Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fun and Games With Huck

In 1960 or so, your fun with Huckleberry Hound didn’t have to end once his show went off the air for the week. You could play with him when the TV was off, you could eat with him, you could even learn things from him. It was all thanks to the marketing people at Hanna-Barbera and Screen Gems, who aggressively found partners eager to make a buck off the newest TV cartoon sensation.

Once again, we have trudged up to the dusty cyber-attic and opened up the aged trunk of memories to see what kids could do with Huck some 55 years ago.



The box says “age four to ten.” The box is a liar. Anyone of any age could play Hanna-Barbera board games; when Bill Hanna talked about “wholesome family entertainment,” he could have been talking about games as well as his cartoons. Milton Bradley made some great ones, but here are a couple from Transogram. Sorry you can’t enlarge the board itself too much to see the game better, but you get the idea. You can see the little Parents Magazine ribbon logo in the upper left-hand corner of the box that used to be so common way back when (much like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval) and it has the characters in a logo in the lower right-hand corner. The drawings of Mr. Jinks on the board are great. The game is from 1961.



Would they even make a Break-a-Plate game today? Wouldn’t parents be all uptight that their kid would throw one of those small plastic baseballs and break something? You know, the parents that played with these same games as a kid (kind of like how some adults think it’s bad for kids to watch the same cartoons they watched as a kid)? Well, evidently parents in 1961 didn’t worry about it, judging by this Transogram game. You’ll notice it a blue Transogram Quality Inspection Slip. No, Tommy, don’t try this game with mom’s chinaware.



The folks at Knickerbocker (No. Hollywood, Calif.) came up with this spinning target game in 1959. It’s 13 inches long and made from genuine tin. Says an ad for the toy in a 1961 edition of the Tucson Daily Citizen: “Try to hit plastic cartoon characters with suction-cup darts--watch them spin!”



This is about as close as Walter Tetley ever got to appearing in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. Tetley, you likely know, was the voice of Sherman in the Mr. Peabody cartoons and like Dick Beals (who did appear in Hanna-Barbera cartoons) he was afflicted with a medical condition that caused his voice to remain somewhat adolescent. He was also the voice of Reddy Kilowatt in some industrial cartoons made by Walter Lantz in the late 1940s (he was Andy Panda for the studio at the same time). Here, you can see Reddy sitting on a large boulder in the front page of this 18-page educational booklet for kids. The booklet is copyright 1961. The name of the local electric company that supplied this to, presumably, schools, was printed on the rock. Unfortunately, only one page of this has surfaced on-line, at least that I can find.

Huck is saying “Bow Wowie”??



Who knew that Dell made something other than comic books? Well, perhaps you did. It was news to me until I ran across this ad. The address fills us in that this is before the era of the Zip Code, so it’s from the early ‘60s. Dell made Disney squeeze toys, too, but who’d want them when you can have Huckleberry Hound riding a whale?



When I was a kid, this is what “school lunch programme” meant. Mom would make something and you’d trundle off to class with it in a paper bag or, if your parents knew you liked Huck and Quick Draw, one of these. Aladdin of Nashville, Tennessee made these in 1961. Notice Snuffles in one of the little TV screens on the top?

You can’t see the whole thermos here, but to left of Pixie and Dixie, that’s a bit of Blabber’s ear. Next to him is Snooper, then Baba Looey and Augie Doggie holding the rope behind Quick Draw. There’s a neat little cartoon strip (like it’s on perforated film) around the sides and bottom. You can read the safety message inside and the name of the owner of the lunch box, David Vos of New Orleans. Strangely enough, a gentleman named David Vos won a Daytime Emmy for a documentary he made in 2010 about New Orleans recovering from Hurricane Katrina.



If you prefer Huck to be with you other than at lunch, how about tea time?



I don’t know if I like the concept of riding Huckleberry Hound, but some company made this in 1960 (we’ve posted a picture of a similar riding toy of Yogi Bear). It’s 19.25" height x 21.5" length x 7.25" width with handles attached to the ears.

Well, our sojourn in the cyber-attic must come to an end and back into the dusty trunk go our memories of play-times past for another day. Mom, is Yogi Bear on yet?

11 comments:

  1. Hopefully, Mr. Jinx has an airbag in that car on the lunchbox.

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  2. The Huckle Chuck was probably the best Huck toy ever produced. You showed it in a 5-21-14 post. Transogram seemed to have the best handle on the Hanna Barbera characters.

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  3. Yowp, that's obviously great-great-grandson from "Hokum Smokum" and "Huck Hound's Tale" spouting the inane dialogue in the Kite Fun comic book. Where's that cane when you need it?

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  4. ...And I'd say that Kite Comic was drawn by Pete Alvarado, who did lots of H-B comics for Dell and Gold Key.

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    1. I also recognized the Pete Alvarado's artwork on this material.

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  5. Another great find, Yowp. I of course remember the lunch boxes and thermos. Had a friend who owned the spinning target set. Reddy Kilowatt, my goodness, there's a blast from the past. I believe a few elementary schools ran a few of his industrial safety films in the 1960's. Just recently saw Fred Allen's star studded " It's in the bag " with Walter Tetley playing his usual wise guy movie usher and elevator operator. Pretty good foil for Allen's no nonsense, slow burn character.

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  6. Thanks Yowp, for bringing back some wonderful memories. Incidentally, I had the lunch box. The other side (opposite Huck’s group) featured the Quick Draw gang and the four or five frame “cartoons” along each side featured Yogi and Quick Draw. As usual, the thermos didn’t last very long. Back then, it was nice to be able to be with my favorite cartoon characters at school…at least during lunch. Don’t know what ever happened to the lunch box. It was always in the top of my mom’s pantry cabinet, but when I went to look for it a few years ago it was gone. Oh well.

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  7. Completely by accident, I just stumbled upon a news story involving that lunchox. This is from 2014: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/05/22/family-wants-to-find-owner-of-50-year-old-vintage-lunchbox/

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    1. That's a great story. I hope it had a happy ending.

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    2. Indeed, it did. They located the original owner just one day after the story was posted. It's unclear if David Fisher took the lunchbox back, but he did become friends with Connor Skyes. Here's the ending: http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/05/23/original-owner-vintage-lunchbox-tracked-down/

      Sorry I didn't post it before. I didn't see it at first. Actually, I didn't even think to look for it, because I figured, "What are the odds the original owner ever even saw this story?" But I tracked it down after you asked about the ending, which was actually pretty easy to do, thanks to the magic of the Internet.

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