Saturday, 16 February 2019

The Prowler

The Prowler was the third Flintstones cartoon put into production. Can you guess who the animator was on it?

Fred’s mouth in the frame above is kind of like Carlo Vinci’s work, but not as angular. (Note the thick ink lines on Fred).

This frame should give it away. Only one animator gave Fred a huge open mouth and floppy tongue. That was the great George Nicholas, one of my favourite Hanna-Barbera animators. He did really funny work on the Quick Draw McGraw vs. Snagglepuss cartoons when he came over from Disney, and infused Mr. Jinks with some nice personality poses in Lend-Lease Meece.

More big mouths.

Only Nicholas would do scare animation like this.

Nicholas liked wavy mouths and beady eyes. My favourite wavy mouth/beady eye take is in Dino Goes Hollyrock when Dino learns they’re going to slice off part of his tail to make him more telegenic.

Here’s something I’ve never noticed Nicholas do with Fred before. He closes one eye of a character and holds the drawing. You can see him draw the orange version of Snagglepuss that way in the Quick Draw McGraw cartoon The Lyin’ Lion.

Something else Nicholas did in a couple of Flintstones episodes was dialogue with the eyes closed and an open almost-grin, tilting the head back slightly. You can see the same kind of mouth curvatures in The Hot Piano, another first season Flintstones.

Nicholas doesn’t animate the whole episode. There’s some Ken Muse footage as well. It’s very prosaic next to Nicholas’. Perhaps the studio had to add scenes to lengthen the cartoon. My wild guess is Walt Clinton handled most, if not all, the layouts in this episode.

Nicholas had come to Hanna-Barbera after production of Sleeping Beauty ended at Disney. You can read a short bio from Nicholas’ obituary in this post.

Another great cartoon with Nicholas animation is the....oh, the phone. Pardon me.....Hello, Yowp Request Line, if you want to swoon, we’ve got the tune....What?.....You want to hear that Far East music of Hoyt Curtin’s from The Prowler?.....You got it....And, by the way, what’s your favourite At-Work Cartoon Blog with the Phrase That Pays?.....Oh.....Yeah, I guess that one’s all right. Thanks for calling.

Okay, by request, here are some cues. I think the first three were used in the cartoon. I don’t know about the others. “Jiu Jitsu” and “Chinese Jitsu” are the actual names of the tracks; the other ones weren’t labelled.

I’ve given up embedding media players; you’ll have to click on a title and hope your own player calls it up.



  1. I think you're right about that extra footage being added. If you delete Ken Muse's scene from this, the episode still makes sense.

  2. George Nicholas!
    He was a master in doing animations with great facial expressions. Specially with Fred talking with that frog mouth.
    I always associate the George Nicholas animation with the Gene Hazelton's artwork in the Flintstones comic strip, more exactly with Fred talking with that same frog mouth.

    1. Speaking of frog mouth, I'm pretty sure he also animated the episode "Hollyrock" Here I Come", one of my favorites. Jerry Mann as the director: "No no, I had to be a television producer, and I wind up with a pollywog for a frogmouth!"

    2. Very good episode coice, bigguy! Mann as Phil Silvers as Bilko as a director is the top high point!

    3. Self-proof read: "episode CHOICE"!

  3. I agree that the animation in this episode is worth noting. However, I'm surprised you didn't mention the racial stereotyping of the karate teacher.'60s TV cartoons seemed to be rife with this stuff (e.g., Dick Tracy), but of course you couldn't get away with that these days.

    1. The How I met Your Mother episode "Perfect Week" with real character Cook Pu was funny (in an indecent way).

  4. Thanks you for my introduction to George Nicholas. I went to your other posts as well, such as Frog Mouth and Snagglepuss entrance.
    And to top it off, Far East Hoyt Curtin?
    Wowzie Wow Wow!

  5. Wow, what great drawings! Gotta love those facial expressions.

    And huge thanks for posting the Far East cues! Nice stuff.

  6. Wasn't this also the cartoon where, for some reason, Mel briefly uses future Barney's voice, as he and Betty are looking out the window of their house while Fred's dressed up as the prowler?

    1. J.L., it's clear there were retakes of the soundtrack as some lines have a different sound quality.

    2. I suppose it just shows how far in advance to the air date that the initial recording sessions were done, since I think you have to get to "The Astra' Nuts", which aired in March of '61, before you get to an episode where Mel's fully switched over to the voice for Barney that everyone's now familiar with.