Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tony Benedict on Stu's Show

You know how the theme song goes: “The show in town is Huckle Jerry Hound...”

Okay, maybe not. But to the right you see Huckle Jerry Hound. Or, rather Hanna-Barbera layout artist Jerry Eisenberg drawn as Huckleberry Hound sent to me by former storyman Tony Benedict. The two of them worked on H-B cartoons through a good portions of the 1960s. Tony pretty much took over the Huck cartoons in the series’ final season, writing most of them.

I’ve been quite fortunate to have had the chance to talk with both Jerry and Tony about their careers at Hanna-Barbera. Unfortunately, in Tony’s case, due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, we chatted for just under a half-hour and I never got a chance to ask him a pile of questions on my mind. However, someone else will get the opportunity, and I urge you to tune in and listen. It’ll be a lot longer than a half hour. And there’s Tony’s career at Disney and UPA we didn’t even discuss that I imagine they’ll touch on.

Tony will be on the air on Stu’s show with Stu Shostak this Wednesday (the 8th) starting at 4 p.m. Pacific time. Stu generally goes two hours with his guests but tends to chat longer if the guest is willing and there’s still a bushel-full of questions to be answered. And I suspect there will be, certainly ones we never got a chance to touch on in my truncated interview.

It goes without saying but Stu loves the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. He knows the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. And, better still, he isn’t a lazy interviewer. He does his research so he’ll ask intelligent stuff, stuff fans want to know about. So, you can bet Stu will ask him why the new version of “The Jetsons” in the ‘80s didn’t cut it (and maybe he’ll find out what the writers thought about that wretched little Orbity), and why the studio’s cartoons started to go downhill despite the presence of talented people.

Other than Mike Lah (who was gone), Tony worked with all of the studio’s early greats—ex-MGM guys like Ray Patterson, Irv Spence, Kenny Muse, Bob Gentle, Art Lozzi, Monty and Walt Clinton. And with George Nicholas. And Art Davis. And Carlo Vinci. And the two greatest writers in cartoon history, Mike Maltese and Warren Foster. Well, the list could go on. Tony wrote the first cartoon with Astro. Same with Alfy Gator. He also came up with an idea for a spy spoof featuring a squirrel.

As you know, Tony has been working on a documentary outlining the life of the studio while he was there and all the great people he worked with. A Kickstarter project didn’t get past the kicking stage. I suspect he’ll reveal what the future holds for it.

So here’s how you listen to the interview. It’s not available in any stores on your local radio station. You’ll have to go to the Stu’s Show web site just as the show starts and then feed it through your media player on your computer. If you miss the show live, you can always download it not too many hours after the end of the broadcast for 99 cents. 99 cents for a couple of hours of one of the veterans of TV animation? Even Bill Hanna would pay more than that.

A late note: I didnt realise Jerry Eisenberg will be on the show, too. He’s a nice man and a funny man. Two hours with him and Tony will go by just like that.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the heads up, Yowp. Looking forward to hearing the interview.

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  2. Thanks for all you do, Don, I'll be listening. Gotta love that Huckle Jerry Hound!

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  3. I'm eagerly awaiting this interview. I've heard his interview on SAG site and expect Stu to delve deeper into what it was like at H-B back in the day.

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  4. Very funny this Jerry Eisenberg's self-portrait, costumed as Huckleberry Hound.

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