Wednesday 30 October 2013


Hanna-Barbera cartoons have fans around the world; a check of the location of the people who visit this blog can attest to that.
We’ve reprinted a number of newspaper articles about the studio from the time before it became a Saturday morning powerhouse. Just about all are from the United States. But the cartoons were popular elsewhere and written about elsewhere.
Here’s a feature story from
The Australian Women’s Weekly of March 25, 1964. It’s, more or less, the “authorised” version of the studio’s history to date so most of it will probably be pretty familiar. It glosses over a few things—like the contributions of anyone not named “Bill” or “Joe.” And you have to laugh a bit at the opinion (parroted from either Bill, Joe or PR flack Arnie Carr) that the only “important consideration” about a cartoon is doing the best job. It seems to me the footage quota was deemed fairly important by at least one of the two producers.
The pictures in this post accompanied the unbylined article.

The men behind the Flintstones
You wouldn't know it to look at them, but the two men – sitting in the middle of the floor in their plush, carpeted modern office on Hollywood's Cahuenga Boulevarde - are fast becoming millionaires.

THEY wave their arms madly, grab for their pad and pencils with delighted outcries, and do everything but stand on their heads when they come up with a new idea. That's right! in the middle of the floor. And they couldn't care less if it is four o'clock in the morning.
The two men are William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, creators and producers of the popular cartoon series "The Flintstones," now in its third year on the Nine Network.
And they are busy creating new situations and dialogue for a bunch of "wacky" but lovable characters who are providing them with all of their riches.
The hours kept by Hanna and Barbera and staff, and their methods for getting the job done, are considered unorthodox, to say the least, by Hollywood standards.
There are no time clocks or memos. If an animator or an artist feels he does his best work by coming in at night and working till dawn, that's fine with Hanna and Barbera. The only important consideration is that the "best" job is done.
In the six or so years since this successful duo founded their studio (with a staff of three employees), they have continued to turn out superior quality work that has gained them the unshakeable reputation they now hold. Today they have attained the position once held by Walt Disney in the art of creative cartooning.
While Disney has concentrated on feature-length motion pictures and diversification in various off-shoot enterprises, "H-B" has now stepped in to capture the cartoon film field.
World leader
Their particular accent and the door that opened their way to riches was television. Today the modern studio of Hanna-Barbera, world leader in the field of animated cartooning, occupies a two-acre site in the entertainment capital, housing the ultimate in animation and production facilities. It is now staffed by more than 250 artists, animators, writers, and directors. In short, it is big business, without a doubt.
In addition to turning out “The Flintstones” and such television shows as the Emmy Award winning "Huckleberry Hound," "Yogi Bear, “Quick Draw McGraw,” and “Touche Turtle” as well “The Jetsons” and “Top Cat”—the studio produces industrial films and commercials combining animated and live action.
Their popular black-and-white and color cartoon favorites are now syndicated and shown in more than 42 foreign countries, in addition to the prestige position they have attained in the United States.
"H-B" is at present working on its first full-length feature starring Yogi Bear.
Although neither Hanna nor Barbera originally planned such a career, the partners have worked together harmoniously for 26 years. They now participate in every phase of their creative enterprises, from drawing and scripting to musical scoring.
Joe Barbera, an inveterate doodler and dreamer, gave up a career as an accountant in a New York bank when his first cartoon was sold to "Collier's" magazine.
Hanna was hired by M.G.M. as a director and story man in 1937, after he had earlier been schooled in engineering and journalism. Here he met Barbera, then an animator and writer at the same studio. Creative sparks flew from their very first meeting.
In the spring of 1957 Hanna and Barbera had just racked up their 20th year making "Tom and Jerry" cartoons for M.G.M. It was their first original creation. Their animated efforts had earned millions of dollars for the company, in addition to seven Academy Awards.
Then the phone rang.
"We were told to discontinue production and lay off the entire staff," recalls Hanna. "Twenty years of work suddenly ended with a single phone call.
"But it was the greatest break of our lives."
Out of necessity, the enterprising artists began thinking in terms of cartoon shows for television. The greatest part of animated entertainment then on TV consisted of old theatrical cartoons.
About 2000 of them were currently being distributed, almost half produced in the silent film era.
From their experience, Hanna and Barbera worked out some amazing new techniques called "planned animation," which forgoes some of the steps used in conventional cartooning without sacrificing quality. It cut down the usual preparation time almost by half.
"Then," says Hanna, "we were really in business."
The result? In July, 1957, "H-B" Productions was born, with the first venture "Ruff and Reddy," a show featuring the antics of a quick-thinking cat and his pal, a dim-witted, lovable dog.
It proved a three-year success. Then followed the now famous "Huckleberry Hound" and "Quick Draw McGraw," the slowest horse in the West.
In 1960, after one year of "casting" voices and drawings, "H-B" unveiled its greatest money-maker, "The Flintstones," which after its debut became one of their hottest "properties" or rated shows of the season.
"Yogi Bear" a character of the "Hound" series came into the picture early in 1961 as an independent film personality.
Above the desks of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera there hangs a picture of "Huckleberry Hound" shaking hands with his two creators. The inscription of the picture reads, "Thank you, Huck," and it is signed by the two successful producers.
"It may sound nuts to be grateful to a mythical blue dog," smiled one of the rich executives sitting on the carpet, "but, believe me, we are."

