Wednesday 28 November 2012

Green-Haired Barney Rubble

Barney Rubble’s hair started out as a grey tone. That’s because The Flintstones were originally broadcast in black and white. Then the world learned it was blond once ABC showed the cartoons in colour. But that seems to have escaped some of Hanna-Barbera’s merchandisers.

Our roving correspondent Billie Towzer has roamed the internet for more H-B knick knacks and has sent some along for your viewing, uh, pleasure. As usual, there are people far more versed in what are now H-B collectors’ items and they’re free to chime in and add what they know.

Here are some plastic Flintstones figures. Maybe it’s because the shows were in black-and-white, but colour accuracy doesn’t seem to have been a priority. But even in the black-and-white days, did anyone think Barney’s hair was really green? Or Betty was a blond (and shared the same hairstyle as Wilma)?

Here are figurines of the three stars of The Huckleberry Hound Show (sorry, meeces). I think Yogi’s carrying honey. Or maybe I don’t want to know what it is. Mr. Jinks, of course, is the wrong colour with whiskers that are a little too prominent. His name is also misspelled, but perhaps you can’t fault the manufacturer, considering Bill Hanna misspelled it as “Jinx” in his autobiography.

Here are some pencil erasers by something-or-other Industries of Chatsworth, California. They’re from 1963 or later because there’s a zip code. Not recommended for kids under three, though I’d be more worried if a two-year-old were holding a pencil.

An orange-glowing Huck lamp? Great stuff. The internet says: “Plastic base with separate figural vinyl head, total lamp standing 13.5" tall. By Arch Lamp Mfg. Corp. ©Hanna-Barbera Prod. 1962. Huckleberry Hound wears hat with his name in raised letters on band. Lamp came issued in several colors.”

Didn’t all kids have one variety of these at one time? You drew with a pencil with a nub on the end and when you wanted to make the next drawing, you simply lifted the grey film and started over again. I guess computers kind of made this obsolete. But what do expect for 29 cents? The Magic Slate was made by in 1962 Western Publishing, more noted for its comic books. Read the history of it in this Los Angeles Times story.

If you wanted an Unmagic Slate, then Standard Toycraft had this for you. I can picture some three-year-old foregoing the slate and just drawing George Jetson on the wall. You’ll notice in the bottom right-hand a little red box of H-B characters. Sorry I can’t make it bigger. I presume it’s of the regular Jetsons characters.

Finally we have something labelled Baba Looey Purex Soaky Green Sombrero Brown Plastic Figure bank. The internet says: “This bank measures approx. 8" tall. The coin slot is on the top of his bright green sombrero. To retrieve the coins, you simply remove the sombrero and the coins will come out the top. This is stamped HANNA BARBERA PUREX on the bottom.”

My thanks to Billie for digging around. There are still more goodies that will be saved for a future post.

Saturday 24 November 2012

Yogi Bear — Bears and Bees

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Story – Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi, John, Sam, Bee, Henry, Health Inspector – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Red Kerchief Woman, White Hat Woman, Kid in Back Seat, Dark Haired Woman – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Spencer Moore, Raoul Kraushaar, Jack Shaindlin.
First Aired: week of January 16, 1961.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-046.
Plot: Yogi finds some honey and sets up a stand to barter it for pic-a-nic type goodies.

Hanna-Barbera characters were known for their 5 o’clock shadow, especially on The Flintstones. It apparently made it easier to draw mouth movements on a separate cel from the rest of the character. It makes sense for Fred and Barney to have 5 o’clock shadow. But for a child? Believe it or not, there’s a kid with 5 o’clock shadow in Bears and Bees.

Wait. I think I figured out the reason. The scene cuts to signs along the highway. They’re just like Burma Shave signs. 5 o’clock shadow! Shave! Get it?

Okay, maybe that’s not it.

