Saturday, August 11, 2012

Huckleberry Hound — Wiki Waki Huck

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Story – Warren Foster; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Lawrence Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Narrator, Pig, Hog – Don Messick, Huck – Daws Butler.
Music: Geordie Hormel, Spencer Moore, Bill Loose/John Seely, Jack Shaindlin, Raoul Kraushaar(?).
First aired: week of February 15, 1960.
Production: Episode K-038.
Plot: Native Hawaiian Huck tries to catch a pig for a luau.



Writer Warren Foster doesn’t seem to have been able to make up his mind what kind of format he wanted to use for “Wiki Waki Huck.” The first half of the cartoon is a travelogue parody, with Huckleberry Hound ineptly pointing out features of the Hawaiian Islands. The second half is a spot-gag cartoon, with Huck trying different ways to catch a pig, before returning to the travelogue ending. Either Foster couldn’t develop enough pig gags to fill a full short, or he started coming up with a pile of them so he abandoned the idea of a phoney travelogue. Either way, they’re interrelated, so the transition from one to the other and back is smooth.

Lew Marshall’s bobbing nose style of dialogue is noticeable here, and he has several bits of animation he reuses. I like how he stretches the pig’s body as the animal races out of the scene.



The cartoon gets off to a nice start. It opens with shots of Bob Gentle’s renditions of the mainly uninhabited Hawaiian and friendly narration by Don Messick. It also means camera pans and no animation for the first 23 seconds. That’s saving the old budget!

Foster sets up a ridiculous situation at the start. The narrator elucidates on the meaning of the word “Aloha,” then tells us “we are going to meet a real Hawaiian beach boy who will tell us about his lovely islands. Listen as he sings a native chant.” Who’s the Hawaiian beach boy? It’s Huck, with his North Carolina accent firmly in place. And the native Hawaiian chant is “Clementine.” Huck’s firmly convinced in this cartoon he’s Hawaiian, even though it’s pretty evident he’s not.

Huck (to audience): Howdy, and ay-loha to all you there malahinis. Ahuckahula Huckleberry, your pineapple pickin’, genu-wine, Hay-waiian beach boy. And I’m gonna be plumb happy to tell you about our Hay-waiian customs.


To show Huck’s ignorance, Daws Butler has him pronouncing “Hawaii” with a long ‘A’ on the first syllable all throughout the cartoon.

So we get some travelogue spot gags. First, Huck demonstrates surfing. The wave carries him onto the beach and into a tree. Next, he demonstrates a tradition war dance with a sword. The scene is done in silhouette, an interesting difference. Cut to the next scene. The camera pulls back to show Huck in bandages. “It can be lots of fun, especially if you belong to some hospital plan or other,” he informs us.



With those gags out of the way, the cartoon moves into a different direction. Huckahula introduces us to a cute pig, who grins as Huck rubs him with butter. “You know, it kinda works like a sun-tan lotion,” Huck tells us. “It makes him nicely even brown all over when he’s restin’ on them nice hot coals.” The pig shakes his head in realisation. Huck then points to the coals. The pig oinks in fear and runs off. “Don’t you want to be nice and even brown all over?” Huck asks, chasing after him. So now we get spot gags where Huck fails to capture the pig.



● Huck tempts the pig with an apple. When the pig comes “close-ter,” Huck pounces. The buttered, greasy pig slips out of his hands, crashes onto his head and zips away.
● Huck has a string on an apple leading to a barrel in a tree. The pig grabs the apple, the string breaks and the barrel lands on Huck.
● In a great surreal gag, Huck ties an apple to a string in a tree. The idea is the pig will wear himself out jumping to get the apple. Instead, the pig walks down the string, eats the apple and walks back up into the palm tree branches.
● Huck ties a surfboard to a tree to swat the pig as he goes for the nearby bait apple. Huck lets go of the board but the pig’s too fast. The surfboard goes completely around the tree trunk and swats Huck into another tree instead.



● Next, a variation on a Tex Avery gag. Huck sets up an apple at the end of a hollow log and gets ready to stop him with a catcher’s mitt. The pig goes right through the mitt and Huck’s body. “No wonder I couldn’t catch him. I got a hole in my glove.” Huck’s oblivious to the hole in his body.
● Finally, Huck sets up a noose around an apple and hides behind a bush. Huck oinks to lure the pig. Instead, he attracts the attention of a big hog. Huck lassos the hog by the nose and pulls him through the bush. “I kinda ree-membered that piggy as bein’ a might smaller.”



Cut to the little pig happily munching an apple. A blue arm reaches into the scene and grabs the brick of butter. “One side, feller,” says Huck, “I’ve got some butterin’ up of my own to do.” The butter makes Huck slippery enough to avoid the hog which tries to catch him in cycle animation.

We’re now back to a travelogue. The happy narrator returns to bid us farewell, and Huck gives us a “farewell and aloha,” as he runs away, with the hog adding an off-camera “Oink, oink” as the iris closes.

The voice of the hog has me a little baffled. It sounds more like Doug Young than Don Messick, but I can’t see Hanna-Barbera going to the expense of bringing Young in for one cartoon just for a couple of oinks. Messick was capable of a gruff voice in a lower range, so I’m presuming it’s him.

Oddly, no Hawaiian music is in the soundtrack of this cartoon, even though it exists in the Capitol Hi-Q library that the studio licensed. Either the sound-cutter didn’t know about it, or he went with music that was familiar to him. Generally, one cue is used for each scene.


0:00 - Huckleberry Hound Sub Main Title theme (Curtin).
0:05 - ZR-50 UNDERWATER SCENIC (Hormel) – Opening narrations and shots of Hawaii.
0:30 - Clementine (trad.) – Huck sings.
0:38 - TC-204A WISTFUL COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Huck on beach, to talks to audience.
0:57 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) – Huck on wave, crashes into tree.
1:24 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Huck with sword.
1:40 - L-1154 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Huck limps along.
1:47 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – Luau shot, pig eats apple, pig rubbed with butter.
2:38 - TC-202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Huck points, pig runs off camera, Huck shakes head.
2:47 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) – Pig runs, Huck crashes into tree.
2:56 - creepy muted trumpet music (Kraushaar?) – Huck talks to camera, tempt-with-apple scene.
3:32 - TC-437 SHOPPING DAY (Loose-Seely) – Garbage can trap scene, apple in tree scene.
4:36 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Surfboard scene, hole-in-glove scene.
5:30 - creepy muted trumpet music (Kraushaar?) – Hog grabs apple, Huck grabs butter.
6:13 - LAF-72-2 RODEO DAY (Shaindlin) – Huck butters himself, runs from hog, bids farewell to audience.
6:49 - Huckleberry Hound Sub-End Title theme (Curtin).

Yowp Note: With this post, all the Huckleberry Hound cartoons of the first two seasons have been reviewed.

2 comments:

  1. This is one of the best Huck cartoons, give me Hanna-Barbera Hawaii over the real one anytime.

    The last one? What about "Science Friction" and "Cloak and Dagger" and the one with the prison-amusemtn park what was it called?

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  2. Science Friction and Cluck and Dagger were in the third season. Actually, I prefer a different one over those two, though you've got to like a monster-schnitzel.
    The prison one in the last season, Bars and Stripes by Tony Benedict. "Howdy, Narrator. Plannin' to hang around long?" And Huck talking about the games in prison: "Majong. Your jong."

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