Sunday, December 26, 2010

Flintstones and Yogi Bear Christmas Comics

Since it’s Sunday and the Christmas season is winding down, let’s take a look at Hanna-Barbera’s Sunday newspaper comics of Christmases past.

While Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw were featured in comic books, only Yogi Bear and The Flintstones received newspaper treatment. Yogi’s comic started not many days after his show debuted on television; the first Sunday Yogi panels appeared on February 5, 1961.

The two strips were under the eye of Gene Hazelton, who had been a layout artist at the best west coast studios in the Golden Age of theatrical animation. He didn’t draw all of the strips. Mark Evanier points out Ed Nofzinger worked on some (Yowp note: See Mark’s additions in the comments section). They were syndicated by McNaught and ran through 1988.

For reasons I have never understood, characters from the world of animated cartoons inhabit a separate world than when they’re in comic books and strips. In the Bugs Bunny strip, appearances by Petunia and Cicero Pig were not uncommon long after they vanished from the screen. Sylvester spoke with a modified Cockney accent. And the H-B strips were no different. In the Flintstones panels, Pebbles, Dino and even Baby Puss (he’s the cat that stayed up for the night, as the theme song told us) communicated via thought balloons. In the Yogi strip, Ranger Smith had a wife and a kid. The Smiths had first names, too, Bill and Vi—the same name as a certain Mr. and Mrs. Hanna, incredible as it may seem. It’s unfortunate Huck, Mr. Jinks and the rest didn’t make appearances (at least, they haven’t in the strips I’ve looked at), especially considering the delightful interplay they had in the ‘between-cartoons’ on the original Huck show.

I’ve picked the years between the mid-60s and mid-70s. There weren’t Christmas themes in the comics each year, so that’s why some years are missing.

It’s unfortunate not only that these are scans of black and white photocopies of newspapers but they’re all missing the top row of panels. I went through at least six different newspapers to try to get the best quality and all of them had only two rows of panels, a space-saving move by newspapers. If they only had a ‘click to enlarge’ function in newspapers like this blog does to save space but allow you to see everything. You’ll note the first Yogi cartoon bases its end gag around an organisation that Hanna was involved in through his lifetime.

YOGI BEAR, December 20, 1964

YOGI BEAR, December 25, 1966

YOGI BEAR, December 24, 1967

YOGI BEAR, December 22, 1968

YOGI BEAR, December 21, 1969

Yogi Bear, December 19, 1971

YOGI BEAR, December 24, 1972

YOGI BEAR, December 23, 1973

YOGI BEAR, December 21, 1975


THE FLINTSTONES, December 25, 1965

THE FLINTSTONES, December 25, 1966

THE FLINTSTONES, December 24, 1967

THE FLINTSTONES, December 29, 1968

THE FLINTSTONES, December 21, 1969

THE FLINTSTONES, December 20, 1970

THE FLINTSTONES, December 19, 1971

THE FLINTSTONES, December 24, 1972

THE FLINTSTONES, December 23, 1973

THE FLINTSTONES, December 22, 1974

THE FLINTSTONES, December 21, 1975


If you think the perception of the Flintstones has changed over the years, imagine a drunken Fred storyline today. Or a cigarette-smoking one, for that matter.

While the TV cartoons used animation short cuts, you can see that Hazelton and his artists didn’t, with some very elaborate drawing and fine layouts. I hope you’ve enjoyed them.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Few More Background Tunes

The earliest Hanna-Barbera cartoons have a different feel to them than what came later, partly because of the stock music dropped into the background. Hoyt Curtin was hired to compose themes for each series as soon as the studio went into business but the music within the cartoons themselves came from production music libraries used in television and industrial films. Eventually, Curtin was asked to come up with cues to be used in the theatrical Loopy De Loop (1959) and his music eventually displaced stock music in all television cartoons made for the 1961-62 season.

The bulk of the music came from the Capitol Hi-Q library, created in 1956. Some of the music was especially composed for it, some came from other libraries such as EMI Photoplay and Sam Fox (probably the ‘Variety’ series). Most of the rest of what was played in the background of the cartoons was from the Langlois Filmusic library, compiled in 1954, whose credited composer was Jack Shaindlin.

None of this music was found in record stores and it wasn’t designed for home listening. It was only made available to film, TV and radio production companies on a contractual basis and used to set moods in the background.

You’ve been able to listen to many of the cues here on the blog. There are a number that are notably absent because I simply don’t have them, don’t know who might and, in some cases, can’t identify them at all. However, I’m going to post a few odds and ends that I haven’t before and I suspect these will be the last new ones you’ll find here.

