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi and Boo Boo on log, Yogi flicks bee away, bee shakes head.
4:37 - TC-221A HEAVY AGITATO (Loose-Seely) – Bee growls, stings Yogi.
4:53 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Yogi runs from log, spots honey, Yogi and Boo Boo carry log.
5:30 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – Car on highway, signs, Yogi in booth, Boo Boo fills jars.
6:02 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Health inspector scene, Ranger in booth with Yogi.
6:37 - L-1139 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Yogi and Boo Boo carry log, Ranger laughs, Bee looks down.
6:53 - LICKETY SPLIT (Shaindlin) – Bee zooms down, Ranger stung, Yogi laughs.
7:10 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

Green-Haired Barney Rubble

Barney Rubble’s hair started out as a grey tone. That’s because The Flintstones were originally broadcast in black and white. Then the world learned it was blond once ABC showed the cartoons in colour. But that seems to have escaped some of Hanna-Barbera’s merchandisers.

Our roving correspondent Billie Towzer has roamed the internet for more H-B knick knacks and has sent some along for your viewing, uh, pleasure. As usual, there are people far more versed in what are now H-B collectors’ items and they’re free to chime in and add what they know.

Here are some plastic Flintstones figures. Maybe it’s because the shows were in black-and-white, but colour accuracy doesn’t seem to have been a priority. But even in the black-and-white days, did anyone think Barney’s hair was really green? Or Betty was a blond (and shared the same hairstyle as Wilma)?

Here are figurines of the three stars of The Huckleberry Hound Show (sorry, meeces). I think Yogi’s carrying honey. Or maybe I don’t want to know what it is. Mr. Jinks, of course, is the wrong colour with whiskers that are a little too prominent. His name is also misspelled, but perhaps you can’t fault the manufacturer, considering Bill Hanna misspelled it as “Jinx” in his autobiography.

Here are some pencil erasers by something-or-other Industries of Chatsworth, California. They’re from 1963 or later because there’s a zip code. Not recommended for kids under three, though I’d be more worried if a two-year-old were holding a pencil.

An orange-glowing Huck lamp? Great stuff. The internet says: “Plastic base with separate figural vinyl head, total lamp standing 13.5" tall. By Arch Lamp Mfg. Corp. ©Hanna-Barbera Prod. 1962. Huckleberry Hound wears hat with his name in raised letters on band. Lamp came issued in several colors.”

Didn’t all kids have one variety of these at one time? You drew with a pencil with a nub on the end and when you wanted to make the next drawing, you simply lifted the grey film and started over again. I guess computers kind of made this obsolete. But what do expect for 29 cents? The Magic Slate was made by in 1962 Western Publishing, more noted for its comic books. Read the history of it in this Los Angeles Times story.

If you wanted an Unmagic Slate, then Standard Toycraft had this for you. I can picture some three-year-old foregoing the slate and just drawing George Jetson on the wall. You’ll notice in the bottom right-hand a little red box of H-B characters. Sorry I can’t make it bigger. I presume it’s of the regular Jetsons characters.

Finally we have something labelled Baba Looey Purex Soaky Green Sombrero Brown Plastic Figure bank. The internet says: “This bank measures approx. 8" tall. The coin slot is on the top of his bright green sombrero. To retrieve the coins, you simply remove the sombrero and the coins will come out the top. This is stamped HANNA BARBERA PUREX on the bottom.”

My thanks to Billie for digging around. There are still more goodies that will be saved for a future post.

Augie Doggie — Let’s Duck Out

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Virgil Ross, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Augie Doggie – Daws Butler; Doggie Daddy – Doug Young; Duck – Red Coffey.
Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin, Harry Bluestone/Emil Cadkin.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-035, Production J-112.
First Aired: 1961.
Plot: An orphan duck horns in on Augie and Doggie Daddy’s skating party.

The Warner Bros. cartoon studio provided a lot of permanent and casual staff for Hanna-Barbera in and around 1960. Before the Quick Draw McGraw Show got into the story stage in 1959, Bill and Joe grabbed Warners’ storymen Mike Maltese and Warren Foster, layout artist Bob Givens and background painter Dick Thomas (the latter two from the Bob McKimson unit). But Jerry Eisenberg, an assistant animator at Warners, recalled how he and animator Ken Harris came over to H-B and did piecework when the studio was in down-time. I suspect Virgil Ross did the same thing, as his name is on the credits of Let’s Duck Out even though he was still employed at Warners at the time, unless there was a brief resignation or layoff I don’t know about.

Ross was another veteran of 1930s animation. He applied at Disney in 1930 and couldn’t get a job. So he went to work for Charles Mintz’s Krazy Kat studio which had just moved to Los Angeles from New York. His next stop was at Ub Iwerks’ studio as an in-betweener, and then he moved to Walter Lantz. After Tex Avery left Lantz and was handed a unit by Leon Schlesinger on the Warners lot in 1935, Ross joined him. He stayed with the unit when Bob Clampett took it over in 1941 but shortly was transferred to another part of the building where he coped with the demands and shouts of Friz Freleng for the rest of his time at the studio, almost 20 years.

