Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Don Towsley; Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Art Lozzi; Written By Warren Foster; Story Director – John Freeman; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Huckleberry Hound – Daws Butler; Narrator, Woman on Phone, Dog – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1962?
Plot: TV repairman Huck is stopped in his efforts to fix a set by a snickering dog.
57 Huckleberry Hound cartoons were aired and “Two For Tee Vee” was, according to the unreliable internet, the final one put into production. Nine were produced for Huck’s final season (1961-62) with only two of those written by Warren Foster. This is one of them.
“Two For Tee Vee” shows Foster’s cynicism toward television at the start, with Don Messick’s intoning narrator explaining without TV repairmen, “we would miss many of our favourite programmes that have become part of our daily life.” The “favourite programmes” turn out to be nothing more than old “B” and foreign films that were, at the time, constantly on TV because they were cheap for stations to buy from syndicators. Quality had nothing to do with it; filling air-time inexpensively did. The gag is a variation on the “nothing-but-westerns-on-TV’ routine that Tex Avery and Heck Allen pulled off in 1953’s “TV of Tomorrow” (the forest of antennae in the opening of this cartoon owes something to “TV of Tomorrow,” too).
Foster doesn’t have much good to say about the intelligence of television viewers. “Yes, Lady?” says Huck to a customer on the phone, “Your set gets your programmes all mixed up, huh? Well, I mean, that wouldn’t have to be the set, ma’am, uh uh. Y’see, there are a lot of mixed up programmes.” Then he fits in a song reference: “The Texas Rangers get mixed up with the private eyes and it comes out the private eyes of Texas are upon us? That sounds like fun, ma’am.”
After backing his rickety service van into a wall, Huck arrives at the customer’s home. The cartoon now switches to the main plot—a snickering dog in the house tries to stop Huck from doing his job. The idea was used in five previous Huck cartoons and then much later by the studio with Muttley and a number of other dogs.
● The dog plugs in the set to try to electrocute Huck.
● The dog steals the NACL-2504-HB-52-42 spare tube then chomps on Huck’s butt when he takes it back. The dog then grabs the tube back and leads Huck on a chase up a long flight of stairs then down a bannister.
● The dog digs a hole in the yard. Huck peers in. The dogs shoves him in and covers the hole with dirt. At least Huck gets the tube back.
● Huck’s installing the tube in the set. The dog chomps on his butt again. Huck jumps into the set and becomes trapped when the dog screws the cardboard cover on the back of the set. The cartoon ends with the dog watching Huck on TV and snickering for the ninth time.
● “They [customers] all get riled when we mention ‘shop.’ See, no matter what’s wrong, we’re supposed to fix it all spread out on the livin’ room floor.”
● “I likes to work with nobody around. No silly questions like, uh, ‘What are all the tubes for?’ As if anyone knows.”
● “On these kind of TV service calls, a fella don’t make a nickel.”
Don Towsley animated this cartoon. He was born in Wisconsin in 1912, spent part of his youth in Atlanta and then worked through much of the ‘40s for Walt Disney. He freelanced on Bob Clampett’s “It’s a Grand Old Nag,” released in 1947. He was in New York City by 1952 and employed for Lee Blair’s Film Graphics, an industrial animation house. The April 1961 edition of “Top Cel,” the newsletter of animation’s union New York local, revealed Towsley was taking a three-month vacation in Mexico. The October edition states Towsley decided to stay at Hanna-Barbera but the December edition reported he was no longer at the studio. He later worked on the Chuck Jones’ Tom and Jerrys.
Here are a couple of Art Lozzi backgrounds.