Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Storyboard Fun and Pushing Pebbles

Storyboards, model sheets and other things involved in the production of cartoons weren’t designed for fans to see, but they’re always fun to look at. And it’s fortunate these kinds of things were saved and make it into the public view.

If you’ve been on Jerry Beck’s Cartoon Research site (see the blog-roll to the right), you’ll know an auction site in Beverly Hills will be dispensing art from a number of cartoon studios toward the end of the month. Yes, there’s a representation of Hanna-Barbera material that collectors can snap up.

Flintstones fans will recognise these drawings. “The Swimming Pool” was the third episode aired, but part of it was based on an earlier animated demo reel that Joe Barbera shopped around to prospective advertisers. Barbera signed some of these panels—evidently long after they were made, much like he and Bill Hanna did with a pile of studio art—but I’ve always been under the impression Dan Gordon did the original storyboard. I don’t have a copy of Barbera’s book handy to see if he mentions it. Mark Kausler has helpfully pointed out a Barbera story sketch before and the letter “A” is written differently than it is here.

Here’s Salt Water Daffy with the aquarium seal from “Ruff and Reddy.” The storyline on this adventure features Charlie Shows going whacko with rhyming titles like “No Hope For a Dope on a Periscope” (which is where these drawings were used). What’s more interesting than the drawings is the note accompanying the notation accompanying them on the auction house’s website.

Fifteen pages of original storyboards ( four panels per page) by John Freeman for the "Rescue in the Deep Blue" Episode which ran on April 5, 1958. Also included in the lot, on HB Enterprises paper, are 19 pages of hand written dialogue for the same episode.

The reference to John Freeman is a real surprise to me. Freeman was a story director on some Hanna-Barbera cartoons in the early ‘60s but I had no idea he was at the studio this early. Freeman had been at Disney for many years and left Walt in the mid-‘50s to work at TV Spots’ commercial operation in San Francisco (according to his obit in a union newsletter). I always thought Dan Gordon was the studio’s storyboard man from the start but, unfortunately, there are no credits on any of the “Ruff and Reddy” episodes.

This item may be the most interesting of the lot, and comes from the collection of animator and teacher David Pruiksma who, incidentally, owns cats named ‘Ruff’ and ‘Reddy.’ I’ll let the auction web site describe this great item which someone had the foresight to save.

"Flintstone Baby Contest" Marketing Kits Lot of 2 (Hanna-Barbera, 1962-63). When Wilma gave birth to Pebbles, it was a television historic moment. Prior to the day, Hanna-Barbera conducted a massive countrywide blitz to hype the sacred day. They sent out to all major television affiliates two comprehensive marketing campaign packages. One was to be used prior to January 25th and was labeled in red, the second box was labeled in blue, and read "To be used after January 25th network episode "The Surprise." "Guess the weight," "guess the sex," and "guess the name" all played into the marketing efforts. These two complete marketing kits contain scripts, film, ad slicks, glass slides, and marketing notes.

You can click on the pictures to enlarge them. And click HERE for Jerry’s link to the auction.


  1. Did I see a drawing in the auction catalog that actually came from the pencil of Don Patterson? Be still my heart.

  2. The first episode of "THE FLINTSTONES" to be telecast was "The Flintstone Flyer" [September 30, 1960]. "The Swimming Pool" aired as "episode #3" [October 14, 1960]

  3. This Flintstone Baby Contest from 1962 seemed more as a premise for the Pebbles' birthday (that would be presented at the following year).