The newspaper had a few Hanna-Barbera articles scattered over the years. One that’s amusingly inaccurate is this part of a column in the issue of March 4, 1959. Still, it’s nice to know the writer (Nan Musgrove) was a fan of the Huck show and liked ‘Tom Terrific,’ which was one of the best things to come out of Terrytoons, certainly when it comes to kids.

THE early days of TV, when many cartoons dating back to the bad old jerky days of animation were shown, cured me of an addiction to cartoons, but Channel 9 has reintroduced me to their joys with two new ones, "Tom Terrific" and "Huckleberry Hound."
They are both specially made for TV and, although they come on the end of the Mickey Mouse Club, they're not kid stuff.
"Tom Terrific" (every night Monday to Friday at 6.25) is made by the Terry Toon Company and "Huckleberry Hound" by M.G.M., the originators of the Tom and Jerry cartoons.
You'll recognise some old friends in "Huckleberry Hound" (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6.30).
Most fascinating is Yogi Bear, whose voice is actually that of Art Carney, of The Honeymooners" (Channel 9, Thursdays, 7.30 p.m.) I don't know who is the voice of the cat Mr. Jenks, but it's a splendid imitation of that great lover Marlon Brando.

Saturday 26 October 2013

Yogi Bear — Slap Happy Birthday

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – George Nicholas, Layout – Dick Bickenbach; Backgrounds – Dick Thomas; Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Chef, Stan, Red-Headed Woman – Daws Butler; Narrator, Ranger Smith, Boo Boo, Wife, Tourist in White Cap – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Plot: Yogi plans a birthday party for Ranger Smith behind his back.

This cartoon may have been the first put into production to use cues written by Hoyt Curtin. When it first aired may be recorded somewhere but I haven’t been able to find it.

13 Yogi cartoons using the old Capitol Hi-Q and Langlois Filmusic libraries were produced for the 1960-61 season of The Huckleberry Hound Show starting in September. But by mid-October, Kellogg’s had dropped the idea of sponsoring a Mr. Magoo half-hour, started talking with Hanna-Barbera, and then announced it would back a 30-minute Yogi Bear show to begin airing in January 1961. That left little time to get the show together. Some of those Yogis that ran on Huck’s show were re-run, but as the Yogi show eventually featured new Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle cartoons with Curtin scores, it’s quite possible that “Slap Happy Birthday” and its Curtin cues aired with them during the remainder of the 1960-61 season.

By the time this cartoon was written, a strict template was in place: the plot was a battle of wits between Yogi and Ranger Smith (generally involving picnic baskets), and it was up to Warren Foster to find new variations on the theme. In this one, the twist is Yogi doesn’t want food for himself. He wants it for the Ranger for a birthday party. And the Ranger, knowing Yogi, distrusts the bear’s motives.

George Nicholas animated this cartoon with some assistance from—George Nicholas. He reused his work from Yogi cartoons from the previous season. Yogi had a mechanical leap-walk in “Lullabye-Bye Bear.” Nicholas simply drew new arm and mouth movements.

Lullabye-Bear Bear

Slap Happy Birthday

And how about these from “Papa Yogi”?

Papa Yogi

Slap Happy Birthday

Papa Yogi

Slap Happy Birthday

These two drawings aren’t the same but you can see Nicholas used a variation on the same effect.

