Sunday, 14 June 2009

Men Love Huck

The attitude that “cartoons are for kids” has been ingrained in people for a long time. It dates back to the pre-television days where theatres would have regular Saturday children’s shows with cartoons (and other short films) on the matinee menu. Even before that, the L.A. Times of June 15, 1930 noted that producers of talkies faced the problem of winning back the patronage of kids but, fortunately, Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies cartoons (and maybe Westerns) were there for them.

TV heaped reinforcement on the opinion when packages of old theatricals were bought for use as filler on live-action kids’ shows or in 30 and 60 minute morning and afternoon cartoon shows like the ones I grew up watching. Thus, when The Huckleberry Hound Show debuted, various newspaper articles popped up with the “surprising” finding that kids weren’t the only ones watching.

Here’s one, a column by Gene Swindell in the Daily Bulletin of Anderson, Indiana, of March 12, 1960:

ADULT CARTOONS? – The Monday night television viewing begins a bit early at our house when “Huckleberry Hound” bows in on Ch. 13. Although the cartoon show is primarily tuned in for my son’s enjoyment, I have become attached to it myself. And judging from some statistics received this week, I’m not the only adult sneaking a peek at these cartoon characters.
WLW4’s recent rating survey indicates that out of every 100 people watching “Huck,” 40 are children, 12 are teenagers, 24 are women and 24 are men. The show holds 42 per cent of all the TV sets tuned in from 6:30 to 7, a good record for even the best network programs.
“Huckleberry Hound” was created by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, teammates in cartooning for 20 years. Both reside in California and recently formed H-B Enterprises which also handles “Quick Draw McGraw,” another top-rated cartoon show aired Wednesday evenings on Ch. 13.
The voices behind most of the cartoon characters belong to Daws Butler, a native of Chicago. Butler has spent the past two years being the voice of “Huck,” “Yogi Bear,” “Mr. Jinks” and the little mouse, “Dixie.” You may remember Butler’s work on Stan Freberg’s million-dollar record, “St. George and the Dragonet,” in 1948.
“Huckleberry Hound” has avoided the occupational peril of being typed. He may turn up one week as a cop, looking like nothing else on earth and sounding like Jack Webb; then the next week he may appear as Sir Huck, making like a British Andy Griffith.
Ch. 13 considers “Huck” and “Quick Draw” its favorite television personalities. They are even watched by personnel of the station—a critical group of viewers hardened by constant exposure to westerns, musicals, variety and detective shows.

At the time, all the product marketing from the show was aimed at kids. Today, it’s different. DVDs of the old shows are for those of us who watched Huck and Yogi years ago as kids. We can only hold out hope that a second season Huck and a complete collection of Quick Draw McGraw cartoons will finally get their deserved release.

1 comment:

  1. interestingly, they didn't mention Don Messick being Daws' vocal partner in those same cartoons. i have the DVD of HUCKLEBERRY HOUND, it has a bonus feature about Daws Butler and features a few contemporary voice actors/actresses.