Saturday, 10 November 2018

The Collegiate Hound

“I never went to no school,” admits Huckleberry Hound in “Hookey Daze” (1958) before the teacher grabs him and shoves him in a classroom seat.

Well, that was in the cartoon series. The fact is Huck was in a number of schools. When the Huckleberry Hound Show began appearing on TV sets in September 1958, it soon became a craze at colleges. Here’s a short tale from the Detroit Free Press of February 10, 1960. Though they aren’t mentioned by name, Daws Butler and Don Messick get justifiable praise for their work.

Adults Steal Kids' TV Show Fraternities Start 'Hound' Fan Clubs

Free Press Columnist
We are sort of proud we steered you adults on to the TV antics of Huckleberry Hound and friends, supposedly just fare for small fry.
We have received a lot of "whispering" letters from adults telling us we are not alone. In fact, Mrs. Elwood Kureth, of Taylor, tips us off that the creators of Huckleberry Hound, have another good one going—with the same wonderful voices—in "Quick Draw McGraw" on Channel 9 at 6:30 on Tuesday. (Also on Channel 13 Monday at 6:30 and Channel 6 on Friday at 6.)
But the most fascinating report on this comes from Bob Reeves, of the Trigon Fraternity House at Ann Arbor.
"You're right that 'Huckleberry Hound' is interesting to a more mature audience than the toddler set of grandchildren," Bob tells us.
"It seems that in most fraternities at the University of Michigan studies are laid aside at 7 p.m. each Thursday to lock the doors, shutter the windows and sneak into the TV room for a half-hour of Yogi Bear and friends.
"This has been a weekly ritual for over a year now.
"We feel the program has been purposely geared for adults—the often sly satire. Rumor has it that other Big Ten schools have Yogi Bear Fan Clubs and Yogi Bear dolls are being sold at the novelty and gift shops in college towns.
"I only wish the sponsors would gear their commercials to the intellectual heights they have in their cartoons."
So now breathe easier when you slip in to watch "them meeces" and other things. We can't wait to try out "Quick Draw McGraw" who, we understand, is the slowest gun in the West. He sounds like our kind of hero.
We’ve posted other stories on the blog about the Huck Fad That Gripped America in the late ’50s. Here’s one that we haven’t passed along before, from the Akron Beacon Journal of September 2, 1959. The Huck show was about to embark on its second season within a couple of weeks. We learn of more institutes of higher learning where TV’s newest star became the Big Man on Campus. I must admit I’ve never heard Mr. Jinks compared to Dick Shawn before but I can understand why he might be.
This Dog Man's Best
Huck Hound Friend To All Ages

Beacon Journal Radio-TV Writer
Once in a while the viewing public pets together on things. The Dick Clark fans and the Lawrence Welk fans, the Wagon Train partisans and the Omnibus partisans strike a common denominator.
It takes a pretty delightful television personality to kindle enthusiasm in both camps. I think you'll agree good ol' Huckleberry Hound fulfills this qualification.
HE SOUNDS suspiciously like Andy Griffith. He has a couple of colorful sidekicks, one of whom sounds a little like Ed Norton, the Va-Va-Voom Man. The other bears a striking resemblance to a Dick Shawn vocal impression of black leather jackets and motorcycle boots.
Students at a western university tried to promote an honorary degree for Huck... 11,000 students at the University of Washington joined his fan club and he was initiated into Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at UCLA.
It has already been noted that Huck will be honored at Ohio State's Homecoming game against Purdue. Similar recognition is forthcoming on campuses at Southern Methodist and Texas Christian.
YOU MAY NOT consider this college-boy adoration as cementing the case for Huck since this automatically puts him in the same category as panty-raids and phone-booth packing.
Consider this then: A bill was introduced in a western state legislature to re name a 50-acre expanse of woodland "Huckleberry Hound State Park." Ahhh, those first-term legislators, you say, they'll do anything to get their name on a bill.
ALL RIGHT. But how about this: A bar and grill in Seattle is named after him... and in Gardenia, Cal., a poker parlor broke up its pot-limit game for Huck's TV capers. Greater love hath no man.
Huckleberry Hound is a member of the same family as "Tom and Jerry." All of them are the creation of animators Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
What's the formula for Huck's success. One professor attempted to analyze it: "Huck represents something that appeals to the basic needs of most people. He's like a good tonic..." Are we in agreement?
We mentioned Huck’s school cartoon “Hookey Daze.” It’s got the best Huck fear take ever put on film, a great sloping walk by our truant officer hero (it owes something to the slow, slide-step Huckleberry Hound-ish sounding wolf in Tex Avery’s “Billy Boy,” released by MGM in 1954), and not a bad story by Charlie Shows, Joe Barbera and Dan Gordon. It also has another one of those cycles where juvenile delinquents Mickey and Icky Vanderblip run past the same window over and over (well, it’s a mansion, so it’s supposed to be big). Carlo Vinci’s the animator, so we get four drawings of the twins, animated one per frame, and the cycle lasts 24 frames (one second). The version below is a little slower than what’s in the actual cartoon. You won’t be surprised to learn the music behind this is Jack Shaindlin’s “Toboggan Run.”

