Saturday 8 June 2024

Dear Old Dad

Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy had several forefathers that were combined into a pleasant cartoon series.

Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera partly borrowed from themselves, as they had a father-son dog team in a number of Spike and Tyke cartoons they produced for MGM in the mid-‘50s. But they were borrowing even then, as the real origin comes from the Jimmy Durante-Garry Moore radio show. Old vaudevillian Durante always referred to young comedian Moore as “Junior” and proudly exclaimed “Dat’s my boy who said dat!” Younger fans may not know both Spike and Doggie Daddy took on Durante’s voice and delivery, the former from Daws Butler and the latter from former radio actor-turned-trucker Doug Young. (Butler said he recommended Young because he was worried about the effect doing the raspy voice would have on him).

Augie had a bit of Sylvester, Jr. in him, lamenting “dear old dad’s” behaviour. The Augie series was written by Mike Maltese, who didn’t write for Sylvester, Jr., but was at Warner Bros. when the cartoons were made. (It's been pointed out Maltese wrote Goldimouse and the Three Cats, released a year and several months after he left Warners. The slurping kitten was developed a decade earlier in the Bob McKimson unit by Warren Foster).

And the other influence is Maltese himself. Joe Barbera noted in 1959 that Maltese named all the characters. After “Arf and Arf” was rejected, Maltese named Augie for an in-law. And in most of the cartoons, Maltese used the basic formula he put into Wile E. Coyote at Warners—Doggie Daddy’s best efforts and intentions end in unexpected failure. Daddy also comments to the audience an awful lot. Baba Looey does it, too, and so do Blabbermouse and Fibber Fox, also Maltese creations. The idea certainly helps keep the audience engaged with what’s on the screen.

The Hanna-Barbera cartoons relied on dialogue a lot more once Maltese arrived in late 1958 (Foster joined him several months later from John Sutherland Productions) but there are occasionally some good takes. My favourite is by Dick Lundy in Million-Dollar Robbery (1959). Here’s one from the great George Nicholas, who gave Fred Flintstone some fine expressions. This is from Peck O' Trouble (1960), when Augie's presence startles tax cal-cu-culatin' dad. Whether Hanna timed it this way, or Nicholas used some judgment on his own, or both, I don’t know, but the first drawing is held for roughly 24 frames. The others are shot on twos or threes.

You’ll have to forgive the Italian TV bug on the frames, but these are the nicest ones I can find for the cartoon. It’s evident the Augie cartoons were restored at one time, compared to the washed-out versions with the Boomerang bug that may still be on-line somewhere.

Nicholas’ work is easy to spot here. At times, the characters have the beady eyes and big floppy tongues you see in his animation at H-B. There’s a bit of animation where Doggie Daddy stops running, but his long ears keep going and then fall to the side of his head, as in full animation.

There’s even a favourite Tex Avery bit in this cartoon, where Augie races outside onto a knoll away from the house to make a noise so he doesn’t disturb his dad inside. It’s the same kind of gag Avery used in The Legend of Rock-a-bye Point for Walter Lantz. That cartoon gave Maltese a story credit but it’s likely Tex came up with the gag, since he used it at MGM.

Hanna and/or Barbera once said the Augie Doggie series was a spoof of ‘50s sitcoms, but I can’t think of any (that lasted, anyway) involving a single father, other than Bachelor Father with John Forsythe. In drama, there was The Rifleman, and later, I guess you could put Flipper in that classification, but the star wasn’t human.

There’s a moment in another cartoon, High and Flighty, where Doggie Daddy gets emotional, thinking he’s lost his son forever. Despite the hammy music in the background, the scene is treated straight and shows the bond between the two.

The Augie series could get a little out there at times. Outer space was still a big thing in the late ‘50s, so dear old dad deals with a Martian baby in his home, and Augie and Daddy take a trip to Mars to hunt a rabbit with Bugs Bunny-like wiles (and Augie, for good measure, puts his hand to his head and says “Oh, for the shame of it!” like a certain Warner Bros.’ junior cat). The characters remained popular, and appeared in various later Hanna-Barbera “gang” series, with John Stephenson taking over Daddy’s voice after Young moved to Oregon in 1966.

