Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Cop Who Loved Cats

“He was very serious, he didn’t seem to be an actor at all, but just a very serious kind of brooding man,” is Arnold Stang’s recollection of the man who played Officer Dibble opposite his Top Cat—Allen Jenkins.

“Allen pretended to be grumpy but he wasn’t grumpy at all, he was a marshmallow,” Marvin Kaplan remembers.

So, who’s right?

People seem to exhibit different traits in reaction to different people. But this isn’t a human psychology blog. We’re here to talk cartoons.

Jenkins certainly was serious about acting, and his movie career at Warners was full of non-marshmallow roles—“a gangster, a reporter, a bouncer, a cab driver—and anything that called for a tough mug” (Virginia Macpherson, UP, Feb. 25, 1945). This biography appeared in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, August 20, 1961:


Tough-Guy Allen Jenkins To Be Voice of ‘Top Cat’
HOLLYWOOD — Allen Jenkins, who made a career of portraying tough guys for the movies, will be on television this fall every week, but viewers won’t see him. Jenkins will be heard as the voice of Officer Dibble, a character in ABC-TV’s new animated series, “Top Cat,” every Wednesday night, beginning Sept. 27.
Jenkins is looking forward to being heard and not seen. “This cartoon stuff is all new to me,” said the actor whose career began as a member of a Broadway chorus 42 years ago. “I think it's going to be fun.”
JENKINS’ character — Officer Dibble — is a harassed cop whose beat includes a New York alley in which reside Top Cat (Arnold Stang’s voice) and his motley gang of off-beat cats.
Jenkins was born April 9, 1900, on Staten Island, New York. His father, Robert Jenkins, was an actor, and so was his mother, the former Leona Clark. When Jenkins’ father died in 1906 Allen traveled with his mother, who continued her stage career.
After two years at Cooper Union, an engineering school, Allen went to work in a shipyard. “I wanted to be a marine architect,” he recalled. Then the acting bug bit him suddenly and for the first time.
“My first job was in the chorus of ‘Fitter Fatter’ and I remember one other guy from that chorus, Jimmy Cagney,” Jenkins said.
When Jenkins’ mother urged him to take acting seriously and get out of chorus work, he followed her advice, enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Art and soon landed his first dramatic stage role as a butler in “Secret.” He also doubled as assistant stage manager.
Several years of road company work followed before Jenkins won a leading role. When Spencer Tracy left “The Last Mile,” young Jenkins, Tracy’s understudy, took over the lead. He played featured roles in “Front Page” and “Five Star Final” on Broadway.
IT WAS while appearing in the Broadway hit, “Blessed Event,” that Hollywood beckoned to Jenkins.
When Warner Bros, bought “Blessed Event” they gave Jenkins “a 3-week guarantee.” He stayed with Warners for seven years [the contract was extended in August 1932] and eventually appeared in some 200 Hollywood movies.
A veteran radio and TV performer Jenkins has three children — two of whom have appeared with him in summer stock. Dorothy, 14, and Tony, 19, love the stage. Nancy, 22, is the non-professional like her mother, whom Jenkins met and married in Chicago more than 30 years ago.
“Getting character and personality into an animated figure is a challenge to any actor,” Jenkins said, “and I hope I can do a good job.” “Top Cat” is the creation of Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc., and will be directed by Alan Dinehart.

Dinehart may have been the key to Jenkins’ hiring at Hanna-Barbera. Dinehart’s father, Alan Dinehart, Sr., was under contract to Warner Bros. and appeared in movies with Jenkins. One was Rackety Rax (1932), which also featured Arthur Pierson, who was a Story Supervisor when Dinehart was Associate Producer of The Flintstones.

But Jenkins, the guy with the homely mug, wasn’t all serious. Kaplan told historian Earl Kress that Jenkins “had this cat who owned him,” which is a great starting point for any article about a cartoon about a beat cop protecting his turf from scheming cats. It was for Joseph Finnigan of United Press International, anyway. Here’s his column that appeared a couple of weeks before Top Cat debuted.


Actor Purrs-Down His Alley
HOLLYWOOD, Sept. 12 (UPI)—Allen Jenkins has a role in a TV cartoon series that is right down his alley because it’s about the actor’s favorite non-human pals—cats.
JENKINS IS one of Hollywood’s all-time cat lovers. One of his felines, a 27-pound animal named Smiley, was found by Allen in a saloon in Westchester, near the Los Angeles Airport, when Jenkins was en route to catch a plane.
“I stopped for a few beers and here was this cat,” recalled Allen. “He was only a kitten then and the bartender gave him to me. I put the cat into my overcoat pocket and we both headed for San Francisco.”
That was years ago, and Jenkins’ love for Smiley never diminished.
The two pals have taken innumerable cross-country airplane trips. So, now that Allen has a chance to play opposite cats, he’s overjoyed.
OF COURSE viewers won’t see Al but they’ll hear a lot from him as he provides a voice for “Officer Dibble” on the new “Top Cat” series. All other characters are cats.
Arnold Stang talks the title role, conversing with such pals as “Spook,” “Brain,” “Fancy Fancy,” “Benny the Ball” and “Choo Choo.”
The ABC show was created by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, who have a lot of experience turning out cat stories.
They worked together at Metro Goldwyn Mayer on the famous “Tom and Jerry” films, a cat and mouse cartoon which entertained millions of moviegoers.
THE TWO veteran animators have won seven Academy Awards. Now independent producers, they have such TV shows as “Huckleberry Hound,” “The Flintstones” and “Quick Draw McGraw.”
Jenkins says “Officer Dibble” will be “the sparkplug of the thing. He takes the bumps.”
ALL ACTORS like to be seen as well as heard, but Jenkins is perfectly content to be the voice for a cop who chases a crazy bunch of cats.
“It could well bring me a new audience,” said Jenkins, who also is rehearsing for a role in Los Angeles stage productions of “Guys and Dolls.”
“WE’VE GOT 180 million people in this country and I dare say 140 million of them like cats,” he estimated. “There’s a built-in audience right there.”
Jenkins purrs with optimism when he talks about his gang of kitties.
“I’ll go out on a limb on this show,” he said, offering a flat prediction.
“I think it'll be a smash. I’ve never said that before.”
It had better be or Allen will find a lot of cats out on that limb.