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, November 1970

A native American, a Chinese guy, a kid, Ranger Smith, a wise talking owl and the return of Boo Boo are amongst the highlights of the Yogi Bear newspaper comics from 48 years ago this month.

Gene Hazelton and his people have lots of scenic stuff in the backgrounds of these five Yogi comics, far more than what they were doing on the simultaneously-seen Flintstones comics.

You’ll notice for three comics in a row, the “Yogi” sign is nailed to a post made from a tree. In another comic, it’s hanging from a branch and in the other, it’s nailed to a tree.

November 1, 1970: Here’s one where the top row omitted by many newspapers has nothing to do with the other two rows. Yogi is a little rhyme crazy here.

November 8, 1970: Sardonic Smith in the last panel. The first row is only tenuously related to the rest of the comic.

November 15, 1970: Injun no talk-um like this in 1970. But that’s what the people expect-um to hear after years of B Westerns, so that’s what we get in one sentence. The last sentence could easily be read in a Yiddish accent.

November 22, 1970: Jellystone has its own Protestant church. I like the overhead view in the last panel.

November 29, 1970: I like the rendering of the Chinese restaurant in the final panel. Is there anything Jellystone doesn’t have? This comic has the only silhouette panel of the month.

The colour comics are again courtesy of Richard Holliss. Click on any of them to enlarge them.

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Daws Talks About Talking

What about the Yogi Bear-Art Carney connection?

Who better to tell you than Daws Butler, the man who voiced Yogi?

Cartoon voice actors who weren’t named Mel Blanc didn’t get a lot of press ink for about the first 35-or-so years of sound cartoons (and it was fairly rare for Blanc, except when he starred on his own radio show, until he almost died in a car crash in 1961). That makes it all the more pleasing to stumble across stories about Daws Butler from the early Hanna-Barbera days.

Here’s one from February 1, 1961 which, coincidentally, wasn’t too many days after Blanc’s horrendous accident. Hanna-Barbera had added to his workload; the article coincides with the start of the Yogi Bear Show on which Daws starred in two of the three segments.

Not only does he talk about Yogi, he mentions the origin of the Huck voice, too. Unfortunately, the columnist ends the story without Daws going into details about his kids and cartoons.

