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A Ruff Stone


Joe Barbera was a man of many talents. He was quick sketch artist and an able story man. He was a super salesman of the studio’s product (he could sell a network on a cartoon series even when he didn’t know exactly what he was pitching). And he was praised by actors as being an excellent voice director, though he could be tough.

And he seems to have had a great deal of patience.

Reels of early Hanna-Barbera voice sessions (they were recorded on Ampex tape machines) may be buried somewhere, so about the best we can do to give you an idea of what they were like is pass along this story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 9, 1960.

Alan Dinehart was hired in April 1960 as an Associate Producer of the Flintstones. He had been an actor and a writer, so it’s no surprise he did a little bit of uncredited voice work on the series. Jerry Mann had met Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera at MGM in the ‘40s where he supplied voices on a few of the Tom and Jerry cartoons that needed them. His acting career went back to his childhood in the early 1920s; he performed a solo act at the pinnacle of vaudeville, the Palace in New York, in 1925. You can read more about him in this post.

With Arf and Aroo-o-o

JOE BARBERA, curly haired, handsomely tanned, studied the control booth dials, glanced admiringly at the cartoon sketches in his hand and waved a finger at six actors under glass in a Sunset Blvd. recording studio. With calm precision, the actors stepped to three hanging microphones and, in concert, delivered intensely:
“Arf, arf, arf . . .”
“Ruff, ruff, ruff . . .”
“Bowwow, bowwow, bowwow . . .”
“Yeep-yeep, yeep-yeep, yeep-yeep . . .”
“Woof, woof, woof . . .”
“Ar oo-o-o-o, ar oo-o-o-o, ar oo-o-o-o . . .”
Barbera's finger flicked impatiently. The doggie din died.
“I can see,” Barbera said dryly, “none of you ever were in a dog pound.”
● ● ●
IT WAS 11 p. m. To an uninitiated observer it appeared to be the place where Hollywood actors bark off their daily frustrations. But Barbera and his six reasonably human actors had been penned in the small glass-walled studio for nearly four hours recording another episode of the new television series railed “The Flintstones.”
“The Flintstones” is widely ballyhooed as television's first cartoon series for adults. Each episode costs $65,000 to make, nothing: to bark at. You’ll see it Friday at 8:30 p. m. on WTAE, Channel 4, starting Sept. 30.
Each half hour cartoon will tell a tale of Fred and Wilma Flintstone, their neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble, both typical couples—with one difference. They live in the Stone Age. It's sort of "I Love Lucy" with dinosaurs.
● ● ●
ALAN REED and Jean Vander Pyl supply the Flintstones’ voices. The neighbors are Bea Benaderet, a veteran of the "Burns and Allen" show, and Mel Blanc, best known for his crunchy “What's Up, Doc!” greeting as Bugs Bunny.
The show comes from the Joe Barbera-Bill Hanna animation factory which also manufactures "Huckleberry Hound."
The two couples, plus actors Alan Dinehart and Jerry Mann, were in the soundproof studio making the sound track. Barbera was directing. He ordered another round of barking (the plot had something to do with Barney’s being hypnotized into thinking he was a dog and his landing in the pound).
“Seems like we have less dogs this time,” said Barbera, puzzled. More barking.
“Okay (Barbera, now perturbed) who was that fourth dog from the end?”
“ARE THESE all male male dogs?” interrupted Miss Vanderl Pyl, a jolly redhead.
“I don’t know if they let them mix in dog catcher wagons,” mused Barbera.”We don't want any lady dogs.”
“Surely,” said Miss Benaderet, mildly, “you can use a couple of bitches?”
Barbera let the suggestion slide. Miss Pyl, giggling, persisted doggedly:
“Could one be a French poodle?”
● ● ●
BLANC, SPEAKING for two dogs and the pound keeper in addition to his regular role, broke up in the middle of a bark. “What’s the matter?” said Barbera.
Gazing at the clock, Blanc panted, “I’m stir crazy.”
Barbera kept at them. More barking, accompanied by Barbera’s hounding. (“You’re a little, too frantic . . . you sound too hysterical”). He warned Blanc not to sound too old a dog catcher and the dour little man snapped back, “What’s wrong with an old dog catcher?”
● ● ●
AN AD AGENCY man wandered in the control booth. He announced he had found an elephant needed for a commercial film at a farm in the San Fernando Valley. “We drove up the dirt road to a steel gate which hail this huge sign, ‘Beware of Dog,’” he said, slinking his head over the vagaries of Hollywood life, “and not ten feet away was an . . an . . elephant.”
Soberly, Barbera looked up from his script and dials and said, “Did it bark?”
● ● ●
THE FINAL LINK of the script was reached. Barney, supposedly cured of his dogginess, picks up a package in his mouth and trots off. Blanc delivered the effect by talking with, his thumb in his mouth.
Barbera played back the line over the loudspeaker. Then he directed, “I want that last line with a little less finger.”
He got it. The session was over. Another "Flintstones" was born.
● ● ●
ON THE way out, a visitor hesitantly asked Miss Benaderet:
“Don’t you feel odd barking and all this foolishness . . . ?”
“Oh, no, silly,” she said, “It’s wonderful, Just like the old radio days.”
The visiting newsmen proceeded to walk up Sunset Blvd. Meanwhile, Miss Benaderet climbed into her cream colored Caddie and roared off.
Silly? Cadillac? There seemed to be but one answer:
Arf, ruff, bowwow, yeep yeep, woof and aroo-o-o-o-o.

Yogi Bear's Birthday Party

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera
Starring the Voices of Daws Butler
Co-Starring Voices of Don Messick and Doug Young
Other Voices: Julie Bennett, Duke Mitchell
Musical Director: Hoyt Curtin
Written by Warren Foster
Story Sketch: Harvey Eisenberg
Animation Layouts: Ed Benedict
Animation Supervision: Dick Lundy
Backgrounds: Dick Thomas
Titles: Art Goble
Production Supervision: Howard Hanson
Camera: Frank Paiker, Robert Collis, Charles Flekal
Film Editors: Hank Gotzenberg, Greg Watson
Copyright 1960 by Hanna-Barbera Productions
First Aired: week of October 1, 1961.
(Note: The closing credits call the show Yogi Bear's Birthday Party, despite the opening card above).

Whether the Yogi Bear Show could have been successful as a half-hour sitcom with 26 or more episodes a season is really your guess, but Yogi was certainly able to carry a TV cartoon for longer than 6½ minutes, as Yogi Bear’s Birthday Party proved.

For one show only, the Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle cartoons were jettisoned in favour of Yogi taking over the full episode that echoed what happened in real life. In the cartoon, the sponsor threw Yogi a surprise birthday party. In real life, the sponsor bartered time on TV stations to run the Yogi show and urged them to precede or follow the half-hour cartoon with a live, in-studio birthday party with kids, prizes, etc. And stations did. I don’t believe such a thing has been tried since.

Warren Foster’s story isn’t full of big laughs, but is amusing enough and well-constructed with teasers before each commercial break (which would have been for Kellogg’s cereals). Unlike The Flintstones or The Jetsons, Foster can’t rely on gadgets for humour. Instead, he tosses in some pop culture references and even a song lyric. He’s tripped up a bit because of the nature of the cartoon—it’s supposed to be tied in with a real-life TV station’s live birthday party. So he chose to end it with a big production number, with all the H-B characters from the Kellogg’s-sponsored shows (in very thick outlines) together on stage as the camera pulls back.

I like how Foster treats Ranger Smith as self-aware. Generally, the characters do that in the little vignettes where a character will refer to watching the Yogi or Snagglepuss cartoon that’s about to come on. Rarely do they do it during the cartoon. But here we see Ranger Smith answering a phone call and getting annoyed at the declaration there’ll be a Yogi Bear birthday special on TV. Who’s calling? The Ranger gulps. It’s the sponsor. Of the Yogi Bear Show. The one he’s on right now. A situation where someone kisses up to the sponsor strikes me as something Foster would write.

Smith’s jealous of the beary bane of his existence getting the attention from the sponsor, but that’s merely a plot device convenient to the sequence at hand. Smith’s happy and cooperative in the rest of the cartoon.

The Ranger, Boo Boo and Cindy (who has bows on her feet) convince Yogi he’s starring in a half-hour TV special so he won’t discover the special is really a televised birthday party. Daws Butler does a nice job with Yogi’s voice doing an impression of Ed Sullivan (actually Will Jordan’s version of Ed Sullivan). After plugging his special around the park he comes to the realisation he needs lessons on just about everything (He can’t dance because he has two left feet. Cut to a drawing of two left feet). We get a spoof on Fred Astaire’s dance studios), Bobby Darin (with Duke Mitchell doing his swingin’ voice) and the early ’60s Liberace when he still wore evening clothes during his shows. Yogi learns he can’t dance or snap his fingers, bites his tongue when he sings, blows his ear drums when he plays a trumpet and smashes a piano when he tries to carry it out of the studio (“this is the only way I can carry a tune,” he tells Lee).