A number of the cartoons (especially Huck’s) revolved around plots dealing with Merrie Olde England. Hi-Q had a whole specialty category—the ‘X’ series—where it put international music and a variety of other things. Among them were three English-style cues used by Hanna-Barbera, all of them credited to Geordie Hormel of Zephyr Records. They were on reels X-9 and 10.


ZR-103 PERIOD MAIN TITLE
ZR-126 ENGLISH MAIN TITLE
ZR-127 PERIOD CHASE

I suspect the two or three “American Indian” music cues used in several cartoons (such as the ones with Chief Crazy Coyote and Li’l Tom Tom) came from the ‘X’ series as well but I have not been able to track them down.

Hormel had another short cue that got some play as an introductory piece for western-set cartoons. It was from the Hi-Q ‘M’ series. There were two versions, one medium and one faster. Here’s the faster version:


ZR-39A WESTERN SONG

Music from the ‘M’ series was rarely used; the H-B sound cutters stuck mainly with the ‘L’ (“Light”). The best-known ‘M’ cue was not used in cartoons. It is the theme to The World Tomorrow radio and TV show, one of a bunch of documentary cues written by Bill Loose. Hanna-Barbera picked a different documentary pieces, a lovely, short, majestic fanfare by Phil Green. It can be heard at the start of a number of shorts, including the Huck cartoons ‘A Bully Dog’ and ‘Legion Bound Hound’.

EM-147 DOCUMENTARY MAIN TITLE

An ‘M’ cue by Loose opened ‘Snow White Bear’ and was, as far as I can tell, never used again.

C-71 ROMANTIC MAIN TITLE

Besides the ‘X’, ‘M’ and ‘L’ series, Hi-Q had two others. One was the ‘D’ (“Dramatic”) series. Only a few cues from this one, which found its way into dramatic TV shows and low-budget science fiction movies, were deemed appropriate for cartoons besides Ruff and Reddy and generally didn’t get much use. Here are a few I have only been able to find in one Quick Draw cartoon. The first was at the start of ‘Choo Choo Chumps’. It and the second cue both were used in ‘In the Picnic of Time’ when the ants begin their attack on Doggie Daddy. The third showed up under a bunch of sound effects and dialogue in ‘Scary Prairie’ when Grumbleweed flies into the air to the end of the scene after the boulder crashes on Quick Draw. The fourth was very briefly heard in ‘Masking For Trouble’ when Sundown Sam shoots Quick Draw in Sagebrush Sally’s house. In the first two cases, only the last half of the cue was used. All written by David Rose who signed over the royalty rights to Bill Loose and John Seely. In each case, the first name is what’s on the Hi-Q disc.

TC-14 CHASE-MEDIUM aka ZEALOUS PURSUIT
TC-15 CHASE-MEDIUM aka SPIRITED PURSUIT
TC-9 CHASE-HEAVY aka HURRIED PURSUIT
TC-74 SOMBER aka OPPRESSIVE DEATH

Another ‘D’-series cue only seems to have been used once. It’s a Joseph Cacciola cue that appeared when Aloysius meets the fake Aloysius in the Snooper and Blabber cartoon ‘Puss N’ Booty’. There are three versions in reel D-6; the cartoon seems to have used the slow one. A number of Cacciola’s cues in the Sam Fox library were later imported into Hi-Q and given generic names.

TC-216 TENSION

The other series was the ‘S’ series, which YourPalDoug (who has a wonderful music blog, by the way) says was discontinued by Capitol. The ‘S’ series was for short edits of main cues to be used as intros, extros and bridges to (or from) scenes; you hear this sort of thing on radio and TV sitcoms. The Huck series stayed clear of them and generally went with longer, full music beds, but the sound cutters on the Quick Draw series (especially Snooper and Blabber) loved the little bridging music. The bulk of it originally came from the EMI Photoplay Q-2 discs repacked by Hi-Q and given ‘EM’ or ‘PG’ designations (‘GR’ is the code used in the EMI library). I’ve posted most of them here before but apparently missed a few of them. They’re all by Phil Green. Here are the ones I can find.

