Saturday 28 February 2015

Pixie and Dixie's Unmade Uncle Egghead

Remember the cartoon where Pixie and Dixie called on their Uncle Egghead, who gives them an electromagnet that Jinks swallows (thinking it’s candy) and then all kinds of metal becomes attracted to him? You don’t? It’s probably because the cartoon never aired or copyrighted.

But a storyboard was made for it. You won’t see these small story sketches very well because that’s the size they were on a web site. I imagine the story is by Warren Foster; the sketches certainly aren’t Dan Gordon’s from the first season.

“I’m having a nightmare—only in the daytime,” says the cat, reminiscent of “Light-Headed Cat,” which has a similar plot, with an anti-gravity machine lifting Jinks airborne every time a button is pushed. Daws Butler uses the term “night-time mare” in that one, just like he did in the Pixie and Dixie cartoon “Batty Bat.” Frankly, neither of the aforementioned cartoons were that great. (“Night-time mare” was heard in two other Foster-written cartoons: the much funnier “Snow White Bear,” with Yogi, and the Pixie and Dixie short “Hi Fido”). The magnet-in-the-stomach-attracting-stuff idea was also utilised by Joe Barbera in the Tom and Jerry cartoon “Old Rockin’ Chair Tom.” And there’s a Twilight Zone reference in one of the story panels but really no great one-liners. The Pixie and Dixie cartoons don’t seem to have inspired Foster as much as Yogi or Huck.

Whether Foster drew the board, I don’t know. And when it was drawn, I couldn’t tell you. But it’s always interesting to find unmade cartoons (we posted story panels from Earl Kress’ collection of an unmade El Kabong cartoon here). You can click on them to try to see them but I don’t know how much bigger they’ll be.

We’ve got another full storyboard for an unmade cartoon we’ll endeavour to post some time in the future.

Thursday 26 February 2015

Hey There, It's Mel Crawford

Mel Crawford didn’t animate any of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons, but he was intimately familiar with many of the studio’s early characters.

Word has come from Jerry Beck about Mel’s death. Read more at this post.

If you don’t know who Mel Crawford is, he illustrated a number of the Little Golden Books featuring Yogi Bear, Top Cat, the Flintstones and other H-B stars. His shadowing on the characters is very distinctive.

We’ve posted some of his work here before, but here’s what he drew for Whitman’s adaptation of “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear.” We’ve grabbed these from the Golden Gems website. You can see more of Mel’s work by clicking HERE. Enjoy the layouts and the rest of the artwork.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

H-B Odds and Sods

Time to post some Hanna-Barbera image files sitting in my computer. I’ve made no notations where I got some of them.

A sadistic kid rode Yogi Bear in “Daffy Daddy,” so I guess this toy that’s seen better days makes sense. Light bulbs? Beats me.

Has Yogi merchandise ever stopped being made? This looks like newer stuff, not from the late ‘50s. Okay, other than the milk mug.

Here’s one of those great Kellogg’s ads in full colour. What?! The offer’s not good in Canada? Yogi’s lasted a lot longer than Kellogg’s OKs, hasn’t he?

Here’s Yogi in a beautiful Cadillac. Yes, I know you thought he drove a Chrysler LeBear-on. Hyuk, hyuk.

Prime time cartoons make the covers of TV magazines. The artwork is right on. These are from the collection of Jerry Beck.

These eggs cups were made in England by Ridgway Potteries in 1960. Even a really off-model Li’l Tom Tom rates an appearance.

“Hilarious new character”? Don’t think so. But this is a nice little one sheet to push the H-B studio’s only series that actually made it into theatres (others were proposed). Thanks to Scott Shaw! for this poster.

Finally, an image maker for the Quick Draw McGraw show. These look like they were used for newspaper box ads; the local station call letters and channel would be substituted.

Click on any of the images to make it easier to see.

Saturday 21 February 2015

Yogi Bear — Threadbare Bear

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Bob Bentley, Layout – Ernie Nordli, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Government Official, Radio announcer, Mayor – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Housewife – Don Messick.
Music – Hoyt Curtin.
Production R-68 (first cartoon produced for 1961-62 season).
First Aired: week of February 5, 1962.
Plot: Yogi and Boo Boo escape after being shipped to the Cincinnati Zoo.

Did you know the U.S. government orders a count of bears in national parks, and then sends any excess number of bears to a zoo? It probably doesn’t, but it does in this cartoon because that sets up the plot.

There aren’t a lot of laughs in this one, but the story’s a nice, tight one. It’s a character study showing how much Ranger Smith really likes Yogi and Boo Boo, even pretending to kill them to get them back to Jellystone Park. My favourite bit is when Smith gets word on the phone that the two bears have escaped while being transported by truck to their new home at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Yogi and Boo Boo,” moans Smith. “They know nothing but the protected life of Jellystone Park. They could starve to death.” Fade in to a scene where Yogi and the fattened Boo Boo are in a woodsy setting, chowing down on food they’ve presumably stolen.

I’m more than a little confused by the title and the title card. The story goes like this: a government official selects Yogi and Boo Boo to be sent to a zoo. After a misunderstanding, the bears are forced into a truck. They escape. They eat stuff. They’re shot at. Ranger Smith hears what’s happening on the radio. He rushes to a cave where Yogi and Boo Boo are hiding. He pretends to shoot and kill them and offers to take the “bear skins” back to the ranger station. So where does the “Threadbare” part come in? Is this a case, like “Ring a Ding Picnic Basket,” which started out with a different name? And why does the title card have the bears in a circus cage? They’re going to a zoo.

Bob Bentley is the animator. There’s nothing really distinctive in his work here other than this diagonal exit. These are consecutive drawings. Ernie Nordli designed the radio with the old-fashioned grid aerial.

We all know about Hanna-Barbera’s repeating backgrounds. There’s one in this cartoon. You can see where the spongework on the hills directly behind Ranger Smith is different from one frame to the network.

Art Lozzi gets the background credit. Note the blue tree trunks and downward-pointing pine fronds. Lozzi drew those no matter who the layout artist was. The bushes in the foreground of the first drawing are on an overlay and the back door of the truck is animated on cels.

The last scene has fir trees with flipped up branches. Monte liked drawing the same kind in the first season of the Huck show.

Cartoon Miscellany: Yogi is Bear 14 and Boo Boo is Bear 37 . . . Jellystone has 52 bears . . . “Your bears have odd names,” observes the government guy . . . Ranger Smith isn’t happy to see Yogi to leave for a change . . . a jaunty version of (Meet) The Flintstones plays when Yogi and Boo Boo burst out of the truck. It’s not the theme for “The Flintstones” as yet . . . Yogi easily steals a huckleberry pie. He spent an entire cartoon three years earlier (“Pie Pirates”) failing to do the same thing . . . The studio had Don Messick do a housewife’s voice in falsetto. Why pay for Jean Vander Pyl when you don’t have to? . . . Yogi and Boo Boo escaped somewhere near Freeport.