Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Judy and Elroy Show

Class! Today’s lesson. This is “The Flintstones.”



This is not “The Flintstones.”



This, of course, is from “The Pebbles and Bamm Bamm Show,” which was one of the nails of the proverbial coffin for me when it came to Hanna-Barbera cartoons. As a viewer, I decided the studio had completely run out of ideas. It had already tried regurgitating “The Flintstones” as football players in the sorry “Where’s Huddles?” (1970). Now, it regurgitated “The Flintstones” again and added it to a regurgitation of the comedy teenager concept (“Archie” anyone?) and a funny animal sidekick (the original “Jetsons”, among others). On top of that, I wasn’t interested in Pebbles or Bamm Bamm as toddlers and was less interested them in klutzy high schoolers. And Ted Nichols or someone at the studio became enamoured with blowing a whistle in theme songs around this time, and it was enough to make you, well, regurgitate.

How little did I realise then how much the studio into reusing ideas. Recently, my attention was brought to one of H-B’s numerous proposed series.

This is “The Jetsons.”



This is not “The Jetsons.”



This is Hanna-Barbera out of ideas.

Apparently, the studio decided if it could age Pebbles and Bamm Bamm and hand them their own show, it could do the same thing with Judy and Elroy Jetson. It seems in 1973, the studio came up with the concept but it didn’t sell. Writer-designer-director Scott Shaw comments about the above drawing thusly:
Grown-up Judy here was intended to be working as a journalist; like Lois Lane, I guess that was to propel her into "adventures".
Please read Scott’s insight in the comments section about the genesis and background of the idea. I appreciate his knowledge on this.

One of the on-line animation auction has some sketches of the characters, including a kid version of Astro. About all I can say is it’s better than Orbitty from the later Jetsons incarnation.





You’ll notice Willie Ito has signed one of the drawings. Willie had been Ken Harris’ assistant animator at Warner Bros., then headed to Bob Clampett’s Snowball studio to work on Beany and Cecil before winding up at Hanna-Barbera around 1961. He worked on layouts on the original Jetsons series. I don’t know whether this is one of his drawings but it’s pretty neat.



It’s probably just as well that the Judy and Elroy show didn’t sell. The best thing about “The Jetsons” was the futuristic gadgets and I suspect they wouldn’t have been given a lot of priority on new show, just as the Stone Age gadgets took a back seat to contrived teenaged antics on “Pebbles and Bamm Bamm.” Judy’s character would have to have been changed; she was boy-crazy and not much more in the original show. Who knows what would have happened to Elroy’s persona, who inherited a bit of Augie Doggie’s boy genius personality on the original show. After all, the only distinguishing thing Bamm Bamm had as a little tyke was his strength, but it inexplicably evaporated when he morphed into a teen on his own show (as least on the shows I watched before I lost interest in the series). And because there were no takers on the show, we were likely spared theme song lyrics such as:

You’ll see Jane and George, too.
(O’Hanlon, speaking): Ooba-dooba-doo!
On the Judy and Elroy Showwwww.

(long, insufferable whistle screech).

Still, it could have been worse. Let’s hope the old Hanna-Barbera files don’t have a proposal to make George, Jane, Spacely and Cogswell into seven-year-olds.

23 comments:

  1. That drawing of Rosie looks like a display for an appliance store. Were they trying to get Sunbeam as a sponsor or something?

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  2. The proposed "Judy and Elroy Show" eventually evolved into this:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partridge_Family_2200_A.D.‎

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  3. This show was pitched to CBS by Joe Barbera, as was an animated Partridge Family show and many other concepts. As on many subsequent series, the network claimed that they liked two of the show ideas but couldn't make up their minds. No problem, Joe Barbera countered. He combined the two concepts and that's how the world became stuck with 1974's PARTRIDGE FAMILY 2200 AD, I kid you not.

    Now you understand the perplexing origins of stuff like CASPER AND THE ANGELS, THE BEDROCK COPS (featuring Al Capp's Shmoo),THE THING and many more.

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    1. That doesn't surprise me one big Scott, I know how they work!