Fans Hound Yogi; He Becomes Star

Minneapolis Star Staff Writer
Yogi Bear, as most any adult can tell you, is one of the favorite characters on "Huckleberry Hound," a children's television series.
Unfortunately for Huck, Yogi's fan mail grew to such proportions that the creators of the animated cartoon program decided to star Yogi in a series of his own.
Patterned after the Hound format, Yogi's 30-minute series consists of three 10-minute stories. It debuts at 5 p.m. Thursday on channel four. Huckleberry Hound will continue as a Tuesday afternoon feature of the station.
Yogi and Huck were created by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, a couple of animation artists who will gross over 40 million dollars this year. Their company also produces "Quick Draw McGraw" and "The Flintstones" for television.
The voices of Yogi, Huck and Quick Draw are done by a short (5 feet, 4 inches), dark-haired, frustrated cartoonist named Daws Butler. He began his entertainment career as a member of "The Three Short Waves," a trio which specialized in impersonations.
"We stayed together for three years until the war divorced me from show business," Butler said in a phone interview. "When I got out of the navy, I went to California because everything seemed to be centered there.
"I intended to go to an art school on the GI bill, but the schools were loaded. I went to radio school instead." After appearing in character parts on several radio programs, he auditioned for Hanna and Barbera, who were working for MGM at the time. He was hired to do the voices of Spike and Tyke in the movie cartoons. Later he teamed with Stan Freberg on "Time for Beany," a children's program, and on the record, "St. George and the Dragonet."
"When the Huckleberry Hound" television series was in the talking stage, they asked me to come up with a voice for Huck," Butler said. "They wanted an easy-going, sincere, Tennessee Ernie-type character to host the show. "I picked up Huck's dialect from my wife, who came from North Carolina, and Huck became the leading character.
The voice of Yogi Bear, on the other hand, bears a strong resemblance to that of Art Carney. "We wanted to come up with a voice that the public recognized," Butler said. "During our experiments, I did a take-off on Carney, and the producers went for it. The Carney quality is still basic to the voice, but as it developed, I added articulation, spread the vowels and gave it strong exaggeration."
Although Yogi will continue to appear on the next few episodes of "Huckleberry Hound," he will gradually drift out of the picture. His place will be taken by two new characters, a smart-aleck wolf named Hokey and a little fall-guy wolf named Ding-a-ling. Butler will do these voices as well as those of Huck, Mr. Jinks and Dixie. Don Messick, another voice specialist, does the talking for Pixie and Boo Boo Bear.
Butler will do Yogi and Snagglepuss, a mountain lion, on the new Yogi Bear program.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, Butler grew up in the Chicago area. He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and four sons, David, 16, Donald, 14, Paul, 10, and Charles, 7.
"The older boys already have gotten their feet wet in the cartoon voice business," the father said proudly in a voice all his own.

Wednesday, 31 October 2018


When I was kid, you could dress up as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear or Quick Draw McGraw and go out on Hallowe’en in hopes of getting free candy in a door-to-door windfall. Actually, mooching food would be expected of Yogi Bear, wouldn’t it?

While All Hallow’s Eve didn’t form the basis of stories in the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, they did include antagonists or adversaries you’d find on suburban streets in the 1960s on an average October 31st. Here’s a random sampling of ten cartoons that come to mind.

Mike Maltese came up with Harum and Scarum, two goofy ghosts, whom he planted in a pair of cartoons. The first one was with Snooper and Blabber in “Real Gone Ghosts” (1959), the second in “Be My Ghost” with Snagglepuss (1961). They were silly and, the best thing, rolled up like window shades before disappearing. Harum was played by Daws Butler. Scarum was originally voiced by Elliot Field; Don Messick took over for the second cartoon.

Quasi Ghosts
Fibber Fox pretends to be a ghost by covering himself with flour in “The Most Ghost.” The only thing that’s scary is Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera’s obsession with an annoying duck character. I like Fibber, but this is a weak cartoon.

Pixie and Dixie, then Mr. Jinks, pretend to be ghosts in “The Ghost With the Most” (1958). There’s a great Mike Lah shock take on Jinksie but there are several egregious errors. Whoever worked the camera on this one wasn’t keeping track of the exposure sheets as Jinks’ mouth appears in front of his hand and then disappears for a brief time.

Where else would a witch go to relax than Jellystone Park? Yogi steals her broom to filch pic-a-nic baskets in “Bewitched Bear” (1960). Ranger Smith is great in this one. He’s still in his “I’m bored just doing my job” stage of his character, which is better than the petulant, annoyed ranger he quickly became. I’m pretty sure Bob Gentle is responsible for an excellent opening shot of the witch’s house. Jean Vander Pyl is the witch.