Bob Givens laid out at least five Augie cartoons after he arrived from Warner Bros. in late 1958. He said the Augies and other early Hanna-Barbera cartoons “were kind of fun to do.” And they’re generally still fun to watch. And, after all, who’s going to disagree with the guy who designed the first real Bugs Bunny for Tex Avery?

Saturday 11 May 2024

That Oh-So-Merry, On-the-Telly, Huckleberry Hound

The Huckleberry Hound Show was a phenomenon. Critics liked it, and even admitted watching it. Colleges formed Huck Hound clubs. An island in the Antarctic was named for the star. It not only was the first cartoon series to win an Emmy, it was the first syndicated show of any kind to do it.

But why?

I could give you a pile of my own reasons, but let’s find out an answer from someone else.

The Huck show was broadcast not only in the United States, but in Canada, Australia and England. It was the subject of Alan Dick’s column in the Daily Herald of London on May 22, 1962.

Magic of Mr. JINKS
FOR millions of youngsters Friday teatime is the peak of the viewing week. Spellbound they watch Yogi Bear's exploits. Which is as it should be, for Yogi is glorious kid stuff.
But I know a minor poet, a university graduate, an American expatriate professional man, two market porters and a road sweeper who contrive to get home in time that evening to join their children round the telly.
What is the subtle appeal that unites such an unlikely cross-section? As a member of the Yogi Union in good standing, let me try to the drawing power of these animated animals—Yogi himself and Boo-Boo; Huckleberry Hound, the dog; Mr. Jinks, the cat. and Dixie and Pixie, the meeces Mr. Jinks hates to pieces.
My conclusion is that they have a methodical madness which interprets the subconscious loves and hates of men and nations.
Although it is Yogi Bear who has given his name to the cult, it is Mr. Jinks the Cat who sits most behind the psychiatrist's couch. He is the one who interprets our love-hate libidos, our blood-lusting and our bravado.
His everlasting feud against Dixie and Pixie, the mice, fulfils our human yearning to give the other fellow a bloody nose without really hurting him.
Here is the magic of Mr. Jinks and the meeces he hates to pieces.
They inflict upon one another the most devastating punishment. But after the horrendous impact, both sides testily shake themselves and walk unscathed away.
"I hates meeces to pieces," breathes Mr. Jinks with venom. I despises them mices."
But the day the meeces disappeared. Mr. Jinks moped on his bed, inconsolable with grief. And another day when Mr. Jinks was missing, the meeces went to pieces.
That was the love-hate relationship showing clear. You always love the one you hate.
Yogi Bear sits on the other side of the couch. He is the excitable fall-guy in all of us, the permanent sucker who never learns.
With the dead-pan expression and the self-satisfied voice, with an upward lilt like Schnozzle Durante, Yogi and his little stooge Boo-Boo always become involved.
Yogi is emotional, but self-centred with it. He is forever trying to help, while helping himself.
Huckleberry Hound—who drags out his name like a hunting cry: How-ow-ownd!—is Don Quixote tilting at windmills.
He is the good-natured, love-thy-neighbour, turn-cheek we would all like to be, and aren't.
He is the knight with a broken lance, the prince of derring-don't.
When he besieges the wicked knight's castle the portcullis is sure to fall, the moat to drain, the molten lead to pour.
And when he reaches his fair damsel in distress, she turns out to be a toothless hag.
But Huckleberry takes it all with good grace and lives to fight another day.
There they all are, our mixed-up love-hate, do-good, derring-do subconscious selves, scribbled in a psychiatrist's notebook by a gang of shadow animals. Or are they more real than we like to think? Do we all hate meeces to pieces?

Sunday 28 April 2024

He Was Zin

John Stephenson lasted only five episodes before being replaced as Doctor Benton Quest on Jonny Quest in 1964. But another actor on the show got shoved out of a role even faster.

