Wednesday, 28 August 2019

On the Road With Huckleberry

Take the idea of people dressed in huge cartoon character costumes (like at Disneyland) with personal appearances (like the Lone Ranger or a TV kid’s show host) and what do you get?

Huckleberry Hound on location.

The incredible, and almost instant, popularity of the Huckleberry Hound Show quickly got the promotional minds at Screen Gems into gear. They came up with the idea of having Huck and his cohorts show up at department stores, state fairs, wherever someone wanted them to show up. Of course, being animated, Huck et al had to appear via human stand-ins in outfits. One report described the personal appearances as involving dancing and miming to Daws Butler recordings.

Here’s a story from the Hackensack Record of August 25, 1959. Huck was still into his first season. Some of this story has been quoted verbatim on this blog. It would appear the descriptions of the characters used in it likely came from Columbia/Screen Gems news release. Indignantly, I point out somebody at the studio obviously had no clue about Yowp; this is the third different newspaper piece which quotes a line insisting that fine dog said “Yep, yep.” I hope whoever at the company was checked for hearing problems.


Characters From Television Arrive, Greet Old Friends
Huck Hound And Yogi Bear Share The Honors With Fred Sales Of Junior Town

PARAMUS — Television's canine hero Huckleberry Hound will be, honored Thursday, Friday, and Saturday when Huck Hound days are celebrated at Bergen Mall. Huck is the brainchild of cartoonists Bill Hann [sic] and Joe Barbera. He is seen weekly on WPIX and 200 other television stations in the series produced by Screen Gems.
Master of ceremonies on Friday will be television personality Fred Sales of Channel 13's Junior Town. For the celebration at Bergen Mall, Huckleberry Hound will be impersonated by Eddie Alberian, a former member of the Howdy Doody gang. Alberian will pass out canine mementoes to youngsters in the crowd.
This is the second in a series of major local events honoring the tenacious, Southern drawling hound. Two weeks ago when Foley's Department Store in Houston, Texas, held a Huckleberry Hound Day the store was mobbed by more than 10,000 youngsters.
The producers of "Huckleberry Hound", sponsored by Kellogg's, are old hands at animation. For 20 years they produced and directed the "Tom and Jerry" theatrical cartoons and won seven Academy Awards doing it. For their new series they gave birth to six new stars, plus a host of featured players which they turned out in a dizzying production schedule that any sane cartoonist of 20 years ago would have said was impossible.
Title role of "Huckleberry Hound" is that of a quietly persevering canine who will take on any job that promises adventure. Huck, who is host as well as leading player of the series, appears deceptively phlegmatic on first meeting. But underneath that layer of lethargy is an enterprising spirit. The very diversity of the jobs he takes on in the face of repeated failure is proof that Huck just won't give up. In the first few weeks he will appear as an African hunter, a Wild West lawman, a medieval knight, an aviator and a circus barker. And that's only the beginning.
Another new face in the new show is Yogi Bear. Yogi is an overgrown boy. He must be overgrown because next to the trees he's almost the biggest thing in Jellystone National Park. And he must be a boy because he's so playful. His manner may remind you of a certain sewer cleaner who once lived upstairs from a certain bus driver in a certain TV comedy series of two seasons back.
Yogi is aided in his trouble-making by his patient little friend, Boo Boo Bear, a fuzzy little fellow with bedroom eyes and a Midwestern twang.
Hanna and Barbera have a special affection for mice. In their new show they star two little charmers named Pixie and Dixie. They're from the South, and they live behind the baseboard in a comfortable middle-class home. Their only problem in life is a large, cantankerous cat named Mr. Jinks. An impetuous fellow, Jinksie is a "method actor." His readings may remind you of Marlon Brando.
These are the continuing performers in "Huckleberry Hound." In addition, Hanna and Barbera promise a long succession of brand new featured players. To name a few, there's Dinky Dalton, last of the notorious Dalton gang; Judo Jack, whom Pixie and Dixie hire to help protect them from Jinksie; the Fat Knight, who holds the Fair Damsel captive in Hassle Castle; an English hunter (who sounds amazingly like Charles Laughton) and his English bulldog (who says nothing but "yep, yep"), a little Indian boy and a baby fox.
That's just a sampling. All together, there may well be more debuts on "Huckleberry Hound" than on all other TV shows put together.

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