Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Give a Show, Hear a Show, Give a S---

Today’s post is actually three little posts in one. They all have two things in common—they have to do with early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and they all involve people linking to this blog.

1. GIVE A SHOW
The internet is a miraculous memory jogger of childhood. Some might think this blog is a perfect example, but I’m referring specifically to all the stuff I had as a kid that I completely forgot about until I spotted it while aimlessly traipsing on the internet.

It’s dawned on the nerdy innards of my cowwebbed cranium, in re-discovering old toys, that my parents got me a lot of cartoon-related things I never asked for. Maybe that’s why I’ve forgotten them.

One of memory-joggers is courtesy of a labour of love by Jon B. Knutson, who is responsible for The Give-A-Show Projector Blog. My brother had a Give-A-Show movie projector; ads for them were as ubiquitous (if ubiquity is limited to Saturday morning network television of the early-to-mid 1960s) as ones for Marx’ Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robot and Milton Bradley’s Mystery Date. The projector is really quaint if you think about today’s technology. It’s basically a slide strip of drawings with captions that you could project on the wall and “show” a cartoon.

Jon’s decided to take the 1961 equivalent of PowerPoint and voilĂ  it into today’s technology. He’s put the slide into a computer slide-show programme, added an intro and extro, some appropriate H-B sound effects and music and Ta-da! Instant 43 second cartoons on his blog.

I’ll embed a couple.

First is 1961 “Green” Slide #14 — Quick Draw McGraw. Jon’s using Phil Green’s song ‘Fred Karno’s Army’ in this one.


Next is 1961 “Green” Slide #15 — Yogi Bear. Music by Hoyt Curtin.


And finally is 1961 “Green” Slide #8 — The Flintstones. I don’t know what name Curtin gave to this upbeat little piece.


Jon’s blog has a Facebook page you can check out as well.

2. GIVE A S---
We go now from Give-A-Show to Give-A-Shoeleather, as Beaky Buzzard would euphemistically say. Animator Will Finn gives a shoeleather about the early H-B cartoons and the designs that made them a lot of fun, especially when compared to the watered-down versions of the same characters drawn years later. I can’t explain why I like the Ed Benedict-inspired characters here and the attractive way they’re set up with different sizes and angles. But Will can. And does. Check out his blog post here.

George Nicholas animated my favourite Flintstones episode—the one with Sassy—and he did the scene in the first season cartoon that Will’s analysing (thanks to Mark Kausler for the ID; I would have guessed someone else).

3. HEAR A SHOW
For reasons I have yet to fathom, Joe Bevilacqua decided I am an interesting enough Yowp to have as this week’s guest on his Cartoon Carnival show on Shokus Internet Radio. Joe was very nice to publicise this blog on his show. I’m not a self-promoter. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever asked anyone to tune and listen to me on the radio. So I’m not going to ask you to tune in to listen to me. Tune in to listen to the other stuff.

Joe always has something that interests me on his show, whether it’s old Daws Butler records or (like last week) an interview with puppeteer Craig Marin, who told a wonderful story that everyone can identify with about how he met his TV heroes. Joe also plays soundtracks of old Hanna-Barbera (and other) cartoons. Hear for yourself if Chuck Jones was right to call them “illustrated radio” (Chuck’s description brings to mind that “shoeleather” synonym of Beaky’s). Joe does a show once a week and it plays Monday through Sunday to enable you to catch it. Oh, and Joe has them archived, too. Click here for Joe’s site and you can go to Shokus here.

I’d like to thank Joe for asking me to be on his programme and the other very nice people out there I’ve never met who have linked to this blog. I’m not deliberately snubbing anyone by not reciprocating with a widget full of URLs. It’s just one of those things I just have to get around to doing, though I admit I don’t know what sites point you to this one. But I humbly appreciate it, along with all the comments left here by animators, voice actors, fans and experts. I’m still hoping someone out there has more of the stock music used in these cartoons they can pass along or identify, and that there’s someone who can help fill in blanks I have with some old newspaper stories.

You’ve all helped to try to make sure this blog isn’t shoeleather.

5 comments:

  1. This is one AMAZING job on those Give-A-Show Projector strips! Kudos to the author for a labor of love – and fun!

    As a child of the sixties, I had most of those sets – and (in my head) I used to do the same thing… voice and musically score these little mini shows.

    Part of the fun was for someone to attempt doing the voices out-loud, which I often did – quiet poorly even for a kid, I might add. But, scoring them only took place in my mind. Great to see those forgotten good times again.

    Why, oh why couldn’t they have gotten the great comic book artists like Harvey Eisenberg and Pete Alvarado to do the illustrations?!

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  2. Note the overbites in that screengrab from 'Hot Piano'- That's a George Nicholas trait. I thought it was animated by Ed Love, when I first saw it.

    Those Give-A-Show pictures are pretty crude...

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  3. Thanks for the plug for the Give-A-Show Blog! I really appreciate it, and thanks also for the kudos (from you and also from Joe).

    I don't know why the art quality on them varied so much... I have not had any success in getting any information about who did what on any of them, despite several attempts to get any information from the current owners of the Kenner archives.

    I'll be working on some more videos for the blog and Facebook page in the near future, as well as a video showing how I create them!

    Although one minor nitpick -- I'm not using PowerPoint to create these videos, instead I'm using Apple's iMovie software. A minor quibble, to be certain!

    I should also note that I've added Yowp to my "Random Blogs of Geekery" blogroll at my main blog, "Random Acts of Geekery" at http://waffyjon.blogspot.com, which covers a whole range of geekery, including cartoons, naturally!

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  4. Hey My friend. Congratulations on the invite to do Joe's internet radio show. You are certainly no stranger to the biz, ie interviews or call-ins, you are well read, love the genre, it should make for interesting listening. I too remember the Give-a-show projector. Just like Joe, My oldest brother and I would do the voices. I wish I had recordings of that stuff, now. Well....on second thought... maybe not, since you know what I do for a living. Those sessions in the wrong hands could burn me to a crisp-Ha!!

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  5. Hey! Thanks for the mention, Yowp! You da man!

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