The evil Dr. Zin was played by Vic Perrin. Perrin was constantly in demand on network radio, even into the dying days. But when he was hired in 1947 for the starring role in the Mutual network's The Zane Grey Show, he was fired after the first broadcast. The trade papers said he sounded more like a villain than a hero, so they brought in Jim Bannon.

You can tell from the first sentence that this year marks 60 years since Quest debuted in prime time. I’m an old guy so, yes, I watched it (on a black and white TV) during its original broadcast. I hope to have a post on the debut anniversary. For now, I thought I’d do a post about the man who made four villainous appearances on the show.

I’m not a huge fan of Wikipedia, but in the case of Vic Perrin the entry is very good. It looks like the writer got his information from Perrin’s obit in the Los Angeles Times or the Hollywood Reporter. What you read below comes from other sources.

Victor Herbert Perrin was born on April 26, 1916 in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. His father was a travelling hardware salesman. At the age of 19, he was employed at WHA radio in Madison, Wisconsin and a member of the WHA Players. He emceed events and appeared in stage productions including “The Merchant of Venice” and “The Merry Widow.” Newspaper clippings reveal he was still at WHA as late as May 1940.

Next it was off to Sunset and Vine in Hollywood. Broadcasting magazine of May 16, 1942 reported he first found work as a parking lot attendant, then as an NBC page, then joined the announcing staff of the Red network. In July of 1941, he was on the NBC Blue network, where he introduced Hank McCune in a 15-minute weekly show called Pacific Coast Army Camp News and stayed with the network when it was spun off by NBC, eventually being named ABC. Promotion was quick. The trades reported in January 1943 he had replaced Army-bound Dresser Dahlstead as chief announcer of the network. When Dahlstead returned, Perrin quit ABC in October 1945 to freelance.

Perrin did a pile of shows on radio, even into the 1960s. A list would be pointless, though we point out he was a particular favourite of Jack Webb, and cast a number of times on Dragnet, and co-starred with Raymond Burr on CBS' Fort Laramie. There was acting work in television, too; Perrin appeared in both the radio and TV versions of Gunsmoke, among many things. A weekly role on television for a number of seasons was uncredited. His voice was the one you heard at the beginning of Outer Limits. Almost all his work was on the dramatic side, though he did appear in one episode of the sitcom I Remember Joan.

Perrin's first connection with animation I can find was a few years before Jonny Quest. In September 1957, he was the host of the fifth annual Screen Cartoonists Guild's Cartoon Festival.

You wouldn’t find Bugs Bunny or Tom and Jerry at this showing. This was a showcase for studios that made animated commercials. For the record, the studios were: Animation, Inc.; Cascade Pictures (home of Tex Avery); Churchill-Wexler; Fine Arts Productions; Graphic Films; Ray Patin Productions; Quartet Films, Inc.; Shamus Culhane Productions, Sherman Glas Productions; Song Ads, Inc., John Sutherland Productions; Telemation; T.V. Spots, Inc. and Le Ora Thompson and Associates. It would appear Perrin was providing voice-overs for animated spots. To the right is a trade ad from Dec. 29, 1958. (Dick Le Grand and Virginia Gregg were also radio actors; see Mike Tiefenbacher's note in the comments about Gregg's Hanna-Barbera connection).

We briefly pause from our Perrin story to post frames from some of the ads that appeared at the Festival; another one was the famous Jell-O Chinese Baby from Ray Patin Productions. I cannot tell you if he voiced any of them.

The Hollywood Reporter of Nov. 2, 1960 mentions that Perrin was recording seven cartoon spots for Pacific Telephone Yellow Pages, directed for Playhouse Pictures by Pete Burness. The same page revealed on March 16, 1962 that Playhouse's Bill Melendez had Perrin voicing five spots for the Interstate Building Assn. A week later, the Reporter blurbed that Playhouse hired him and Dick Tufeld (the "brought-to-you-by" announcer on The Jetsons) to voice a pair of animated commercials for Southern California Gas, directed by Melendez. And on Nov. 2, 1962, the paper squibbed that Perrin, Lucy Ann Polk and Dick Cathcart were providing voices for Ralston and Foremost commercials; the animation director wasn't revealed.