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  4. Both The Partridge Family 2200 A.D. (Hanna-Barbera/Columbia Pictures, 1974) and Casper and The Angels (Hanna-Barbera/Harvey Entertainment Group, 1979) brought the same futuristic concept seen in The Jetsons.

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    1. Floyd Norman and I were the layout supervisors of CASPER AND THE ANGELS. When we started getting crowd shots in the storyboards, and we needed to know if we could add aliens to the mixture, I went to the story editor, Ray Parker, if the series takes place in the future, in outer space or both. His answer? "Hell if I know!"

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  5. The little Astro character is like a "Scrappy Doo" character...Rodne..also "Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space" had the same concept in space..SteveC

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  6. Hanna-Brabera’s true downfall began when it shifted its productions to the Saturday morning network market. I’d suspect it was largely due to having a completely new set of “masters and overlords” to cater to. The Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel Shows still had a few drops of that good old “Huck/ Quick Draw / Yogi mojo (which was still more evident in the syndicated – but not the later Sat AM – Magilla Gorilla and Peter Potamus Shows), but VERY LITTLE of it. These shows were the beginning of the end.

    Then, until about 1970-71 or so, they began cranking-out things (many of them still okay) that were unlike their great successes of recently-bygone days. By the time of The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm show, they were locked into a (presumably) network-mandated mindset of repeating anything that worked before – in this case, Filmation’s very successful Archie Show of 1968.

    They didn’t “run out of ideas”. They were no longer in the business of GENERATING ideas and creating things! They just did what they were told to do, took the money, and (I’d like to think) held their noses while doing so!

    Oh, yeah… Ted Nichols’ music was a perfect orchestration for the decline.

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    1. NBC's Saturday morning executives in the late 1960s seemed to be less intrusive than CBS's crew when it came to 'suggestions' about what they thought should be going into the cartoons. It was actually a hit-and-miss thing -- there's no question the network scored more ratings successes during the time span -- but even as a kid you could feel the growing manipulation of the shows, which got more and more high-concept while the characters themselves became more and more based on whatever was popular in other areas (prime-time TV, movies, even commercials) 12-18 months earlier.

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  8. LOL! Yowp, very well written....at least Janet Waldo, who started her cartoon career AS Judy Jetson, would be still able to play Judy as Judy was still young enough for that voice (after all, she used that voice for post-teen WOMEN, and Judy looks simply like an aged version of herself;it's Bamm Bamm,-I mean ELROY--SEE, SEE, how they reused designs from one franchise to another!LOL-wouldn't make it with that Daws Augie voice, it would hafta be someone else....as one might guess, as Astro would spawn this younger pup and as Scooby Doo would spawn Scrappy, and the adult dogs had the same "accent" and with Scrappy (except for Len Weinrib originating the voice) the same voice actor, Don Messick, you can guess Don M. would be the voice for Astro's little counterpart.)

    Scott Shaw(!), I remember that story you told from Animation Nation.com in regards to the Partridge Family.

    Joe Torcivia, I'd say as far as Pebbles and Bamm Bamm, as far as Hanna-Barbera itself was concerned, that was also an outgrowth of the "leading hunk/miniskirt mod chick" of Scooby--you know, Fred and Daphne. And up to this time, a redhead as well.Steve C.

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    1. So right, Steve. And when you think of the stuff H-B was churning out circa 1969-1972, I'm sure all the regular vocal suspects would sooner or later show up. They would have found a way to write in a character for Paul Lynde to voice. Ol Paul was making a little extra cash with the studio those days, ala " Huddles " and " Penelope Pitstop " Or maybe a guest appearance by an actor, singer, or athlete popular at the time. Yowp, you're right..it wouldn't be complete without the horrid whistle. As the great Oliver Hardy used to say, looking into the camera;" What...Could..be..Worse! "

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    2. Agreed, Pokey – but would “Scooby-Doo Where Are You” have been green-lit by CBS, if not for the success of its Archie Show? From that one series, animated teens flooded the market, making funny animals almost extinct.

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  9. Judy and Elroy, Pebbles and Bamm Bamm are shows I'm glad Yowp doesn't bring up often, if at all. These shows came out when HB was completely tapped out of ideas.

