Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The Expanding World of Hanna-Barbera: 1960

The debut of The Flintstones may have been the highlight for Hanna-Barbera in 1960 but other things were going on at the studio as well. For one thing, they left the Kling Studios on La Brea you see to the right and moved into a windowless, concrete bunker at 3501 Cahuenga, which still stands. It couldn’t possibly hold the expanding operation so a lot of people worked from home, such as inkers and painters, and even writer Mike Maltese. For another, Screen Gems marketing guru Ed Justin worked out a cross-level promotional campaign for Huckleberry Hound, who “ran” for president.

But Huck’s sun was setting. Yogi Bear was eclipsing him as a star as, in 1960, a Yogi movie was planned before Jellystone Park’s best-known bruin even had a TV show—which was also created in 1960, thanks to a deal with Kellogg’s.

Here are some clippings from Variety for that year. They include mention of our old friend Harebrain Hare, who died on the drawing board that year, a factious column by “Huckleberry Hound” (beware of groaner puns), as well as a review of a Flintstones episode, complete with credits. Someone (sorry, I’ve forgotten who) asked me if I had information about actor Bob Hopkins who appeared in it. I really don’t. Hopkins was an impressionist who worked in the night clubs in the ‘40s and ’50, as well as appearing with Ken Murray on stage and on television. When Steve Allen left KNX for New York in 1950, Hopkins replaced him—but not for very long. He later ended up at KLAC. He wrote a couple of songs, too. He was 44 when he died of leukaemia on October 5, 1962. The other actor in the credits who may be unfamiliar to you is Jerry Mann. We posted about him here.

Poor Bea Benaderet’s name continues to be misspelled.

April 4, 1960
Alan Reed has been cast opposite Bea Benadaret and Jean Vander Pyl in Hanna-Barbera's new ABC-TV series, "The Flintstones."
Miles Lab and Reynolds Tobacco sponsor.

May 31, 1960
Jack Hellman column
YOU PROBABLY HAVEN'T HEARD MUCH ABOUT BILL HANNA or Joe Barbera because they'd rather push what they do than who they are. Sure you've heard about Walt Disney but did you know that Hanna-Barbera Productions is the biggest cartoon studio in the world with a staff of 185 (most of them over 50) ? You've also heard about Roy Rogers and his merchandise tieups, but did you know that H-B's "Huckleberry Hound" and "Quick Draw McGraw" gross 20 million a year in kid items? Betcha didn't know that the "Tom and Jerry" cartoons they did at Metro for 20 years has won seven Academy awards and never missed a year in 18 being nominated? Pat Weaver and Fred Wile (ex-NBC) won't believe this, but neither Bill nor Joe ever write a memo to a staffer. They just go over and talk to them. You'll be hearing a lot come autumn about their "Flintstones," an animated half hour which they like to call "an adult cartoon," which was bought off the story board by ABC and sold immediately to two sponsors. And they didn't quibble about price — $65,000 a week. From a humble start of eight 6-min. cartoons a year, they will have four half-hours a week on network or in syndication next season. Partners since 1939, Barbera is the one who hatches out the ideas, Warren Foster looks after the continuity and dialog, and Hanna directs the finished product. The voices you'll hear on "The Flintstones" are those of Mel Blanc, Alan Reed, Bea Benadaret, Daws Butler, Paul Frees, Bill Thompson and Jean Vanderpyl. Said Hanna, "anyone could live quite comfortably off their residuals."

July 19, 1960
Help Wanted
Animation artists here are hard to come by, with cartooning on tv in the midst of a boom.
Situation is such that Hanna-Barbera Productions, for example, hires vet freelancers who may elect to work at home. Many of the freelancers are women who were either laid off by the major studios or are too busy raising a family to punch a clock.

