Sunday, 18 July 2021

Flintstones Weekend Comics, January 1965

You don’t think of dramatic artwork when you think of the Flintstones comic strips. But occasionally it shines through, such as in the colour comic that appeared in newspapers on January 3, 1965 (a day earlier in Canada).

The five comics below are, unfortunately, black and white scans, but look at the composition in the long panel in the second row below. It outshines the final panel, which is a lovely piece of work, too.

Late note: Reader Keith Semmel correctly points out the last line is a play on the Tareyton cigarette commercials of the day, with the grammatically incorrect slogan "Us Tareyton smokers would rather fight than switch" and pictures of people with one black eye.

The long panel in the second row of the January 10th comic is a nice bit of drawing as well, with a bit of perspective as the animal cases curl around on the left.

Betty appears for the second time in three weekends on January 17th; a bit of a rarity. The ending is a pun. I wonder how this would work in foreign languages.

For some reason, Fred says “That’s an incinerator!” when it’s clearly marked as such. There’s really no need to label it if he’s going to say it. I’m not sure why the eggs equate to a small fortune as it’s not set up in the comic. This is from January 24th. Is that Don Messick I hear squawking?

The month concludes on January 31st with no appearance of Dino. All five comics revolve around Fred, none around Pebbles As we’ve mentioned before, Mr. Slate was mainly a TV character. Fred had different bosses in the newspaper comics.

Click on any of the comics to make them larger.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Don Jurwich

It’s sad to receive word about Hanna-Barbera veterans passing away, and we’ve heard from reader John Semper, Jr. that layout artist Don Jurwich died yesterday (July 13th) in Westlake Village at age 87.

Jurwich attended George Washington High School in South Los Angeles in the early ‘50s, drawing cartoons for the student newspaper. He wasn’t one of the H-B originals in 1957 but he was around then. In an interview with the Animation Guild, he revealed he began his career in the mid-‘50s at Graphic Films, a small commercial studio in Los Angeles run by ex-Disney artist Les Novros. His co-workers included Ted Parmelee and Paul Julian, who had both recently been at UPA. (He had called Disney about work and he was told he wouldn’t make enough to support a family). Jurwich was painting backgrounds on films for the U.S. Air Force and one on smog being made by Julian.

He bounced around freelancing at other industrial studios in the city—Ray Patin, Film Fair, Quartet Films—mainly doing layouts and backgrounds on commercials, but also found employment with Jay Ward on the Rocky and His Friends series under George Singer. Unfortunately, the drinking water in Mexico City didn’t quite agree with him and he had to return to the U.S.

Don decided he wanted a regular job and heard Hanna-Barbera was hiring, so that’s where he ended up for a time. Among The Flintstones episodes he laid out were “Adobe Dick” (1964) and “Fred’s Flying Lesson” (1965). His experience at the time was “wonderful in some ways. It [the studio on Cahuenga] was a big bull-pen with just partitioned cubicles, and you could hear everybody. And so everyone was joking and carrying on and talking and yelling across.”

Iwao Takamoto was in charge of the layout/background department then. Don said “He was another brilliant guy...never disciplined the department ever. He would correct your work but he just let everyone run crazy. It was great fun.”

Don did some more bouncing: over to Format Films to write a couple of Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons released by Warner Bros.; back to Jay Ward for George of the Jungle (he said the artists were disappointed it lasted only one season and felt ABC was out to cancel the show); and finally back at Hanna-Barbera, where he enjoyed his work on Tom and Jerry Kids and Droopy: Master Detective. (Note: This is not a post about lists of cartoons; you can read and post lists on other sites).

Jurwich revealed he was surprised to find out his duties as a producer at Hanna-Barbera involved voice directing. “I came to the office one day and they said ‘Hey, you’ve got to do a Captain Caveman today’,” and found he had to direct Mel Blanc. Don decided to ask him during a break about working with Warner Bros. and Jack Benny. Surprisingly, Mel began ranting “They never gave me a nickel! They never gave me any credit!” Jurwich cut the conversation short and didn’t ask about Benny.

