Saturday, 12 May 2018

Producing the Huckleberry Hound Show

So what was the first cartoon made for the Huckleberry Hound Show? The correct answer is “Pie-Pirates,” the Yogi Bear cartoon that actually appeared on the third Huck show.

We know this thanks to the late Earl Kress and all the work he did putting together the Huck Show DVD. Earl was sent a copy of a mimeographed document from the files of the Leo Burnett ad agency dated Aug 3, 1961, with an addendum dated January 22, 1962, listing what it calls “Composition of Units.” It’s something for a real H-B geek, listing production codes for opening/closing titles, sponsor IDs, opening/closing billboards, bridges, the episodes themselves and the individual cartoons.

The latter lists the cartoons made for the show in chronological order. Unfortunately, because this is an agency document and not a studio one, it doesn’t show when production was begun (let alone finished) on each cartoon, which is information I’d be interested in seeing.

I don’t know if the production order has been published anywhere so I’m going to put it up here. The animator credits below are my own.

As always, these kinds of documents lead to questions which, at this late date, can’t be answered. You’ll notice the first 29 cartoons put into production starred Yogi Bear and Pixie and Dixie. The first Huck began with production number 30. Why so late? I’ll avoid speculation. And were more episodes ordered by Kellogg’s after production began? The cartoons that made up shows 22 through 26 were all made pretty much in the order they appeared.

26 episodes allowed two airplays to make up 52 weeks. Eight of the cartoons were reused in episodes, and not near the end of the series.

And you’ll notice Mike Lah appears on most of the earliest cartoons in production. Lah worked on a freelance basis for the studio; evidently he hoped he would be cut in when Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera formed the studio with the financial backing of Columbia Pictures and director George Sidney. It never happened, so he continued his work elsewhere. Animator Mike Kazaleh pointed out some time ago that Lah would be handed a specific chunk of footage in the cartoons, usually somewhere in the middle. I can’t help but wonder if the first cartoons were originally planned to be shorter, then extra gag footage was needed to bring them to about seven minutes (all the cartoons are exactly the same length). I don’t know whether I’ve spotted all the Lah footage; I’m almost certain he did work on a few of the cartoons below where I don’t have him listed (I’ve just finished looking at one that if it isn’t Lah, Ken Muse imitates Lah’s eye and mouth movements instead of his own found elsewhere in the cartoon).

