Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Popular Huck

In 1959-60, there were all kinds of newspaper stories talking about the popularity of The Huckleberry Hound Show, and all the crazy things it spawned, like the name of an island in the Antarctic and a club in England.

Here’s a short piece from the New York Herald Tribune of August 21, 1960. Huck was close to starting his third season by that point. There’s no byline, but there is a plug for The Flintstones and the Huck presidential campaign, which was a huge, coordinated publicity push that we’ve talked about in several posts, including this one.

There are some puzzling things in this story. Huck nearsighted? And “Hideous Huck?” I think that and the reference to TV bowling marathons come from the little cartoons between the cartoons, though Huck did star in “Ten Pin Alley” (1959).


Huckleberry Hound – top dog with the small fry
It’s not every mythical, blue-eyed dog that has a real island or a British jazz society named after him. But these—and a raft of other tributes—have befallen perhaps the most famous cartoon canine since Pluto the Pup. Huckleberry Hound is the name, and this most engaging creature can be seen locally via WPIX, Thursdays, 6:30 p.m., enjoying the top-rating in its time slot. (It is, according to Variety’s weekly Pulse figures, the top-rated non-network show across the nation.)
Recently, “Huck” won an Emmy as the best children’s show on TV, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. This inimitable pup has as nearly as many adult fans as he does small fry, a fact which is readily understandable when one analyzes the show and looks into its delightful satiric undertones.
Just what—or who—is Huckleberry Hound? A tenacious hound with an ingratiated manner and a Southern drawl. The show contains three segments; Huck—who also has a hand in the amusing commercials—appears in the first. The second stars Yogi Bear, a genial slow-thinker, leading citizen of Jellystone National Park, and the third features Mr. Jinks, method-actor “cool” cat who consorts with “meeces” (mice), Pixie and Dixie.
The show’s forte, and most appealing to adults, is fiendish glee in kidding some of TV’s favorite clich├ęs. For example, witness Lonesome Huck, laziest gun west of Dodge City. And Officer Huck: He covers the big city. He’s a cop. He’s nearsighted. Three-Finger Huck: He stars on a half dozen TV bowling marathons. Hideous Huck, host of Horror Haven.
Huckleberry Hound is the pet creation of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, who used to do the award-winning Tom & Jerry cartoons for MGM. They now have their own company, and besides “Huck,” produce TV’s Ruff & Reddy (Saturdays, NBC) and Quick Draw McGraw, a bumbling, gunslinging horse, (Tuesdays, WPIX). In the words for Fall viewing via ABC: The Flintstones, first adult situation comedy in cartoon form.
This far, colleges, societies, symphony orchestras and military units have gotten on the Huckleberry Hound bandwagon. He is the mascot of any number of organizations, the darling of a host of fan clubs who shout his praises throughout the country. At present, Huck is ostensibly running for the Presidency, and even has a Golden Records album out to that effect, together with some five million campaign buttons on tap.
One thing is certain: Huck will garner a lot of votes.

The blue hound didn’t end up in the White House. But about two weeks after the story you just read, the Trib reported that Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw were two of the top five sellers in board games made by Milton Bradley. It seems people voted for Huck with their wallets.

5 comments:

  1. Small wonder there were so many fan clubs, military units, college clubs, etc around the country dedicated to Huck. Huck is Mister Everyman. You would really have to work at it to dislike him. Just like the gentle, kind man who provided the voice.

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  2. Perhaps "nearsighted Officer Huck" is referring to Cop and Saucer, in which he is inexplicably afflicted with "Mister Magoo syndrome" in order to better serve the cartoon's plot.

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    1. Could be, TCJ. You already know my opinion of that cartoon.

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  3. And let us not forget the sign in the San Francisco bar that entreated "No noise or tinkling of glasses during the Huckleberry Hound show."

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  4. Huck was my first cartoon hero. I was about four years old when the show came on and my dad sent in the stuff that got me into The Huckleberry Hound fan club. I wanted anything with his picture on it and I have been a cartoonist all of my life. I have never worked in any of the studios but still I have enjoyed cartoon art for as long as I remember. I still love Huck the best!

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