Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Balmy Swami With Ruff and Reddy

There are some kind, generous people on the internet who have gone to great trouble to provide the world with free stuff. For example, Tom Tryniski runs a wonderful but misnamed site called Old Fulton New York Post Cards which has scans of many newspapers and has been one of the places where I’ve found old columns and feature stories transcribed here. It’s been so helpful.

Another great site is Comic Book Plus, where someone has posted an overwhelming number of old comics. Among them are a number of Dell and Gold Key editions featuring the Hanna-Barbera characters. All for free! I can’t imagine the time it took to scan and upload them.

I’m going to borrow from the site to reprint a portion of Ruff and Reddy No. 4, dated January to March 1960. A Ruff and Reddy fan, I’m not. For someone who grew up on Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the Fleischer Popeyes (not to mention Huck and Quick Draw), Ruff and Reddy was just too tame by comparison. It felt like a show for kids younger than I was. Today, I can appreciate the voice work, Fernando Montealegre’s neat backgrounds in the first two Chapters and the Capitol Hi-Q “D” series stock cues, but the series still doesn’t do anything for me. But some of you reading here like Ruff and Reddy and since the show will, unfortunately, never be given a home video release, this comic book story will have to suffice.

The format fits Ruff and Reddy pretty well. Each of their continuing adventures is very much like a comic book story in length and tone. And this one reminds me of the second Ruff and Reddy cartoon series story which starts off in a ship and then suddenly makes a turn and the characters are in Africa dealing with a different bad guy in the second half.

The characters are very well rendered in the black-and-white one-pager. I should have guessed they were by Harvey Eisenberg.

If you want to read the full comic, feel free to click on the Comic Book Plus site.


  1. Ruff & Reddy came off as Bill & Joe not quite being sure how this TV thing was going to work, and -- as they would repeatedly in the future -- borrowing from a format that already was successful, in this case, the Crusader Rabbit episodic cartoons that hit TV screens seven years earlier. But as you note, the stories seem written down to a very young age group, moreso than with the initial Crusader Rabbit efforts (and certainly more than Jay Ward's next foray into episodic TV cartoons, Rocky and His Friends). Hanna-Barbera fared far better doing stuff they were more comfortable with from their MGM days, starting with the Huckleberry Hound series.

  2. There was also the factor that the series was originally seen on NBC's Saturday morning schedule- with a "live" host and puppets that were also supposed to attract a "very young age group".....and more susceptible to the sponsor's Post cereals commercials.

  3. Thanks for posting this, Yowp. I love old comic book stories. I've never seen a Ruff and Reddy cartoon, and never had any real desire to do so, but I found this story very enjoyable.

  4. bless you, sir! Yes, the (very) occasional comment on your column has made the point clear that I am a definite RnR fan. Have been since 1958...I would love to locate copies of the comics for my own collection, as well as a complete collection of the series on dvd
    Any recognition the series can get is a step in the right direction.

  5. The one-page gag is by Harvey Eisenberg. The longer story looks like it might be by Kay Wright.

  6. In the 90's, H-B released a VHS tape titled "Animal Follies" which among other stuff contained several key chapters from the first Ruff and Reddy epic, the outer space adventure. As far as I know, it's the most extensive use of R and R in the home video era.

    The frustrating thing about watching R and R on TV for me as a kid was the episodic format. Just when you get into an adventure, you have to wait for the next one, and my local stations didn't always play the chapters in order, interspersing them with other cartoons like Mr. Magoo and Felix.

    I think I always preferred the comic book adventures because they were self-contained and there wasn't the sense of having missed a chapter. The Swami story is a good example of the fluidity of the cartoon starts out one way and ends up in a different direction, but it's still all one story.

    I really enjoy these forays into print media. Thanks for yet another great post!

    1. I remember seeing that " Animal Follies " VHS at the now gone " Blockbuster Video " back in the 90s. Wish I had bought it. You know how hindsight seems to always be 20/20. If nothing more, I would have bought it for the voice work and the Capitol Music needle drops.

  7. I for the most part enjoy Ruff & Reddy, esp.,the theme song and the two mrrk, chaaracters Don Messick played twho got in to very early Yogi's: Pinky the ELephant and the "Monopoly" mascot loi like "Prof.Gizmo>