Papa Yogi

Slap Happy Birthday

The cartoon opens with a pan over an autumnal painting of Jellystone Park by Dick Thomas over Curtin’s sad clarinet cue he used for running-away-from-home scenes (eg. Dino in “Dino Goes Hollyrock”).

Cut to Yogi and Boo Boo in their cave. Boo Boo proclaims him “smarter than the av-er-age bear,” to which Yogi responds: “I do have more than a smattering of ignorance,” disproving Boo Boo’s claim. Yogi further shows his ignorance by not knowing what a Scorpio is. Anyway, the dialogue involves the ranger’s birthday. Boo Boo got him a present. Yogi didn’t.

Despite being rebuffed by the “I’ll ship you to the St. Louis Zoo” Ranger after trying to shake his hand and wish him a happy birthday, Yogi decides to organise a birthday party for him. He cons the chef at the inn to make a birthday cake.

Yogi: [H]e thinks you’re the greatest chef since Escoffier.
Chef: Did he say that?
Yogi: I get tired of hearing it.
Chef: I do have a certain flare with a toasted cheeseburger.

As far as I know, this is the only reference to Auguste Scoffier in a cartoon.

Yogi tosses in his “you’re one of the good ones” line before the scene switches to Yogi mooching chicken sandwiches from a tourist family, and then briefly convincing the ranger the bag they’re in contains leaves he’s picking up to tidy the park. The ranger’s puzzled after a tourist couple tells Yogi (who was inviting them to the party) that the bear wasn’t mooching food, and even more so after Yogi ignores a picnic basket left in the open as a trap. Curtin’s cue during the latter sequence is what I’ll informally call “The March of the Ten Little Flintstones,” as it was used in that cartoon when the alien space ship hovered over the Flintstones’ place and zapped out duplicates of Fred.

Yogi grabs the cake out of the kitchen of the inn, and the ranger chases him with little steps past the same cluster of trees eight times before running into another building where the birthday party revellers are waiting. After Ranger Smith reads the ‘happy birthday’ inscription on the cake, the little group breaks into “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.” Ranger: “Thanks, everybody. But I’m really not a jolly good fellow. I’m an old sourpuss.” Yogi: “A jolly good one, though, sir. And they’re the best kind. Nyea-hey-hey-hey-eee!” And, with that, the cartoon ends.

Here are a few more of Thomas’ backgrounds. The lighter half of the cave on the first one is on an overlay.

Regular readers are well aware that the music cues are always listed on each cartoon review. In fact, the reason the blog was created in the first place was to list the cues on each of the cartoons in the first season of The Huckleberry Hound Show because there was an interest in learning about the stock music used in the first cartoons. I can’t do that with Curtin’s cues. The late Earl Kress explained to me once—and Earl researched this in helping to select cues for a Rhino record release of Hanna-Barbera music some years ago—that Curtin simply listed his cues with alpha-numerics and none of them had real names. I don’t have a list of them—and Curtin wrote several hundred cues in the first couple of years—so they’ll have to remain unidentified.

Wednesday 23 October 2013

How to Make a Hanna-Barbera Cartoon

No, the response to today’s topic is not “Hold a cel of Ranger Smith’s body underneath two drawings for blinking eyes,” though I admit there were some scenes where that did happen. You will find the answer below and, appropriately, it is a cartoon.

This was posted on Facebook by Scott Shaw! He started work at the studio in 1978, long after the period this blog deals with. But when he got there, some of the Hanna-Barbera old-timers were still toiling away, hamstrung by network restrictions and eyeballed by do-gooder groups that insisted cartoons can be tolerated only if they’re “educational.” Personally, I’d rather watch Chief Crazy Coyote bashing Quick Draw McGraw with a tomahawk instead of being badgered not to pollute. That’s the kind of thing parents should be teaching.

Scott says this was drawn by Pete Alvarado, whose name I recognise from Warner Bros. cartoons (C.M. Jones unit) but is known by others for his work in comic books. He landed at Hanna-Barbera in 1970 and also spent time at Filmation working on some shows that were, frankly, beneath his talents. His family has a memorial site at this link.

