Saturday, 5 December 2015

Yakky Doodle in Hasty Tasty

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Clarke Mallery, Layout – Noel Tucker, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Tony Benedict, Story Director – Lew Marshall, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yakky Doodle – Jimmy Weldon; Fibber Fox, Alfie Gator – Daws Butler.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Episode: Production R-74, fourth of eight Yakkys in 1961-62 season.

Simple tastes in cartoons, have I. I like settings to be nice and traditional: Fred Flintstone living in the Stone Age, 1960s style, Yogi Bear hanging out with Boo Boo, that sort of thing. I’m afraid I’m not much on the “universe” concept where Hanna-Barbera characters are poured into cartoons together merely because they’re Hanna-Barbera characters. I have no desire or curiosity to see the Herculoids and Scooby Doo in the same cartoon. I realise there are fans who love these kinds of combinations. Good for them. They can have them. I had enough problems with those ‘70s series that shoved together Yogi Bear and all kinds of funny animals and/or humans for the sake of shoving them together. Too many characters who should have been starring got watered down through sheer volume. Again, some fans like those shows, in some cases because of the Saturday Morning Bowl of Cereal Syndrome (nostalgia for an idealised childhood). To each their own.

I don’t mind guest or cameo appearances of characters where they have a real reason to be together. The Flintstones’ mini-cartoon that appeared on the episode of the Jetsons was great. All the characters on the Huckleberry Hound Show appearing in bumpers made sense because they were kind of treated like actors on the same programme who just happened to be around, with Huck decidedly in charge during the segments. And the idea of putting comic villains Fibber Fox and Alfie Gator in the same Yakky Doodle cartoon, Hasty Tasty, worked, too.

There was the danger of Fibber and Alfie cancelling other out, but writer Tony Benedict makes sure each keeps his own well-defined personality and builds a nice little story where the two compete (for a good portion of the cartoon) to capture the duck. There’s the added bonus of Chopper not making an appearance which keeps the plot nice and clean. Instead of the dog battering the stuffing out of the two bad guys, they do themselves in thanks to their own greed and incompetence. And for those of you who dislike or detest the duck, Tony has come to your rescue by not making him win this cartoon; Yakky is still running for his life when seven minutes are up and it’s time for a Kelloggs commercial.

Presumably, the title Hasty Tasty comes from all the run cycles in the cartoon. I didn’t bother to count them. The cycles may have given animator Clarke Mallery extra time for come up with some nice expressions. Mallery was an ex-Disney artist who also was hired to direct part of the Magoo Arabian Nights feature at UPA. The internet says he did a lot of freelance work and as this is his only credit in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon (that I know of), I suspect his work was freelance on this. Up and to the left you see Yakky screeching out the public-domain-so-we-don’t-have-to-pay-to-use-it song Camptown Races. The scene cuts to Fibber’s reaction, first to seeing a potential dinner on a tree branch, and then to the singing. These are consecutive frames.

A couple of exits. First, Alfie drops Fibber out of the frame. The drawing appears on screen for three frames.

Fibber and Alfie zip out of the scene. This one is also on threes.

We had a run cycle of Fibber and Yakky from this cartoon in this post. Here’s a three-drawing run-in-mid-air cycle, one drawing per frame. It seems to me most run cycles are even-numbered.

Random bits of dialogue:

Fibber: Hey, come back little duck! Don’t be chicken. I hate chicken.
Alfie: Good afternoon. As an ardent bird fancier, I have been observing that duck with the abominable voice (breathes). However, my intentions of purely abdominal.
Alfie (chasing Yakky): Consider, for one moment, the contribution you could make to gourmet history.

Among the gags:

● Alfie stops Fibber from chasing the duck with a well-placed frying pan.
● Fibber gets shot by Alfie after putting his mouth at the end of a metal pipe to swallow Yakky (who escapes through a hole).
● Alfie lays on the ground and swallows Yakky running into him. Fibber swats Alfie on the butt to get the duck out.
● Alfie puts his mouth at a drain-pipe exit on the roof of a house but Fibber grabs the pipe and runs into a cave with it, Alfie still attached.

