Saturday, March 29, 2014
Huckleberry Hound — The Scrubby Brush Man
Credits: Animation – Edwin Parks, Layout – Jim Carmichael, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Tony Benedict, Story Director – John Freeman, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Huckleberry Hound – Daws Butler; Narrator, Scrubby President, Customer, Butch – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Huck, the Scrubby Brush Man, tried to sell a brush to a recalcitrant would-be customer.
The Hanna-Barbera studio kept adding cartoons to its drawing boards and had to keep adding staff as a result. So in Huckleberry Hound’s 1961-62 season (his last with new cartoons), we start to see new names in the credits replacing Ed Love, Ken Muse and others who were moved over to the prime time “Flintstones” and “Top Cat.”
Among layout artist Jim Carmichael’s stops in animation was Columbia’s Screen Gems studio. During the war, he was employed at the Combat Intelligence Section at Air Force HQ. And writer Tony Benedict had just arrived from UPA. He took over writing most of the Hucks from Warren Foster, who was busy with “The Flintstones,” and rightfully decided Huck would be perfect to drop into a send-up of Fuller Brush door-to-door salesmen. The cartoon has a quick set up before getting into a string of Huck-fails-to-sell-a-brush-to-an-angry-guy gags. Huck, as usual, comments to us on each failure before moving on.
The set-up: no Scrubby Brush salesman has ever returned from, let alone made a sale in, the 13th District, so the boss sends for super-salesman Huck. He’s not considered a dolt by management in this cartoon.
President: That’s what I like, Huck. Always pitching.
Huck arrives at a house owned by a guy who clearly doesn’t want to be bothered. Here are the gags:
● Huck tries subliminal advertising by chanting a “buy” suggestion outside a window, then ducking out of sight when the guy inside turns around. But the guy catches Huck and slams the window on his snout.
● Huck sings a commercial jingle through the window on a bullhorn. The guy punches Huck in the head right through the bullhorn. “Some folks don’t know good music when it hits them right smack-dab in the face,” Huck tells us.
● Huck uses a remote camera to hook into the guy’s TV set to give a commercial. The guy punches the screen and his fist comes through the camera and hits Huck in the face. “It’s gettin’ so the commercials have commercials,” growls the guy. Huck decides the customer “has had enough softenin’ up.”
● He ignores signs like “Salesman Go Home” (“Sure signs of weak sales resistance,” Huck opines to us) and rings the doorbell. When the guy answers, Huck observes “I see you have one of our products in your hand there.” The guy bashes Huck on the head with the huge brush. “That’s what we call in the trade ‘the brush off’,” Huck chuckles.
● Huck puts his foot in the door. We hear a chomp. A bulldog clamps on Huck’s leg, runs into the yard and buries him.
● Trying to win the customer’s confidence, Huck gives him a gift of colog-nee. The guy gives Huck a gift. “I think I know what it is on account of it’s tickin’.” Kaboom! “How about that. I was right. A home-made bomb. You get to know all the tricks after awhile.
● A crash helmet doesn’t stop Huck from being crushed by a chest of drawers dropped on top of him from the second storey of the house.
Huck now returns to headquarters. The anxious president wants to know about the sale. It turns out Huck sold a back brush to himself because he needed it. The boss faints. “Hmm. I guess he just couldn’t stand success.” The next five seconds is filled with music and Huck turning to and from the audience to fill the cartoon’s allotted time.