Saturday 7 April 2018

We'll Save a Ringside Seat

Something was missing from the Huckleberry Hound Show and it was a real disappointment. It was Cornelius the rooster.

Cornelius was the spokes-cockadoodler for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. He appeared in the opening and closing of the Huck show, and fluttered down from the air and knocked on Huck’s dressing room door before the first cartoon. That was in 1958. When the show was syndicated in the mid-‘60s, Kellogg’s wasn’t the sponsor any more. It seems to me Cornelius still knocked on the door but he was cut out of the opening and closing animation. (My fuzzy memory tells me the Canadian version of Huck didn’t have Cornelius, either, but it’s so long ago, I’m not sure).

When the Huck show came out on DVD, I was sure happy to see that roostered animation again. And I sang along with the closing theme, just like I did 55 or so years ago.

Kellogg’s or the Leo Burnett agency employed two of my favourite announcers on Hanna-Barbera series. Dick Tufeld announced the “brought to you by....” on The Jetsons. (Come to think of it, Bill Baldwin did the same thing on The Flintstones and I like him, too). And the great Art Gilmore gave the closing billboard over top of the animation—in the first season only—at the closing of the Huck show, as Cornelius and his jalopy rip a circle after Huck puts his head through it.

The box of Corn Flakes somehow vanished from the car soon after the start.

What?!! Hitchhiking? Doesn’t that teach kids to jump in with perfect strangers?! Boy, you’d never see this on TV any more.

Below, Cornelius turns around the old Tin Lizzie. I love his expressions.

Tony! You’re teaching your kid to hitchhike. What kind of parent are you??

There’s Smacksy the seal. He sold Sugar Smacks. And Sugar Pops Pete. Tony pushed Sugar Frosted Flakes. Someone once observed that you can’t say “sugar” any more because that promotes obesity, yet since the word was taken off the cereal boxes, kids are fatter than they were way-back-when.

Here are the first season (1958-59) titles. Only three animators. Oddly, Bob Gentle’s name is missing from the background list and there’s only one layout artist. Perhaps Mike Lah was working for Hanna-Barbera on a freelance basis. Ed Benedict’s name is missing, too. So is Walt Clinton’s. I couldn’t tell you if there were gang credits for the full season.

Tony Junior bops his head and Huck comes back to rescue him. Because someone will mention it if I don’t, when the series was syndicated in the mid-‘60s, Yakky Doodle was the one whose head got clobbered.

The original animated ending closed with a cut to a Screen Gems title card. The DVD versions don’t. They just stop the tape on this title card.

The animation would have been in colour but Earl Kress told me he couldn’t find it in the Hanna-Barbera archive. I suspect this is from someone’s VHS dub of a 16 millimetre black-and-white print that was sent to one of the TV stations in 1958.


  1. I know for a fact the rooster was part of the show's opening when "the Huckleberry Hound Show" was re-run in the afternoon during the mid-60's because one of the first animal sounds I learned to imitate was that rooster. To this day, the sound of a rooster crowing always triggers the "Huckleberry Hound" theme in my mind.

    As for the hitch-hiking, I think the circus ring setting neutralizes any potentially dangerous message. Even as a child, I recognized that it was part of a circus act and that the characters already knew each other well. It's pretty evident that they're not least that was how my childish mind perceived it. Of course, I know what you're getting at--todsy, parent vigilante groups would definitely raise a hue and cry over the merest implication of getting into a car with a stranger, even when (to me) it would be an absurd conclusion to make from this innocuous circus act.

    Just for the record, the HHS theme is one of the best ever from the H-B library.

    The HHS has recently been re-released on DVD, but it's the same release as the one years ago, and it's labeled "Season One" which implies that there should be at least a "Season Two" somewhere, but we all know that's unlikely to occur any time soon. I suppose they couldn't label it "All You're Gonna Get" instead of "Season One" but it would be more truthful advertising.

    1. Yes, SC, children are sometimes smarter than adults, especially the do-gooder people who go overboard finding things to object to (and the networks who are afraid of them).

