The Huckleberry Hound Show was a huge hit when it debuted in 1958, not only with kids but with college students and even adults. Reviews expressed surprise at the age of the audience, as if columnists bought into the idea that cartoons were only for kids (certainly the early evening time slot that Huck got had been aimed at adolescents in the network radio days not long before).
Here are some interesting numbers about the show’s viewers in Indianapolis during the Huck show’s second season. This is from Gene Swindell’s column in the Anderson Daily Bulletin, March 12, 1960.
ADULT CARTOONS? — The Monday night television viewing begins a bit early at our house when “Huckleberry Hound” bows in on Ch. 13. Although the cartoon show is primarily tuned in for my son’s enjoyment, I have become attracted to it myself. And judging from some statistics received this week, I’m not the only adult sneaking a peek at these cartoon characters.
WLW-I’s recent rating survey indicates that out of every 100 people watching “Huck,” 40 are children, 12 are teenagers, 24 are women and 24 are men. The show holds 42 per cent of all the TV sets tuned in from 6:30 to 7, a good record for even the best network programs.
The voices behind most of the cartoon characters belong to Daws Butler, a native of Chicago. Butler has spent the past two years being the voice of “Huck,” “Yogi Bear,” “Mr. Jinks” and the little mouse, “Dixie.” You may remember Butler’s work on Stan Freberg’s million-dollar record, “St. George and the Dragonet,” in 1948. [sic]
“Huckleberry Hound” has avoided the occupational peril of being typed. He may turn up one week as a cop, looking like nothing else on earth and sounding like Jack Webb; then the next week he may appear as Sir Huck, taking like a British Andy Griffith.
Ch. 13 considers “Huck” and “Quick Draw” its favorite television personalities. They are even watched by personnel of the station—a critical group of viewers hardened by constant exposure to westerns, musicals, variety and detective shows.
How popular was Huck? Newspapers mentioned that an island had been named after him. Newsweek magazine reported in 1960:
Tucked away in the Antarctic’s Bellingshausen Sea sits a fleabite-size island that bears the euphonious, if somewhat curious, appellation, “Huckleberry Hound.” It was so named by the crew of the Coast Guard icebreaker U.S. Glacier, in a gesture of fealty that may mystify future naval historians, but will puzzle not at all the salaaming devotees of one of TV’s most popular characters— a cartoon dog.
Someone has asked whether the island was officially named for Huck and whether it’s still named for him. A search all over the internet has come up with nothing. The Bellingshausen Sea covers about 500 miles between Alexander and Thurston Islands. There some teeny islands in the area (where it’s supposed to be (70° 40' West latitude) but I’ve been unable to find a truly detailed map. If someone has a definitive answer, please pass on a note.