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).


  1. This is one of my all-time favorite Huckleberry Hound cartoons, Yowp. Thanks for the reviews.

  2. Interesting to note how Foster once again borrows from his Warner Bros days - Huck's suggestion of getting "remuneration" for his fight with Crazy Coyote is similar to the end of McKimson's "A Horsefly Fleas", of which Foster contributed the story. Where the Homeless Flea, chased by Native Indian Fleas, decides to continue the chase at a Flea Circus - "If they're gonna chase me, at least I'm gettin' paid for it!"

  3. This Huckleberry Hound episode is very anthological.
    It brings the animation done by Ed de Mattia (who worked afterwards at DePatie-Freleng, animating the Pink Panther shorts).

  4. I too, used to think of Warner's " A Horsefly Fleas " whenever I would watch this Huck short. It seemed I used to miss this one a lot whenever it would come up in the shuffle back in the days of afternoon " Children's Shows ". I would always catch " Hokum Smokum ". Good seeing a blog on this one.

  5. Pretty sure the circus fanfare music is actually from Sam Fox, I'm certain I've heard it in an old drive-in advert, those used quite a bit of Fox cues.