Cut to the next scene. Yogi’s conscience appears and tells him he’s a no-talent bear. I like how the conscience (a mini Yogi with a halo) calls the bear “sir.” The conscience tells Yogi to get lost and not appear on TV. He takes Smith’s car and drives off. A dragnet of park rangers, dogs and helicopters finally captures Yogi by lowering down a picnic basket. The chase features one of my favourite Curtin piano cues from Top Cat. (It’s “T-10” in Hoyt Curtin’s tracking library, similar to another cue called “T-22 City Streets” that’s on various H-B music CDs released by Rhino Records).

Part of this sequence, I suspect, was animated and recorded later than the rest of the cartoon. I’ve been told, and I can’t remember who said it, that the animators aren’t credited on this half hour because the cartoon was farmed out to a commercial house like Quartet, Playhouse or Grantray-Lawrence. But there’s one portion that’s unmistakably the work of Ken Muse, and the voice track sounds crisper than the rest of the cartoon. It starts when Yogi says “I’m flyin’ through the air with the greatest of ease and ends when the scene of Yogi on top of the helicopter rotor fades.

Yogi is being carried into the TV studio. “I can’t dance, don’t make me! I can’t sing, don’t ask me!” protests the bear. It’s a paraphrase of the lyrics of old Jerome Kern Depression-era song “I Won’t Dance” (coincidentally, Fred Astaire made the song a hit in the film Roberta). The story segues into a spoof of the TV show This is Your Life, in which the album-carrying host asks if the surprised victim recalls voices from the past. Their old friends then walk on stage for a happy reunion. In this case, we get all the featured players on the half-hour H-B shows syndicated shows sponsored by Kellogg’s do walk-ons and put over some short gags of their own (for example, Quick Draw fails during a demonstration of some fancy shootin’). So we see Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Mr. Jinks, Pixie and Dixie, Snooper and Blabber, Snagglepuss (“I’m here, too. Three, even), Hokey Wolf and Dingaling, Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, Boo Boo and Cindy (carrying Yakky Doodle). They’re all accompanied by their theme songs and catchphrases. There isn’t quite enough room for all of them in the group shot of the stage before the big singing number (did the Randy Horne singers cut the vocal track for this)? And somehow, during the song, Baba Looey found his way onto the stage. Foster, who used to write music before he got into the cartoon business, presumably came up with the lyrics where he kisses up to Kellogg’s by including their slogan “The best to you each day.”

Another pop culture reference: Huck quickly dresses up as Mitch Miller of “Sing Along With Mitch” fame as he leads the kids watching at home and those in TV studios across North America in the Yogi Bear birthday song, helped by Pixie and Dixie displaying the lyrics, and a camera pullback of the stage for a rousing finale. (Fade out for another Kellogg’s commercial break).

Yogi ends the cartoon by telling the kids watching to keep the party going in their hometowns and blowing out the candles on his cake.

As mentioned, I don’t know who animated this cartoon. I like how Yogi gestures in some of the scenes instead of just standing there blinking his eyes and moving his mouth. When he talks about card tricks, he pretends to deal the cards. When he talks about “ticklin’ the ivories,” he pretends to play a piano. When he talks about how he’s going to “leave ‘em laughing,” he takes off his hat and thrusts it into the air like a comic ending his vaudeville act.

Harvey Eisenberg received a story sketch credit for this cartoon. As far as I know, it was the only credit he ever received on one of Hanna-Barbera’s shows. Ed Benedict is the layout artist. Too bad he wasn’t paired with Art Lozzi or Monte because the backgrounds may have been a little more interesting. Dick Thomas turned out all the backgrounds for this half-hour. They’re functional and he tries to decorate them a bit. The evergreens tend to look the same. Oh, well. By 1960, UPA was dying and so was that studio’s graphic influence, perhaps.

Hoyt Curtin wrote the cue library and, presumably, the music for the birthday song heard in this cartoon. An instrumental version is tossed in a couple of times. As was mentioned, there are some Top Cat cues mixed in here.

The guy I feel bad for after watching this is Huckleberry Hound. It was his show in 1958 that grabbed the attention of TV viewers and critics, giving Hanna-Barbera their first mainstream publicity. By 1961, he had become overshadowed by one of his supporting players, who ended up with a newspaper comic, a feature film cartoon and “ran” for President in 1964. Still, nothing ever bothered Huck. And at least he wasn’t put in a CGI/live action junk-fest and voiced by Dan Aykroyd pretending to be Rodney Dangerfield.

Flintstones Weekend Comics, July 1967

Fred and/or Wilma are pretty much the focus in the Flintstones newspaper comics in the weekend section of the newspapers 50 years ago this month. Dino doesn’t appear and neither does Betty Rubble. But the Flintmobile is in three of the five comics (evidently they got it repaired in time for the last comic). Perhaps they’re doing some summer driving.

There are some fine layouts again. The July 2, 1967 comic features some nice little creatures in the opening panel, while the July 9th has a well-drawn tyrannosaurus. The July 16th comic has a good use of foreground and background in the opening panel, and the July 30th comic draws from campus protests that would grip the U.S. through the Vietnam War.

Richard Holliss supplied the colour versions. You can click on any of them to see them better.

July 2, 1967

July 9, 1967

July 16, 1967

July 23, 1967

July 30, 1967

June Foray in Rhyming Verse

Up until 1959, female characters in Hanna-Barbera cartoons were handled by Don Messick or Daws Butler. The two of them could voice anything, meaning the studio didn’t have to use up its budget hiring other actors. But there were rare exceptions. One was Bear on a Picnic (airing the week of February 1, 1959). The mother picnicker is played by a real, honest-to-goodness woman who everyone reading this blog should know—June Foray.

We’ve talked about the early days of June’s career at Hanna-Barbera on the blog several times. Click on the highlighted link to read them. To sum up—she voiced a demo reel for The Flintstones (maybe it was still The Flagstones then) as Betty, but the part in the series went to Bea Benaderet. She did a couple of incidental voices on the series over the years and a part in the feature film The Man Called Flintstone. Maybe her biggest role at H-B was some years later as Jokey Smurf.

I’m sure you know by now June has passed away not too many weeks before what was to be her 100th birthday. As a remembrance, here’s a cute little poem published in the Toronto Star on December 23, 2013. Joseph Hall is the author.

Whose voice gave the Grinch a heart? Well, she's more than 2
(With apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Cindy Lou Who is a lot more than 2.
The voice of the tot from the classic Grinch story
Well she's now 96 and her name is June Foray.

And though decades have passed since her Who-ville connection,
She recalls Cindy Lou with undying affection.
"Oh she's everyone's favourite," Foray says via phone
As she talks from her Woodland, Los Angeles, home.

Her shortest of roles, it was easy to make:
"It was only one line. It was done in one take."
But her plaintive, sweet voicing of the blue-eyed Who girl
Has earned her acclaim from all over the world.

She's got letters from Poland. She's got letters from China.
From India, Holland and North Carolina.
She's got letters from places where people talk Finnish.
"People whom you'd think would never speak English."

In Foray's career she's done dozens of voices,
In cartooning terms they were some of the choicest.
She did Granny for Warner's old Tweety Bird shows.
She was Jokey the Smurf, and Lord only knows.

She was Witch Hazel, Aunt May, and that isn't all.
She voiced Chatty Cathy, the string-pulling doll.
She's done voices she now wracks her puzzler to name.
She was Rocky! Of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame!
Indeed, she's done Rocky again so we hear,
For a DreamWorks production that's coming next year.
But ask for her Cindy and she'll spot-on reply:
"Santy Claus why? Why are you taking our Christmas tree? Why?"

That's it, her whole Grinch role, that question above
Delivered in tones like the coo of a dove.
It's a line on which untold millions would feast,
Like they would on Who pudding, or slabs of roast beast.

And they've done so now, 47 years running,
For the Christmastime staple that just keeps on humming.
Its popularity simply can't be overstated.
Number One of the Yule shows that TV Guide's rated.

Her line's at a point — in the show's 20-odd minutes —
Where the Grinch's cold cunning is reaching its limits.
He stole all the Who presents and food he could see,
And when Cindy Lou enters, he's stealing the tree.

Boris Karloff, the voice of the Grinch — and narrator —
Says he's fixing the tree . . . and will bring it back later.
Foray knew Karloff, of monster renown,
But when she did the Grinch, he was nowhere around.

"I knew him from radio shows," Foray mentions.
And it's that radio work that drew cartoon attention.
On air at age 12, she soon caught the ear
Of someone named Disney, who said come over here.

Her Disney work wowed a guy named Chuck Jones,
Who directed the best Looney Tunes that you've known.
Jones's work with Bugs Bunny and Porky the Pig
Made him first choice for directing the Dr. Seuss gig.

And when Jones went to seeking a little Who girl,
He contacted Foray to give it a whirl.
Her voices, she says, were instinctive concoctions.
She'd think "what the character is"— and just got 'em.

"Is she young, is she old, is she fat, is she thin?"
The voice would come out and then she would begin.
Those instinctive efforts, which so many hold dear,
Won Foray an honorary Emmy this year.

While she loved all the voices she voiced and created
Her career was mistaken, so Foray has stated.
Her beauty was wasted away from the lens.
She should have done movies, the actress contends.

