Saturday, 16 June 2018

Jumping With Jinks

The Huckleberry Hound Show was more than a few amusing cartoons. It was a full half-hour programme with all kind of things going on in between the cartoons, things that disappeared when the cartoons were later syndicated on their own.

The show, for a time in the early going, centred around a circus motif, which worked really well. Here are some frames from one of the pre-closings of the show, where Huck and the other characters are on a trampoline urging us to tune in again.

This scene features Mr. Jinks failing to catch the meeces. Notice how Jinks’ hand grows for emphasis sake; I’ve pointed out on the Tralfaz a few instances on the same thing being done in theatrical animation. The meeces are, naturally, self-satisfied, knowing they’ll win because Jinks is the bad guy and the bad guy always loses in cartoons.

Jinks has an awful lot of angles, doesn’t he? Even his tail hangs down at an angle instead of having an ‘s’ shaped bend. I don’t know who animated this but my wild guess is it’s someone different than whoever animated Huck (Phil Duncan?) earlier in the sequence.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Some Hanna-Barbera Publicity Art

The artists at Hanna-Barbera drew more than cartoons and comic strips. There was publicity art as well.

To the left, you can look at a really attractive drawing that was the cover of the TV sections of the Long Beach Independent-Press-Telegram from 1960. It isn’t promoting any of the cartoons (since Huck, Yogi and Quick Draw never appeared together back then). The caption refers to Fourth of July celebrations that were marked on various channels in the area. I wish I could tell you the artist.

Of course, there was art promoting the series as well that papers could use with accompanying articles. Below is one from 1959. In this case, there was no article. There was only a caption below it. This piece may have been in colour, judging by the shading in the photocopy.

The characters got together in a little logo that was printed on game boxes and elsewhere. In later years, they showed up on the final title card on the TV cartoons themselves. The Huck cast is from after 1961, when Yogi left and Hokey Wolf was added. The Flintstones cast is from 1964 when Hoppy was added to the cast in yet another publicity gimmick. This copy was with an article in a trade magazine. I’ve never understood why the women are posed with their left arm extended. If anyone has an idea, let me know.

We’ve posted other H-B publicity art elsewhere (there seems to have been all kinds of it); this is the last that’s sitting in our hard drive.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Hard Landing Huck

Hanna-Barbera cartoons in the early going displayed some of the design principles you’d find in animated TV commercials and theatrical shorts of the mid-to-late 1950s. Not as stylised as, say, an MGM cartoon from the studio’s last days in 1957, but still visually modern for their time.

I can’t clip together the full background from this cartoon-between-the-cartoons starring Huckleberry Hound, but here are a couple of frames. I really like how this patio is rendered. The chairs are transparent, the grass isn’t green and the table is not in real perspective. I’ll bet you this is the work of Fernando Montealegre. Note the anchor in the window.

Here, the house isn’t painted in. It’s a simple line-drawing with geometric shapes of colour. The foliage of the tree has no outline. I gather (please correct me if I’m wrong), that Monty cut out the shape of the greenery on a cel then used a sponge to daub the paint onto the background. I guess this style became passé but I think it’s pretty attractive.

Now onto character stuff.

A proud-looking Huck. Maybe he’s proud his swimming trunks can hold themselves on their own.

Whoever wrote this telegraphs the gag, at least if you’ve seen enough cartoons. Huck stops in mid-air and looks worried. Yeah, you know there’ll be no water in the pool.

If this were done a few years later, Huck would simply drop out of the frame, there’d be a camera shake followed by a cut to Huck prone on the cement. However, we get to see the impact.

And if this scene were animated a few years later, Huck would be rigid except for his muzzle. Here, his head changes direction and he gestures as he explains to us he’s lucky there was no water in the pool because he can’t swim. This looks like Ed Love’s work.

These mini-cartoons may not be grab-your-gut hilarious, but they’re pleasant and nice enough to look at and, for 20 seconds of TV animation, that’s good enough for me.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Not-Quite-Duckpin Duck

Daws Butler and Don Messick provided almost all of the voices for Hanna-Barbera cartoons during the first two years of the studio’s life. One notable exception was someone who provided a speciality voice—nightclub comedian Red Coffey or Coffee (he used both spellings through the 1950s and finally settled on the double-e ending).