Tony Rivera is the layout artist on this cartoon, and he loved those heavy parallel face lines on his characters. He also seems to have liked no necks in profile, with body and head one, long tube shape, and little stem legs. To the left you see an example of this with Ranger Smith, who also has his jacket wider than his pants. Other layouts of the ranger have his jacket and pants as kind of a one-piece jump suit; it seems the ranger was treated like an incidental character so each layout artist/character designer came up with a model sheet for him in every cartoon.

Characters in Rivera’s Jellystone who wore glasses had really thick frames. Let’s look at his other incidental characters for this cartoon.

Here are some backgrounds that Rivera would have laid out from Warren Foster’s storyboard. The cars around Yogi’s honey stand have those oval, gridded grilles like early ‘50s Nashes, the ugliest cars on the face of the Earth. The silhouettes are a welcome change. In the ranger station background, the isosceles triangle trees are a Rivera specialty. The backgrounds were painted by Dick Thomas, who utilises a variety of greens. The grass is sponged. I like how the ranger’s jeep or some other vehicle has dug tire tracks in the grass.

The cartoon was animated by Hicks Lokey. I’m trying to find something visually distinctive about him. Reader Howard Fein says Hicks tended to draw facial features too big, and the only place I’ve seen that is in the scene where Yogi’s doing his beg-for-food act.

Otherwise, his Yogi and Boo Boo look fairly attractive (the characters had consistent model sheets by Dick Bickenbach). I like the close-up expressions as the ranger is shaming Yogi for trying to beg for pic-a-nic food. You’ll notice the eye dips below the top of the lighter brown face/muzzle.

Warren Foster’s story is the basic Yogi-Boo Boo-Ranger-Jellystone-Food battle of wits with only a few interesting bits of dialogue and a cop-out ending. Ranger Smith gets a call. Yogi and Boo Boo are on their way to the picnic area. Cut to the bears. Yogi, like the slob bear in the Walter Lantz cartoon Fodder and Son (1957) tries a couple of guises to get food. He puts on a sash and pretends to be the Jellystone Ambassador of Good Will, exempt from “Do Not Feed” rules (“The Ranger won’t like it, Yogi.” “You better not do it, Yogi,” says Boo Boo, Yogi’s conscience stand-in) but leaves after a threat to call the ranger. Then he tries his begging act (“Gosh, this is embarrassing,” Boo Boo tells us). Yogi’s monologue includes: “They spend billions on missiles, but not a penny on us. Bears don’t need missiles. They need morsels.” Yogi’s histrionics end quickly when he notices a pair of khaki pants and looks up to see Ranger Smith.

With calm disgust, the Ranger spouts off with his bears/noble creatures/don’t-need-man’s-food speech. You’ve heard it in other cartoons. Evidently Yogi has, too, though he lets the ranger think he’s swallowed it by commenting, in a paraphrase of Sir Winston Churchill: “If bears live for a thousand years, they shall say that this was their finest hour.”

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Yogi feels a need to explain sex to Boo Boo. What?! Why? Oh, it’s Foster’s ham-handed way of getting into the second part of the cartoon. He’s explaining the birds and the bees. Boo Boo sees a bee. Yogi flicks it away. The angry bee zooms into the air and then back down to sting him in the you-know-where.. At that point, Yogi discovers the bee has made honey in the hollow log he and Boo Boo are sitting on and that gives him an idea.

The scene cuts to the car with the kid who needs the shave. And the Burma Shave-type signs read by dad in a Daws Butler voice that sounds like a relaxed Cap’n Crunch:

When you eat
Beneath the trees
Eat Yogi’s Honey
From contented bees.

Yogi’s exchanging his honey, which Boo Boo is pouring with a gooping sound effect into glass jars from the log, for tourist food. Cut to the health inspector talking to Ranger Smith. “This honey that bear is selling in these second-hand bottles isn’t healthy. They’re full of ants, twigs, bits of leaves and bark. You’d better stop this pinch-penny racket of yours or else.” Cut back to Yogi with the ranger standing behind him. Of course, Yogi doesn’t realise it as he atypically brags to Boo Boo that he’s “smarter than the average ranger.” And then he turns around. You’ve seen this bit before.

