Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Sing Along With Ubble and Ubble

The world can partly blame—or credit—Arthur Shimkin for the fact you can sing along to a song about Ubble Ubble.

Shimkin was an economics major and freelance writer who joined Simon and Schuster, the publisher of Little Golden Books for children, in 1948. He did a bit of research and found parents constantly coped with kids who wanted to have the Little Golden Books read to them over and over and over. Couldn’t someone record the Little Golden Books to give us parents a break, they asked. That fall, the company debuted twelve 78-rpm storybook records at 25 cents each and created an instant Little Golden Mine. Golden Records expanded and expanded and by 1956 the company was responsible for half the children’s records sold, outdoing the venerable Capitol Records with Alan Livingston at the helm.

Hanna-Barbera Enterprises got underway the following year and Joe Barbera was quick to capitalise on the success of his early TV cartoons by marketing the crap out of them. A natural medium for his characters was children’s records. Columbia Pictures had its own label, Colpix, which released a Huckleberry Hound album in October 1959. Hanna-Barbera was being bankrolled by Columbia but, for whatever reason, cut a deal with Golden Records to release some kiddie product.

The first one was ‘GLP-51 Quick Draw McGraw and Huckleberry Hound.’ The copyright date is 1959 so it’s conceivable the album was out in time for Christmas, though Billboard magazine doesn’t review it until the following January. It’s one of those albums that would have really annoyed me when I was a kid (which I was when it came out). While the cover says “Produced by Hanna-Barbera” and the back has a picture of Bill, Huckleberry Hound and Joe, the buyer is told the music is “based” on the cartoon characters. In other words, the music really isn’t from the cartoons we kids loved, it’s “based” on them. And we’re also warned the album is “featuring the voice of Gilbert Mack.” Record labels wouldn’t expect well-meaning parents to know the difference between Daws Butler and Gil Mack, but any kid-fan of the cartoons would spot it instantly. While Gil Mack may have been a fine voice actor, he was no Daws Butler. And his attempt at replicating Daws’ characters produces winces at best. His Mr. Jinks is truly painful and his Meeces are laughable.

There’s a perfectly good reason Daws, Don Messick and Doug Young weren’t used—they were under contract to Colpix. So the New York-based Golden had a New York-based stock company of actors to fulfil its contractual obligations.

The album is based around the theme songs for the Hanna-Barbera shows then in existence. The problem was the number totalled seven. Seven songs does not an album make. So the album has been padded with songs about whatever Hanna-Barbera characters had appeared on TV at some point. Thus we get a bunch of tunes about a whole menagerie of secondary characters that appeared on Ruff and Reddy including, as we mentioned above, the totally-forgotten Ubble Ubble. If someone has the album, I’d love to know the composer credits on the obscure songs. I’ve checked the U.S Copyright Catalogue and the ASCAP and BMI databases and the copyrights seem to have lapsed.

To fill time, we get extra verses of the beloved sub-main title themes to the Yogi Bear and Pixie and Dixie cartoons, and lyrics to the Augie Doggie theme. For posterity, here are the words that will allow you to sing along:

Augie Dog was feeling sad,
‘Til he learned from Doggie Dad
Ears can flop and tails can sway.
Flippety-floppety, wiggledy-waggledy,
All of your troubles away.

Augie Dog, he flopped his ears,
Sniffed his nose and dried a tear
Then his tail began to sway.
Flippety-floppety, wiggledy-waggledy,
All of his troubles away.

If you’re ever feelin’ sad,
Take a tip from Doggie Dad—
Ears that flop and tails that sway.
Flippety-floppety, wiggledy-waggledy,
All of your troubles away.

Flippety-floppety, wiggledy-waggledy,
Flippety-floppety, wiggledy-waggledy,
All of your troubles away.

Not exactly Tin Pan Alley, is it?

The album features the Jimmy Carroll Orchestra but the Pixie and Dixie music has been lifted right from the sessions of Hoyt Curtin (at the Capitol studio in Hollywood) and was used in a couple of cartoons. Billboard reveals Don Elliott and the Cartoon Cowboys also appear on the album.

You’ll notice on the album cover, besides the fact Boo Boo has a huge neck and Doggie Daddy’s name is reversed, the presence of Yakky Doodle, still in his pre-starring, Iddy Biddy Buddy stage.

Now that we’ve warmed you up, feel free to enjoy the sounds of Gil Mack as Daws Butler.

Quick Draw McGraw
Baba Looey
Super Snooper
Blabber Mouse
Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy
Ooch, Ooch! Ouch!
El Kabong!
Huckleberry Hound
Mr. Jinks
Iddy Biddy Buddy
Pixie and Dixie
Boo Boo Bear
Yogi Bear
Ruff and Reddy
Killer and Diller
Salt Water Daffy
Harry Safari
Ubble and Ubble
Professor Gizmo

It may seem unfair to you that H-B obscurities like Ubble Ubble have a song while that talented dog who starred in three cartoons, Yowp, gets nothing. Considering the efforts you’ve heard (if you dared), it’s all just as well. Arthur Shimkim had a multiple Grammy-winning career, but not for this album.


