Saturday, 28 November 2015

Adventure is My Hobby Storyboard

Cartoon spoofs always have an origin and, occasionally, they can have several inspirations mashed together. In the very early ‘50s, KTTV in Los Angeles broadcast a show called “Mystery is My Hobby.” In 1955, shooting began on a syndicated TV show “Adventure is My Business.” About the same time, John Stephenson hosted “Bold Adventure,” where ordinary people would come on and narrate over home movies of various adventures. These all may have inspired Mike Maltese to come up with the Snooper and Blabber cartoon “Adventure is My Hobby.”

(Some of you may be asking why the plural of “spoof” isn’t “spooves.” I am a cartoon dog, not an English professor).

That cat-loving friend of all cartoon dogs (and cartoon fans), Mark Kausler, has sent me scans of the storyboard drawings from “Adventure is My Hobby.” Other than Daws Butler playing around with a few words, the dialogue is the same as in the finished cartoon. Most of the drawings are, too, though some of the camera instructions aren’t followed. Mark’s note to me:

The drawings of the sea monster are really funny and full of personality. This board is probably Warren Foster's drawings, the last few pages are the Colerase red pencil lines, maybe he didn't have time to graphite over them.

The board doesn’t really need much of an explanation from me. You can read the review of the cartoon in this post.

Here’s a little comparison to show you how well animator Gerard Baldwin stuck to the story drawings. Compare what you see at the left to drawing 3 below.

The director doesn’t cut to a tight shot as per panel 10. Saves a bit of work for the cameraman. And background artist Joe Montell adds a picture to Snoop’s office in panel 12. He changed the light, too. Montell doesn’t seem to have been beholden to the story panels in concocting his backgrounds. He and animator Baldwin ended up in Mexico later that year working on Jay Ward cartoons.

Evergreen trees? That’s for Yogi Bear. Montell goes with a styled elm (panels 20 and 21). Or is it a birch? No matter. The car has become a four-door with those tail lights like a ’54 Cadillac. The instructions “open on small field” and “truck back to l.s.” (long shot) are ignored. A little less camera work gets the cartoon produced faster though, aesthetically, it was probably the right decision. And what was that old saying at Terrytoons? If one mouse is funny, five are funnier? Panel 22 has Montell adding extra milk bottles and newspapers.

Check out panels 31 and 35 and see how they matched the finished cartoon. 31 implies the monster slides in from left of the frame but he pops up instead. And since he’s animated over top of Snooper, the fishing rod is behind him.

Panel 44: the take. Baldwin adds a head shake take, uses the first frame below in the dialogue, and then does the oval mouth/wide eyes take.

Panel 68 is a little different. “Rep. 19” seems to mean to use the background from Scene 19 as that’s what we see. The dots on the trees in the background are a tell-tale sign of Montell’s work; you can see it in his MGM cartoons, too.

Panel 80 has an instruction to, I presume, rotate the camera or whatever is holding the cels and background to a 90 degree angle. In the actual cartoon, the sky/cloud background is panned up instead of across.

The instruction between panels 97 and 98 reads “Fade off Burgess Cel.” Can anyone fill me in on what that means?

There is no camera shake as indicated on panel 110. There is a whip sound effect when Snooper hits the tree, a crash when he hits the branch and a kettle drum when he lands; effects familiar to many H-B cartoons.

Panel 126: Perspective animation? In a Hanna-Barbera cartoon? Nope. I don’t know if there’s a two field pan like the instructions say, but the boat passes the same humpy hill four times.

The chopper in panel 128 inherits the name “J-19” (not the production number of the cartoon) and is on an angle. Note how Baldwin renders 134. He stuck to the panel.

Panel 143: in the cartoon, the monster doesn’t flip over his head like the panel instructs. Got to save on animation, you know.

Panel 150 has Blab talking to the camera. In the cartoon, he’s in profile and turns his head after he’s finished. Not only do no fish food flakes shake from the box during the cycle animation, the sea monster (played by Hal Smith) makes his “bllloooop” sound without any mouth movement. “A penny saved...” says Bill Hanna Ben Franklin.

Mark Kausler is bound and determined to keep me blogging as he has more storyboard goodness from his collection for you. We’ll try to post a Huckleberry Hound board next month.

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