Getting a free cat along with a few drinks doesn’t sound much like the behaviour of brooder. In fact, the combination of the two showed Jenkins’ irreverent side when it came to the law. Smiley and Jenkins’ love of tippling were front and centre of a case more comic than anything Jenkins’ Officer Dibble dealt with on Top Cat. We go back to 1948.

Allen Jenkins Held on Drunkenness Charge; Says Pet Cat Does His Driving
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 27 (AP) — Film Actor Allen Jenkins, 47, who told police his pet cat “Smiley” does his driving, faces trial next month on a drunken driving charge.
Jenkins, with “Smiley” in tow, was held for six hours yesterday before being released in $150 bond on his plea of innocent to the misdemeanor charge. Trial was set for Feb. 16.
When arrested, Jenkins was quoted by police as protesting:
“Smiley was driving. I was just along for the ride.”
Jenkins— and Smiley— left by plane last night for San Francisco.
As the actor boarded the plane, a member in the seeing-off party shouted:
“Don’t let Smiley drive.”

Both Jenkins and Smiley were placed in a cell. Remarkably, the trial went ahead. And, like O.J., like Michael Jackson, the media was there to record the grim details. In court, Jenkins was a little more sober-minded.

Allen Jenkins Denies Drunk Driving Charge
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 18.—(AP)—Movie comic Allen Jenkins denies he was intoxicated the night he was arrested and charged with drunken driving.
Jenkins, 47, testified yesterday that he had taken “just four bourbons in a period of several hours” and was “sober enough to drive.”
Police Officer Lester Jones told a Municipal Court jury that at the time Jenkins was booked last January 26, the actor insisted his pet cat, Smiley, be fingerprinted first.
“I did it to humor him,” Jones testified.
After Jenkins’ arrest, police said the actor told them the cat was driving.
Both Smiley and Jenkins were placed in a cell. Smiley wasn’t in court.
Jenkins denied he was drunk and said he hadn’t been given a sobriety test.
Jenkins said yesterday “the part about Smiley was just a gag. He is a remarkable cat. He goes everywhere with me.”
The jury will get the case today.

Jenkins said he hoped jurors appreciated the “great gag” about the driving cat and that he only wanted the paw prints “as a souvenir.” Something that may have been more relevant to their decision than the precursor to SNL’s Toonces was the fact Jenkins was never given a sobriety test. Reporters neglected to reveal whether Smiley had. It appears a verdict was quick.

Actor Allen Jenkins And His Cat Freed
HOLLYWOOD, Feb. 19—(UP)—Actor Allen Jenkins and his cat were cleared today of drunk diving charges.
“This is a great relief to Smiley,” Jenkins said. “He was upset about us being lawbreakers.”
Jenkins, who exonerated Smiley, his cat, during the trial, was acquitted yesterday.
“I don’t want him to have a police record,” he said.
He told police who arrested him Jan. 26 that Smiley was doing the driving, and he just was along for the ride.

Jenkins helped others who loved their bourbon a little bit too much. He was involved with 12 Step House in Oxnard, California in the late ‘60s. An AP ‘where are they now’ story of October 1973 reported he was living alone in a home in Santa Monica, divorced and without a cat to keep him company. The following year, he had problems breathing, had a lung removed at a local hospital and died a week later on July 20, 1974.

We’ll let Marvin Kaplan have a final word about Jenkins and his role as Officer Dibble.

“He was marvelous, he was wonderful,” Kaplan told Earl Kress. “Allen was the perfect casting for that part because you needed an authority figure who wasn’t obnoxious. And he was very kind, and very gentle, and he was the nice cop.”

So it seems Stang and Kaplan were both right. Allen Jenkins was both serious and a marshmallow after all. And, as we can see, he was perfectly cast the cop who loved cats. T.C. and Smiley could have told you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What Happened, T.C.?

It was 50 years ago today that Hanna-Barbera’s second prime-time network cartoon show made its debut.

You remember what happened when The Simpsons became a smash, right? Suddenly, there were plans aplenty to put more animation in prime time. Television programmers thought they had sure hits coming. They didn’t.

The same thing happened in 1961. The Flintstones became a smash. Suddenly, television programmers thought “There must be more of those cartoons out there somewhere.”

One of the places they looked was at the place where The Flintstones came from. So it was that 50 years ago today, Hanna-Barbera’s second prime-time network cartoon show, Top Cat, made its debut sponsored by Kellogg’s, who had put three syndicated H-B shows on the air and was all over prime time family shows.

Of course, there was more to it than the traditional trembling network executive sticking to the tried and true. H-B had a good reason to put another show on the air. Here’s Dick Kleiner’s syndicated column of September 16, 1961:


HOLLYWOOD (NEA) — The Hanna-Barbera factory keeps grinding out the cartoon shows. The latest is “Top Cat,” which will join “The Flintstones” and all the other H-B cartoon shows.
While there is good money in cartoon shows, there is even better money in the merchandising end of the business. All the H-B shows are planned with one eye on the borne screen product, the other on the dolls, dishes and doughnuts which can bear the show’s name.
Joe Barbera, one of the firm’s partners, says they did $43 million worth of merchandising business last year.
“We could get by without merchandising,” he says, “but I’d rather not have to try. We even have good sales of Yogi Bear bath salts.”
Barbera and his partner, Bill Hanna, believe in planning ahead. Joe says you “must always come up with something new.” Currently, they are considering ideas for six new cartoon shows. Joe hints strongly that their next offering will be an hour-long program.
With “The Alvin Show,” “Calvin and the Colonel” and “Top Cat” joining “The Flintstones,” there will be four cartoon shows in prime evening network time this season. Joe Barbera thinks he knows why.
“Cartoon shows,” he says, “offer more escape from reality than Westerns. And that’s what the people want from television — escape.”