By all accounts (though maybe not some of Friz’s) Ross was a fine draughtsman. And in what seems to have been his sole entry in the Augie series, he draws the not-quite-Yakky Doodle very attractively. Certainly he was up to the rigours of TV animation as he drew 25 to 30 feet a week of full animation at Warners.

Paul Sommer came up with the layouts here. I like the red sports convertible he designed for Doggie Daddy. But I wonder if he’s the one responsible for changing the proto-Yakky’s colour to green in this cartoon. Dick Thomas is the background artist and provides some pleasant snow-dusted trees.

This cartoon isn’t one of Mike Maltese’s finest hours. It was put into production late in the 1960-61 season (Maltese’s credit is “Written by” instead of “Story” like at the start of the season) and Maltese either was worn out or uninspired by the cutsey-wutsey duck that Bill and Joe loved and were about to put into a series. He gets in the standard catchphrases. Augie has to have some kind of moniker for his dad. In this one it’s “Olympic-calibre father of mine.” Daddy has to fit in his “If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s…” line. It’s “a hitch-hikin’ duck.” And Daddy has to end the cartoon with his “After all, how many…” question. We get “families have a genuine quack-quack clock in the house?” I wish I could say Maltese came up with some really clever stuff in between but there’s not an awful lot. In fact, he re-uses the “endless drinking” gag he put in “Gone With the Ducks” the previous season (which was borrowed from a Yogi/Duck cartoon the season before that). The only difference is it’s milk in this cartoon, not water.

The cartoon starts with Daddy and Augie picking up the hitchhiking duck while on their way to an ice pond, where Dear Old Dad intends to teach his son winter sports. The proto-Yakky may be too “small and puny” to fly south for the winter but he makes up for it intelligence, and demonstrates it with a math lesson. “Five and five is sixty-seven,” he announces. He spouts another equation, but Red Coffey’s duck voice cracks and it’s tough to decipher what he’s saying (by contrast, Jimmy Weldon as the later Yakky had excellent diction and a more expressive delivery).

The trio arrives at a frozen lake. That’s as far as Daddy is driving. But like in the other cartoons, the obsessively needy duck won’t go away and invents a reason to hang around. In this cartoon, he pretends to have a cold. Then after glugging down Daddy’s thermos of hot milk, he forlornly reveals he has no mommy or daddy (at least in this cartoon, he doesn’t tearfully wail about it) and suggests Doggie Daddy adopt him. Maltese comes up with a pun. “That’s a peachy idea,” Augie feels. “One peach is enough,” responds the furrow-browed Daddy. “A pair I couldn’t stand.” A pair of what, Daddy? There’s only one duck in this cartoon. The self-pitying duck walks away, vowing he’ll never speak to Daddy again. Of course, he’s full of it. The duck squawks away in English through the whole cartoon.

We’re at the cartoon’s half-way point. Daddy shows off his skating prowess. “A Figure Eight the hard way. A five and a four.” He crashes on the ice on his stomach instead. Then he fails to duplicate the duck’s barrel-jumping by crashing into the barrels. But he can still walk, he tells his son, before passing out face-first into the ice. The helpful duck goes to pour water on him, but the water’s turned into a block of ice. The best line of the cartoon’s ahead. It’s time to play ‘Snowball.’ Dad puts the duck in a snowball and rolls it down the hill. The ball collects more snow and becomes bigger. Just like a rock in a Wile E. Coyote cartoon Maltese wrote, the huge snowball rolls up the the side of a mountain and flies through the air. “All of a sudden, I have a feelin’ it’s gonna snow.” Crash!

The next “game”—an attempt to have the duck slide 100 miles away—suddenly fails when the pre-Yakky falls through a hole in the ice and he’s too puny to swim. Cut to a shot of Augie running, holding the duck in a cube of ice. The cube is put in a frying pan over a campfire on the snow which melts the cube (but not the snow) and the duck can be seen in the ice water-filled pan scrubbing his back. Quick, Daddy! Now’s your chance for a fried duck dinner that’ll end the Yakky series before it can ever start. But no! Instead we cut to the final scene where Daddy has found a use for the “useless” duck—as a substitute for a cuckoo in a clock. Thus ends the last of the three Doggie Daddy-meets-Duck cartoons. As for Virgil Ross, the worst was yet to come. He went to work at Filmation and on the early ‘70s Lantz theatricals. I’d rather watch Yakky, who at least had Fibber Fox (and Mike Maltese) going for him.

The sound cutter seems content to bang out a score in this one by letting cues run in their entirety through full scenes, though he’s edited a few bars into Jack Shaindlin’s “Mad Rush No. 3” to make it time out to the end of a scene. There are very few short cues used here. One of Shaindlin’s circus galops is back-timed to end with the cartoon but, for whatever reason, it begins toward the end of the cue and in the middle of a scene.