GR-454 THE ARTFUL DODGER SHORT BRIDGE No 1
GR-455 THE ARTFUL DODGER SHORT BRIDGE No 2
GR-457 DOCTOR QUACK SHORT BRIDGE No 1
GR-458 DOCTOR QUACK SHORT BRIDGE No 2
GR-82 FRED KARNO’S ARMY SHORT BRIDGE No 2
GR-85 THE BRAVEST WOODEN SOLDIER SHORT BRIDGE No 1
GR-86 THE BRAVEST WOODEN SOLDIER SHORT BRIDGE No 2
GR-97 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO SHORT BRIDGE No 1
GR-98 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO SHORT BRIDGE No 2
PG-160G LIGHT MOVEMENT
PG-161G LIGHT COMEDY MOVEMENT
PG-161H LIGHT MOVEMENT
PG-177C LIGHT COMEDY MOVEMENT
GR-346 FIRST BUDS

Finally, some odds and ends. Arrangements of several old public domain songs surfaced occasionally, like ‘Oh, Susannah’. One, almost a standard in any old movie’s snake charmer scene, appeared in one third-season Huck cartoon. Bill Loose did the arrangement of Streets of Cairo. It was on the original Hi-Q reel X-4 (Capitol replaced whole reels of cues with newer material; X-4 was replaced in the 1960s).
Spencer Moore concocted an odd version of Pop Goes the Weasel with a clock ticking effect. It’s heard just before the Fat Knight clubs Huck with a mace in ‘Sir Huckleberry Hound.’ You’ll also spot it toward the end of the Goofy Gophers cartoon Gopher Broke (1958), which used the Hi-Q library during a musicians strike. Another Moore cue only appears to have been used once, when Matilda the Kangaroo appears in Snooper’s ‘Hop to It.’
Phil Green came up with an eerie number featuring plucked strings found in ‘Impossible Imposters’ when Snoop and Blab enter the Mad Scientist’s hideout. It’s from EMI Photoplay 6-019 Additional Incidentals.
A western dance theme from the Sam Fox library pops up in a couple of Huck and Quick Draw cartoons. Hi-Q doesn’t list the composer and I don’t have the original name from Sam Fox.
Finally, there’s a short cue that came from another library, Valentino, from New York. It still sells library music for commercial purposes. It’s not the version of ‘Chopsticks’ you played on a piano as a kid. It was composed by the prolific Roger Roger, a Frenchman who seems to have been employed by many European music companies to compose stock music. It was used in a couple of Pixie and Dixie cartoons, such as ‘Missile Bound Cat.’


C-135 STREETS OF CAIRO
L-992 ANIMATION-CHILDREN
L-1147 ANIMATION-MOVEMENT
GR-57 THE SHADOW OF A MAN
SF-11 LIGHT MOVEMENT
CHOPSTICKS

Unfortunately, there are a number of cues I don’t have, including:
● About a dozen of Jack Shaindlin’s cues from the Langlois library that made appearances in many cartoons; Shaindlin was used on both the Quick Draw and Huck shows. Most are, alas, unidentified.
● There’s a short trumpet fanfare piece in ‘Missile Bound Cat’ I can’t place.
● A Green cue in ‘Space Bear’ when the alien is pointing to the film of Yogi.
● Boo-Boo discovering the ranger inside Whitey and telling Yogi in ‘Bearface Disguise’ is accompanied by what may be another Green cue.
● The brief woodwind bed when Doggie Daddy jumps in the well in ‘Crow Cronies’, though it may be a Clarence Wheeler piece called ‘Woodwind Capers.’
● The creepy muted horn cue when Ranger Smith is on the phone in ‘Space Bear,’ among a number of cartoons, that may have come from the Omar Library (distributed by Capitol).
● A nice little string Western piece at the opening of ‘Doggone Prairie Dog.’ It sounds like a number of similar Sam Fox library cues.
● The opening music to ‘Fast Gun Huck’, a building dramatic bed. I suspect it’s a Spencer Moore or Geordie Hormel cue on a ‘D’ series disc I don’t have.
● A completely inappropriate “1950s Modern Living” style cue that opens the Quick Draw cartoon ‘Slick City Slicker.’ I’m a sucker for music like that.
● ‘The Happy Cobbler’, the Hecky Krasnow composition in a number of Augie Doggie cartoons (there’s another odd cue when Boinga-Boinga climbs the walls in ‘Mars Little Precious’ I don’t have, either). It came from the Sam Fox library.
● Latin American music that takes up the first couple of minutes in ‘Bull-Leave Me’ with Quick Draw and a chuckling bull.
● And several Hawaiian music cues by Ed Lund in ‘Hula Hula Hulabaloo’.

So this is the best I can do. I hope you’ve enjoyed the music. It’s taken me a very long time to find it with the help of some very kind collectors who enjoy it as much as I do.