A whole pile of old Warner Bros. cartoon ideas are mashed together by ex-Warners writer Mike Maltese in “Switch Witch” (1959). There’s a bit of “The Trial of Mr. Wolf,” where the Big Bad Wolf defends himself in court against the Three Little Pigs, and “Bewitched Bunny,” where Witch Hazel wants to eat Hansel and Gretel. Monty’s backgrounds are really great in this. Elliot Field voices the witch and Blab in this early Snooper and Blabber cartoon.

Yakky Doodle and Chopper meet up with a witch who needs one small talking duck for her birthday stew in “Witch Duck-Ter” (1961). The cartoon ends with the two of them giving the touched witch a birthday cake. Jean Vander Pyl is called into service again as the witch.

Maltese or Joe Barbera or someone else at Hanna-Barbera must have loved the Addams Family panel cartoons in the New Yorker as characters reminiscent of what were eventually named Gomez and Morticia Addams were plunked in several Snooper and Blabber cartoons, the first being “The Big Diaper Caper” (1959). Maltese also put them in a Snagglepuss cartoon and they were even featured in a Dell comic book. The characters aren’t as dark as Addams’ wonderful creations and the tameness turns them into one-note characters. Jean Vander Pyl uses her Tallulah Bankhead voice for Mrs. Scientist and once said it was her first role at Hanna-Barbera.

Huckleberry Hound battled a crazed monster wiener schnitzel in “Science Friction” (1961). Need I say anything more about this cartoon?

In “Piccadilly Dilly” (1960), Huck is sent to arrest the crazed title character, who is really Dr. Jikkle after drinking a potion. Joe Montell has a very nice setting at the start of the cartoon and writer Warren Foster makes fun of English accents. Huck is with Scotland Back-yard but still sounds straight out of Raleigh, North Carolina.

There are other cartoons where characters are put in horror or nightmare situations, but these ten are what comes to mind right away. They’re a mixed bag when it comes to humour, but if you’re looking for Hanna-Barbera cartoons to watch on Hallowe’en, these are as good as any.

Saturday, 27 October 2018

An Interview With Huck, Quick Draw, Yogi and Baba Looey

Today is the 60th birthday of one of Hanna-Barbera’s most underrated cartoon characters.


Yes, it was on this date 60 years ago that the first Yowp cartoon, “Foxy Hound-Dog,” appeared on TV screens. At least in some cities, like Battle Creek, Michigan (via WOOD-TV).

How can the world dislike a dog that says nothing but the word “yowp”?

Yeah, it is kind of limiting, story-wise, isn’t it? There were two Yowp cartoons in the first season of the Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958-59 and then another in the second. By that time, Warren Foster had been hired to write for Yogi Bear and decided what would work best would be to give Yogi a regular ranger adversary in Jellystone Park. There was, sniff, no need for Yowp any longer. Consigned to cartoon retirement, I was, along with Iggy and Ziggy, Li’l Tom Tom, Cousin Tex and a few others who enjoyed a brief period of marketing by H-B Enterprises until new characters came along.

Yours truly was written up in only one wire service story that I have reprinted on this blog and, even then, the writer called my name “yelp” (and Dangerfield thought he got no respect). However the article below, in the November 16, 1960 edition of the Tampa Times, included Yowp publicity art taken from one of Bick Bickenbach’s model sheets. The unidentified rabbit next to the unidentified Yowp is from the first season Yogi cartoon “The Brave Little Brave.”

This article takes some of the usual publicity information at the time (“planned animation,” fired by MGM, seven Oscars, Flintstones gadgets) and turns it into a cute dialogue involving the major Hanna-Barbera characters. You’ll notice no mention of Ruff and Reddy, but Hanna sings some of the Yogi Bear Show theme song lyrics more than two months before they were first heard on TV. And the story plays up how studios and sponsors instantly snapped up their cartoons, a far cry from the underdog tale of woe involving snow, mixed-up reels, months of waiting and such that Joe and Bill poured out in interviews several decades later.

Interestingly, the story states there was no Flintstones “pilot film.” I honestly find it difficult to believe the short reel that everyone calls a “pilot film” (without any proof it was used as such) with its markings visible on screen was ever shown to a potential network or agency. (I also dispute that Daws Butler is the voice of Barney on it; it sounds nothing like Daws and it’s questionable whether the voice is done by a professional actor).