0:00 - Augie Doggie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin).
0:24 - GR-155 PARKS AND GARDENS (Green) – Hitchhiking scene.
1:55 - GR-248 STREETS OF THE CITY (Green) – Milk drinking scene.
3:24 - jaunty bassoon and skippy strings (Shaindlin) – Figure 8/Barrel scene, Daddy faints.
4:33 - light symphonic strings (?) – “Do som’n’…”, ice bucket scene.
5:13 - GR-85 THE BRAVEST WOODEN SOLDIER BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – Duck in snowball, Daddy drops snowball down hill.
5:25 - LFU-117-3 MAD RUSH No 3 (Shaindlin) – Snowball rolls down hill, lands on Daddy.
5:47 - GR-457 DR QUACK SHORT BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – Daddy talks to duck, zooms him out of scene.
5:58 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Duck on ice, falls through hole, Augie carries duck in ice cube.
6:27 - CB-90 HAPPY HOME (Cadkin-Bluestone) – Duck in frying pan scene, two cuckoos.
6:57 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Third cuckoo, Daddy laughs.
7:08 - Augie Doggie End Title theme (Curtin).

See Quick Draw and Yogi for Christmas

♪♪ Ding Ding, Ding Dong ♫♫ , the Christmas cash registers are ringing.

Hanna-Barbera certainly took advantage of the Christmas season. By 1959, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi and even Li’l Tom-Tom dolls were on store shelves. Newspapers even had letters to Santa asking for them (none thought to request a cuddly dog that said “Yowp Yowp” when you pulled the string. But I digress). And you’ve seen all kinds of H-B licensed merchandise on the blog here from the first few years of the studio’s life.

In hunting (unsuccessfully so far) for a new source of readable Sunday newspaper comics, I found this little ad that appeared on this date in 1962. Why is Mickey Mouse the size of a man?

Tru-Vue was connected with the people who made View-Masters. Originally, they were competitors. You can read more HERE.

I’m sure other blogs have waxed in prose about the venerable View-Master. I don’t know too many homes that didn’t have one at one time. It’s really kind of a quaint relic today if you think about it. Now kids can watch CGI videos. A slide show is really passé. Technology passed it by years ago. But there was something really neat about seeing cartoon characters you watched in kind of a 3-D, even if they didn’t look exactly as they did on TV.

Do you think that today, Disney would allow its “princesses” to be seen, let alone sold, with the likes of Yogi Bear?

I’m posting this as a bit of a test. As some of you know, the man assisting a famous cartoon dog in making these posts had eye surgery and still does not have full vision. It is difficult writing through haze. In advance of the surgery, some time was found to write a whole pile of new reviews, assuring that the blog will carry on, at least weekly, until mid-March next year.

Thank you all for your kind wishes.

Yogi Bear Weekend Comics December 1962

If I had to pick a favourite moment of Yogi Bear’s Sunday newspaper adventures 50 years ago this month, it’d have to be Harvey Eisenberg’s final panel of the year.

Trying to find decent copies of these from newspapers on line has been nigh on impossible. They’ve been photocopied way too dark. So they’re from a variety of sources, thus the quality varies.

The story of the December 2nd comic has Yogi turned into a bass violin. Why the Minneapolis Philharmonic, you ask? Good question. I have no idea.

An incidental squirrel pays a visit to Yogi’s home in the December 9th comic. It’s the day of the sled races at West Jellystone (“West”?) and a trophy is at stake. I’d rather not know why Boo Boo is riding Yogi.

Ranger Smith is absent in all but one of the five comics this month, but some hitherto unknown members of the Smith clan appear on December 16th. And they all reside in Jellystone Park. Maybe Smith is getting them cheap U.S. government accommodation. So we see blond-headed nephew Christopher and the kid’s mother who, I will venture to guess, is from Mrs. Smith’s side of the family. I can almost hear Dick Beals as the kid, except for the fact Christopher is silent in this comic. The fox from the previous weekend’s comic must have only at Yogi’s for a short visit as he’s not in this one. Today’s public service message: kids, remember Yogi’s lesson about keeping your promise. Hey, hey, hey!

Santa appears on December 23rd. We can hearby confirm Ranger Smith is not Santa. Mr. Ranger appears in only two panels the whole month and they’re both with St. Nick in this comic.

People reading papers that only published the bottom two rows of the December 30th comic must have wondered why there was a gumball machine in the forest. The upper row explains why.

I love the idea of gumball machine-shaped aliens. The gag comes right out of nowhere in the final panel and has a great set-up. The unflappable Boo Boo is annoyed and even violent in this comic (though he’s not quite “Running Wild”). I like the composition of the second-last panel. Yogi in silhouette in the background; he’s out of the action but you can still see him. Boo Boo’s slightly ahead of the machine in the foreground as he dominates the action. And some Douglas firs to fill the distance.

I’m sorry the photocopies here are so poor; they’re the best I can find. As I indicated a month ago, expect a discontinuation of these comic strip look-backs for a variety of reasons. We’ll see about next month when Yogi’s in Funville, meets up with native stereotypes (twice) and indulges in a pun stock music composer Hecky Krasnow might be happy to hear.

Yogi and Daws

A random poll was taken of students at Oak Park-River Forest High in Oak Park, Illinois, and the results were dutifully reported in the local paper on April 13, 1961.
The role of inquiring reporter seemed destined to success and to the question, “What do you think of Yogi Bear?” we received the following replies: Bruce Golden, renowned musician, “Definitely here to stay.” Lee King, fearless forecaster recognized all the way from Ridgeland; avenue to Elmwood, “You have reached a non-working number.” Drew Paterson, a leader in aquatic and woodland circles, “In the Sunday supplements, He’s not so good.” Mary Magrady, classic scholar, “Funny!” Tom Morrow, “I’ll have to think about it and call you back. Well, not so baby as the average adult-type cartoon.”
What the students didn’t realise at the time is Yogi was one of theirs’. He went to Oak Park-River Forest High School. So to speak.