Pixie and Dixie — Sour Puss

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation – Ed Love; Layouts – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle? ; Story – Warren Foster; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson. (no credits).
Voice Cast: Pixie, Bagsley – Daws Butler; Jinks, Milkman, the Master – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose-John Seely, Jack Shaindlin, Geordie Hormel, Spencer Moore.
First Aired: week of Sept. 28, 1959 (rerun, week of May 23, 1960).
Plot: Mr. Jinks outwits himself when he has the mice shipped off to the North Pole.

There are two things that stand out for me in this cartoon. The first is the long shot of the Aurora Borealis after the meece are mailed to the Arctic. I don’t know who did the backgrounds in this cartoon but this one’s a real stunner when it first appears on the screen because it’s not what you expect out of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.


I don’t know how close these colours are to the original because this cartoon hasn’t been restored. Even on a black-and-white TV of 1959, the tones of greys would have looked great. Sorry for the TV channel bug; I don’t have a clean copy of this.

The other fun thing is watching Ed Love’s expressions. Ed decided not to be limited by limited animation. He doesn’t have two or three angles for a head. In the example below, you’ll see seven. The mouth/snout shape likely won’t be the same when he goes back to a head angle for a second or third time, making the animation look fuller. And he’ll stagger his timing, changing positions on ones, twos, threes, or holding the head even longer for a piece of dialogue. On top of that, he’ll hold the mouth for a frame but move an eyebrow so there’s something a little different almost every frame. And he enjoys drawing teeth, almost like buck teeth at times.



We’ll get to more of Ed in a moment.

Pixie, Dixie and Mr. Jinks apparently have two homes. One is a typical suburban place (in Bird Brained Cat, Jinks is owned by a housewife). But in several cartoons, they’re movin’ on up to a splendid, wooden-panelled mansion complete with butler. The butler first appeared in Jinks the Butler in the first season. Either Warren Foster went hunting for ideas from earlier cartoons when he arrived at H-B for the second season, or Joe Barbera told him to re-use some of the incidental characters. Regardless, the mansion and snooty butler (re-designed) make their return in this cartoon. The meece and Jinks were relegated to the suburbs again until one more shot at manservant-assisted opulent living in Homeless Jinks in the third season.

Bagsley the butler is standing, immobile, nose in the air, in the middle of one of the oaken-walled rooms as our cartoon opens. “Halt, you mices!” yells Jinks as Pixie and Dixie and Jinks run into the frame and U-turn around the butler. “Frightfully good show...dashing good show,” comments the butler to himself. Jinks catches the mice off camera (sound effects and camera shakes stand in for action again). Bagsley orders Jinks to “merely see that they are sent away. Far away.”

Here’s limited animation at its subtlest. Here are consecutive drawings of Bagsley talking to Jinks. Lots of little movements on the face here. In the cartoon, the first drawing is on twos, the second on threes. The third, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth drawings are all on a single frame. You can see how Ed sometimes moves the mouth and the eyelids stay put and vice-versa.



Jinks is now at a mailbox. Pixie and Dixie are in a parcel addressed to ‘North Pole, Alaska’ (though it’s evident from the script they’re being sent to the North Pole, which we all know is in Canada). Jinks peers in a hole the parcel and ridicules the mice. Dixie gets his revenge.

“See how you like being a couple of smark aleck mice-cicles,” yells Jinks after throwing the package in the mailbox. Here’s Ed again with a four-position evil chuckle.



Jinks has buck teeth as he whistles down the street. Nice suburban home.

The cat arrives on the front porch of his home to find a milkman collecting bottles. “How comes it, uhh, you’re not, like, leavin’ my usual rich-in-butterfat cream?” he asks. “Because, butterhead, I’m told you’re going on a vacation. When the milkman blinks, his hat goes down, too.



“It’s simple deduction, old boy” says Bagsley when Jinks asks about his ‘vacation.’ “You have deducted the meeces, uh, mices...With the mice gone, there’s nothing for you to do...Therefore, we deduct you. Yes, Jinks is fired.

“Be glad to call, friends. Letter of recommendation. Keep in touch, and all that rubbish. Quite simple, all. No mice, no cat” intones the butler as Jinks dejectedly trudges down the sidewalk. Then he comes up a fiendish plan. “I’ll get them miserable meeces back!” he cries. Here are more of Ed’s expressions.