The ranger follows behind as Yogi and Boo Boo carry the log back to where they found it. “Let that be a lesson to you, Yogi,” says the ranger. “And remember one thing. He who laughs last, laughs best.” Then the ranger starts laughing. The yucks are ended by the annoyed bee who stings the ranger in the you-know-where. What?! What did the ranger do to the bee to deserve it? He even brought back the bee’s honey. I guess a turn-around gag is all Foster could come up with. Yogi laughs last to end the cartoon.

The music of Spencer Moore and the team of Bill Loose and John Seely dominate the cartoon. The cues generally fill a scene, though “Pixie Comedy” starts up in mid-cue in mid-sentence when John’s wife is annoyed at Yogi’s ambassador act. The cue ends when the scene ends and then starts all over at the beginning when the next scene starts. The reverbed muted trumpet cue that may be by Raoul Kraushaar also makes an appearance and Jack Shaindlin’s “Lickety Split” is back-timed to end the cartoon.

0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin-Shows-Hanna-Barbera).
0:30 - TC-432 HOLLY DAY (Loose-Seely) – Shot of ranger station, Yogi talks to Boo Boo, puts on sash, “Get rid of that dusty animal.”
1:31 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – “He’s shedding”, Yogi walks away.
1:59 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi talks to Boo Boo, Yogi begs, “Khaki pants!?”
2:55 - creepy muted reverb trumpet music (Kraushaar) – Yogi stares at audience, up shot of Ranger Smith.
3:05 - L-78 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Ranger Smith shaming scene.
3:30 - TC-202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi and Boo Boo walk away, talk near tree.
4:14 - TC-437 SHOPPING DAY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi and Boo Boo on log, Yogi flicks bee away, bee shakes head.
4:37 - TC-221A HEAVY AGITATO (Loose-Seely) – Bee growls, stings Yogi.
4:53 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Yogi runs from log, spots honey, Yogi and Boo Boo carry log.
5:30 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – Car on highway, signs, Yogi in booth, Boo Boo fills jars.
6:02 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Health inspector scene, Ranger in booth with Yogi.
6:37 - L-1139 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Yogi and Boo Boo carry log, Ranger laughs, Bee looks down.
6:53 - LAF-74-2 LICKETY SPLIT (Shaindlin) – Bee zooms down, Ranger stung, Yogi laughs.
7:10 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

Friday 23 November 2012

Giving Credit

Those of you who have the Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear Show DVDs that were released several years ago will know that almost all the cartoons have more than a title card at the start. They have a couple of other cards with credits listed on them; not a full list, but one that shows the main people who worked on each cartoon. Yet those of us who recall when those shows first aired (as well as the Quick Draw McGraw Show) don’t remember ever seeing credits except in the stock closing animation at the end of the half hour.

So when were the cards made? Why? How accurate are they?

I’ve had people ask me that on several different occasions, with the opinion expressed that the credits were made up for syndication almost three decades after the cartoons originally aired because that’s the first time anyone remembers seeing them.

It’s times like this I miss that great friend of early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, Earl Kress. Earl was interested in the arcanum of the cartoons and I’m pretty sure he looked around and found an answer to the mystery. Earl passed away over a year ago. In his archives he had this:

This is a sheet that was used by the cameraman to shoot the titles. You can see that it has not just the one opening title card but all five of them we’re used to seeing now, including the credits, as well as footage allotted for fades. At the far right is the count in feet and inches, the number to the left of that is the frame count. So the opening titles took up 40 feet or 640 frames (there are 16 frames to a foot). If you compare the lettering, it was done by whoever lettered the actual cards.

The most interesting thing is the hand-written notation up top. The footage was shot in 35 millimetre and a date of March 11, 1959 is given for Take Number 1. So, is that when the credits were shot? There doesn’t appear to be a Production Number on the sheet that would indicate the cartoon itself was shot on that date.