Daws Butler, the voice of Yogi Bear, grew up in Oak Park. His father moved there from Toledo by December 1921 and was employed as a special representative for Biggs Bros. Real Estate. Daws went to the local high school. He never finished until 1977, long after he left Illinois for good. The story is revealed in the Oak Park Oak Leaves of April 20, 1977.

High school’s latest grad—meet Yogi Bear

Charles Dawson (“Daws”) Butler’s name may not be widely known, but his voice is familiar to anyone who has watched cartoons or listened to TV and radio commercials. Butler is the voice of Yogi Bear and numerous other characters in Hanna-Barbera cartoons. And as of last Thursday, he’s changed his status from alumnus to graduate of Oak Park-River Forest High School.
Butler dropped out of the high school in 1935 with just two months to go for graduation. His reason for dropping out was that of many Depression-era students: to go to work.
In Butler's case, though, the work was as a night club comedian, doing serious and comic impressions. His career in the nightclub circuit, and later in radio and TV, wasn't impeded by his lack of a high school diploma—until recently.
“I COULDN’T SEE what I was training myself for in high school, but in (entertainment) I could see a career,” says Butler, reached by phone in his Beverly Hills (Cal.) home. “I’ve become quite a student since leaving high school.”
Besides writing dialog for an updated radio show, working on a concept for another program, and creating all those voices, Butler has been teaching—and that’s where the problem with the diploma finally came up.
For the acting course he teaches at Loyola University in Los Angeles, Butler’s academic background wasn’t in question. But when he started teaching an adult education class in Beverly Hills High School, be found he had to be certified as a teacher be the state of California. No high school diploma, no teacher certification.
Butler’s son David wrote a letter to the District 200 school board asking for a belated diploma for his father, saying in part: “It seems to me that he has more than made up for those last two months of high school by becoming one of the three or four most respected voice actors in the country. By devoting a 42-year career to making people laugh. And by wanting to devote future years to teaching others to do the same.”
THE BOARD AGREED with the younger Butler’s appeal and voted unanimously to grant the diploma. Supt. John Swanson noted that the board had done the same for hamburger magnate Ray (McDonald’s as in ‘Big Mac’) Kroc. The vote came just in time, as Friday is the deadline for Butler to apply for teaching credentials.
Butler says he's delighted at the board’s action, since it will allow him to continue teaching. He teaches young professionals how to improve their skills, he says.
Hie most important quality for any professional is talent, Butler adds. “You can do anything with raw talent, if you choose to work at it. It's a gift from God, not something that anybody can take credit for. Of course, you can always enhance mediocrity, but it’s not the same thing.”
Butler takes exception to the critics of the Hanna-Barbera characters, saying that the cartoons were partly effective because they relied on the relationships between the characters, like the father-son affection of Audie Dogie and Daddy Doggie. “They say they want less violence in television, and more love—well, that’s what we were doing back in the fifties,” he says.
BECAUSE OF THE CHANGES in production methods for cartoons, Butler says, voices have become increasingly important in developing characters. “A character has to have some kind of bite or edge, and now they have to show it in their voices.”
Butler is working on scripts and voices for a modem radio version of Sherlock Holmes stories, which he hopes to air nationally. The series will feature Dr. Watson as more of an intellectual and less of a “fuddy-duddy,” he says, and will include Holmes’s housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson, as mere of a running character.
“It’s not that Conan Doyle was a chauvinist, but he didn’t have enough interesting women in his stories,” Butler says he’s also working on a concept for a new radio series similar to the once-popular “Vic and Sade.” He wants, he says, “to do a fey, sophisticated, gentle, satirical show with a family.”
And no, he doesn’t think TV has replaced radio in its ability to draw audiences for comic and dramatic programs. “You can do things on radio with sound effects that would cost a fortune to do for television. And when I talk to high school students, they’re eager for more and better radio shows.”
Listen carefully. You may be hearing a lot more from OP-RF’s most recent graduate.

Cartoon fans heard a lot from Daws Butler in many different guises. You can see some of them above. . Daws would readily hand out one of these as kind of a business card. The sketches of the familiar characters was done by H-B storyman Tony Benedict.

Quick Draw McGraw — El Kabong Meets El Kazing

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation – George Nicholas, Layout – Walt Clinton, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson. (no credits).
Voice Cast: Quick Draw, Baba Looey, Snagglepuss, Red Fringe Haired Gunman, 2nd Sheep – Daws Butler; Narrator, Grey Moustache Gunman, 1st Sheep, Sheriff, Steer – Don Messick.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, unknown.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-027, Production J-79.
First Aired: (week of Sept. 26, 1960?), week of March 26, 1961.
Plot: Quick Draw, as El Kabong, battles thieving Snagglepuss, as El Kazing.