Unfortunately, information isn’t available about his hiring at Hanna-Barbera and when he recorded the Jonny Quest voice tracks. The episodes he appeared as Dr. Zin were:

● Riddle of the Gold, October 16, 1964.
● The Robot Spy, November 6, 1964.
● Double Danger, November 13, 1964.
● The Fraudulent Volcano, December 31, 1964.

My recollection from the Jonny Quest documentary on-line is series creator Doug Wildey opposed the idea of a regular villain. As it turned out, Dr. Zin was only in four of the twenty-six episodes, though he did return—as did Perrin—when the series was retooled in the 1980s. Perrin played other parts in the original series as well. A sentimental favourite is Perrin as the scheming Dr. Ahmed Kareem in “The Curse of Anubis” simply because at the climax, my sister got so scared, she ran out of the living room vowing never to watch the show again.

We’ll spare you another shopping list of animated accomplishments at Hanna-Barbera and elsewhere, other than to mention his work ranged from comedy (The Hair Bear Bunch and several series with a gangly Great Dane) to action-adventure (Space Ghost). His voice was in a Lutheran-made animated Christmas special with a fine cast that included Don Messick, the wonderful June Foray, Hans Conried, Jerry "We're-not-hiring-you-as-Pebbles" Hausner and Colleen Collins, who was heard in a number of Tex Avery cartoons at MGM. Perrin did a number of live-action religious-based films. Click here for his narration on a half-hour for the Franciscans, with "Good Clean Fun" and other cues from the Impress library in the background, and a role for Pat McGeehan, who voiced a noise-hating bear and other characters for Avery.

Perrin was apparently not interviewed in the popular press about his animation career—he did talk his work on Jonny Quest to Starlog magazine in an issue not available on line—but spoke about commercial acting. Several stories showed up in newspapers in early 1967; I suspect they were releases that came out of the office of his agent, Jack Wormser.

Actor Makes Handsome Sum As TV 'Voice'
VIC PERRIN is one actor who makes more money when he's not seen on camera than when he is.
He belongs to that exclusive breed in show business that has hit it big as the anonymous voices on TV commercials.
Last year Perrin earned in excess of $100,000 of which 80 per cent was from TV (and radio) commercials.
Vic, who has appeared on such TV shows as “The Big Valley,” “FBI Story,” “Gunsmoke,” and “Have Gun, Will Travel,” is never seen in TV commercials on purpose.
"MY BELIEVABILITY as an actor is reduced in direct proportion to how often I'm seen in a commercial," he explains.
Perrin is a serious actor and maintains that an acting background is the No. 1 essential to success in the lucrative commercial field.
"I try to give a TV pitch reading the same serious treatment that I would give to a speech by Henry V,” he maintains.
Some professional TV critics maintain that many commercials are better than the program in which they are inserted. Perrin agrees.
"I think there is more creativity going into commercials these days than into many of the programs," he says.

Wormser, by the way, represented a who’s who of cartoon voice actors who worked in commercials, including Mel Blanc. Perrin and Blanc have another connection; as The Hollywood Reporter of Aug. 29, 1972 stated Perrin had been hired as a teacher at the Mel Blanc School of Commercials.

Perrin and Blanc died six days apart. Perrin was 73 when he died of cancer on July 4, 1989.

Saturday 13 April 2024

Mr. Jinks vs Dog

Hanna-Barbera cartoons have been tarnished with a reputation of little real animation, with a lot of eye blinks and maybe an arm and mouth moving, the rest of the character left on one cel, frame after frame after frame.

I won’t comment about the later cartoons. Going back to the beginning, the first Ruff and Reddy cartoon in 1957 barely had any animation, but it wasn’t as static as Crusader Rabbit. When the Huckleberry Hound Show debuted in 1958, some of the cartoons featured characters that simply popped from pose to pose without any fluidity.

