Saturday, 8 December 2018

Bankrolling an Emmy

Syndicated television in the 1950s had some fairly popular shows. Highway Patrol and Sea Hunt come to mind. But the first syndicated show to win an Emmy was the Huckleberry Hound Show in 1960. It was the first time a cartoon show had won. Mind you, it was nominated in a category that didn’t before then—“Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Children's Programming.”

What was even better for the people behind Huck is the other Hanna-Barbera syndicated half-hour show, Quick Draw McGraw, was nominated as well. (Huck was also nominated but lost in 1961).

Both shows were sponsored by Kellogg’s of Battle Creek, Michigan. If you were around back then, you can probably still sing the Kellogg’s jingle. The Battle Creek Enquirer had an interesting take on the Emmy win. Here’s the paper’s story from June 22, 1960, two days after the award was handed out.

Huck, Yogi Share Emmy
Kellogg Co. Picked a Winner

A television cartoon show, bought sight unseen by the Kellogg Co. two years ago on the basis of an idea, came through Monday night to win TVs highest award in its field the most outstanding children's show of the past season.
An Emmy was presented "To Huckleberry Hound Outstanding achievement in the field of children's programming."
HUCK IS SEEN on 207 television stations across the country, which covers more than 90 per cent of the U.S. population. It was the first show of its type to win the award, with time purchased on individual stations rather than transmitted by a network.
Huck also was the first cartoon show created especially for television, rather than being adapted from motion picture cartoons, newspaper comic strips, or other media. It has been on the air since September, 1958.
KELLOGG EXECUTIVES had never seen a Huckleberry Hound cartoon show when they signed a contract in 1958 to sponsor the series. No one had seen one—none of the animated cartoons had been drawn.
Huck's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, brought their idea for the show to Kellogg's advertising agency, Leo Burnett Co., Inc. The agency in turn interested company officials.
The Kellogg men looked over proposed scripts and drawings of the characters, then decided to buy the idea. That was early in 1958.
A considerable investment—no amount has been revealed—was needed to build up a backlog of shows in advance of the first release. A Kellogg official said the cost of a half-hour Huck show is about the same as the cost of obtaining talent for a top-flight half-hour evening TV show.
THERE ARE no live characters on the show, usually including the commercials, which are presented by the animated stars. Each half-hour-show consists of three segments, starring separate characters. The stars are Huck, the hound with the southern drawl; Yogi Bear, a park dweller with a penchant for speaking in rhyme; and Jinks the Cat, who "hates you meeses—Pixie and Dixie—to pieces."
Huck and Yogi, particularly, have become popular personalities across the country. Last fall, they were the theme of homecomings at Ohio State University and Washington State University, and made "personal" appearances men dressed in $700 costumes depicting the characters. Both also appeared last year in Battle Creek's Centennial Parade.
TWO OTHER HONORS fell to Kellogg TV personalities Monday night. Quick Draw McGraw, another Kellogg show produced by Hanna and Barbera, was a runner-up for the "best children's show Emmy." And Jim Conway, who does the cereal firm's live commercials, was voted "Best of all the salesmen" by his fellow TV workers in Chicago. Conway was in Battle Creek last fall to emcee the United Fund's campaign kickoff.
Unless you want to count Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, it wasn’t until 1966 when a cartoon won an Emmy again; it went to A Charlie Brown Christmas. Of course, by then, Hanna-Barbera had built a lucrative empire on Saturday mornings. It wasn’t until Daytime Emmys were given out in 1983 that Hanna-Barbera got its second “Outstanding Children’s Entertainment Series” Emmy for The Smurfs. And by a nice coincidence, named with Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera was Gerard Baldwin, who had animated Yowp (okay, and Yogi Bear) 26 years earlier on the Huck series that gave the studio its first Emmy award.

1 comment:

  1. H-B received another Emmy between Huck and the Smurfs, in 1973, for the "Outstanding Achievement in Children's Programming" category with Last of the Curlews, an ABC Afterschool Special.