If you haven’t read the background before, you can go to this blog post. To boil it down, H-B Enterprises signed a deal with NBC to broadcast its new made-for-TV cartoons, which ran alongside old Columbia/Screen Gems theatrical cartoons (due to H-B’s bankrolling by Screen Gems), with a human host introducing everything.
The cartoons were wisely filmed in colour, though NBC originally broadcast them in black and white, like almost all its programming in 1957. When did the network begin to show them in colour? The answer’s in a column by J. Don Schlaerth in the Buffalo Courier-Express of June 27, 1959. I presume he was a local columnist.
COLOR SHOWS — NBC-TV will add two new color shows to its schedule today. "Buffalo Bob" Smith and his "Howdy Doody" show will be given the tinted treatment starting at 10 this morning on Ch. 2. The "Ruff and Reddy Show" cartoon series also will be in color following at 10:30. . . . The Trendex rating service indicates that the audience of color television programs in color TV equipped homes is twice as large as the audience in homes with black and white sets. The survey was conducted in five major cities.Pressure groups basically screwed up kids cartoons shows, but that wasn’t for a few more years yet. Hanna-Barbera cartoons in the ‘50s received nothing but plaudits. “Ruff and Reddy” was among them. Here’s the pertinent part of a squib from the Lockport Union-Sun and Journal of December 3, 1959:
PTA Turns Critical Gaze On TVDespite that, NBC took “Ruff and Reddy” off the air less than a year later. Whether it was contractual, I don’t know. However, the network brought it back. Broadcasting magazine of July 2, 1962 reported:
The National Parent - Teacher, the official publication of the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, in its new program on TV evaluations, turned its critical gaze on nine more continuing shows for children and adults. The magazine's official viewers generally beamed on "Here's Geraldine" (ABC) and "Ruff and Reddy" (NBC), while taking a much dimmer view of the CBS "Heckle and Jeckle" and ''Lunchtime Little Theater" (independent) as adequate fare for children.
'Ruff and Reddy' returnsTo show you how times have changed, NBC offered no network service on Saturday mornings until “Ruff and Reddy” aired and ABC didn’t sign on until 10:30.
The Ruff and Reddy Show, a former NBC –TV morning children's show, is returning to the network as a color series Saturday, Sept. 29. It replaces Pip the Piper in the 9:30 -10 a.m. time -spot. Previously shown on NBC from December 1957- October 1960, the Ruff and Reddy Show is a Hanna -Barbera cartoon production, distributed by Screen Gems. It will be sponsored by Marx Toys, New York, through Ted Bates; Horsman Dolls, Columbia, S. C., through Manchester Organizations, and Selchow & Richter Games, New York, through Doner- Harrison.
“Ruff and Reddy” left the network again after September 26, 1964, replaced with “Hector Heathcote.” By the following March 15th, Screen Gems was offering all 156 “Ruff and Reddy” cartoons (along with 156 Lippy the Lion/Touché Turtle/Wally Gator) in syndication. Interestingly, Broadcasting magazine reported in a September 20, 1965 story on syndicated shows:
Robert Seidelman, vice president for syndication for SG [Screen Gems], conceded that demand by local stations is high, but said the company has no immediate plans for producing first -run syndicated series in color because of economic considerations.That shows you how things had changed. Hanna-Barbera built its name on syndication with “The Huckleberry Hound Show.” But most of its syndicated deals up to 1965 had involved a co-sponsor, Kellogg’s on the Huck-Quick Draw-Yogi shows and Ideal Toys with “Magilla Gorilla” and “Peter Potamus.” Screen Gems apparently decided for, or was told by, Hanna-Barbera that even joint deals such those couldn’t bring in the necessary cash to make TV cartoons profitable. Ironic, considering H-B got into the business because it could produce cartoons cheaply enough for television.