Thursday, 7 June 2012

A Cel-ebration

There was a time that cartoon studios threw out old cels, much to the later chagrin of former employees who saw it happen. There was a time they were given away; Tex Avery used to hand neighbourhood kids cels of his Kool-Aid TV spots. And there was a time a whole industry popped up to sell them, in some cases even attempting to reproduce scenes in ancient cartoons.

But there are still some originals out there for you to buy and a couple of spots on the internet advertise their wares. You can do a web search and find them. I did some time ago and have some shots of what may be fairly familiar scenes from Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

Here are a couple from the opening of the half-hour Quick Draw McGraw show from 1959. I’ve never really looked closely enough to see who did the animation.

Here are Pixie and Dixie. This is from the final season cartoon “Mouse Trapped.”

This one’s from the closing of ‘The Magilla Gorilla Show.’ There’s a version of this on line and you can really notice the difference in the colour from what was actually painted on the cel. Magilla (not in this cel) has a Don Patterson eye squint but I don’t know who the animator is.

Jane, stop this crazy thing! Well, these cels from ‘The Jetsons’ closing haven’t reached that part of the scene. Hey, here’s a question. Did the Jetsons’ cat have a name? Maybe Baby Space-Puss?

Okay, this isn’t a cel. This drawing is advertised as an Ed Benedict version of the early Snagglepuss. The stripes and hat seem odd for Snag, because his proto-type in the Quick Draw McGraw and Augie Doggie cartoons of 1959 and 1960 don’t have them.

I wondered whether this was actually Toing Tiger, but it doesn’t look like him, either. Never heard of Toing? Then click onto these great drawings of Toing, along with Mayka-Boo-Boo the Elephant, at Mark Christensen’s site. H-B veteran Scott Jeralds says the characters were used in the ill-fated “The World: Color It Happy.” If you’re a Hanna-Barbera fan, you’ve probably seen the snippet of the unsold pilot (minus Toing Tiger) on-line, with Art Gilmore as the voice of Joe Barbera and Billy Idelson (of the old radio show “Vic and Sade”) as Bill Hanna. If you haven’t, take a look.


  1. To my knowledge, that cat in the Jetsons closing (and in the "Dude Planet" episode where the poor kitty just seems to be there to get stuck in a vacuum cleaner) never seems to have had a name other than "the cat".

  2. While H-B's overall animation was stiffer than theatrical work, the key pose drawings in their early cartoons weren't, and still held to the principles learned over the previous three decades. You don't see the stiffness associated with the later work.

    (As for the Magilla one, and this is 90 percent off-topic, I still want to know who decided to stick Magilla and the TV camera in the window of the pet shop when H-B did the shorter closing for ABC. Now that's an awkwardly posed drawing)

  3. This probably has no relevance to anything, but back in the late 1980s I went to a cel exhibition at an art museum, and one of the pieces on display was from the QUICK DRAW show opening... specifically, the moment where he pulls back on the brake lever. However, unlike the cels shown here, that one was painted in black, white and gray. Could there have been two versions animated, perhaps a b&w version for the original Kellogg's opening and a "remake" in color for after the sponsorship changed? Or could the cel in that long-ago exhibit have been a forgery? Hmm......

  4. Who's that in the opening credts? *GASP* Charlie Shows!