Saturday 30 March 2013

Yogi Bear — Genial Genie

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Senator – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Genie, Ranger Smith, NORAD officer, Jet Pilot – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Geordie Hormel, Spencer Moore, Jack Shaindlin.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-048.
First Aired: likely 1961.
Plot: Boo Boo finds a magic lamp and Yogi wishes for a magic carpet.

At the end of “Genial Genie,” Yogi regrets to Boo Boo “That Mr. Genie, he talked me into wishin’ for a flyin’ carpet when I coulda wished for a five-year supply of pizza pie.” Quite true. But we wouldn’t have had much of a cartoon then.

Actually, we don’t have much of a cartoon anyway. It’s pleasant enough and Warren Foster’s story structure is good. But there’s no real bite to it—and Foster had a chance to bite during the NORAD scene. We mainly get some puns and a few of Yogi’s rhyming phrases; no great lines like “Oh, sweet spirits of Camphor! Can’t a man get any nourishment around here?” like Foster wrote for another genie in the fine Bugs Bunny cartoon “A-Lad-in His Lamp” (released 1948). And Don Messick comes up with a voice for the genie that evokes Frank Nelson’s floorwalker character on the Jack Benny radio show; Messick used it for a floorwalker in a Snooper and Blabber cartoon about a year earlier.

Oh, there’s another connection between this cartoon and “A-Lad-in His Lamp.” Both featured backgrounds by Dick Thomas. Here he provides a nice, pleasant one at the opening of the cartoon. Like many H-B efforts, there’s a slow pan over opening narration to start things off.

The animator is Dick Lundy. I’ve mentioned his three-drawing head roll before. Here it is, Genie-style.

Genie head roll

Well, maybe Lundy didn’t animate all of it. Yogi looks ugly in a few scenes. Look at his hand below. Does that look like something from a Disney animator and a top Walter Lantz director?

It looks like the legs are animated but you can’t see them because of the tight shot. That could have been on Foster’s storyboard or a decision made in layout. Paul Sommer is the layout artist here. He seems to have loved those little round eyes that Ed Benedict used on occasion. Take a look at the Senator and the NORAD commander.

In one scene, there’s a stupid-looking version of Ranger Smith, complete with overbite.

Sommer does try to make things a bit different in the opening. The narrator explains Jellystone has rustic tourist cabins that are thoroughly examined by that self-appointed inspector, Yogi Bear. Yogi and Boo Boo pop up in silhouette out of the bushes. Yogi’s rhymes: he calls Boo Boo “my fuddy-duddy buddy,” and “Old Mother Hubbard must have lived here. When Yogi got there, the cupboard was bare.” Ranger Smith catches Yogi sneaking out the back window, sticking his foot in a pail in the process. “Mr. Ranger, sir. Did you see the close call I almost had. I almost kicked the bucket.” Yogi repeats the joke twice in case we didn’t get it. Smith checkmates the year’s BS about checking for fire hazards by asking “And were there any matches left burning in the ice box.” A ship-to-the-St. Louis-zoo threat follows.

Boo Boo find “a metal teapot or something” in the next scene and misreads the inscription as “A lad’s lamp.” Yogi: “It’ll never replace the flashlight.” Boo Boo rubs the lamp and you know what happens next. “I am the genie of the lamp,” says Almost Frank Nelson, “And, please, no cracks about ‘Jeannie with the light brown hair.’ I’ve heard it a thousand times.” Yogi’s granted a wish by the genie. Yogi thinks. “Oh, come now. Don’t make me sorry I promised you,” says the annoyed genie. “How about a magic carpet? Get you around wherever you want to go. We’re featuring a new compact model this year.” Yogi’s sold. He asks for a red one. “You’ll take what I give you. You’re beginning to bug me already.” Yogi agrees to the genie’s request to throw the lamp away so someone else can make a wish.

Yogi decides to use his (blue) carpet to stage an air-raid on the pic-a-nic baskets. But the rug accidentally takes off. Foster reuses a sight gag from “A-Lad-in His Lamp.” Both Yogi and Bugs Bunny have their faces covered by their carpet after takeoff.