In Huck’s second season, additional artists had been hired and the animation was treated like you would find in a theatrical cartoon. Not often, but it happened. Characters would move in full, sometimes one drawing to a frame. At the same time, director Bill Hanna and his animators would try to get some emotion out of the characters without resorting to a lot of talk (that would change soon).

Here’s an example from the Pixie and Dixie cartoon Hi-Fido, which aired at the start of the 1958-59 TV season. Warren Foster’s plot is simple. The meeces try to drive Mr. Jinks nuts by making the sound of a barking dog through a microphone, meaning the cat can hear a dog, but not see one.

Jinks catches on to what’s happening. But the plot turns and a stray bulldog strolls into the yard and then up to Jinksie in the house.

The animator is Manny Perez, formerly of Warner Bros. and, I suspect, working freelance on this cartoon. He employs several drawings, animated on twos, to shift Jinks’ weight from one foot to the other, and lean on the dog. Note that Jinks is drawn in full in each frame. There’s no cheating here.

Mr. Jinks lies to the meeces he was hip to their scheme, and that he “knewwww there was no dog around the house.” Jinks then chuckles about the situation. Here, Perez limits the animation to Jinks’ head in three movements. The cat then looks at the dog and continues to chuckle (the exposure sheet may have screwed up as there is no movement as Jinks laughs).

Then he realises there IS a dog. The drawing below is held for at least 16 frames to establish what’s happening.

The dialogue switches from a chuckle, to a nervous laugh, to crying as the cat expects the dog to maul him.

These are some of the crying drawings. Only the head is animated. No two drawings are used in consecutive frames.

This is where the famous H-B eye-blinks come in. That’s the only animation as the basic pose is held for about 60 frames, or roughly 2 1/2 seconds.

The shock drawing and the back-up-to-the-wall are held for two frames each.

The dog moves in and barks at Jinks. I won’t post them all but Perez uses three barking drawings, with the entire dog moving as in full animation. A Jack Shaindlin cue runs out and a Spencer Moore cue takes over in the background.

You’ll notice the lovely colour on these frames, even though there’s some digital fuzz. It would appear these cartoons were restored either for cable television or for the non-existent second volume DVD set of the Huckleberry Hound Show.

Saturday 9 March 2024

Hanna-Barbera's Caricaturist

I think you know who these guys are.

Caricatures appeared periodically at Hanna-Barbera, especially on The Flintstones; we don't need to name them. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were caricatured, too. The Color It Happy pilot of the late '60s comes to mind. So does another would-be show from '70s called Duffy's Dozen, where Bill and Joe voiced their characters. They were drawn by the same man who signed the drawing above. It was an assistant animator named Ben Shenkman (the art came from the May 1970 edition of Hollywood Studio Magazine.

Shenkman was a native New Yorker, born July 3, 1913. We can thank film historian Donald Crafton for some biographical material he wrote for the January 1993 issue of Film History in an article entitled “The View From Termite Terrace: Caricature and Parody in Warner Bros Animation.”
Shenkman’s career can be seen as typical for the industry. In the late 1920s he was working as an office boy at Columbia in New York. He aspired to be a cartoonist and one of his sketches of the manager was published in the Columbia Beacon. The boss introduced Shenkman to Max Fleischer, whose animation studio was nearby, and he joined the ink-and-paint staff. He was soon laid off and returned to Columbia, but this time in Charles Mintz’s cartoon unit. Mintz moved Krazy Kat production to Hollywood in 1930 and invited 16-year old Shenkman to join as an in-betweener, a job he accepted and held for nine years. But his talent as a caricaturist was well-known, and he was in demand as a designer of greeting cards, invitations and occasional publicity drawings. Friz Freleng, recently returned to Schlesinger’s from a stint at MGM in mid-April, 1939, know about Shenkman by way of his friend at Columbia, Art Davis, and invited him to work on Malibu Beach Party.

