Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Skeeter Trouble Shakes

Carlo Vinci loved using an old trick from the silent animation days. He’d register emotion by alternating two different drawings of a character, one drawn normally, and the other in a jagged form with line around it. The drawings are then alternated.

You can see it in various spots in “Skeeter Trouble,” where Huckleberry Hound’s camping trip to the country turns into a losing battle with a mosquito. In the Huck cartoon, the drawings are on twos.

Here are some examples. I’ve slowed down the animation so you can see the drawings a little better.

The mosquito (after changing his stinging) stabs the sleeping Huck in the nose. The hound’s reaction.

It turns out the mosquito loves repellant and is eating it, despite claims of the narration. A Huck head shake.

Huck has (he thinks) killed the pesky mosquito and kicks him out of the cabin. The mosquito summons an army of his buddies. Huck hears a loud sound of multiple buzzes outside.

Huck thinks he’s stopped the mosquitoes from getting inside by nailing their stingers to the door. The mosquitoes rip off the door.

This is a nice little cartoon. Hanna-Barbera cartoons are known today for their seemingly non-stop talk. But in the first season of the Huck show, there’s a lot less character dialogue and more sight gags; Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna spent years with mute characters, after all. Even in limited animation, you know what Huck and the mosquito are thinking, thanks to the fine work of Carlo Vinci.


  1. Have always loved " Skeeter Trouble " and Carlo's work. Also, the music cutter putting in Theme Craft's " Heavy Agitato " when those "Skeeters" are flying by the hundreds toward the cabin door after Huck. A lot of great elements came together on this one. Wasn't Daws doing a Fred Allen type voice narration on this one?

  2. The wonderful thing about the early H-B shorts is nobody knew at the time what would work on television, and as a result, they initially relied on lover-budget versions of what they had previously been doing, which was the 1956-58 MGM CinemaScope cartoons in terms of background and character design, and (as noted) Bill & Joe's 17 years working with mostly mute characters and visual gags.

  3. Yes, Errol, it's Daws' Fred Allen voice. He did it in clubs in the '30s.
    TC-221A pretty much disappeared after the first season.

  4. The mosquitoes really did a lot of loud and louder buzzing in that scene that Erroll notes wherethey fly stage left (as Snagglepuss would put it) to Huck. And I'm with Erroll and J.Lee here. This was from Season 1, in case anyone wants to know (or forgot), 1958-1959. It's on the 2005 release (the SOLE one of the series) of the Huck Hound series, and, yes, it has the original soundtrack (for those still wanting to know.)