"I was very attractive," the lady avows.
"Still am, in my old age," June Foray allows.
But you know when the phone's down, at interview's end:
June Foray's delightful — delightful, times 10.

Baseball Bear

“Fireballer” Yogi indulges in the National Pastime in one of the 20-second vignettes before a cartoon. He urges us to watch his curveball. He tosses it and wonders where it’s gone. He soon finds out. Apparently it travelled around the world.

“Now, that’s what I call a real curveball,” he tells us. And it’s on to the next cartoon.

(I was going to toss a Yogi Berra joke into this post, but that would have been too obvious).

Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, August 1967

Here’s something a little different for Yogi. One of the comic strip writers came up with a four-day storyline that ran all through the month of August 50 years ago.

The plot isn’t anything that new. Yogi’s been mistakenly inducted into the army. The story doesn’t end with him being discharged, but we can kind of presume that happened judging by the last story.

Boo Boo is on summer holidays this month.

My thanks again to Richard Holliss for supplying the comics.

August 6, 1967.

August 13, 1967.

August 20, 1967.

August 27, 1967.

Yakky Doodle in Stamp Scamp

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – C.L. Hartman, Layout – Lance Nolley, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Chopper, Sewer Worker – Vance Colvig. Mouse – ?
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Yakky and Chopper chase after a trading stamp.

Once upon a time, you could go to the store and, depending on how much you spent, you would be handed some S&H Green Stamps. With your joyous cache in hand, you would skip home and paste them in a book. When the book was full of stamps, you could get something for free, things like a transistor radio or a camera or glassware. Like canasta and fondue sets, it was a part of Americana that was huge at one time then faded away (although Green Stamps still exist; you can look it up on the internet). Today, stores give air miles or points, which is kind of the same sort of thing.

The reason I’m going into this background is because I’m trying to avoid talking about this cartoon. Just watching it to the end was a challenge. I don’t care about Yakky Doodle collecting green stamps. I don’t care that a stamp escaped and Chopper chased all over after it. This could have been a really good cartoon if Mike Maltese satirised the American pastime of collecting these things. But he didn’t. And he was bogged down by the two most humorless characters on any of Hanna-Barbera’s half-hours sponsored by Kellogg’s. Neither of them say anything remotely interesting or funny, though I kind of liked the final line. Yakky’s buying something special for Chopper with the stamps. “Well, I hope it’s a first aid kit. ‘Cause I could sure use it.”

Of course, you’d never know it. Chopper doesn’t look any worse because of his experience. He’s drawn the same old way. Not even a scratch. Now, ain’t that cute?

I’ll give Maltese points—or maybe a couple of Green Stamps—for trying something a little different. Yakky isn’t whining for his mother and Chopper isn’t saving him from some third character, unless you count a recalcitrant stamp as a character. On second thought, having Chopper and Fibber Fox battle to redeem stamp books to get bigger things to bash each other would have been funny.

Did Maltese think people couldn’t understand Jimmy Weldon’s Yakky? Why else would Chopper repeat what Yakky says? “I need just one more shopping stamp to fill my book,” the duck shouts to his pal (waking him up in the process). “Ya need one more stamp to fill your book, Yakky?” Why are you asking, Chopper? Didn’t he just say so? Weldon’s diction, by the way, is good. He’s easier to understand than the pre-Yakky voiced by Red Coffey.

Allow me to perform a public service and save you from watching this cartoon. The plot revolves around the fact the licked stamp won’t stay in the book. Here’s what happens. The stamp

● Sticks to Chopper’s finger.
● Sticks to Chopper’s foot.
● Sticks to a flat iron.
● Flies onto a highway when Chopper sneezes and gets stuck to a car tire.
● Rests on a manhole cover which a sewer worker crashes on Chopper’s head.
● Sticks to Chopper’s head before a woodpecker takes it to a nest. Chopper is knocked from the nest by a newly-hatched pecking woodpecker.

● Sticks to a log in a river. Chopper hands the stamp to Yakky in a tree and goes over a waterfall (off camera).

● Sticks to a butterfly, which drops it off on a telephone wire. Apparently the duck has somehow lost the ability to fly because Chopper goes onto the wire with a balancing pole. Unfortunately, the butterfly returns and its massive weight on the pole causes Chopper to fall.
● Sticks to the foot of a mouse that fights with Yakky in a storage shed, kicking the stamp onto the duck’s rear end. Chopper, not realising this, reaches in to the shed, which just happens to have sticks of dynamite. Chopper lights a match. You know what happens next. After the explosion, Chopper spots the stamp. Yakky has his book filled. Hurray.

I’m guessing Vance Colvig is playing the sewer worker who pops up from under the manhole cover. If I had to guess at who is doing the mouse, I’d say it was Doug Young, but I honestly don’t know.

There’s some Loopy De Loop accordion music in this cartoon. I like the cascading piano keys when the stamp floats down to the shed; it was used in a few H-B cartoons but is perfect here.

What is "The Flintstone Syndrome" Anyway?

It may be the most unusual newspaper article about The Flintstones.

It was the cover story in the “TV Week” section of the Chicago Tribune, July 14, 1962.

A chap named Robert Anderson humorously talks about the series, but I really don’t get his point. Let’s set aside he’s enumerating all these gadgets on the show as if they’re brand new, when the series had been on the air for two seasons (it reads like something out of a Screen Gems press release instead of someone who has critiqued the show). He’s conjured up something called “The Flintstone Syndrome” but can’t seem to make up his mind what it is.

The headline calls it one thing, but then doesn’t refer to the example at all in the body of the story. Then it’s described as something else at the top of the story, and something else again at the bottom. The “how can this happen” version at the end makes the most sense and the story could have been pretty funny based on it. Like how do those signals get into Fred’s television set? And how do the cars keep moving for endless blocks (endless thanks to those repeating backgrounds by Monte and Art Lozzi we all love). And what is a “rock pickin’ minute”? Who picks rocks for a minute?

Oh, well. I’m sure Joe and Bill appreciated the free, almost three pages of publicity in a major newspaper.

You’re Watching TV? But the set’s off? You’re probably a victim of ...

A FRIEND of mine has a recurring dream [that's a rerun without a switch in sponsor] in which he is an archaeologist. He is following a native guide into the depths of a cave in the French Alps. It takes days, because he must dust each pebble along the way with a small paint brush. He grows weak with hunger; his guide goes mad and tries to eat an indigestible Brand X frozen dinner. Then—Eureka! He sees what is unmistakably a prehistoric scrawl on a square stone. He dusts it painstakingly with his stub of a paint brush until the legend appears: Welcome to Bedrock, pop. 2,500.
The dream ends there and the poor devil spends the rest of the night pacing the floor, wondering what would have happened next if he had not awakened. This is what psychologists might label The Flintstone syndrome. It comes from watching a certain cartoon series on channel 7 at 7:30 p.m. Fridays. It is rare, however, because millions follow the show and get nothing more serious than a case of hiccups from laughing.
Yet it’s easy to see how The Flintstones, created by cartoonists Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, might slink in and sort of set up housekeeping in one’s subconscious. Of all the highly successful Hanna and Barbera cartoons [Tom and Jerry, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, etc., etc., etc., etc.], the Flintstones, which will start its third year on TV next fall, goes farthest toward creating a little world of its own.
ITS chief characters, Fred and Wilma Flintstone and their neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble, live in the Stone Age suburb of Bedrock. Fred is a likeable loudmouth, very like Jackie Gleason in The Honeymooners; Barney might pass for a neolithic Art Carney.
The enchanting twist is that they have Stone Age versions of all the modern conveniences.
The pickup for the hi-fi is a bird with a needle-sharp beak. The lawnmower is a grass-gobbling lizard in a harness. There are stone slab newspapers, stone TV sets, stone pianos, and “electric” shavers of clamshell with a buzzing bee inside.
They have movies [made in Hollyrock, where the big stars are Cary Granite and Rock Pile], Stonehenge drive-in restaurants and pterodactyl air liners. Flintstone plots parody modern fads and fancies in good humor. One time Fred wants to be an astronaut [blasting off from a catapult], another he’s a rock ‘n’ roll singer.
In one memorable episode, Wilma was “discovered” by Hollyrock and was going to become a big movie star. Fred, with typical bluster, insisted on being her manager. He quit his job after telling his boss off and began promoting. As usual, he ruined her chances and wound up eating a mammoth portion of humble pie. SUCH goings on have made the show so popular with adults and youngsters alike and it may last until the next ice age.
It’s great fun so long as you don’t start taking it seriously, so long as you don’t begin worrying about what makes those steam-roller automobiles run, or start trying to build a peddle-powered wooden helicopter like Fred’s. Once you do, you’ve developed the Flintstone syndrome—and you could wind up with rocks in the head.

Snagglepuss in Lions Share Sheriff

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – George Nicholas, Layout – Lance Nolley, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snagglepuss, Panicked Man, Purple Hat Cowboy, Bartender – Daws Butler; Raindance Kid, Old Sheriff, White Hat Cowboy – Doug Young.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1960 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: New sheriff Snagglepuss tangles with the Raindance Kid, who vows to shoot a sheriff to celebrate his birthday.

Just for fun, when I pulled out this cartoon to watch it, I decided to start at a random frame. This was it.