Some people didn’t like the idea of all those cartoons. One of the AP’s TV and radio columnists had this to say on October 11, 1961, after the shows had made their debuts (I’ve snipped the part of the column where he gripes about the non-animated shows):

Things Are Nervous Along The TV Front
By HAL HUMPHREY
Not quite all of the new TV shows have made their bows yet, but already there are developing what Wall Street refers to as “soft spots” in the lineup.
One of the sponsors of ABC’s “Calvin and the Colonel” cartoon series will cancel out after four episodes. The network insists it is only because the sponsor wants to buy in on “Untouchables” and “Follow the Sun.” The second episode of “Calvin and the Colonel” was pulled this week and another one substituted because, said an ABC official, “we thought it could be improved.”
“Calvin and the Colonel” is the cartoon whose title characters are a bear and fox voiced by Charles Correll and Freeman Gosden (“Amos ‘n’ Andy”). It certainly seems to have more going for it than the other cartoons for TV have.
CBS PREMIERED its “Alvin” cartoon last week, and it was awful — unless, of course, you happen to be between the ages of 3 and 8. ABC’s “Top Cat” falls in: the same category.
Over on NBC, the “Bullwinkle” cartoons may be slightly more adult, like maybe a couple of notches above cutting out paper dolls. If we stop to think about it, isn’t it a little crazy to admit that two and a half hours of prime network TV time each week are now taken up with cartoons?
If Americans read a report informing us that for two hours every week about one-third of all Russian adults sat immobilized in front of TV sets watching animated cartoon pictures, we would shake our head disparagingly. No wonder a Khrushchev can keep them under his iron paw, eh?
STILL, IF THEY wanted to, the creators of these cartoon shows would argue that their stuff is making more sense than most of the human drama on TV this fall...
Finally, the viewer is driven crazy, too, so he winds up turning back to the cartoon shows and happily watching them while humming and running his forefinger across his vibrating lips.
His kids keep yelling, “Daddy! When are you gonna let us watch ‘Meet the Press’? Can’t we have the TV set now, huh?”

Critics weren’t terribly kind to The Flintstones after its first show a year earlier. How did they receive Top Cat? The first episode was The $1,000,000 Derby. Jack Gould of the New York Times called the characters “a dreary lot” (he was the one who called The Flintstones “an inked disaster”). The major wire services weighed in. Cynthia Lowry of the Associated Press wrote:

NEW YORK (AP)—Network television Wednesday night held the promise of a solid 3½ hours of comedy: premier [sic] of Steve Allen’s show and the debut of a new animated cartoon series on ABC and a Victor Borge and a Jack Benny special on CBS... The animated cartoon, “Top Cat,” was disappointing ... “Top Cat,” by the creators of “Huckleberry Hound.” Concerns the adventures of a band of alley cats with New York accents who live by their wits. The first show seemed neither witty nor unusual. But perhaps animated cartoon comedies, like olives, are acquired tastes with some viewers.

Fred Danzig of United Press International:

NEW YORK (UPI) — ABC-TV’s Wednesday night schedule also includes “Top Cat,” a cartoon situation comedy manufactured by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbara—creators of “Huck Hound,” “Yogi Bear” and “The Flintstones.”
Top Cat is the name of a leader of Manhattan alley cats. He shows the same talent for fast-talk that moved a two-legged top kick known as Sgt. Bilko into TV’s hall of fame. Maurice Gosfield, who was Doberman in the Phil Silvers series, supplies the voice for “Benny the Ball” in this cartoon format. Arnold Stang is behind T.C.’s voice.
These cats clicked off their roguish deeds at break-neck speed Wednesday night. While their antics aren’t especially inspired, they managed to line out some crackling dialogue along the way to provide some chuckles. For TV, 1961 style, this ads up to superior entertainment.

Perhaps the cutest review was in The Morning Herald of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The paper had a children’s page and it featured reviews.

TOP CAT
By LOIS STONKO
Republic
I watch Top Cat. It is a new program on television. It is all about cats. It is a cartoon show. T. C. is short for top cat. He is the head of the gang. His pal’s name is Benny. Top Cat is on Wednesday at 8:30. It is a very enjoyable program.


Some people agreed with young Lois. Eventually. A studio puff piece in Hank Grant’s column of March 18, 1962 in the Hayward Daily Review crows:

Their second prime-time effort, “Top Cat,” which even the network was preparing to write off because of a slow start, is now topping “Checkmate” for audience supremacy.

But that wasn’t enough. Top Cat became Hanna-Barbera’s first prime-time failure.

What happened, T.C.? Bob Foster of the San Mateo Times took at stab at that one in his column of April 4, 1962:


Bill Hanna, and Joe Barbara claim “we believe that good clean humor is an international language. If you make cartoons honestly to project warmth and good feeling while gently spoofing basic situations, these situations are understandable anywhere. Language isn't really a barrier.”
Perhaps it was this concept that was missing in Hanna-Barbara’s second series, “Top Cat.” In this series, the use of animals probably annoyed people. After all the “Flintstones” are “people,” but in an entirely different situation, one that cannot be ... unless of course comes the bomb.

You’ll notice Foster is using the past tense referring to the show. So did a piece on The Jetsons, published in a Dover, Ohio paper; T.C. was buried way in the last sentence. Finally, Jack Gaver’s TV column in UPI on May 9 went through the cancellations on all three networks, and revealed ABC would move Top Cat into reruns on Saturday morning (Alvin suffered the same fate at CBS; ABC dumped Calvin and the Colonel altogether). ABC’s vice president in charge of television daytime programming announced at the month’s end that it would in the 11:30 a.m. slot as part of a two-hour block; “the first time ABC-TV will be fully competitive early Saturday and represents a considerable expansion in children’s programming.” No doubt little Lois Stonko was delighted.

I never watched Top Cat in prime time nor when it moved to Saturdays. It’s never really appealed to me. Hoyt Curtin’s music is excellent and I really enjoy Arnold Stang and Marvin Kaplan. In thinking about it, perhaps it’s because it didn’t have the things I liked in other night-time Hanna-Barbera cartoons, save designs that started in Ed Benedict’s mind. The Jetsons had flying cars and cool gadgets. The Flintstones had weary gadgets that talked back. The Jetsons had silly and distinctive Astro. The Flintstones had silly Dino. Both cartoons featured loudmouths. Top Cat really didn’t have any of this. It was a fairly straight-forward comedy featuring guys like Maurice Gosfield and Allen Jenkins who delivered every line the same. Dibble wasn’t an over-the-top guy you hoped would get his in the end, like Spacely or Cogswell; in fact, you were reluctant to even dislike him because he was just doing his job. That doesn’t set up real plot conflict.

Still, it’s a show that’s in the hearts of many Hanna-Barbera fans who are, no doubt, wishing it a happy 50th birthday.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Don’t Point That Thing at Daws

Blogging can take an awful lot of time, and I suspect that’s why a blog that I enjoyed reading went silent several years ago. The blog belonged to cartoon writer Earl Kress, who passed away a week ago today.