Coffey found his way into cartoons when he was hired to voice a duckling for MGM’s Tom and Jerry series. His first cartoon was apparently Little Quacker, released to theatres at the start of 1950. Evidently Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera loved the pathetic duck character, as he flew over to H-B about a year after MGM shut down its cartoon operations and was cast in an early Yogi Bear cartoon, Slumber Party Smarty (1958), on the Huckleberry Hound Show. A few more H-B cartoon appearances followed. But when the duck went through a bit of a makeover and emerged as Yakky Doodle in 1961, Jimmy Weldon provided his voice (though Coffey voiced in him in a few of the mini-cartoons that aired during the Yogi Bear Show).

We cobbled together some information about Coffey in this post. We’ve got a side-bar on him, courtesy of this piece in the Los Angeles Times of April 26, 1959. He seems to be trying out jokes for his act more than anything.

A few people have written in over the years saying they worked with Coffey and his wife and he was a pleasant enough chap. He comes across that way in this story. Sorry the picture isn’t of better quality.

Red Coffee Bowls for Laughs and Strikes Up High Averages

There is hilarity in the bowling sport because of one of its participants. The participant is Red Coffee.
“As a little boy I took up the game. Now that I’m a grownup, the game is taking me.”
Coffee, a night club entertainer, averaged 184 at Van Nuys Bowl, 1856 at Tarzana and 187 at Kirkwoods in leagues this season. “I averaged best on the scales. For a penny a throw, I hit 235 every time.”
Coming back from a strike during practice at Monterey Park Lanes, he said, “I finally got the ball working, now I’m unemployed.”
‘Terrific Ball’
Coffee likes to talk about his game. “I throw such a terrific ball, the termites get nervous.”
Red is teamed with his songster Jerry Wallace and has played from here to Las Vegas to Buffalo, N.Y. “I take my bowling ball wherever I go. I went bowling with a girl in Detroit. She had a smile like the 7-10 split.”
Coffee, also an accomplished voice effects man for movie cartoons, can tell you about rough lane conditions he has been up against. “These alleys I played in Buffalo were so slick, Sonja Henie was settin’ pins. This pair I hit in Oshkosh were slow enough to make Step ‘N’ Fetch It look like Jesse Owens.”
Tossed 300
Red was born in Arkansas City, Kan., but grew up in Cushing, Okla., where he tossed a 300 game. “You got to watch out in Cushing. They have fast gutters there.”
Coffee, who invaded Southern France in a parachute during the war, likes pot game and tournament action. “I don’t win much. An ant with a double hernia carried away what I won in my last tournament.”
Coffee’s trademarks on a bowling lane are his tan baseball cap and hanging shirttail.

Coffey and his wife Karen formed a revue in the 1960s and took it on the road. You can read reviews from Variety from 1970 (left) and 1972 (right) and will notice that he pulled out his version of the duck voice. As best as I can tell, he only got screen credit at Hanna-Barbera for a Loopy de Loop cartoon he worked on.

Long-time readers here will know I’m not a fan of the duck character, but writers Mike Maltese and Tony Benedict did their best to tone down most of the things I don’t like about him. The duck voice talent is a different story, though I personally like Jimmy Weldon’s duck voice better than Coffey’s. All the voice talents in those early days at Hanna-Barbera deserve a bit of recognition today, and that includes 300-bowling comic Red Coffey.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Season Three For Huckleberry Hound

The Huckleberry Hound Show was in a bit of turmoil in the 1960-61 season, despite coming off a Emmy win earlier in the year. And you can blame Mr. Magoo.

Kellogg’s was looking for another half-hour cartoon show to sponsor in syndication; it already had the Huck show, Quick Draw McGraw and Woody Woodpecker running in the early evenings. The company’s ad agency, Leo Burnett, thought it had worked out a deal with Hank Saperstein for a Mr. Magoo series; Variety of August 3, 1960 intimated it had already been pitched to KGO-TV in San Francisco. But the deal collapsed. Saperstein’s UPA pulled out, complaining Burnett was interfering too much in the creative aspects of the show (Variety, Sept. 6, 1960).

Hanna-Barbera was ready. Kind of. It sold a half-hour Yogi Bear show to Kellogg’s, with the idea that a new “Wacko” wolf character would replace Yogi on the Huck series (Weekly Variety, Oct. 12, 1960). The problem was that complete Yogi Bear half-hours would have to be ready by late January. Hanna-Barbera couldn’t produce all the cartoons it needed in time. So, for a time, Yogi was doubling on the Huck show while “Wacko” (now “Hokey”) cartoons were being made to replace him. And some segments of the Yogi Bear Show were filled with Augie Doggie and Snooper and Blabber until enough Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle cartoons were ready.