Ranger Smith laughs off Boo Boo’s plea for help as a “fable.” Meanwhile, NORAD picks up Yogi as a radar blip and launches missiles at him. Here was a chance for Foster to do some U.S military satire; he did it in other cartoons. If it’s there, it’s extremely weak. A Senator is being shown the latest NORAD equipment by a base commander, but all he does is repeat the commander’s words or say “Uh, huh.” He’s wearing a white suit and a cowboy hat for Daws doesn’t give him an accent of any kind; he sounds just like the Jellystone Park superintendent from cartoons earlier in the season. Anyway, the missiles rip through the carpet and Yogi finds himself riding one until the genie rescues him. Boo Boo had seen where Yogi threw the lamp, retrieved it and wished for Yogi’s safe return. The cartoon ends with Yogi crying that he wished for a carpet instead of pizzas. Yogi has a pretty thick outline when riding the missile. I wonder whether another animator did that bit.

The music is timed to fit a particular scene, for the most part, in this cartoon, though the cutter changes Jack Shaindlin cues in mid-sentence at the end “Rodeo Day” finishes with a bit more punch than “Recess.” The twinkling harp musical effect is heard twice; it was used for a few more years at Hanna-Barbera on The Flintstones.

0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin-Shows-Hanna-Barbera).
0:30 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – Opening narration, Yogi and Boo Boo talk.
1:09 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi goes into cabin, Ranger shows up.
1:43 - LAF-25-3 zig-zag string and bassoon (Shaindlin) – Yogi at back window, talks to Ranger.
2:27 - ZR-52 LIGHT QUIET (Hormel) – Yogi and Boo Boo walk, Boo Boo rubs lamp.
3:07 - harp music – smoke comes out of lamp.
3:14 - L-78 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Yogi talks about trimming the wick.
3:17 - ZR-49 LIGHT EERIE (Hormel) – Genie appears, floats over to Yogi.
3:22 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Yogi talks to Genie.
4:26 - L-1121 ANIMATION NAUTICAL (Moore) – Carpet appears, Yogi tosses lamp.
4:46 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – “Nice throw, Yogi,” carpet takes off.
5:02 - ZR-47 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Yogi on carpet, Ranger and Boo Boo scene.
5:39 - C-19 LIGHT ACTIVITY (Loose) – NORAD scene.
6:06 - LAF-72-2 RODEO DAY (Shaindlin) – Yogi carpet/rescue scene.
6:46 - LAF-21-3 RECESS (Shaindlin) – Yogi and Boo Boo walk and talk, “When I coulda wished….”
7:04 - LAF-72-2 RODEO DAY (Shaindlin) – “For a five year supply…,” iris out.
7:10 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

Thursday 28 March 2013

Flintstones Weekend Comics, March 1963

Little Pebbly-Poo didn’t dominate the Flintstones Sunday comics in the weeks after she was born. For the month of March, she entered into plot of only one comic and made a cameo appearance in the optional top row of another. But we get all four main characters and both pets over the course of the month.

Want to complain about anachronisms? How about March 3, 1963, when teenagers are listening to KTLA? KTLA (a TV station) wasn’t invented until 1947, 1939 if you want to use the original call sign. There’s an incidental dino-dog in the opening panel. It’d be nice if the teenagers were named after Hanna-Barbera staffers (next month, it seems Gene Hazelton shows up). Barney’s got a lot of dots on his fur.

So is the woman in the fox stole in the second row trying to pick up Fred? (Notice in the same drawing the brontosaurus peering out from behind a building). The last drawing’s great. A smoking volcano in the background fills the panel nicely. The sleeping Baby Puss in the opening panel is a plus. The comic is from March 10, 1963.

The boss in the March 17, 1963 comic isn’t quite Mr. Slate. Same tie and glasses, but this boss has a bit of hair and he isn’t the same shape as Slate. Barney works with Fred. The panel in the second row where Fred’s dino drops the boulder is a bit cluttered but I imagine the colour helps things stand out from each other a bit. Very nice poses on the worker and Fred. Pebbles and a cute toy tyrannosaurus appear in the opening panel. Note the stone-ish dots in the title, same as in the comic two weeks earlier.


The opening and closing panels are the highlights of the March 24, 1963 comic. This time, the mountains aren’t volcanos. Dino’s sleeping this time in the first panel instead of Baby Puss. That Barney’s “one of the good ones,” as Warren Foster would say.

Pebbles is sleeping in the opening panel in the March 31, 1963 comic. (This time, there’s a toy mastodon. Did Ideal make those?) Hazelton, or whoever did the story, came up with a variation of the old alum gag from the Warners cartoons. The middle row has the garbage dinosaur in silhouette in the background. Evidently, the garbage man is a fan of Popeye. Nice weight shift on Fred as he carries the garbage can.