Plenty of people who worked in the Golden Age of Cartoons were still in animation when Earl started in the business and I’d love to have read what he knew about them, or what they told him about working at MGM, Warners, Lantz or Fleischer. Earl talked a bit about it on his blog.

His blog’s URL has been taken over and now defaults to a new location,
Earl Kress.com (you can click on the name to get there). We’re being promised Earl’s stories and I’m looking forward to reading them.

However, I’m scooping the website by re-printing one of Earl’s tiny tales about television’s greatest voice actor, Daws Butler. Some people are tempted to play a “who’s better” game involving Daws and Mel Blanc, which is kind of like comparing the ’27 Yankees with the ’78 Yankees. They were both great teams, but they played under different conditions in different eras. Mel had a 15-year head-start on Daws in network radio and rode that to fame, along with an exclusive voice credit at Schlesinger and Warners that put his name on the screen for more than 25 years (and then several times a day on television decades afterward). Daws got in on the last good decade of theatricals, didn’t voice any real high-profile film characters and had his name absent (thanks, Mel) from his work at Warners in the ‘50s (he did get credit at Lantz and UPA).

Mel’s face got known by appearing periodically on the Jack Benny TV show; he had slowly become almost a weekly supporting player on the Benny radio show by the late ‘40s. Daws was on live action TV, too, probably more than Mel, but he was hidden very uncomfortably behind a set with his upright arm manipulating various puppets on Beanie and Cecil.

Daws had his big chances to appear on camera. Once was on that American Express commercial shot years ago—by Mel Blanc. Earl related a story about it on his blog on June 14, 2006 that I had never heard before; certainly it was never mentioned in Mel’s autobiography. Here’s Earl:


They originally wanted this commercial to be both Mel Blanc and Daws Butler together on an airplane. Between the two of them, they’ve done the voices for more major characters than the whole rest of the industry put together. But Daws turned them down. Some of his students (Daws used to run a voice workshop), myself included, tried to talk Daws into doing the commercial. It was one day’s work. He still refused. He said there was too much sitting around on film sets and he just didn’t want to do it. Plus, he would have had to fly to another city to shoot it. The producers of Barney Miller, one of Daws’ favorite shows, also wanted him to do a part and he turned them down, too. And that one was shot right here in Hollywood. It’s too bad. Daws was such a great actor, it’s too bad he didn’t get some of the recognition that Mel got by being on shows like Jack Benny and doing the AMEX commercial.

We can hope other little nuggets like this about the actors, writers, animators and producers of cartoons will soon pour (if nuggets could, in fact, pour) from Earl’s tribute spot.

There’s only one thing wrong with the site. Mark Evanier has graciously termed your Yowping scribe an “animation historian.” While I’m interested in the medium’s past (certainly far more so than the present), my knowledge is lacking in far too many areas to enable me to be legitimately labelled an “historian,” certainly in comparison to the published authors on cartoons who I’m sure you’ve read.

Well, there is something else wrong with the site. Earl isn’t here to share his stories with us any more. But I hope this is the next best thing.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Benny the Ball Speaks

If there was any human who could have been a cartoon, that human would likely have been Maurice Gosfield.

Gosfield was picked to be the voice of Benny the Ball on Top Cat, which debuted 50 years ago this month. Adding “the Ball” to Benny’s name evokes petty hoods and sleazy gamblers in the underbelly of Brooklyn of maybe a half-century before; after all, the series did take place in a New York alley. But there was another, more important piece of geography being eyed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera—Fort Baxter, Kansas. That was the setting for The Phil Silvers Show with army conman Ernie Bilko and his platoon. Bill and Joe borrowed from The Honeymooners and came up with a hit in The Flintstones. Why not borrow from another popular comedy and come up with another smash? So it was that Bill and Joe took the fast-talking Bilko and boys out of the army, turned them into alley cats in New York and viola! (as they say in cartoons). And instead of getting someone to imitate one of Bilko’s boys, why not just hire one of the actors? That’s how Maurice Gosfield, Bilko’s Private Doberman, became a cartoon voice artist.

Gosfield was about as improbable an actor you could find, voice or otherwise. He was a disorganised mess of a man. That’s how he got on TV to begin with. David Everitt’s fine book about Bilko creator Nat Hiken, called ‘King of the Half Hour,’ relates the story:


The dumpy, spectacularly ugly Maurice Gosfield ambled into an open casting call one day, brandishing an enormous list of credits. A handful of his bit parts on stage are easy enough to confirm; more difficult to pin down are his claims of two-thousand radio credits and one hundred TV appearances. Perhaps more to the point is the recollection of a producer who remembered Gosfield hanging around with other work-hungry actors on the third floor of the NBC building [in New York] a few years earlier; he recalled that the slovenly performer was considered something of a joke. None of the man’s background really mattered to Hiken and Silvers once they got a good look at him. Nat had already picked someone else to play the most woebegone member of Bilko’s platoon, but immediately he knew that here was a man born for the part. Maurice Brenner, originally selected for the role, was recast as Private Fleischman, while Gosfield became Private Duane Doberman, the saddest of sad sacks and all-around human disaster area. The part, in Gosfield’s case, required no acting ability—which was fortunately, because he had none to speak of.

Interestingly, another actor from the Bilko show never made it onto Top Cat, but was hired by Hanna-Barbera a couple of years for the title role in Magilla Gorilla—Allan Melvin. Everitt’s book continues:

Melvin pointed out that scenes involving Gosfield involved “certain technical difficulties, like getting him in front of the camera. Or getting him to say something.” His trouble with dialogue became a subject of sporting interest to the rest of the cast. They would run a betting pool on how long it would take Gosfield to flub his first line on any given day and, more often than not, whoever bet on the shortest amount of time would win the wager.

Of course, cartoons don’t require memory work and Gosfield apparently read his lines well enough to satisfy Barbera and dialogue director Alan Dinehart. Marvin Kaplan told H-B historian Earl Kress the sessions never lasted more than a hour and a half.