And, even though I’m lousy at identifying animators, I knew exactly who did this cartoon. George Nicholas loved those stunned little beady-eyed looks. And he loved little horseshoe-shaped mouths in dialogue.

Nicholas was into big, floppy tongues, too, but we don’t get any in this cartoon. We get some nice ghosting multiples when characters zip off scene. The outlines either follow the character or dissolve on screen. You’ll notice how some of drawings are of the character turning.

I love the world-weary look he gives Snagglepuss. He did the same thing with the orange Snagglepuss in the Quick Draw McGraw cartoons. Snagglepuss’ eyes are half-closed with his head tilted.

Once again, Mike Maltese comes up with a funny premise and the odd turns of phrase you expect from him when he’s at his best. The cartoon opens with a new sheriff addresses his throng (all three of them) promising to run the town like it’s never been run before. A shot-up citizen runs into the plot exclaiming (to the background music of “Pop Goes the Weasel”) that the Raindance Kid plans to shoot a sheriff for his 35th birthday. The sheriff promised to run and he does—right out of the cartoon.

Enter Snagglepuss. “Ah! The west at last. With its spaces. Wide open, even. Its weeds that tumble. Its get-along-little-dogie. How picturesque. How calendar-artie!” The shot-up citizen runs past Snagglepuss, instantly donning him with sheriff’s apparel. Naturally, the mountain lion takes to his authority right away. In a nice little sequence, the smug Snagglepuss fires a bullet into the air. In an amazing display of competence, it ricochets off a horseshoe above a blacksmith shop’s door, the horseshoe lands on a horse, who kicks an anvil into the air that drops on the Raindance Kid. “Twas a mere nothin’,” he tells the cheering throng of three. “A paltry piddlin’ pittance of pistol practise, even.”

The next sequence is set in a typical Western saloon. “Bartender! Tender of bars!” shouts Snagglepuss. The revenge-seeking Kid takes the place of the bartender. “What’s your pleasure, sheriff?” “A rousin’ game of tiddlywinks, with loaded tiddles, even. But, instead, I’ll have a triple sasperilla chocolate flip(?) malt, topped with a maraschino olive, if you please.”

The Kid spikes it with tabasco sauce, red pepper, gun powder, liquid nitro glycerine and a dash of TNT. Nicholas animates Snagglepuss with alternating smooth and wavy lines during dialogue before the pink cat shoots into the air.

But the Kid’s plans fowl up. Snagglepuss crashes on top of his head. The throng cheers again in reused animation. “’Twas a mere bag-of-peanuts,” says Snagglepuss, punning on a “mere bagatelle” (who else but Maltese would do that?). “That thing might be loaded,” says to the gun-pointing kid. “What are you tryin’ to do, start a range war or somethin’? Remember, I’m one of the good guys. I’m a rootin’-tootin’, yippee-ki-yo and ki-yea, even. Tumbleweeds and chuckwagon stew, and all that Western jazz.”

The Kid keeps firing until the shot-up citizen tells him to cease because the Kid’s birthday is over. But it turns out the Kid got his days mixed up. Today is really his birthday. “Heavens to Murgatroyd, how many times were you born?” asks Snagglepuss, who makes his getaway via a horse-drawn carriage, resulting in a play on his own catchphrase, “Exit, stage coach,” to end the cartoon.

The soundtrack includes Hoyt Curtin’s version of the William Tell Overture at the end (to which is added the old “Shave-and-a-Haircut” jingle). The rest of the music was used in the underscore of The Flintstones in the first season, where Nicholas spent his time animating instead on the short cartoons. This was the only cartoon in the Snagglepuss series he worked on.

Flintstones Weekend Comics, August 1967

Betty Rubble really was the Trixie Norton of the Flintstones. On The Honeymooners, all the action centred around Ralph and Alice or Ralph and Norton. What was there for Trixie to do? She was Alice’s sounding board and, um, uh, well, not much else.

Betty at least got a little more screen time than Trixie because there was an I Lovy Lucy-esque dynamic on the cartoon show on occasion with Wilma and Betty plotting stuff together.

In the weekend newspaper comics, though, stories were built around Fred and Wilma or Pebbles. Betty disappeared for weeks and weeks. Finally, she resurfaces (with a stylish sun hat) after a prolonged absence in the comics in the August 6, 1967 edition. Then she disappears for the rest of the month.

Looking elsewhere in August 50 years ago, the writers were now incorporating Fred’s dad “Pops” into stories, and he turns up on the 27th (and an Emergency Phone! How Stone Age). There’s another Pebbles-takes-things-literally storyline on August 13th. The following week is devoted to a toll bridge gag, with a couple of dinosaurs looking on approvingly in the opening panel.

Note Dino peering in the opening panel in the first comic. It’s the only time we see him this month.

Thanks to Richard Holliss for the colour comics from his collection.

August 6, 1967.

August 13, 1967.

August 20, 1967.

August 27, 1967.

Yakky Doodle in Foxy Duck

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Art Davis, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Chopper – Vance Colvig; Fibber Fox, Hen – Daws Butler.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Fibber Fox pretends to be Yakky’s mother to try to eat him.

There’s nothing like the incongruity of a fox talking to an elephant in a circus from a phone conveniently on a pole in someone’s yard. That’s why I like this cartoon even though there are some stale puns and Yakky’s motivation doesn’t make sense in one part of the cartoon.

This cartoon introduced Fibber Fox. Fibber is, far and away, my favourite character in the Yakky cartoons. Mike Maltese tried to write some buddy-buddy cartoons where stuff would happen to Chopper the dog. They just don’t work for me. Still worse, Chopper never really has a verbal comeback like Doggie Daddy when things used to happen to him. The cartoons really needed a wisecracking antagonist who talks to the audience/himself and Fibber fits the bill with varying rates of success.

Daws Butler insisted Fibber’s voice had its basis in Shelly Berman’s. I don’t hear it; the pitch and inflections are different but who am I to argue with the guy who created the voice? One thing that Fibber has in common with Berman is both did routines with an unheard voice on the other end of the phone. Fibber does that here
Fibber: Hello, Whitney? Fibber. How are things at the zoo? About the same, huh. Have much of a crowd Sunday? No, huh. Well, you know, things are tough all over, yeah. People don’t go for the zoo bit any more. They stay home and look at each other, hah. It’s different with you, Whitney. You’re an elephant. You work for peanuts.
The first half of the cartoon has a nice little routine where Fibber covers Chopper’s ears with a pair of muffs to the dog can’t hear him stealing chickens. Yakky comes along and thinks he’s listening to a radio through headphones.
Yakky: Hello, Chopper! What’s you listening to? Is it a radio show? Is it shortwave? Do you use transistors? May I listen too, please? (Yakky takes earmuffs and wears them). That’s funny. I don’t hear anything. Maybe there’s a loose connection or something.
(Fibber sees Yakky with the ear muffs)
Fibber: Oh, for heaven’s sake, no!
Yakky: Hey, I think I hear something. Somebody just said “Oh, for heaven’s sake, no!”
(Chopper dashes into the scene and threatens Fibber, who is resigned to his fate).
Yakky: What did you say? (noise and camera shakes) Wait a minute! I think I’ve got something at last. Yeah! It’s the fights. Wow-wee! Boy, oh, boy, what a battle. What a battle!
Chopper: You can take those things off now, sonny.
Yakky: Wait a minute. I want to hear who won the fight.

The camera cuts to a beat up Fibber who proclaims Chopper the winner and then passes out.

Part two of the cartoon starts off oddly. Chopper tells Yakky “You can call me Chopper.” But he did during the whole first half of the cartoon. We’ll skip the sentimental dialogue between the two and jump to where Fibber shows up in a duck costume (top half only) claiming to be Yakky’s mother.

Yakky: Are you my mama?
Fibber: Of course I’m your mama. Who’d you think I was, Yogi Bear?
Yakky: Well, I don’t know.
Now anyone familiar with Yakky and the cartoon ducks that preceded him at Hanna-Barbera and the Hanna-Barbera unit at MGM before that know they all cried in self-pity that they didn’t have a mama. Well, now that Yakky has one, he refuses to obey “her.” It would make sense if the story indicated the duck knew it was Fibber in disguise, but it doesn’t. In fact, he appears completely convinced. So why is he refusing to do what his mother asks? “I won’t! I won’t! I absolutely refuse” he yells. “I’m going to stand on my head and let all the blood rush right to my brain and [something] it.” He flips over and then angrily addresses the viewers at home. “Good bye, everybody!”

Oh, here comes the snivelling. Chopper lies that he isn’t Yakky’s friend so the duck will go with his mother. He cries. Yakky cries.

Fibber: What! Are you two bucking for the Academy Award this year?
The fake mama cons Chopper into giving him chickens to “save” Yakky from Fibber. Suddenly, the phone rings. Yakky answers. It’s Whitney for Fibber. “I’ll take that call, boy,” says the fox still dressed as a duck. Uh, oh. Fibber’s had a momentary lapse. It kind of comes out of nowhere.

