Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ruff, Reddy and a Cat on a Stick

Most people think of “Ruff and Reddy” in purely historical terms. The show comes up when the origins of the Hanna-Barbera studio are reviewed. Few people really consider it to have entertainment value. I don’t even remember watching it as a kid in the early ‘60s and I saw just about any cartoon that was on TV. Bugs and Daffy were funny. Huck and Quick Draw were funny. Ruff and Reddy weren’t. I don’t even find them likeable, especially Reddy. But they launched the H-B empire, and that’s their claim to fame.

NBC worked out a five-year deal in 1957 to air the Ruff and Reddy cartoons, which were originally part of a Saturday morning, half-hour package that also contained old theatrical shorts from the Screen Gems (Columbia) studio, woven together by a live action host and his puppets. It lasted three years. Then NBC brought back the Ruff and Reddy cartoons on September 29, 1962 for another two seasons. The format was changed. “Lo the Poor Buffal” and other lame Columbia shorts were retired and Ruff and Reddy’s adventures were tuned in on a screen by a host named Captain Bob, who interacted with puppets between the cartoons. It aired out of New York City. You can read more on Ron Kurer’s fine site HERE.

Someone on-line has posted a dub of a black-and-white print of the Captain Bob version of the show that was broadcast May 4, 1963. The best part may be the animated commercials for Fruit Stripe gum which will bring back memories to those of us of a certain age. The production values are ultra-low by network standards. It sounds like someone borrowed the Wurlitzer organ used on “Concentration” (which also aired out of NBC New York) and the cat drawing that’s moved across the set on a bobbing stick is so cheesy it’s funny. You can even hear what sounds like someone leaning back in a metal chair while the announcer is opening the show.

The Ruff and Reddy adventure that’s shown comes from the first season (1957-58) and is from Series ‘C’, “Westward Ho Ho Ho.” I think the animation is by Carlo Vinci. It features music from the Capitol Hi-Q ‘D’ series and some of it never appeared in any other Hanna-Barbera series. And you can catch a personal favourite, TC-205 LIGHT MOVEMENT, when the sheep appear in the first cartoon.


14 comments:

  1. Yipes Stripes! While I remembered the Beech-Nut song almost line-for-line, I really have no recollection of this show -- probably because the cartoons were to simple and child-directed to be memorable to their target audience.

    As for the cat-on-a-stick, WNET, the precursor to PBS in New York, was still doing this kind of stuff in the late 1960s. Even as a elementary school newcomer, I couldn't figure out why there were apparently a bunch of people in Manhattan who actually believed this stuff would hold kids' attentions when there was already so much more fast-paced stuff out there. Later on, I think it was the "responsible children's programming" advocates reaction to their type of shows being rejected by kids in the marketplace that led to things like Action for Children's Television and the attacks on cartoon violence.

    Chuck McCann and Sandy Becker used puppets on their shows which were on at the same time as NBC's Ruff and Reddy. But neither performer did their stories without trying to entertain themselves as well as the audience, and it's the fact that the best Hollywood cartoons appealed to kids in large part because they didn't talk down to kids. Bill & Joe figured that out by the time Huck came around, even if they were forced to forget it when they redirected their operations towards Saturday mornings, and had to go by what the network execs suggested.

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  2. What a terrible show in the cheese category indeed!

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  3. Captain Bob Cottle later did a kids' show on WCVB-TV 5 Boston in the early 70s

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  4. The cat on a stick is another Preston Blair drawing lifted from his Walter Foster "Animation" book. http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-h85pj073fc0/TnOxUyrAjbI/AAAAAAAAV5w/H--y73Yojso/s320/preston_blair_cartoon_animation_10.jpg

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  5. Does anyone remember the Ruff & Reddy theme song?
    It began this way:

    "Get stuff, get ready,
    Here comes Ruff & Reddy..."

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  6. Wow!! Yipes Stripes. I remember the Fruit Stripe gum so very well.Was a consumer. I love after the title card, you hear papers and the mic shuffling around. Ahh, the salad days of kids'morning and afternoon shows. What memories!. I really never caught " Ruff N Reddy " on the local Tidewater Virginia television stations. Oh, I,m sure they ran the cartoons, my most lucid memories start with Yogi, Huck, and all the " Warners " ilk. I do love the line that would later belong to Huck; " Well, dog my cats". Great blog Yowp.

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  7. I gotta say that I enjoy RUff and Reddy and found the live clip's open "Superman" title spoofing the Superman TV show title card, somewhat amusing. I only have to look at Filmation TV show clips to appreciate these early TV show clips.:) anyway, Happy Easter and forthcoming April Fool's..to everyone.SC

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  8. I recently purchased some of "The Ruff and Reddy Show" on DVD and it brings back so many wonderful memories. Killer and Diller, The Mastermind of Munimula, Scary Harry Safari and The Goon of Glocca Morra are such awesome characters. The writing is excellent and Daws Butler and Don Messick were the very best of voice actors.

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    1. When you purchased the "Ruff and Reddy Show", was it hosted by Capt Bob? If so, can you tell me where you purchased it? Thanks, MAC

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    2. Where can I purchase the Ruff and Reddy Show on DVD? Thanks, Dianne

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  9. At the time, this version of "THE RUFF AND REDDY SHOW" appeared on NBC's Saturday morning schedule at 9:30am(et), just before "THE SHARI LEWIS SHOW".

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  10. 4/25/13
    RobGems.ca Wrote:
    That was a really nifty piece of forgotten nostalgia From NBC's vaults now thought as lost & gone forever. Tough luck that the Living Color print is now gone forever, no thanks to NBC's clumsy decision back in the 1970's to erase many of their Living Color videotapes. Somehow the NBC Peacock just looks dull in living monochrome,which is ironically how many kids back in 1963 who didn't have a color TV set saw this program. Ruff & Reddy may seem anachronistic & crude in terms of H-B's later stuff, but it is better than some of their lame 1970's & 80's cartoons. Reddy is no dumber than Quick Draw McGraw or even Fred Flintstone in using his noggin more than he should without Ruff's help.This ushered in H-B's formula that has been repeated time and time again when it comes to cartoon duos: one dumb one and one smart one who really can't live with or without one another,a trend that is as ancient as going back to character developments in films as early as the silent era. The "Yipes Stripes!" ad campaign is really neat. I'll bet it looked better if the color print was saved. It's a shame that you can't get a pack of gum for a nickel anymore.

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    1. "Ruff & Reddy... is better than some of their lame 1970's & 80's cartoons"

      yep- i put it like this:

      Ruff & Reddy may be HB's 'worst of the best' (50's-60's), and
      Scooby Doo is probably the 'best of the worst' (70's-80's) lol

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  11. In case anyone cares, the V/O guy at 1:08 into the file who says "This portion of our show is brought to you by Beech-Nut gum--Yipes! Stripes!" was longtime NBC New York staff announcer Vic Roby. And yes, I actually remember this version of "Ruff & Reddy"--I would've been six years old when this episode aired in May 1963. Honestly, this kinescope on YouTube looks no worse (certainly no better!) than I remember the show looking on our pathetic little 12-inch black-and-white Admiral (or whatever brand it was) b&w portable.

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