That brings us to the production schedule for the final seasons of the Huckleberry Hound Show from the files of Leo Burnett, the ad agency representing Kellogg’s, which paid for the half-hour cartoon show. A document dated August 3, 1961 reveals six Yogi cartoons were printed and broadcast on the Huck show, then aired as reruns on the Yogi show. It also states that “Do or Diet,” “Biggest Showoff on Earth” and “Genial Genie” (marked with an asterisk below) were intended for use on the Huck show but not used. Indeed, “Genial Genie” was the cartoon that appeared on the debut half-hour of the Yogi Bear Show on the week of January 30, 1961. Four cartoons made after that (marked with a dagger below) were apparently scheduled for the Huck show but prints were only made when the Yogi show began to air.

Hokey Wolf didn’t appear until the end of March or beginning of April on the Huck show; sources conflict. This means any internet sources that talk about Hokey wolf cartoons appearing at the start of Huck’s third season in September 1960 are full of it. Hokey hadn’t even been invented yet. The same if you read claims the Yogi Bear Show started in September. As you can see below, the Hokey cartoons were begun after all the Hucks, Pixie and Dixies and Yogis were in production.

Like the second season, the “K” episode numbers are misleading. In the second, third and fourth seasons of the Huck show, old cartoons were interspersed with new ones. In other words, all the new productions didn’t air first. The cartoons don’t appear to have aired in the “K” episodes as listed, though they were apparently copyrighted that way.

You’ll notice the names of several new animators brought in to handle the large production boost. My guess is some worked on a freelance basis (Don Williams, for example); it seems to me some of these people were either animating on the Magoo and Dick Tracy TV cartoons or the TV Popeyes around this time. I haven’t really examined it closely.

Artie Davis appears as an animator toward the end of the list after leaving Warner Bros. in a dispute over a promise to direct. I don’t have an accurate list of Hokey Wolf animators; versions of the cartoons available are without credits. I can recognise a few of the animators such as Don Williams, a really tame George Nicholas and Ken Muse, but have left off the names. Carlo Vinci was engaged elsewhere than the Huck show with the exception of one Yogi Bear cartoon.

E-143 has the distinction of being the last production which used the Capitol Hi-Q and Langlois Filmusic libraries (it opens with my favourite Jack Shaindlin cue, “Toboggan Run”). The last Huck on the list, “Cluck and Dagger,” all the Hokeys and the cartoons made for airing in the 1961-62 TV season had background cues supplied by Hoyt Curtin.

Some of the best Huck cartoons came out of this season. “Spud Dud,” “Science Friction” and “The Unmasked Avenger” with Huck as the Purple Pumpernickel are among my favourites. Yogi Bear’s “Oinks and Boinks” is a pretty funny send-up of the Three Little Pigs, reminiscent of Warren Foster’s Bugs Bunny/Three Pigs cartoon at Warners. And even Hokey Wolf has some good bits (Bea Benaderet supplies voices in one cartoon). Hokey and Ding-a-ling get arrested in ancient times in “Poached Yeggs” and are threatened with death. Ding turns to the camera and says “And they call this Merrie olde England.”