Anyway, Fibber thought he was getting a chicken dinner. Instead, he’s getting dessert. “Well, you might call it that. My just desserts.” Fibber gets clobbered. There’s another weak “peanuts” pun at the end which so amuses the protagonists that they laugh to end the cartoon.

I wish I could say there was interesting artwork or movement in this cartoon, but there isn’t. We get a ghost drawing from Art Davis when Fibber rushes off screen. There are a few Flintstones cues on the soundtrack, including the trombone piece that was used every time Fred or someone had a sob story.

Those Cockamamie Characters

Yes, kids, you could have Yowp tattooed onto your arm. Fortunately, parents, it’s not permanent.

Back when I was young, you could buy a sheet of inked drawings that you could put on your body and wash them off. A company called Dynamic Toys in New York licensed some of the Hanna-Barbera and Disney characters and sold Cockamamies in 1961.

They’re not terribly sophisticated, but I’m sure they pleased the young cartoon fan that wanted to wear Baby Puss. I’m not really sure what the attraction was; the early ‘60s was not a period of tatted-up hipsters setting an example for kids.

Anyway, as you can see below, Yowp is on the Huck/Yogi set. I assume Hokey and the Major are labelled because they were new characters in 1961. It doesn’t appear there was a Quick Draw McGraw set.

I’m sure we posted one of these before, but reader Rick Greene sent copies of the full set. Thanks to Rick for another of his contributions.

A Long Little Doggie

Like the Huck and Yogi half-hours, the Quick Draw McGraw Show had those little cartoons between the cartoons. Here are some frames, in what looks like an Eastmancolor print that’s really gone red.

Quick Draw’s waiting for Augie and Doggie Daddy to go with him to a masquerade party. Augie reveals he’s going as “the longest dachshund in the world.” Where’s Doggie Daddy? “It’s da livin’ end,” he says from the end of the tube as the cartoon fades.

The animation is by Lew Marshall with Monte supplying some simple backgrounds.

Three Mixed-Up Mooses

You know the creative process works. An idea gets batted around until it seems to work. It may be rejected later and kicked around some more in different directions.

I imagine that happens in cartoons all the time. Hanna-Barbera fans know the tale of how the Flintstones were tried in different time periods until the Stone Age as hit upon. Scooby Doo started off without Scooby Doo (the show was originally about teenaged detectives). And as you can see to the right, Dan Gordon and Joe Barbera are looking over a concept called “Harebrained Hare” in 1960 which morphed into Touché Turtle.

Another idea for a series that made some twists and turns was for “The Three Mixed-Up Mooses.” The only reference I’ve spotted about this is in a Variety article. But reader Mike Rossi sent along a picture of what looks to be end title art. H-B fans can readily see that the Mooses were changed into dogs and became the Goofy Guards on the Peter Potamus Show.

The Mooses were supposed to be a second theatrical series released by Columbia Pictures, which had been putting Loopy De Loop on screens for undiscerning children since 1959. Here’s the full story from Daily Variety of April 25, 1963. The Mooses are incidental; the story is really a rundown of all the things Hanna-Barbera was up to.

At the time, the studio was housed in a cinder-block-looking building on Cahuenga, where it had moved from the Kling Studios in 1960. The studio had no windows and apparently only one telephone in the hallway for staff. It was too small to fit everyone so people worked from home (that’s how Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera could brag in interviews that the studio “has no time clocks”).

You’ll notice the mention of Wally Burr, who died earlier this month. Arthur Pierson’s name can be seen on later episodes of The Flintstones. He had been a vice president of Roland Reed Productions and, before that, Transfilm and Jerry Fairbanks Productions, after an acting career (he was on the Board of the Lambs Club in New York). Bobe Cannon had worked on the “Eep Opp” sequence of The Jetsons with Jerry Eisenberg but, before that, had started as an assistant animator at Warners Bros. and eventually won Oscars at UPA. He died in 1964.

“Father Was A Robot” was a story by Al Ruddy, Bernard Fein and Mann Rubin. Ruddy, Michael Fenton and Brian Hutton were developing it as a pilot in July 1962. As you can see, Hanna-Barbera got involved a year later, and assigned Sloan Nibley to write the screenplay. Oddly, in April 1964, Variety reported H-B had just purchased the story. In October that year, Joe Barbera was touting it as a live action feature about a “funny, swinging robot” (and $75,000 had been spent building it). That’s the last anyone heard of it. “Hillbilly Hawk”? Hanna and Barbera elected to go with Hillbilly Bears instead.

Record $9 Million Budget Earmarked For Hanna-BarberaProd'ns For Next Year
A record $9,000,000 in production has been budgeted by Hanna-Barbera Productions for the coming year, as it embarks on an expansion program marked by a diversification of the company's activities. Six-year-old animation company moves on May 1 to its new $1,300,000 building on a strip of land on the inbound San Fernando Valley-Hollywood freeway.
Prexy Joe Barbera and his partner, Bill Hanna, who founded the company in 1957, yesterday stressed the production figure is for firm commitments and a minimum, inasmuch as other deals are currently in negotiation.
26 'Flinstones'
On H-B's production agenda for the ensuing years are 26 "The Flintstones" cartoon epiaodes (on ABC-TV), overall budget $1,600,000; 156 5-min. syndicated shorts, $1,500,000; a "Yogi Bear" feature film, $1,800,000; two half-hour industrial films, $450,000; 28 theatrical film shorts for Columbia release, $700,000; a live-action feature, "Father Was A Robot," $1,500,000.
H-B's new hq, which has 40,000 square feet of space, will house all of its activities, such as animation, recording, music, dubbing, commercials, etc. It was designed by Arthur Froelich, and its basement is also a bomb shelter. Company's half-hour industrial films are being done for Mutual Fund of America and Warner-Lambert Pharmaceutical. Its theatrical film shorts for Col consist of "Loopy de Loop,""Hillbilly Hawk" and "The Three Mixed Up Mooses" briefies.
Pierson Blurbery Chief
Arthur Pierson has joined the company as associate producer on entertainment product, and head of its industrial films division. Walter Burr, a producer-director with Leo Burnett & Co., joins H-B June 1 as head of its live action commercials division. Robert Cannon, formerly with Walt Disney and UPA, heads the company's animated commercial division, and Hal Styles has been named chief of the firm's new syndicated commercial branch, which plans 250 teleblurbs. In addition to production coin, H-B rakes in about $200,000 for production design for licensees merchandising various H-B cartoon characters Also, "Flintstones" and "Yogi" comic strips are carried in 220 newspapers by the McNaught Syndicate, and H-B do this production work. H-B's "Flintstones,""Yogi" and "Huckleberry Hound" cartoona are shown in 41 foreign countries.
Barbera explained the company is diversifying into many other fields because "we're going into markets that have never been touched." He said H-B has received a much as $76,000 for a half-hour teleshow, and pointed out few sponsors can afford this kind of coin. Consequently, H-B policy is to prepare shows with "tailor-made" budgets depending on what a sponsor can afford.
Two years ago the animation trend in tv fell flat on its face, Barbera recalled, but that doesn't mean the interest is not still there, he added. He said he finds agency and sponsor reps in N.Y. very receptive to good ideas for animation series, and some such deals are now in negotiation.

Yakky Doodle in Hop, Duck and Listen

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Mother Kangaroo – Jean Vander Pyl; Hoppity, Hunter, Shark – Daws Butler. Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Yakky and Hoppity become “brothers” against objections of the kangaroo’s mother.

One wonders if the Yakky Doodle series was originally intended for the orphaned duck to go hither and yon to ingratiate himself into homes where he wasn’t wanted. There are a number of cartoons in the series where the duck is told to get lost and he doesn’t seem to comprehend the concept that “no means no.”

If that’s the case, I suspect Mike Maltese or Joe Barbera realised that it would be better for some kind of regular setting was imposed on the series to strengthen it. This enabled Maltese to work out some character relationships that would appeal to audiences who might easily tire of a “poor-little-me” duckling act every week.

However, we’re not quite there. This episode, improbably, has Yakky (who is too weak to fly in other cartoons) flapping his way across the Pacific to Australia where he decides to move in with a kangaroo mother and son. Yakky, as usual, is enthusiastic but pretty ignorant. He sees an ocean liner and thinks he’s over a “little bitty lake.” He thinks a jet is a bird that will give him a lift (it doesn’t). He thinks a shark trying to eat him is a big fish. He thinks Australia is Missouri, engaging in the old cartoon gag of incompetently misreading a sign.

The best bit comes close to the start of the cartoon. The shark follows Yakky onto the land. The two skid to a stop. “Hey, fish aren’t supposed to be out of water,” Yakky points out. “Say, you’re right!” says the “fish.” “Thanks, pal.” And with that the shark turns around and zooms out of the scene and the cartoon.

The rest of the cartoon is pretty straight-forward. He and a kid kangaroo decide to be brothers. The mama kangaroo isn’t impressed and tells Yakky to go fly somewhere. But the duck refuses to accept that he’s an unwanted pain in the pouch. “I’ll bet she’d be my mama if I really asked her to,” he decides. He knocks on her door. “Hello, mama! Food. Food. I’m about to starve. Uh, where do I sleep?” Yeah, the duck simply invites himself in and expects a free meal. The mother kicks him out and slams the door. Cut to a scene outside. Somehow, the son Hoppity is now behind a stump where he declares to Yakky he’s decided to run away from home. If they were going for some pathos here, it’s completely undercut by the Flintstones bassoon music tooting away in the background.

