Saturday 27 February 2016

Genial Genie Storyboard

Thank you to Mark Kausler for scanning and sending a number of Hanna-Barbera storyboards from his collection. Genial Genie is the last one.

Mark believes the board is by Alex Lovy, who was the story director on this cartoon. Warren Foster wrote the story, as he did all but one of the Yogis after Charlie Shows left Hanna-Barbera in 1959. The cartoon pretty much sticks with the way the scenes are depicted on the storyboard. Lots of close shots of dialogue which, unfortunately, aren’t visually very interesting.

Panel 8 has Yogi saying “bear-type buddy,” which is fairly typical. The cartoon substitutes “fuddy-duddy buddy,” a little odd considering Boo Boo isn’t really a fuddy-fuddy.

You can see some X’ed off panels that didn’t make it into the cartoon for whatever reason. The dialogue in panel 17 is skipped. Too bad. The line works well.

You can see some dialogue is cut in panels 22 and 27. And it appears some dialogue in pencil has been erased and written over.

To the right is what panel 25 looks like in the finished cartoon. The stylised Boo Boo in the storyboard looks funnier, but the actual character is constructed quite a bit differently.

Tsk. Someone can’t spell the word “Aladdin” (see panel 59). Fortunately, it was corrected in the actual cartoon, either in layout or by Art Goble, who was responsible for lettering in the early H-B cartoons.

“Weird hum”? (panel 67) No, it’s just the usual Hanna-Barbera harp sound effect found in all kinds of cartoons. To the right is Lundy’s version of panel 69. You’ll notice that he turns Yogi’s head slightly so he’s not in profile. And in the cartoon, the genie doesn’t have hands in the equivalent of panel 70, though they appear in the next scene (panel 71). I presume the notations on panel 70 are for colours; the genie isn’t outlined in black like the other characters in the cartoon.

Panel 115 has the notation “Re-Do Dial.” And they did. The line in the cartoon is “The North American Air Defence Command protects the entire North American continent from air attack, Senator.” In the cartoon, the Senator also parrots words as if to show he understands what he’s being told. So we get “Oh, yes, protects,” “Um, um, ring” and so on.

Panel 127 says “Wing Thru Sc[ene].” That’s exactly what happens on screen. Three times. The third rolls up the flying carpet (panel 128). Note the difference in the angle on panel 130 compared with the cartoon (there’s also a note on 130 for a diagonal pan).

And, yes, the cartoon irises out with Yogi crying as Jack Shaindlin’s “Rodeo Day” plays in the background.

Again, thanks to Mark Kausler for supplying these complete storyboards for the last several months.

Wednesday 24 February 2016

The Book of Huck

Have you seen some of your favourite cartoon characters that are victims of too much airbrushing? I have.

I prefer the painting that makes them as flat as you see on screen, but I do like some of the airbrushed work in the Whitman and Golden books that came out more than 50 years ago. There was just enough of it to give the characters a bit of dimension without being distracting.

One of the auction sites had this artwork from the cover of a Huckleberry Hound Giant Story Book published by Whitman in 1961, along with some of the drawings that must have been used therein. Very attractive.

And below are some designs from the “Hanna-Barbera Huckleberry Hound Treasury” by Golden Press, copyright January 9, 1961. The copyright notice says additional designs (what you see below) were by Thelma Witmer and John Carey. Carey had been an animator at Warner Bros. then moved into comic books. Witmer had been employed for a number of years at Disney. The page on the right in the first set of drawings had a title over the first row and little drawings of a bowl-hat-wearing Huck gesturing.

Fans of Ruff and Reddy and Loopy de Loop will be pleased to see them. Poor Loopy got comparatively little marketing as he appeared only in films and not on TV.

The Treasury contained the following stories, copyright 1959 and 1960:

Huckleberry Hound Builds a House / by Ann McGovern ; pictures by Harvey Eisenberg and Al White
Ruff and Reddy / by Ann McGovern ; pictures by Harvey Eisenberg and Al White
Huckleberry Hound and his Friends / by Pat Cherr ; pictures by Ben de Nunez and Bob Totten
Quick Draw McGraw / by Carl Memling ; pictures by Hawley Pratt and Al White
Yogi Bear / by S. Quentin Hyatt ; pictures by M. Kawaguchi and Bob Barritt
Loopy de Loop / by Kathryn Hitte ; pictures by George Santos
Huckleberry Hound and the Christmas Sleigh / by Pat Cherr ; pictures by C.W. Satterfield.

This post was going to end here with a hope that, some day, pictures from the Treasury would show up, other than the Christmas Sleigh story which you can find on the blog. But they have! So here are drawings by Harvey Eisenberg and Al White as Huck builds a house. You can click to enlarge them. As this book was aimed at kids, it doesn’t feature the humour you find on the Huck TV show.