E-106 Oinks and Boinks (K-040) Yogi/Patterson
E-107 Booby Trapped Bear (K-041) Yogi/Marshall
E-108 Spud Dud (K-040) Huck/Nicholas
E-109 High Jinks (K-043) P&D/Lundy
E-110 Legion Bound Hound (K-041) Huck/Muse
E-111 Price For Mice (K-041) P&D/Muse
E-112 Gleesome Threesome (K-042) Yogi/Vinci
E-113 Science Friction (K-042) Huck/Love
E-114 Plutocrat Cat (K-042) P&D/Marshall
E-115 A Bear Pair (K-043) Yogi/Muse
E-116 Pied Piper Pipe (K-040) P&D/Patterson
E-117 Spy Guy (K-044) Yogi/Love
E-118 Nuts Over Mutts (K-044) Huck/Love
E-119 Woo For Two (K-045) P&D/Carr
E-120 Knight School (K-043) Huck/Marshall
E-121 Huck Hound’s Tale (K-045) Huck/Love
E-122 Party Peeper Jinks (K-044) P&D/Lundy
E-123 Do or Diet (K-045) Yogi/deMattia
E-124 The Unmasked Avenger (K-046) Huck/Williams
E-125 A Wise Quack (K-046) P&D/Carr
*E-126 Bears and Bees (K-046) Yogi/Lokey
E-127 Missile Bound Cat (K-048) P&D/Marshall
*E-128 Biggest Show-Off on Earth (K-047) Yogi/deMattia
E-129 Hillbilly Huck (K-048) Huck/Lokey
*E-130 Genial Genie (K-048) Yogi/Lundy
E-131 Kind To Meeces Week (K-047) P&D/Lokey
E-132 Fast Gun Huck (K-047) Huck/Case
E-133 Cub Scout Boo Boo (K-049) Yogi/Carr
E-134 Home Sweet Jellystone (K-050) Yogi/Case
E-135 Crew Cat (K-049) P&D/Case
E-136 Astro-Nut Huck (K-051) Huck/Marshall
E-137 Love Bugged Bear (K-051) Yogi/Carr
E-138 Huck and Ladder (K-050) Huck/Lokey
E-139 Jinxed Jinks (K-050) P&D/Davis
E-140 Lawman Huck (K-048) Huck/Carr
E-141 Light-Headed Cat (K-051) P&D/Marshall
E-142 Bareface Disguise (K-052) Yogi/Davis
E-143 Mouse For Rent (K-052) P&D/Carr
E-144 Cluck and Dagger (K-052) Huck/Davis
E-145 Tricks and Treats (W-1) Hokey/Patterson
E-146 Hokey Dokey (W-2) Hokey
E-147 Lamb-Basted Wolf (W-5) Hokey
E-148 Which Witch is Which (W-3) Hokey/Nicholas
E-149 Pick a Chick (W-4) Hokey
E-150 Robot Plot (W-7) Hokey
E-151 Boobs in the Woods (W-8) Hokey
E-152 Castle Hassle (W-6) Hokey
E-153 Booty on the Bounty (W-13) Hokey
E-154 Hokey in the Pokey (W-11) Hokey/Patterson
E-155 Who’s Zoo (W-9) Hokey
E-156 Dogged Sheep Dog (W-10) Hokey
E-157 Too Much to Bear (W-16) Hokey/Muse
E-158 Movies Are Bitter Than Ever (W-12) Hokey
E-159 Poached Yeggs (W-14) Hokey
E-160 Hokey cartoon for 1961-62 season.
E-161 Rushing Wolf Hound (W-15) Hokey/Patterson
E-162 The Glass Sneaker (W-18) Hokey
E-163 Indian Giver (W-19) Hokey
E-164 Chock Full Chuck Wagon (W-17) Hokey/Muse
E-165 Bring ‘Em Back a Live One (W-21) Hokey
E-166 A Star is Bored (W-23) Hokey/Love
E-167 Hokey cartoon for 1961-62 season.
E-168 West of the Pesos (W-24) Hokey

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Despises Them Mices

Pixie and Dixie get even with Mr. Jinks for continually destroying their sandcastles, in a little cartoon between the cartoons on the Huckleberry Hound Show. No “illustrated radio” here. There’s a sight gag. I always like the ghost drawings.

You can guess at the animator.

Monday, 28 May 2018

An Assortment of Yogi

Guys in Yogi Bear costumes were still putting on shows around the U.S.A. in 1973. You see to the right an ad from the Naples Daily News of June 17th that year. In addition to the bike, the management at the Wickes Ft. Myers Center signed a deal Scollon Productions to hire its Yogi Bear Show. People dressed as Yogi, Boo Boo and Ranger Smith did three “fun-filled” shows in each of a four-day span.

This post is a hodge-podge of Yogi stuff sitting in a file for four to eight years. Since we’re winding things down here, I’m going to post it. Some of it may be in older posts; I really don’t have time to check.

As you know, Yogi was grabbed by the folks at Kellogg’s to push its version of Cherrios. The fact I’m not saying that Cherrios was General Mills’ version of OKs tells you which cereal was the more popular. Simultaneously, he was on the box of Kellogg’s biggest seller to push his birthday party episode on TV in 1961 (and the Dell Comic version of it) Yogi also found himself in an ad for Kellogg’s All-Stars cereal, featuring the voice of Cyril Ritchard as the Wizard of Oatz. Unlike the Oz version, this wizard wasn’t a wonderful wiz if ever a wiz there was. The cereal wasn’t around all that long. Perhaps he should have teamed with Snagglepuss as a cowardly lion. The ad is from the comic section of a number of newspapers of July 24, 1960.

Incidentally, Sponsor magazine of December 17, 1962 reported on rumours that Kellogg’s was about to create a Yogi cereal (along with a Jethro cereal). Either the rumours were false, or the idea was quashed (would the Jethro cereal be in the shape of double-nought spies?).