Anyway, enjoy this story with art and photos that accompanied it. Reader Lance Smith has identified the Ed Benedict-looking Stone Agers as incidental characters from “The Monster From the Tar Pits.”

Huckleberry Hound blinked.
“So what if I wasn’t elected president! I put up a dog-dandy fight, you can bet! I just might’uve made it, ‘cept for one thing.
The droopy-eyed hillbilly dog, star of his cartoon series, “Huckleberry Hound,” gave a sigh. “There’s always somethin’ to be thankful for. Like Bill and Joe. Their real names are William and Joseph, but we’re sort of hound-dog informal ‘round here.
“They call me Huck, an’ I don’t mind a bit.”
Huck was referring to his creators, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, who have practically revolutionized the cartoon world in recent years. Three years ago the two men were fired from their jobs. At that time, they looked upon their situation with a dim view, but today they are thankful that it happened, because it lead to their present amazing success.
Today, Hanna-Barbera Productions is one of the largest cartoon companies in the world. $5,000,000 is invested in their cartoon shows, which include “Huckleberry Hound,” “Quick Draw McGraw” and their latest, ABC-TV’s “The Flintstones.”
How did they do it?
“Shucks,” said Huck, looking around the new offices, “they did it like I do things—ter-nac-ity! But you take those two fellows.
“I mean, don’t go and really take ‘em, ‘cause then they couldn’t cartoon me, and where’d I be? In the hound soup! And that’s where they were—in the soup.”
Huck was speaking of the dismal day in 1957 when Hanna and Barbera, and the entire cartooning staff, were suddenly let go by MGM. Bill and Joe had been with MGM studios for twenty years, during which time they drew the “Tom and Jerry” cartoons and won seven Academy Awards.
But because of an economic cutback, the studio decided to liquidate its cartoon department, and that was that.
Dark-haired Joe Barbera sat at his desk and smiled.
“We’re both in our ‘40s, and out of work. We went around to all the other studios, trying to sell the idea of cartoons produced only for TV. They said sorry, no thanks.”
“They said it couldn’t be done,” chortled Huck. “Well, here I am—livin’, animated proof that it could be done!”
“We had a new process,” explained Joe, “that we called ‘planned animation,’ Cartoon[s] used to look too much like life. That’s what killed them.
“Where the old process used as many as 17,000 cartoon drawings for a seven-minute cartoon, the new technique uses only about 1,000 to 2,000 drawings for the same length production.”
Barbera explained that if the TV viewer will notice, when a cartoon character such as Huckleberry walks across the screen, his entire body doesn’t necessarily move. Maybe just his legs, with the rest of the body motionless. But the final effect is still one of full movement.
“Then finally,” said Joe, “Screen Gems bought our idea. In fact, they took one look at our presentation and said they’d make a deal. Just like that. It was all settled in fifteen minutes.”
Huck first appeared in 1958, and in1959 an obtuse horse came along to star in “Quick Draw McGraw.”
Quick Draw is not the brightest of cowboys, and seldom gets his man. However, he stopped trying to get his gun out of his holster, and looked down at his side-kick, Baba Looey.
Baba Looey who is a Mexican burro with a Cuban accent, shrugged.
“A horse like you, Queeksdraw, I theenk.”
Quick Draw nodded. “That sounds okay to me. Kind of looks good on me, this obtuse.”
“Olay!” said Baba.
It was mentioned to Barbera that his office and studios didn’t seem to have the tension and hard-core pace that would seemingly be expected in such a large operation.
“Oh,” he said, “the pressure is here. But we have no time clock, no memos. If a cartoonist feels he can work better at home, he works at home. We even have whole families working for us. A great many of our people work at home. Doesn’t matter, so long as the work gets done.”
At this point his partner, Bill Hanna, walked in with some sketches on their way to the layout department.
“Bill,” said Joe, “worked this up for a 45-second opening. Now a musician comes in and we get the full musical arrangement. Bill does all the original music.” Bill grinned, and sang a couple of lines. “Yogi Bear is smarter than the average bear. Yogi Bear is always in the ranger’s hair.”
A voice demanded: “Did I hear my name in the-mention of things?”
This was Yogi, the bear with the devil-may-care innocence and sloppy pride. Yogi reminds many TV viewers of a certain sewer-cleaner friend of a certain stout bus-driver hero of a certain situation comedy of recent vintage.
“Hey, hey!” said Yogi. “If that guy can sing, I’m a big boo boo of a bear!”
“Watch yourself!” said Bill.
“Olay!” said Baba.
“Me,” said Quick Draw, “I’m obtuse.”
And what of “The Flintstones”?
“Well,” said Joe, “we hope it’s cartooning that adults, as well as children, will enjoy. It’s suburbia in the stone age. Freddie Flintstone reads the newspaper, the Daily Slate, that has the latest dinosaur race results.
“And the garbage disposal unit is a ravenous old bird in the sink closet.”
Hanna and Barbera explained that it takes over seven months to produce a half-hour of animation such as “The Flintstones.” The reason is simple—every inch of animation is done by hand.
Each half-hour segment consists of over 12,000 individual drawings and requires the labor of 150 skilled artists, layout men, editors, inkers and printers.

