Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Treasury of Hanna-Barbera Bumpers

Animator Mark Christiansen has alerted the world to someone (and I suspect I know who) that has posted a little gold mine of early Hanna-Barbera stuff I haven’t seen in years.

Maybe it’s just me, but I like watching animated characters outside the actual cartoons, in places like commercials, bumpers, interstitials, um, whatever they’re called. It seems so many of those have been lost to the ages. The late Earl Kress forlornly told me of trying to track down those little cartoons-between-the-cartoons for the Huck and Quick Draw shows. He found some but couldn’t find others.

Someone has them, because they’re on YouTube. I don’t recall any of these being on DVD sets. These are from 1961.

Let’s start with Huck. Mark points out Ed Love animated it and Tony Rivera did the layouts. You’ll notice Hoyt Curtin’s music contains the original Yogi Bear theme but Yogi wasn’t on the Huck show by this time. Hokey Wolf had replaced him. I think Bob Gentle is the background artist here, it looks like his trees.



Here are Ed and Tony again. By the way, Bill Hanna saved money on all these by having Dixie speak but Pixie silent. Saves paying Don Messick to do a voice; Daws Butler did all of them.



It’s the two Eds here, Ed Love and Ed Benedict. The building is like the one Ed Benedict designed for the Augie Doggie cartoon Whatever Goes Pup.



One more from Ed and Ed. If I had to guess, I’d say Art Lozzi did the backgrounds. There’s just the Huck theme in this arrangement, with Curtin’s trombone players at work.



Finally, an original opening and closing for the last episode of The Jetsons, with a little sponsor credit cartoon for Scotch Tape.



The announcer was all over the place in the 1960s. You heard him on ‘The Wonderful World of Disney.’ You loved him on ‘Lost in Space’ (“Danger Will Robinson!”). It’s Dick Tufeld speaking.

When The Jetsons DVD came out, the end credits of all the cartoons had been stripped and replaced with credits from one episode (and disgracefully full of interlacing, see frame to the right). This snippet has the original credits, which shows only Carlo Vinci and Hugh Fraser animated Elroy’s Mob, the story was by the late Barry Blitzer and among the layout artists were Irv Spector and Willie Ito. I learned to distinguish voice artists by watching the credits and you can see (and easily hear) Shep Menken is on this one.

23 comments:

  1. Ed Love animation was used for bumpers and opening title sequences all the way into the 90s, and not just for Hanna-Barbera. He did the opening and closing titles DIC's syndicated SONIC THE HEDGEHOG in 1993, which means he must have been animating for close to sixty years.

    I would guess Hoyt Curtin composed the background music for these bumpers. I don't remember hearing any of this underscore in the cartoons themselves. It's nice how he incorporated an instrumental of the original Meece theme into it. The YOGI BEAR SHOW theme is used for the last part of the first one.

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  2. Earl did manage to rescue bumpers from THE YOGI BEAR SHOW, which are extras on the WHV DVD release. The format is the same, with Yogi interacting with supporting segment stars Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle. Ken Muse and Love animated these bumpers. It happens to be their only animation of Snag and Yak; neither man worked on their 32 shorts.

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  3. I thought Herschel Bernardi did Charlie the Tuna's voice. Did he take over from Shepard or vice-versa?

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  4. I've noticed that the opening seconds of The Jetsons title sequence (minus the zoom shot of Planet Earth) seem to have been recycled for the title sequence of Space Ghost.

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  5. Joe, he was. You witnessed an example of bad editing on a really slow PC. I got into a list of actors that just cluttered the post and not germane to my point and didn't delete everything I thought I had.

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  6. Thanks, Yowp, for the trip down memory lane. I remember these bumpers very well from when they first aired and it is one of my favorite memories of the Huckleberry Hound Show. I just wish they had incorporated as many as they could have in Huck's DVD release.

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  7. It's a little off-putting and contradictory seeing George Jetson reading a newspaper print edition.

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  8. Greg, this is why I'm surprised they have surfaced now. I know Earl Kress scoured the H-B archives for any bumpers. He found some, as you know, but he told me the studio didn't catalogue everything. I'm under the impression all that was on the Huck DVD was all that he could find, including stuff recorded privately on VHS. It's nice, but a bit puzzling, a source has popped up since then, but discoveries like this are being made all the time, I guess.
    TCJ, the newspaper industry hopes that's prescient.

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  9. Since Waner Home Video used "Elroy's Mob" on Vol. 2 of the Saturday Morning 60s DVD, it would have been nice if they could had included these bumpers, in the same way they put the Kellogg's titles back on the Quick Draw McGraw episodes on Vol. 2 (after editin them out in Vol. 1)

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  10. WONDERFUL stuff, Yowp! I feel the same way about interstitials. They were somehow “special” because they were not part of the regular series of cartoons.

    Oddly, they were repeated more often than the actual cartoons, back in the day – but the cartoons still exist, and the interstitials are now “lost”!

    Oh, how I wish these were included on the Huck DVD!

    Say, could it be as simple as – because Hokey Wolf wasn‘t on the Huckleberry Hound Show until much later – Warner didn’t allow those on the First Season set, figuring there would be future volumes that would take us into Hokey’s time on the show?

    Alas, they never happened – and not only did we not get the interstitials, but Hokey Wolf has never appeared on an authorized DVD.

    Can’t Warner Archives just put out a single disc of Season Four – that would include Hokey and the handful of Huck shows that DON’T have music clearance issues? Huh? Can’t they, Huh?

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  11. J.L., yes it would have been. But maybe these just came to light now. I don't know.