E-1 Pie-Pirates (K-003/017) Yogi/Lah
E-2 High Fly Guy (K-008) Yogi/Marshall-Lah
E-3 Tally Ho-Ho-Ho (K-007) Yogi/Vinci-Lah
E-4 Pistol Packin’ Pirate (K-005) PD/Muse-Lah
E-5 Judo Jack (K-002/15) PD/Muse-Lah
E-6 Little Bird Mouse (K-007) PD/Marshall-Lah
E-7 Yogi Bear’s Big Break (K-001/011) Yogi/Muse-Lah
E-8 Big Bad Bully (K-020) Yogi/Vinci-Lah
E-9 Slumber Party Smarty (K-002/014) Yogi/Marshall-Lah
E-10 Kit Kat Kit (K-003/018) PD/Muse
E-11 Big Brave Bear (K-006) Yogi/Vinci
E-12 Scaredy Cat Dog (K-006) PD/Marshall
E-13 Baffled Bear (K-009) Yogi/Muse-Lah
E-14 Cousin Tex (K-001/012) PD/Vinci-Lah
E-15 Foxy Hound-Dog (K-005) Yogi/Marshall-Lah
E-16 Jinks’ Mice Device (K-004/021) PD/Muse-Lah
E-17 The Ghost With the Most (K-009) PD/Muse-Lah
E-18 The Buzzin’ Bear (K-013) Yogi/Vinci
E-19 Jiggers..It’s Jinks! (K-008) PD/Marshall
E-20 Brave Little Brave (K-010) Yogi/Muse-Lah
E-21 The Stout Trout (K-021) Yogi/Vinci-Lah
E-22 The Ace of Space (K-010) PD/Muse-Lah
E-23 Jinks Junior (K-011) PD/Marshall-Lah
E-24 Be My Guest, Pest (K-016) Yogi/Vinci
E-25 Duck in Luck (K-018) Yogi/Vinci
E-26 Puppet Pals (K-016) PD/Marshall
E-27 Jinks the Butler (K-013) PD/Muse
E-28 Bear on a Picnic (K-019) Yogi/Vinci
E-29 Runaway Bear (K-015) Yogi/Muse
E-30 Mark of the Mouse (K-017) PD/Vinci
E-31 Sheriff Huckleberry (K-005) Huck/Muse
E-32 Sir Huckleberry Hound (K-004/019) Huck/Marshall
E-33 Lion-Hearted Huck (K-002/013) Huck/Muse
E-34 Rustler Hustler Huck (K-006) Huck/Marshall
E-35 Huckleberry Hound Meets Wee Willie (K-001/010) Huck/Muse
E-36 Hookey Days (K-014) Huck/Vinci
E-37 Tricky Trapper (K-003/K016) Huck/Muse
E-38 Cock-a-Doodle Huck (K-008) Huck/Vinci
E-39 Two Corny Crows (K-009) Huck/Muse
E-40 Freeway Patrol (K-007) Huck/Muse
E-41 Dragon Slayer Huck (K-012) Huck/Muse
E-42 Fireman Huck (K-009) Huck/Muse
E-43 Sheep-Shape Sheepherder (K-017) Huck/Vinci
E-44 Skeeter Trouble (K-015) Huck/Vinci
E-45 Hokum Smokum (K-020) Huck/Vinci
E-46 Hypnotize Surprise (K-020) PD/Marshall
E-47 Bird House Blues (K-021) Huck/Vinci
E-48 Jinks’ Flying Carpet (K-014) PD/Muse
E-49 Prize Fight Fright (K-021) Yogi/Muse
E-50 Dinky Jinks (K-019) PD/Vinci
E-51 Barbecue Hound (K-018) Huck/Muse
E-52 Brainy Bear (K-022) Yogi/Muse
E-53 Nice Mice (K-022) PD/Muse
E-54 Postman Panic (K-022) Huck/Vinci
E-55 Robin Hood Yogi (K-023) Yogi/Muse
E-56 King Size Surprise (K-023) PD/Marshall
E-57 Lion Tamer Huck (K-024) Huck/Lah
E-58 Daffy Daddy (K-024) Yogi/Vinci
E-59 Cat-Nap Cat (K-024) PD/Muse
E-60 Ski Champ Chump (K-023) Huck/Marshall
E-61 Scooter Looter (K-025) Yogi/Vinci
E-62 Mouse Nappers (K-025) PD/Muse
E-63 Little Red Riding Huck (K-025) Huck/Marshall
E-64 Hide and Go Peek (K-026) Yogi/Muse
E-65 Boxing Buddy (K-026) PD/Muse
E-66 Tough Little Termite (K-026) Huck/Muse

There was only one main title and one end title for the Huck show in the 1958-59 season. That means only the regular artists and voice actors were listed (sorry Frank Tipper and June Foray). There were all kinds of mini-cartoons. There were 11 opening and closing billboards, two sponsor IDs, 11 Huck bridges, 11 Pixie and Dixie bridges, 11 Yogi Bear bridges and 11 “opening units” (along with four “closing units”).

Leo Burnett also, at one time, had two 35mm prints of the shows, with another 54 16mm prints in storage (in 1961). It’s a shame the either didn’t exist or weren’t available when the Huck DVD was made so there would have been better quality than some VHS dubs of the programming elements.

The Burnett files have production numbers for all the cartoons in the Huck series (including the Hokey Wolfs). Earl also had a similar document for the Yogi Bear show. If he had one for Quick Draw McGraw, it’s still in his filing cabinet.

My thanks to Denise Kress for going to the time and expense of mailing these to me.


  1. Very interesting how informative these agency documents can still get for things like this.

    And this may be off-topic for this post, I was curious to see what station in my area aired the Huckleberry Hound/Quick Draw McGraw/Yogi Bear shows in my market (Detroit)...

