Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Home Sweet Bear-Type Cave

Yogi Bear’s homes were many and varied during his early days on The Huckleberry Hound Show. The studio saw no need to insist on using the same background drawings in each cartoon, so a new cave was designed for Yogi whenever he needed one (in The Baffled Bear, he lives inside a tree).

We’ve found six cartoons in Yogi’s first season in 1958-59 where he lives in a cave. Incidentally, he lived alone; Boo Boo moving in didn’t happen until Warren Foster took over writing the cartoons in the second season.

All six caves appear to be the artwork of Fernando Montealegre (that’s him to the right). Each of them features a variety of colour shades. Monty came from the MGM cartoon studio where he worked in the Mike Lah unit. He had a wonderful sense of stylisation. His work was far less abstract at Hanna-Barbera, but his art is still very attractive. There’s a fair bit of sponge-work; I’m not an artist so I don’t know what else he used to paint.

Montealegre was born in Costa Rica. I presume he’s the Fernando Miguel Montealegre who was born June 23, 1926 and died in Long Beach, California on April 29, 1991. Layout man Jerry Eisenberg told me Monty was into photography as well as art. His last animation work was apparently on a 1983 TV special called The Great Bear Scare. Alas I know nothing else about him.

Let’s look at his cave entrances.

Slumber Party Smarty

Foxy Hound-Dog

Big Brave Bear

Prize Fight Fright

Brainy Bear

Hide and Go Peek

In the second season of The Huckleberry Hound Show, Yogi has a cave that isn’t consistent within a cartoon. It’s in Lullabye-Bye Bear (1959). The trees in the background are different in winter than they are in spring. These backgrounds, from what I can tell, are by Joe Montell, who painted backgrounds for Tex Avery at MGM. He left Hanna-Barbera to go to Mexico and work for Jay Ward.

Lullabye-Bye Bear

Montell was big on dots that you see in the background above; they’re visible in his work at MGM and John Sutherland Productions.

This should give you a pretty good idea of some of the early background art at Hanna-Barbera and the fact the studio didn’t get worked up about Yogi’s home being consistent from cartoon to cartoon. Artists laid out and painted what was needed to make an individual cartoon attractive and fit the plot.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Rhymes of Bear Are Everywhere

Charlie Shows wrote the dialogue for the first season Yogi Bear was on the air (1958-59) and drove me nuts. He’d come up with rhyming couplets at the ends of Yogi’s sentences, things like “Looks like I’ve got you over a barrel, Darrell!” These struck me, even as a kid, as being really forced because in the aforementioned example, the character being referred to wasn’t named Darrell. Yogi was rhyming for the sake of rhyming.

(A side note: Paul Simon recorded a song in 1975 called “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” which did the same thing. I’ve never liked the song, either).

However, I must have been in the minority. Teenagers at one high school in the U.S. seem to think the dialogue was great.

The high school section of the Asbury Park Press published a piece on April Fools Day 1959 interviewing students in one local town about the Huck show. They all made out with rhyming dialogue like you’d hear on the show, Moe.

The “word-type-word” (ie. “show type show”) lines aren’t something I’ve heard a lot of, but Yogi used the phrase “tourist type tourists” in one cartoon (Brainy Bear).

Huck and Yogi TV Favorites

TOMS RIVER - "It's too cool, Boo Boo!" exclaimed Dwight West, sophomore at Tom's River High School, when asked to comment on Huckleberry Hound. A large number of Toms River students faithfully watch this show every Thursday night. Without fail they are seated in front of their TV sets by 6:29 1/2 p.m.
This adult cartoon show is starting to plague Toms River High. The six characters of the show, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo (a confused little bear), Pixie and Dixie (the meeces, and Mr. Jinks (the cat who hates them meeces to pieces), are a part of almost everyone's conversation. When class is over one doesn't say "let's go" anymore one says "let's skidoo, Boo-Boo." or, instead of speaking of the gymnasium, everyone calls it a "gym type gym."
When asked to comment about the show, some of the replies received were as follows:
"Those meeces are way out!" said Pennie Hotaling, junior.
"I think so too, Boo-Boo," said Pat Trenery, junior.
"I love them meeces to pieces," said Dona Wheeler, junior.
"It's a show type show," said Al Lehrer, freshman.
"It's better than the average show!" said Susan Polsky, junior.
"I wouldn't miss a Yogi Bear cartoon for the moon. See you soon!" said Barbara Hall, sophomore.
"Huckleberry Hound is the coolest cartoon show yet. You bet," said Bill Norcross, junior.
"It's the best show in a long time. I'd bet you a dime," said Saul Whynman, junior.
When Warren Foster replaced Shows in 1959, he kept the idea of rhymes but there was bit of rhythm to them instead of the contrived twosomes, eg. “There’s someone new in cabin two” (heard in Bewitched Bear).