As usual, you can click on each comic to enlarge it. We get dinosaurs aplenty next month.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Ruff, Reddy and a Cat on a Stick

Most people think of “Ruff and Reddy” in purely historical terms. The show comes up when the origins of the Hanna-Barbera studio are reviewed. Few people really consider it to have entertainment value. I don’t even remember watching it as a kid in the early ‘60s and I saw just about any cartoon that was on TV. Bugs and Daffy were funny. Huck and Quick Draw were funny. Ruff and Reddy weren’t. I don’t even find them likeable, especially Reddy. But they launched the H-B empire, and that’s their claim to fame.

NBC worked out a five-year deal in 1957 to air the Ruff and Reddy cartoons, which were originally part of a Saturday morning, half-hour package that also contained old theatrical shorts from the Screen Gems (Columbia) studio, woven together by a live action host and his puppets. It lasted three years. Then NBC brought back the Ruff and Reddy cartoons on September 29, 1962 for another two seasons. The format was changed. “Lo the Poor Buffal” and other lame Columbia shorts were retired and Ruff and Reddy’s adventures were tuned in on a screen by a host named Captain Bob, who interacted with puppets between the cartoons. It aired out of New York City. You can read more on Ron Kurer’s fine site HERE.

Someone on-line has posted a dub of a black-and-white print of the Captain Bob version of the show that was broadcast May 4, 1963. The best part may be the animated commercials for Fruit Stripe gum which will bring back memories to those of us of a certain age. The production values are ultra-low by network standards. It sounds like someone borrowed the Wurlitzer organ used on “Concentration” (which also aired out of NBC New York) and the cat drawing that’s moved across the set on a bobbing stick is so cheesy it’s funny. You can even hear what sounds like someone leaning back in a metal chair while the announcer is opening the show.

The Ruff and Reddy adventure that’s shown comes from the first season (1957-58) and is from Series ‘C’, “Westward Ho Ho Ho.” I think the animation is by Carlo Vinci. It features music from the Capitol Hi-Q ‘D’ series and some of it never appeared in any other Hanna-Barbera series. And you can catch a personal favourite, TC-205 LIGHT MOVEMENT, when the sheep appear in the first cartoon.

Saturday 23 March 2013

Snooper and Blabber — Fleas Be Careful

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Story – Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, Dog, Flea circus owner – Daws Butler; Gisele – Julie Bennett; Narrator, Toot Sweet, Slick Flea – Don Messick.
Music: Phil Green, Geordie Hormel, Jack Shaindlin.
First Aired: 1960
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-029, Production J-86.
Plot: Snooper helps Toot Sweet rescue his bride-to-be, Gisele, from an evil flea.

“Toot Sweet! Say, he’s the French flea who helped us solve that poodle caper a year ago.” Yes, Snooper, you’re absolutely right about that.

Toot Sweet was featured in three Snooper and Blabber cartoons, the first one being “Poodle Toodle-Oo!” in the first season, followed by this cartoon one season later, and then “Flea For All” later in the year. Mike Maltese wrote “Fleas Be Careful” and it has a superficial resemblance to one of his cartoons for Walter Lantz, “Flea For Two” (released 1955). Both feature a flea rescuing his fiancée from a slick flea, and have scenes involving champagne glasses and the little hero busting down a hotel room door.

You can always count on Maltese to fit a silly non sequitur into his story. In this one Snooper has a collection of “villainous moustaches.” They’re attached to fake noses in a display case. Why does he have one? Just for the hell of it. The collection, having performed its site-gag purpose, never appears again. The humour in the cartoon comes, as it usually does by the end of 1960, by Maltese’s Ed Gardner-inspired dialogue and Daws Butler’s word bending. Lew Marshall’s animation is lacklustre.

Well, Don Messick does a nice job here, too. He’s both the good and the bad flea (meaning there are parts of some scenes where he’s talking to himself) and provides a nice quiet, über-serious narrator. The cartoon starts with a pan over a row of brownstones (which look pink in the crappy versions of the cartoon available on-line) then cuts to a close-up of a window. Yes, the private eye-ball is back!