    Anyone remember 'The Roman Holidays'? From what I've seen, it looks like an attempt to regurgitate the family sitcom formula that had done successfully in shows like the Flintstones and the Jetsons and add in a Yogi Bear or Huckleberry Hound walking talking funny animal star type character. They had a pet Lion right? What a memorable character he was.

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    1. Brutus, the Holidays' pet lion (voiced by the legendary Daws Butler) in The Roman Holidays (Hanna-Barbera, 1972), who acted like a playboy.
      I have good memories from that series.



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  10. J.M., the idea behind the blog was to talk about pre-Flintstones cartoons because they don't get a lot of attention on-line. But when the Flintstones anniversary came up, I wanted to do some historical pieces I had not seen else where. So we got away from the purpose for this blog. But, no, it's not my intention to talk about cartoons that left me stunned and thinking "You've got to be kidding."
    "The Roman Holidays" qualifies. I had no idea at the time it was based on a rejected premise for "The Flintstones"; all I knew was that it was the same old concept trotted out yet again. What's an absolute crime is it's out on DVD but Quick Draw McGraw and the final three seasons of Huckleberry Hound are not.

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  11. The model for teenaged Elroy looks disturbingly similar to teenaged Bamm-Bamm. In the original JETSONS, Judy was said to be 16 and Elroy about ten years younger. So if Elroy is supposed to be a teen in this aborted sequel series, Judy would be well into young adulthood. A rather strange pairing for a comedy/mystery/adventure series.

    Janet Waldo would have no doubt continued to voice Judy, but it doesn't seem likely that Daws Butler could reprise Elroy as a teen. Possibly Jerry Dexter (who voiced multiple postpubescent males in 1970s H-B series), Michael Bell, Casey Kasem, or Frank Welker using his 'Marvin' voice from the first SUPER FRIENDS incarnation.

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    1. H-B already asked us to believe Pebbles and Bam-Bam had gotten 15-16 years older while Fred, Barney, Wilma and Betty hadn't aged a day (a far cry from Fred's Season 4 dream about a teen-aged Pebbles). So the idea that Judy and Elroy would go from nine years apart in age to 2-3 years wouldn't be a stretch for the studio (and, odds are as with Fred & the gang, George, Jane and all the adults there also wouldn't have aged a day -- perhaps the series could have included a dream episode where George wonders what life would be like 15 years in the future, when he and Elroy are now the same age...)

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    2. Well, Disney did the same thing to Goofy: his son Max ages from 11 to (perhaps) 22 and the old Goof doesn't look aged at all. Maybe that's why they retired the son.

      That said, teenage Pebbles is one of HBs hottest designs.

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  12. There were a lot of Hanna-Barbera shows during the 1970s, that was pretty good: The ''Scooby-Doo'' stuff, (despite the fact asserted by YOWP that it led to the decline in quality at the studio) ''Help, It's the Hair Bear Bunch'' (which was a Sergeant Bilko-take rather than a teenagers mystery take), ''Jeannie'', ''Super Friends'' and ''Hong Kong Phooey''.

    Of course there were a lot of HB Scooby rip-offs like ''Goober and the Ghost chasers'', ''Clue Club'', ''Speed Buggy'', ''Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels''. Some say there was too much comedy and not enough mystery in ''Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?'', but if you ask me, there is too horror and not enough mystery in ''Scooby-Doo, Mystery Incorporated'' (Guess there are having too much of a kick out of the fact that they are getting to do all the things, they weren't allowed to do in 1969.

    J.M. If had to pick a cartoon that screamed of poor quality at Hanna-Barbera it would have to be ''The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang''. Sheez, the only thing that HB didn't put from live-action TV to animated TV was the soap-operas, sure there was ''These Are The Days'', but that was before the ''Dallas'' and ''Dynasty'' craze.

    YOWP, the above picture isn't very Flintstones either. Don't think that ''Flintstones''' final season had much Flintstones athmosphere and comedy dialogue in it.

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  13. It seems that, at some point, there was a proposal for a Flintstones spin-off with a new African-American family called "The Blackstones" http://www.flickr.com/photos/29235310@N07/3045296012/. I believe Joe Barbera mentions it on his autobiography, too.

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