The cartoon was released in 1940. It was a parody of the Jack Benny radio show, with Benny inviting movie stars (Gable, Garbo, Raft, Bette Davis and so on). Crafton goes on:

Schlesinger had an agreement that Benny would have the right to approve the drawings and the film and Mary Livingston[e], in fact, did insist that the caricaturist ‘do something about the nose’ before filming commenced. [Livingstone was so snout-sensitive, she had a nose job]. The stars’ studio photographs provided the basis for the sketches. Shenkman recalls that the principal’s voices were recorded by the stars themselves, but some of the others might have been impersonated. [If that was the case, the sound wasn’t used. KFWB’s Jack Lescoulie provides the voice of Benny].
The success of his caricatures led to Shenkman’s being hired by the studio in March 1940 as an animation assistant. [Tex] Avery had been working on Hollywood Steps Out well before Freleng’s film was released, and immediately engaged Shenkman to do caricatures. Avery took him and a background artist [Johnny Johnsen] to Ciro’s to make notes and sketches of the décor and guests. Schlesinger probably had obtained permission from the restaurant. Shenkman made about fifty model sheets of celebrities which the animators adapted for head size, perspective rendering and, of course, movement. Parts of the action were rotoscoped. In the scenes where Clark Gable and a mysterious lady do a Rhumba, Shenkman was filmed dancing with Mildred (Dixie) Mankemeyer, fiancée of [animator] Paul Smith.
Both these films have a bit of documentary quality about them, derived in no small part from Shenkman’s hard-edged ‘photographic’ style caricatures.
He enlisted in the army on Dec. 31, 1942 and was discharged on Dec. 16, 1944.

When Shenkman left Warners is difficult to say. Webb credits him with the Peter Lorre caricature in Birth of a Notion (1947). The page to the left comes a Los Angeles Times magazine. Shenkman painted all the art for his son’s bedroom, but the short article that goes with it only calls him an “artist” and does not say where he was working. The 1950 Census return lists his occupation as “cartoonist, movie.”

He gained a connection with Hanna and Barbera when he moved to the MGM cartoon studio. He is responsible for a drawing of a group of artists at the studio in 1956; the staff members have been identified by H-B background artist Art Lozzi. There is a grey-scale version of this drawing in Martha Sigall’s wonderful book on her career in animation, but this comes from the Cartoon Research website.

Here’s more of Shenkman’s work. This must have been done on a freelance basis as it appeared in the Sunday magazine of the Boston Globe on Oct. 22, 1961. That's a good-looking Bugs.

We’ve posted a bit about Shenkman on the Yowp blog before. He took part in the ninth annual “Operation Art for the Armed Forces” in mid-December 1961 at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland. Taking part were Hanna-Barbera writers Mike Maltese and Warren Foster, who showed some cartoons from the Huckleberry Hound Show and gave away cels; Johnny Johnson, Tex Avery’s background painter dating back to the Warner Bros. days; Phil Duncan, who had his own studio called TV Cartoon Products and freelanced for Hanna-Barbera; and Fred Crippen, the UPA artist who later created Roger Ramjet.

The story gives a bit of background, though I caution that other "facts" contained in it aren't quite correct. It says Shenkman "has done portraits and caricatures for Disney and MGM and is now with UPA." I don't know about his Disney connection, but Keith Scott's essential The Moose That Roared has his name on the list of the early Rocky and Bullwinkle animation was that done in Hollywood.

This picture of Shenkman with his drawing of Bill and Joe dates from 1967, according to a commenter on this blog some years ago.

Shenkman seemed to like the volunteer gig for the armed forces. Here is a December 1966 photo from "Operation Art For the Armed Forces." Second left in the top row is Jerry Eisenberg, layout man at Hanna-Barbera. I hope you've read his interview on this blog. Jerry, as you have read, pitched series ideas to Joe Barbera and the article in The Oak Leaf mentions he was working on the Yogi Bear Sunday comics. Background artist Janet Brown is next to him. Also shown are two H-B animators, Larry Silverman and Bill Carney. Silverman's career went back to the silent days and he's better known for his work on the East Coast, mainly at Terrytoons, though his name shows up on a 1933 Harman-Ising cartoon, Wake Up the Gypsy For Me, for Warner Bros.

