Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Kids Say the Darndest Things ... About Huckleberry Hound

What?! Someone who grew up not liking cartoons!? Could there be such a person?

Well, there was. She was a columnist for the Milwaukee Sentinel. But the errors of her youth were pointed out to her by the youth of today, 1961 version. Here’s a cute column from May 28th of that year when Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw were still appearing in brand-new cartoons on TV. It proves that kids are sometimes smarter than adults.

Janet Kern’s Column
Critic Caught Off Base
REMEMBER THE DAYS when adults used to catch the kids goofing off from their duties? Now it’s the other way around, for me at least.
A few weeks back, I was a dinner guest of a family with three children ranging in age from 6 to 13. Before my arrival, my stock was high with those youngsters who had somehow gotten the mistaken impression that I am by trade, a TV scout rather than a TV columnist. The moment that illusion was blasted the female member of the young trio gave up on me. The boys stuck, briefly.
“What is the best children’s show?” the older boy asked.
“Whu, uh, I really don’t know,” I stammered.
“Don’t you watch television?” the youngster probed.
“Well, yes, but not children’s shows,” I replied.
“Why not? Don’t children count?” came the pressing query.
I took refuge behind my favorite, and heretofore effective alibi.
“Being a grownup, I figure that I can’t really judge a children’s show. If it entertains me it’s no good for the children. If the children enjoy it, I probably wouldn’t like it.”
“Well, my favorite show is the Untouchables; lots of growups watch that, do you?”
“No,” I confessed, “I don’t watch it because I don’t like it or approve of it. I think it’s a dreadful show.”
That was the end of me so far as those kids were concerned!

MORE RECENTLY, a young lady of 4 . . . a trim, starched little doll named Holly Becker, who hadn’t seen me since she was 2 years old . . . came to call at my house. She arrived dragging a doll and clutching a long-eared rabbit.
Without so much as an “hello, how are you?” or what-have-you, Holly greeted me with:
“Pardon me, where may I put Bugs Bunny?”
Having found a suitable chair for Bugs Bunny, we got down to serious conversation.
“Do you know Bugs Bunny?” Holly inquired.
“Oh, yes,” I replied confidently.
“Do you know my grandmother?” she continued, and I had to confess I hadn’t had the pleasure.
“Well, then, do you know Pixie and Dixie?”
“Who?” I countered and her neat little eyebrows shot up in horror.
Pixie and Dixie, I learned later, are the “mice” on Huckleberry Hound.
“May I have a glass of milk, please?” Holly asked meekly and then, alone in the kitchen, over a glass of milk, she explained to me that her baby sister can’t talk “because babies have such tiny little ears.” For this education she wanted to be repaid in kind.
“Why did they stuff Yogi Bear?”
That one threw me. Calling for help from her mother, I learned that Holly had recently visited a museum where she had seen a stuffed bear. This distressed her because, to her, all bears are Yogi Bear and she objected to her friend having been killed so he could be stuffed.
Later, Holly gazed up at me affectionately and murmured in fond-sounding tones.
“I hate you to pieces.
“That’s Huckleberry Hound, too,” her father hastened to console me.
“I hate Daddy to pieces, too,” Holly whispered. “Do you know Hokey?”
Gradually, I learned that Holly never misses Huckleberry Hound nor Bugs Bunny.

ANOTHER YOUNG FRIEND, this one all of 11 years old, and named Tommy, turned out to be a Huckleberry Hound follower too . . . also a religious nightly viewer of Bugs Bunny.
Tommy also dotes on Dobie Gillis and Ozzie and Harriet and Hennessey. Most of all, though, he loves The Untouchables. “When he can get away with it, he watches it.” Tommy, apparently, has some trouble getting away with the Untouchables, because his big sister is my assistant and she’s been brain-washed anent The Untouchables!
Obviously, the professional viewer is out of touch with the main-stream of youth what with Bugs Bunny mainly from her own youth and not really knowing Huckleberry Hound and not approving of The Untouchables. Of course, I was an abnormal child. I didn’t even like cartoons.
That this was, and is, an abnormality, I know. For, the other evening, driving past a movie theatre, an extremely grown-up friend observed elatedly: “Oh, look. 101 Dalmatians is playing here!”
And, some time later, sitting at dinner at a largely adult-crowded restaurant, I heard the four extremely grown-up folk behind me conversing about the major affairs of the day.
They discussed most of the material in that day’s newspapers. Then one observed with equal solemnity:
“We went to see 101 Dalmatians last night; you really must see it.”
“I really don’t care for movies,” a woman at the table replied.
“Oh, but you’ll really enjoy this one; no one should miss it,” the first gentleman insisted gently.
And, I was tempted to butt in, no one should miss Bugs Bunny or Huckleberry Hound, either! Take it from a girl who’s getting more and more socially outcast because she usually does miss both shows!


  1. Great post, Yowp! Can really identify with this one. I was a lot like this Tommy kid. Watched and loved Huck, Yogi and the gang, *never* missed Bugs Bunny, sat with my parents watching The Untouchables. What was the corny saying that I used to hear my friends say at the bus stop? " watched Elliott Mess and the Unflushables ?".Laughed at Dobie as he ran from Zelda, mooned for Thalia, and wound up at the end....with Maynard. I think kid's tastes could be pretty broad back then. Once again...great post.

  2. Bugs Bunny and The Untouchables! Hope these kids eventually saw "The Unmentionables".

  3. This woman sounds like the type who, later in the decade and beyond, would destroy the concept of funny, all-ages cartoons – and, given her view on “The Untouchables” (another show I enjoy, along with Huck and Bugs), crusade against TV violence and subjectively objectionable content of all types!

    And, unfortunately, this was the type of person who did untold damage to the things we love! An unfortunate state that continues to this day… perhaps stronger than ever!

    1. Funny, Joe, how the world was so less violent when stuff like that wasn't quashed by TV networks kowtowing to do-gooders.

    2. A lot of things happen in the world because some people have too much time on their hands and decide if they don't like/approve of something, no one should be able to do it or see it.

      (And to be fair, it's also a matter of where you draw the line -- TV stations not running "Censored 11" cartoons made sense, but eventually if you never say 'no' to any objections, everything ends up being censored, and often not because of protests of a lot of people, but protests from just a handful but who know how and where to exert the pressure. That was where the anti-violence types based mainly in New York, who knew the people to pressure at the networks starting in the mid-to-late 1960s, did their damage.)

    3. J.L., I learned many years ago in broadcasting that someone always objects to something.

  4. I'd like to know which shows she DID like. No, not really.