I’m left to conclude that the credits were filmed when the cartoons were originally made and the footage was simply archived for the time when the shorts would be aired outside the Kellogg’s half-hours. It also appears a number of copies of the footage sheets were created in 1958 when the Hanna-Barbera credits included the one line for “Dialogue and Story Sketches.” When Charlie Shows left the studio, the credits for the 1959-60 TV season were changed so “Story” and “Story Sketches” were two separate credits (during mid-season, “Story Sketches” was eliminated and “Story Director” added, presumably because Alex Lovy had arrived at the studio from Walter Lantz). And, as indicated at the bottom, somewhere during the season, the bottom lettering on the credit title card was changed from “H-B Enterprises, Inc.” to “Hanna-Barbera Productions”; the final four Huck cartoons have the change, starting with “Piccadilly Dilly.” So the old categories are simply crossed off on the old sheets and new ones added by hand. Saves money instead of printing new forms. Bill Hanna would be delighted. My guess is the sheets were lettered by Art Goble, who got a credit for titles,

When did cartoons appear separately outside the Kellogg’s sponsored half hours? It wasn’t very long after they were made. It happened in 1960, October 15th to be precise. That’s when a show called “The Magic Land of Allakazam” began airing. It was, as the Jefferson City Post-Tribune called it, “…a new children’s world of television fun featuring a whole family of magicians, sleight of hand artistry, major feats of illusion, music, circus-type fun and animated cartoons…” Yes, cartoons. To quote from the paper again: “Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Jenks the Cat [sic], and those famous ‘meeces,’ Pixie and Dixie, will appear each week in a variety of Hanna-Barbara cartoons.”

Whether the cartoons shown on Mark Wilson’s Saturday afternoon magic show featured the full credits, I don’t know, but it’s obviously not true that the individual cartoons only appeared on TV some time during the 1970s or ‘80s. As for the accuracy, there only seem to be a few cartoons circulating that have the wrong credits. Yogi’s “Big Brave Bear” is one, unless Lew Marshall suddenly started drawing like Carlo Vinci. I have a version of Augie Doggie’s “Pint Giant” that is obviously incorrect. And there are a couple of others. Some of the earliest cartoons are incomplete. Mike Lah did partial uncredited animation on a bunch of them and two years later, Bob Carr handled footage on cartoons without his name appearing. But, generally, they’re accurate. What’s maddening is the cartoons circulating with no credits at all.

Incidentally, if you look at the top of the sheet you’ll see the hand-written initials “NS.” That stands for Norm Stainback, a cameraman at the studio from the early days through the late 1970s.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Flintstones Weekend Comics, November 1962

There are some really tremendous and enjoyable layouts in the Flintstones Sunday comics of November 50 years ago. Due to a lack of access to sources where I’ve been getting these, I doubt I’ll be posting any more. If I don’t, these will be a fitting swan song. The top rows come from one paper and the bottom two from another, hence the quality change. Click on any of them to enlarge them. I hope someone is able to, once again, come forward and identify the artist on these.

Fred’s expressions in the November 4th comic are great. I love the second last one with the huge floppy tongue like George Nicholas drew in the animated series. Dino is the incidental lounging character in this week’s opening panel.

The artist has even better layouts in November 11th. Look how the running Fred turns into speed lines. And the front view of Barney’s car, an angle I don’t think was ever used in on the series. The crooked car angle in the middle row is neat, too. We get not only another “Eeeoww” (see the previous comic) but a “Voing” sound effect. Just a great cartoon.

A shame the top row didn’t make it into a lot of newspapers. The November 18th comic has another great opening layout. Fred and Barney in the middle foreground and groups of people in the left and right backgrounds, but the groups are at different distances and one’s in silhouette to vary things. There’s another silhouette of Fred and Barney, but it doesn’t have them against a plain colour background. There are paintings. I like the composition of the last panel; three characters, an object and two word balloons but it’s not cluttered in the slightest. And Fred imagining himself in different sculpture guises is funny, too.

What? The Flintstones’ house gets wrecked twice in one month? It happens in the November 25th comic again. Wilma has changed her hair colour. Baby Puss makes an appearance in the opening panel. And there’s another dinosaur with a question mark over its head like in the comics last month; this time, it’s Dino in the last panel.