The one Shows rhyme I really like—at least I’ll give him the credit for it—is Mr. Jinks’ catchphrase “I hate meeces to pieces!” It’s a statement that makes perfect sense, and you wouldn’t expect someone like the egotistical Jinksie to know the correct term is “mice.” So, no, I’m not bashing Mr. Shows all the time. I’m not too snarly, Charlie.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Flintstones Weekend Comics, January 1970

A variety of stories fill the Flintstones’ Sunday comics on this month in 1970 (we can’t do 50 years ago this month as the comics aren’t available in readable form). Betty returns for one comic, Pops is in another. No Dino. I’ve given up hope of seeing Baby Puss again.

Blow up any of the comics by clicking on them.

January 4, 1970. Barney was pretty easy-going in the cartoon series; I can’t picture a snowman likeness bothering him unless maybe Fred had an insulting sign attached to it. I like the first panel’s composition. A snowman in the background is covered by the title in the mid-ground which is partly covered by Pebbles in the foreground.

January 11, 1970. Some newspapers would only publish the bottom two rows of a three-row comic. If they did in this case, readers would only miss an unrelated gag. You’d figure everything back in the Stone Age would taste like wild game.

January 18, 1970. Betty’s head doesn’t move.

January 25, 1970. Fred’s back working day shift. His boss is not Mr. Slate in the comics for whatever reason. Observe the boss is smoking a cigar. I imagine the writer grew up close to the era where tycoons smoked cigars and wore suits with vests and pocket watches. I don’t remember many people outside of George Burns puffing on a cigar by 1970. Richard Holliss supplied the colour cartoon from his collection.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Huck the Canuck

Huckleberry Hound, Pixie and Dixie and Yogi Bear didn’t come to Canada until 1959, but their new series got some praise in the Canadian media the year before. The Vancouver Sun lauded the cartoon series in its TV column of November 27, 1958, less than two months after the Huckleberry Hound Show debuted in the U.S.

The reason is simple. Vancouver is not too far from the U.S. border and kids could tune in Huck on Channel 5 in Seattle. Kids (and others) in the Vancouver and Victoria areas were actually pretty lucky. Not only could they watch Huck on Thursdays on KING-TV, they could tune him in on CBUT and CHEK-TV on Wednesdays starting January 7, 1959. By 1961, KVOS-TV in Bellingham, about 20 miles across the border in Washington State, aired Huck as well, meaning you could see Huck three times every week!

(As a side note, Quick Draw McGraw got the three-times-a-week treatment as well, and the prime-time Bugs Bunny Show aired twice a week, once on the CBC, once on ABC. Add to that the various morning/afternoon cartoon shows on local TV. We didn’t need a “Cartoon Network” back then).

Anyway, here’s Jim Gilmore’s column. It appears no one told him about Daws Butler. The publicity shot of Huck the paper ran isn’t available.

You can have your Pogos, your Charlie Browns and your Mr. Magoos. I'll take Huckleberry Hound every time. And just who is Huckleberry Hound, you ask? Man, If you haven't heehawed at Huck, you're working too hard.
Huckleberry H. just happens to be television's first adult cartoon, and the first half hour program to be entirely animated. Never touched by human hands, so to speak.
Huckleberry, as you can see by his picture, is a hound dog. He comes from the deep south, and you will recognize his cornpone voice as soon as you hear it. It's sort of hard to describe here.
One of Huck's henchmen is a big, bumbling bear, name of Yogi. Yogi Bear. Now, his voice is a real corker. Sounds exactly like Art Carney's "Helloo there Ralphy, boy!" Ed Norton characterization from The Honeymooners.
There are other little people, er animals, too, including Pixie and Dixie, a couple of "meece."
Huckleberry Hound is the inspired creation of two men William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. You've probably laughed at another of their cartoons—Tom and Jerry.
* * *
Hanna and Barbara, who also do most of the voice characterizations for Huckleberry, have turned out over 200 films detailing the adventures of Jerry, the mischievous rodent, Tom, the bungling feline, and, of course, Spike, the ferocious bulldog. Since Huckleberry Hound befriended Channel 5 last month, he has cultivated an extremely loyal, and ever-growing following.
Huck returns tonight at 6, with three more adventures "Two Corny Crows," "Baffled Bears," and "Ghost with the Most." Watch for him.
About the closest Huck came to being a Canadian was when he played a Mountie in Tricky Trapper (1958) with his North Carolina accent intact. HERE is our review of the cartoon from almost ten years ago. Below is the great opening background that’s panned left to right. Click on it to see a bigger version. It’s the work of veteran Bob Gentle.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Snagglepuss by George Nicholas

