Wednesday, 31 October 2018


When I was kid, you could dress up as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear or Quick Draw McGraw and go out on Hallowe’en in hopes of getting free candy in a door-to-door windfall. Actually, mooching food would be expected of Yogi Bear, wouldn’t it?

While All Hallow’s Eve didn’t form the basis of stories in the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, they did include antagonists or adversaries you’d find on suburban streets in the 1960s on an average October 31st. Here’s a random sampling of ten cartoons that come to mind.

Mike Maltese came up with Harum and Scarum, two goofy ghosts, whom he planted in a pair of cartoons. The first one was with Snooper and Blabber in “Real Gone Ghosts” (1959), the second in “Be My Ghost” with Snagglepuss (1961). They were silly and, the best thing, rolled up like window shades before disappearing. Harum was played by Daws Butler. Scarum was originally voiced by Elliot Field; Don Messick took over for the second cartoon.

Quasi Ghosts
Fibber Fox pretends to be a ghost by covering himself with flour in “The Most Ghost.” The only thing that’s scary is Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera’s obsession with an annoying duck character. I like Fibber, but this is a weak cartoon.

Pixie and Dixie, then Mr. Jinks, pretend to be ghosts in “The Ghost With the Most” (1958). There’s a great Mike Lah shock take on Jinksie but there are several egregious errors. Whoever worked the camera on this one wasn’t keeping track of the exposure sheets as Jinks’ mouth appears in front of his hand and then disappears for a brief time.

Where else would a witch go to relax than Jellystone Park? Yogi steals her broom to filch pic-a-nic baskets in “Bewitched Bear” (1960). Ranger Smith is great in this one. He’s still in his “I’m bored just doing my job” stage of his character, which is better than the petulant, annoyed ranger he quickly became. I’m pretty sure Bob Gentle is responsible for an excellent opening shot of the witch’s house. Jean Vander Pyl is the witch.

A whole pile of old Warner Bros. cartoon ideas are mashed together by ex-Warners writer Mike Maltese in “Switch Witch” (1959). There’s a bit of “The Trial of Mr. Wolf,” where the Big Bad Wolf defends himself in court against the Three Little Pigs, and “Bewitched Bunny,” where Witch Hazel wants to eat Hansel and Gretel. Monty’s backgrounds are really great in this. Elliot Field voices the witch and Blab in this early Snooper and Blabber cartoon.

Yakky Doodle and Chopper meet up with a witch who needs one small talking duck for her birthday stew in “Witch Duck-Ter” (1961). The cartoon ends with the two of them giving the touched witch a birthday cake. Jean Vander Pyl is called into service again as the witch.

Maltese or Joe Barbera or someone else at Hanna-Barbera must have loved the Addams Family panel cartoons in the New Yorker as characters reminiscent of what were eventually named Gomez and Morticia Addams were plunked in several Snooper and Blabber cartoons, the first being “The Big Diaper Caper” (1959). Maltese also put them in a Snagglepuss cartoon and they were even featured in a Dell comic book. The characters aren’t as dark as Addams’ wonderful creations and the tameness turns them into one-note characters. Jean Vander Pyl uses her Tallulah Bankhead voice for Mrs. Scientist and once said it was her first role at Hanna-Barbera.

Huckleberry Hound battled a crazed monster wiener schnitzel in “Science Friction” (1961). Need I say anything more about this cartoon?

In “Piccadilly Dilly” (1960), Huck is sent to arrest the crazed title character, who is really Dr. Jikkle after drinking a potion. Joe Montell has a very nice setting at the start of the cartoon and writer Warren Foster makes fun of English accents. Huck is with Scotland Back-yard but still sounds straight out of Raleigh, North Carolina.

There are other cartoons where characters are put in horror or nightmare situations, but these ten are what comes to mind right away. They’re a mixed bag when it comes to humour, but if you’re looking for Hanna-Barbera cartoons to watch on Hallowe’en, these are as good as any.


  1. " The Ghost with the Most " in Jinxy's voice " I ammmmmm a ghost ". Bewitched Bear " with Jean Vander Pyl are two of my favorites.

  2. How about "Alvin Brickrock Presents" from The Flintstones. Certainly an outré ending for a H-B effort.

    Have a safe and apostrophe-free Halloween.

    1. I stuck with the shorts for this post. I could have included the Hokey Wolf cartoon with the witch but stopped at ten.