By all accounts, Gosfield was utterly inept socially and professionally, so his co-stars would likely have found it funny to see him waxing philosophically about his character and the series. But there’s a story in the Winnipeg Free Press of December 16, 1961 where he does just that. Granted, there’s no byline, which means there was probably no interview and this is, instead, a ready-made puff piece from Arnie Carr and his PR staff at Hanna-Barbera (though why anyone would think Benny was “feminine” is beyond me). That leaves it open to debate how much of Gosfield really is in this story:


Gosfield Jumps From ‘Doberman’ To ‘Top Cat’
Maurice Gosfield, the well known character actor, says he always wanted to be an alley cat. “Just think — alley cats have no gas or light bills to pay, no rent, no schedules to meet, no responsibilities, no nothing. Who’s more independent or free than a character like Benny the Ball?” He added, referring to his voice role on Top Cat, the CTV animated cartoon series.
Although he achieved popularity as Doberman in the Phil Silvers series Sergt. Bilko, the
versatile Gosfield is even happier in his new feminine role. “It was a move, namewise, from dog to cat. In this case, the cat is smarter, so, in a sense, I’ve gained something.
“Benny, the Ball is one of Top Cat’s sidekicks — and while he’s an incurable optimist he’s otherwise a very sensible guy. When T.C. comes up with his grand ‘con’ ideas, Benny goes along with them only to a degree. He’s intensely loyal without being a complete idiot.”
A veteran of some 7,000 radio shows, including See and Hear, Gosfield disagrees with the generally held view that voicing for animation is just a dull routine.
“Not at all,” he says. “We actors on Top Cat — Arnold Stang, Allen Jenkins and the rest — study a storyboard of rough drawings so we know exactly what Hanna and Barbera are looking for before we begin to record. Vocally we have to complement the cartoons — they don't complement us.”
Gosfield points out that actors working in the animation medium have to tailor their performances to fit previously conceived and produced action, whereas the in-the-flesh actor fits dialogue to action and furnishes both.
“It’s challenging, and a lot of fun,” he said. “And besides, there are times when I can be as carefree as an alley cat doing the part — because it pays well. It’s not that there aren’t any bills or schedules, but this way I worry about them less.”

Gosfield fashioned himself a ladies man, despite being 5’ 2” and claiming to TV writer Bert Resnik he was too ugly to get married. “Some people may think I’m too old for romantic leads,” he told the UPI’s Vernon Scott in 1960, “but I’m only 42½ years old.” But Joe Barbera related in his book (and elsewhere) what a complete slob Gosfield was; the Bilko role really was an alter ego.

Benny was Gosfield’s last major role, unless you want to count his appearance in Teen-Age Millionaire (1961) alongside Zasu Pitts and Sid Gould. He was in hospital for hypertension in June 1964 but was up to entertaining guests. He died October 19, 1964.


SARANAC LAKE (AP)—Actor Maurice Gosfield, 51, an ex-Army sergeant relegated to the role of the fat, bungling Pvt. Doberman in the “Sgt. Bilko” television series, died Monday in Will Rogers Memorial Hospital after a lengthy illness.
Comedian Phil Silvers, who portrayed Bilko, the conniving Army sergeant, commented from his home near Los Angeles:
“Maurice Gosfield’s bedraggled appearance on television belied the articulate, knowledgable, witty man he really was. He had a zest for living which communicated itself to those who knew him and, I think, to the audience he captivated in his role as Doberman.”
Gosfield was brought to the Will Rogers Hospital for theater folk from his New York City home last summer. Doctors said he had heart trouble, diabetes and other complications.
Gosfield was transferred to Pittsburgh hospital last month, then returned here.
He was a native of New York City, educated there, in Philadelphia and in Evanston, Ill. where he attended high school he made his professional debut with the North Shore Players in Evanston in 1932.
In the next few years he perfected a talent for offbeat roles while mastering more than a dozen different dialects. “He once told me,” Hiken related, “he never worked a day in anything but the theater.”
Gosfield appeared on more than 2,000 radio programs and about 125 major television shows in addition to his four years with “Sgt. Bilko.”
His Broadway debut was in "Siege" in 1937. Other Broadway credits included “Darkness at Noon,” “The Petrified Forest,” “Three Men on a Horse” and “Room Service.”
His movie credits included “Naked City” and “Kiss of Death.”
During World War II Gosfield served as a technical sergeant with the 8th Armored Division, attached to headquarters at Fort Knox, Ky.
He leaves a sister and two brothers.

More than a dozen different dialects? Somehow, I doubt it. Even incidental characters were left to others.

My favourite Gosfield tale is one Kaplan told Earl on the Top Cat DVD.


Maurice Gosfield. He was one of a kind. He was a marvellous human being. I loved Maurice. The worst driver I ever met in my whole life. He rented a car...It was a Thunderbird. A white Thunderbird. Well, he had more dents on it, but he ended up owning it. But this is the problem with it. It had a wheel that, his feet couldn’t touch the gas pedal. And the wheel was too big in front of him so it could move over to the side. So, if you were a passenger, you’d help steer it.
And then he’d call me every day and he’d say “Marvin,” and I knew from the tone of his voice, I said “Another one?” And he said “I made a right turn.” Well, I knew he made right turns from the center lane. So he said “A policeman followed me and he pulled me over and I backed into his motorcycle.” And I said “Maurice, you know, you shouldn’t have done that.” But then he said something, he said “What I want to know, Marvin, is should I fight it?”


I’m sure if he did, his lawyer would be a fast-talking type—like Top Cat—dealing with the blustering Dibble-like cop. Because it seems Private Duane Doberman wasn’t Maurice Gosfield’s only alter ego.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Yogi Bear — Stranger Ranger

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation – Ken Muse; Layout – Tony Rivera; Story – Warren Foster; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson (no credits).
Voice Cast: Yogi, Circus Truck Driver, Bird, Picnicker, Car Driver, Police Officer 2 – Daws Butler; Ranger Smith, Wee Willie, Police Officer in Car, Police Officer 1 – Don Messick.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Geordie Hormel, Spencer Moore.
First Aired: week of November 2, 1959 (rerun, week of June 6, 1960).
Plot: Yogi mistakes escaped gorilla Wee Willie for Ranger Smith’s replacement.

Thanks again to reader Scott for the bug-less title card.

There might not have been a more thankless incidental character for a writer to be saddled with in the first few years of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio than Wee Willie. Unless your idea of humour is a character with no personality, who bashes people around for no reason while crying “Eek! Eek!” then Willie just simply isn’t funny.