July 20, 1960
Hanna-Barbera’s Animation Spree; New Studio Set in Coast Expansion
Hollywood, July 19. - Hanna-Barbera Productions, the cartoonery which zoomed from nowhere in three years to become the major in the tv field, is opening up new studios here next month.
Hanna-Barbera's latest entry is "Flintstones," due to bow on ABC-TV this fall. Half-hour weekly series is the first animated adult comedy and is due to be watched closely as a trend pacer.
Other Hanna-Barbera entries, all distributed by Screen Gems, include "Quick-Draw McGraw," and "Huckleberry Hound," both sponsored on a national spot basis by Kellogg; and "Ruff and Reddy," NBC-TV.
With so much production underway and new projects being blueprinted, outfit estimates that currently it employs about 50% of the animators on the Coast. Principals Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera started out in '57, clinching a deal with SG after being turned down on their planned animation idea by virtually all the major tv outfits in the biz. Hanna and Barbera came to tv after about 20 years with MGM, where they worked as a team on the "Tom and Jerry" cartoons. When the motion picture biz dipped and short subjects got the short end of the stick as a result, they decided to peddle their own idea.
Planned animation, as opposed to full animation, relies strongly on story and dialog. It utilizes from 10,000 to 12,000 drawings per half-hour as opposed to 40,000 drawings which' would be needed in full animation. When Hanna and Barbera tried to pitch their planned animation initially, they were told it just couldn't stand up against full animation, represented on tv by the oldie cartoons. Economic impossibility of full animation in tv is underlined by the costs—full animation of a six-minute short subject runs to about $50,000.
Their planned animation policy worked out, for success of "Ruff and Reddy" was followed by "Huck" and "McGraw." In fact, Hanna and Barbera do theatrical shorts as well for Columbia release. "Loopy Deloop" is the title of their theatrical shorts. Hanna-Barbera's reentrance into the theatrical end finds the principals turning full circle.
Additional, outfit, which now employs 175 people, is in the commercial animated film field.

August 3, 1960
‘Huck’ Hound as SG’s ‘Man Who—’
What started out as a gag at Screen Gems—running cartoon character Huckleberry (Huck) Hound for President—has assumed "I-give-you-the-man-who" dimensions. It's still too early to tell whether Huck poses a real threat, BUT A PLATFORM IS BEING BUILT.
Plank: At a recent Hawaii electioneering junket, 10,000 people (more than turned out to greet President Eisenhower last month) were on hand at the Honolulu airport to greet Huck. (Huck being indisposed in an ink bottle couldn't make it himself, but sent an emissary, dressed in his likeness.)
Plank: Some 5,000,000 "Huck for President" campaign buttons have been run off; there's a comic book on the same theme; disk putting the theme to music; banners, picket signs, etc.
Plank: In the heartland of the United States of America— midway between Alaska, Hawaii and Brooklyn—in Mason City, Ia., the State Fair will feature a "Huck for President" rally. Similar rallies have been and are being conducted elsewhere in the country.
Plank: Huck is three years old.
Plank: Television stations, aware of Huck's friendly disposition to the industry, are lending their support with on-the-air endorsements for his nomination. (It's not only his particular paid-for show.) Some tv stations have been real sneaky about it. They slotted the Presidential Huck free plugs in local breaks during the recent convention coverage. When other candidates complained, station execs played it deadpan. "We want to add a light note to the business on hand," they stated.
Ed Justin, Screen Gems' merchandising director who started what he considered to be a gag, couldn't be reached for comment. Last seen, he was jetting for outer space, wondering where it would end (the campaign, that is).

