Saturday, 15 September 2018

Pint Size Surprise for the Guys

Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera may have been kicked out of MGM, but they didn’t let ideas from the studio’s cartoon division go to waste. When they set up their own studio, they borrowed from their own shorts (an annoying duck), from Tex Avery’s unit (a slow character with a North Carolina drawl) and even from Dick Lundy’s unit (which was really Avery’s while Tex was getting his head together).

Barney Bear starred in a Lundy-directed cartoon called Half-Pint Palomino (released in 1953), where our hero and his kind-of-useless burro go hunting for a miniature horse. Barbera took the idea and spun it into a Ruff and Reddy adventure called “Scary Tale of a Canyon Trail.” It was copyright September 15, 1957 and was evidently supposed to be sixth and last serial to be broadcast in the 1957-58 season. However, the first five adventures were repeated and it didn’t air until the start of the next season. The Philadelphia Inquirer suggests this episode was broadcast on November 15, 1958. (By the way, there were only two Ruff and Reddy cartoons per show, not three. Ignore fan-written webpedias which claim otherwise).

The story sketches for the third segment (G-3) are up for sale on Howard Lowery’s site. They start with sketch 13. All but the first cartoon in the segment used a recap at the start to sum up the story so far; I imagine that’s what the 12 missing drawings were in this case. They’re Dan Gordon’s work (as best as I can tell). I love Dan Gordon. His drawings are more appealing than the ones you see in the actual cartoon. You will notice the panels contain dialogue, camera directions and instructions to re-use material from earlier. What’s the significance of the blue pencil? I don’t know. However, a scene 30 has been added and the scene numbers are revised in blue. “BG Card” means a solid, one-colour background.

The story involves Ruff and Reddy corralling Pee Wee in the Grand Canyon but getting beaten to it by Harry Safari (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Dishonest John in the “Time For Beany” puppet series). The evil Harry wants the kidnapped Pee Wee to abuse in his circus for profit, but the teeny horse is rescued by Ruff, Reddy and Poco Loco after our heroes are alerted by Pee Wee’s mother. Yes, I know Ruff and Reddy were alerted about kidnapped Pinky the Elephant by the pachyderm’s mother in an earlier episode with Harry Safari. I told you Hanna and Barbera borrowed a lot.

Lew Marshall was the animator of the adventure and the dialogue was provided by Charlie Shows. I’m not a Ruff and Reddy fan but I do like Monty’s circus backgrounds and the human designs by Ed Benedict.

We will never, ever, see Ruff and Reddy on DVD so these nice Dan Gordon sketches will have to suffice.

Oh, and thanks to Devon Baxter for the alert about this storyboard.


  1. Replies
    1. One likely explanation offered is that the remaining prints of the series are rather badly deteriorated to be beyond proper restoration.

      (Unless, perhaps, the negatives or copyright-registration copies were resorted to.)

    2. I think a more likely explanation is that DVD sales of almost everything are just this side of nonexistent and no company who cares anything about turning a profit is going to invest money in releasing on DVD or Blu-Ray something like RUFF AND REDDY, the appeal of which would be marginal, at best.

    3. Music rights...I'll leave Yowp or others..too many music concerns to speak of.,Sane as with Gumby, and at WB, about Ten WB cartoons- 6 entire anbd a few Milt Franklyn and Bill Lava scored WB cartoons where stock cues were used..same as the Bugs Bunny show at times in ads that haven't been seen on tv for since 1962..They
      're on YouTube..Tang ads.Steve

    4. Maybe not ever, but to add to my last:
      A handful of stock libraries contributed, supplied by Capitol, and it';s even up in the air as to who did what (Spencer Moore, Goerdie Hormel, Jack Shaindlin, versus the likes of maybe Roger Roger, Joe Cacciola,etc also having written the same groups of cues (refer to Post topics, especially Dec.2009's "Music for Huck and Yogi")., Then who licensed them today and the costs..

  2. I absolutely loved (what I remember as) Pint-Size Surprise for the Guys! The numbers in blue are the numbers of each scene.