In later years, Jurwich corrected storyboards and worked closely with Joe Barbera. When it came to cartoon story, “It was his life. That’s what he loved to do,” Don remembered. “For all the limited animation that we did, I think a lot of it was character-driven, and I think that worked a lot. And Joe was good at that. He could develop characters.”

The studio was pretty busy, and once the cartoon was in the pipeline, it buzzed through. “There just wasn’t the time [to make big adjustments along the way],” Jurwich recalled. “Once you got a script that was okay, you put in the storyboarding,’d punch up the storyboards a bit; you had some time there. Then it went into layout and animation.

To give you an idea about the workload, “When I was there one season on The Smurfs, I did 13 ninety-minute shows. And a Christmas special,” he revealed. “I would have to read a lot of scripts on the weekends, but I did it usually at home because I was a single parent at that time. And the Scoobys, we used to do not just 13 half-hours, we used to do 24 half-hours. And later when we were doing the Tom and Jerry Kids show and Droopys [in the early ‘90s], I think over four years we did over 200, seven-minute cartoons. That was another grind.”

And all this was after Jurwich had recovered from a heart attack caused, he believed, by stress dealing with network people, promising them one thing then finding Bill Hanna had countermanded him without telling him.

He stayed through the sale of the company and the move from the famous building on Cahuenga Drive to Sherman Oaks and developed some cartoons with Jerry Eisenberg. One was “Stinky Stegosaurus” and another was “Yoink! of the Yukon.”

Donald Lee Jurwich was born on New Year’s Day 1934. We send our condolences to his family. You can hear the complete interview referred to above at this site.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Flintstones Weekend Comics, December 1964

Well, here it is December in Bedrock, and there’s no snow. In fact, there’s rain in one of the Sunday Flintstones comics in December 1964.

We get summer-time activities, too, including badminton and fishing. Plus Fred’s favourite sport, bowling.

The composition, as usual, is just great on these and the final panels are always a treat. They’re never crowded.

December 6th. Fine angles on Fred here. Betty makes an appearance. The opening panel's good, too, with Barney being rolled in mid-air by Bamm-Bamm, whose club is nearby on the ground.

December 13th. Again, the extra characters and props are a treat. I'm a sucker for volcanos. The "Game Reserve" panel has a silhouette car and dinosaurs in the background. Dig the angry creature at the end.

December 20th. A rocket-shaped Fred goes aloft when the pterodactyl grabs his fishing line. Love the fish.

December 27th. Gurp! And a swearing bird. And a sheepish Fred. All in the last panel. Admirable angle on the car in the opening panel. I think this may be Cathy's only appearance. I guess Fred's being cheap (as opposed to "cheep"), hence the egg-bowling ball.

Click on any of the comics to make them bigger.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Doggie Daddy, Art Lover

Who would have guessed Doggie Daddy was a connoisseur of art? Well, he is in some cartoons.

Background artists whiled away the time by putting inside gags or other bits of inspiration in the paintings that appeared in cartoons. Judging by layouts for Tex Avery’s shorts at MGM, the background artists didn’t have total freedom. Objects would be crossed out on the layout drawing to allow the action to read better.

There are a few examples of modern art on the walls of the D. Daddy residence (one fun thing about the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons is the homes didn’t look the same from cartoon to cartoon. Even the Flintstones’ home varied in design).

These two are from Foxhound Hounded Fox. Background by Bob Gentle, layouts by Bob Givens. What's that first painting supposed to be? Crazy, man, crazy!

It's a shame the whole painting was never in the frame. This is from Snagglepuss, with the orange antagonist version before he got pink and theatrical and was given his own show. Background by Bob Gentle, layouts by Walt Clinton.

Skunk You Very Much, backgrounds by Fernando Montealegre, layouts by Dick Bickenbach. To be honest, I don't recall where I got the credits. This may be my favourite of the works. Dig the ‘60s bucket chair.

Big Top Pop, backgrounds by Joe Montell, layouts by Bob Givens. Incidentally, Givens wasn't a snob about these TV cartoons. He remarked he liked working on the Augie Doggie cartoons. I watched a few of them again recently, and I still like them.