Aug. 31, 1960

GOOD MORNING, y’ all . . . These are known as dog days, which is probably why Army Archerd asked me to do this column . . . or maybe he was just dog-tired and didn't realize what he was doing . . . in any case, Hollywood is a great town for canines . . . it's the only place where a man can produce a dog . . . at least, that's what one producer called his last movie.
Cartoon heroes, like yours truly, have a hard time getting into the gossip columns . . . Yogi Bear is bigger than Clint Walker, louder than Milton Berle, and even wilder than Louis Prima, but has yet to be itemed in the tabloids . . . Quick Draw McGraw was seen hoof-holding with a glamorous filly out of the Screen Gems stable, but no one mentioned it . . .
Actually, Quick Draw is being influenced by other western heroes in Hollywood . . . the equine star recently asked for a salary hike to $6,000 per cartoon . . . Bosses Hanna and Barbera dueted, "That ain't hay," and McGraw may be replaced by an elephant . . . they're big, but they'll work for peanuts . . . and they never get trunk with power. I've been busy myself campaigning for President . . . was very gratified by the 'Huck for President' rally in Honolulu at which 60,000 people showed up . . . it's a great country where a Hound Dog can grow up to be President — and come to think of it — many a President's been in the dog house from time to time . . . Yogi Bear says the reason I'm presidential timber is because I know such a lot about trees . . .
Yogi's been running my campaign . . . says I've got to get out and shake paws with my constituents . . . It's turned me into a pooped pup . . . woke up this morning and my nose was warmer than Brigitte Bardot's guest towels . . .
Ran into Baba Looey, the burro who gets big laughs on "The Quick Draw McGraw" show, and he tells me he's very excited about his upcoming vidstint with David Susskind on "Open End" discussing "The Social Responsibility of the Animated Cartoon in the Atomic Age" . . . he's also been pacted to do the voice of Desi Arnaz . . .
Augie Doggy has taken time out from his picture, "The Canine Mutiny," to cut an album of all-time great canine tunes . . . songs include "The Bassett Things in Life Are Free" . . . "Purple Puppy Eater" . . . "The Beagle Gall Rag" . . . "I've Got the World On A Leash" . . . "I'm Going To Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Litter" . . . and a tear jerker, "Mastiffs in the Cold, Cold Ground" . . . Doggy Daddy more involved with serious projects . . . wants to play "Hamlet" because he hears he was a great Dane . . . or at least Sir Walter Raleigh who laid his cloak over a wet poodle in the street . . .
Yogi Bear, whose last flick was the "Bear Foot Contessa," jets back to Jellystone National Park this week after negotiations for the starring role in "West Side Story" fell through . . . Bear's fancy footwork brought him to the attention of director Jerome Bobbins . . . but Yogi got carried away in a love scene with Natalie Wood and gave her a big bear hug . . . she'll be out of the hospital in a few weeks . . . Rin Tin Tin finally admitted he uses a double for the tough stunt scenes . . . Pal, the Collie who plays Lassie on tv, confessed exclusively to this reporter, he's sick and tired of his stint as a female impersonator . . . wants to get a Yul Brynner haircut and play a Mexican Hairless . . . Boo-Boo Bear, Yogi's Jellystone Park pal, has set up his own producing company — Boo Boo Productions. Three studios have filed suit against the company claiming they have been making Boo Boo's for years . . .
Big talk among the cartoon colony in Hollywood this week is "The Flintstones," first adult situation comedy in cartoon form . . . Heroes of the opus which won a Friday night slot on ABC-TV are Fred and Wilma Flintstone and Betty and Barney Rubble . . . supplying the voices are the talented Alan Reed, Bea Benadaret, Mel Blanc and Jean Vander Pyl . . . Y.C.M.A. (Young Cave Men's Association) planning huge demonstration for series debut . . . vidfilm series loaded with caveman gimmicks ranging from a dinosaur which doubles as a steam shovel, a Stoneway piano, to a suburban development complete with split-level caves . . . This is definitely the most ambitious project yet developed for the living-room monster and producers Hanna and Barbera have kept their brand-spanking new cartoon factory going on a round-the-clock schedule . . . It's tough to curl up in an ink bottle and go to sleep anymore . . . That's about it from Hollywood's cartoon colony . . . see you next year in Army's space with items you won't get from any other columnist in town . . . meanwhile, back to the drawing board.

October 20, 1960

Hanna-Barbera Productions, already conceded to be the world's largest cartoonery, has launched a reorganization and expansion program for 1961, entailing a near 100% increase in its annual production budget. Blossoming includes two new teleseries, initial plans for a third and production of company's first feature-length theatrical film.
For its 1961 schedule, H-B will spend more than $6,000,000, compared with the $3,500,000 laid out for its 1960 program. If current high ratings on "The Flintstones" hold up and a second brace of 26 segments is ordered, the total budget for '61 will run closer to $7,700,000.
Additionally, company toppers Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera are looking for two acres of ground on which they'll build new facilities, including their own sound stage, which will involve an expenditure of $760,000.
Expand — And Save
In line with its reorganization, H-B has made considerable personnel changes, promoting several staff members and adding others. With its enlarged personnel roster, the company already is committed for production of at least 36 hours of television product for the '60-'61 season. Company has become well known for its "planned animation," a system involving quality action with fewer drawings and resulting in a 50% saving of money and a 65% saving of time. Were the 35-hour slate to be produced via the animation techniques Hanna and Barbera used while at Metro, the $5,000,000 program would cost more than $15,000,000, according to Hanna.
H-B has just concluded a deal with Screen Gems for production of 104 five-minute segments for syndication. "All our shows have been planned for syndication," Barbera explained, "but so far all have been bought by single sponsors." Emphasizing the new five-minute shows definitely will be syndicated, Barbera revealed they will encompass two separate series, one starring "Lippy the Lion" and "Hardy Har Har" and the other starring "Hairbrain Hare" and "Dum Dum," all of them new H-B creations.
'Yogi' Feature Star
Company currently is in production on a "Yogi Bear" teleseries, bringing the character out of the "Huckleberry Hound" teleseries. "Yogi" also will be the star of H-B's first feature-length film, currently being written by Barbera and Warren Foster and being aimed for release next summer by Columbia. Barbera additionally revealed that success of the adult cartoon series, "The Flintstones" (now airing on ABC) has keyed interest in another family-type series. Talks already have been held with Screen Gems, and H-B currently is working on a character for the series which is expected to be ready for airing next fall.
Animation company has been in its new Hollywood quarters for less than three months and already finds only half of its staff can be accommodated, the other half now working at home. Current roster numbers 140 and, as an example of expansion, was boosted by the addition of 17 new girls in the paint-and-ink department within the past four weeks. H-B also has added another $25,000 camera to its facility, bringing total to four.
"And they're actually the equivalent of 12 cameras," said Barbera, "since they're in operation 24 hours a day."
H-B's "Ruff 'n' Reddy" series has just completed three years on the air. "Huckleberry Hound" currently is in national syndication on 192 stations through Kellogg's, with similar syndication on "Quick Draw McGraw" and same system planned for "Yogi Bear." With "Flintstones" on ABC, H-B finds another network exposure on CBS' Saturday show "The Magic Land of AllaKasam" which integrates fourth-run H-B product.
5-Year Col Deal
Besides its commercial operation — involving budget of $300,000 to $500,000 per year — Hanna-Barbera also has a five-year exclusive deal with Columbia for production of "Loopy De Loop" theatrical cartoons. H-B also has just completed animated sequences for "Pepe," Columbia release of a production by George Sidney, who was instrumental in bringing Hanna and Barbera to Col and Screen Gems three years ago. Sidney has a financial interest in H-B.
In line with its expansion, H-B has promoted to new posts: Alex Lovy and Dan Gordon, associate producers; Warren Foster, chief writer and story supervisor on "Huckleberry Hound"; Mike Maltese, chief writer and story supervisor on "Quick Draw McGraw"; Maltese and Foster, story supervisors on the new "Yogi Bear Show"; Tony Benedict and Kevin Gordon, upped to the story department; Bob Carr, from assistant animator to full animator; Guyla Avery to office manager; and Frank Paiker, head of camera department. They join Roberta Greutert, head of the paint-and-ink department; Greg Watson, head of the editorial staff; and Arnold Carr, head of promotion-advertising-publicity.