“Let’s go inside and see how a famous detective operates,” invites the narrator, who chats with Blab about the latest Snooper and Blabber case that “all started one dismal, foggy evening.” That means it’s flashback time, with the occasion pop back into the present as Blab relates what happened. Toot Sweet pulls up to Snooper’s apartment/office in a Snuffles-like dog; the fare is a bone and a half. The flea tosses two bones and tells him to keep the change. “Harken to that door knock and ans-wer it,” says Snoop, then asks the flea. “To what do we contribute this sudden visit?” Blab, back in the present, outlines to the narrator (who remains silent the rest of the cartoon) the story of how Toot Sweet’s girl-friend, Gisele, was lured by a slick flea with a promise of stardom in a flea circus on Broadway. “I could tell Snoop’s nimble brain was workin’ fast.” We get a shot of Snoop’s head stretching in four drawings, all on twos, I think. The popping and bubbling sound effects are what makes the take. Lew Marshall’s drawings are tame. Below right, you see the most stretched Snoop’s head gets. It wouldn’t take any extra effort to make the drawings more exaggerated and funny but the studio was settling into blandness. It’s a shame.

“Me thimble brain tells me to go clue-huntin’ at the flea circus on Broadway,” cries Snoop, as he grasps the obvious. Next comes a scene where Snoop questions a side-of-the-mouth flea circus owner, kind of a low-key Sheldon Leonard type with a square-headed design by Paul Sommer.

Owner: It’s like I said. Dey was here. She an’ a slick-lookin’ flea.
Snoop: Uh, yes, sir. Then what happened?
Owner: I auditioned her. She couldn’ sing, like I said. She couldn’ sing at all. So I said ‘no.’ What else could I do? Den dey left.
Snoop: Uh, they left?
Owner: Uh, like I said, dey left.

The flea circus owner points to the building where Gisele went with the fast-talker flea. We hear cries of help. The rescue’s interrupted a bit as Blabber tries to mooch free tickets to the flea circus. The slick-looking flea holds what’s supposed to be a champagne glass. “Come on, baby, just one little sip. It’s only soda,” says the flea, who turns to the camera and adds: “That’s right. It really is only soda.” Snoop bangs on the door. We don’t get a “Halt in the name of the…” catchphrase. Instead, we hear an “Open in the name of the Private Eye Open Door Policy!”

Toot Sweet breaks down the door and the gag here is the fight between the two fleas is in long shot so all you see is little dots bouncing around on the screen as the camera shakes and some familiar H-B sound effects play in the background. The teeney figure gag was used as far back as Tex Avery’s “Hamateur Night” (1938) at Warners. Snooper interrupts things, telling them they should “leave us settle this like gentle-fleas.” That means with pistols at five paces. Only the bad guy fleas fires early. “Oo la la! I am what you call ‘plugged’,” says Toot Sweet, clutching his chest. Then the bad guy turns the gun on Snooper and Blabber. Blab laughs. “Somehow, a stark-ravin’-mad flea strikes me as funny.” Gisele has had enough. She drops a flower pot on top of the bad guy. I guess she didn’t need help after all. “Like any villain, all I can do is say ‘Coises!’ I give up.” But Blab doesn’t need to “call an ambulance has-tily, to wit.” Toot Sweet is fine. “Like any hero, it was only a flesh wound.”

The final scene’s back in the present. Toot Sweet and Gisele (as dots) bound down what we presume to be church steps outside and onto the taxi-dog to Niagara Falls. “There goes another happy groom into the oblivion of marital matrimony,” observes Snoop. “To which us private eyes are denied, huh, Snoop?” adds Blab. “You can say that again,” says Snoop. Yeah, the obvious dialogue follows. Blab’s tag line is not one of Maltese’s strongest: “Snoop has got a soft heart. That’s why I love him.” I guess he was going for sentiment. Or maybe irony. Oh, well, the cartoon’s over.

A solo electric church belts out three bars of ‘The Wedding March.’ I suspect it’s from one of the Capitol Hi-Q ‘X’ series reels. One bit of music selection is really unfortunate. During the shooting/death scene. Phil Green’s “The Tin Dragoons” saws and clomps away, not providing the least bit of urgency to match what’s on the screen. Conversely, the Jack Shaindlin suspense-string cue used when Gisele yells for help (I don’t have a name for it) is a good selection as it fits the mood. And why the cutter chose four seconds of Green’s “Custard Pie Capers” when the dog is running is beyond me. He could have simply four seconds of the next cue joined in progress and it wouldn’t have made any difference.