Finally, the two villains agree to work together but start fighting (egged on by Yakky) when they disagree over who is going to eat the duck. The animation’s a little stiff because drawings are re-used but much of the scene is on ones. Occasionally, Alfie will be held in position for two frames while Fibber has a different position in each frame. Note how Alfie maintains his noble bearing except when he’s punched.

“Guess I should go south. I’ll never get a chance to grow up around here. Help! Heeeeeeelp!” screeches Yakky in close-up, as the cartoon fades out.

It’s nice to know several of the people who worked on this 54-year-old cartoon are around. Yakky’s voice, Jimmy Weldon, is still working in his 90s and writer Benedict is blogging about random cartoon things. Animator Mallery died in Los Angeles on July 12, 1993, age 74.


  1. This cartoon also lends a measure of continuity to the series--where Alfy and Fibber have been seen separately in previous episodes, here they appear together. Viewing this one after seeing some of the earlier entries almost makes it like an ongoing story.

    This is the Yakky short that made me start paying attention to the series, which I tended to dismiss as inferior to the Yogi Bear and Snagglepuss cartoons. I really like this one, especially as the characters are pretty consistently portrayed.

  2. Maybe instead of running, Yakky should have flown away. Then this cartoon would have been 20 seconds long.

  3. A fox who hates chicken? Poor fellow, no wonder he tries so hard to catch Yakky. I guess he went off chicken after that botched hen-house raid in his first cartoon.

  4. I wonder where Chopper was during all of this. Probably one of the times where a cartoon ends with Yakky losing.

  5. Fibber AND Alfie is the same cartoon? Does it get any better than that?! Two of my most favorite H-B supporting characters together!

    We’ve seen Sylvester and another cat, and Tom and another cat, fight over their quarry in better produced cartoons – but, to me, neither were as much FUN as this one, due to the one-and only pairing of Fibber and Alfie. Oh, and Daws Butler and Tony Benedict!

  6. Like George Goepper, Clarke Mallery was one of Eric Larson's assistants at Disney. He animated a few scenes on Peter Pan, in conjunction with Larson.

  7. The contrast in personalities helps here -- Allie is slow and pedantic while Fibber may be limited animation's most effective hyperboic character ever, and because of that is given over to fast verbal dialogue. They compliment each other nicely.

  8. Yowp, the phrase " Hasty Tasty " also reminds me of the 1953 Ozzie and Harriett episode where Frank Nelson and Hal Smith show up from the " Hasty Tasty Pancake Company " and promise the Nelsons " That Hasty Tasty pancakes are the best you've ever eaten, or we'll *double* your money back.

    1. Shout-out to the similar sounding Tasty Pastry from The Flintstones episode, "In the Dough".

  9. YOWP, I'm not sure about your opening observation. Alfie and Fibber were both regulars on ''Yakky Doodle''. It isn't a crossover. Not the same as having Don Knotts guest star on ''The New Scooby-Doo Movies''. Or was it Detective Pipsqueak?

  10. Well, I wouldn't call them regulars but I see your point.
    Still, it isn't like Alfie and Fibber are a pair. They're self-contained when it comes to plots. They really have no reason to cross paths. But, in this case, it works fine when they do.

  11. That's what gives the Yakky series some novelty the other early ones didn't: A given cartoon could have any combination of Chopper, Fibber, Alfy, or none of them, as co-stars. Invariably the Yakky 'solo' cartoons are the weakest, since his self-indulgent, overly cutesy character needs a regular foil/cohort to play off.

    The other major 'solo' character to that point was Huck, who did have a few recurring nemesis: Powerful Pierre, Iggy and Ziggy, Chief Crazy Coyote, the snickering bulldog. But Huck had a strong enough personality that he could 'carry' cartoons with one-shot guest characters without being upstaged by them.