There were a number of other Golden books of the Hanna-Barbera characters published around the same time. If we’re still here, we’ll bring you one next month.

Saturday 20 February 2016

Snagglepuss – Don't Know It Poet

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbara.
Credits: Animation – Allen Wilzbach, Layout – Don Sheppard, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Written by Mike Maltese, Story Director – John Freeman, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Maiden Clarissa – Jean Vander Pyl; Snagglepuss, Irate Father – Daws Butler; Duke de Geese – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Episode: Production R-75 (fourth of eight cartoons in 1961-62 season).
Plot: Snagglepuss pulls a Cyrano de Bergerac routine to win the hand of a maiden for a shy, French-accented Duke.

Snagglepuss was a character with endless possibilities. Anything involving theatricality or the great dramatic works of literature could be easily woven into a plot for the stage rhetoric-loving mountain lion. Especially if costumes were involved. And if said works were familiar enough to be used as a vehicle of parody.

So it is that Snagglepuss is plunked down into that cartoon land that isn’t quite Merrie Olde England, isn’t quite 18th Century France but isn’t quite the present, either, as writer Mike Maltese adapts the tale of Cyrano de Bergerac. Well, he adapts the best-known part of the novel, when Christian de Neuvillette proxies for the big-nosed de Bergerac to woo the lovely maiden Roxane.

Maltese, noted for putting the language of romance into a stinky French skunk, concocted these mots d’amour for the cartoon’s version of the famous scene:

What brings me riding hence—
My poor heart all aflutter?
Is it to build a fence?
Or buy a pound of butter?

Nay! I come ridin’ hence—
I don’t need a shove—
Tho’ the fare was 50 cents
I come to woo my love.

I will finish my rhyme.
Now, wilt thou be mine?

Part of the fun of this cartoon is it is like a stage, and everyone in it merely players, some of whom lapse out of character and switch from a stage declamatory style to give us asides in some lower-class American voice. Here’s an exchange after maiden Clarissa’s weight starts cracking the balcony she’s on and Snagglepuss hammers in a support beam.

Snag: There! That ought to hold an elephant.
Clarissa: Elephant! Who dares calleth me an elephant?
Snag (playing a lute): I come a wooin’ thee, with heart so pure. I am lovesick, and you are my only cure.
Clarissa: Who doth help and whine, as though t’were beneath my balcony?
Snag: Not only does yon buxom belle lack shape, but she also has no ear for music.
Clarissa: Do I hear the bleatings of a disenchanted donkey?
Snag: Neether, neither, my fair lady. ‘Tis I, the Duck de Geese, come to woo ya with lover’s rhyme.
Clarissa: Who, me? Are you sure you have the right address?
Jean Vander Pyl is really great in this. Her chubby maiden talks like a really bad actress reading lines until she snaps out of character (as in the last sentence above).

Snagglepuss’ wooing is interrupted by “the inevitable, ever-lovin’ irate father. The two get into a sabre duel. “Stop it! Wait!” shouts the maiden. “He is no burglar. He doth come to win my fair hand. (out of character) Don’t blow the chance of a life-time!”

Anyway, it turns out Snagglepuss has the wrong address. “Sacroiliac! You are not zee lovely Lady Lavendish!” says the Duke after the maiden jumps off the balcony and splats onto his back. “Oh, that skinny thing? She moved last week. We’re the new tenants,” responds the chubby replacement. At this point, the Duke borrows Snagglepuss’ routine. “Exit, broken back, heart and all, stage left!” And the cartoon ends with the Hanna-Barbera eternal chase, with the Duke stabbing the running Snagglepuss with his sword. But why is it Snagglepuss’ fault? The Duke was the one who gave him the address. “Ouch, ouch, the Duke is a grouch” indeed.

Continuity obsessors may now enthusiastically point to this cartoon and giddily spread the news on the internet that Snagglepuss’ real name is Cyril D. Snagglepuss, and point to this cartoon. The name was designed for a one-shot thing only, sorry. And you’ve got to appreciate Maltese calling the nobleman the Duke de Geese. Duke as in “Duck.”

The animator of this cartoon is Allen Wilzbach. Whether he’s still alive, I don’t know, but he was born December 1, 1929 and grew up in Cheviot, Ohio where his dad drove a milk truck. He was still in Ohio in 1948 as he placed in an art competition in Cincinnati that year. I believe Greg Wilzbach, who worked at Disney, is his son. Wilzbach has his characters almost facing the camera during some of the dialogue in this cartoon. An odd thing he animates (which may have come from Maltese’s story) is little hearts breaking near the Duke. His heart isn’t broken at this time, so I’m not sure why they’d shatter like that.

And before we taketh our leave, wouldst thou vieweth a stoney interior from Robert Mac Gentle, with our two heroes, bowin’ all the way, stage centre.