One of my favourite Quick Draw cartoons is The Lyin’ Lion, where our hero takes on the orange, sheep-stealing, smart-ass version of Snagglepuss. A great team was put together—George Nicholas animating, Walt Clinton designing characters and Mike Maltese giving everyone funny dialogue and situations. Someone at Hanna-Barbera must have noticed because the group was brought back together for the first cartoon put into production in the Quick Draw McGraw Show’s 1960-61 season. Even better, Maltese decided to add the inept El Kabong into the mix, and then built on the caped avenger routine. His story’s great—the situation becomes more and more ridiculous until the climax in just the right place and an appropriate pun to end it all.

Nicholas is pretty easy to spot here. He gives characters little beady eyes in certain situations (he did the same thing on The Flintstones and little sideways horseshoe mouths during dialogue in characters with elongated snouts.

Nicholas comes up with some great acting for the full-of-himself Snagglepuss. He’s first surprised by the narrator addressing him, then closes his eyes as he tells about himself with an air of superiority. Then he gives the audience a sneaky look as he’s about to zip off camera to nab his prey.

We mentioned Walt Clinton earlier. I love his designs for the cow and sheep. The sheep has the same design he used for Woolley Boy in The Lyin’ Lion.

As far as I can guess, Dick Thomas is the background artist. We’re foiled a bit by a lack of credits on several other Quick Draws have the same outdoor setting: brown ground in two different shades, sponged on the drawing, and pink mesas with purple to indicate shadows. One exception is “Gun Shy Gal,” which has Thomas’ name. Some of the scenes have overlays on this particular background drawing, such as Snagglepuss’ blue rock cave. There are something like only a half-dozen background paintings in the whole cartoon.

Maltese has a great opening. As usual, a narrator sets it up: “The war between the cattlemen and the sheepmen went on unchecked in the old West. Every available hand took part in the struggle until, finally, a common disaster forced peace.” Not only are the cattleman and sheepherder shooting at each other (and missing from point-blank range), so are the cattle and sheep (one of each). When they run out of bullets, they call a truce. The cattleman and sheepherder shake hands. Then the camera pans over to the steer and the sheep and they’re doing the same thing. And, with that, the cattleman and sheepherder leave the cartoon for good.

Cut to Snagglepuss at his cave entrance. He gets indignant when the narrator suggests to him he doesn’t look like much of a nemesis to sheep and cattle. He demonstrates, zooming off screen and returning with a fat sheep. “Casserole of lamb, if so I desire,” he says. “And for dessert, observe!” He rushes off camera again and returns with a steer. “Bully beef a la gelatin. King-size, even.” Snagglepuss has a low crotch and Nicholas comes up with a great crouched, shuffle-run for him.

Cut to the side of a green building with Wanted posters. The camera pans to the side and pulls back to reveal Quick Draw and Baba Looey talking about Snagglepuss. A close-up of a poster spells the name “Snaggle-Puss.” Quick Draw says the word “hyphen” as he reads the name. Clinton, or whoever, tries to add some visual variety. When Quick Draw and Baba are in the shot together, they’re against a solid, greyish-blue background. When the camera goes in for a close-up on either one of them, the background changes to the blue entrance to Snagglepusses’ cave.

In Bully For Bugs (1953), Maltese had Bugs Bunny on his way to the Coachella Carrot Festival. In this one, Baba suggests to Quick Draw they forget about Snagglepuss and go to “the grapes-picking fiesta in California.” That brings about Quick Draw’s oft-heard “I’ll do the thin’nin’ around here” line.

Next scene. The sheriff says El Kabong is the only one who could possibly bring in Snagglepuss. When Quick Draw reveals he’s El Kabong, the sheriff thinks he’s gone “plumb loco.” But the narrator reminds us that it s true. To demonstrate, Quick Draw is now El Kabong for the rest of the cartoon and with a “Holé!” he flies through the air on a rope suspended on who-knows-what and right into the side of a cliff.

A nice little scene follows. Snagglepuss (left with beady cross-eyes for a moment) is bashed with El Kabong’s guitar on a wooden extender. He stops and is more annoyed than anything else. “Heavens to Murgatroyd,” he remarks. “It’s a musical rust-ler.” Snagglepuss simply resumes running into his cave and closes the door before El Kabong crashes into (and off) it. Cut to a shot of El Kabong in a heap. “Did somebody k-nock?” Uh, oh. What’s that? Looks like an oooold bundle of rags. Right in front of my door, too.” With a self-satisfied smile, Snagglepuss sweeps the unmoving heap off the edge of a cliff.

El Kabong is back together for the next scene (it is a cartoon, after all). “Hold on that, Snaggletooth!” incorrectly yells Huck. Snagglepuss looks annoyed. “Drat! It’s that nosey bundle of rags again.” El Kabong has somehow acquired a sabre and the cartoon escalates into a bunch of butt-stabbings and masked avenger costume wearings. Snagglepuss zips off camera and returns as El Kazing, “the champion of the bad guys.” El Kabong has a kabonger. El Kazing has a kazinger. It’s a bass violin he uses to shoot arrows in El Kabong’s butt (Snagglepuss utters the immortal words “Bend over and I’ll show you” in the scene). Baba Looey decides to come to the rescue as El Ka-powey, “champion of champions, I theen.” What’s his weapon? Suddenly, out of nowhere (four frames), Baba Looey has a boxing glove and clobbers the costumed Snagglepuss. Another great drawing from George Nicholas.

