Saturday, January 4, 2014
Huckleberry Hound — Cluck and Dagger
Credits: Animation – Art Davis, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Huckleberry Hound, Gate Attendant 1, Spy with Clock, Spies – Daws Butler; Narrator, Chief, P.A. Announcer, Gate Attendant 2, Clock-Stealing Spy, Spy with Gun, Conductor, Spies – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-052.
First Aired: week of March 27, 1961.
Plot: Agent Huckleberry Hound is assigned to deliver a secret-filled briefcase to the country of Rutabaga.
This spy spoof is really inspired. There are a lot of fun lines and lampooned situations from start to finish, too many to quote. Huckleberry Hound seems to have brought out the best in Warren Foster, perhaps because Huck could be plunked in a different situation in each cartoon, enabling Foster to make fun of something fresh.
The cartoon opens with a great back-and-forth between Huck and the narrator. Huck is an agent with the T.S. and S.L.T.T.—“Top Secrets and Stuff Like That There.” First, Huck looks around when the narrator firsts talks to him because he can’t see him. Then Agent Hound sets up a gag. “Sorry, Mr. Narrator,” he apologises, but information about his agency is classified. So is his next mission. And so is the book he’s carrying—the Classified Phone Directory. “Ain’t that a knee-slapper?” asks Huck. “I get it,” dourly replies the narrator, who finally gets angry when his joke to Huck goes over the spy’s head.
Huck’s called “The Man With a Thousand Faces.” It turns out it’s not because Huck is a master of disguise. He demonstrates a face.
The lady doesn’t figure into the plot; she’s just a gag device. Now we get spies galore on the Spy Special. Some have identical white trench coats and blue sunglasses. Huck’s briefcase gets stolen and everyone’s after it. They chase each other back and forth from left to right of the frame, laughing and screeching like crazy (though their mouths don’t move). Finally, Huck asks the conductor for help to get his briefcase back. It’s not forthcoming. The conductor explains: “This is the Spy Express. Everybody steals each other’s bag. That’s how the spies keep their job. So, take a bag, Monsieur. Any bag. They all have secrets in them.” So that’s just what he does when a blob of spies passes by him.
The scene fades into the climax—the lumped group of spies chase Huck on top of the rail cars. A tunnel’s approaching. You can guess what happens. Huck’s smart enough to duck. The others aren’t. We don’t actually see them hit the top of the tunnel. Instead, the scene cuts from the group pointing ahead to stock animation of the impact of an explosion you’ve seen in countless H-B cartoons.
Speaking of Lozzi, here’s his streetscape, from start to finish.
This was the last new Huckleberry Hound cartoon aired in the 1960-61 season. Unlike the others, it uses underscore music written by Hoyt Curtin, as would the nine Huck cartoons produced in the following, and last, season.