You can click on the photostat to make it larger. Interestingly, Lippy the Lion is here but the Jetsons aren’t. It appears the ink and paint department was just the paint department by the time Alvarado drew this; inkers were replaced with special photocopiers. Something interesting is the notation that voices, effects and music were on one track. There had to be separate tracks for each somewhere in the system. That would be able to accommodate foreign language dubbing (over the same music and effects as the English-language soundtrack) and, as we’ve pointed out on this blog, the few cartoons were a different music score is heard.

Saturday 19 October 2013

Snooper and Blabber — Flea For All

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – La Verne Harding, Layout – Don Sheppard, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Snooper, Blabber, Scratchit, Mailman, Bow-tie Flea – Daws Butler; J.B. Spiffany, Toot Sweet – Don Messick.
Music: Phil Green, Jack Shaindlin.
Episode: Quick Draw McGraw Show M-038, Production J-107.
First Aired: week of February 27, 1961.
Plot: Toot Sweet the flea is brought in when J.B. Spiffany calls on Snooper to solve the case of the disappearing diamonds.

“Mesopotamia” is a funny word, at least according to Mike Maltese, so he’s tossed it in this cartoon as a silly running gag. He’s also got a couple of fun scenes and a great little ending in his story for this cartoon.

This cartoon marks the third and final appearance of Toot Suite, the little French flea. And this is the second of three Snooper and Blabbers animated by former Lantz studio stalwart La Verne Harding.

Maltese sets things up with an opening shot of a Spiffany’s Jewellers (it’s by Art Lozzi but has the same kind of fussy stylisation as some of the designs by Bob Gentle) and then a scene where diamonds bounce down the street in the street and into the large bag by the evil Scratchit, who we later discover is the owner of a flea circus.

Fade to Snooper’s door with the private eyeball on the window; layout man Don Sheppard has the drawing at an angle. This week’s motto when Snooper answers the phone: “Snooper Detective Agency. We’re laughin’ on the outside and pryin’ on the inside.” Snoop thinks it “a impractical joke” so he asks Blab to retrace the call. Blab simply zooms to Spiffany’s (with appropriate zooming sound effect), asks J.B. Spiffany if his diamonds really took off by themselves. Getting an affirmative answer, he zooms back to Snooper to tell him. The music behind this little supersonic sequence is Jack Shaindlin’s “Mad Rush No. 1.”

The next scene has Snooper working out a deal with Spiffany—no charge if he doesn’t find the diamonds, except expenses of $10,000. Spiffany has one diamond left—the Star of Saskatoon—which promptly leaps up into Snooper’s nose and then hops down the street. “Follow that rolling stone!” yells Blab (What? He doesn’t say “folley” this time?) as they chase it to Scratchit’s Flea Circus; Snooper and Blabber are rendered in silhouette, which is a nice change. They get shot at for their troubles after seeing that fleas are responsible for the thefts, and Snooper decides to “fight fleas with fleas” as they run past the same green-doored building seven times in a medium shot, five times in close-up, then eight more times before the scene fades out.

Now Blabber starts blabbering in the next scene when the mail arrives.

Blab: I deduce it’s from France. Why? Because it has a French stamp on it. If it was from Mesopotamia, it would have a Mesopotamian stamp, right?
Snoop: Blab…
Blab: Then I can safely say it’s not from Mesopotamia.
Snoop: Blab…
Blab: Ah, but why isn’t it from Mesopotamia, you may well ask.
Snoop: All right, Blab, knock it off.

Harding has Blab gesticulating in solo animation on twos. A nice little touch.

Toot Sweet pops out of the envelope. He’s flown “all the way from France,” Snooper observes. “From Mesopotamia, I am not,” Toot Sweet replies. Fade to the next scene where Toot Sweet wins an audition for Scratchit’s flea circus by dancing and singing “Alouette”, which has more to do with Quebec than France these days. He joins other fleas in a box. “Say, uh,” says a flea, “didn’t we play on the same bill once in Cincinnati?” “Mesopotamia” would have been funnier, but we’re not through with it yet.

Snooper and Blabber are now weakly disguised as out-of-town high school teachers (Blab’s floppy hat covers his head) as the buy tickets to watch the flea circus. “Ladies and gentlemen,” cries Scratchit, “Direct from Paris, France—not Mesopotamia—Monsieur Toot Sweet, and his version of ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’.” Ah, but Scratchit has a surprise in store. Toot Sweet has convinced the crooked fleas to go straight. They charge out of their little tent with all the diamonds, hop on a getaway sheepdog and presumably head for Spiffany’s. The dog pedals its legs in mid-air before barrelling away, a cycle of six drawings on ones.