El Kazing decides fisticuffs are crude, so it’s “Exit, stage left.”

The final scene has Baba thinnin’ that he and Quick Draw can now go to the grape-picking festival. “If there’s any pickin’ to be done,” says Quick Draw. “We’re going to do it right here.” Cut to a shot of El Kazing’s arrows still sticking out of El Kabong’s butt. Baba ends it with one of his standard tag-lines, pointing to his head. “You know, I like that Quickstraw. He’s got a lot of stuff up here. No brains. Just a lotta stuff.”

Nothing unusual in the music in this cartoon. A stock version of “La Cucaracha” on the accordion makes an appearance, as it seems to in most El Kabong cartoons. I don’t know the source.

0:00 – Quick Draw McGraw Sub Main Title theme (Curtin).
0:15 - tick-tock flute music (Shaindlin) – Gun battle scene.
0:49 - GR-348 EARLY MORNING (Green) – Snagglepuss appears, talks to narrator, zips out of scene.
1:09 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – Snagglepuss returns with sheep and cow.
1:30 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – Wanted posters, Baba and Quick Draw talk.
2:03 - GR-99 THE DIDDLECOMB HUNT (Green) – Sheriff scene.
2:46 - GR-78 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – El Kabong swings from rope, crashes into bluff, drops.
2:57 - GR-454 THE ARTFUL DODGER BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – El Kabong on ground, talks to Baba.
3:07 - ‘FIREMAN’ (Shaindlin) – Snagglepuss with sheep, kabonged, runs into cave, El Kabong slams against door, Snagglepuss opens door.
3:37 - GR-346 FIRST BUDS (Green) – “Did somebody k-nock?”, Snagglepuss sweeps El Kabong off cliff, Baba Looey points.
3:54 - rising scale vaudeville music (Shaindlin) – Snagglepuss with steer, El Kabong stabs Snagglepuss in butt twice, Snagglepuss skids to stop.
4:20 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – Snagglepuss argues with El Kabong, Snagglepuss runs out of scene.
4:43 - La Cucaracha (?) – Snagglepuss as El Kazing on rope, reveals his secret identity.
4:59 - CRAZY GOOF (Shaindlin) – El Kabong with guitar, shot with arrow.
5:22 - fast circus chase music (Shaindlin) – El Kabong runs, Baba talks to audience, Baba on rope, crashes into Snagglepuss.
5:50 - tick-tock flute music (Shaindlin) – Snagglepuss and Baba in costume talk, Baba punches Snagglepuss, Snagglepuss exits.
6:18 - GR-472 HICKSVILLE (Green) – Baba talks about grape picking festival, “a lot of stuff,” iris out.
6:42 Quick Draw McGraw Sub-End Title theme (Curtin).

A Trick Question

Time for a quiz. See this bear with the Huckleberry Hound hat? Name the Yogi Bear cartoon he is in:

How about this one with the girl with the Paul Sommer eyes and the Tony Rivera 5 o’clock shadow?

Those of you intimately familiar with cartoons of the ‘60s already know this is a trick question. Because these characters aren’t from a Yogi cartoon at all. They’re not even in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. They’re the stars of the Walter Lantz theatrical “Fowled-Up Birthday,” released in 1962. Lantz it may be, but the Hanna-Barbera influence is unmistakeable.

It’s a matter of speculation why the studio went with the stylistic choice; the butcher shop wall even has that diagonal shadow that Bob Gentle and others used in the H-B backgrounds. Certainly the Hanna-Barbera TV cartoons were immensely popular and it may simply have been a case of following the trend. It may also been a matter of cost, something Lantz watched constantly. Streamlined characters like the ones at Hanna-Barbera were no doubt faster to draw and time saved equals money saved. In fact, “Fowled-Up Birthday” is loaded with money-saving shortcuts. There’s reused and cycle animation. Hanna-Barbera at least had an excuse. The budget for TV cartoons is nowhere near what the budget is for theatricals. But I suppose Lantz felt that if movie audiences were willing to accept Loopy De Loop on the big screen, which looked no different than the H-B TV cartoons, then it would accept H-B-looking characters in reasonable full animation.

Perhaps it’s appropriate Lantz borrowed from Hanna-Barbera considering he lost some of his key staffers to the studio. Director Alex Lovy and animators Don Patterson and La Verne Harding had jumped to H-B some time in 1958. Writer Dalton Sandifer, whose animation career began at Lantz, left around the end of 1961 or early 1962.

There’s one difference between this cartoon and Yogi Bear. Yogi was funny. This cartoon was the first in the Beary Family series, which took predictable old situations and put them on the screen, except instead of humans, Lantz used bears. The series looked and sounded worse as time progressed until Lantz finally closed his studio. One of the animators on this was Don Lusk, who later went on to an almost-30-year-career at Hanna-Barbera. Lusk is a perfect example of how the animation business devolved. In 1940, he animated on “Fantasia.” Almost 20 years later, he’s working on Beary Family cartoons. 30 years after that, his name is attached to “Yo, Yogi,” a shameful concept if ever there was one.

