Wednesday 30 January 2019


Quick Draw McGraw cartoons are fun for a bunch of reasons, including the concept that a dog gets so ecstatic over dog biscuits, he sproings into the air and floats down in satisfaction.

Snuffles appeared in seven Quick Draw cartoons, three in the first season, two in the second and two in the third (plus once in a Snagglepuss cartoon). His appearances all featured the same routine where Snuffles hugged himself before leaping up.

For fun, let’s look at the frames of the version used in both second season cartoons, drawn by Dick Lundy to the best of my knowledge. There are ten frames as he turns to his right. The drawings are shot twice. You’ll notice his movements get smaller as he gets to the end of his hug.

Now the turn the other way. It was decided not to simply turn around drawings. Lundy comes up with new ones. These are shot on twos as well.

Besides kids who watched Quick Draw, someone else liked Snuffles. Joe Barbera told TV columnist Charles Witbeck in 1960: “Well, the sponsors like Snuffles. He’ll decorate their packages and help sell their product. So we have to write three new Snuffles stories. Our character actors have become leading men.”

As you can see to the right, Snuffles was well-enough known to have Paul Parnes write a song about him for Golden Records. Just about anyone who showed up with any regularity on a Hanna-Barbera cartoon by 1960 got his own Golden record including Ubble Ubble of Ruff and Reddy and Iddy Biddy Buddy, the duck on Yogi Bear cartoons who was modified into Yakky Doodle. A whole bunch of them were posted years ago but Snuffles wasn’t. However, you can find the darndest things on the internet, and someone has posted the Snuffles song on a video site.

I must warn you the voice of Quick Draw McGraw on this record is not Daws Butler. Daws was signed to a contract with Colpix Records, the music recording arm of Columbia Pictures (which helped produce Quick Draw through its sister company, Screen Gems). Colpix was based on New York, so it got New York voice people to imitate the Hanna-Barbera characters, mainly Gil Mack and Frank Milano. Both were accomplished actors on radio. Both were, unfortunately, not great at replicating the sounds of Daws Butler’s characters. I believe Milano is Quick Draw here. You will not go into Snuffles-like ecstasy over his performance. In case at some future time the video link goes dead, an audio link has been posted as well.

Snuffles Song

Saturday 26 January 2019

Joys and Vexations of the Future

Remember the days when everyone looked forward to the future?

Today it seems everyone is negative about what lies ahead for the world. There was a time where people were hopeful that the wonders of technology would make our lives better. Today some are worried about technology enslaving lives.

But let us go back to the future, to coin a phrase. The Jetsons was kind of the culmination of all those magazine stories and industrial short films of the 1950s about the marvels and wonders of tomorrow. Push button food! Flying cars! Minimal work weeks! Tex Avery used the concept to make animated spot films. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera used it to make an animated sitcom.

Hanna and Barbera were great borrowers. For The Jetsons, they borrowed from themselves. They took the concept of The Flintstones (putting modern suburbia in the Stone Age) and inverted it (putting modern suburbia in the World of Tomorrow). Newspapers across the U.S. published previews of the series. Some of the bigger papers did feature stories, no doubt assisted by Arnie Carr’s publicity department at Hanna-Barbera.

This is from the San Francisco Examiner of December 9, 1962. Joe Barbera has some interesting money quotes. Jimmy Weldon recently revealed on Stu’s Show that Daws Butler made $350,000 in residuals in 1963 alone. My thanks to Kerry Cisneroz for sending me a copy of the publicity drawing with the story.

The Jetsons
They Vacation on the Moon

By Dwight Newton
BILL HANNA and Joe Barbera are a couple of kooks—never conventional, always far out or far in.
Two seasons ago they ventured far inside Paleolithic times to bring forth a Stone Age cartoon series, "The Flintstones."
This season they have gone far out, 100 years or so hence, to create and unreel a giddy cartoon frolic called "The Jetsons," (Sundays, 7:30 p.m., channels 7-11-13-47).
As "Flintstones" was a prehistoric "Honeymooners," the new "Jetsons" is a space age "Father Knows Nothing."
George and Jane Jetson have two young'ns, teen-age Judy and small fry Elroy. The Jetsons' joys and vexations are the same as any of today's tract dwelling families with commuting fathers, but the settings and solutions spring from the wildest dreams of Hanna-Barbera science fiction comedy writers.
"And they've got to be real wild," said Barbera when I dropped by his bustling cartoon factory. "Things are moving ahead so fast these days that anything you think of, it is here."
The Jetsons and their friends drive automobiles that fly, live in space pads, have mechanical maids and take vacations on the Moon. They use slide walks, enjoy wall to-wall television, exercise by pressing push buttons and travel by air tubes.
Save for George Jetson's boss, C. D. Spacely, president of Spacely Sprockets ("Easy on the Pockets"), nearly everyone is slim because, said Bill Hanna. "There are not going to be any fat people 100 years from now."
Plump Mr. Spacely is voiced by Mel Blanc who also does squat Barney Rubble on "The Flintstones." Jane Jetson is voiced by Penny Singleton, the former Blondie of the movies, and daughter Judy is Janet Waldo, the Corliss Archer of yesteryear's radio.
George is George O'Hanlon, a noted off-camera vocalizer, and little Elroy is Daws Butler whose previous voicing credits include a hound named Huckleberry, a bear named Yogi and a horse named Quick Draw McGraw.
"Huckleberry Hound," Yogi Bear" and "Quick Draw McGraw" were also Hanna Barbara creations as was "Ruff and Ready," [sic] their first independent effort. Before that, for 20 years they labored at Culver City, where in 1937 they invented "Tom and Jerry" for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. How times have changed!
"Daws Butler was with us there and in a good month we made $250," recalled Barbera. "Last year we paid him $80,000 and he got a lot more from residuals."
At MGM, Hanna and Barbera produced eight short cartoons a year at a cost of about $60,000 for six minutes. They can knock out a half-hour "Jetsons" or Flintstones" for around $65,000. They do it by eliminating intricate details—falling leaves, rippling water, cobwebs, etc.—and by using an efficient assembly line production system that has revolutionized the animated cartoon business.
When they evolved the system for TV they tried to sell it to MGM but the brass there figured they could never meet a weekly TV deadline.
"MGM turned down this whole project, fortunately," said Barbera. "That was our lucky break. We were turned down by nearly every other outfit in Hollywood and then we made a deal with Screen Gems in 14 minutes."
Five years ago they launched "Ruff and Ready" with a staff of five people. Now, they employ 250 people, half of them artists working at home. Next month they move into their own new $1 million building.
You financed it by watching a hound, a bear, a horse, a Stone Age foursome and a Space age family.

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 brush 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.