  1. If you think Gil Mack's Mr Jinks was bad, by all means do everything you can to miss his impersonation of Snagglepuss on what must have been a follow-up LP from a couple of years later........

  2. The first album I ever returned to the store (at the age of 6) was "TV & Movie Favorites" on the Happy Time label because it was not anything close to the way the cartoons sounded. And having my mom and brother also criticize my purchase choice didn't help the matter. It was as if I produced the album (but enough about my complexes).

    I was never crazy about hearing different actors doing Hanna Barbera voices on their very own HBR label, either. But as I grew older and realized that these were actually great actors like June Foray, Paul Frees and Allan Melvin, I was more forgiving and actually appreciated hearing their "take" on the characters. It's like Saturday morning Shakespeare to me, comparing the Daws Butler Jinks to the Paul Frees Jinks. Same role, very different interpretation.

    That said, I am going to probably upset some folks when I say that I LIKED the Golden versions, though some more than others. I will also go as far to say that I LOVED "Push Button Blues" even at the age of five and still love it. I knew full well it wasn't the same lady as on TV, but it was a great song and a great performance.

    Rose Marie Jun sang for Jane Jetson. She's a New York stage actress and legendary demo singer. She costarred with Barbra Streisand in "Pins and Needles" and sang demos that sold some of the biggest and most important Broadway score ever (look her up on amazon). You heard her in endless commercials even though you didn't know it.

    Herb Duncan was George Jetson. He was also "Muggy Doo" on the Milton The Monster show and enjoyed a long stage and TV commercial career. I met him in the early 80s when he was doing a commercial for a company I worked for. He could not believe how he had such a fan in me, as the "other" George Jetson." He never got a copy of the album so I made him a cassette and he was delighted to share it with his family.

    Gil Mack was not Daws Butler. But he was one of the most sought after radio actors in New York and did tons of CBS Mystery Theater shows. What must be kept in mind is that none of these actors had much reference as to how to imitate the originals. No one was popping in a DVD or even sending 16mm prints to Golden Records for reference. The budgets were slim and time was tight. Whatever reference they had I am positive was minimal and probably no more than the merchandising package HB sent to book publisher and toy makers.

    The issues were contractual, yes, but they were also budgetary. You can't always justify fly out talent and accommodate them for a $1.98 album, especially when you have to stretch an annual production budget to cover a year's worth of releases.

    Peter Pan also released several HB albums without the voices with varying quality. Despite the presence of Jackson Beck, "The Flintstones Meet Weevil Primeval" is pretty lame, yet "The Hair Bear Bunch" is listenable, mostly because Lionel Wilson's range matched the types of voices that were impersonated (and let's face it -- that wan't Joe Flynn doing Peevely on the TV show either).

    There's no denying that records that didn't have "the REAL voices" as we kids called them were sometimes a disappointment, but I have a soft spot for the ones that tried the best they could to capture the spirit as much as possible considering the circumstances.

  3. Oh, and as far as the songwriters -- either they were Curtin/Hanna/Barbera creations that were written and not used in the cartoons (but maybe created for sheet music and publishing purposes) or they may have been the work of, maybe, Mary Rodgers, Alec Wilder and/and Marshall Barer, who wrote many songs for Little Golden Records, including TV shows like Lassie, Rin Tin Tin.

    By the way, the lyrics for Mighty Mouse were written by Barer for Golden Records (it's on one of two "Best of Golden Records" CDs) and it should also be pointed out that the Golden Flintstone album was a bonafide authentic HB recording -- complete with "Meet the Flintstones."

    The same is true with Rocky and His Friends and Magilla Gorilla. Arthur Shimkin was a class act and always tried to produce the best children's records possible.

  4. Steve J.Carras20 July 2011 at 17:13

    These record companies never ceased to amaze me with those second, aka replacement cast records, something that both Greg and Tim themselves would know about, since about 5-6 years ago they finally got that book published about the Disneyland records, Mouse Tracks, which really the first major in-depth look at (in my humble opinion) the Disneyland vinyl records, of interest to me and in relevance here, the 50s-70s ones that had different cast members for a soundtrack record than the cartoon or live film.

    There, of course, there was (unlike the few 1990s replacements at several studios, like Disney themselves with the Winchell vs Cummings "which should be the lead Tigger" (for the character's movie) or Nickelodeon with the Ren of Ren and Stimpy fiasco, or Hanna-Barbera and Uni for Judy Jetson), a LOGICAL REASON for the replacement of a voice actor here.

