We’re referring to the first season episode where a snorkasaurus with a Phil Silvers voice surreptitiously hitches a ride and becomes the Flintstones’ pet/housekeeper. Who played him? If you watched the episode in syndication in the ‘60s and ‘70s, you never would have known as the closing animation was changed, meaning the voice credits were lopped off.
Unfortunately, when the Flintstones’ DVD came out, the closing credits for each episode of the first and second season were not restored. But the late Earl Kress and others put together some gang credits over the original closing animation and included was the name of Jerry Mann.
Mann appeared in a bunch of the early Flintstones’ episodes. And he was great at playing fast-talkers. That’s Mann as the producer who hires Fred as the Frog Mouth in “Hollyrock, Here I Come” and as the Ed Wynn-ish title character in “Hot Lips Hannigan.” So where did he come from and why did he disappear from the Hanna-Barbera roster of voice talents?
The first question’s pretty easy to answer. Mann was well acquainted with Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera from the 1940s when he provided a few voices on Tom and Jerry cartoons. He was uncredited on screen, but did get mentioned in the occasional story in Variety:
Columbia is scheduling a series of 'Cholly Polly' cartoons, to be produced under supervision of Dave Fleischer, department head. Voice for the bird is furnished by Jerry Mann, radio comic. (Nov. 17, 1942).Mann appeared in at least one other Tom and Jerry cartoon. He’s the voice of the radio announcer in “The Zoot Cat” (1944) and, I suspect, Tom’s voice in the “something’s burning” line. In “Casanova Cat,” he merely sings a couple of lines from “Over the Rainbow” (perhaps dialogue was cut). The squibs above may indicate why his voice acting career at Hanna-Barbera years later was short—he toured a lot and likely wasn’t around often enough to cut tracks for Joe Barbera.
Jerry Mason [sic] has concluded voice-dubbing for "Slicked Up Pup," MGM cartoon, and last night left town to join troupe of "Oklahoma," now touring Wyoming. (Aug. 16, 1949).
Jerry Mann, from cast of "Oklahoma" current at Biltmore, will do voice of "Casanova Cat" in Metro Tom and Jerry cartoon, "Love in Gloom." (Jan. 27, 1950).
Mann was a veteran entertainer by the time he got to the MGM cartoon studio. He was born Jerome Wolfman on August 1, 1910 in New York City to Dr. Philip and Martha Wolfman. His Los Angeles Times obit states he began doing impressions when he was nine. The first report I can find of his act is in Variety, October 28, 1921:
On Friday evening, Oct. 22, the Victoria Theatre of Ossining gave a big treat to the inmates of Sing Sing prison. We had their entire bill of vaudeville acts. They exceptionally good and were well received by our audience of 1,100.He reached the pinnacle of vaudeville, The Palace, while in his teens. But after a false start. Variety of October 7, 1925:
The first act was Jerome Mann, "The Wonder Child," better known as "Little Al Jolson." Eleven-year-old Jerome Mann is an exceptionally clever lad. He sang and danced and gave excellent imitations of Eddie Cantor, Eddie Leonard, singing “Roley Boley Eyes,” and Al Jolson.
Jerome Mann, the juvenile artist, was forced to cancel the Palace, New York, this week, due to the Gerry Society. Mann had previously appeared around New York at various picture houses as a member of Ben Bernie’s turn.He ended up playing the Palace to, initially, not very good reviews in the Show Biz Bible: “[D]id only so-so” (Variety, Sept. 15, 1926), “Nothing new and not particularly well done” (April 27, 1927). But notices started improving. Vaudeville stars moved into radio, and Mann did, too. About 1935, he dropped “Jerome” in favour of “Jerry.” Variety still wasn’t always impressed with his impersonations: “[H]e does not rate with the toppers in this line. Needs more experience.” (Aug. 28, 1935).
The Palace management were forced to a last minute substitution, booking Eddie Miller and Ben Bernard to replace the youngster. Mann does a single act. He is said to be under 16 and under contract to the Shuberts.