0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera).
0:24 - GR-93 DRESSED TO KILL (Green) – Shot of row houses, shot of window.
0:43 - GR-74 POPCORN (Green) – Narrator talks to Blab, office scene.
1:29 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – Dog runs down street, skids to a stop.
1:32 - ASININE (Shaindlin) – Toot Sweet/dog scene, flea in office scene.
2:24 - GR-80 FRED KARNO’S ARMY (Green) – Blab talks to narrator, Snoop talks to Blab in office.
3:01 - GR-453 THE ARTFUL DODGER (Green) – Snooper questions ticket taker, “Yoo Hoo!”
3:30 - ZR-94 CHASE – “Toot Sweet!”, Gisele at window, Slick Flea with champagne glass, elevator light turns on.
4:14 - ASININE (Shaindlin) – “We’re comin’ Gisele,” breaks down door, fight.
5:08 - GR-258 THE TIN DRAGOONS (Green) – Pistol scene, Toot Sweet okay.
6:17 - GR-334 LIGHT AGITATED BRIDGE (Green) – Blab in office scene.
6:31 - Wedding March (Trad.) – Fleas down stairs, call for taxi.
6:39 - tick tock/flute music (Shaindlin) – Dog pulls up, end of cartoon.
7:09 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin).

Friday 22 March 2013

More About Yogi's Birthday Party

Here’s a fine, full-page cover for the Sunday supplement of the Miami News of October 1, 1961 where there’s a little bit more information about the airing of the Yogi Bear Birthday Party cartoon on stations during the week ahead (Boo Boo looks like he’s day-dreaming).

The show wasn’t a special in that it pre-empted regular programming. It ran in the usual half-hour slot that Kellogg’s bartered/bought for Yogi on whatever station normally ran it. Stations were encouraged to have their kids show host front some kind of on-air birthday party with youngsters in the studio audience. In Miami, the News said:

A SPECIAL Yogi Bear show—in color—on Channel 7 at 7 p.m. Wednesday will mark the popular cartoon character’s birthday. Channel 7 officials here are conducting a contest in which young viewers send in birthday cards—of their own design—wishing Yogi a Happy Birthday.

Designers of the 100 cards judged best will be invited to attend the special program Wednesday at the WCKT studios. Ice cream, cake, favors and a special three-minute break during the show in which prizes will be awarded to contestants will comprise the event.

So the Miami station had an in-studio cut-in during the Yogi half-hour. Kellogg’s didn’t buy additional time. That seems to have been the case almost everywhere I’ve looked as stations had other programmes on either side of Yogi they were committed to air (in Miami, Yogi was between “Huntley-Brinkley” and “Wagon Train.”) But they went all out in Fairbanks, Alaska, with a special broadcast. 228 kids showed up. The Daily Miner of October 5, 1961 reported:

Yogi Bear Celebration
Yogi Bear is going to celebrate his birthday tomorrow, with a special birthday party program, attended by Huckleberry Hound, Boo Boo Bear, Ranger Smith and other notables. The party will be seen on television from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday evening on Channel Two.
The local birthday party program for Yogi will be held in the USO. It will be emceed by Wee Willy Wally of KFAR-TV. Winners of the Yogi Bear contest will participate and 12 of the winners will receive prizes which will be announced on the air as the climax of the Yogi Bear Birthday Party program. The children invited to the USO are listed in tonight's paper on page six. Children are requested to be at the USO by 6:45 Friday evening and the party will last until 8 p.m.
It was originally planned to have the party at the KFAR-TV studios but the location had to be changed due to lack of space.

The Los Angeles Times of October 5, 1961 seemed to indicate Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera actually put in an appearance on the birthday broadcast but all that aired was the half-hour cartoon, so it’s your guess how they did it (a quick recorded message perhaps?).

It’s unfortunate the version of the cartoon that’s on DVD has no credits on it. Here are a few shots of the show:

Yes, it would have been cool to have multiple Yowps in the dog pack instead of an anonymous one-shot character.

This cartoon was unique. Hanna-Barbera never highlighted one character in an entire syndicated half-hour again. One wonders why the studio did it. Just to sell cereal? Perhaps. But this show aired when cartoon competition started getting heavy. The Miami News edition also contains an article about the explosion of new animation on TV. The Yogi birthday would certainly have given the series some needed attention amidst the distracting siren call of “The Alvin Show,” “Calvin and the Colonel” and other new cartoons looking for an audience. More than the usual effort was put in, with Hoyt Curtin contributing an original song (are those the Randy Horne singers in the background?), a voice cast of five and what appear to be an awful lot of scene cuts in some places.