The story behind the sale of “The Flintstones” involved a transaction that was contrary to the standard procedures of the industry.
“I did the presenting of the idea,” said Joe. “This was kind of unusual because producers never go out and sell shows. But I did, I flew to New York, carrying my storyboards. No film, just storyboards telling the story of one of the episodes.”
In New York, Joe placed the storyboards all around the conference room, and proceeded to race around, enacting the roles of each character in the series. In no time, the Madison Avenue executives were laughing, and the series was sold immediately.
“Speaking of New York,” said Huck, “did you say you were from Florida?”
I said yes.
“Well,” he said “if you’ll pardon the expression—I’ll be doggoned!”
“Why, do you have friends in Florida?”
“I hope so! I like to have friends everywhere. I get ‘thusiastic about friends. Even the Flintstones. They got rocks in their heads and all that, but let’s face it. They’re cartooned.
“I’m cartooned. All of us right here—cartooned!”
What about Hanna and Barbera?
Huckle chuckled.
“You kiddin’? They’re not for real. Gawrsh, no. Ever watch the way they move their legs? One—two—three. Three little old motions, jus’ like us.
“Don’t let ‘em fool you. They’re just tryin’ to star in a cartoon series, but they’ll never make it. No talent.
“Like I said, us cartooned guys got to stick together. Just not anybody is cartooned!”
There was a silence. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera slinked off into a corner and started chewing on their drawing boards.
I went out into the hall.
But behind me, there echoed sounds.
Huck: “I’ll make it yet. Jus’ wait ‘till 1964!”
Quick Draw: “I dunno about this obtuse stuff. I don’t feel good.
Yogi Bear: “Hey, hey, hey! Sometimes I think you guys better get back in your ink bottles!”
An argument started. Just as I was closing the door, a small burro face appeared around the corner.
“Olay?” said Baba Looey.
I theenk.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Flintstones Weekend Comics, October 1970

Mice and multiple heads. That’s what we get in the Flintstones Sunday comics 48 years ago this month.
Better still, we finally get a comic that focuses on Baby Puss. You remember her being that cat that doesn’t stay out for the night in the closing animation of the series, but rarely appears in the cartoons themselves. (There was some Baby Puss merchandise during the run of the series).

The red-shaded comics come from the collection of Richard Holliss, as usual. Click on them to make them bigger.

October 4, 1970. We learn Baby Puss is female. Don’t you like the curly mouse tail in the opening panel?

October 11, 1970. Readers who didn’t see the top row in their paper (I suspect a majority didn’t use it so they could fit three comics on one page) didn’t miss much. It has nothing to do with the rest of the comic. Fred’s not only a letch, he doesn’t like ‘60s style protesters.

October 18, 1970. More mice. I like the one sticking out his tongue at a quizzical Pebbles.

October 25, 1970.

No Rubbles this month and the comics-only Pops character has been given the month off as well.