Snooper orders Scratchit to “slip on these tentacles” (handcuffs). Scratchit fires at Snooper from the stage and Snoop cries for help from Toot Sweet. What’s Blab doing? Sitting in the seats. He looks at us and does the worst Ed Sullivan impression of all time. “This is reeeally a grrreat showww,” he tells us. It comes out of nowhere and is the funniest thing in the cartoon. You’ve got to be amazed by Daws Butler as he’s able to have one of his characters badly impersonate someone else. Butler actually did a Sullivan-type in a couple of cartoons (Augie Doggie’s “Hum Sweet Hum” being one and the Flintstones’ episode “Itty Bitty Freddie” being another). Anyway, Toot Sweet gets the drop on Scratchit and the case is closed.

The final scene is really clever. We see a close-up of Toot Sweet waving goodbye at the foot of a staircase like the one you climb getting onto a plane from the tarmack. “Have a nice flight to Gay Paree, Tout Sweet,” Blab says. The camera then shows Toot Sweet isn’t boarding a plane at all. The staircase is next to an Air Mail envelope. He hops in, Snooper seals the envelope shut and drops it in the mailbox. The iris closes on a teary-eyed Blab to end the cartoon. Perhaps he knows Toot Sweet will not appear in another cartoon again.

Perhaps appropriately, the cue heard when Blab is pretending he’s Ed Sullivan is called “Asinine.” The rest of the music is typical for a Snooper and Blabber cartoon, though it doesn’t end with “Custard Pie Capers” for a change. There’s no music when Toot Sweet sings “Alouette.”

0:00 - Snooper and Blabber Main Title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera).
0:23 - LFU-117-1 MAD RUSH No 1 (Shaindlin) – Diamonds hop out of store into bag, Scratchit drives away.
0:54 - no music – shot of Snooper’s office door, Snooper answers phone.
0:59 - GR-93 DRESSED TO KILL (Green) – “…an’ cryin’ on the inside,” “Right Chief!”
1:26 - LFU-117-1 MAD RUSH No 1 (Shaindlin) – Blab zooms to store and back.
1:42 - GR-453 THE ARTFUL DODGER (Green) – Snoop talks with Spiffany, diamond hops out of Spiffany’s hand.
2:25 - LFU-117-3 MAD RUSH No 3 (Shaindlin) – Diamond hops out door, Snoop and Blab run to flea circus, Scratchit laughs.
2:46 - GR-96 BY JIMINY! IT’S JUMBO (Green) – Snoop and Blab look through window, Scratchit shoots at them.
3:20 - GR-77 CUSTARD PIE CAPERS (Green) – Snooper and Blabber run down street.
3:40 - GR-74 POPCORN (Green) – Mailman arrives, Toot Sweet jumps out of envelope.
4:33 - GR-90 THE CHEEKY CHAPPIE (Green) – Toot Sweet auditions.
4:49 - No music – Toot Sweet sings “Alouette,” “Steal?”
4:57 - GR-90 THE CHEEKY CHAPPIE (Green) – “I do not understand,” Toot Sweet talks to fleas, Snoop and Blab in disguise, “Ladies and gentlemen!”
5:33 - PG-171 PERIOD FANFARE (Green) – “Presenting!...”, introduces Toot Sweet.
5:43 - no music – “Remember what I have told you…” diamonds hop down street and into sheepdog, dog runs away.
6:06 - ASININE (Shaindlin) – Scratchit cancels show, Blab as Ed Sullivan, Scratchit surrenders.
6:41 - tick tock/flute music (Shaindlin) – Toot Sweet waves goodbye, jumps into envelope, Blab blows nose.
7:10 - Snooper and Blabber End Title theme (Curtin)

Friday 18 October 2013

Tony Benedict’s Hanna-Barbera Documentary

Tony Benedict arrived at Hanna-Barbera during the studio’s best period. Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw cartoons were still being made (the originals, not watered-down team-ups that were foisted on kids). The studio was taking a risk going prime-time as “The Flintstones” was about to launch. And most of the original employees of the studio who’d worked on theatrical cartoons at MGM were still there, joined by great people like Warren Foster, Mike Maltese and Art Davis from Warners. What a great atmosphere for a young guy to come into.

