Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Well, Don't That Beat All

Huckleberry Hound won some and lost some. But he sure got bashed around a spell in them early days, as he might tell us.

In his first appearance on the air in Huckleberry Hound Meets Wee Willie, Officer Huck kind of captures an escaped gorilla, but it’s more like the gorilla captures him after a continual clobbering. In his what was apparently his second outing, Lion-Hearted Huck, African Hunter Huck gets abused by a practical joker lion until the end of the cartoon. The lion steals the engine out of Huck’s jeep and guffaws to himself about it. But when Huck starts the jeep, the disembodied engine unexpectedly starts and takes off through the air with the surprised and now-frightened lion riding it. Huck is calm about the whole thing, as he has been during pretty much the whole cartoon. “Well, don’t that beat all,” he says to himself, then turns to the TV audience and observes “That there lion’ll do anythin’ for a laugh.” (The music in the background is Jack Shaindlin’s “On the Run,” heard in many of the early Huck cartoons).

Hanna-Barbera had cycle animation galore. Let’s recreate Ken Muse’s animation of the lion riding the motor in an endless loop. There are 16 frames (a foot) of drawings before the lion reaches the same tree, though Muse uses only three drawings in the cycle, so it’s not quite as it appears in the actual cartoon. It’s also a little slower.



The raves for the Huckleberry Hound Show started coming in almost as soon as it aired. The series had made a solo appearance on tuned-up TV sets in the Los Angeles area when Barbara Cox wrote in the Times of October 5, 1958:

With the notable exception of Channel 2’s new-as-autumn Huckleberry Hound, any rundown of what’s new in children’s TV should really read “what’s old” . . . I’m pasting my own personal seal of approval right now on Huckleberry Hound, latest addition to the animated animal crowd. Frankly, I’m absolutely smitten. Freshness in music, voices, dialogue and characters—take a look Tuesday night at 6:30!
This cartoon apparently debuted starting the week of Monday, October 6th and was repeated the week of Monday, April 6, 1959. It was quite some time ago that we reviewed this cartoon. You can read it in this post.

3 comments:

  1. Oh, what I'd do for a copy of "On the Run".

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  2. Also loved the use of Jack Shaindlin's " Fishy Story " in this cartoon. Stan Freberg had once stated that the voice acting in the early years of the H-B cartoons were spot on. With the exception of a few gags, you could turn away from the television screen and still get everything that was happening.

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  3. That makes the sound tracks great for listening to on their own. A few of the early records of Hanna-Barbera characters presented the sound tracks, sometimes with a bit of narration added, sometimes not, but the cartoons pretty much "speak for themselves." The voice artists really put a lot into their characterizations, and the sound effects and music are very evocative.

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