Lusk, incidentally, was born in California on October 28, 1913, the second son of Percy K. and Louise O. (Ross) Lusk. His father was from Brooklyn and his mother from Canada. His father died when he was young, his mother remarried and was left a widow again. Don was supporting his mother and grandmother while at Disney in 1940, pulling down $3,900 a year. Word is that Don is still with us at age 99, one of a seemingly few survivors of the Golden Age of Animation.

Pixie and Dixie — High Jinks

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Story – Warren Foster, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Pixie, “Moon Cat” – Don Messick; Dixie, Jinks – Daws Butler.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Jack Shaindlin, Spencer Moore, Raoul Kraushaar?.
Production: Huckleberry Hound Show K-043.
First Aired: week of April 17, 1961.
Plot: Jinks puts Pixie and Dixie in a rocket to the moon, but it lands in a cheese factory instead.

“So, like, I’m moody,” Mr. Jinks tells the TV viewer, after chasing Pixie and Dixie back into their mouse hole near the start of High Jinks. That would possibly explain why Jinks would spend his time building a rocket with the idea of shooting the meeces to the moon, then turn around and rescue them from danger, then turn around the chase them with a broom. Perhaps Jinks felt he was the only one who could abuse Pixie and Dixie and took umbrage at other cats who did.

Of course, that’s just in this cartoon. The relationship between the cat and meeces wasn’t consistent through the whole series, even after Warren Foster took over following the first year to write the remaining three seasons. In High Jinks, Pixie and Dixie consider Jinks a friend, albeit one they’re wary of. But the meeces are also pretty ignorant. They have no trouble believing the highly-unlikely situation that Jinks has sent them to the moon, then he somehow came up there to rescue them, and then somehow got back to Earth on his own.

Even setting that aside, this cartoon is below-average for Foster. There’s a lot of dialogue that’s purely situational; the characters describe what is happening or what is about to happen. There are no bright quips. And there’s no adversarial give-and-take between Jinks and Pixie and Dixie. The two meeces are passive through the whole cartoon; they don’t initiate anything, they’re just kind of victims of the plot. The only violence Jinks experiences in the whole cartoon is when his rocket swooshes into the sky and the trail of flames burns him.

Veteran Dick Lundy handles the animation from Tony Rivera’s layouts. It’s competent. I like Lundy and I wish there was something really interesting to point out about his work here. Jinks wags his head a couple of times. Lundy sure likely big eyes. See how he draws the main characters.

Rivera only has one other character to design in the cartoon, the brown-coloured cat with the growly voice that appears in various guises over the course of the series. This time, the cat seems to have a squashed head. Rivera designed all the props as well. He couldn’t have come up with a simpler drawing of a moon rocket.

Art Lozzi’s backgrounds aren’t all that daring. Like the animation, the interiors are functional; there’s a drawing of wall decorated only with a shadow and a baseboard that’s repeated in the chase sequences. The inside of the mouse hole has sloppy caulking between the boards (Dick Thomas drew the same sort of thing). The exteriors are nice enough. We get a shot of the Jinks/Meece residence which doesn’t appear to be in a suburban neighbourhood (there are no other homes or even a fence) with a glowing full moon. And there’s a street scene with a green sidewalk (that sounds more like Lozzi) and brick buildings of different pastel shades. The scaffolding and lamp post are the same as other Lozzi cartoons.

As for the story, Pixie and Dixie decide to investigate the hammering in the basement, but an electronic eye sets off an alarm and Jinks chases them back into their hole (Jinks’ misspelling “Back! B-A-K, Back!” is the gag here). The cat reveals to the audience he’s built a rocket. When he explains to the meeces he’s sending them on a free trip that’ll make them famous—to the moon, they get somewhat wide-eyed and zoom back into their hole (Pixie: “Did he say the moon? Dixie: “You heard it, too). Jinks gets them out with a canister of laughing gas. The meeces suddenly stop laughing when they’re placed in the nose of the rocket. Then they faint. The cartoon’s more than half over.

Jinks uses a dynamite plunger to set off the rocket which crashes through the roof of a cheese factory. Jinks purposely strolls over. Meanwhile, the rocket has landed in a wheel of cheese. The meeces think they’re on the moon because, after all, the moon was made of cheese until 1969. And Pixie thinks the other wheels of cheese are “a lot of other moons.” What? Why would moons be in a building with wooden crates? Their cheese-tasting plan is interrupted by the warehouse’s cat who says to the meeces, “Welcome, angels.” What? Are there angels on the moon? The cat picks up the moon talk and explains he’s “the man in the moon’s pussy cat.” The meeces make a run for it. We never do see the “moon cat” capture them or even chase them. Instead, we get a budget-saving walk cycle of Jinks who hears the commotion. He realises his meeces are in trouble so he makes a quick dash (to save drawings again, Jinks is shown horizontal in mid-air and the next drawing is simply coloured lines to indicate he’s zoomed away). Cut to the brown cat holding the meeces with only his upper body showing so the legs don’t have to be animated. He walks into Jinks’ fist. Jinks sneers at the “moon cat.”

