Saturday, December 13, 2014
Huckleberry Hound — Huck of the Irish
Credits: Animation – La Verne Harding; Layout – Noel Tucker; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Written by Tony Benedict; Story Director – Paul Sommer; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Narrator, Leprechaun, Huckleberry Hound, Editor – Daws Butler.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: week of Dec. 4, 1961 (rerun, week of Oct. 22, 1962).
Plot: Photographer Huck tries to take a picture of a leprechaun.
Huck treads some familiar ground in this cartoon but, this time, the difference is the ground is the Auld Sod. Huck chats with the people watching him at home, mangles the local dialect, generally shrugs off the violence against him and chuckles about his ultimate failure during the final frames. But in this cartoon, Huck has a new job as a magazine photographer and has been planted on the emerald green of Ireland—“land of legends, folklore and magic,” the intoning narrator tells us at the beginning.
Here’s Bob Gentle’s opening background that is panned by the camera as the narration sets up the cartoon. And this is where I bemoan that the final year of the Huck series is not on DVD where you’d be able to see a version of this without digital fuzziness.
Huck expounds on his assignment to us: “Ain’t nobody ever photygraphed one of them lepracorns before.” Naturally, when Huck comes across a leprechaun, he doesn’t realise that’s what it is, even after he reads a description of one while chatting with the little fellow. Huck decides to try to mix in with the locals. “Uh, top-of-the-mornin,’ you-all. Begorrah, begosh and Erin Go Bragh,” he says, then turns to us and adds “That’s Irish talk for ‘Howdy’. You got to know all the gimmicks in this game.” And so the plot unfolds, with the leprechaun using magic to beat up on Huck, who wants to take his picture for Strife.
First, the leprechaun pulls Huck’s hat over his head and then gives him a hot foot (which burns his body). But then Huck realises who the green-suited man is. “The Irish jig is up,” he puns. The two agree the leprechaun will have his picture taken if Huck can catch him (“I’ll just meet him at the glen,” Huck tells us, “That’s more Irish talk meanin’ ‘Head ‘im off the pass’.”). That brings on a series of violence gags.
● Huck doesn’t run into the door of the leprechaun’s cave. The leprechaun then opens it on him.
● The old “just-step-back-and-back-some-more” bit. Huck falls back into a well.
● The old “stand-in-mid-air-for-only-a-while” routine. Huck plummets to the bottom of a cliff.
● The leprechaun pretends to have been roped at the top of other cliff by Huck, who can’t see that high. Huck’s roped “the blarney stone” and pulls it down onto himself.
“He’s just going to laugh himself sick. I hope,” the annoyed Huck-under-a-large-rock says to us. But the leprechaun has outsmarted himself. As he cackles, the cliff gives way, and Huck captures him when he drops to the bottom. So Huck gets to take his picture in a variety of poses, especially after the leprechaun hears it’s for the cover of Strife.
Cut to the final scene. The Strife editor is enthusiastic until he looks at the blank photos. “A leprechaun just doesn’t register on film,” he says. Ah, but that’s not the problem. Huck confides is us over the closing music that he forgot to take the cover off the lens, then gives us a limited animation version of a shamed look.
Miscellany: Daws Butler supplies all the voices in this cartoon...The sound cutter found one running sound effect for Huck and another for the leprechaun...There are no Irish-sounding cues in the underscore...The box around “Hanna-Barbera” in the episode title card was also used in “Ben Huck” and “Jinks’ Jinx.” I haven’t checked to see if there were others but the graphic idea was obviously short-lived.