Tony had the great foresight to document his time at Hanna-Barbera on film. And, like many artists, he sketched little vignettes and gags about life at the studio. He saved it all, too. And now, he’s putting it together for a documentary about the studio’s Golden Era.

He’s been working on this for some time but, now, he’s going the Kickstarter route to get it made. As you probably know, Kickstarter is where fans can help get projects made. Please click on THIS ADDRESS to learn more about Tony’s project. Or you can read about it HERE on Facebook. There’s a video you can see about it, too.

I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy seeing pictures of the guys who made all those great old theatrical cartoons. Here’s a nice shot of Joe Barbera talking to Warren Foster inside the H-B studio, with Bill Hanna and his sucker behind them. This one will, I suspect, be part of the documentary.

And this is a frame grab of a home movie shot of Bick Bickenbach who was, more or less, the head layout guy when the studio started in 1957. He was a fine animator at Warners (Freleng and Tashlin units) before moving to layout at MGM in the mid-‘40s. He was a pretty good baritone, too. Bick took Ed Benedict’s character models, modified them a bit and put them on sheets for the animators. I gather Mr. Benedict (Ed, not Tony) wasn’t altogether happy with the end result. I wish I could tell you about “The Phone Story” on the wall in the background.

And this is the great Carlo Vinci.

I’ve had a chance to talk to Tony about his career at Hanna-Barbera. Unfortunately, circumstances were such on my end that I only had a half hour to chat after being up all night and before going to work. We didn’t touch on a lot of specific things I’d have liked to have talked about, only the surface was scratched. But it may give you an idea about how the H-B cartoons were put together in an age before corporate interference. And during. Want to know why the re-mounted “Jetsons” cartoons of the ‘80s weren’t as good as the originals? Tony was there and explains the reason. Note that the interview was recorded before the Kickstarter project was pushed back a bit. Press the arrow to hear.

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Flintstones Weekend Comics, October 1963

Hanna-Barbera didn’t waste any time promoting its latest product for the Ideal Toy company in its Flintstones Sunday comics, did it? The first TV show featuring the Rubbles’ adopted Bamm-Bamm aired on October 3, 1963. And he’s in the comics on October 27th.

(As a side note, the opening scene in the Bamm-Bamm TV debut looks like Jerry Hathcock to me. The opening teaser is the work of Ken Muse. I’ll accept corrections).

Unlike the cartoon series, Bamm-Bamm here thinks to himself, and like an adult, while Pebbles acts like an infant. Well, in this comic anyway. She has adult thoughts in other comics. But who needs consistency?

Fred has rounder eyes in these comics from 50 years ago this month. And, unless I’m just noticing it now, his eyes are half-closed a lot of the time. I suspect Harvey Eisenberg, at this point, was only drawing the Yogi Sunday newspaper pages and not the Flintstones, but I’d like to hear from people who can talk with some expert ability on this sort of thing.

October 6th has a dotted line that divides a panel. I don’t know if I’ve seen that before. Notice the final panel’s at an angle.

Wait till Wilma gets those hooks in her ear. She won’t be so happy. Barney looks straight at us in the final panel of the October 13th comic. That’s an awfully large mailbox in the opening panel.

Awww. Domestic bliss. “The Flintstones” comic of October 20th sure isn’t what the TV series started out to be, is it? I like the grinning Fred, though, and the wavy boxes are a nice flashback touch.

And here’s the Bamm-Bamm comic debut on October 27th. Sorry, folks. While I’m not crazy about Pebbles, there were some decent cartoons made with her. Bamm-Bamm is just derivative and one-note. And the series got worse from there. When it comes to kids, I’d rather see Fred battle Arnold the paperboy (if they’d turned Arnold into a kind of Julius Abruzzio from the Phil Harris-Alice Faye radio show, that would have been pretty funny. They could have hired Walter Tetley to bring back his old voice. And didn’t Hanna-Barbera borrow stuff from radio and TV anyway?).

As usual, click on each shabbily-scanned comic to enlarge it. Stay tuned next month to see if the words “Gomf” and “Kwork” show up again.

