Imagine my surprise to see several comments on Facebook wishing a happy birthday to Huckleberry Hound today. Because it’s not Huck’s birthday.
And you can thank the anonymous folks at Wikipedia for, once again, spreading misinformation the world over.
I haven’t taken the time to find out what station aired Huck first, but I can tell you he aired before the etched-in-internet date of October 2, 1958. All you have to do is read a bunch of newspapers from a couple of days earlier to learn that.
The Los Angeles Times had a little squib about it in Cecil Smith’s ‘TV Scene’ for Tuesday, September 30, 1958. The reference to “Alan” is from earlier in the column about a two-year-old boy who missed Captain Kangaroo the previous Sunday because he couldn’t grasp the concept of Daylight Saving Time.
For Alan’s sake I might mention that there is a new weekly show in which he might be interested beginning tonight at 6:30 on Channel 2. It’s called Huckleberry Hound and tonight’s edition features a wonderful character named Yogi Bear who resides in Jellystone National Park.
How about that? Before the show even aired, Smith picked who would be the bigger star.
The same day, Pat Nogler of the Long Beach Independent scribed in the ‘Writing on Air’ column:
KNXT premieres a fresh new cartoon series, this evening at 6:30 on Channel 2, entitled “Huckleberry Hound,” created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbara. The cartoon character, Huckleberry Hound, from which the show takes its name, is the lead personality in one series of the films. Two other series of films in the group will carry the titles of Yogi Bear and Pixie and Dixie.
If a show is on a network, it’s given a dedicated spot on the schedule (until the network changes its mind). In syndication, a show takes the best slot that’s available. The Huckleberry Hound Show was in syndication, so it didn’t air on the same time or day on every station. In Chicago, Huck originally appeared on Wednesdays. That means he didn’t debut until October 1, 1958. You can read Larry Wolters’ preview in the Chicago Tribune in this post.
I sheepishly admit that old post originally stated Huck first aired October 2, showing even I got burned by being lazy in my research.
However, I’ll make up for it by posting this great publicity drawing that reader Mark Greisinger found in Mediascene Magazine. You’ve got to love the shaggy eyebrows on Jinks. I don’t think this is Bick Bickenbach’s work and would be happy if anyone could identify it.
And since we’re trying to solve Huck mysteries, writer Mark Evanier has one. And if he doesn’t know the answer...
He has a soundtrack for a half-hour Huck show; it features ‘Huck’s Hack’ so it may be from the second season. Here’s the mystery. The show opens with a one-minute, 14-second opening theme song. That’s a lot longer than any versions you can find on line or on the Huck DVD. There’s a whole extra instrumental chorus with cartoon sound effects. The show closing is different, too. You don’t hear the “boingg” sound at the point where Tony, Jr. would have smacked his head against the tent. Instead, the theme carries on in the instrumental chorus mentioned above and fades out. Art Gilmore gives a plug for Kellogg’s over the open and close. Unfortunately, Mark doesn’t have a picture, just the sound, so he doesn’t know what animation was used over the audio. There’s obviously more than what we’ve been used to seeing for years. My wild guess was that it was used for Canadian markets, where there is/was less commercial time than in the U.S., but I really don’t know.
I haven’t posted the audio because I don’t have Mark’s permission to do so.
If this sounds familiar to anyone out there, please post a comment. Just don’t post anything it says on Wikipedia.