Wednesday, 30 June 2010

That’s Quick Draw McGraw? And That’s Gene Hazelton?

There’s something fascinating about seeing cartoon characters in development before they hit the screen—model sheets, storyboards, conceptual drawings and that sort of thing. Thanks to the web and the old-fashioned printing press, we can get a peek at something more than the finished product in the first Hanna-Barbara cartoons.

A while ago, a site called Comicrazies re-posted a bunch of stuff the Cartoon Network had on its site at one time. Included is this early drawing of Quick Draw McGraw and Baba Looey.

You have now reached the part of the blog where you will shake your head in disgust and mutter “Is he stupid? Can’t he tell?” I am presuming this is an Ed Benedict drawing, though it’s not initialled. The site also has this 1958 model sheet by Dick Bickenbach.

The actual design process at H-B is still a little unclear to me. I don’t know if Bick and Ed worked independently, or if one worked on the other’s designs, or if it varied from series to series.

Even more interesting is some of Ed Benedict’s work featured at Mike Van Eaton’s on-line gallery.

We all know that Snagglepuss appeared as a naked orange mountain lion on several different cartoons before he got his own series and his starched theatrical collar. It isn’t clear whether this drawing was of the original Snag or the series Snag (note the lack of a collar).

Mike’s site also has these great design drawings for Yogi Bear. The final one is the most puzzling.

The last one is supposed to be of Yogi, Boo Boo and Cindy. But by the time Cindy showed up, Yogi had been on the air for two seasons. Why H-B would consider changing the design at that point is a puzzler.

There’s lots of great stuff, some of which found its way into Jerry Beck’s The Hanna-Barbera Treasury, which never surfaced in my local book store (grrrr). Included are storyboard pages, like this:

The story board is the work of Warren Foster for the 1961 cartoon Ice Box Raider. The credits on the H-B cartoons are a little confusing to an outsider like me. Paul Sommer is listed as the story director on that cartoon (Alex Lovy got a “story director” credit on others) but I don’t know what the story director actually did.

The Comicrazy site has some great story panels as well.

This one is for Slick City Slicker. Mike Maltese wrote the story but Dan Gordon was credited with “story sketches” on some of the other series on the Quick Draw show. However, someone over on John Kricfalusi’s website says this board was done by Gene Hazelton who, of course, worked on cartoons with Joe and Bill (and Tex) at MGM. Writer Jeff Lenberg claims Hazelton was at Hanna-Barbera when the studio started in 1957 but I don’t recall seeing him credited anywhere and am at a loss to explain exactly what he was doing there.

Of course, we have far more knowledgeable people reading this blog and I’m sure they can comment and fill us in.

Yowp Note: As an added bonus for you Hazelton fans, here is a newspaper ad from April 1962 featuring the Gas Genie. Hazelton developed the cute character in 1957 for the natural gas industry to be used in newspapers and on billboards. Click to enlarge and see the “©GH”.

Hazelton, according to Billboard of May 20, 1957, was creative supervisor of Grantray-Lawrence, known in the 1960s for the cheesy TV Spiderman cartoons. The same edition notes Lew Marshall had been added to the staff of Animation, Inc., run by Earl Klein. Marshall couldn’t have been there long as he, presumably, was at the newly-formed H-B Enterprises that year.


  1. Hi Yowp,

    That last Quick Draw storyboard you posted was definitely not drawn by Gene Hazelton, but probably by Alex Lovy. Gene did indeed draw storyboards for Quick Draw fact, I have seen his storyboards for both Huck and Quick Draw show "bumpers". Hazelton also produced licensing art for H-B, including the sketches for the Huck and Yogi viewmaster setups.

  2. Wow - what a flashback. I remember the Gas Genie from the 60's when I lived in Winnipeg. My family had a doll of that character too. IIRC there was another character that went with Gas Genie - gray in color and smaller. (The Gas Genie was doll was blue)I don't recall its name.

  3. You're right, that bear family isn't Yogi- I saw them recently in a different H&B cartoon, but the name escapes me.

  4. I remember the times how old Cartoon Network website having in safe those old pre-models from this cartoons. I admit that the original design looks more specific and oriented to the audience than the version we have.

    About "Slick City Slicker", it's a great cartoon where Maltese reuse a lot of his Warner gags. Even as a kid i can recognise the connection between Warner Bros. and the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, but never thinkin to the writers.

  5. heyy there yowp i havent left a comment in a while but dont think ive forgotten about your remarkable blog , excelent info on these classic cartoons i had no idea there was so much that went into them , it makes you appreciate them even more , and mega kudos for all your previous shares of library music (Big Thanks)

  6. Shane, they look like something designed for a commercial, not for Yogi. But I really don't know. What's interesting is the bear has the same bent-wrist construction that George Nicholas used on Yogi.

  7. Could the grouping of bear drawings (above the bear family) have been sketched out for "Hey There It's Yogi Bear??"

  8. Cool Stuff, That Yogi Bear Design IS SOOO Cool and also Very Naturalistic and Organic as it looks like an actual bear, Ed Benedict ROCKS!, The Final Yogi design, by comparision, Looks SO Dull, Flat and Lifeless, and It Does NOT Even look like a bear as Ed's Original Designs promised, Instead The Final Version IMO is Just A Really Bland, Extremely Flat, Graphic Stylized Wallpaper Symbol. H-B should have kept Ed Benedict's Original Designs Rather Than Have Them Watered Down Drastically - Asim.