It was also a swan song of sorts. Hanna-Barbera was evolving and moving away from the sponsored, self-contained, three-characters-in-a-half-hour style of show (“Magilla Gorilla” and “Peter Potamus” excepted). The studio already had two shows on prime time and more planned. Its new syndicated cartoons were shorter and weren’t part of a packaged show. Soon the studio would be enticing networks to dump live-action shows out of Saturday morning time slots.

And Yogi was moving on, too. To a theatre near you.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Selling Birthdays and Corn Flakes

It’s one thing to come up with loveable cartoons characters, and it’s another to package them into a programme that sponsors and stations want to pick up (and kids want to watch). But it’s yet another to have the skills to promote them. The folks at Hanna-Barbera found people with those skills in a real hurry not long after their studio opened in 1957.

Sure, the company began with the deals you might expect—for comic books, toys and records. And it grew from there. But a couple of promotions from the pre-Flintstone era at the studio (which is the focus of this blog, though we stray a bit) are admirable considering the coordination that was involved in pulling them off. One was Huckleberry Hound’s presidential run in 1960 (which combined comic books, cereal offers and personal appearances). The other is the Yogi Bear birthday party of 1961.

Yogi’s a great example of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. He was louder and brasher than the calm, somewhat naïve Huck, and pretty soon eclipsed the hound in the studio’s star system. So while he and Huck (and Mr. Jinks and the meeces, for that matter) all celebrated their birthdays on the same date—they all debuted together on TV—Yogi got the party. And the promotional people were adept enough to work out a plan to involve newspapers and television stations in their campaign; by then the Yogi Sunday comic strip was running.

Here’s a good example from the Oakland Tribune of September 3, 1961. The Yogi art accompanying the Tribune obviously came from the studio but it’s only based on a scene in the Yogi birthday cartoon, not from the actual cartoon itself (which is available on DVD but shorn of credits).

Yogi Bear Birthday Near; Enter His Coloring Contest
Hey, kids! Yogi Bear is having a birthday.
You can help celebrate it by entering an exciting Yogi Bear Coloring Contest.
Get out your crayons, pencils and paints. There are goody good goodies in store for you if you can come up with the liveliest color scheme and for the “smarter-than-average” bear.
Yogi himself, flying high with a handful of balloons, (he may be the first bear in space), is pictured in today’s issue of The Tribune.
Yogi Bear Coloring Contest entry blanks will appear again in the Sept. 6th, 8th and 10th issues. Clip yours, color it any scheme you choose and send it in with your name, age and address to contest headquarters, P.O. Box 836, Oakland 4.
If you’re age 10 and under, you can win a trip to Yogi’s birthday party. The party marks Yogi’s first year in the Tribune and on KTVU, Channel 2. Both are sponsoring the contest The youngsters selected as the 100 best artists will be guests of KTVU on Oct. 2.
A host of lesser prizes is offered, everything from candy to statuettes of our hero Yogi and his friends, Baba Looey, Quick Draw McGraw, Huckleberry Hound and many others.
There are books of favorite children’s stories, too.
Every boy and girl who enters will receive a gaily colored certificate with pictures of Yogi and all his friends on it.
Awards will be given in three age groups—age 6 years and under, ages 7 and 8, and ages 9 and 10. Entries will be judged on beauty, imagination in coloring, neatness and originality.
No fair! You can’t make Yogi bigger than he is in the panel. You have to color him right on the newspaper picture.
You can enter as many coloring panels as you want to but have to color them yourself.
And if you’re long on determination but short on inspiration, you can get ideas from the Yogi Bear comic strip in the Sunday Tribune or tune Channel 2 every Monday at 6:30 p.m. to watch Yogi and company in action.

Television stations on the “Kellogg’s Network” were encouraged (through Kellogg advertising dollars) to have their local kids show host put on a special early evening Yogi birthday party programme in connection with the Yogi Bear birthday cartoon, with youngins in the studio audience. Not all were tied in with a colouring contest; there was a make-a-birthday-card contest in some cities. How many stations took part, I don’t know, but one in Alaska solicited kids to drop in.