El Kabong is funny. The orange, bad-guy Snagglepuss is funny. Put them together and you have a funny cartoon. And the cartoon is even funnier if the animator is George Nicholas.

They all appear together in El Kabong meets El Kazing (1960). It’s one of my favourite Quick Draw McGraw cartoons as Snagglepuss abuses the dopey lawman through the whole cartoon until Baba Looey, as El Kapowee, swings in on a rope with his own kabongger.

Nicholas was hired at Hanna-Barbera after production ended on Sleeping Beauty and Walt Disney laid off a bunch of animators. Here’s an example of why I like Nicholas’ animation. He tries to do something with limited animation. This scene shows Snagglepuss entering the cartoon from his cave. Look at the curves he gives Snagglepuss’ arm and tail.

You know how the studio would have done it a few years later. Snagglepuss would likely peek out behind the cave overlay then enter on one drawing with dry bush speed lines toward the cave.

As in any good Quick Draw McGraw cartoon written by Mike Maltese, the off-screen narrator and the characters have a little conversation. Here’s what Nicholas does when the narrator catches Snagglepuss’ attention. The mountain lion’s head turns in five positions. Other animators would probably do three. Nicholas loved beady eyes; you can see it all through this cartoon and many others he worked on.

“You don’t look much like a nemesis to me,” opines the narrator. Snagglepuss gets indignant. Again, another fine expression by Nicholas. He tilts Snagglepuss’ head ever so slightly in six drawings.

Timing is generally up to the director, but in this scene Nicholas has some unique timing. Normally, you’d find drawings shot on twos, occasionally on ones or threes. Nicholas varies the timing here; Ed Love used to have his own timing at Hanna-Barbera as well. The second drawing is on fours, the third and fourth drawings are on threes, the fifth drawing is on twos, the sixth is shot twice before Snagglepuss starts his dialogue; only his head is animated for part of the scene, then Snagglepuss gestures with his right arm.

You can go back about six years on the blog and read a review HERE.

The layouts in this cartoon are by Walt Clinton. He would have designed the incidental characters, like the ones in the opening shot (there is a quick right pan from one pair of characters to the other). I love the bull and sheep.

By the way, I apologise for some inept masking here. One of the things that sucked valuable time making posts on this blog for years is that unless these cartoons were released on DVD, they are dubs from American cable TV. They have a station ID bug plastered on them. I’ve tried to cover the bugs with varying degrees of success. I wish I had bug-less copies of them (especially the first two seasons of the Quick Draw show) but since I don’t, you’re getting the best I can do with the time and limited skills I have.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Facts and Figures About Hanna-Barbera, 1966

One of the people responsible for many of the posts on this blog never lifted a pencil or a paint brush at Hanna-Barbera. He was Arnie Carr, the man responsible for getting the studio free publicity in the media (that’s him to the right with Fred Flintstone).

Carr was with Ziv Television in 1955 when he joined Irving Fein’s staff at CBS radio before migrating to KABC-TV, Screen Gems and then directly for Hanna-Barbera in March 1960. In September 1962, he opened his own PR agency (originally at 3487 Cahuenga Blvd.) but kept the cartoon studio as a client. Perhaps Arnie’s big claim to fame (or was it a publicity stunt) was signing the breakaway African country of Biafra as a client in 1968.

Arnie retired from the movie/television press agent game and opened an art and jewellery gallery in Santa Monica in 1991. We lose track of him after that.

He and his staff would have, among other things, churned out press releases about the H-B shows and studio, some of them written like newspaper stories that papers could use as much as they wanted to fill column space. They wouldn’t have been bylined, although there would likely be a contact name and number at the bottom. However, we’ve found one flack job that has Arnie’s name on it. He garnered a full page in the May 1966 edition of Studio magazine (“for and about people in the industry”) with two stock photos. It’s really a big ad, but we presume Hanna-Barbera didn’t pay ad rates for it.