About this time, he was getting into a little trouble. Variety of May 1, 1935 announced a lawsuit, the results of which were published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 9, 1936:
Jury Votes $1000 Balm Verdict to Night Club SingerLike a lot of vaudevillians, Mann turned to radio in the ‘30s. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported in 1934: “Jerry Mann, nephew of Joe Weber of the team of Weber and Fields, makes his radio debut as an impersonator and comedian Wednesday evening, [July 25] 8:30, over WABC” [CBS] (his bio in the 1939-40 Variety Radio Directory claimed his first radio job was on “Lum and Abner” in 1934). The show was “Everett Marshall’s Broadway Varieties.” He appears to have lasted there for about a year. The Eagle later reported he would be appearing on a Sunday night oil show as of August 12th; presumably it was the Gulf Refining Show with Will Rogers on WJZ (NBC Blue). By October 7, he had moved over to “Manhattan Merry-Go-Round” on Sundays at 9 p.m. on WEAF (NBC Red), then debuted about 12 months later on “Hammerstein’s Music Hall,” Mondays at 8 p.m. on WEAF. The New York Sun reported he was to leave the show on January 14, 1937 after 82 consecutive broadcasts. In mid-1939, he was hosting a local, unsponsored half-hour variety show on WHN New York and had been working on a soap opera, and in 1940 was in Chicago on “Avalon Time” with Don McNeill. It’s unclear when Mann arrived on the West Coast, but he was there by September 1, 1941, when Broadcasting magazine reported he was writing for Rudy Vallee’s show. The aforementioned Variety directory stated he had also made some short films.
A $1000 VERDICT was awarded to Harriet Asinoff, night club singer, yesterday, in one of the last breach of promise suits that Pennsylvania may ever know.
The action, against Jerome Mann, stage impersonator of leading stars, was filed in July, 1934, a year prior to the State act outlawing breach of promise suits.
The 22-year-old singer, known professionally as Harriet Wesley and Harriet Carr, had asked $25,000 in her suit. She testified that she met Mann, whose real name is Jerome Wolfman, in Boston in 1931.
She said he was an ardent lover up to the point where she notified him that she was to become a mother. Then he lost interest. The suit was filed in consequence, at a time when she was under 21.
Mann denied Miss Asinoff's testimony that he insisted she accompany him to his Boston hotel room at 1 A. M. He said "she lied" when she testified he visited her five... or six times a week.
His work on “The Flintstones,” according to Mann’s listing on a website (which has inaccuracies in his bio), consisted of:
● Hot Lips Hannigan
● The Monster From the Tar Pits
● Hollyrock, Here I Come
● The Girls’ Night Out
● The Snorkasaurus Hunter
● The Hypnotist
● Love Letters on the Rocks
● The Astra’Nuts
● Fred Flintstone, Before And After (all season one)
● Latin Lover (season two)
Earl Kress once asked Joe Barbera about Mann but Mr. B., by that time, simply couldn’t recall him, and neither could anyone else who worked at Hanna-Barbera who Earl questioned. So we hope this post has filled in some blanks.
Finally, here’s one of Jerry’s characters, the producer on “Hollywood, Here I Come.” George Nicholas came up with this walk cycle that’s used several times in the cartoon. Nicholas was one of several animators (Carlo Vinci and Don Patterson, included) who came up with unique walks for their characters. Note that the producer doesn’t have the same rigid upper body part on one cel used frame after frame. This is full animation, one complete drawing for each position.
Late note: Voice historian Keith Scott sent this note about what he’s been able to discern about Jerry Mann’s career. Oh, for confirmation from studio records!
He did more 1940s stuff. Avery used him. I hear him in BATTY BASEBALL ("That's the old pepper, kid"), George Gordon's THE STORK'S HOLIDAY, and I think he did more at Columbia...he may even have been Meathead to Screwy Squirrel, but that's only supposition. He's in THE DOG HOUSE in 1952. I have one article from the early 40s where a promised movie didn't happen and so he took a job at MGM cartoons for a while, as both a gag man and for standby voice effects...then he quit for OKLAHOMA.