Saturday 12 October 2013

Huckleberry Hound — Astro-Nut Huck

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Huckleberry Hound – Daws Butler; Narrator, General, Reporter – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Jack Shaindlin, Spencer Moore, Raoul Kraushaar?
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-051.
First Aired: week of February 20, 1961.
Plot: Scientist Huck Hound is ordered to performs tests to go into space.

Like many Americans around 1960, Warren Foster seems to have been fascinated with outer space. He wrote several Pixie and Dixie cartoons where space travel played some kind of role, he came up with “Space Bear” and its alien Yogi Bear the year before, and in this cartoon, Huckleberry Hound is a space scientist. It’s a shame he didn’t put Loopy de Loop into space and leave him up there. Oh, wait. Foster wrote a similar cartoon for Loopy called “Count-Down Clown.” But I digress.

Foster gives us a little spot-gag effort here where Huck endures a setback, then comments on what happened before moving on to the next routine. It’s a pleasant, uncomplicated little cartoon and a fairly atypical adventure for Huck.

The short opens with 18 seconds of camera movement over a couple of Dick Thomas’ background drawings as Don Messick intones about space travel. Cut to Huck telling other top scientists it’s possible to put a man into space and asking for a volunteer “for glory and a possible post-humorous medal.” Cut to a disheveled room of empty chairs. The Pentagon calls.

Huck: But, sir, it doesn’t work that way. The fella that thinks it up never volunteers. It’s an unwritten law. (pause) That unwritten law has been repealed? Well, suppose I don’t volunteer? (pause) Okay, okay, I’ll volunteer. (to himself) I thought they only used firing squads in war time.

So now Huck goes through a battery of tests. They attach him to a rocket sled. The sled takes off without him (“I forgot to tighten my seat belt). Next, he’s put in a pressure chamber to test eating in zero gravity. Unfortunately, he unscrews the thermos with concentrated food too early. The reddish goop and Huck pour out of the craft (“You got a toothpick, general?). Next, the general explains a heat cabinet. Huck looks at us and says “I’m the one who thought of this stuff first, and he’s tellin’ me.” Once inside, the temperature’s 1200 degrees. Huck isn’t fazed. “I could use a little bastin’,” he tells the general. The punch is simply the old shrink-inside-a-heat cabinet gag you find in cartoons.

Next, another a zero gravity routine with the expected crashes into the ceiling and floor (General: “Our valve needs adjustment.” Huck: “So does my sacroiliac.” Huck walks with magnetic shoes but falls while walking on the ceiling (“Someone forgot to put laces in my shoes”).

Finally, it’s launch date. A reporter is on the tarmack (Reporter: “Have you anything to tell our vast TV audience, professor?” Huck: “Yes, I do. HELLLLLP!” The rocket doesn’t launch. After a pile of smoke, it falls onto its side. But Huck thinks he’s landed on Mars, and the asbestos-suit-wearing rescue crew are Martians. They place him in front of the general. “I don’t know how he got here first,” Huck tells us, “but that’s science for you.”

This was apparently the final Huckleberry Hound cartoon put into production which used the Capitol Hi-Q and Langlois Filmusic libraries. The last cartoon of the 1960-61 season features the Hoyt Curtin underscores used on “Wally Gator” and “The Flintstones.” However, the Italian TV version of this cartoon has been remixed with Curtin’s music.

0:00 - Huckleberry Hound Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin).
0:13 - TC-22 SUBLIME GHOST (Loose-Seely) – Opening narration.
0:33 - LAF-4-6 PIXIE PRANKS (Shaindlin) – Close-up of Huck at blackboard, phone call, general and Huck talk about rocket sled.
2:22 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Huck/sled scene, Huck in capsule, “Now he informs me.”
3:08 - LAF-1-1 FISHY STORY (Shaindlin) – General outside capsule, goop covers him, pressure cooker scene, Huck in magnetic shoes.
5:16 - L-1154 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Huck walks in shoes, falls out of shoes.
5:30 - creepy muted trumpet cue (Kraushaar?) – Huck upside down, reporter on tarmack, fire crew runs, “…will rescue the professor.”
6:25 - TC-437 SHOPPING DAY (Loose-Seely) – “And they’ve got him,” Huck carried by fire crew.
6:48 - tick tock/flute cue (Shaindlin) – General talks to Huck, iris out.
6:55 - Huckleberry Hound Sub End Title theme (Curtin)