Betty got the month off. And perhaps little Amber has become stuck in some tar pits. We can hope.

Saturday 17 November 2012

Snooper and Blabber — Big Cat Caper

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, Snagglepuss – Daws Butler; Hazel – Jean Vander Pyl; Major, Elephant, Cop – Don Messick.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, Emil Cadkin/Harry Bluestone, unknown.
First Aired: week of January 17, 1961 (rerun, week of June 6, 1961).
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-034, Production J-97.
Plot: Snooper and Blabber are offered $5,000 to transport Snagglepuss to a zoo.

Snagglepuss mixed with other Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters in the cartoons-between-the-cartoons on the Yogi Bear Show, where he was starring in his own series starting in 1961. But before that, Mike Maltese mixed him with other H-B characters in the cartoons themselves. He gave Snagglepuss the role of an antagonist in several cartoons in each of the three series on the Quick Draw McGraw Show. This version of Snagglepuss was really funny as a lippy and flamboyant “bad guy” in three Quick Draw cartoons and it’s easy to see why he got his own show.

Of the seven pre-Snagglepuss series cartoons, Big Cat Caper is probably the weakest because it’s the most conventional. Maltese is getting all the elements in place that would ultimately be found in the series. There’s the Major (stouter in this one, thanks to Paul Sommer’s design) engaged in a punny-geographic tête–à–tête with Snagglepuss. There’s “Exit, Stage Right.” There’s “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” (which originated in Bert Lahr’s performance in the 1944 movie Meet the People). Snagglepuss is even treated, more or less, as a co-star, getting pounded by an incidental character. Unfortunately, the cartoon’s not as funny as when he confused Quick Draw McGraw by pretending to be his own twin brother in The Lyin’ Lion or scolded Augie Doggie for stepping on his line in The Party Lion. He was far more aggressive in those roles. And, to be honest, his series was likeable but not as funny, either.

The animator in this cartoon is Hicks Lokey, whose theatrical career started in New York City. He worked for Aesop’s Fables studio in the ‘20s (it became the Van Beuren studio, with Paul Terry leaving and opening his own studio), then at Fleischer’s where he supported the 1937 strike. The Fleischer brothers decided he could support himself elsewhere, so he moved to the west coast and worked for Walter Lantz before getting a job with the other Walter on Fantasia, with former Terry co-worker Norm Ferguson putting in a good word for him with Disney. He was an Army captain during the war. What he was doing after that is, no doubt, in someone’s aural history collection but he doesn’t appear to have worked in animation again until 1960, arriving on Hanna-Barbera’s doorstep and staying a couple of decades until retirement. Lokey’s drawing style is attractive in this cartoon. He’s much like Ed Love in dialogue, though less jerky. Snagglepuss’ head doesn’t have two positions (or seven, like Love); Lokey uses five. Snagglepuss has a flatter head in this cartoon and a pointed chin when he speaks certain vowels. And I like the mouth Lokey gives Blabber when Blab is doing his usual police siren impression.

Sommer’s layouts are very basic and scenes have characters travelling left to right, like on a stage (though they do cheat toward the camera, especially when talking to the audience). Even Bob Gentle’s backgrounds aren’t very elaborate; he tries to use a few different shades of green in trees but his buildings are simple squares and rectangles with blocks of colour for doors and windows.

Maltese had a sure-fire way of getting into the action of the cartoon quickly that he used a number of times, and he does it here. Snooper talks on the car radio to his secretary Hazel, who tells him what the next job is and the two exchange pleasantries before the call ends and Snoop and Blab zoom off into the next scene. In this cartoon, Snooper opens by butchering Hazel’s name and revealing he’s travelling on “Blab power.” Cut to Blabber pushing the car because the pair can’t afford gas. You can see the ‘50s are over. The car doesn’t have outrageously huge fins. It also has a door handle but no door. “Eurek-kee-ah!!” Snoop says when told about the job offer from the Major: $5,000 to transport Snagglepuss to the zoo. And he and Hazel get into it about her parakeet, previously mentioned in The Lion is Busy, the other Snooper-Snagglepuss cartoon. “The poor thing hasn’t eaten for so long, he’s shrunken to hummin’bird size,” Hazel drawls. “Well, you’ll get paid after this caper, Hazel. Meanwhile, give your parakeet hummin’ lessons.” The scene ends with Blab doing his police siren impression as he pushes the car.

