Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Huckleberry Vinci

It’s tough to pick a favourite animator who worked at Hanna-Barbera in the 1950s. I can think of several. But only one of them would be celebrating a birthday were he with us today, and that’s Carlo Vinci. He would be 111.

Carlo spent years in the B cartoon studios of New York, Van Beuren and Terrytoons. He worked with Joe Barbera at both of them and in 1956, Barbera offered him a job animating at the MGM cartoon studio. When it folded a year later, Barbera promised him work when the new Hanna-Barbera operation got off the ground. Barbera was true to his old paisano and Carlo stayed at H & B for more than 20 years. Before that he also worked briefly at Disney and for Paul Fennell’s studio on the side.

Carlo plunked out 50 feet a day and wondered why he couldn’t do as well as Ken Muse who churned out twice as much footage, according to layout man Bob Givens. The answer is simple. Carlo used more drawings, and more complete drawings.

Here are some drawings from a scene from Skeeter Trouble (1959). Notice in the sixth frame how Carlo plants the heel with the leg at an angle, and draws Huck with his knee up and leg stretched. You can see the same thing in a bunch of his early H-B cartoons.

My favourite Huck take is in Hookey Days (1959) when the little brats tie him to railway tracks. He thinks it’s all pretend until he realises a train is actually coming toward him. The studio really didn’t go for this kind of animation but I wish it had.

Carlo died on September 30, 1993.

Here’s Harvey Deneroff chatting all too briefly with Carlo at the Animation Guild’s Golden Awards Banquet in 1984.


  1. " Hookey Days " is one of my favorites. Huck's expression on the track when he realizes it's not a gag is priceless. Carlo had Huck do the MGM " Wolf " walk in a short scene. Kind of a hat tip to an earlier Daws character.

  2. Is it possible that Fred Flintstone’s famous “Betting Freddy” take is Vinci’s work?

    1. You mean the gambling episode? George Nicholas was responsible for those great expressions.

  3. Both "HOOKY DAYS" and "SKEETER TROUBLE" are HUCKLEBERRY HOUND favorites, because so much of the timing in the gags remind me of MGM cartoons, right down to the way the camera puts focus on the takes. Just add a Scott Bradley score to some of teh antics going on here, and you've got something closer to Tex Avery than H/B would ever do again, although the Capital music cues almost work the same way in certain instances, like when the mosquitos with their stingers hammered into submission *RIP* the door off its hinges and advance on Huck. Somehow, if you gave the animation the MGM treatment, it just might not be as funny since there is just something about the limited animation, here, that makes this stuff work, but there are some scene changes that remind me of classic later cinemascope MGM. I know this is stretching things a bit, but it is possible that dim memories of the BARNEY BEAR cartoon, "WILD HONEY" might have inspired this cartoon? My favorite gag is Huck's realization that hiding underwater would not protect him from invading skeeters.