Shenkman was back a year later. He is at the lower left. At the top left is another well-known Hanna-Barbera artist, background painter Dick Thomas, who started at Warners in the late '30s. Murray McClelland was also employed at Hanna-Barbera at the time, and at the top far right is 84-year-old Johnny Johnsen, who seems to have retired from MGM before Hanna and Barbera set up their own studio in 1957.

We've found one other story about a Shenkman caricature event. It was in a Los Angeles suburb in 1964. Also taking part in it was Art Leonardi, the ex-Warners animator who rose through the ranks at DePatie-Freleng.

Again, it's unclear when Shenkman left Hanna-Barbera. Harvey Deneroff, a fine historian with animation in his family, spoke to Shenkman and says he later worked at Filmation, DePatie-Freleng and for Ralph Bakshi. His credits include Archie’s Funhouse, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Coonskin, Wizards and Hey Good Lookin’.

Shenkman died in Los Angeles on April 14, 1996.

Saturday 10 February 2024

Super Bowl Bear

Since it is the Super Bowl weekend (at least if you’re reading this at the time it was posted), let us look at the work of Carlo Vinci in Yogi Bear’s football opus. Rah Rah Bear (1959).

Here’s a graceful run cycle by Carlo. Yogi lopes across the football field, waving his arm and turning his head toward the crowd. 12 drawings. They are shot one frame apiece.

Here’s how the cycle looks slowed down. Background by Bob Gentle.

“It’s a touchdown!” yells the play-by-play announcer (Don Messick). Notice Yogi and the helicopter go in front of the goal posts.

It would have made a neat shot if they went between the posts (with the one in the foreground having to be put on a separate cel) but the chopper’s too big.

Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera explained to syndicated columnist Charles Witbeck how this cartoon came about:
“You know that Yogi and Huckleberry Hound don’t just belong to the kids,” Hanna continued. Grown-ups know about our animal friends.
“An example. In late November we had a special story on Yogi Bear and the Chicago Bears pro football team. When the Bears heard about it, they were delighted. George Halas, coach and owner, said we could do anything we wanted. “We first got the idea,” Barbera said, “when I saw a headline in late September on the sports pages. It went something like ‘Giants to Clobber Bears.’ I saw a football story with Yogi reading the headline and saying: ‘Us bears have got to stick together.’ So Yogi goes back and helps the burly bears win. It’s kinda cute.”
Barbera never let facts get in the way of one of his stories. The Giants never played the Bears in 1959. Or even 1958. However, the Chicago Cardinals under Jim Lee Howell opened their 1958 season on September 28th with a 37-7 home-field loss to the New York Giants. Considering the cartoon was on TV a little less than two months later, even with Hanna-Barbera’s hurried production schedule, it’s doubtful the cartoon could have been inspired so soon.

Before the era of theme parks, Hanna-Barbera’s star characters appeared in person—thanks to large costumes—starting around September 1958—at various places, including football stadiums. So it was that Honest Ed Justin booked “Yogi” to appear in Chicago at a game between the Bears and 49ers on November 15th (the Bears won, 14-3). Not coincidentally, Rah Rah Bear aired in Chicago ten days later.

Rah Rah Bear made another appearance—on record. In July 1961, Colpix released “Here Comes Huckleberry Hound” with “soundtracks” from four cartoons, including Rah Rah Bear. Huck was used as a narrator to link scenes and the original stock music from the cartoon isn’t heard.

Speaking of Yogi and football, one of the players on the 1960 Xavier University Musketeers in Cincinnati, Dick Buechler, was nicknamed Yogi Bear. It was because he was as fierce as a bear and had nothing to do with pic-a-nic baskets. (After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1963, Buechler was stationed at the air field of the Naval Auxiliary in Milton, Florida).

One other Yogi-football connection can be found in the pages of the Star News-Vanguard of Sept. 30, 1961, where the coach of Hamilton High used an offensive formation against the Culver City Centaurs called “Yogi Bear.” From what I can tell from the story, it involved throwing to the quarterback in the clear. The plan was tried several times and failed miserably.

Evidently head coach Frank Cullom was not smarter than the average bear.