The remainder of the cartoon plot is an old and hoary one—the little pathetic creatures rises up to vanquish an opponent and win everyone’s friendship in the end. Yakky saves Hoppity from a hunter (who has boomerangs in a golf bag like a set of clubs) that wants to turn him into a pair of gloves, somehow being dexterous enough to toss boomerangs down on the fleeing hunter, and then pulling the drowning kangaroo out of the water (after telling him to go in the water). Mother, son and new brother hop away together, stage right, to end the cartoon.

Jean Vander Pyl and Daws Butler don’t even attempt Australian accents on the kangaroos. The mother sounds like Ma Rugg in the Hillybilly Bears cartoons except with less of a drawl, while Daws’ boy kangaroo sounds a lot like Blabber Mouse. Australian accents seemed to elude Daws; the hunter sounds closer to some kind of Englishman.

The most satisfying moment was when Yakky, hopping like a kangaroo, crashes into a stump. Dick Thomas once again has small, colourful flowers adorning the scenery.

By the way, the shark sounds like Fibber Fox, who hasn’t been invented yet.

Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, September 1967

After a month in the Army, Yogi Bear is back in Jellystone Park and stealing pic-a-nic baskets in the newspaper comics on this very date 50 years ago.

It’s pretty much Yogi vs Ranger Smith all month; Boo Boo appears in only one comic.

A pink fairy-bear-mother shows up and turns Yogi into a squirrel in the September 6th comic. Don’t celebrate too soon, Smith. There’s lots of depth in the panel with the squirrels in the foreground, Yogi and the Ranger in silhouette in a bit of a distance, with greenery behind them then a mountain further in the background.

A little birdie sits atop the Yogi logo for decoration on September 13th. Another food gag.

Did you know Huckleberry Hound’s birthday is September 13th? Well, it is for the sake of one comic, the one published a week after that day in the newspapers (though in Canada, the weekend comics appeared in Saturday papers). Solid colours are used instead of elaborate backgrounds in some panels. Do stamps even need to be licked any more? And what’s Yogi doing with a picture of some long-haired babe on his calendar? (On second thought, maybe he’s in Ranger Smith’s office)

My, those are happy fish aren’t they? No doubt in glee because they are free, hey-hey-hey. (Great. Now I’m doing those irritating rhymes). The artist is admirable for being able to draw a truck at three different angles. This is from September 27th.

My thanks again to Richard Holliss for supplying these comics. Click on any of the comics for a better view.

Snagglepuss in Cagey Lion

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – La Verne Harding, Layout – Walt Clinton, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snagglepuss, Man With Cane, 1st Gambler, Card Gambler – Daws Butler; Captain, Cagey Cravat, 2nd Gambler – Doug Young; Belle – Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Snagglepuss disguises himself as a riverboat gambler so he won’t shipped to the St. Louis Zoo.

Mike Maltese wrote a funny cartoon at Warner Bros. called Mississippi Hare, where a disguised Bugs Bunny matched wits with riverboat gambler Colonel Shuffle. This time, he puts a disguised Snagglepuss on a riverboat. It’s not as strong a cartoon, and he wrote stronger ones for Snagglepuss, but it’s pleasant enough.

There are a couple of times where Snagglepuss engages of his habit of running off a word-associated list to an opponent. For example, when the riverboat captain tries to shoot Snagglepuss and his gun just clicks, the mountain lion exclaims:
Snagglepuss: Where’s your bravado now? Why don’t you fight me fair and square? Marquis of Queensborough Bridge rules. Or mayhap a little judo? Care to Indian wrestle? How’s about a little tug of war, even?
Maltese then pulls off a variation of the “one bullet left” gag he used in Bugs Bunny’s Rabbit Fire. The captain’s gun fires. “What do you know? It was only stuck,” he says. “Don’t tell me your troubles,” responds the somewhat singed Snagglepuss, who exits stage left.

Later in the cartoon, when he meets up with Cagey Cravat, the riverboat pirate, he pulls out some cards.

Snagglepuss: How’s about a little game of poker? Damp Jacks wild. Gin rummy? Chemin de fer? Whist? Old Maid? Young Maid, tiddlywinks, Potsy maybe? (whips out tennis racket) Tennis anyone? Or isn’t tennis your racket? Ya get it? Ya get it?
Blam goes Cagey’s gun. Snagglepuss got it. “Exit, like anything, stage left.”

Potsy? It’s a kids’ jumping game that doesn’t involve cards at all. If the internet is to be believed, it was big in New York. Guess where Maltese grew up?

We get a couple of catchphrases, too. When Snagglepuss tries to bust out of his cage (stage left), he (not surprisingly) smashes into its bars. “As a friend of mine, Quick Draw McGraw says, ‘Oooo. That smarts!’” Later, when Snagglepuss reveals himself to be a mountain lion, Cravat, with his French accent, exclaims “’Eavens to Monsieur Murgatroyd. He is a lion. Exit, stage overboard.” And the bad guy jumps into the river (heard off camera).

Yes, what ties the story together is “a ferocious mountain lion” has been captured to be taken on the St. Louis Lou to the St. Louis Zoo. “Ferocious indeed,” remarks the caged Snagglepuss. “I’m as gentle as a flea. After 30 lashings with a bullwhip.” Anyway, Snagglepuss hacksaws his way out of the cage and after an encounter with an overly polite little old Southern Belle (who screams, then goes to her stateroom “and throw a little old faint”), he gets shot by the captain. That’s about the first half of the cartoon.

Now Snagglepuss has disguised himself as Memphis Mortimer, the riverboat gambler, to avoid detection. He asks the captain to direct him to the gambling salon. Where Snagglepuss comes up with the money, I don’t know, but much like Bugs in Mississippi Hare, he starts winning all the chips. He has “Five aces. And a full house. King’s high, suh.”

Hmm. Maybe there isn’t any money. I don’t see any on the table, suh. Regardless, Cagey Cravat appears on the scene. “You try my patience.” “No,” replies Snagglepuss incongruously, “You try mine.” Much of the rest of the cartoon involves gunfire and dialogue, with Cravat swimming away for Gay Paree to get away from the “ferocious” mountain lion. The captain rewards Snagglepuss for getting rid of the pirate by promising “a free home with free meals for life.” It turns out that’s at the St. Louis Zoo (“Egads! My hood’s been winked). Snagglepuss leaps with his cage into the water and paddles after Cravat, happily singing “Alouette,” to end the cartoon.

La Verne Harding is the animator. I noticed two things in this cartoon. One is in the scenes with the red moustached gambler, the characters are still except for a cigar moving up and down in a few positions, thus saving some drawing (later, only his moustache moves). The other is she has Snagglepuss gesturing in one scene by turning his wrist around. She probably could have got away without doing it, and saved Bill Hanna money on animation, as Hanna-Barbera cartoons would in future. The collar-height ear on the characters should tell you Walt Clinton was the layout artist in this cartoon (and designed the incidental characters).

Dick Thomas, who churned out backgrounds for seemingly every cartoon in this series, is at work again. Here is his establishing shot. The smoke and steam from the boat is animated.

Press Handouts

Cartoon studios have publicity departments. Arnie Carr was in charge of the one at Hanna-Barbera starting in August 1959; that’s Arnie next to Fred Flintstone in a Life magazine photo. He badgered newspaper writers. Hal Humphrey of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner wrote about it on more than one occasion in columns we’ve transcribed HERE and HERE. He organised publicity stunts; when Top Cat aired, Carr tried to get the attention of entertainment columnists by sending them garbage cans. And he and his staff also seem to have churned out news releases. In a time-honoured Hollywood tradition, they were written like newspaper copy so papers could simply dump them into columns of type verbatim. Voila! Instant entertainment story! A stock photo might accompany the release; one newspaper published a third of a page of nothing but captioned artwork of Wilma with living kitchen gadgets. You can’t buy that kind of publicity. And that was the idea.

The Binghamton Press seems to have relied on Arnie to help fill space. Here are a number of stories the paper published that are pretty obvious in their origin from the Carr PR department. Parts of the first story were from an all-purpose studio release. I’ve seen some of the same lines used in articles when a paper announced it was picking up the Yogi comic strip for its Sunday editions, including the misspelling of "Van Beuren."