Cut to the Major and the orange version of Snagglepuss (he wasn’t pink until his own series) drinking tea in the Adventurers Club, the setting of a number of later Snagglepuss cartoons. The mountain lion thinks the tea is “De-lish-shee-ous.” “I might even go so far-uh as to say it’s abom-in-a-ble,” says the caged animal. “Awfully decent of you, Snagglepuss,” replies the Major. Snooper and Blabber knock and come in. “Heavens to Murgatroyd! The things they leave out of cages these days,” Snagglepuss observes. Snoop wants to know how things are in Pick-a-Lily Square and tells the Major he’ll skip the “tea and trumpets.” Snagglepuss gets into an argument with the Major about whether he was caught in the Petawambi or the Zambezi. The Major lets Snagglepuss out of his cage to check a globe. Sure enough, it was the Zambezi (a river which divided the two Rhodesias; I don’t know if there is a “Petawambi”). “And that’s where I’m headed for. Exit, stage right!” Snoop gets his own catchphrase in: “Stop in the name of the $5000 fee!”

Snagglepuss ducks into a city park with a zoo (conveniently, the zoo where Snoop is being paid to deliver him). The Major organises a safari, complete with Blab playing the bongo drums which attract an elephant. Snagglepuss’ comment on Blab’s bongo playing: “Now, ain’t that a kick in the head” (the title of a Jimmy Van Heusen-Sammy Cahn song that came out a little more than six months after this cartoon appeared on TV). You’ve got to feel a little sorry for Hicks here. He animated part of the wonderful pink elephant dance in Dumbo, and he’s been reduced to drawing a limited animation elephant in this cartoon. One of his drawings of the elephant zooming out of his enclosure to meet up with Blab is just a red mass (on twos).

“Heavens to Murgatroyd!” Snagglepuss says again, this time with exasperation over the elephant being attracted by Blab’s “Simba, samba” chat and bongo playing. The elephant doesn’t take any crap. He uses his trunk to Snagglepuss up by the neck and throw him through a tree. Snagglepuss tells the elephant not to be so “Preterb-ed.”

Cut to the Major and Snooper. The Major vows to shoot Snagglepuss “right between the eyes.” He grazes him in the butt. Maltese wants us to make sure we get the butt joke by having the Major repeat his line. “Between the eyes? He must think I’m a midget” is the best response Maltese can come up with for Snagglepuss.

“Stop in the limb of the law!” It’s Snoop’s catchphrase time. And now we get the almost-patented sceptical cop scene. You know, where the heroes explain they’re dealing with an antagonist, the cop doesn’t believe them, then the antagonist shows up and the cop realises it’s true, usually ending his involvement with a phone call to “sarge” about how sick he is or a comment to the camera. The difference in this cartoon is the cop isn’t Irish (he has Don Messick’s growly voice used for brown cats in the Pixie and Dixie cartoons) and the cop makes his comment to Snagglepuss before running out of the scene. Maltese comes up with a groaner. Says the cop to the Major and Snooper: “A loose lion is it? Well, beat it before I loose my temper and run you in for lyin’.” But then he notices Snagglepuss is right in front of him and gulps. “You are kinda like a loose lion, aren’t ya?” “Well,” replies the lion, “I’m not a loose mongoose.” Must be the workload getting to Maltese; he’s been sillier than this.

The cop runs and, miraculously, his hat and nightstick stay suspended in mid-air for 16 frames. Now Snagglepuss pretends to be the cop, bashing Snooper and the Major on the top of the head before the Major shoots him. We get another “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” and more shots “between the eyes” before Blab holds open the cage door and tells Snagglepuss to run in for safety. “Clink!” goes the door and Blabber has himself a $5,000 reward.