A bear by the Tail!
By Arnold Carr
When you grasp the fact that more than one-third of the total population of Europe, North and South America and Japan each week voluntarily glues itself to the animated television antics produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, you know you’ve got a bear by the tail!
It’s true. More than 300 million men, women and children watch one or more of 15 H-B concoctions on television in some 47 lands.
Now consider this:
The consumer products carrying the likenesses of such diverse Hanna-Barbera characters as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Fred Flintstone have mushroomed during the past seven years into the largest merchandising Operation of its kind in the world. Projected gross retail sales via more than 1500 licensed manufacturers of some 4,500 products ranging from Flintstone window shades to Yogi Bear bubble bath in 1966. More than $150 million.
And this:
The soaring success of the Hanna-Barbera combo actually dates back just seven years to the day they were relieved of their duties at MGM Studios — although the partnership first flowered 25 years ago when they created the seven-times Oscar winning cartoon short, “Tom & Jerry,” at the same studio.
Today, Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc., owns and fills a Contemporary 3-story, $1,250,000 building on a 2 1/2 acre plot in North Hollywood, California; and employs some 350 artists, technicians, writers and directors in the largest animation studio operation in the world.
Additionally, H-B is engaged in the production of commercials and industrial films, both animated and live-action, for many of the nation’s leading corporations. In fact, total H-B production budget for 1966 will hit approximately 20 million.
Moreover, Hanna-Barbera is currently producing two live-action pilot films for the 1967 season. It is also entering into the production of live action, full-length feature films.
The Hanna-Barbera record label, established in 1964, is already one of the fastest growing Companies in the business. It adds up to an impressive achievement which started in the spring of 1957, when out of work and out of necessity, Hanna and Barbera began thinking in terms of cartoon shows for television.
H-B’s first television offering was “Ruff and Reddy.”
In rapid succession the nation took to its heart the likes of “Huckleberry Hound” (the first half-hour animated series on TV), “Quick Draw McGraw” (the slowest horse in the West) and “The Flintstones,” “Yogi Bear,” “Top Cat” and “The Jetsons” “Touche Turtle,” “Lippy the Lion” and “Wally Gator.” “Magilla Gorilla,” “Peter Potamus,” “Atom Ant,” “Secret Squirrel,” and “Johnny Quest” [sic] bringing the total of 15 TV series from Hanna-Barbera on the world’s airwaves concurrently.
It is a notable sidelight to this smashing success in visual imagery that neither Hanna nor Barbera began his career as a cartoonist or artist.
Bill Hanna was born in Melrose, New Mexico, and spent his school years studying engineering and journalism and accidentally turned to cartooning.
Joe Barbera was born in New York City and attended the American Institute of Banking. An inveterate doodler and dreamer, Barbera started submitting gag drawings to leading magazines and managed to sell one to Collier’s. This led Barbera to a brief huddle with himself (about seven seven minutes) during which he determined to seek a career in cartooning as opposed to the world of finance.
In 1937, Bill Hanna was hired by MGM as a director and story man in the cartoon division, and Joe Barbera simultaneously was employed as an animator and writer at the same studio.
During their 20-year tenure at MGM, the team turned out more than 125 segments of the aforementioned and highly acclaimed “Tom and Jerry” theatrical cartoon. Their annual animation production of approximately 45 minutes per year at MGM compares dramatically with an output at Hanna-Barbera Productions of that much material each week.
Operating a multi-million dollar entertainment empire without inter-office memos and with a consistent open-door policy is considered unorthodox even by Hollywood Standards.
But the warm comraderie of the H-B operations has produced artistic and economic success as impressive to Hollywood as to the business world and the 300 million weekly viewers of all their shows.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, January 1970

Dennis the Menace a Hanna-Barbera character? Well, young Allen does have some distinct similarities in the Yogi Bear newspaper comics from January 1970. Boo Boo has the month off, but we see Mrs. Ranger Smith twice. We also get some silhouette drawings, multiple Yogi heads in one panel and the idea that Cindy Bear’s dad wants to get her out of the house.

The colour comics come from Richard Holliss’ collection.

January 4, 1970.

January 11, 1970.

January 18, 1970.

January 25, 1970.

Click on any of the comics to blow them up.

Note: We’re unable to do the comics from 50 years ago this month as I don’t have access to decent copies of them.