Cut to the long shot we mentioned at the top of the post then a close-up of Pixie and Dixie sitting on the North Pole. Cut back to the long shot with a little figure tramping to the Pole. “You were expecting maybe the Abdominal Snowman?” Jinks asks.



He convinces the mice to come back with him and slips them through the front door mail slot. Bagsley catches them munching cheese. “Here now, let’s have none of this,” scolds the butler. Ed uses four different head positions just to have the butler say “Shoo!” I’ve added the fifth here so you can see Bagsley finish the word.



“Must have cat to do job right,” the butler comments and Jinks instantly skids into the picture with his trusty broom. “Glad to have you aboard, Jinks. Take over,” the butler states calmly. “With alacrity, sir,” Jink says and directs an evil look toward the off-camera meeces. How many cartoons use the word “alacrity?” Jinks even pronounces it correctly.

So the chase is on. Jinks figures he’s got a job for life so long as he never catches the mice. But the cartoon isn’t going to end happily ever after. The “Mawstah” calls over Bagsley, with Messick basically using his Major Minor voice.


Master: Small matter of bills. Overhead, tiger hunts, et cetera, et cetera. Must deduct butler.
Bagsley: You mean, sir, I’m canned?
Master: Quite right.

You can see the butler’s reaction. Then a familiar line:

Master: Chin up. Keep in touch. Letters of recommendation, and all that rubbish.



“That’s the way the wicket tumbles, Bagsley ol’ boy,” Jinks says in consolation. Then he opens his mouth once too often. “Too bad, uh, you’re not a cat. You’d have a job for life.” Bagsley does an astonished take, looks left toward Jinks, then gets an evil idea. Note the devil ears.



Bagsley convinces the Master to hire him back as a mouse chaser (he’s working for nothing, I guess). The butler twirls Jinks’ broom over his head and starts spouting Jinks’ catchphrases—“”Halt, you miserable meeces! I hate you meeces to pieces!”—as he chases Pixie and Dixie in a U-turn around the manor owner, just like Jinks did at the beginning.

The final shot is of the stunned, jobless Jinks, in his North Pole getup, slowly making his way down the sidewalk again. He turns to the camera. “Oh, well. Uh, mayhaps I’ll find me some meeces at the North Pole.”

Since there are mice-chasing scenes, it’s only natural we hear Jack Shaindlin’s ‘Toboggan Run’ and ‘On the Run.’ The sparkly tail end of Geordie Hormel’s ‘Light Movement’ is used almost like a sound effect as we see the shot of the Aurora Borealis. Familiar melodies by Bill Loose and John Seely, and Spencer Moore round out the music.


0:00 - Pixie and Dixie main title theme (Hoyt Curtin).
0:13 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) – Mice chasing scene.
0:59 - TC-300 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Jinks mails mice.
1:34 - ZR-51 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Jinks whistles, “Hold it, man with the milk.”
1:44 - L-1154 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Milkman scene. “Oh, sir!”
2:02 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Jinks is fired; has idea.
3:05 - ZR-51 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Long shot of North Pole.
3:08 - ZR-50 LIGHT UNDERSCORE (Hormel) – Camera moves in on pole, Mice on pole, “Oh, no!”
3:28 - ZR-51 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Hormel) – (Hormel) – “It can’t be!”, Jinks bargains with mice.
4:07 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Jinks, Pixie, Dixie stroll down street; kitchen scene.
5:09 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) – Jinks chases mice into hole.
5:17 - TC-303 ZANY COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Dixie talks to Jinks, butler fired.
6:15 - TC-202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Butler gets job back.
6:27 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Butler zips off scene and chases mice, Jinks clomps down front walk.
6:57 - Pixie and Dixie end title theme (Curtin).

Friday, December 24, 2010

How Fred Flintstone Saved Christmas and Alan Reed

There’s nothing that can dump a snowstorm of gooey sentiment on you better than a Christmas-themed TV show. And, over the years, many producers have not been able to ascertain the location of that fine line between the sweet and the nauseous. Attempts to wring emotion out of the viewer are resented due to their sheer obviousness. Cartoons are no different, though many later efforts also wring eye-rolling out of boredom.

Before television was graced with the gentle A Charlie Brown Christmas (December 9, 1965), before the comic-relief-assisted How the Grinch Stole Christmas (December 18, 1966) came ‘Christmas Flintstone.’ It appeared on screens at 7:30/6:30 CT p.m. on Christmas Day 1964. The plot is pretty basic. Fred needs money for gifts so he takes a side-job as a department store Santa and then saves Christmas when he fills in for the real, bed-ridden Santa.

