Saturday, 13 April 2019

Somersault Huck

Perhaps the best-looking Huckleberry Hound cartoons are the little cartoons-between-the-cartoons made for the series’ first season in 1958. Huck and the rest of his friends are fully animated, with nice stretchy mouths and fluid body movement.

Mike Kazaleh says they were animated by Phil Duncan. I’m presuming Duncan did them on a freelance basis.

The little cartoons are set in a circus, which fits the theme of the opening and closing animation. In one of them, Huck is on a trapeze. He’s very attractively drawn.

Duncan comes up with a cycle of ten drawings as Huck spins in mid-air. They’re animated one drawing per frame. Compare it to those later Hanna-Barbera cartoons where a character stands rigid with an arm moving on a separate cel. The spotlight follows Huck.

Huck tells us not to miss the next cartoon as he misses the trapeze. Bill Hanna’s timing of Huck hanging in mid-air before falling is perfect. I like how Huck sprouts extra arms as he drops. Those drawings are on twos.

These little connecting cartoons were one of the things that made the Kellogg’s half-hour shows so enjoyable to watch. The mini-cartoons may not be hilarious, but they make you smile. At least, they make me smile. And they make you wonder what the H-B cartoons would have been like if the studio had the time and budget to fully animate the characters. Full animation opens up the possibility of more visual gags (and better-looking ones). On the other hand, there are plenty of fully animated colour cartoons that leave you cold. The early Hanna-Barbera cartoons, at their best, used clever stories, top voice work and nice settings to help make the cartoons funny. Limited animation didn’t hurt them.

1 comment:

  1. priceless. i love huck's hat & his ears really flop ! wonderful. precious. such a great idea the inbetween toons.