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Flintstones Weekend Comics, September 1967

That nasty word “strike” wasn’t heard about Hanna-Barbera until August 1979 when there was a ten-day walkout by IATSE members (against the wishes of the union president) protesting runaway production. But Fred Flintstone was calling for one in the comics 50 years ago this month. Fred’s militancy weakens in the face of Wilma’s concern about money (and a mother-in-law joke is tossed in as well).

Alas, Richard Holliss did not have a colour version of the September 3rd comic in his collection. This shaky-scanned black and white version will have to do. Pterodactyl Airlines is apparently out of business; perhaps it violated safety laws. It’s too bad the first panel in the second row isn’t more readable. Note the silhouette ptero in the hanger in the background. And Fred suffers from Instant Watch Syndrome, where a character wears a watch only as needed in the plot and then it disappears again. As Pebbles might say: “Mekle zaba da!”

A visual pun ends the September 10th comic. Tsk. And no child car seat. How did kids in unmotor vehicles survive in the Stone Age? I like the dinosaur that seemingly likes to squat on roads.

Someone should tell Wilma that one of the ideas behind a strike is to get better pay. Regardless, Fred (who is wearing blue this month) is insistent until he hears about linoleum in the bathroom (Linoleum? In the Stone Age?) and having to entertain Wilma’s mother. The September 17th comic features the only appearance of Barney Rubble this month. Pebbles gets the week off. Too bad the union local isn’t 839.

This story is my favourite of the money. The expressions are really good, especially the Fred yell and the “I can’t win” one at the end. Note the scurrying Pebbles. Any more dialogue would have hurt the comic. This is from September 24th.

Click on any of the comics to make them larger.

Quick Draw and Quack Drawn

The Hanna-Barbera rule book states on the third half of page 13: “All duck hunting in the aforementioned studio’s cartoons will fail.” Nobody should know better than your felicitous friend Yowp after an unsuccessful bid at bagging Biddy Buddy. (Apparently, this line was written by Charlie Shows).

This unbreakable law does not just apply to Biddy Buddy and his later incarnation of Yakky Doodle. Witness this mini-cartoon between the cartoons from the Quick Draw McGraw Show, brought to you in Eastmancolor film that has degraded to a magnificent magenta.

Quick Draw asks Augie what Doggie Daddy is up to. Daddy explains he’ll attract ducks if puts on a duck suit. Off he goes quacking. All he attracts is hunters. You know what happens.

Doggie Daddy then points out to us that the suit also attracts duck hunters. Quick Draw then informs the next attraction is an Augie Doggie cartoon.

There isn’t a lot of animation in this. Judging by the shapes of the mouths and the fact they’re sliding around the face, I would say this little cartoon was animated by Mike Lah. I don’t know when he left the Hanna-Barbera studio; he isn’t credited after the first season of the Huckleberry Hound Show (1958-59). It could he was working on commercials for the studio or he could have animated this on a freelance basis (Lah for many years was at Quartet Films, eventually running the company).

Too bad for Doggie Daddy that this bumper wasn’t made about ten years later. Networks don’t seem to have let any cartoon character fire a gun then. Bad for the kiddies, you know.

Mr Jinks' Bungled Birthday

Here’s another Dell Comic adventure with Mr. Jinks and those miserable meeces. The cover date is September 1961 but would have hit stands some time earlier.

Kay Wright is apparently responsible for the artwork here. There was an animated cartoon called “Party Peeper Jinks” (aired November 1960) with an entirely different plot. In that one, Jinks refused to invite Pixie and Dixie to his birthday party, so they get even with him. In this one, the meeces throw a party for Jinks (how did they get the birthday cake out of their mouse hole?) but the cat mistakes their motives. And how does a cat buy a civil war cannon at an auction?

And here’s a one-pager, again by Kay Wright.

The pages can be enlarged by clicking on them.

From the Mouths of Bears

Here’s one of those scenes you have to watch animated to appreciate the subtlety of the movement. Yogi’s mouth forms all kinds of shapes when he speaks. His head tilts ever-so-slightly at times. Sometimes Yogi moves a bit, sometimes Huck moves a bit.

The shapes and movement sure remind me of Ed Love’s animation. Love didn’t animate any cartoons at Hanna-Barbera during the first season of the Huck show when this was done; his first cartoons were in 1959. And I wonder if Mike Lah did the layouts.

Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, October 1967

Head Ranger, Ranger General, Obese Ranger, Ranger Smith. Jellystone Park wasn’t loaded for bear. It was loaded with rangers in the weekend comics 50 years ago this month. In fact, Boo Boo makes only one appearance in the five comics of October 1967.

In the October 1st comic, the head ranger from Washington, D.C. decide to visit Jellystone. Naturally, Ranger Smith doesn’t call on any of his staff to get things ready. He gets a bear he’s not all that happy with to do it.

Friendly Yogi gets revenge on a nasty ranger in the October 8th comic. I like how the ZIP is sideways and how the obese ranger has multiple heads as he looks around; just like an in-between in animation.

We’ve got a silhouette drawing in the middle row of the October 15th comic. Yogi hears a rip and enquires “Rip?!” That makes sense, I suppose. Ranger Smith isn’t in this comic; this errant football tossing is dealt with by the Ranger General. I didn’t realise footballs made noises like “Thop” and “Zap.”

Ranger Smith’s kid damages the house? Maybe it’s not the babysitter that’s the problem, Mrs. Ranger. Yogi doesn’t rhyme at all in the October 22nd comic. Again, nice expressions in the punch-line panel.

A doctor taking a rifle to Yogi?! Yeah, it’s a pun on “shot,” but I think Doc had better prescribe himself some relaxants. Or maybe take a calming walk in the woods. I like how Yogi goes to see a human doctor. I guess the bear’s annoyed with the doc (rightfully) calling him flabby and decides to play a gag in this October 29th comic.

Richard Holliss again supplied the colour comics from his collection.

Yakky Doodle in All’s Well That Eats Well

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Carlo Vinci, Layout – Lance Nolley, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Written by Tony Benedict, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Narrator, Alfie Gator – Daws Butler; Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Alfie Gator tries to eat Yakky Doodle.

Tony Benedict was a big fan of the TV show Alfred Hitchcock Presents, so he decided to parody it in the Yakky Doodle cartoons by creating Alfie Gator, who speaks somewhat in a Hitchcock manner and employs some of the devices used on the noted director’s anthology show—walking into an outline of his body, lighting turning him into a silhouette, using formalised language to go into and out of commercial breaks. It’s all pretty amusing in cartoon form; as a child, I had either seen enough promos or bits of the Hitchcock programme to get all the references.