And just as Fred saves Christmas, the voice of Fred saves this cartoon. Alan Reed comes up with a warm and sincere performance that could easily have deteriorated into a broad or maudlin portrayal from other larynxes. Even Reed’s off-key singing works; you wouldn’t seriously expect a blue-collar guy like him to be a golden baritone.

This isn’t the first time Reed played Santa, so to speak. Here’s a wire service article from Christmas Day, 1960, not too many weeks after The Flintstones hit the air.


HOLLYWOOD STARS HAVE SANTA CLAUS 
By JOE FINNIGAN
UPI Hollywood Correspondent

HOLLYWOOD (UPI) — Santa Claus to Hollywood stars this year is a veteran actor who provides many motion picture industry members and their friends with gifts.
Alan Reed, a regular cast member of the old Ida Lupino-Howard Duff TV series “Mr. Adams and Eve,” is owner of a company which specializes in advertising campaigns and executive gift purchases.
“We sell to such people as Bob Hope, Pat Boone, Jerry Lewis, Tony Martin, Jack Webb and many others,” Alan said, as he took a break from the sorting and delivering of thousands of gifts.
“I’ve been an actor for years and worked with most of these people,” Alan said. “So having been close to the business, I’m the acting industry’s prime supplier of gifts.”
Seven-Foot Catalogue
Alan meets with stars and helps them select gifts from a seven-foot high catalogue and 1,000 display items.
“Sometimes I get together with a busy actor at midnight,” he revealed. One of the most prolific buyers this year was Pat Boone, who purchased many gifts at Reed’s establishment.
“Pat sent out, in volume, some desk transistor radios with fountain pens in them,” Alan said. “He picked two of the finest items in the high cost bracket.”
“Frank Sinatra uses things in good taste,” Alan said. “We’re very old friends, but I don’t do much business with him.
“Tony Martin and his wife Cyd Charisse send out household items as gifts,” he added. “And Hope buys a lot of fountain pens with his picture on them.”
Dealing with actors at Christmas time is not a haphazard thing. Reed explained.
“They’re always looking for something different,” he said. “Cigarette lighters are something they usually won't give for Christmas. They give lighters and money clips during the rest of the year.”
No Gift TwiceAlan has a rule around his shop that keeps actors from sending the same gift twice to somebody.
“I won't sell the same items to two people sending gifts to the same person,” he said. “I warn them if somebody else has bought it. I also advise the stars as to quality.”
Reed’s company tries to provide filmites with items that are unavailable in run of the mill stores.
“We have a lot of imported gifts,” he said. “So, we try to stay away from items that sell in stores.”
Besides actors, Reed deals with large business firms, which send out presents to customers.
“They usually have their Christmas purchases completed by August,” he said.
Alan said Christmas activity accounts for about one third of his yearly business volume. He also handles items for the advertising specialty field and even made signs and hats for President-elect John Kennedy’s campaign.

And just as Fred saved Christmas, he also saved Alan Reed’s career. Reed went into the specialty advertising business because many radio character actors who had busily jumped from show-to-show-to-show had been reduced by television to occasional bit parts on camera. But The Flintstones gave Reed a steady role. What else could an actor want? As he told interviewer Chuck Shaden: “In the Screen Actors Guild, 80% of our membership earns less than $2,000 a year, and these are people who made good money at some time or another. Actors who would never taken under a minimum of a week’s contract are very happy to get a days work, Thank the Lord, The Flintstones has taken me out of that mess. I’ve been a very fortunate man.”

‘Christmas Flintstone’ is only predated as a TV yuletide cartoon by Abe Levitow’s 10,000 drawings that were photographed to become Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (December 18, 1962). But there were Christmas-theme Flintstones comic strips at the same time. The first one below is from December 24, 1964, the next one from the following day. You’ll note the presence of the cat that was seen more in the credits than the actual cartoons.


Joe and Bill’s first effort at a seasonal cartoon is far from perfect. It comes to an abrupt halt for an unnecessary Dino song (Hanna-Barbera owned a record label at the time, we cynically point out). It features the screechy tones of Joe Barbera’s squeeze, Gerry Johnson. And there’s that message of commercialism, with product placement in the last shot of Flintstone Building Blocks (which my dad got me as a present one year). But it’s fine for once-a-year viewing. Hanna and Barbera tried to mine perennial Christmas gold again in 1977 and 1994 with tedious results. Perhaps it’s significant that both of them were missing one thing that made the original worth watching—Alan Reed.