    2. SC33, I also heard that 1966 intro's rooster at the very start, too! :)SC

  2. I KNOW that A LOT of people might have been GLAD for Yakky Doodle's head being clobbered..yeah, I also saw that since 1966, just the regular voices DAWS BUTLER, DON MESSICK, were credited, WARREN FOSTER and maybe a few other writers, and the give-away that it was 1966:MCMLXVI. Thanks for another article....:) Very good one.SC

  3. I've often wondered just what a "howdy hound dog clown" really is. Or a "chuckleberry." '50s rock-and-roll artists weren't the only ones who wrote wacko song lyrics!

    1. Considering the Randy Van Horne Singers' lyrics aren't decipherable some of the time, does it matter?

  4. It's okay, Yowp - Bullwinkle did a Mr. Know-It-All segment on the perils of hitchhiking ("The Most Economical Form of Transportation"), so at least the General Mills spokestoon family heeded his wise example.

  5. What series of Capitol Hi-Q music does Huckleberry Hound, Ruff and Reddy and Quick Draw McGraw use?

    Matt Skwarek

    1. Generally L. Some D (especially Ruff and Reddy). X on rare occasion.

  6. In case you want to look them up on YouTube, the Sugar Pops Pete commercials are done by Daws Butler. (It wouldn't surprise me if HB animators did them.) I love the character; it's too bad the pistol that shoots sugar is wrong now in so many ways. I don't think Corn Pops even has commercials anymore, much less an animal mascot. By the way, it's interesting that Pete seems to be the only cowboy prairie dog in cartoons, which seems like it should have been something even more obvious than a cowboy horse.

  7. I just viewed the synd. "HHS" intro; Cornelius™ is nowhere to be seen. I've seen a "bumper" of the Kellogg's run featuring him, tho. IN COLOR.

    A no. of yrs ago, I saw cels of either an intro or outro of the Kellogg's run of "THHS". THEY WERE NOT IN COLOR. OH NO.

    These cels were owned by a Dude named Duane Dimock. Yowp, if you can locate him, you MAY find an answer to whether\not the Kellogg's run "HHS" intros/outros were in color or not.

    IMO, because the intros/outros featured so many Kellogg's icons, and because said icons' ads were not then produced/made in color, the intros/outros of the Kellogg's run of "THHS" were not in color, but produced/made to fully optimize the resolutional pecularities of B/W TV.

  8. The Post-Kellogg’s Huckleberry Hound Show ending that replaced the Kellogg’s characters with Hokey Wolf, Ding-a-Ling, Yakky Doodle, and Chopper also had its LYRICS SHORTENED!

    It OPENS with “…We’ll save a ringside seat, So everyone can meet…”! This version was also seen on the late-‘80s USA CARTOON EXPRESS, which began with The Yogi Bear Show opening theme sequence, and closed with the later one from The Huckleberry Hound Show!

    It’s also noteworthy that, by 1965 (?)Post-Kellogg’s, the original cast of The Huckleberry Hound Show (Yogi AND Pixie and Dixie) had completely migrated to The Yogi Bear Show … leaving Hokey Wolf, Ding-a-Ling, Yakky Doodle and Chopper to be picked-up by the now-Huck-driven circus car!

    Were there any known reasons for the H-B mass-shuffle of the time, where “Pixie, Dixie, and Mr. Jinks” were swapped for “Yakky Doodle”… and, on the Mgailla Gorilla and Peter Potamus Shows, “Ricochet Rabbit” was swapped for “Breezly and Sneezly”? It just seemed so… odd!

  9. In terms of character popularity, it's interesting that when the end titles were tinkered with for Season 2, Huck was no longer just popping his head through the circus net (a la the old Porky Looney Tunes endings), but instead was now accompanied out by Yogi in holding a banner featuring Kellogg's new corporate slogan ("The Best to YOU Each Morning!"). So even two years before Yogi got his own show, the handwriting was on the wall for Huck in the popularity contest.

    (And, yeah, the '66 ending was more satisfying -- Tony Jr. really hadn't done anything to the viewing audience to justify getting smashed in the head, while Yakky's was retribution not only for his own cartoons, but for the duck who had appeared in all the other H-B shorts in the 1958-60 period, and for the surprisingly similar duck who showed up on Saturday morning TV starting in 1965, when the Tom & Jerry shorts made it to CBS.)