He was featured in the first Huckleberry Hound cartoon to be aired. When Warren Foster was hired to write in the second season, it seems there was a deliberate attempt by him to build stardom, or at least find a home, for secondary characters from the first season. So it is that Willie is transplanted into Yogi Bear’s world. It’s a losing cause. Foster even attempts to build some drama near the end of the cartoon with a chance the gorilla could burn down Jellystone Park. Instead, it’s played for laughs with the punch line being Willie picking up Yogi and putting out lit matches by bashing the bear on top of them over and over. Foster did better with Huck and Ladder in the third season (Willie has no name and his design is more streamlined), but in that one he toned down the violence and added other characters with silly lines.

Yogi doesn’t even have Ranger Smith or Boo Boo to play off in this cartoon. Boo Boo’s nowhere to be found and Mr Ranger is taking a fishing trip, which sets up the plot. The background artist has an almost jungle-like scene in the ranger’s window. But the shots on Tony Rivera’s layouts don’t match. When the scene switches to Yogi looking in, he’s on the wrong side. And it looks like the window is boarded up.



There’s a sloppy colour error in the next scene. The ranger’s pants change shades of green. It’s not a case of the bottom half of his body has stopped moving and is therefore on one cel, either. He walks a few more steps afterward.



The ranger tells Yogi a new ranger is coming and drives away. Meanwhile, at the park entrance, a truck driver in a phone booth is assuring Joe at Armand and Daily circus that their prize gorilla Wee Willie is safe in the truck. Cut to shot of truck with its bars bent. All gorillas in cartoons have the strength of King Kong, you know.



A really lame bit of animation follows. Whether Foster wrote it this way, I don’t know, but Willie’s very countenance scares a bird into a faint. There’s no take or reaction or anything. The smiling bird simply faints. Then Willie walks into the ranger station, grabs the ranger’s hat, shirt and tie and puts them on for no reason, other than we wouldn’t have a cartoon if we didn’t (yes, Willie somehow ties a tie). He then saunters into Yogi’s cave, jumps in bed with him and sleeps for no reason, other than it gives Yogi the chance to mistake the gorilla for the ranger so we can have a cartoon.



We’re about a third of the way through the short. I’ll whip through the gags.

● Yogi insists that Willie get out. Willie throws him through a tree. “Gee, can’t he take a joke?” is the weak reaction line.
● Yogi tries kissing up to the “new ranger”. He gets thrown into a lake. Noting the gorilla’s bare feet, he says “What other ranger has thumbs on his feet? You can comb your hair and play the piano at the same time.
● Willie steals a picnic basket from a camper and throws a blueberry pie in his face. The camper gets out the word “blueberry” after being hit.



● Yogi winkingly tells Willie he’ll accept a bribe of a chocolate cake from the basket in return for not snitching on the filtching. The violence is off-camera. Yogi is flung into the scene, twisted in knots.
● A compact car runs into Willie. He removes the car’s body. The driver Joe (the second one in the cartoon) backs up. A book of matches flies out. Willie starts lighting them. Yogi gets angry and demands Willie put them out (“o-w-t,” the standard cartoon spelling). He does, using the bear’s body.



● A police car rolls through the same background we’ve been seeing all cartoon. The officer on the loudspeaker (the third Joe in the cartoon) warns people there’s an escaped gorilla. Yogi goes to warn the “new-type ranger.”
Here’s where the use of stock music really hurts. Yogi reads the reward poster for the gorilla, looks at “the new ranger,” then looks at the camera, realising what’s going on. But through it all we hear Geordie Hormel’s fast strings sawing away, providing no accent to the realisation at all. The music doesn’t fit the scene to begin with.



It now enters into Yogi’s head he can collect the $1,000 reward. So the final scene has the gorilla swinging from tree to tree in cycle footage, holding Yogi who’ll bring him to the cops once he tires out Willie. And because it’s Warren Foster writing, he drags out a moniker from his Warner Bros. days, calling Willie “Nature Boy” (like he did with the aborigine in Bushy Hare (1950).

Nat King Cole’s ‘Nature Boy’ didn’t make the soundtrack, but lots of Jack Shaindlin music did.

0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title theme (Hanna-Barbera-Shows-Curtin).
0:13 - ZR-51 LIGHT ANIMATION (Hormel) – Scene with ranger, Yogi goes into cave, shot of park entrance.
1:33 - L-78 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Driver on phone, shot of truck.
1:43 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Willie walking, Willie in bed with Yogi, Yogi demands Willie leave.
2:43 - LAF-72-2 RODEO DAY (Shaindlin) – camera shakes, Yogi kicked out, “you are the strong silent type.”
3:13 - LAF-21-3 RECESS (Shaindlin) – Yogi flatters Willie, Willie grabs Yogi.
3:30 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Willie spins Yogi, throws in water.
3:40 - LAF-21-3 RECESS (Shaindlin) – “He’s a strong one,” bribery scene, car honks at Willie.
4:50 - L-78 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Car drives into Willie, lights matches, Yogi tells Willie to put them out.
5:27 - ZR-48 FAST MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Willie uses Yogi to put out fire, Yogi figures out “new ranger” is Willie.
6:30 - PIXIE PRANKS (Shaindlin) – Shot of armed police officers.
6:40 - LICKETY SPLIT (Shaindlin) – Yogi and Willie in trees.
6:58 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tanks Fred

Once again, reader Billie Towzer has scanned the internet for pictures of old Hanna-Barbera merchandise. Click on each to enlarge them.



We had those flimsy Flintstones building blocks when I was a kid. They weren’t designed for kids. The Styrofoam nubs at the top of the bricks broke off way too easily, even when handled by calm, quiet children like myself, rendering the blocks useless. But this Flintstones wind-up tank looks a little more sturdy.



Today, it’d be stamped out from some moulded plastic or something. But this one by Linemar is made of real tin. Being a “cartoon”, it naturally has eyes. And being Stone Age, it uses “candles” for headlights. It was made in 1961. There were Superman and Jetsons tanks, too. Anything with Baby Puss is okay in my book, but I haven’t figured out what that flat Fred is sticking out at the bottom. And I can see kids getting bored with it after awhile. What do you do with a tank besides run over Mr. Slate?



Here are tile puzzle games featuring the cast of the Huck show and the Jetsons. Yogi and Jinks are awfully stretched out here, aren’t they? The designs for the Huck puzzle (save Boo Boo’s) are based on Dick Bickenbach model sheets from the late ‘50s.




And this is a Colorforms toy from 1960. Despite the fact the cover design says it’s by “Dick Martin”, the characters are based on Bick models. Inside, there are little plastic models—of Yogi, Jinks and so on—that you put on a sticky game board designed in a forest scene. Then you create your own little show with them and pretend you’re Daws Butler saying “I hate meeces to pieces!” Children using their imagination. Remarkable, isn’t it?