The cartoon ends where it begins, except Snoop is now pushing the comparatively-wealthy Blab in the car. The gas station is only ten miles away (in the city?!). Blab agrees to help out. He makes the police siren sound as the cartoon fades out.

There’s a lot of Phil Green’s music in this cartoon, including Custard Pie Capers to once again end the action. My guess is the studio simply had someone record the bongo sounds instead of getting them off a music library. And we hear that light string symphonic music that’s used in a few chase scenes in several of the Snooper and Augie cartoons; I think it’s from the Sam Fox library.

0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera).
0:25 - GR-74 POPCORN (Green) – Snoop talks to Hazel.
1:14 - PG-168J FAST MOVEMENT (Green) – Blab pretends to be a siren.
1:22 - GR-155 PARKS AND GARDENS (Green) – Snag and Major drink tea, door opens.
1:38 - GR-93 DRESSED TO KILL (Green) – Snoop talks to Major, Snag talks about the Patawambi, “By Gadfry!”
2:14 - GR-456 DR QUACK (Green) – “I snagged you in the Zambesi,” Snagglepuss runs out out of scene.
2:42 - LFU-117-3 MAD RUSH No 2 (Shaindlin) – Snag runs out door, into park, “You go on ahead, Blabber.”
3:15 - CB-85A STEALTHY MOUSE (Cadkin-Bluestone) – “And flush him out,” Blab walks with bongo drum.
3:24 - bongo drum – Blab plays drum, “regular Gunga Din.”
3:43 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) - Elephant hears drums, puts trunk around Snag.
4:14 - GR-347 GATHERING THE PRODUCE (Green) - Elephant lifts up Snag, throws him through tree, Snagglepuss shot.
4:24 - GR-248 STREETS OF THE CITY (Green) – “By Gadfry!”, cop scene.
5:21 - jaunty bassoon and skippy strings (Shaindlin) – Snag puts on cop hat, Major shoots Snagglepuss, Snag runs out of scene.
6:06 - light symphonic string music (?) – Snagglepuss runs, into cage, Blab slams iron door, Snoop and Major skid to stop.
6:33 - GR-75 POPCORN SHORT BRIDGE No 1 (Green) – “Nice work…”, Blab offered reward.
6:47 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – Snoop pushes car.
7:11 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin).

Wednesday 14 November 2012

The Rug and Tumble World of Huck and Wally

Some of the most attractive drawings of the cast of The Huckleberry Hound Show aren’t to be found in the cartoons themselves. The Hanna-Barbera studio developed promotional art and product designs. Somewhere on-line, I found a couple with Huck so I’m including them in kind of a potpourri post as I clean out my computer’s photo folders.

Here’s the cast on a merry-go-round. What an attractive little layout. My default reaction is it’s by Dick Bickenbach, but I really don’t know. It seems the studio licensed the characters for carpets. Compare it with this picture of an actual rug.

So is the drawing some kind of pattern? I admit I’m not up on my carpetology.

Here’s another rug design. It was one of several. Another design, for a rug that’s about 38 x 21 inches, like a bathroom rug, featured Huck on his horse from “Sir Huckleberry Hound.”

Now, let’s move ahead a few years…

The model sheet of Wally Gator is signed by Bick. It’s apparently dated Oct. 3, 1961. Sorry I can’t make it any larger. Below it are what look like two drawings from the opening of the series. One of Hanna-Barbera’s everlasting great mysteries is why Wally Gator is a swinging alligator in the swamp in his theme song and opening animation but the series is set in a zoo.

And, finally, a couple of Huck cels. I think these came from the Van Eaton Gallery site, which is always worth a look. The first cel is from the final season’s “Huck’ Dé Paree” (1962), animated by Ken Southworth. The second one is from “Science Friction” (1961), animated by Ed Love. The background by Dick Thomas is from an earlier part of the cartoon.