Hopalong Cassidy could do it. The Lone Ranger could do it. But you’d think it’d be difficult for cartoon stars to go on location and meet fans like human TV stars. After all, they’re drawings. Ah, but no. Honest Ed Justin at Screen Gems solved that problem by having costumes of Huckleberry Hound and so on made and sticking people in them.
Justin’s team seems to have promoted them aggressively. Here’s a story from the Hartford Courant of May 15, 1960 that gives you an idea about how much the characters were pushed by the bankroller of the Hanna-Barbera studio. Of course, it helped that Huck and his syndicated colleagues were hugely popular when they first appeared on TV in the late ‘50s.
Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear Gain World Fame; ‘Adult Cartoon’ Coming
This year’s most widely traveled TV personalities are a blue dog with a deep southern drawn and an oversize bear sporting a pork-pie hat.
The pair, Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear, have managed to accept 73 invitations since last August and still show up weekly on the “Huckleberry Hound” television series. What makes this possible is the fact that they’re cartoon characters, the creations of Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
“In the past eight months we’ve booked Huck and Yogi into department stores, shopping centers, football and baseball games, concerts, parades, factories and exhibitions,” said Ed Justin, who’s in charge of personal appearances at Screen Gems, which distributes the Hanna-Barbera shows.
“Next month they are scheduled for the Memorial Day ‘500’ Race at the Indianapolis Speedway,” he added. “Fans will be released to hear that Huck does not plan to drive in the race.”
Confronted with so many play-date opportunities for the cartoon stars, without a body to deliver, Justin had special Huck and Yogi costumes made, at a cost of several hundred dollars apiece. The costumes are filled with local heat and claustrophobia-resistant actors. Huckleberry Hound is thus the only TV star who travels by Air Express, who has made three live appearances simultaneously and who requires extensive repair work after each excursion.
What led to the travels of the ubiquitous dog was the unusually wide-spread popularity of the “Huckleberry Hound” show that emerged soon after it went on the air. Some of the kudos came from rather far afield.
Huck Hound Abroad
Huckleberry Hound was invited to play for either side at the Stanford – Washington football game, but the offer was declined on the ground that no helmet would fit him. He would up a cheer leader for both teams.
Huck was made a member of the ships’ companies of the USS Glacier, an icebreaker on Antarctic duty, and of the USS Acme, a minesweeper in the Pacific.
The 5th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment at Huddersfield, England, asked for permission to make Yogi Bear the official mascot of the outfit.
In Tucson, Arizona, an official questionnaire given to all police officers included the question: “Do you watch Huckleberry Hound on television?”
As guest stars at the annual Childrens’ Concert of the Fort Wayne Symphony, Huck and Yogi were compared with such virtuosos as Jack Benny and Spike Jones.
In West Seneca, N.Y., an organization known as Machemer’s Chestnut Lodge Yogi Bear Appreciation Society was founded.
Seven scientists at the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico requested an El Paso, Texas, television station to show “Huckleberry Hound: at a later hour since they were too busy working on missile projects during its air time.
The scholarly Yale Alumni Bulletin made a survey of undergraduate viewing tastes and revealed that “Huckleberry Hound” was among the four top programs with Yale men.
Adult Cartoon On Way
To Hanna and Barbera, these events were “very gratifying.” When the cartoonists announced three years ago that they intended to produce original cartoons for television, general opinion was that they were barking up the wrong tree.
Now, they have a bustling cartoon studio in Hollywood which makes not only “Huckleberry Hound” but also “Quick Draw McGraw” and “Ruff and Reddy.” And, next season, they will unveil a new adult animated comedy, “The Flintstones,” on ABC-TV.
As Joe Barbera frequently reminds Bill Hanna, “We’ve just got to give Huck and Yogi a raise.”
Quick Draw McGraw went on location, too. Here are a couple of photos, courtesy of Kerry Cisneroz, I think. The Lone Ranger and Hoppy may have been more competent in the Old West than Quick Draw, but I’ll take the dumbbell horse over them any day. It would appear Quick Draw and Baba Looey are in a theatre. Maybe Bugs and Daffy couldn’t make it.