So how will they all get back to Earth? Yes, the meeces still think they’re on the moon. Jinks holds the mice-ensconced rocket above his head, ready to throw it back to Earth. But, for some reason, they’re not in the downtown area now. They’re on a lawn that’s exactly like the one belonging to the Jinks/Pixie and Dixie home. Dixie asks how Jinks will get back. “That does not matter. I’m just a old, mean pussy-cat.” Jinks tosses the rocket and it lands against a table in their living room. Pixie starts crying because Jinksie is stranded on the moon. Well, of course, he’s not, and he pokes his head through a window. The meeces promise to do anything he says for saving their lives. Jinks yells at them to “Get back into your meece hole! Back! B-A-K, back.” Cut to Jinks chasing Pixie and Dixie with a broom. They’re smiling as they dodge the broom because they’re happy to be home. So the cartoon ends with a chase.

The Hanna-Barbera “pop” sound accompanies the realisation by the meeces that Jinks is sending them into space (it’s the sound the studio used for dripping water). As for the music, the sound-cutter changes cues in mid-scene a couple of times. The music is all familiar stuff. Nothing by Geordie Hormel this time. There’s a brief part of a scene where there’s no music—it’s when the meeces snap out of their laughing fit, stretch their bodies up, roll their eyes and faint. It works well.

0:00 - Pixie and Dixie Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Curtin-Shows).
0:13 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – Pixie and Dixie read, alarm activates.
0:51 - LAF-72-2 RODEO DAY (Shaindlin) – Pixie and Dixie run, in hole, “really riled up.”
1:14 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – “Yeah, he’s a mean one…”, Jinks talks to himself.
1:33 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Shot of house, Jinks in basement, moon trip offer, meeces run away, laughing gas canister, Pixie starts laughing.
3:02 - TC-437 SHOPPING DAY (Loose-Seely) – “Jinksie wants to send us,” Jinks puts meeces in rocket, Jinks outside rocket.
3:45 - no music – Pixie and Dixie inside rocket, faint.
3:52 - creepy muted reverb trumpet music (Kraushaar?) – Meeces crash to floor, rocket shot into sky.
4:05 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Shot of Jinks burned, rocket crashes into cheese factory, shot of cheese, “Hey, Dixie.”
4:27 - TC-432 HOLLY DAY (Loose-Seely) – “You okay?”, brown cat wakes up, tries to grab meeces.
4:57 - LICKETY SPLIT (Shaindlin) – Meece run away, Jinks runs to the rescue, punches brown cat, thud.
5:22 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – “You are, like, so right,” Jinks throws rocket, crashes, meeces in living room, Jinks talks to meeces through window.
6:39 - rising scale music (Shaindlin) – Jinks yells at meeces, chases them with broom.
6:58 - Pixie and Dixie End Title theme (Curtin).

Flintstones Weekend Comics, December 1962

It’s a little tough to pick out a favourite panel from the weekend Flintstone comics for this month 50 years ago. The dinosaur reindeer are great, but I love the multiple flipping Freds on December 9th.

All four main cast members, Dino and Baby Puss make appearances. Gene Hazelton’s kid creations, Amber and Pee-Wee (a boy), only made it into the Flintstones dailies this month. I couldn’t begin to guess who the artist is on these.

Wilma’s a blonde in the December 2nd comic. Dino is helpfully holding a copy of the Bedrock News in the opening panel. We get a back view of the annoyed Wilma. I can’t find any secret messages in the blocks in the final panel. Dinosaurs apparently roam the neighbourhood.

I didn’t make a note of the three-row version I found so we’ll have to be content with a two-row version of the December 9th comic from the Windsor Star (which appeared the day before in Canadian newspapers as they didn’t publish on Sundays then). The multiple Freds and the long tongue on Fred in the final panel are just great. The sidebar strip accompanied both the weekend and daily Flintstones in the Star. Whether it was supplied by the syndicate or a concoction of the paper, I don’t know, but for reasons that are lost to time, it features Fred, Barney, Wilma and some unidentified woman instead of Betty. Maybe it was Barney’s first wife. There’s a Gerry Johnson joke in here somewhere but we must move on.

The stupid version of Barney appears on December 16th. Fred’s got one of those George Nicholas wavy mouths in the final panel. Today’s odd sound effect is “Voing!”

What you say? The reindeer’s name is Irving? (feel free to read those sentences in any of the New York accents). It doesn’t appear the writer (Hazelton?) fit in the names of any Hanna-Barbera employees in the December 23rd Christmas edition comic. Wilma asks the same question in the first panel that was on my mind. The dinosaurs with the strap-on reindeer antlers are pretty neat. Note how Dino makes a cameo appearance in the first panel with his head peeking out behind the door.

Great expressions on Wilma and Betty in the final two panels in the December 30th comic. Check out what’s in the background. Baby Puss is running away in the opening panel, there’s an exploding volcano in the first panel of the second row with Dino a little closer to the foreground (it’s impossible to tell it’s him in this particular photocopy). I think the store in the first panel of the third row has an ‘Acme’ sign.

As I mentioned with the Yogi weekend comics, it’s become too difficult and time-consuming to track down decent quality versions of these strips and one large source of newspapers has dried up for me so I suspect I’ll discontinue posting these.