The fun didn’t stop with television and newspapers, either, thanks to those clever promotional wizards. If you happened to be at Pomeroy’s Department Store in Reading, Pennsylvania at noon on October 5, 1961, you could have met Huck, Quick Draw and Baba Looey in person opening the new toy department—and celebrating Yogi’s birthday. Yogi, presumably, was tuckered out from all the nation-wide birthday bashes and couldn’t make it. And, as we mentioned on the blog in this post, the Yogi newspaper comic was enlisted to promote the birthday, though not the ancillary events surrounding it.

Since Kellogg’s was tied into it, there were box ads in newspapers trumpeting the following: “Look for Yogi's special birthday packages of Kellogg's Corn Flakes for how to get your FREE Yogi Bear Birthday Dell Comic.” You won’t be surprised to hear a box top was involved. It must have taken a huge effort to put all the elements of the promotion together. The folks who did it (I suspect Kellogg’s ad agency, Leo Burnett, had a hand in it) couldn’t have been more facile.

The Yogi birthday party cartoon was unique. It took up all three segments of the half-hour show. Hanna-Barbera already had experience with half-hour comedies on “The Flintstones” and the new “Top Cat” series. The Yogi story (by Warren Foster, I presume) has echoes of “The Flintstones” with punny characters that very gently lampoon Fred Astaire (voice by Doug Young), Bobby Darin (it sounds like Duke Mitchell provides the voice; the swingin’ cat Darin stand-in does everything but sing “Listen to the Rockin’ Bird”) and Liberace (voice by Don Messick). While it’s nowhere close to my favourite Yogi show, it proved the bear had enough personality to carry more than a seven-minute short—something Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera likely kept in the back of their mind when they decided to make a feature film. The character who really built the H-B empire, a blue dog from the Carolinas, would have to wait until 1988 for his shot at feature stardom, and then in the lesser world of TV movies. Perhaps he deserved better but that’s show biz.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Huckleberry Hound — Huck Hound’s Tale

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ed de Mattia; Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Story – Warren Foster; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voices: Huckleberry Hound, Great-Great Grandson, Barker – Daws Butler; Chief Crazy Coyote, Wild West Show Manager – Don Messick.
Music: Jack Shaindlin, Bill Loose, Spencer Moore, unknown.
First aired: week of November 28, 1960.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-045.
Plot: Buffalo Huck of the Wild West Show tries to re-capture Chief Crazy Coyote.

This third-season cartoon is a sequel of “Hokum Smokum,” the first-season Huck cartoon by writer Charlie Shows. It has the same plot device and Warren Foster has used some of the same gag elements. I like the first one better. It has a silly Joe Besser horse and Carlo Vinci’s animation.

Ed de Mattia animates this and he has his own particular quirks, at least in a couple of his cartoons from the 1960-61 season that I’ve looked at. Here he is getting Huck to pop from pose-to-pose when singing “Clementine.” The middle pose is held for three frames.

I mentioned in “Do or Diet” that de Mattia liked hand-gestures. In several scenes, the great-great grandson taps a finger against his other arm and points (in re-used animation). The one hand looks deformed.

And, as in “Do or Diet,” de Mattia has a big grille of teeth during certain takes. Here’s one during a cane-bopping, a gag taken from “Hokum Smokum.”

Notice above that de Mattia has different coloured squiggly lines when shaking is involved. It happens later when Huck is on a pole being chopped down.

If you’ve seen “Hokum Smokum,” you know the basic story. Huckleberry Hound, now in his dotage, relates a story to his great-great grandson of how he captured Chief Crazy Coyote in his old West days. This one’s different than the first story, Huck tells the great-great grandson. Ah, but the kid has heard this one, too, and keeps interrupting to tell it, only to get knocked on the noggin by Huck’s cane.

Huck: Are you tellin’ this story or me?
Kid: I’ll toss ya for it.

The cartoon flashes back and forth from the past to the present.