    It was CKLW Channel 9, which was owned by RKO General and was affiliated with CBC but was largely programmed as a de-facto independent (due to the requirement to preempt any American shows CBC aired, including, ironically, CBC-originated broadcasts of those three). CKLW aired Huckleberry Hound Thursdays at 7 PM, Quick Draw McGraw Tuesdays at 6:30 PM and Yogi Bear Wednesdays at 6:30 PM.

    (Of course, CKLW later on was sold to CBC itself and is now CBET and acts most of the time as an automated pass-through for CBC's current programs.)

    1. I grew up in Detroit also. The Leo Burnett Agency bought the air blocks at 6:30 for all of these shows. Huck Hound aired at 6:30 on Thursdays. All three shows followed the POPEYE Show, which was a 6:00 p.m. Huck aired in Toledo on Mondays at 7:00 p.m.

  2. I suppose it's possible that Bill & Joe and the folks at Leo Burnett were more confident in the Huck character -- because he had been used by Avery in variations at MGM and Universal (along with also being handled by Lah and even Alex Lovy) -- that there wasn't as much of a need to put the show's lead element into production first as there was the supporting ones, to show the ad agency what they'd be getting in support of the Huck episodes.

    1. Friz Freleng at Warners in 1957-58 for "Waggily Tale", based on that hit 1953 Patti Page classic, cast Daws in what wound up in the role for the dog in the cartoon, who at the end talks like Huck (Daws did his Jerry Lewis for the boy who owned him, since Jerry anmd Dean Martin then were such the big deal, and truly funny, and Lucille Bliss did the little girl in his dream..)> I believe Jay Wards directors, in working with Daws, may have also cast him in thatr voice. Also UPA, who also used Daws frequently. BNTW In the first Hanna-Barbera show, "Ruff and Reddy" Reddy the dog is Huck! (Don Messick plays Ruff the kitten using the Pixie mouse, Bamm Bamm, Ricochet Rabbit and Scrappy Doo voice he'd popularized.:))

  3. Mike Tiefenbacher13 May 2018 at 07:47

    My supposition is that the production numbers may only reflect their assignment order, and that the actual animation--which does tend to improve over time and seems more parallel than it would had the Yogis and Pixie & Dixies were created so far in advance of the Hucks--actually was created more uniformly. It's probably down to them taking their stacks of storyboards and giving them numbers AFTER the fact. It's even possible they had one production-numbering order started and then started over with another. As a start-up company, they didn't have to adhere to any longtime policy in the way they kept track of things. RUFF & REDDY production was simpler: since they were all serials, they had to be produced in a certain order. Every subsequent H-B cartoon till the '80s featured stand-alone episodes. We're accustomed to seeing production numbers adhering to the order in which live-action TV series were shot, but cartoons are a whole different animal--and this seemingly random order allowed Hanna-Barbera the luxury of assembling complete half-hours by the order in which they were completed, not (necessarily) created.

    1. Mike Tiefenbacher14 May 2018 at 10:40

      In fact, now that I think about it, the production numbers could also represent when Daws and Don (and whoever else they needed) recorded the tracks, since they also precede the actual animation. They may well have tackled a bunch of Yogis or P&Ds at a time just so they wouldn't need to remember what they sounded like from cartoon to cartoon.

  4. Mike Lah's animation is the best thing in these cartoons. On the other hand, Ken Muse....

    1. My late associate Ken Southworth was with Hanna and Barbera during their last two years at MGM and came over to their studio some time afterward. According to Ken, Lewis Marshall was a mediocre Animator. I think if you look at his work on the first season of the Huck, Yogi, and Pixie and Dixie cartoons, you can decide for yourself.

  5. Man...Love it!! Thanks Yowp. Oh, for those 35mm prints today.

  6. Hans Christian Brando15 May 2018 at 18:10

    That certainly explains why "Pie Pirates" begins with a narrator telling us "Once upon a time..." Although "Tally Ho Ho Ho" will always be my personal favorite.