Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Teenager, a Blue Hound and an Emmy

It was dog-beat-dog at the Emmy Awards on June 20, 1960. Perennial favourite Lassie was up for the statue for Outstanding Children’s Program. But he didn’t win. Neither did Captain Kangaroo or Mr. Wizard, all three of them Peabody Award winners. Instead, the award went to The Huckleberry Hound Show. Somewhat surprisingly, The Quick Draw McGraw Show was also nominated, despite being on the air for less than a full season.

To the right you see a congratulatory full-page ad taken out in Variety by Screen Gems, which distributed the syndicated Hanna-Barbera cartoons and had sewed up a pile of lucrative marketing rights to the shows’ characters.

Over the years, we’ve posted our own reviews of each cartoon that appeared on The Huckleberry Hound Show. We’ve posted newspaper critiques and trade paper comments. Today, we’re going to post the opinion of a young fan.

This story appeared on the young people’s page of the Newark Union Gazette of February 16, 1961. Huck was still in first-run then; the episode this teenager apparently is talking about the episode that aired on the week of January 30th that year, as that was the first time Space Cat (in Missile Bound Cat) appeared on TV. Yogi had just begun his own show but was still appearing with Huck until enough Hokey Wolf segments were ready to replace him a couple of months later.


Huckleberry Hound
It*s too early to start homework, too late to go outside, and it's too near supper time to start munching. What is left? What can a normal teenager do that won't require thinking, playing, or eating? The answer is television!
With a bored sigh, you get up, traipse over to the television and kneel beside it. You turn on a certain knob here, touch a few knobs there and before you know it, this ingenious invention has presented you with an odd looking character named Huckleberry Hound.
Confronted with this, you settle back, wondering what this creature, armed with a southern drawl, will do next. Now this distinguished master of ceremonies starts introducing you to his companions, Mr. Jinks, Dixie and Dixie, and our beloved Yogi Bear, who has risen to such heights he has acquired his own T.V. show.
Each of these characters have one outstanding feature. Huck with his southern drawl. Mr. Jinks, a cat, with his deep, pseudo-hatred for mice (or meeces as he prefers to call them). Pixie and Dixie, a pair of mice that love to aggravate Mr. Jinks (or Jinksie) every chance they get. And Yogi Bear.
Pixie. Dixie, and Jinks all live together in one big house. At first glance Mr. Jinks seems to be the villain of this series, but he soon proves to be a kind cat, even with the heavy burden of two mice resting on his furry shoulders. Coping with these two is a full time job for Jinks! His adventures have included being hypnotized by a moving watch, and for a short time he was switched from a mice-hater to a mice-lover. No respectable cat would do that.
Several times "Space Cat," a creature deeply fond of mice, and devoted to them, has brought shame upon the face of Mr. Jinks. But Pixie and Dixie aren't without problems either. Do you remember the time Jinks loaned them to a cat that had just moved into the neighborhood, and didn't have his own mice? But in the end everything turns out all right and Pixie, Dixie, and Mr. Jinks live happily ever after—until the next cartoon.
The next member of the cast you see on the screen is probably good old Huck! There is no telling what misadventures Huck will encounter, but after Pixie and Dixie you find you're ready for anything. On this particular day, Huck is telling the story of the pony express rider. Huck shows you the perils a rider had to face and you wonder how the mail ever got through. On his ride Huck meets a mixed-up Indian, named Crazy Coyotee. Crazy Coyotee follows Hick everywhere repeating, "Me want letter in pouch, me take-em." Somehow Huck manages to get the letter through, only to find he has to take it to—Chief Crazy Coyotee!
It's commercial time now, which gives you a few moments to relax. On this show even the commercials you find are interesting. Kelloggs is the sponsor, and the cartoon characters advertise the product. Well, commercial is over, and it's time to get back to the show.
Now, triumphant Yogi Bear occupies the screen. He is accompanied by Booboo, his loyal companion. Both of these reside in Jellystone Park. Yogi's main occupation is eating. He gets his food from picnic baskets and cabins. Ordinary bears eat nuts and berries, but not Yogi.
So ends this program and all is quiet on the television screen. The aroma of food reaches you and you know it's time to eat supper, but at the dinner table do you discuss Huck Hound and his friends? No! You wouldn't want the rest of your family to think you watched that "children's" program. But when you notice your father and brother reaching for second helpings, you think of Yogi and a sly smile mysteriously crosses your lips!
Joyce Vanderpool, 8th Grade.

The Huckleberry Hound Show was nominated for an Emmy again the following year—Huck and Yogi appeared on the broadcast in a piece of animation I presume is lost—but lost to the type of show that special interest groups feel kids should watch, Young People’s Concerts: Aaron Copland’s Birthday Party (well, provided Copland’s sexuality wasn’t brought up). The following year, Huck was into permanent reruns in the U.S. and 41 foreign countries. Meanwhile, Yogi Bear had overtaken Huck as, erm, top dog in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon animal stable. Alas, the Emmy would avoid the blue hound for the rest of his career. But he still had the affection of young Joyce Vanderpool and millions of others around the world.

4 comments:

  1. What was so outstandingly humorous about "Father Knows Best". That should have gone to ''Huckleberry Hound''.- Georgi

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent article...and to think that later the network executives assumed that teenagers would want Scooby over that older, BLUE dog, Huckleberry!Steve

    ReplyDelete
  3. ^/15/15
    RobGems.ca Wrote:
    That Screen Gems publicity page looks nifty. I notice the familiar "Torch Lady" logo at the bottom of the page. Screen Gems used this logo all the way through the Dancing Sticks years in the trade papers, and up until September 1965, when the "S From Hell" (rumored to have been approved by Jackie Cooper) replaced it on the trade sheets. Don't know if I recall the Torch Lady logo following any episode of "Huckleberry Hound" or "Yogi Bear" after so many years of Dancing Sticks, S From Hell, The H-B Boxes, The Rainbow 1974 H-B logo, and the "shooting star" from 1979-91. I do recall an old TV print of "Quick Draw McGraw" that had the Torch Lady logo attached on to the end film print (rather crudely, I must say, it was the 1955-60 logo.) on YouTube a couple of years back, but it may have been removed by now. Boomerang doesn't show Quick Draw McGraw anymore, and a DVD is a big question mark by Warner Brothers studios, so any references to Screen Gems (a competing company owned by Japanese Sony) may be removed. During the run on Boomerang of "Quick Draw" back in the 1990's-mid 200's, there were no opening or closing credits at all (to remove references to Kellogg's cereal, perhaps?) just a short opening/ending refrain with Quick Draw's portrait shown. If I remember correctly, the long-eliminated opening and closing credits featured Quick Draw driving a stage coach down a ravine, and Baba Looey stowing away in a luggage trunk. Nice find from an old trade paper from February 1961.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yowp, what a great story. Loved the letter from Joyce. I think we all lived those afternoons growing up. On another subject.Hey Rob, I remember in 1969, out local ABC affiliate in Hampton, Virginia ran " The Huckleberry Hound Show " in it's full form with the Kellogg's logo and Frank DeVol's trumpet signature " Dancing Sticks " logo at the end. I really miss that. The original logos are probably still attached to the 35mm masters, but have been electronically covered. I found that out when I talked to some of the people involved on " Hazel " when it was restored to DVD a few years back. The " Screen Gems " properties have gone through so many distributors since the name was dropped in 1973, it's crazy." CPT ", Columbia Pictures,A unit of the Coca Cola Company, Sony and on and on. Love those Trade papers. Great find, Yowp

    ReplyDelete