Fernando Montealegre was one of a number of MGM émigrés to the new Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio in 1957; he had received credits for background art in the Droopy cartoons directed by Mike Lah during Metro’s last days.
His name appears frequently on “The Huckleberry Hound Show” in 1958 but seems to show up less often in 1959 when the studio put “The Quick Draw McGraw Show” into production (it was still working on a reduced number of Hucks and Ruff and Reddys).
One of his cartoons was “Lion-Hearted Huck,” which aired the week of October 6, 1958. There are only ten backgrounds in the whole cartoon. The one seen most often is this junglescape.
This is one of those famous Hanna-Barbera repeating backgrounds. During the opening narration, Huck drives past that dark tree seven times before director Joe Barbera cuts to a close-up shot. You probably know how this works. That dark tree is at both ends of the drawing. The background moves and when the cameraman gets to one end of the drawing, he moves it back to the other end. The trees are supposed to match so the drawing looks seamless. In the early cartoons, things didn’t always match up exactly but viewers didn’t notice. Look at these two consecutive frames. See how the lines on the dark tree aren’t the same? This is where the background drawing is moved back.
Here are some more of Monty’s backgrounds.
From the opening of the cartoon.
This is the TV set where a little monkey monitors big-game hunter Huck driving in his jeep. It was designed by Dick Bickenbach, who laid out the cartoon.
These two feature cel overlays. The second one is a little more obvious. The first drawing is used when the monkey runs into the tree, the second when Le Roy the lion reaches for a phone inside the tree.
Here’s another jungle background; the blue rock on the right is on an overlay, as is the square patch of dirt. There’s a pan from one to the other but I couldn’t get the colours to match to recreate the full drawing, so you’ll have to settle for both ends.
This is a pretty typical Huck cartoon. He gets smashed and even chomped by a huge trap but thinks it’s all kind of funny. He doesn’t get his lion, though. One of Le Roy’s pranks backfires and the cartoon ends with the lion in the sky, screaming for help.
When we reviewed this cartoon ages ago, the stock music cues were enumerated but we didn’t have links to them available then. So let’s provide them now. Most of the music is by Jack Shaindlin. A hunt for a copy of ‘On The Run’ has been fruitless (the late Earl Kress made a concerted effort to find it but could not. Apparently the current rights holders don’t even have it). Spencer Moore’s ‘Animation Comedy’ consists of little bassoon parts that could be used as production elements.
0:00 - Huck sub-main title Dixieland theme (Hoyt Curtin).
0:26 - ZR-49 LIGHT EERIE (Geordie Hormel) - Monkey warns lion that Huck is looking for game.
2:01 - LAF-1-1 FISHY STORY (Shaindlin) - Huck follows tracks, chases lion into cave, digs hole.
4:00 - L-1158 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) - Lion starts bulldozer.
4:06 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) - Lion covers hole, snares Huck, tosses tacks in path of Huck’s jeep.
5:13 - LAF-21-3 RECESS (Shaindlin) - Lion jacks up jeep, Huck caught in trap, lion steals motor.
6:48 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) - Lion rides motor in sky.
7:12 - Huck sub-end title Dixieland theme (Curtin).