Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Art of Art

One of the mysteries of the credits on the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons appears to have been solved.

About a year ago, we cobbled together some information about Art Goble, the former M-G-M ink and paint supervisor who is credited with “titles” at Hanna-Barbera under his real name, Lawrence. A few ex-Hanna-Barbera employees have said that Bick Bickenbach drew the title card art, leaving us to guess that maybe Art handled the calligraphy. But reader Wayne Bryan has found an indication of at least one job Art had at the studio. He sent this layout Flintstones layout drawing with a notation for Art on it.



Here’s another one.



It would appear Art Goble was assigned the task of putting the stone-engraved style lettering on background objects in The Flintstones cartoons, at least in the early seasons.

The second layout drawing is from the second-season cartoon “Fred Strikes Out.” I can’t tell you much about the cartoon, other than you can spot some of George Nicholas’ animation at the beginning. The first layout drawing is from “The Girls’ Night Out” from the first season. Some of, if not all, the layouts are by Walt Clinton. Here are some other scenes from that cartoon with Art’s lettering. I won’t venture a guess about who did the backgrounds. Simple but with a little style.



Wayne also sent a link to a copy of Hanna-Barbera’s Exposure Sheet newsletter from (I think) March 1968.

Something about “The Girls’ Night Out” and other cartoons like it bothered me as a kid. It was all too obvious, even as a child, that Alan Reed wasn’t the singing voice of Fred Flintstone in it (as far as I know, it’s Duke Mitchell). I could handle Fred being able to sing, but it was a bit of a stretch to accept that the singing Fred didn’t sound anything like the talking Fred. You wouldn’t suddenly have Fred talking like, say, Hal Smith, for part of the cartoon, so why would he be singing like someone else?

12 comments:

  1. I could kind of get the idea of a younger voice doing the singing of what were supposed to be rock songs in the cartoons when I was originally watching them -- even Mel didn't do Bugs' singing voice for the "Gee Whiz Willikens..." bit with Yosemite Sam on The Bugs Bunny Show -- but I never could figure out a few years later why they dubbed future Fred Henry Corden's singing voice in for Alan Reed for the Fred & Barney cameo in H-B's Alice In Wonderland special. Was Reed's singing that bad they had to dub for him on just a regular musical number?

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  2. Thanks for credit, Yowp. Couple weeks back, I was going through some more H-B art found online and came across some more layout drawings with notations for Art's lettering. I'm sure he did other things at studio but it was apparent he was designated "lettering" guy in early H-B days.

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  3. He was a genius at the art of lettering on the Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the 50s and 60s.
    Other lettering artists who also made history on the Hanna-Barbera cartoons were Robert Schaeffer, Iraj Paran and Tom Wogatzke.



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  4. Alan Reed did his own singing in "Christmas Flintstone" and he sounded OK, at least to my ears. But there must have been plans afoot to prepare Henry Corden to take over the role eventually, as he provided the speaking voice of Fred on several Flintstones record albums, and did the singing for Alan Reed in the feature film "The Man Called Flintstone." Of course as everyone reading this probably knows, by the late 70's Corden had taken over the role, following Reed's passing.

    I agree that the singing voice of Fred in the early Flintstones episodes is somewhat disorienting. They should at least have gotten someone who had a singing voice similar to Fred's speaking voice. That is what made Henry Corden a better choice. While Corden and Reed had distinctively different voices, they both had a ring of authenticity in the way they performed the character that allowed their voices to complement one another reasonably well. As a child, I could hardly tell one from the other, probably because they both had a handle on the necessary "attitude" for Fred Flintstone.

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    1. In hindsight the 1964 episode "Dino and Juliet" is really disconcerting to the ear, because Bill and Joe gave Corden the role of Fred's new obnoxious neighbor Loudrock. Hearing new Fred's voice yelling at old Fred is bizarre, to say the lease.

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    2. Haha, I never thought of it that way! I'll have to visualize that next time I watch that episode :-)

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    3. How about when, as The Mangler, Fred’s “future voice” was out to kill his “present voice”?

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    4. J.Lee, Steve K and Joe Torcivia: You ALL made a great point on Alan Reed (Fred) and Henry Corden (both Loudrock and Mangler) sounding weird together due to their very similar voices...I can still hear original Fred and future Fred (Loudrock) yelling!!

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  5. I agree with scarecrow33 about Henry Corden's rendition of Fred. When I was younger, I always thought it was Alan Reed singing in "The Man Called Flintstones" and "They'll Never Split Us Apart" from the "Alice In Wonderland" special. As a child I thought, It sounds a little like Henry Corden, but mostly like Alan Reed.

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  6. Also, my mom and I used to think that Mr. Loudrock, the neighbor in "Dino and Juliet" was voiced by Alan Reed, rather than Henry Corden.

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  7. I was thinking of this and "Hot Lips Hannigan" - going by what Yowp said, Duke Mitchell was the both of singing Fred in BOTH those...it was said for a long tiem that Alan Reed himself had a tin ear for singing..but he did a good job being off key after he wakes up in 1965-66's "No Biz like Show Biz", the widely reviled "Let the Sunshine In" episode with baby Pebbles/Bamm Bamm singing.Steve

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    1. The commentary from season 2 of the flintstones explains that they only let Alan Reed sing as Fred if Fred was SUPPOSED to be singing badly. I don't think that applies to "Christmas Flintstone" though because I thought he sounded OK in that episode.

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