Incidentally, Gene Deitch’s short The Tom and Jerry Cartoon Kit came out about two years later. Unlike the Tom and Jerry version, the Huck kit does not come with coffee and cigarettes for the cartoonist.

Thanks again to Billie for passing these on. We’ll post more in the future.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Earl Kress

One of the unexpected pleasures of putting out the dusty old bits and pieces and musings that you read here is that there are others who want to take time out of whatever they’re doing to help.

I’ve been very fortunate that one of those was Earl Kress.

Earl passed away of cancer this morning.

That’s Earl you see in the picture with the world’s perennial teenager, Janet Waldo, at ComiCon last year.

Unlike other obits you’ll read on the net, this writer had never met Earl, never worked with him, and didn’t really know anything about his career; the cartoons I like most are of a vintage before Earl started writing them. But he really loved the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons and the studio.

Fans who have DVDs, or have watched cartoons on the internet ripped from the DVDs, of the Huck and Yogi shows, the Flintstones and Top Cat, can thank Earl for his work in getting them released, and with extras we might never have seen otherwise. He worked on a Quick Draw McGraw DVD which, sadly, we likely will never see. Quick Draw was Earl’s favourite character and he was always a little sad that, first, restoration, and then music rights issues got in the way of it being released.

I suspect few media executives know, or care, about production library music from the 1950s. But Earl did. When the Rhino discs of Hanna-Barbera themes and music came out in 1996, he managed to get included nine Capitol Hi-Q pieces by Phil Green that fans had never heard without dialogue over the top. He did it with a “hey, listen to this” sense of glee. Earl had gone over the cue sheets for a bunch of the cartoons in the Hanna-Barbera library, made some notes, and off he went. He saw Ole Georg at Capitol, where someone went into their archives, found the music he was looking for—including a piece by Hecky Krasnow—and played it for him. He went to Cinemusic where they told him even they didn’t have some of Jack Shaindlin’s music any more, but gave him the address of someone who had preserved the cues on film. Even then, he couldn’t find everything he was hoping for, including the original version of his favourite Shaindlin cue, ‘On the Run.’ After all that, only a deal could be worked out for Green’s music. I remember being astounded and really excited when I heard the cues for the first time. I had been trying to track down the library for more than 20 years and here was some of the music I was looking for. Others wanted to hear it, too. They’ve even come to this blog to do it. Credit Earl.

Earl was a friend and student of Daws Butler. And he personally knew an awful lot of old-timers who had worked on many of his favourite Hanna-Barbera cartoons, which must have been a real treat.

Quite unexpectedly one day, Earl dropped me a note about the cartoon music cues and asked me if he could help me with any of them. And that’s the way he was. He generously shared information and offered things from his collection when he didn’t have to. But we both liked the same cartoons and he really wanted to help. And he did.

Earl had many great, supportive friends and they’re all suffering a sad loss today.

Thanks so much for everything, Earl. I’m going to miss you.


Stu Shostak has broadcast a tribute show to Earl, featuring an old interview about his career and the H-B studio. You can go here and download it. Head to the bottom of the page.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Snooper and Blabber — Big Diaper Caper

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Carlo Vinci; Layout – Dick Bickenbach; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Story – Mike Maltese; Story Sketches – Dan Gordon; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, Evil Scientist, Baby – Daws Butler; Mrs Evil Scientist – Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin.
First Aired: week of November 16, 1959 (rerun, week of May 16, 1960)
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-008, Production No J-8.
Plot: Snooper and Blabber are hired to baby-sit by Mr. and Mrs. Evil Scientist.

Much has been made over the years about Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera’s love for The Honeymooners, and how it less-than-covertly found its way into their cartoons. Less is made about another affection which inspired animated material for the studio during parts of several decades—the work of Charles Addams.

It’s tempting to credit Barbera for this. He must have felt somewhat akin to Addams. Both were New Yorkers trying to break into the magazine cartoon business in the early ‘30s. Addams’ ghoulish humour became so imitated (and watered down) over the years people may not realise how original and quirky it was at one time. The others were merely trying, even straining, to be funny. Addams was simply observing things through his own odd natural sense of humour, sometimes with little unexpected extras. It wasn’t enough for Addams to draw a woman who appears to have skied through a tree. Addams added to the panel by placing a puzzled observer trying to make sense of it. He managed to maintain novelty when others could not.

Hanna-Barbera was ahead of the game when it came to television borrowing from Charles Addams’ most famous creation. The Addams Family sitcom wasn’t to air for another five years at the time someone in the H-B writing brain-trust of Barbera, Mike Maltese and Dan Gordon came up with Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist. Anyone remotely familiar with the old TV show or the even older New Yorker magazine cartoons can’t miss the Addams resemblance in the Scientist parents, scary exotic pets and even the rundown mansion. And, of course, they live in a world where ugly is beautiful and creepy is ordinary. Hanna-Barbera beat it into the ground, first turning J. Evil and his family into comic book stars and then churning out the knock-off Gruesomes who debuted on The Flintstones and then the knock-off knock-off Creepleys who popped up on a far lesser show in the decades ahead.



This was not only the Evil Scientist family’s first cartoon, it was also the first voice job at Hanna-Barbera for Jean Vander Pyl. Mrs. Scientist’s thin appearance and long cigarette holder apparently inspired Vander Pyl to give the character a Tallulah Bankhead-like voice, a perfect choice. Mr. Scientist isn’t named “J” yet. His first name in this cartoon is Boris, though Daws Butler’s voice evokes Peter Lorre instead of Karloff.

And this was also the first time Blabber was played by Daws Butler. Elliot Field provided the voice in the first four cartoons; Elliot has told me he and Daws did five cartoons together; you can hear him on a Quick Draw McGraw cartoon as well. It’s interesting to note that of the first eight cartoons on the Quick Draw show that went into production, five were Snooper and Blabbers.

While Mike Maltese provides the ersatz Addams, and a nice little ending, Carlo Vinci came up with the animation. It’s vintage Vinci. Snooper has a big, wide mouth and thick upper teeth during some dialogue, there are two-drawing, off-model scare takes and stretch-diving exits off camera.