    In the case of the HB records, contract, and, as Greg has said, money, and ALSO, very specific and similair to the last, LOGISTICAL--Colpix was in California, for Christ's sake!:)

    The money reason was the reason for the Disneyland Records second casts (see Mouse Tracks).

  5. Greg Chenoweth21 July 2011 at 06:29

    I still have this record from when I was a child. I transferred it to my iTunes collection because it was always a favorite of mine. I don't know where my wife has stored the original album right now, but I'll find out later. I do not think that the record labels mentioned who wrote the songs at all. The "Ruff and Reddy" song is the actual theme song from the show. You'll notice that there are seven songs on side one and twelve on side two. The side one songs go strictly with Quick Draw McGraw, who was the new star when the record debuted and then side two was all Huckleberry Hound/Ruff and Reddy related.

    Also, two Colpix Records of Hanna-Barbera material with Daws Butler have been digitally remastered and are now available through iTunes, and other digital download sites. The first is "Here Comes Huckleberry Hound" and the second one is the "Yogi Bear" Soundtrack album. "Here Comes Huckleberry Hound" is listed under the artist "Daws Butler and Don Messick" and "Yogi Bear" is listed as only "Daws Butler." I think Joe Bevilacqua is the one responsible for getting them released but I don't know for sure.

  6. Probably around kindergarten age I had a 45RPM with the Augie Doggie song whose lyrics you've transcribed. The flip side was the (presumably padded out) QUICK DRAW McGRAW SHOW theme, which was unearthed fifteen years ago for the PIC-A-NIC BASKET CD.

    From having heard previous cuts of the bizarrely recast HBR releases, I'd love to hear more if only for the incongruity of post-1962 Curtin scores heard under (even the replacement voices) of Yogi, Huck and other characters whose shorts had ceased production in 1962.

    Greg mentioned Paul Frees as having done Mr. Jinks in one of these HBR releases. Interestingly, a 1965 KFS BEATLES episode featured a surf bully voiced by Frees who spoke not all that differently than Jinks himself. It could be that Frees was imitating Marlon Brando's 1950s 'thug/rebel' voice- which also supposedly inspired Daws' characterization of Jinks.

  7. "Get stuff, get ready,
    Here come Ruff and Reddy..."

  8. Wow! These guys had the "gig" that many of us would have loved to have at least had a stab at. I don't think we would have sounded any worse-Ha!!!

  9. Thank you, Greg C, for mentioning the new iTunes versions of the Colpix records. I checked for them on amazon, and then searched under the record label (Master Classic) and found a lot of amazing things reissued, including CinderFella, The Flying Nun, Dennis the Menace and more. I never would have known otherwise!

  10. Does anyone remember of the Yogi Bear first theme song, which was played on the initial credits of the character's episodes, which was featured on the 1st season (1958-59) from The Huckleberry Hound Show (Hanna-Barbera/Columbia Pictures, 1958-62). The lyrics are the following:

    "Who keeps cool the things when things are hot?
    Yogi Bear!
    Who believes the world he dreams but always winds up the beam?
    Yooooogi Bear!"

  11. What you're quoting, Rodinei, is the "edited" version of Yogi's opening theme (1958), because of edited opening credits. In the "full" credits, The Randy Van Horne Singers sing:

    "Who is always on the spot?
    Who is? YOGI BEAR!
    Who keeps cool when things are hot?
    Who does? YOGI BEAR!
    Who believes a wild daydream,
    and falls for some fantastic scheme,
    but always winds up on the beam?

    As for "TV and Movie Favorites" (1962), Greg, I think you should have paid more attention to the cover, as Huck and Yogi are crudely drawn (probably to avoid copyright infringement). The only "authorized" songs on that album are the cheaply produced themes for Huck and Yogi- the rest of the album featured reissues from Pickwick's "Cricket" 78/45 releases during the '50s [they also marketed the "Happy Time" label in the '60s]. Even the "Wyatt Earp" song was an original composition [they probably couldn't get the rights to record- or pay for- the TV theme song]. The Golden "Quick Draw McGraw" album was more "legitimate", even though they used New York talent to record the album, and a few "soundtrack" throwaways {Colpix, because of H-B's distribution agreement with their parent, Columbia Pictures/Screen Gems, was the only "authorized" record label for "genuine" H-B material, incluing soundtracks}.

  12. For 1987 and later reruns of the Yogi shorts, as Rodinei had earlier discovered, some prints have a shorter version of the 1958 theme song, which is edited down so the Van Horne singers sing just these lines:

    "Who keeps cool when things are hot?
    Who does? YOGI BEAR!
    Who believes a wild daydream,
    but always wind up on the beam?

    Season 2 (1959-60) and 3 (1961) Yogi episodes originally used the instrumental version.