The first flashback has Huck performing “Clementine” at a Wild West Show (he has blue eye shadow on his poster). The crowd boos and a hook quickly pulls him off-camera. The crowd isn’t upset with his off-key singing; it knows Crazy Coyote has escaped from the reservation, thanks to a newspaper carried by the manager of the show. “I’ll bring him back, Mr. Manager, because I like bein’ the hero.” So the next scene takes us to the desert as Huck has spent days in fruitless search. Suddenly, his rendition of “Clementine” is interrupted by an arrow shot into his hat. Crazy Coyote has appeared. The gags:

● Huck is clobbered with a tomahawk.
● Huck follows footprints (made by Crazy Coyote with a rubber stamp) up to the top of a dead tree before the Indian chops it down (and Huck with it).
● Huck’s long Kentucky rifle is too long, so Huck backs up to get a shot, only to back over a cliff.
● After Huck “clumb” back up the cliff, he and Crazy Coyote exchange gunfire from behind a rock (and miss). Huck knows the chief has used up his six bullets and lets him fire “Honest—you should pardon expression—Injun?” asks the Chief. BOOM!! “I forgot the Chief had a seven shooter.”

● Huck decides to rush Crazy Coyote before the chief can load another arrow into his bow. Huck, full of arrows, retreats. Cut to a shot of the Indian with a machine gun shooting arrows, a two-drawing cycle on twos. I’ve slowed it down so you can see the drawings.

● The two are out of ammunition so Huck bashes the Chief on the head with the butt of his pistol while Crazy Coyote clubs Huck with his tomahawk. “Hey, just a minute, Chief. We ain’t getting’ nothin’ out of this. If we’re gonna fight, we might as well get remunerated for it.”

So the scene shifts back to the background drawing of the Wild West Show and another background drawing of a new poster showing Buffalo Huck taking on Crazy Coyote “in a fight to the finish, four times daily,” cries a barker. Cut to the two clouting each other on the head. “The people love our act, Chief. And they paid a heap-a money to see us,” notes Huck. The Chief has his eye on the viewers. “Me know. And they call me Crazy Coyote,” he says and gives out his usual hee-haw laugh before the clouting resumes.

So the cartoon fades back into the present. Great-great grandson asks “Whatever happened to Chief Crazy Coyote?” Foster now borrows the ending of the Quick Draw McGraw/Chief Little Runt cartoon “Scat, Scout, Scat” from the previous year. Crazy, who hasn’t aged a bit, pops up from behind Huck’s living room chair and conks him one on the head. “Does that answer-um question?” More hee-haw laughter. Farewell, Chief. Thus ends his final cartoon. And thus ends Ed de Mattia’s entanglement with Huck Hound.

Daws recycled the voice of old-timer Huck into Henry Orbit on The Jetsons.

There’s a circus music cue that opens with a fanfare I’ve never heard before; it’s used during the establishing shot of the Wild West Show. The “tom tom” music that was used in various cartoons in earlier seasons reappears; I suspect it’s by Spencer Moore or Geordie Hormel on one of the Capitol Hi-Q “X” series reels. And Jack Shaindlin’s “On the Run?” makes a four-second appearance during a running scene. That’s quick.

0:00 - Huckleberry Hound Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin).
0:13 - Clementine (Trad.) – Great-Great Grandson walks, Huck brings him back with cane.
0:22 - C-14 DOMESTIC LIGHT (Loose) – Living room scene.
1:01 - circus fanfare music (Shaindlin?) – shot of wild west show tent, sign, Huck strolls into tent.
1:15 - Clementine (Trad.) – Huck stops, sings, gets booed.
1:26 - C-14 DOMESTIC LIGHT (Loose) – Living room scene, Circus manager scene.
2:09 - C-19 LIGHT ACTIVITY (Loose) – Huck tromps on desert.
2:21 - Clementine (Trad.) – Huck sings, arrow fired at him.
2:24 - four beat tom-tom/flute cue (?) – Crazy Coyote “hee-haws,” living room scene, Huck on Chief’s trail, chops down tree.
3:33 - L-1154 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Living room scene, long rifle scene.
4:16 - LAF-4-6 PIXIE PRANKS (Shaindlin) – Huck behind cactus, goes behind rock.
4:26 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Gunfire.
4:30 - LAF-4-6 PIXIE PRANKS (Shaindlin) – “That did it,” Huck shot, living room scene, Crazy Coyote fires arrows, “Charge!”
5:24 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Off camera sound effects, Huck pierced by arrows, Crazy Coyote with automatic rifle.
5:40 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Huck walks with gun, clobbering, Huck and Crazy Coyote agree.
6:00 - circus fanfare music (Shaindlin?) – shot of tent, clobbering in tent.
6:41 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Living room scene, Crazy Coyote “hee haws.”
6:58 - Huckleberry Hound Sub- End Title theme (Curtin).