You can tell this is a little early in the detective racket for Maltese. This is the first cartoon that opens in Snoop’s office. Maltese hasn’t worked out a rhyming phone answering gag yet. In this one, Snoop simply answers “Snooper and Blabbermouse, Private Eyes. Snoop speakin’” And Maltese ditched the “mouse” on Blab’s name not too many cartoons after this (it was never used in the titles).

The boys are offered a thousand dollars to babysit. “Lady, for that kind of dough, we’d baby-sit a bucket of bees.” Blab’s apprehensive when they drive to the home and read the name on mail box. But up a lovely, winding cliff they go along a spiralling road (there’s even a tunnel in the rock) and arrive at the front house. Much like the Addams and Munsters TV shows, the doorbell (it’s a skull and crossbones with a button on the nose) makes all kind of scary noise. The two are ushered in and we get scary/creepy-is-normal dialogue.


Mrs. Scientist: Boris and I are going to a horror movie.
Mr. Scientist: Yes. It’s very romantic. Rock Crusher in ‘Boy Meets Ghoul.’
Mrs. Scientist: You shouldn’t have any trouble with our little monster.
Mr. Scientist: But in case you do, scream for help. It never comes.

Snoop and Blab look in on the baby sleeping in his crib. “Cute, my toot. He looks the normal, obnoxious-type tyke to me,” offers Snoop. The two head to the TV set but walk by “a do-it-yourself mad scientist kit.” We get a close-up shot of glasses marked “Hyde Bitters” and “Jekyll Juice” that’ll enter into the plot in mere moments.

The baby saws his way out of his crib, grabs the two glasses, mixes them and drinks. You know what’ll happen next. The baby transforms into a large version of himself. The juice makes his clothes grow with him.



“We’re in luck, Blab. The Late, Late, Late Horror Show is just startin’,” says Snoop as he and Blab sit on the chesterfield in front of the TV. “Gee, Snoop, that’s my favourite programme,” says Blab, even though it gives him the “pollywogs.” The monster-baby grabs him and shoves him into the fish bowl. I like the dialogue:


Snoop: Quiet, Blab. I can’t hear the commercial. And pass me another sand-a-wich. Blab? Where are you, Blab?
Blab: Here I am, Snoop. And what happened in the commercial?

The smiling goldfish in the bowl is a nice touch.

Blab makes a return visit to the bowl when he is scared by the monster-baby’s face in the TV (it’s the old ‘stick-head-in-open-TV-set’ bit). And then we get another familiar routine where Blabber sees something that Snoop doesn’t believe until he sees for himself. Blab watches the baby transform back into a monster. Since Carlo Vinci’s at work, there’s a two-drawing scare take and a stretch-dive off camera. The scene cuts to Snoop watching TV. Blab is a line of brush strokes that goes to grab Snooper as he zips past. I wish these cartoons were restored because you’d be able to see the effect better.



Blab’s so afraid he can’t talk, so he does charades to explain what he saw (didn’t Lou Costello do that in Hold That Ghost?) He does a nice baby-monster impersonation. There’s about a minute left in the cartoon and the rest is almost one long chase scene. Snoop sees the “little ragged-muffin” transform, does a take and he and Blab start running to the strains of Jack Shaindlin’s ‘Six Day Bicycle’ race. They run out of the room and off camera. Back they come, being chased by a snapping crocodile. They run out of the room and off camera. Back they come, being chased by an “Octo-puss-puss-puss.” The Evil Scientists arrive home. More of the gruesome-is-normal gagging:


Mrs. Scientist: What a delightful movie.
Mr. Scientist: And loaded with laughs. Especially when the lovers were boiled in oil.

Carlo has Evil Scientist rubbing his hands as he describes the oil. Another nice touch. Snooper and Blab stop, then zip past them. Mrs. Scientist scolds the baby for having pets in the living room. I like Maltese’s final lines.

Mrs. Scientist: No wonder we can’t keep a baby sitter.
Mr. Scientist: But remember, darling, we’ve never paid one yet.

The usual routine, especially on the Munsters and Addams TV shows, was the characters were completely oblivious to the fact they were abnormal. In this case, not only are they aware of it, they take advantage of it for financial gain.

The Scientist family returned later in the season in Snap Happy Saps (Snooper agrees to take pictures in their home), Surprised Party (with a two-minute classroom opening which has nothing to with the plot) in the second season and Chilly Chiller (with a tic-tac-toe parody opening I don’t get) in the final one. If anyone has a copy of Snap Happy Saps, let me know. It’s the only pre-1961 H-B TV cartoon I don’t have (besides Ruff and Reddy, which I don’t have a lot of interest in).

Maltese doesn’t toss in a “Halt in the name of...” pun in this one.

The sound-cutter decided to use Shaindlin’s ‘Capers’ after the transformation from baby to monster. It works pretty well. The rest of the soundtrack is fairly typical for a Snooper and Blabber cartoon.


0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title theme (Curtin).
0:25 - PG-161H LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – Snooper on phone.
0:41 - tick-tock flute music (Shaindlin) – Snoop and Blab in car, drive up to home.
1:11 - COMEDY SUSPENSE (Shaindlin) – Snoop and Blab at door, talk to Mr and Mrs Evil Scientist, go into home, “Search me, Blab.”
2:21 - GR-453 THE ARTFUL DODGER (Green) – “Leave us browse into the nursery,” Snoop and Blab look at child.
2:51 - jaunty bassoons and skipping strings (Shaindlin) – Snoop and Blab see potions, baby saws through crib, mixes and drinks potion.
3:29 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Baby transforms, frightens Blab, Blab in fish bowl, baby in TV, baby transforms back.
4:38 - PG-160G LIGHT MOVEMENT (Green) – Baby walks away, transforms.
4:45 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Baby grunts.
4:49 - GR-453 THE ARTFUL DODGER (Green) – Snoop and Blab watch TV, Blab goes to crib.
5:10 - COMEDY SUSPENSE (Shaindlin) – Blab shakes head, charades, baby transforms back.
5:47 - GR-93 DRESSED TO KILL (Green) – Snoop picks up baby, baby transforms.
5:55 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Snoop scare take, runs away, threatens spanking, baby transforms, Snoop and Blab scare take.
6:13 - SIX DAY BICYCLE RACE (Shaindlin) – Baby chases Snoop and Blab, crocodile, octopus.
6:31 - CAPERS (Shaindlin) – Mr and Mrs Scientist come home.
7:10 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin).