Saturday 31 March 2018

Bowling For Hucks

Huck Hound was a lot better bowler in the cartoon Ten Pin Alley (1959) than in one of the little cartoons between the cartoons on his show.

Here’s our hero (with a very small bow tie) telling us he’s the best bowler in town before rolling a ball down the lane. Note Huck has a shadow, and the background artist has reflections on the lane.

With the shorter ears and the compressed eyes, he looks more like Astro, doesn’t he?

Huck gets his thumb stuck in the ball. Here’s a real interesting scene. As the camera pans to the right, the angle of the bowling alley in the background drawing changes and Huck disappears in perspective. I would have loved to have seen the painting (by Monty?) to get a better idea of what it looked like. (The artwork may have been tilted on the camera stand but I don’t know if H-B had that capability).

He comes back via the ball return.

Fortunately, he’s back in time for the next Huckleberry Hound cartoon.

You can’t tell from the few screen grabs posted here, but this is another one of the bumpers where Huck is animated very fluidly, stretching at times and almost swinging his body and head around in about as full as the animation got on the show. Parts of it are even animated on ones. Mike Kazaleh tells me it’s the work of Phil Duncan, who would have been freelancing for the studio. It would have been great to see a full seven-minute cartoon animated this way.

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Some Faces of Hanna-Barbera

It’s great to see the people responsible for those fun early Hanna-Barbera cartoons back in the studio’s heyday.

These pictures, I believe, are from Jerry Eisenberg’s collection, and courtesy of Tony Benedict. Jerry, if you don’t know, was a layout artist at the studio whose name can be found on The Huckleberry Hound Show and other great series. They have been sitting in a folder that was supposed to have been posted several months ago but got set aside somehow.

Here’s a snapshot of Art Lozzi. Art was working at the MGM cartoon studio at the time of its closing in 1957 and some months later was hired at Hanna-Barbera. He’s responsible for some really fun-looking backgrounds. Scooter Looter and Loco Locomotive, both with Yogi Bear, are his cartoons. Art is still alive and living in Greece, where he was working with one of the hotel chains. Lozzi told that it would take days to two weeks to paint the backgrounds for a short cartoon.

This colour shot is of one of the other early background artists at the studio, Fernando Montealegre. Credit watchers will know he only went by his last name on screen. You may have seen his work on some of the final cartoons made at the MGM cartoon studio; his backgrounds were flat and stylised. They were less so when he arrived at H-B. He was originally from Costa Rica and died in 1991 in California.

Here are Art and Monty along with Jerry Eisenberg in the background department at, judging by the cinderblock wall on the right, the windowless studio at 3501 Cahuenga, where the staff moved by August 1960 while the Flintstones was beginning production. Oh, to be able to see those long backgrounds on the boards to the left (at least that’s what I think they are).

Jerry along with fellow layout artist Willie Ito checking out a gorilla for sale. Both of them had worked at Warner Bros. in the 1950s. Willie ended up at Snowball, which was the studio Bob Clampett set up to make Beany and Cecil cartoons (and several other animated projects that never got sold) before going to H-B.

If you don’t know who this is, you really are on the wrong blog.

I don’t know if that’s the Emmy that Hanna-Barbera won for The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1960. I imagine this picture was taken some years after that.

Here’s the Arthur Froelich-designed building (with a bomb shelter), the third studio, at 3400 Cahuenga. It’s under construction here and opened in 1963. That’s Cahuenga Boulevard on the far right where that car is parked next to the phone pole (a 1959 Chevy is near the centre of the picture). Next to Joe and Bill and some TV cartoon characters, it’s probably the most famous face of Hanna-Barbera, even though my favourite cartoons were made at the Kling Studios on La Brea.

Saturday 24 March 2018

Jabbing Jinks

Ed Love takes a crack at Mr. Jinks in one of the little cartoons between the cartoons on the Huckleberry Hound Show. I suspect this is from 1959. Here are a few expressions. The one with Jinks backed against the ropes reminds me of a Buzz Buzzard expression from Drooler’s Delight, a Woody Woodpecker cartoon that Love animated pretty much on his own.

I love Dixie’s look when he clobbers Jinksie.

You can’t tell in these still frames, but Love animates this like he did other cartoons when he arrived at Hanna-Barbera. There’s limited movement in each frame. Love will move Jinks’ head in one frame, then hold it and move Dixie’s in the next.

The bell rings. The round is cut short, Huck tells us, because it’s time for a Pixie and Dixie cartoon (of course, we all know the star of those cartoons was Jinks). Here’s a typical pose Love used at Hanna-Barbera with two teeth on Huck. You’ll see this in other cartoons he animated for the first few years at H-B, including The Flintstones.

If you want to learn a bit more about Love, Jerry Beck’s Cartoon Research page features an all-too-short video interview of Love with Harvey Deneroff.

Wednesday 21 March 2018

Flintstones Weekend Comics, March 1968

My favourite Flintstones episode is centred around Dino and his love for TV character Sassy. I wish the series would have used Dino more to drive the main plot. Well, the writer of one of the Flintstones weekend comics 50 years ago this month did. And it’s an amusing one.

There were five Sundays in March 1968 and Richard Holliss has colour comics from all of them. He’s supplied one that he thought he had sent earlier so we have amended the post with it (the copy is smaller than the others).

Wilma gets even with the slobby Fred in the March 3rd comic. Why Fred is fishing in the living room, I’m not sure. Gene Hazelton and his artist avoid backgrounds in a number of the panels, including the second one where there’s no grass or sky, just the Rubbles’ house almost floating in space.

Pebbles is sadistic in the March 10th comic. She knows full-well she’s hurting people (and dinosaurs) by hammering them on the foot. We again have panels with no backgrounds. Note how Dino’s hiding behind the sign in the opening panel.

That poor bird with the record player beak. Every time niece Annie came over, all she did was listen to music. Oh, well. “It’s a groovy living,” I guess. Some good poses on dancing Fred in the March 17th comic. It would have blown Bill Hanna’s budget to have done that scene in animation.

Gleef! Here’s Dino in the spotlight in the March 24th comic. Richard’s colour versions come from England; whether the North American comic had Dino all in purple, I don’t know, but it looks odd that his snout isn’t white. We get a silhouette panel in the top row and a good use of perspective in the first panel, second row. See the crushed Viking under car in the last panel.

See the grinning Fred in the middle row of the March 31st comic. Snow golf? In bare feet? A hardy breed, those cave men (who don’t actually live in caves in Bedrock). Hey, Barney, if Fred has “mastered old number seven hole,” how come he hasn’t sunk anything? I suppose the “green” should be renamed the “white.” The silhouette panel in the first row includes the words “Yabba Dabba Doo.” I don’t believe Fred actually used the correct phrase in the Sunday comics until this one.

Click on each for a bigger view.

Saturday 17 March 2018

Robin Hood Bear

One of the first Yogi Bear cartoons was called Robin Hood Yogi, where Yogi decides to assume the guise of Robin Hood and rob goodies from tourists so he can eat them. The Robin Hood idea was revisited when Yogi got his own show as a way to introduce all the characters before the first cartoon.

“Scalin’ a castle with me is no hassle,” he says, before he crashes into it. He must have learned this from El Kabong.

Next, his butt is punctured by an arrow. “This guy’s in a rut. He’s some kind of a nut.” For some reason Snagglepuss is firing at him. “You were expecting maybe the Sheriff of Nottingham,” Yogi asks. “I don’t know about the naughty part, but you are kind of a ham.”

Quarterstaff jousting sets up the next gag with Yakky Doodle. Yakky is played by Red Coffey in this bumper, not Jimmy Weldon. “Use your noodle, Yakky Doodle. Don’t be scared, Yogi’s prepared.” Yakky gets past Yogi on a log over a stream easily. He conks the bear on the head and Yogi lands in the water. That still doesn’t end the rhymes. “Nice try, little guy,” says Yogi, now in the stream.

Next, Yogi reaches into Ye Royal Kitchen to grab something to eat. He catches a bear-stopping mouse trap instead. “Old Robin Hood’s caught with the goods.”

In the final scene, they’re no longer in castle-dotted Sherwood Forest. They’re in front of a TV set, awaiting the Yogi Show, which makes his “merry men merry.”

Ken Muse is the animator of the bumper. Dick Thomas backgrounds, I think, despite the blue trees.

Thursday 15 March 2018

Little Red Riding Huck Backgrounds

Art Lozzi is responsible for one of my favourite background paintings in one of my favourite Huckleberry Hound cartoons. Joe Barbera and Charlie Shows plopped Huck in the story of Little Red Riding Hood in a cartoon called Little Red Riding Huck. Huck tries to be helpful in his usual way but ends up getting arrested, while Red, the wolf and grandma just want to act out the story in the book as they have for generations.

Because it’s a fairy-tale setting, Lozzi paints some large, colourful mushrooms in the woods. I’ve snipped this together the best I can.

The backgrounds in this cartoon are decorative, yet fairly simple looking. Here’s a clearing in the woods. Lozzi decided to go in for flowers in this cartoon.

Two different yard exteriors. The fence on the left is on an overlay. That means Huck can walk from behind the overlay and look like he’s coming through the entrance in the fence. I like how the tree in the first background has various colours.

Here are two house exteriors. Again, the portion of the house on the right is on an overlay so Huck can walk through the entrance. The welcome mat is on a cel as it lifts up later in the cartoon as the wolf tries to get rid of Huck.

And two interiors. Not as flat as a UPA design might have been. Note the glazing effect on the window.

There are lots of great elements in this cartoon—the annoyed wolf talking to the audience; Huck in a lame disguise as an ice-cream man, the college geek that somehow finds his way into the story. Lozzi’s backgrounds enhance the storyline very nicely, just another reason for the sudden popularity of the Huck show and its 1960 Emmy win.