Unfortunately, most of the background art is pretty prosaic. There are some scenes where nothing is in the picture frame. Here are some others from the first season.

Gone to the Ducks, backgrounds by Dick Thomas, layouts by Dick Bickenbach. Note the photo of Doggie Daddy in the picture frame? Or is it Doggie Daddy's daddy?

In Mars Little Precious, Doggie Daddy has hung some artwork near the ceiling of the living room. Backgrounds by Fernando Montealegre, layouts by Dick Bickenbach. I like Monty's exteriors in this one. This is the cartoon where the sound cutter uses Hecky Krasnow's "Swinging Ghosts" several times.

A Doggie family portrait is hanging by the phone in Hum Sweet Hum. Augie's room gets a boring tree. I'm not sure what that is behind Doggie Daddy in the living room, but he has the latest in pole lamps. We had one of these in the '60s, too. I don't know who did the backgrounds here; it may have been Bob Gentle. Ed Benedict is the layout artist.

It appears the pole lamp made it into the next season of cartoons.

Here's one of Art Lozzi's backgrounds. It's from Yuk-Yuk Duck, with layouts by Paul Sommer. I think it's a cupcake on a stand with a centipede on top. Well, you can come up with your own explanation.

We’ve mentioned here on the Yowp blog that the Augie Doggie cartoons were the last of the ones to be put in production on The Quick Draw McGraw Show. The father-and-son stars were partly based on the Spike and Tyke cartoons made by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera at MGM, with a little Sylvester, Jr. tossed in (the “science geek” part of Augie would be reused in Elroy Jetson). But the production team at H-B Enterprises were stymied on names for the two.

They were originally Pete and Repete (Variety, Jan. 8, 1959), but I suspect that was changed because the names were used for a pair of cartoon bears at Glacier National Park. Next, they were Arf and Arf (Variety, Jan. 28, 1959), about an impractical naming (“Oh, Arf!” “Yes, Arf?” Yeah, that’ll work in dialogue) as possible. When they got the final names, I don’t know.

You may not know that Augie Doggie was named for a relative of Mike Maltese, who wrote all the Augie cartoons. Margaret Wong has mentioned on Facebook that that Augie was the name of her mother’s brother, and that Mike was an uncle as well. H-B writer Tony Benedict recalls:

There is a lot of Mike in those characters. He often would say things in casual conversation that later came out of Augie's mouth on the show.
We don't know what kind of art Mike and Florrie Maltese had hanging in their home. We hope it included some of the characters he wrote for at Warners and Hanna-Barbera.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Flintstones Weekend Comics, November 1964

Betty Rubble got the short shrift in the Flintstones newspaper comic strips, even more so than the beloved Baby Puss. The cat wasn't a regular character on TV, though (ending animation notwithstanding). Betty was. She makes a quick one-panel appearance on the November 8th comic, one of five that month in 1964.

That's a lovely collection of animals in the final panel of the first comic below. We get the cliche of the cheapskate husband as well. November 8th we get the cliche of the bad woman driver. Fred's an ingenious cheapskate on November 15th. A fine perspective drawing concludes the November 22nd (with a little Dino way below) and continues his ingenuity (which doesn't make him a fortune) on the 29th.

Click on any of the comics to make them bigger.

November 1st.

November 8th.

November 15th.

November 22nd.

November 29th.

Saturday, 3 April 2021


Mr. Jinks may have been better on commercials than he was in the TV cartoons.

Here are some frames for a 60-second Kellogg’s Raisin Bran spot. I’m glad the plot is self-explanatory because I can’t find the original commercial (I downloaded it last June). But the over-confident Jinks is called on to do a live commercial for those golden flakes of bran. As soon as the camera is on, he loses his place on the teleprompter run by the meeces and bollixes the whole thing.

There’s a portion where he pulls down a projector screen and live action takes over for a bit.

Jinks even sings part of the Kellogg’s jingle (assisted by the meeces, whom he’s told to speed up the prompter), then defeatedly says hello to the viewers once again at the end.

Someone more well-versed in the matter can tell you who animated this.