Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ed Love, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Joe Montell, Story – Warren Foster, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble; Story Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Huck Hound, TV Announcer – Daws Butler; Radio Dispatcher, Alien – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Spence Moore, Geordie Hormel, Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, Raoul Kraushaar?
First Aired: week of December 21, 1959 (rerun, week of June 27, 1960).
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-034.
Plot: Huck thinks a flying saucer is an illegally parked car.
Huckleberry Hound attracted fans because he was laid-back and somewhat naïve. But Warren Foster fiddled with his personality a bit in a handful of cartoons and it wasn’t for the best. Huck became flat-out stupid and couldn’t comprehend something obvious right in front of him. It’s not an endearing characteristic for him.
So that’s why I’m not crazy about this cartoon. I can accept Huck believing a huge flying saucer is a car. Considering designs of cars in the late 1950s, anything was possible. But Huck believing a metal thing with an antenna, and a wheel at the bottom is a person? Sorry, Warren. Yeah, I realise if Huck knew he was a space alien at the start it’d screw up your final gag, but I don’t buy it. He’s not Mr. Magoo who had an excuse for mistaking things in front of him.
Don Messick is admirable in this. At least, I think it’s Don as the alien. Bill Hanna would be too cheap just to bring him in to do a police radio dispatcher. Don had a bunch of different and unique vocal effects, showing what great talent he had.
Ed Love loved teeth, at least in the 1959-60 season. He used little mouth movements in dialogue sequences, with heads going up and down all over, sometimes on ones, sometimes on threes. Huck has teeth in this cartoon. I don’t know why Ed stopped drawing like this about a year later; you don’t really see it in The Flintstones, and certainly not in The Jetsons.
Joe Montell didn’t have an awful lot of backgrounds to draw in this cartoon. Much of the action takes place in a city park and a good portion of that is in front of one background drawing of trees. You can tell it’s Montell because of the dots he uses in the foliage.
And here’s some of the work of Tony Rivera. He’s got a small cast, besides Huck and the alien. One TV newsman. And he designed the props, including the saucer and Huck’s squad car. Oh, and there are some little birds. We’ll get to them in a second.
Foster starts with a dialogue gag after the almost-standard narrator intones about policemen, and how they serve and protect at night, and then introduces Huck. His rendition of ‘Clementine’ is interrupted.
Dispatcher: Attention! Calling Car 6-1-3-4-8-7-6.
Huck: Uh, uh.
Huck (turning his eye to the camera): That’s m’car.
The radio sends the hound to the park to investigate a UFO. Huck calls it “ridica-luss.” Cut to the TV newsman who editorialises it’s “the silly season” and laughs at the very idea of a flying saucer. Well, it turns out the reports are true. Huck thinks the saucer must be a foreign car in the middle of the road “obstructing justice” and he goes to ask “that feller over there” if he knows who owns the car. The “feller” is the alien.
Now maybe it isn’t that Foster thinks Huck is a dullard. Maybe he’s woven into his cartoon a veiled commentary on the incompetence of some police investigations and corporate media bias.
Nah. The laughs are how Huck is too brain dead to see a metallic bell-shape isn’t a real person. And that the alien’s disintegrating gun is a kid’s toy (one that “can be downright dangerous in an adult’s hands” Huck tells us).
Well, let’s go through the gags.
► The alien uses a metallic cuff to grab Huck’s neck and throw him back and forth on the ground and finally against a tree. Huck informs us he’s been taught judo at the Police Academy. After getting whooped, he remarks “Of course, there are new holds comin’ along all the time.”
► Huck cuffs the alien. More throwing around (some nice little drawings by Love here).
► Huck pulls on the hand cuff but has trouble dragging the alien away. Cut to a shot of him being cuffed to his car. “I gots to remember t’leave off m’brake next time,” he decides.
► The alien’s ray dissolves Huck’s ticket, a garbage can where he’s hiding, a bird house where he’s hiding, the water in a lake where he’s parked himself and finally his police car as he calls for help. “This is a 7-0-7-3. Whatever that is.”
Huck’s annoyed. He demands the alien to use his car to take them both to the station. The alien carries them into the saucer, which lifts off. For some reason, the alien has the audio of the TV channel piped into his saucer’s control room. The announcer chuckles the saucer’s lifted off with a policeman in it. Huck looks out a porthole. Cut to a drawing of the earth, turning as the camera pulls back. Now clueless Huck clues in to what’s happened and cries as the iris closes.
Not much to say about the music cues in this cartoon. You can hear all 60 seconds of Shaindlin’s ‘On the Run’ starting at 4:35, then the sound cutter has added a little reprise. The short flute effect sounds like something from Phil Green’s Kiddie Comedy Suite but I haven’t been able to find it.
0:00 - Huckleberry Hound Sub Main Title theme (Hanna, Barbera, Curtin, Shows)
0:13 - C-19 LIGHT ACTIVITY (Loose) – Pan of city, Huck in squad car.
0:31 - Clementine (Trad.) – Huck sings ‘Clementine’ in car.
0:41 - L-81 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Police radio goes off, duty to check all rumours.
1:06 - ZR-47 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Police car speeds, TV announcer, stops squad car.
1:35 - ZR-49 LIGHT EERIE (Hormel) – Shot of saucer, Huck demands license.
2:20 - creepy reverb muted trumpet music (Kraushaar?) – Alien pulls out gun, clamps around Huck’s neck.
2:49 - solo flute effect (Green) – Huck to camera “Little does he know.”
2:52 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Alien bashes Huck to the ground, Huck against tree.
3:10 - TC-303 ZANY COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Huck cuffs alien.
3:36 - LAF-72-2 RODEO DAY (Shaindlin) – Alien pulls back Huck, bashes Huck.
3:44 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – “Don’t get the picture,” Huck pulls on handcuff, attached to squad car, beam through ticket,
4:35 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Huck hides in garbage can, birds, motorboat, squad car zapped.
6:04 - C-14 DOMESTIC LITE (Loose) – Alien carries Huck into saucer, shot of earth, Huck cries.
6:58 - Huckleberry Hound Sub End-Title theme (Curtin).