One thing about Alfie must have really pleased budget-conscious Bill Hanna; it was the same thing that annoyed Frank Tashlin at Warner’s about Porky Pig—it took forever for Alfie to talk. He was slow and breathy (as was Hitchcock). On top of that, Jimmy Weldon enunciated slowly for Yakky so people could understand him (not like that Darn Old Duck at Disney). So the two characters stood there and yapped. It didn’t make for interesting visuals, but it saved money on animation.

Basically, the Alfie Gator cartoons are spot-gag cartoons. Alfie tells the audience what he’s going to. He fails. He comments to the audience on his failure. Fade out to next gag.

Four cartoons were made with Alfie. This was the first one. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe it’s the only Yakky cartoon that opens with a narrator.

Narrator: Once upon a time, there was a little duck named Yakky Doodle who had a terrible eating problem.
Yakky (to audience): That’s right. Everybody wants to eat me.
Narrator (happily): Yes, everyone wanted to eat poor Yakky. Well, strangely enough, not far away, was someone else with an eating problem.
The scene fades to Alfie, holding his gourmet’s guide. Hoyt Curtin’s cue based on the Hitchcock theme “Funeral March of a Marionette” is heard in the background. Alfie turns to the camera and wishes us “Good afternoon.” He informs us that roast duck is on his menu, but he hasn’t got “the prime ingredient.” Yakky strolls into the scene. “Woe is me! Woe is me! Why was I born a duck instead of a hippopotamus? Woe is me! Woooooe is me!” Alfie continues: “I hope you will excuse me (breathes), but for those of you who weren’t paying attention (breathes), that was a duck, today’s specialty of the house.”

One of the things I like about Yakky in this cartoon is he sticks up for himself. He’s not naïve (let alone ignorant) or needs protection like he does when Chopper is around. Yakky uses a sling shot to shoot a rock into Alfie’s mouth. “Hmmm (breathes). One of my favourite desserts. (breaths) Rock candy,” puns the gator.

The next scene fades in. “Hello, again,” Alfie says to us, and explains (to “advance the plot”) his trip wire/rock contraption. But Yakky’s smart enough to spot the trap and fly over it. Alfie can’t stop in time. Crash goes the rock.

Fade to next scene. Alfie is in a tree, holding a rope with a loop on the ground. Yakky again sees the trap, grabs the rope and pulls the gator who smashes on the ground. Now comes the most predictable line of the cartoon: “See ya later, alligator,” shouts Yakky, as he rushes out of the picture. Time for a Hitchcock-like break. “I shall return after a brief fade out,” says the accurate alligator, as the scene fades out and fades in again. “Welcome back,” we’re greeted with. Alfie is now wearing a backpack with a rotor over his head to enable him to fly and catch the duck in mid-air. “I shall only pursue you,” he says to Yakky, “until you tire.” “Or,” adds the smarter-than-the-average duck, “if you run out gas.” “A point I overlooked,” Alfie remarks as he again crashes to the ground.

The hunt is over. The alligator concedes defeat. “Relax, little friend, I’m not going to eat you. It’s much too dangerous a task...My gourmet guide suggests I watch the Late, Late Show and enjoy a frozen TV dinner. (breathes) People have been known to live on them for years.

Cut to the partial outline of the gator, a la Hitchcock. Curtin’s “March” cue returns. “So, if you will kindly excuse me,” Alfie says as he walks into the outline. “I should like to wish you a fervent (breathes) good night.” With that, the cartoon ends.

Carlo Vinci animates this cartoon, and some of his trademarks are here. The diving exits for one.

Carlo also used the same leg angle when he did run cycles or, in this case, a skid/run cycle.

And there’s a position he animated on exits as well; I’ve seen it in Yogi Bear and Jetsons cartoons and a few Terrytoons. One arm is out, the back of the head is stretched, and the wrist on the other arm is at an angle.

Bob Gentle’s backgrounds are reminiscent of Florida, featuring tall grass and moss hanging from tree branches.

We’ve talked about Curtin’s cues. Other than when Yakky is “woeing” when the music’s a little too happy/tinkly, the music pretty much suits the cartoon.

Fighting Cartoon Rigor Mortis

It was a great story, maybe a better story than in any of their cartoons. Two guys unceremoniously shunted out of the door, overcoming rejection after rejection to become a huge success, making history in winning an Emmy and, now, coming up with a brand-new gimmick—a prime-time cartoon series that wasn’t for kids.

No wonder linotype machines across the U.S. clattered away with the story of Hanna-Barbera in 1960.

Here’s one from the New York Post, July 5, 1960. It’s not only plugging the coming debut of The Flintstones, but it’s nibbled at the bait of the riches-to-almost rags-to-riches story of the studio.

This story mentions a few Flintstoney things that must have been part of a publicity handout, things I keep going “hunh?” about. There’s a reference to the Young Cave Men’s Association. I don’t recall it ever showing up in the series. The story also talks about an “adobe hut.” I always thought the houses in Bedrock were made of, well, bedrock, with a slab roof. And this is yet another story that refers to Fred’s car having fins. Did it ever? I can picture Ed Benedict designing cars with them.

Poor Bea Benaderet’s name gets misspelled once more. Maxie Rosenbloom appeared in the prowler episode. For years, I thought it was Alan Reed, who used to do a Maxie Rosenbloom type voice. Rosenbloom auditioned for Top Cat but lost to Arnold Stang.

On the Air

When Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera got their walking papers from MGM three years ago, they had every reason to believe they were "all washed up."
Rigor mortis had set in on the animated cartoon industry.
"For 20 years," said Barbera, "we'd been doing the 'Tom and Jerry' cartoons for MGM. We never missed a year for 18 years being nominated for an Oscar. We actually won seven Oscars.
"But MGM said there was no longer any market in motion pictures for cartoons.
"We went around to the TV industry and they said there was no place in TV for cartoons—new ones, at least.
"We couldn't believe it. They were still playing back stuff from the movies which was at least 20 years old. Fortunately we were able to come up with some new characters which made the old stuff look even older."
● ● ●
In Hollywood Hanna and Barbera were running the biggest animated cartoon studio in the world.
"Huckleberry Hound," the most successful TV character, had an Emmy award as the season's "Best Children's Show."
"Quick Draw McGraw" and "Ruff and Reddy" were also prospering.
In addition, Hanna and Barbera were hard at work on the first animated cartoon series aimed at an adult audience, "The Flintstones," which will run in an 8:30 p.m. Friday time slot on ABC next fall.
"We owe it all to 'Huckleberry,'" said Barberra [sic]. "'Huck' somehow picked up an adult audience as well as the children. The Yale Alumni magazine chose it as a favorite show. The Navy named a Pacific Island after it. Somebody suggested an adult cartoon. That's how 'The Flintstones' came into being.'"
● ● ●
Tentative fall schedules of the three networks promise nothing strikingly "new" in TV fare. "The Flintstones," at least, looms as something remarkably "different."
"The Flintstones" are a Stone Age family that runs into the same social pressures as those confronting contemporary split-level society.
"It's something of a satire on our modern society," said Barbera.
They wear "skins," of course. The ladies' skins are "beaded."
"At first, we had them in modern dress," said Barbera, "but they looked too much like TV commercials."
A TV antenna juts up from the roof of the family's adobe hut. Fred carries a flip-top lighter which, when it opens, consists of two crossed twigs. He belongs to the YCMA (Young Cavemen's Assn.). He works for the "Rockbed and Quarry Cave Construction Co." as the operator of a "dinosaur" (which works like a construction crane).
Fred's car has rock wheels and "fins." The family also has a convertible (with thatched roof). The family breakfasts on "dodo eggs." They share a "swimming pool" with their neighbors, "The Rubbles." In the first episode, Fred holds a "cook out" in the backyard.
"We're getting a wonderful opportunity in this for satire," said Barbera. "Up to now, we've always done animals. We never considered the great possibilities of portraying humans. "There'll be a little bit of everybody in it."
The "voices" are being recorded by such veterans as Bea Benadaret (of the George and Gracie series), Mel Blanc, Maxie Rosenbloom.
● ● ●
It would seem that Hanna and Barbera took those MGM walking papers and walked off with the TV cartoon market.
"Since we sold The Flintstones,'" said Barbera, "about 30 pilot projects for animated cartoons have been put on the market. The imitators are growing every week.
"We don't, of course, know where they're going to get the necessary artistic help. We've already employed practically all the top talent in town, including the staff we worked with at MGM."

Snagglepuss in Lion Tracks

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Art Davis, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snagglepuss, Worker wearing vest, Chutney – Daws Butler; Major Minor, Worker with red kerchief, Jack, Railroad President – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Major Minor tries to push the railway through Snagglepuss’ cave.

There’s a funny little scene in Lion Tracks that reminds me of Bugs Bunny pulling a con job on Yosemite Sam by mixing him up. Major Minor has been hired by the railway to get Snagglepuss out of his mountain cave so tracks can be laid through it. Says the Major: “The trains must go through, and all that pioneer jazz. So, pack and go.” Snagglepuss replies: “You mean like wagon trains?” He then pretends to be a horse and rider, slapping his butt and yelling at himself to giddyup. “No, by Gadfrey! I mean trains, like ‘Chugga chugga chugga. Choo choo choo!’”

The major is now completely distracted from his goal of removing Snagglepuss. The two chant “Chugga chugga chugga” and move toward Snagglepuss’ door. When the Major’s out, the mountain lion yells “Last stop, even!” and slams the door shut. The Major realises he’s had and burns. Well, burns as much as you can in limited animation.

There’s actually another bit that’s even closer to a Warners cartoon. Snagglepuss induces the Major to be his basket trick assistant and continues shoving swords into the basket (cut to a shot of the Major in the basket surrounded by swords) until one finally stabs him and sends him yelling into the sky. It’s a switch on a sword-trunk gag in Racketeer Rabbit (released in 1946) where Bugs shoves swords into a trunk where Rocky is hiding. That cartoon was written by Mike Maltese who wrote all the Snagglepuss cartoons.

Maltese has a compact little story here. As mentioned, the Choo Choo Railroad Co. is laying its tracks when work stops. A mountain’s in the way. Aha! There’s a cave, a ready-made tunnel through the mountain. The cave (with a door) turns out to be Snagglepuss’ home. He keeps trying to explain through the cartoon there are two reasons why a railroad can’t go through the cave, but he only gets the first one out (“a lion’s home is his cast-le”) before being continually interrupted and unable to give the second reason.

Snagglepuss fends off the construction crew, so a call is placed to the president of the railroad who, in turn, calls his “old school chum, Major Minor, the lion hunter” at the Adventurers Club, who agrees to “rout the recalcitrant beast immediately.”

Cut to the Major and his rifle at Snagglepuss’ door (as “Meet the Flintstones” in march time plays in the background) who uses the trusty Wamoozie Jungle Lion Call of “Racka, Wacka, Woo-ooo, Woo-woo!” to lure him out. That brings about the usual tete-a-tete between the two.

Major: I thought I belted you with a basher in the Bongo.
Snagglepuss: Au contraire, Major. You bashed me with a bongo below the Veldt. But I recovered.
After being frustrated during the initial “chugga chugga” routine, the Major weakly disguises himself with a red moustache and pretends to be a talent scout for the Dingaling Brothers Jolly Circus (“I’ll work on his love of show business”) to make Snagglepuss a phoney offer to leave immediately on a world tour. Snagglepuss insists it’s preposterous to give him a job without an audition, so he enthusiastically shows the “scout” his act. If this were a Bugs Bunny cartoon, the rabbit would be aware of the disguise, but Snagglepuss doesn’t seem to realise it’s the Major. No matter. His juggling act ends with bowling balls crashing on the Major’s head (“I must be a little rusty. Stale, even.”). Next comes the basket trick mentioned earlier.

The Major’s had enough. He engineers the train straight through the cave (who needs tracks?) and crashes through the other side of the mountain and into mid-air. Ah, that’s the second reason the railroad can’t go through. No place for the tracks. The train and the major drop off screen and the camera shakes.

The cartoon ends with Snagglepuss answering a call for the Major. “No. He left in a choo-choo train. Where? He was headin’ south. Deep south, that is.” Snagglepuss hangs up the phone, gives out another “chugga chugga chugga” as a short playoff cue fills the sound track to end the action.

There’s nothing in Hicks Lokey’s animation to point out. Here are some more of Bob Gentle’s backgrounds—the desert with the plateaux in the distance, the interior of Snagglepuss’ cave, a close-up of the cave entrance (the front part of the mountain is on an overlay so Snagglepuss can emerge through the door, and an angular viewpoint of the mountain without any sign of Snag’s door.

Flintstones Weekend Comics, October 1967

It’s the far-out, groovin’ 60s, man, and that means sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Okay, no drugs. And not really any sex, either, in the Flintstones weekend newspaper comics 50 years ago this month. Though it seems like that Annie’s a swingin’ chick. She’s got two boy-friends! Ya dig?

Man, that Fred’s uptight about long hair. “Make a man out of him?!” Hey, chill, man. Look at Wilma rolling her eyes at her old man in the October 1st comic. Right on! Peace out! What? They got their hair tangled up? Bummer.

You know, I grew up in the ‘60s and I swear people actually did talk like that. And when I was in Grade 6, one of the guys in the Grade 7 class got sent home from school because his hair was over his ears.

We get Pops for two weeks in a row, starting October 8th. Nice golf togs, Barney. Arnold Palmstone?! That’s not even a pun. How about Chi Chi Rockriguez?

The multiples of Fred in the middle panel, last row, are pretty nice. So is that final panel. It’s a shame the scan of the October 15th comic is so poor. I like how there are different perspectives on Fred and Wilma in the car. The name “Tom Gaukel” is a puzzler. It’s not the usual “rock”/”stone” addition to a regular name. I wonder if he was a friend of whomever wrote this comic.

Earlier this month, Annie was Wilma’s niece. In the October 22nd comic, she’s Fred’s niece. Make up your mind, writers. Anyway, she’s got a different boyfriend now with a tortoise shell as hood and engine compartment of a car. Nice of the one cop in the final row to basically call Fred a pervert.

Fred, Wilma, Betty and Barney get to be in the same panel twice on October 29th. Again, sorry for the poor scan.

You can click on any of the comics to make them bigger. Richard Holliss supplied the colour ones again this month.

The Jetsons – The Little Man

“Rook at the rimp! Rook at the rimp!” That’s about all anyone recalls from the Jetsons episode “The Little Man.”

One of the things I like about the series is the futuristic inventions, all based on something grounded in the present (egs., a visual telephone, robots, a machine that dispenses food pills). There really isn’t much of that in this episode. There’s one machine that shrinks everyone. Other than that, this episode consists of a bunch of short jokes and short puns. Oh, and there’s the standard, Hanna-Barbera I-don’t-believe-what-I-see traffic cop. I wish I could get more excited about the plot, but I can’t.

The first few minutes of the cartoon are spent in another Spacely vs Cogswell battle. It sets up the plot but, boy, talk about two unlikeable characters. And the laugh track. “Quite, Spacely! Can’t you see I’m putting?” says Cogswell. The laugh track thinks that’s funny. I don’t get the joke. I feel bad for the studio because, if this was a situation like The Flintstones, ABC imposed the laugh track on them. Cogswell smacks Spacely with a golf club that smashes through the Visiphone and Spacely bops him with a bowling ball.

Next sequence: George Jetson shows he’s more than just a button-pusher. He’s an engineer who can fix mechanised hardware and accurately diagnose its problems. With that kind of talent, he should be a company vice-president! (Actually, this is one cartoon that avoids the “Vice President Jetson) bit). Anyway, Jetson is correct when he says the Mini-Van, a reducing machine, can’t un-reduce anything. Jetson is shrunk to about six inches tall. Let the puns begin! Spacely: “Are you trying make me look small in front of Cogswell.” It turns out the machine doesn’t work because it has a worn-out (on a new machine?) Cogswell cog and needs to be replaced. Apparently, no other cog will do and they cannot be bought retail. “Oh brother, I had a feeling I would end up on the short end,” says George.

The laugh track chuckles away when the next scene starts, showing Jetson’s car flying on its own. There’s a scene where Jetson stares straight at the camera. There are a bunch of them in this cartoon, including the policeman in this sequence. My guess is Hugh Fraser is the animator for a good portion of the cartoon up to now. Later, I spotted a Carlo Vinci rubbery head-shake take like in one of the early Yogi Bear cartoons. I don’t know who else animated on this. Oh, yes, the ubiquitous traffic cop. His cruiser smashes into the back of George’s car which stops suddenly. “Rassin, drassin, rassin,” grumbles the officer who evidently is a fan of Muttley cartoons (Don Messick, who voiced Muttley, also does the cop). “Pull yourself together, O’Ranium,” he says to himself after seeing the small Jetson. “You’ve been working too hard. When I start seein’ little guys flyin’ around, it’s time to retire to that chicken ranch I have up on that asteroid.

Next sequence: George at home. Jane doesn’t catch on right away that George has shrunk. And then... the take is a two-drawing cycle, animated on twos.

Pun: Jane: “You look like an insect.” George: “Do you have to bug me, too?”

Now a bunch of too-small jokes that would work with any character that has been shrunk in size. George can’t control a turkey leg and falls off the dining table. He is covered in salt. He can’t control a milk glass and lets the glass fall on top of him. He finally drinks the milk out of a baby bottle. He’s swallowed by the powerfully-snoring Astro. He showers in the sink. He sips coffee from a cup through a straw. He’s licked by Astro and sails into the coffee cup.

The next sequence is fairly straight-forward. At Cogswell’s head office/factory, George gets past two guards (with ‘C’ for ‘Cogswell’ on their belts) due to his height but is caught by Cogswell, who taunts him with the necessary cog. George is crafty, though (at least in this cartoon). He kicks Cogswell, Cogswell drops the cog, and George escapes with it. That’s despite Cogswell’s attempt to use a fly swatter on him; Jetson goes right through it (“After a century of brilliant scientific progress, you’d think someone would invent a decent flyswatter”) then a golf club; it wraps around Cogswell’s neck after missing him (“I knew I should have used a five iron”); finally, he gets out from under a glass by sticking a pin (where did THAT come from) in Cogswell’s hand.

Back at Spacely Sprockets, George fixes the machine and become regular size again. Meanwhile, Spacely shows up in overalls and, with an Austrian accent, pretends to be a repairman to fix Mini-Van. Spacely looks at Cogswell’s butt. “I’d recognise that sneaky Cogswell anywhere.” George activates the machine, the two jerk tycoons become shrunk, the Mini-Van malfunctions and can’t be fixed for a week when a new fuse arrives. Spacely and Cogswell spend the rest of the scene bashing each other over the head with playing cards.

Back at the Jetson home. What’s for dinner? Shrimp! “Rook at the rimp! Rook at the rimp!” adds Astro as a variation on the Jetsons’ B-theme plays to end the cartoon.

No surprises on the soundtrack when it comes to music; you’ll recognise all the music. Besides the regular voice cast (O’Hanlon, Singleton, Butler and Waldo) and recurring characters (Blanc as Spacely, Butler as Cogswell), Messick does some incidental characters. The secretary with two lines at the start of the cartoon is a conundrum. It really sounds like Gerry Johnson, but this cartoon aired January 13, 1963 and Johnson didn’t arrive at the studio until that March, if a contemporary story in Variety is accurate. It’s not Janet Waldo. The only other person it could be is Penny Singleton. Waldo always said Singleton only did one voice on the show but that’s not true; she did a couple of small incidentals. So my educated guess is Singleton is the secretary.

Go to this post and see some storyboard drawings and the opening background.

Hanna-Barbera Golden Record Covers

A few months ago in response to a post about Hanna-Barbera Golden Records, reader Dan O’Connell kindly sent us a note, along with scans of covers in his collection that weren’t part of the post.

We’ve put up a few of these over the years with links to the music, but here’s what he passed along to us.

We linked to some of the songs in this post, though I understand the mp3 player doesn’t work in all browsers (They play fine for me). We warn you that Golden Records never used the original Hanna-Barbera voices for contractual reasons (Screen Gems had them tied up for its Colpix label) and, in some cases, featured music that bore no resemblance to the cartoon theme songs.

You'd Rather Have the Real Thing, Fellas?

Three different expressions from Huckleberry Hound at the start of one of those little cartoons-between-the-cartoons on his show. You can’t tell from the stills but in this scene, Huck moves his head and body a fair bit, certainly more than in the actual cartoons.

Pixie and Dixie have some good expressions. Here’s one after the kick from firing the rifle knocks Dixie to the ground.

The meeces win a Mr. Jinks doll. They aren’t happy.

Jinks pops up. “Uh, you’d rather have the real thing fellas?” Look at the eyes in the second frame.

The meeces scram. Jinks laughs. I counted 16 different head positions on Jinksie after the meeces leave to the fade out a few seconds later.

It must be time for a Pixie and Dixie cartoon.

Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, November 1967

Though his vocabulary at the office around deadline time may not have suggested it, Bill Hanna was a Boy Scout and had been a big supporter of the organisation through to the end of his life. Perhaps that’s the reason Scouts show up somewhat frequently in the Yogi Bear newspaper comics.

This month 50 years ago, two of the four weekend comics involved Scouts, another highlights groovy teenagers and their far-out music, and the other has construction workers attempting to eat lunch. “Attempting” is the operative word here.

Before anything else, let me thank Richard Holliss for the colour tabloid version of the comics from his collection.

Boo Boo is kind of a substitute kid when it comes to plots, so it figures Boo Boo is only in the comic this month that doesn’t include kids. I always like how the artist in these comics has animals on or around the “Yogi Bear” lettering in the opening panel. These artists not only had to draw funny animals, humans and forest settings, sometimes they were called upon to sketch fairly realistic machinery, cars, trucks and such. In the November 5th comic, it’s a construction crane. This comic marks Ranger Smith’s only appearance of the month.

Hey, Kevin, this is why the other kids won’t play with you. Don’t tie a boat motor in a Boy Scout knot. At least, I presume he’s responsible. The November 12th comic also features a nice, little goony-eyed expression from our favourite Jellystone bear.

Winter? Hibernation? Fah! Not for Yogi Bear. He just puts on a scarf and away he goes. In the November 19th comic, he’s entrusted to lead a bunch of hyperactive Scouts. The panel compositions are very attractive here, with a good use of foreground and background. The characters always seem to read well in a Yogi comic no matter where they are. I especially like the long panels in the second and last rows.

Transistor radios are in! Okay, they were 50 years ago when we’d sneak them into class and listen to the World Series. Now people get score updates sent their handhelds. It’s about as much fun as reading a teletype. Oh, I’m getting off track a bit.

The November 26th has the Now Generation tuning in to the latest boss tunes. Little Kevin reappears. He’s kind of a luckless kid, isn’t he? I wonder if whoever wrote this knew there was a Radio Shack, supplying inexpensive stuff that kept some of those boss rock stations on the air. Here is their 1967 catalogue.

The writer uses the names of some real bands with an odd exception. The guy listening to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band parody kind of looks like Jerry Eisenberg. If this comic had been written two years earlier, the bands might have included The Thirteenth Floor Elevators, Positively Thirteen O’Clock and The Guilloteens, all of whom, not uncoincidentally, were released on the Hanna-Barbera label. Read more about it right here from the Mighty Musical Mite of Mount Mackie, Kliph Nesteroff.

Yakky Doodle in Foxy Friends

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Bob Carr, Layouts – Dan Noonan, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Art David, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hansen.
Voice Cast: Bigelow – Doug Young; Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Fibber Fox, Big Brother – Daws Butler.
Music: Hoyt Curtin
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions
Plot: Bigelow the mouse tries to stop Fibber Fox from eating Yakky Doodle for lunch.

“Oh, no! A hero mouse! What’s the world coming to?” exclaims Fibber Fox.

Yes, it’s Bigelow, the mouse with the Jimmy Cagney voice and tough-guy persona and...and...well, nothing else.

Mike Maltese continued to drop Bigelow into the cartoon series he wrote—Augie Doggie, Snagglepuss—perhaps thinking there was something amusing about a miniature tough guy. I’m really at a loss to think of a lot of funny things Bigelow ever said or did. And there are certainly none in this cartoon.

He pushes a garbage can along a street as Fibber Fox falls toward it. “Happy landing, you big bully,” he says. When Fibber crashes into it, “Glad your dropped in, chum.” Then he shoves the can rolling into a construction pit. “Goodbye, knucklehead,” is his parting comment.

Fibber, who could be witty, just isn’t in this cartoon. “Well, gosh! If you can’t take a little joke, well, gee whiz!” is the best Fibber can muster after Bigelow lights his paper airplane on fire. The best pun he has is when he drops the garbage can over Bigelow then adds “And no cover charge, either,” before slamming the lid on. But there are times that he is sailing through the air or plummeting to the ground where he really doesn’t react at all. I’m sure Bill Hanna appreciated the cost saving of sliding a cel of a drawing over a background.

Yeah, Maltese had to churn out a story a week for Hanna-Barbera, so they all couldn’t be gems.

There’s one scene that evokes memories of his days at Warner Bros. Bigelow points to a cannon in a park and shouts to Fibber “The mouse is in there! The mouse is in there!” Fibber falls for it just as Yosemite Sam or Elmer Fudd would do. Naturally, because this is a cartoon, the cannon is live, even though it is a monument from 1891, and Fibber is fired into a police telephone on a pole. “Well, for heaven’s sake! How long do I have to wait? All I want is a doctor,” he says into the mouthpiece.

Then there’s a scene where Yakky and Bigelow start blowing up balloons to lift themselves into the air. There’s no preparatory dialogue; they just go ahead and do it. And the running gag to set up the ending doesn’t come until halfway through the cartoon. Just about every tired old impression of Cagney included the phrase “You dirty rat!” and something to do with “my brother.” Maltese brings Bigelow’s brother into the plot, as the mouse threatens the fox with him, and then the brother shows up toward the end, scaring Fibber out of the cartoon. (Daws Butler gives the brother a dopey kind of English accent). Yakky observes “Boy, Bigelow, your brother is big.” The mouse responds with “That’s right. My brother’s big, all right. But he ain’t tough. Like me, see?” Then the two laugh to end the cartoon with one of Hoyt Curtin’s familiar playoff cues in the background.

The cartoon does give you a chance to count how many times Yakky, Fibber, Bigelow or any combination thereof run past the same box shrubbery in the background. Bob Gentle is the background artist in this cartoon. He also painted courthouse/city hall clock tower. As soon as I saw the way the bricks and some of the roof boards had a thick outline, I thought “Oh, it looks likes Bob Gentle.”

There’s nothing distinctive about Bob Carr’s animation in this cartoon and all the Curtin cues are short and familiar.

The House Built By a Hound

Quick quiz: who were the first three employees of H-B Enterprises on July 7, 1957?

We know there are three because an article in the Christian Science Monitor of October 22, 1963 says so. And we know who they are because a photo of the ribbon-cutting on the company’s office on opening day appears in Mike Barrier’s book Hollywood Cartoons. Frankly, I would have guessed one was Mike Lah, Bill Hanna’s brother-in-law who was asked to invest in the company but didn’t, and maybe Ed Benedict, who designed the studio’s first characters and could both lay out and animate a cartoon (he was Paul Fennell’s art director for a while in the 50s). No, the correct answer is writer Charlie Shows (from Disney), layout artist Dick Bickenbach and production man Howard Hanson (both from MGM).

By the time this article was written, H-B Enterprises had changed its corporate name and moved out of the Kling Studios on La Brea and were ensconced in a custom-built studio familiar to all fans (1963 photo of studio and what looks like a 1957 Plymouth to the far left courtesy of Jerry Eisenberg and Tony Benedict). It talks about the start of the studio, a familiar tale, and then how cartoons are made. Even though the animation is limited, the process is still elaborate and not really much different than a theatrical cartoon.

Success Story of a Cartoon
Hound Helps Build a Business

By Everett M. Smith
Hollywood, Calif.
Several of the top stars of movies and television are carrying out their active careers here today in a modern “dog house”—a house built by a hound.
Residents of this movie capital and its Greater Los Angeles environs long have become accustomed to the outward, and even the inner appearances of conventional movie studios—their streets of false-fronted buildings and their huge indoor sound stages.
Most residents, too, along with visitors, have glimpsed many of the stars of movie and TV off stage, and all are familiar with the star-studded sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard.
Yet it is doubtful if one person in ten thousand, passing the new three-story, two-acre home of Hanna-Barbera Productions in the historic Cahuenga Pass would ever associate the office-like building with either movies or TV. Even the stars, themselves, never are seen outside the building.
But, inside—third location since they teamed up in 1957—William Hanna and Joseph Barbera are carrying out a fresh new concept for producing audio-animation for TV and movies.
Here, in a brief six years, these two former cartoonists for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer have grown steadily from a staff of three—(a writer, an animator, and a cameraman)—to a fast-growing firm now numbering nearly 300 artists, animators, writers, and directors.
This is actually a modern cartoon factory, and their TV shows include Huckleberry Hound (whose antics made the new building possible), The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, The Jetsons, Quick-Draw McGraw, Touché Turtle, and Top Cat—shows seen by more than 300 million viewers weekly throughout the world.
The shows are currently syndicated in more than 42 countries, and right now the first is working on its first full-length feature starring Yogi Bear, a 90-minute movie for release next spring.
In addition, H-B is engaged in the production of industrial films as well as commercials, both animated and live action, for many of the country’s leading firms.
It all began in the spring of 1957 when a phone rang and Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, who had just racked up their twentieth year and seventh Academy Award making “Tom and Jerry” cartoons for MGM, were told to discontinue production and to lay off their entire staff. It was quite a blow.
“But, it turned out to be the greatest break in our lives,” says Bill Hanna today. Out of necessity, he and Joe pooled their resources and began thinking in terms of cartoon shows and “planned animation” for television. They offered their new projects to MGM, as well as to several other TV companies, but were politely turned down. Finally, they brought their drawings to Screen Gems, a TV subsidiary of Columbia Pictures, in July, 1957. Hanna-Barbera Productions was started.
The firm’s first TV effort was “Ruff and Reddy,” featuring the antics of a quick-thinking cat and his pal, Reddy, a dim-witted, lovable dog. This TV show, which enjoyed a three-year run, was followed by Huckleberry Hound, the first half-hour series in TV to consist entirely of original animation. Huckleberry, a noble-hearted canine with the look of a bloodhound, was an instant success. In 1960, the Huckleberry Hound show was awarded an Emmy for the “outstanding achievement in the first of children’s programming.”
That fall, the company unveiled “The Flintstones,” which quickly became one of the highest-rated TV shows, and is now in its fourth season. Meanwhile, Yogi Bear, a non-conformist woodland creature, who had been featured on the Huckleberry Hound show, had become so popular that it was decided to up him to stardom, giving Yogi his own show, which debuted in January, 1961. Additionally, Hanna-Barbera had produced two other half-hour shows, Top Cat, and The Jetsons, the latter dealing with a family of the future.
What is it like inside this modern cartoon factory? Well, in the first place, there are no time clocks or memos. The hours kept by both Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, and their methods for getting jobs done, are considered quite unorthodox, even by Hollywood standards.
If an animator or artist feels he does his best work by coming in at night and working until dawn, that’s fine with Bill and Joe. Their only important consideration is that the best job be done.
The film story comes first. It is then revised, edited, and re-edited, and trial sequences are sketched as it is tape recorded. Tiny offices and cubicles, each with a worker or two, line the long corridors of the building. Here, employees write, sketch, paint, and work on their respective bits of the finished product.
Each tiny movement of a cartoon character must be sketched and redrawn many times, and the finished pictures must be in correct synchronization with the sound track.
Next comes the inking and the color work on celluloid, some 200 different shades of color being used; and from one to six sheets of celluloid for each cartoon frame. Cameras and sound equipment make up the last step before the final cutting and editing of the finished film.
Reels upon reels of sound effects are stored in one office. They cover every conceivable noise—from snores and squeaks to whooshes, pops, and bangs. It takes some four months to produce a half-hour show.
“If there is one underlying philosophy to our cartoons,” says Bill Hanna, “it is to project warmth and good feeling. We spoof lots of things, but we don’t see anything funny in violence. Even our villains are nice fellows.”
His sentiments are echoed by Joe Barbera. “We’ve never tried to educate children,” he says. “We’ve never tried to preach to them. We’ve just tried to entertain them. Children are much more perceptive than adults.”

Snagglepuss in Be My Ghost

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – C.L. Hartman, Layout – Walt Clinton, Backgrounds – Neenah Maxwell, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snagglepuss, Harum – Daws Butler; English Passenger, Scarum – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Copyright 1961 by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Plot: Snagglepuss is heckled by two ghosts in an old castle.

One of the little bits of business I liked when I first watched Hanna-Barbera cartoons 55-plus years ago were the little ghosts that rolled up like window shades and disappeared. Mike Maltese came up with Harum and Scarum (or is it “Harem” and “Scarem”?) for an early Snooper and Blabber cartoon (Real Gone Ghosts, 1959). He’s brought them back to tangle with Snagglepuss and about the only difference in Scarum is played now by Don Messick instead of Elliot Field.

This cartoon reminds me a bit of a short Maltese wrote at Warner Bros., The Wearin’ of the Grin (released in 1952) where clueless Porky Pig looks for emergency shelter and meets up with two heckling leprechauns. That one was a bit darker, thanks to its “Red Shoes”-like subplot.

Here’s one of the ghost roll-ups. C.L. Hartman is the animator. I like what he does with Snagglepuss’ fingers.

Snagglepuss tries it himself. “Exit, Olde English style, stage left.” He fails. “I guess I’m not olde English stylish enough to do it.”

The ghost aspect enables Maltese to add impossible bits of business and some corn. He digs out the old “walk this way” gag with the ghosts upside down and in the air. “Walk that way?!” he tells us. “If I do, I’d break a clavicle or sump’in.” One of the ghosts invites Snagglepuss to dinner and asks him to carve the chutney venison on his plate. Our hero launches into a version of “A rib or two will do” (to the theme of “A Hunting We Will Go”)—by the way, there’s a really bad music edit when the scene changes—and it turns out he’s carving the other ghost, who pops into visibility to complain then pops out again. (“Heavens to mint sauce!” exclaims Snagglepuss). Then the ghost offers Snagglepuss a hot buttered cider which is invisible. We hear a crash sound. Snagglepuss’ eyes turn to us. “I distinctively heard the tin-kle of breakin’ glass. (looks at his hand) And yet I saw no glass. (looks at audience) But I heard the tin-kle.” Snagglepuss still hasn’t figured out the castle is haunted.

Now the ghosts play some more head games. Scarum comes bounding in, saying “the king approach-eth” and looking for his enemy Sir Guy of Goon. Harum pretends to be the king. Scarum points to Snagglepuss, claiming he is Sir Guy of Goon. The king brings down his axe but Snagglepuss zooms out of the scene before he can be split in half. But he returns. “Say! What are you tryin’ to do? Part my hair down the middle all the way? Ruin the tourist trade? Cause an international inciden-n-n-n-nt? How about it if I went to 10 Downing Street and lodged a complaint? 11 Upping Street, even.” Snagglepuss returns wearing a helmet and carrying an axe, ready to fight. “Marquis of Queensbury Bridge rules, of course...Then let’s have at it. Odds fish, zounds, and all that King Arthur jazzarooni!” The “king” bashes Snagglepuss on the head.

The “n-n-n-n-nt” Daws uses, by the way, is borrowed from vaudeville comedian Benny Rubin. I’m sure others did it as well.

Snagglepuss rushes outside to safety. But, no, Harum and Scarum pop into the scene. “Heaves to Houdini!” How could they do that, enquires our hero. They explain they’re ghosts. Snagglepuss shows that he has spent some time watching Casper cartoons as he exclaims “G-g-g-ghosts?” Snagglepuss runs off, but not before some mismatched shots. These are consecutive frames. There isn’t even a wooden door in the second frame, let alone Snagglepuss’ hands against it.

“Exit, screamin’ in terror, stage right!” Snagglepuss jumps in the ocean he emerged from at the start of the cartoon and starts swimming as the iris closes.

We mentioned before about mismatched shots. There are other examples. Here is one. This is a pair of consecutive frames.

Neenah Maxwell is the background artist. We’ve posted her work from the cartoon before on the blog, but here are some of the frames.

Daws Butler has fun with “Worcestershire” as Snagglepuss, while he gives Harum a kind of Ed Wynn voice he used for Wally Gator. Don Messick’s laugh for Scarum evokes a certain cartoon great dane of later years.

Flintstones Weekend Comics, November 1967

Ever wonder who invented the pizza? Easy. It was Tony Rockolino. Well, according to whoever wrote a Flintstones newspaper comic 50 years ago this month.

And who would have thought that Fred was a real letch when Wilma’s not around? We discover that in this month’s comics as well, brought to you in colour from the archive of Richard Holliss.

Actually, we’re fortunate Richard was able to supply the November 5th comic as you would get the full effect of that great final panel in black and white. The nighttime blue and black in the background highlights the predicament Fred and Barney are in in the foreground. A great use of colour. This is the only time Betty and Barney appear this month.

Oh, that Fred. Uptight over that ‘60s music. Okay, 1,001,960s B.C. music. And music lyrics included “Ooblee, Ahblee.” I guess that’s a Othnielosaurus-era “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” And who would have guessed ABBA was around back then, except their name was spelled a little bit differently. The November 12th comic doesn’t specify what toppings were on the first pizza. Paleolithic Pineapple, I suspect.

Fred displays a keen interest in young women with seven-inch waists in the November 19th comic.

Women drivers! Chuckle, chuckle! The November 26th comic has cameos by Dino, Pebbles and niece Annie in the top row. Note the erupting volcanos in the background of some of the panels. Can you hear this music as Wilma is driving?

Click on any of the comics for enlargement. We’ll see if Santa Claus shows up in the Stone Age again next month.

Jetsons – Rosey the Robot

“[B]eyond electronic and mechanical gadgetry which underpins "The Jetsons" humor, nothing much else is new. In fact, the preem stanza (23) revolved around the oldest situation comedy chestnut known to man: the boss comes to dinner to the home of an employee bucking for a raise.”

So opined “Herm” in Weekly Variety after the series debuted on September 23, 1962. Reviews were mixed; many pointed out the series was really The Flintstones shoved into the future, some added it borrowed, like other Hanna-Barbera cartoons, the premise of a live action sitcom—in this case, Hazel. Quite so, at least in this half-hour. The maid saves the day for her family. Jean Vander Pyl later said she used Shirley Booth’s Hazel as the basis for her voice for Rosey.

(At the time, absolutely no comparisons were made to Blondie. This is something invented by some modern-day animation fans based on the fact Penny Singleton, who wasn’t originally cast, played Jane and husband George had an angry boss).

“Herm” has a point. The gadgets are good and some of the humour is a little worn. But despite that, this first half-hour episode is pleasant enough, and even overbearing Spacely has an epiphany to become a nice guy at the end. And “Helm” in Daily Variety mentioned something we take for granted today—the show was broadcast in colour, one of a few on ABC, and proclaimed that aspect of it “a success.” He also praised the voices, calling them “perfectly matched” and the animation “finely drawn.”

The animation credits went to Irv Spence, Ray Patterson, Grant Simmons and Don Lusk. As Patterson and Simmons were still running Grantray-Lawrence, I can only presume some of the animation was contracted out. I don’t know who received the background credits but my guess is Fernando Montealegre was responsible. The interiors are full of crescent shapes, plexiglas panels and bucket seats.

The future, we all felt in 1962, would be a time of labour saving devices on steroids and very short work weeks. Thus Jane complains of all the “work” she does when she pushes a few buttons that make a meal for her or do the vacuuming, ironing, etc. George gripes he pushes off and on buttons five times during his shift.

Gadgets: a flat-screen TV, the transport tube (which sends people to the wrong places), a pop-up toaster bed, a built-in toothbrush, the Foodarackacycle, the VisiPhone and the VisiPhone booth. Somehow, we think technology has passed the last one by.

The plot, as Weekly Variety mentioned, is pretty shopworn. The Foodarackacycle is broken (it made a hot fudge pizza one day). Jane wants a new one. George points out they haven’t paid for the one that replaced the one before the one that just broke down. Ask for a raise, Jane suggests. George goes to work. She gets on the VisiPhone to get advice from her mother. Mom suggests going to a store that has a one-day free trial on a maid.

George decides to ask his boss for a raise. (George starts the referential unisonic digital indexer machine). In the meantime Mr. Spacely discovers his wife Stella is taking part in a “Martians Go Home” rally (whether she opposes invasions or immigrants isn’t clear) so she can’t cook for him tonight. George goes in to ask for the raise, but Spacely cuts him off and invites himself to the Jetsons for dinner.

While all this is going on, Jane is testing out robot maids, first an English one, then a French maid but finally decides on New Yawker Rosey (Jean Vander Pyl gets to test out her accents by playing Mrs. Spacely, Spacely’s secretary, and all the robots).

Rosey proves to be a god-send. She can do just anything, including play sports with Elroy, help Judy with her homework and make a sumptuous dinner. One problem. George thinks his chance for a raise will be blown if Spacely sees they can afford a maid, so he and Jane try to hide her. No luck. She blows the cover. Look at Spacely’s reaction. This may be the biggest take in a Jetsons’ show.

Spacely starts accusing George of all kinds of crap. Rosey hears enough, crowns Spacely with a pipeapple upsidedown cake and tells him off. Then, for the first time, Spacely fires Jetson and storms out. “Some free home demonstration. It didn’t cost a thing. Except my job,” says George. But Rosey decides she must leave because the Jetsons now can’t afford her. Sound editor Joe Ruby plays the Hoyt Curtin sad clarinet cue in the background; it’s the one heard in the episode where George bids farewell to his family before he and Astro take it on the lam. Everything ends well, though. Spacely’s had a change of heart, rehires Jetson, gives him more money and invites himself to dinner again. George spots Rosey at a bus stop, zooms over her and collects her in his space car, and brings her home. It’s the only possible ending. Marx Toys had signed a deal to make Rosey toys; how can they get free advertising on a show for the toy when Rosey’s not on it? (No wonder she’s in the closing credit animation).

Alex Lovy was the story director for this cartoon but I don’t know who handled the layouts. Whoever it was tried to get away from the stare-straight-at-the-stage perspective in almost every Hanna-Barbera cartoon. One scene has a looking-through-the-window perspective. A couple have a character in the foreground talking to a character in the background. And there’s one overhead angle.

23 more Jetsons episodes were made. But the series didn’t get renewed by ABC; we mentioned on the blog some time ago that Joe Barbera was quoted as saying Jane would likely have a baby in the second season. The problem was something that ad agencies were starting to pay attention to—demographics. The series had been sold to three sponsors, two of them (Colgate and Whitehall Labs) were represented by Ted Bates and Co. Bates worked out what was then a unique contract: The Jetsons was required to deliver a minimum of 15 million adults per average commercial minute for the first 26 weeks or Bates’ clients would have to be compensated with commercial time during the show (Colgate was only signed for 26 weeks). It wanted to assure clients the audience for the series wasn’t just kids and teenagers. (Sponsor magazine, May 7, 1962).

The Jetsons didn’t meet the demographic target number. No doubt that scared any potential big-money clients from investing in the show in prime time. So it was The Jetsons moved the following season to reruns on Saturday morning, where advertising air-time was cheaper. Marx Toys quickly picked up sponsorship.

We’ve now reviewed all 24 Jetsons episodes. It’s a hit and miss show but I still like it. The futuristic inventions and settings were pretty creative. Some of the stories were very good; my favourites are probably the first Uniblab episode and when an uninterested Elroy got his own TV show. Astro was a good comic relief character. The voice work was always tops. Hoyt Curtin and his arranger came up with some unique keyboard music. But the animation was pretty tame much of the time and the whole “Vice President Jetson”/“Jetson, you’re fired!” shtick got tiring. I suppose it could have been worse. The show could have added a furry space alien pet and . . . Oh. Yeah.

The fact the characters are still being used today shows The Jetsons are still popular. The critics in 1962 were a little bit wrong. It turns out The Jetsons was more than an inversion of The Flintstones. It was a solid concept that has stood the test of time.

Beer Bear-el

Trouble’s always brewing when Yogi Bear is around. For example, here he is with a pic-a-nic basket climbing up the side of a building.

There’s a particular reason he’s doing that. Reader Greg Gabry points out this is in Jackson, Michigan. Here’s a different view of the building.

We’ve checked. Boo Boo isn’t climbing the wall on the other side. The Ranger wouldn’t like that, you know.

By the way, it appears the Loyal Order of Moose Hall is across the street. We didn’t see Bullwinkle about.

Fortune Teller Huck

Huckleberry Hound can predict the future. He tells Pixie and Dixie they’re going to meet a tall, dark stranger with whiskers.

Well, he may not be tall or dark, but he shows off his whiskers. And after a head shake and a stunned take, the meeces rush away.

Mr. Jinks reminds us to stick around for the next cartoon (starring guess who). Jinksie then dashes out of the scene.

Animation by Ken Muse.