Yogi Bear had experience with selling honey (“Bears and Bees”) and eating fried chicken (“Spy Guy”), so why not combine them into a chain of restaurants? The ad to the right is from the Waterloo Courier of July 18, 1971. (The same page has a story about the death of the voice of Touché Turtle, Bill Thompson). There’s an interesting article about the demise of the chain in this web post. How do you fry something in honey anyway?

We’ve had pictures over the years of all kinds of Hanna-Barbera toys, dolls, games, comics, and more from the studio’s best period, namely the first few years when it was at the Kling/Chaplin studio on La Brea and the little cinder-block windowless bunker on Cahuenga (before they moved to the building most fans know about). The pictures we’re put up have been almost always of American productions, but here’s one from England. You can make and paint little sculptures of the main characters in the Huckleberry Hound Show, even though Yogi gets top billing. I realise I’m biased but I think toys were more fun back then. Today, it seems like all kids do is bang their thumbs playing games on their hand-held.

I won’t transcribe the newspaper story on the right; you can click on it and make it bigger. There was a reference to it in a post a few weeks ago. It’s from 1964 and is about a group of guys who got together in 1959 to form a “Yogi Bear Club” and help needy kids at Christmas time. You’ll notice the officers of the club are all named after characters on the Huckleberry Hound Show. Ranger Smith was brand-new in fall of 1959, so the club had a generic “Ranger.” The only down-side to this fine charitable effort is that they didn’t pick Yowp as the name of one of the officers; they chose “Indian” instead (whose name is Li’l Tom Tom, though I don’t think it was mentioned in the cartoon itself). I imagine like many clubs, this businessman’s association is long gone. Carl W. Green mentioned in the story was born about 1914 so I suspect he has passed away, too.

Finally, here’s an endless run cycle from the end of “Droop-a-long Yogi,” a pretty good 1961 cartoon from the Yogi Bear show animated by Ralph Somerville with story direction by Artie Davis. The cycle has six drawings on twos. The animation doesn’t match up with the repeat in the background but it won’t be too noticeable here. This is a little slower than in the actual cartoon.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Dinner With Yogi and Quick Draw (and Maybe T.C.)

Despite what some people and web sites would have you believe, cartoons weren’t just for Saturday mornings way-back-when. In fact, it took until the mid-1960s for animation to bump puppets and most filmed live-action reruns off the Saturday morning schedule.

For those of us of a certain vintage, after-school time was cartoon time. Local TV stations bought all kinds of cartoons from syndicators and ran them to death for years, sometimes with a human host in a costume doing funny routines between them. Late afternoons/early evenings were kids time on TV just as it had been on radio. Hanna-Barbera’s first huge successes were in that time period; the Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw and Yogi Bear shows generally ran somewhere between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. (the rise of half-hour network and local newscasts pretty much pushed cartoons out of that slot).

Since kids could watch cartoons at around dinner time, it’s only appropriate that Hanna-Barbera would help you eat your food while showing you Snooper solving a case at the same time. They licensed TV trays.

Television stations have been around since the late 1920s, but it was 1948 that all the networks had their prime-time schedules filled on weeknights for the first time. And, according to this patent, 1948 was when the TV tray, as we know it today, was invented. Happy 70th birthday, TV tray!

The ad to right is from 1961. All three of Hanna-Barbera’s “Kellogg’s” syndicated half-hours were on by that time. The artwork on the trays is really good and the scenes depicted on them should result in at least a smile. They remind me of scenes in those short cartoons between the main cartoons. Here are some of the trays. I wish I could tell you who the artist was.

There were plenty of opportunities to pull out a TV tray and tune in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon in 1961. The studio had five half-hour series on the air, with the Flintstones and the three pre-prime-time shows joined by Top Cat. Things looked good for Hanna-Barbera; the networks wanted animated shows at night because of the success of the Flintstones. Top Cat beat out Keemar, the Invisible Boy from Format Films, Sir Loin and His Dragon and Shaggy Dog Tales from Creston/TV Spots and Sweetie from Pabian Productions (Jim and Tony) for a prime-time spot. In fact, it was the first foreign show bought by Canada’s new CTV network.

But Top Cat placed second behind Joey Bishop in its debut week with a 32.7 audience share (Bishop had 45.5). The studio had was feverishly working to get more shows ready; by the following February 5th, Variety reported only 24 of 30 episodes were done. Five weeks later, ABC announced the series had been renewed for the following season, but would be moved to Saturday mornings, at the time still pretty much a dumping ground for old cartoons amongst shows like Fury.

Top Cat fans folded up the TV trays and got out the cereal bowls instead.