This was published September 3, 1960.
Yogi's Papas On Top of Heap It Couldn't Be Done?
NEW YORK — Three years ago, cartoonist William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were unemployed and their prospects were approximately nil.
Today, the creators of Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear have grown to be one of the largest cartoon producing companies in the world.
Oddly enough, neither Hanna nor Barbera began his career as cartoonist or artist. Bill Hanna, born in Melrose, N. M., studied engineering and journalism. After college, he joined a California firm as a structural engineer for the building of the Pantages Theater in Hollywood.
Ending engineering aspirations, Hanna joined Leon Schlessinger's [sic] cartoon company, with duties, as he explains them, "to run for coffee, clean cartoon cells, sweep up the place, and drown my bosses with story ideas."
Joe Barbera was born in New York City. After graduation from the American Institute of Banking, he started as an accountant for New York's Irving Trust Company.
An inveterate doodler and dreamer, he began submitting cartoons to the leading magazines. He made his first sale to Collier's, then soon became a regular contributor to the leading magazines.
After a short deliberation, Barbera decided on a career of cartooning. Later he joined Van Buren Associates as a sketch artist.
In 1937, Hanna was hired by MGM as a director and storyman and Barbera was employed by MGM as an animator and writer.
Working side by side, they developed an idea for a new and different cartoon series. They presented the idea to MGM executives and were told to develop it and put it on film.
The result: The birth of a world famous cat and mouse, namely "Tom and Jerry," and the emergence of a bright, new cartooning team.
In their 20 years at MGM they turned out over 125 "Tom and Jerry" adventures, which won seven Academy Awards for MGM. In 1957, with the motion picture business at an all-time low, the team asked for and received a release from their contract. Shortly, MGM discontinued cartoon production.
Leaving MGM proved to be the biggest break of their lives.
Armed with several revolutionary techniques and ideas for producing cartoons for television, the team made the rounds of advertising agencies and film producing companies. They met the same answer everywhere: "It can't be done. Good animation is too expensive, limited animation too shoddy." On July 7, 1957, Screen Gems decided to take a chance on the two young men and Hanna and Barbera Productions were born. Planned animation, as Hanna and Barbera call their new concept, caught on quickly. ABC-TV purchased "The Flintstones," a satire on an exurbanite family in the Stone Age.
Hanna is married and resides in North Hollywood with his wife, Violet, and their two children, Bonnie Jean and David. Barbera and his wife, Dorothy, live in West Los Angeles with their three children, Lynn, Jane and Neal.
This next story was published January 14, 1961. The Yogi Bear half-show show was about to debut. What a coincidence!
TV stars are always requested to aid worthy causes so it is not surprising to learn that an official of the U. S. Department of the Interior working at Yellowstone Park has sent an SOS to Yogi Bear.
Yogi, the popular Bear on the Huckleberry Hound cartoon show, has been such a sensation with the youngsters that he is getting his own series. When the letter arrived from Yellowstone, Yogi's creators, Hanna-Barbera, feared that it was a request to mate him with a female version of Smoky the Bear and produce a smoky Yogi.
But the Park officer merely wanted Yogi to come to Yellowstone and give a few classroom lectures to his fellow bears on how to behave with the tourists. Some of them, obviously, inspired by Yogi's success, are becoming too friendly and want to be taken home as pets.
Yogi has been granted permission to go to Yellowstone and Hanna-Barbera, generous to a fault, have told him he may keep any fees he earns with this extracurricular activity.
Next, we pick up the paper of March 11, 1962. I found this one in a couple of papers. Carr knew the value of a short release in case a paper had a little space to fill; there were also one-liners that papers used back in the days of “fillers,” little factoids needed to complete a column of text.
No Automation For Animation
The use of electronic machinery in modern industry greatly reduces personnel while increasing production.
At Hanna-Barbera's TV Cartoon Production Studio in Studio City, Ca., the opposite seems to be true.
The reason, of course, is that at Hanna-Barbera they make only animated cartoons, which require hand crafts which automation experts cannot duplicate. An animated episode in a series such as the Fllntstones calls for the services of 215 persons who create, animate and process 30,000 individual drawings. It is a painstaking procedure taking five months to complete a single half-hour show.
This one is from May 19, 1962.
'Miracles' Accomplished
Company executives suffering from the ache of labor-management problems, instead of reaching for the aspirin, might well pay a visit to the Hanna-Barbera TV cartoon studio in Studio City.
"In terms of work, what we are doing is impossible," Joe Barbera says. "At MGM, for example, we turned out a total of 48 minutes ot cartoon film a year. We now turn out more than that in one week. Recently one of our artists said to me, 'Joe, do you realize how much work we're doing here?' I said, don't tell me. I don't want to think about it. I'm scared to death."
However, this production miracle is accomplished in the warm harmonious atmosphere of a big happy family. All concerned have as much fun as the Flintstones, ABC-TV's popular animated series, which is among their productions.
Our next stop is June 2, 1962.
Animated Flintstones Now World Travelers
It's Flintstone-san in Japan, Senor Flintstone in South America and 'Freddie, old chap' among the British.
No matter where you go these days, you won't lose track of Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones, Stone age emissaries to the 20th century.
The animated cartoon series is presently seen in more than 25 countries by a weekly audience estimated by 100,000,000 viewers, according to producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera.
Dubbed in Japanese, the series is "okii, okii, okii, (big, big, big) in Nippon where stars Fred and Wilma Flintstone and neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble have risen to great fame, according to an enthusiastic spokesman for the sponsoring soy sauce firm.
In Merrie Olde England, where Freddie Flintstone clubs have sprung up in pubs and universities and even in Her Majesty's Regiments, the cartoon show has maintained a spot in the top 10 since it bowed there some eight months ago.
London is headquarters for the Flintstone Appreciation Society of Great Britain and the British Jazz and Cycling Club has made free-wheeling Freddie its official mascot.
Fan letters have been received from as far away as Finland and the Virgin Islands—in many languages—with more expected after "The Flintstones" is dubbed in French and German for showing next fall.
Closer to home, the Students Union of Acadia University at Wolfville, Nova Scotia, has used The Flintstones as the theme of two successive winter carnivals. At Langton, Ontario, Canada, a bowling team sports Flintstone cartoon insignias on uniforms.
And in the United States, the show has become such popular Friday night all-family fare for an estimated 40,000,000 viewer audience via ABC-TV and Channel 12 that top entertainers such as Bob Hope use Fred Flintstone jokes.
Hanna and Barbera are thrilled at the reaction to their show:
"We believe that good clean humor is an international language. If you make cartoons honestly to project warmth and good feeling while gently spoofing basic situations, these situations are as understandable in Rhodesia as they are in Kalamazoo."
And, finally, a story from the Albany Times-Union of February 16, 1963. Whether this came from Carr, or merchandising guru Honest Ed Justin’s staff, or somewhere else, I don’t know. The style is a little different than the others.
If you could have seen some of the whacky mail sent out in the past by the Hanna-Barbera folks who produce the cartooned "The Flintstones," you wouldn't be surprised at the gimmick they're now using to bolster or continue interest in their Stone Age characters.
It's a "Guess-the-Weight" contest for the forthcoming Flintstone baby and, according to the publicity men, more than 50,000 entries have been received at the contest headquarters, P. O. Box 2121, New York City. Prizes are a $20,000 cash award and a two-ticket trip around the world by air.
Some of the reaction has been as strange as some of the producers' ideas. One person wrote in: "Fred Flintstone couldn't possibly have a baby smaller than 13 pounds since he weighed that much when he was born," and explained the writer was actually Fred's long-lost mother!
And already gifts are being sent for the baby—a Minneapolis bowling club sent a real bowling ball, inscribed: "Since your daddy, Fred Flintstone, constantly promotes bowling, may this be your fondest hobby." Another gift was a tiny fur mackinaw from Green Bay, Wis., where the thermometer had recently dropped to 50 degrees below zero.
There were more of these kinds of news releases masquerading as stories as time went on. I’ve spotted some for the Alice and the Jack and the Beanstalk specials. Carr moved on. He opened his own company and co-produced a TV show starring Mr. Blackwell (experience with a sabre-tooth tiger’s claws may have helped Carr with that one) and in 1968 became the PR flack for the breakaway African country of Biafra.

Whether Carr and his staff really helped Hanna-Barbera perhaps can be debated. But they certainly got the studio some publicity, and that couldn’t hurt.

Jetson’s Night Out

Everyone, I think, has cartoon memories. Here’s one of mine. On the Jetsons, there was an episode where a button was pressed and a whole apartment building rose out of a rainstorm into the clear sky. I remember watching this and wondering “When does the building go back down again? What if someone didn’t want the building to go up?”

55 years later, I still don’t know the answers. But the building going up was the best part of the show.

Maybe if the Jetsons didn’t rely on tired old sitcom premises it might have stayed on the air. You’ve seen this one before. Jane makes plans that interfere with George’s plans. So he engages in trickery to get out of it but gets caught. Even the Flintstones pulled that one in its premiere. So let’s skip past the plot and look at the futuristic and anachronistic things in Jetson’s Night Out, the fifth episode to air, on October 21, 1962.

First, the Skypad Apartments rise, courtesy of a button pressed by Henry the janitor (the nasty clouds are on a cel overlay).

Elroy feels like a banana with his spray-on raincoat.

Newspapers? Who needs them? All you need is an internet connection to read the headlines or see news video. You couldn’t in 1962. But today? The only thing different is a “newspaper” comes in a little square disc. Maybe that unencrypts something on-line to get around a newspaper firewall.

Siri, what time is it? Yes, the Jetsons have that, too. Except Siri sounds like Senor Weñces.

Ruh, roh! Some very un 21st Century humour coming up:

Judy: Aren’t you going to finish your coffee, dad?
George: Nope. Came out too strong this morning. But don’t throw it out. Some pygmies from Africa may show up and want to dip their spears in it. Ha, ha, ha!