    Joe, I'm not responsible for any of this. I saw that Mark Christiansen posted about them and just relayed what he found. And I don't know, because I haven't heard from who posted these on the net, whether someone recently got their hands on some prints (and these are in wonderful shape) or whether Earl saw them ages ago in his hunt through the HB archives and they were put "on hold." The impression he left me with was what was on the Huck DVD was all he could find at the time. But he's not here any more to clarify.

    I don't know why Warners can't release the Huck (including Jinks) and Quick Draw show cartoons (Augie, Snooper) that don't use the stock music. I think I did a count of them all on the blog once but, regardless, there's enough for a full DVD if they go that route. They're not my favourites, but they're better than nothing. The "Saturday Morning" discs were a stupid idea. Full of double-dips and cartoons even I had no interest in.

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  12. Earl Kress posted on the GAC forums (RIP) that prior to the Turner/Time Warner merger, Turner had COMPLETE episodes of "The Huckleberry Hound Show" in the format of reels of B & W film, but after the merger, WB THREW THEM AWAY.

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  13. Whoa! How did Herschel Bernardi get into this? Obviously Yowp mentioned Shepard Menken [seen on the credits above] as Charlie Tuna [Herschel himself IS heard on some early Flinstones, most hilariously as the burglar who's hired to return money[!] and of course IS Charlie the tuna.Shepard is the "Western Airlines" bird here in California in old ads-Menken died in 1999 and the bird apparently, with him.] but then he corrected it to Shepard Menken as that's who's heard in the episode "Elroy's Mob" seen above. Menken is known for his "Alvin Show" [previous single season, 1961-1962, CBS-TV] as Clyde Crashcup, imitating Richard Haydn [a clear infleunce on his comedy].

    Yowp, at least we can be thankful that early Hoyt Curtin is a LOT better than the underscore sub-FIlmation music that Hanna-Barbera used in the 1970s and I won't even go beyond that era.

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  14. Yowp: What a memory flash. I'd have to say Huck is my favorite Hanna Barbera character. The comic timing of this era of HB animation always hits my funnybone.

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  15. One other thing that should be pointed out, as to why early Hanna-Barbera>later Hanna-Barbera, in the last of the Huck bridging segments, when Ed Love has Hokey ask Huck what he's getting his award for, he adds in s facial/eye motion, as to indicate to the audience a really bad punch line is coming (i.e. -- Huck saying he was driving fast to get to his award for safe driving in time). That's a little added facial expression that also serves to add some personality to the character. Had the same gag been animated five years later, you never would have gotten any sort of added movement in the face -- even if the line was read the same way by Daws, we would have gotten some 'blank stare' animation that would have saved a few pennies, but would have blanded out the gag even more due to the limited animation.

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  16. I'm glad you pointed it out, J.L. Ed has Hokey look at the audience before he's doused with water in the Fireman bumper, too. It doesn't take any more drawing than an eye blink but it looks a lot better. Carlo Vinci did the same kind of thing at the end of the first Snooper/Evil Scientist cartoon where the creatures make eye contact with each other while getting lectured.
    Mykal, I've always enjoyed the interaction in these and it really enhances the likeability of the characters. Then it got bastardised later by sticking them all together in arks or athletic games or some such junk. The concept in these is like an animated Allen's Alley, with the host stopping by and gagging with a member of the stock company then moving on to the next one.

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  17. Yowp, Thanks for the bumpers. I remember the first bumper with Huck, Mr. Jinx, and Hokey. Yes, Hoyt Curtin really had a thing for giving his trombone players a work-out. The story about the " Jonny Quest " theme recording session is priceless. On the subject of these companies using the same credits for all the shows, when " Turner " aquired the H-B library, they used to be imfamous for taking one ending credit for each year of " The flintstones " and running those sames credits at the end. Example; One ending from 1965, would be played as the ending for the entire 1965 season. I remember seeing variations on the voice actors credits back when these shows ran on the network, and in local syndication on 16mmm prints. And on another subject, " Warners " did the same with the " Gilligan's Island " DVDs. The second season opener is also used as the third season opener. It's a sad and lazy practice.

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  18. Consider the irony that all of these interstitial segments (even the older ones) do not have music clearance issues, but the cartoons they were wrapped around do!

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  19. If nothing, Joe, it helped them get released on DVD a few years ago, or at least the ones available at the time.
    It looks like H&B had Curtin write and record a couple of beds of different lengths to use throughout the series' run. It wouldn't take much to bang those off in a session with the instrumental track for the theme. He seems to have had an affinity for horns, almost in the Dixieland style. I can't remember who he said his arranger was.

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  20. Keep in mind that "HUCKLEBERRY HOUND" was originally syndicated in black and white. Color prints didn't appear until after Kellogg's sponsorship ended in the summer of 1966. The bumpers WERE filmed in color, but not all of them were used in the later syndicated versions of the series. Earl Kress was lucky to grab these examples when he had the chance!

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  21. Imagine that, "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth: Shepard Menken (who voiced Clyde Crashcup in The Alvin Show) appearing as guest voice in The Jetsons (Hanna-Barbera/Columbia Pictures, 1962-63)!

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  22. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth,

    Seeing the original overture and closing from The Jetsons classical series (Hanna-Barbera/Columbia Pictures, 1962-63), I got surprised to see the sponsorship from 3M (Scotch Magic Tape), when this series was originally broadcasted in the States by ABC.
    Alias, Scotch Magic Tape (very identified by its green package) is very sold in the whole world (also including my country, Brazil) until nowadays.

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  23. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth,

    Besides 3M/Scotch, I discovered on the Internet, another sponsor which The Jetsons (Hanna-Barbera/Columbia Pictures, 1962-63) had when the series was originally aired in the USA by ABC: Colgate-Palmolive.

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