November 7, 1960
(The Monster From The Tar Pits)
Fri., 8:30-9 p.m., KABC-TV)
Those who first saw "The Flintstones" in its rounds of the ad agencies gave it a big plus to their clients. To see it again is to understand why it was snapped up by the William Esty agency and is now riding with the leaders in the Nielsen 20's. Those who labelled it a sleeper can take their places with the prophets of "Candid Camera." But rather, it's a wide-awaker in the idiom of Warren Foster's rollicking wordage for the inky characters.
Doubters may well ask, "how-cum a cartoon goes over so big?" It has never happened before in tv in the night hours, week in and out. To isolate the cause and effect in last Friday's stanza was to turn the key to its success: a skilled amalgam of character, dialog, and story line. The drawings are uproarious, the voices expertly fitted and a story to tell that doesn't just ramble from one violent incident to another. It might even lead to Jack Benny or Red Skelton doing a show in caricature and Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera are the ones to do it. It could be the answer to the critics wailing for something new and different. "The Monster From The Tar Pits" was a broad burlesque of a picture company location. The gag lines could have been considerably helped by a laugh track, but here's at least one "honest" program. On the sight side were such zany inventions as an elephant's trunk used to vacuum a mom.
It takes many hands to turn out a cartoon series to buck the night tide so successfully and the credits must be scattered so here they are: Producers, Hanna and Barbara [sic]; voices. Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl, Bea Benadaret, Bob Hopkins, Jerry Mann; below the line: Alan Dinehart, Foster, Howard Hanson. Kenneth Muse, Walt Clinton, Bob Gentle, Lawrence Goble, Donald Douglas, Norm Stainbach, Roy Wade, Hoyt Curtin.Helm.


  1. Interesting that the review says, "The gag lines could have been considerably helped by a laugh track, but here's at least one "honest" program." I thought ABC had made Bill and Joe put a laugh track on "The Flintstones" from the outset.

  2. Who the heck is hairbrained hare?

    1. Kamden, this should give you all the info you need:

      This same article mentioning Harebrain appeared there while Don was talking about the trio of cartoons that turned up in most places as THE TOUCHE TURTLE SHOW, and he first mentions that Harebrain was the predecessor of Touche, as should be obvious, since both were teamed with a character named Dum Dum. The best part of the post are shots of Ed Benedict 's preliminary character concepts that appeared in LIFE Magazine. In both cases, each appears to be intended to be a parody of Don Quixote (with Dum Dum as Sancho Panza), which I think is exemplified by the crooked sword. (And yeah, "Hairbreadth Hare" makes more sense--a play on "Hairbreadth Harry" from the comics pages of the '20s and '30s--but someone might have argued that kids would have trouble spelling "hairbreadth" and opted for Hairbrain for VARIETY.)

      The equally interesting part of the discussion is the implication that Wally Gator was added later since he goes unmentioned in the initial news blurb. I wonder when it was in the development of his segment that Walter Lantz learned of H-B's plans for a Ozarks-based alligator to be voiced by Daws Butler, and said, "Hey, Daws is ALREADY doing Gabby Gator for us"--and all the scripts for a swamp-based character had to be changed to him being a frisky denizen of Mr. Twiddle's zoo. Makes sense to me.

      And it occurs to me now that of the three segments only LIPPY AND HARDY landed their own Gold Key solo comic (all three showed up in HANNA-BARBERA BAND WAGON). If Touche was a last-minute addition to his own cartoon, and Wally's entire milieu had to be switched to the zoo, it also explains why that may have been the case...though, to be fair, Lippy doesn't look much like himself in the original sketch in your 2014 post either.