George, don’t you know that’s racist in the future? Follow Stan Freberg’s advice. Do jokes about the Swiss. No one gets offended.

Dish disposal is easy. The dishes are crunched into pieces and swept away. Perhaps they’re reformed into plates and cups by some machine in the kitchen.

Someone tell all those people pumping money into electric car research not to bother. We learn from the Jetsons that cars run on fuel pellets. And cheap! George gasses up for $2. When was the last time you could do that, 1962? George pays using his card and facial recognition technology to thwart identity theft.

These days, corporations make employees wear cards where they swipe in and out when come and go, with the information stored in a computer at headquarters. You can’t make a gag out of that, so Harvey Bullock and Ray Allen (and with Tony Benedict’s help, I suspect) used a time-clock gag, with a flying security camera capturing late workers on a .gif file and zooming it to the boss. Jetson to Spacely: “I don’t photograph too well, do I, sir?” Spacely to Jetson: “You don’t work very well, either.”

Robotic secretaries still use reel-to-reel tape.

The Visiphone. Now you don’t see it. Now you do.

Back to the plot. George wants to watch the football game on TV. Jane has committed them to go to a PTA meeting. Cosmo Spacely wants to go to the football game. Mrs. Spacely has committed them to a Phil Sputnik (Phil Spitalny) concert. So Spacely concocts a scheme where he tells his wife he has to be by Jetson’s bedside because of a terminal illness (nuclear dyanomitis); that way he and George can go to the game. The two of them race to the Jetsons’ bedroom. George still hasn’t got a clue what Spacely’s plot is, though when Mrs. Spacely arrives to comfort him, their miscommunication leaves her thinking he’s just about dead.

Mrs. S.: Now, don’t you worry. You will be here for a long time.
George: Aw, no. I’ll be leavin’ any minute.
Mrs. S.: Oh, don’t even think of that!
George: Aw, but it’s true. Kick off is at 8:30.
Mrs. S.: Kick off? You mean... but how do you know the time?
George: Well, it says so on the ticket.
Mrs. S.: Ticket?
George: Aw, you’ve got to have a reservation?
Mrs. S.: Reservation!? Oh, dear!
George: Aw, I wouldn’t go without the boss’s okay.
Mrs. S.: And they say dogs are loyal!

George bribes Elroy with 40 cents (that won’t go very far, will it?) to keep quiet about seeing him, then he and Spacely take off for the game. End of Part 1.

Part 2 starts with the Jetsons almost inventing the domed stadium; the Astrodome was under construction at the same time the series aired, though it obviously wasn’t a bubble dome floating in space. There’s even a scanner to ensure all tickets are genuine.

A good portion of the next few minutes is taken up with robotic football player gags. As technology stories today talk about robot care givers and robot comfort-pet and robot, robot football players, I suppose, are not out of the realm of possibility. Naturally, there’s a collision gag leaving one all busted to bolts (“He should be as good as new by half-time, so don’t worry, mother,” says the game announcer, emulating Dennis James on the wrestling matches on the Du Mont network years earlier). We get a “Statue of Liberty” play gag and one about a veteran coming in to save the game (“he’s one of the old, manually-operated players”; the robot has to be wound up).

Yes, vinyl-heads, you’re favourite format for music still exists in the Jetsons’ time. George has hooked up a record of him to play when the Visiphone rings, telling Jane (he just knew she was going to call) he’s working overtime. A tacky cardphone picture is set up for the Visiphone to see. Unfortunately, the big drawback of vinyl hasn’t been fixed. The record skips. Jane realises she’s been BS’d by her husband. And Mrs. Spacely has arrived so the two are able to piece together what happened, especially after seeing the two men on the huge screen TV in the Jetsons’ apartment. Yes, something else you saw first in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

Oh, here comes the other un-PC part. George is the stadium’s 1,000,000th fan so he wins a prize—a mink coat. To placate the angry wives, George takes a pair of scissors and cuts it into a mink jacket and a mink stole—a gift for each wife. Both of them ADORE their minks. Imagine if a cartoon did this today. PETA would throw a fit. Animal lovers would clack away on social media about it. There’d be calls to cancel The Jetsons over it. Newspapers, web sites, TV stations would all pick up on the chatter and endlessly editorialise about it. Then there’d be a counter-protest on-line demanding no censorship on old animation, that we mustn’t bury the attitudes of the past (add a “such things were wrong then and wrong now” disclaimer, they’d cry). The world would be gripped with Holier-than-thou-itis. Until the next thing came along a few days later.

Anyway, the women decide they need to spend, spend, spend on new accessories to match their furs—including a new car. Spacely is outraged and fires Jetson yet again to end the cartoon.

The four regulars plus Mel Blanc, Don Messick and Jean Vander Pyl provide voices. I think Walt Clinton laid out at least part of the cartoon and George Nicholas may have animated some of it, though there aren’t many of his real fun expressions. The inventions are the most enjoyable thing and I can’t help but wonder if this cartoon brought about the invention a couple of years later of Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots by a company known to sponsor Hanna-Barbera cartoon shows, Marx.

Portraying Wacky Old Ladies

Today would have, well, should have, been June Foray’s 100th birthday. Posts in celebration were banked for this blog and Tralfaz some months ago. It was not to be. June died last July. However, we’ll put up the posts nonetheless to remember her wonderful voice work, most of which you were likely never exposed to.

June recorded countless commercials over her career; trade magazines claimed she was the busiest voiceover actress in Hollywood. She recorded for at least three different banks, as well as Sears, Ford and, well, a list would be pointless. She looped dialogue in films. And, of course, she was heard in who-knows-how-many cartoons, the first of which was The Unbearable Bear at Warners, recorded in 1942, for which, studio records show, she was paid $25 (Keith Scott’s tireless research found that).

Her first job at Hanna-Barbera was with a more bearable bear—Yogi—in Bear on a Picnic (early 1959). Evidently Bill Hanna and/or Joe Barbera didn’t want Don Messick playing a woman’s role in falsetto as had been done a number of times at the studio. Foray had recorded voice tracks at MGM when Hanna and Barbera were directing there in the mid-‘50s. She went on to a number of other parts and series at H-B we won’t try to mention.

This story has nothing to do with Hanna-Barbera. It’s the earliest article I can find on June’s career. It’s in the July 1, 1945 edition of Radio Life, a Los Angeles based radio magazine. She was very busy even back then.

She Never Says “No!”
June Foray’s Policy Is Never to Say No to Producer’s Wanting Strange or Unusual Voices; She Can Do ‘em All

WHEN tiny, 4' 11 ", 100 lb. June Foray steps to the microphone (quite often she uses "Little Beaver's" on "Red Ryder") an audience smiles approvingly. "Isn't she cute?" they whisper.
Suddenly they may be shocked into stunned silence. For from this dainty little figure might come the sound of a hoarse kiss (which is pretty ghastly) or on the more subdued side, hiccups, sniffles or screams.
Whenever a producer wants the impossible performed on his radio show, he sends for June. "Can you do such and such ?" he asks. "Yes," answers June.
"But how do you know you can do it ?" we asked the little actress while having tea with her.
"I don't," she confessed. "But I never say no or I never experiment. I just do it."
Sound effects aren't June's only talent. She is just as well-known for her wacky old ladies, dialects and very-moving dramatic performances. She recently did a "straight" part on Norman Corwin's Special V-E Day show.
Did School Program
In 1936 she made her debut on radio by reading poetry. Then followed three years as "Lady Make Believe," a program which was piped directly into Los Angeles City schools. June wrote the program herself.
Today she has nine regular shows including "Sherlock Holmes,""Holly wood Mystery Time,""Red Ryder,” "Which Is Which,""That's A Good Idea,""Romance of' the Ranchos,” and "This Is My Story."
Married to an Army officer, who is in Texas at present, June occupies an apartment in Hollywood. She possesses an unlimited amount of energy and divides her time between what she calls "politics" (she's an active member of the Hollywood Democratic Committee) and her duties as a member of the AFRA board. That isn't all. Since June of 1942 she has regularly been making camp show appearances.
Being such an active person, she admits that although she doesn't follow a schedule, she writes notes to herself. They all start "Dear June" and end with "Love, June." She follows them religiously.
She likes keeping house. Her family lives nearby and so she has little time to be lonely. At home she wears shorts—or nothing at all. She drives a 1937 Chevvy. She likes portraying wacky old ladies and thinks the most unusual thing she does is the little boy on the Gallen-Kamp commercial.
In Movies
Because of her unlimited knowledge of sound effects and dialects, she is in demand for a lot of work for motion pictures. She was the baby cry in Paramount's "Dr. Wassell." In the forthcoming "Kitty" she hiccoughs for Paulette Goddard.
Once she was to do whooping coughs for a screen child. Having no idea what the coughs sounded like she received special permission to visit a hospital ward and listen to them. “They were the most wracking sounds I'd ever heard,” she recalled, “and I nearly wrecked my throat perfecting them.”
Once they had been perfected and "dubbed" into the sound track, the producer and director found them so unpleasant to the ear that they cut them out and gave the child diphtheria instead. "All in a day's work," June observed.